Notes from Puzzle Palace

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Sea Days from San Diego to Hawaii

Well, we’ve left San Diego once again. It’s on to Hawaii.  Fingers and toes are all crossed in the hopes that we make it there.  

On our first day at sea, I ate a sleeve of saltines and took 2 meclazine tablets (generic bromine) which I purchased them on Amazon before we left and took along the better part of 2 bottles.  I’m not sure how many in total I have, but I’ve realized that this trip is taking me longer to get used to the motion than the last two trips we took.  I spent the morning in bed then went up for lunch.  Putting a bit of food in my belly helps greatly.

After lunch, we went up to the card room and met another couple there. We had had lunch with them the day before and had agreed to teach them how to play Hand Knee and Foot.  (Instructions to follow in a future post) The ladies partnered up as did the gents.  We brought along our iPad with the scoring app on it and were ready to begin teaching.  Both picked up the game rather quickly.  To be fair, it’s an easy one to learn.  I can’t chalk it up to our teaching.  

The first night we had dinner in the grand dining room and I’ll post a photo of a meal here.  Osso Busco.  It is huge!  There is enough food here to feed 3 people.  I ate a small portion of it and was asked if there was something wrong with it.  Other than lack of portion control, I see no problems with most of the food on the ship.

As usual, we did not go to any shows or to have drinks or anything other than have a good nights sleep.

The next morning I woke to go to yoga.  I’m enjoying this, but the schedule changes are doing my head in.  Every day is a different time and it’s not good for my sense of normalcy.  Today the air is chilly and the boat is rocking a bit.  

When walking to yoga, I noticed the sea sickness bags all over.  Yes, it is rough seas. I had to stop a few times to steady myself.  I saw quite a few green travelers and am grateful for the pills I take. I was told at cards later that there are more than a few people affected by the motion. The Meclizine tablets I take work wonders.  I have no side effects from them.  Some of the other brands made me drowsy, but these do nothing more than calm my stomach. 

After yoga today had time to return to the cabin and grab a quick shower before heading out for a cooking demonstration. I enjoy watching cooking shows at home and this was no exception. The two chefs made pasta (really?  How hard is that to do?  I know, I know some people didn’t grow up doing this 3 times a week-and the fancy electric pasta machine was cool.  I’ll have to look into getting one when I return home) and dover sole wrapped scallops with caviar.   

I was surprised how few people in the audience knew how to make a lobster stock-there was a wave of ah’s when they were told to crush the shells and let it cook out with a cup of white wine.  I’m not a foodie, but even I knew that one.  I don’t normally add brandy when I make mine, I’ll give that a try next time.  Sadly, there is no tasting because of COVID, but they did say they would put the dish on the menu soon and the pasta is always fresh in Toscana.

At noon every day the Capitan comes on and gives us the temperature, the heading, the speed of the boat to name a few items. Today it is 60 degrees air temperature and 63 degrees sea temperature.  The distance to the sea floor was just over 4 miles today.  That is a lot of water.  It really is awesome the depth below us.  When we look to the horizon, we can see nothing but water surrounding us.  In the Currents of January 14th, I read that 72% of the planet is covered in salt water with a total volume of approximately 1.3 billion cubic Kilometers.  That’s a lot of water!  The earth is an amazing place.  We really need to do something about saving it.  The pollution we encountered in LA has stuck with me.  The skies out here are blue.  A bit of cloud, and I can see rain in the distance.  But mostly it is just blue.  This is how the entire world should look, not just the air above the seas.  

We joined another couple for lunch and had a pleasant meal and conversation. From there we again went to cards.  This time Jim and Shari decided to play with each other.  Oh dear! My experience with playing with your life partner has been negative.  Don’t do it.  But they survived as did we.  They did a great job and were ahead until the very end.  They simply couldn’t make the last book and they ended up loosing by only 4000 points or so.  Had they made the book they would have cleaned our clocks.  For only the second time of playing they are amazing and will give us a run for our money on future sea days.  

Dinner that night was in the Polo Grill. I decided to go for the Oysters Rockefeller again as they were so good the night before.  I also thought I’d give the lobster a second try.  Well, there is nothing worse than gritty oysters.  I ate the first one and got the grit.  I thought I’d eat the second and hope it would be better.  No such luck.  I gave up and passed on the third.  Later that night and the following morning I began to realize just how wise a decision that was. (Bad oysters do not make for a good nights sleep.)  The lobster though was so much better than the previous time.  I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.  

The boat was rocking all through the night. Not just side to side rocking, but the up and down kind too.  It was rough seas for me, although the captain said it was only 3 to 3 1/2 meter swells.  I had a restless night between the oysters and the seas.  I lay awake for quite a while watching the backpack swing back and forth. At one point the sway was fairly close to 6 inches.  Thank goodness it was at night and not during the day where I could see the movement out the window.  

In the morning I awoke around 8:30 (small blessing) and decided to forgo the yoga when I felt my tummy begin to churn.  I quickly took two of the Meclizine tablets and another bunch of saltines.  This helped a bit, but I still stay in a prone position being a vegetable all morning.  We didn’t have a card game lined up so we stayed in bed and went for room service for lunch.  The olive tapenade was spectacular.  The rest of the French mezzo platter I could pass on.  I see a pattern here too. I had the same with the Greek platter.  My tummy just does not like the big waves.  

At one point I looked out of the window and saw a rainbow. This is appropriate since we are headed to Hawaii.  George started singing to me of course and we had a good chuckle.

I played a few games on my iPad and George worked on his program for Oskar again.  I think I watched North by North West, but really only remember the final scene of it.  By this time my tummy was feeling better and I decided dinner would be in order.  We got dressed and headed to the main dining room again where we had dinner with a couple we have met before. It was a very nice evening as always.  

It seems to me that the people who are on this cruise for the long haul are much nicer and less pretentious than those that are taking segments.  I guess the personality type is different. We seem to be much more laid back-go with the flow sort of people vs. people who get uptight because of a port change.  I understand the frustration, but I guess that is what you get for cruising during a pandemic.  Nothing against those only on the segments. Just my thoughts.

I’ve had a few questions on my blog I’d like to address. The first is about how we store all the puzzles and such that we purchase.  I have stated before, we have our suitcases opened up under the bed.  I put all of our puzzles in one of those, and when the compartment fills up, or we reach a certain destination the plan is to mail them home. In San Diego we mailed home around 15 puzzles that we had purchased so far.  We expect to do the same from Hong Kong.  Just outside Ocean Terminal (I’m sure this is where we will dock) there is a post office.  It will be a bit of a schlep with a suitcase full of puzzles, but worth it for us not to have to ship them home from New York.  Our next planned shipment point is Amsterdam.  Again, there is a post office not too far from where I expect we will dock at.  If I can’t find it, we will bring the puzzles to our friends and beg them to ship them on for us.  Our final postal stop will be in London.  While it seems as though it will be expensive to ship the puzzles home, it is well worth it for us.  You see, if we make it to Japan, we plan to take the train to Hakone and purchase all of Puzzle Mountain ;) I jest, but we will purchase many puzzles there.  In Tokyo we plan to visit the Hanayama offices and Torito, and as any puzzler knows, these are three stops that will have our wallets leaving much lighter than when we arrived.

On Thursday morning we woke around 7.  George and I had a discussion about turning the clocks back (I did on the analog ones, not the computers and phones) and to stop the confusion I turned on the tv. No luck. They hadn’t changed the time either.  Oh well.  We watched a bit of news, read emails, the usual morning things, then I read last nights currents magazine only to discover that yoga was at 8 this morning!  I really do hate these changes.  Oh, did I mention it was 9 now?  

Oh well, we finished watching a movie from last night, and did some exercise in the room.  My tummy was feeling a great deal better now.  The tablets and crackers work.  

He spent the day working in his 'workshop'.  It spans two rooms on this ship:  the right hand side of the bed and the small box on the table.  Initially he produced a number of pieces that would pop into each other, but that didn’t work well.  He then superglued those pieces together.  After a bit of time, he decided to just print the pieces whole.  I don’t know why he didn’t do that to begin with.  

After lunch we were to play cards with some friends but they had to cancel because of a bathroom flood.  I hope they were able to get that sorted out. 

There was an open bar from 5 to 7 tonight, so we went and grabbed a glass of wine.  The first one I had was corked. If you haven’t had a glass of this, it is a very nasty taste. I returned it and got a better glass.  We met with Chuck and Debbie and had a very nice discussion about pollution.  We carried the conversation to the dining room and had a very pleasant evening.  

Friday morning I woke just south of 9 am.  I managed a full nights sleep and was feeling much better for it.  I spent a bit of time ordering some puzzles as is my usual morning want.  Since getting on this cruise, I have purchased around 25 puzzles to have sent to our home.  This is much less than I normally purchase.  I blame it on the slow internet connection.  

We have one more day at sea before landing in Hawaii.  I am looking forward to this.  I’ve never been.  I’ve listened to George’s stories and want to make some of our own.  Our first stop is Honolulu and we are going to spend the two days there visiting with an old friend of his from his college days.  

We are sailing towards summer. The weather is warming and the winds are mild.  We had lunch outside in the Terrace CafĂ© and when we finished, we went off to play cards again.  Today we found a table poolside that was away from others so we could play in the fresh air. It was a beautiful day for it.  The first hand they whomped us.  The last hand we did the same to them. Overall it was a draw. A rather nice way to end the game.

We went back to the room so George could have his nap and as it turned out, it was me who napped.  I turned on Blonde Venus and fell asleep during the first half hour.  The nap was refreshing.  On to dinner.

Tonight we are having dinner at Toscana again. I love the bread and olive oil. I always have.  I could make a meal of just that but will eat something nutritious as well.  I requested in advance Tortellini en brodo and hope they will make it for me.  This is my goto meal when in Rome, and the pasta here is quite good.  It’s not much of a diversion from the menu so I hope they will comply.  It is a favorite from my childhood. 

They did indeed. It was a lovely dish.  Tortalloni, but close enough.  5 pieces is too many.  I told the waiter next time only 3 pieces.  It's the same dish, just much larger pasta.  I also had a lovely dessert.  I'm not sure what it was called but it had both cappuccino and chocolate,  how can you go wrong with that? 

Upon returning to the room, we were presented with a very nice card and two pens of medium heft.  I myself love a heavy pen.  My favorite when I was teaching weighed in at a full 3 ounces. This one has very nice balance, with the majority of the weight being at the back of the pen.  At this point, it is moot. I no longer write as I did in the past.  It is lovely to have a good pen to sign with.  I didn't bring any along with us. The little touches along the way are so nice to see.  It is just one more aspect that makes this cruise so enjoyable.

We retired for the evening to watch the rest of the Marlene Dietrich movie.  Tomorrow morning we will be in Hawaii!  I am eager to see this place that I have missed so far.


  1. Roxanne, love your posts. The post office in Amsterdam is approximately 20 mins walk from the cruise terminal I hope you have wheels on your cases. Have you thought about sending stuff by DHL or Fedex maybe you can arrange a pickup directly from the terminal. If you need any info I can check it out for you. Rosalyn

  2. Thank you for the suggestion. That may be the way to go for us. It all depends on how many puzzles we collect along the way.

  3. Thanks for the update. Hawaii is one of our favorite places to visit. We try to go there every year for at least a 3 week stay. And it is always on Maui. Maui no ka oi. Maui is the best. Paula and I hope you enjoy your visit there. Smooth sailing. Carl