We started the day at yet another Norwegian Cruise lines private island; Stirrup Cay. I didn’t think it could be worse than the last one we are at, but it was. We dropped anchor at 7 am and within a very short time the island based tenders were there to pick us up. George and I agreed to get some work done in the morning and go ashore around 10. At some point in the morning we heard an announcement saying there was no water on the island and to bring our reusable bottles. A little later there was an announcement that said there was no food on the island and that the Terrace Café would stay open until 3:00 to accommodate people.
We took off at 10 and had to wait 15 minutes or so for the ferry to return. I couldn’t work out why they weren’t using the ships tenders but it is not mine to question. When our turn came to take the ride over we went to the top of the ferry. To say it was windy would be an understatement.
I looked out over the island and predicted it would be a carbon copy of Harvest Cay. I was mostly right. The only thing missing was the swimming pool and the animal areas. When the ferry was docking George and I went to the front of the ship to watch the gangplank be lowered. I took a video and when I get to real internet again I will post it to my YouTube channel. It opened in two phases so for me it was very interesting. As we were looking out, it was obvious that the entrance was purpose built because of the giant claw marks all around the lagoon we landed in. There were fences surrounding the lagoon which I thought odd. George commented that we were headed into a large cage, much like the plant life.
We got off the boat and immediately disliked the area. Nothing, NOTHING was opened. George wanted to see the windward side of the island and perhaps take a swim. We wandered off in search of a place to do this at. As we walked, we came to an area of sheds that house the souvenir shops. Only 2 were open and since we didn’t bring any money, we didn’t bother going over there. I really thing the only things they were selling were t-shirts that said "The Bahamas". I know we were there, but I don’t think it qualifies.
After passing the closed shops, we came to the kayak rental area. We did think of renting them, but soon discovered that the area we could kayak in was a small strip of water right where we were. Not fun at all. We walked over to a pier like area that was to the side and looked out at the water. It wasn’t the vibrant blue that was on the leeward side, it was green and brown and murky. It looked as though someone had opened a sewer valve and it all washed ashore where we stood. The swimming was a hard pass.
We decided to go back to the front beach and wandered down to look for a place to strip off and swim. Impossible. There were more lifeguards along the beach than swimmers. Along our way back we counted no less than 18 signs that read "restricted" or "do not enter". They also had cameras everywhere. This was a very sterile unfriendly place. I took a few photos of some birds on some rocks (which we were also told not to climb) and we decided to leave.
Now here it gets even odder. We were ushered along to a side entrance that looped back to the same back of the boat we got off of. I guess the people there are just so used to doing it they didn’t realize there were only a handful of people on the island. Once on the ferry, some of the other passengers told us there was an announcement saying if people wanted to go over, the last opportunity would be at noon. There would be no more ferry running after that. Of course, they had a 2:30 ferry to bring people back to the ship. The other thing we heard was that the island shops and bars only open for the big ships. Ours didn’t have enough people to bother with. That is just adding insult to injury.
Now I know it is not Oceania can’t control the weather, but why bother with such a stop at all? This is really not acceptable. The first private island was bad, this was terrible. I mean look at how much we spent on this cruise to end up in places like that. I know these were two unintended stops, but in future, I will never go on a cruise that lists a private island. It’s just about as much fun as going to the dentist.
Back on ship we had lunch with Rod and Merry and he had two theories. One was that it just costs too much to turn on the lights as it were to open the island for small ships. The other; and I agree with him on this; is that not everyone got the paperwork for Bermuda in on time. I know there were a lot of problems on the ship and if Oceania was as good at communicating with the newcomers as they were with me before I got on the ship; I firmly believe there were quite a few who didn’t do it. Reading posts on Facebook and Cruise Critic, I think it was not weather as the ship stated, but rather what I just described. It’s too convenient that the last 4 or 5 ships going to Bermuda were cancelled because of "weather". But like the number of licks in a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop, the world will never know.
Quite a few of the passengers took an excursion to swim with the pigs. I was told they really enjoyed holding the babies and feeding the animals. Having grown up on a farm, I just don’t get it. Swimming with pigs is not what I would call a fun thing. Too many bad memories would have come rushing back. I’m glad George was in agreement on this excursion.
In the afternoon I attended a lecture on Greek civilization. I really enjoyed it. It brought back many memories of my undergraduate days and the classes I loved then. I fully intend to continue to attend these lectures.
At 6:00 we went down to Martini’s to have a glass of wine at whatever free drink night this one was. George had a piña colada. At around 6:30 or so we went to dinner. While there, we met a new passenger. He is another of the guest lecturers. He will be teaching a creative writing course. How interesting! I will be attending those as well I’m sure. Perhaps he can teach me how to get these words on paper in a better, more readable manner.
Today is the first of the seven sea days it will take us to get across the Atlantic. I had fully planned to go to yoga this morning. That was to be followed by a lecture on the Elgin Marbles and a cooking demonstration. The afternoon would be a massage at 1:30 followed by the writing workshop at 2:30. Instead I took two sea sickness tablets and lay in bed until it was time to order room service. Soup and green apples for me. Guess who isn’t feeling well. The massage was cancelled for the day and as I write this, I am working up the courage to go to the front of the ship for that lecture.
I didn’t make it. I ate the soup, watched the news which on MSNBC is more commercials for the news channel than it is news, checked the stock market a few times and lamented a slight loss for the day. And then I napped. I needed it.
When I awoke, George suggested that I was feeling poorly because of the injection I had gotten in Miami. He may be right. If so, it threw me for a loop this time. I’m hoping that tomorrow will be better. I’d really like to attend the lectures and we will be playing cards with friends. I hope to be able to do that.
By dinner time, I was feeling much better. We went to the grand dining room and had our meal with two couples we had met before. I asked one for the notes on the cooking lesson that I missed and am pleased that 2 days later she handed me a photocopy. There are such nice people on this ship.
We returned to the room and I slept a good long sleep.
I woke up in a much better mood than I was in the day before. I did not feel sick at all. At 10 am I got up and went to the Insignia Lounge to watch the talk on the Byzantine Empire. I am truly enjoying this speaker. She has such enthusiasm and it is obvious that she knows her subject. Teachers like her are why I studied History in the first place. It’s a shame that she is spending her time lecturing on cruise ships to people who already love the topic. She should be in a school introducing the wonders of the past to the youth of today. I believe if more students had teachers that are enthusiastic like this, they would enjoy the subject much more.
I did manage to watch yesterdays lecture on the tv, but it is much better in person that on tv. They are like mini history lessons. Just enough to get one interested, but not enough to be boring or too much like a class.
We again had lunch at the Terrace Café and after met with friends for a game of cards. Those poor folks. I’m not sure why they still play with us. Today was another major loss for them, but this time they did manage to get a basic book on the final hand. We spent a bit of time talking about other card games and perhaps will try to play hearts next time if I can find the rules.
After the game, we went back to the room where I added a bit to my blog and did a bit of editing on a book I’m working on. I also spent a great deal of time looking through old photos of our trips together. I’m glad I did because I was able to see which excursions we had already been to. This blog also serves as a reminder for our next ATW.
I also spent some time looking at the 2023 Collection of Voyages catalog that was left on the bed. I chose 2 cruises leaving Miami with cities we hadn’t been to before. In the end, it was the ship size that decided the next trip for us.
Big surprise, on the horizon we saw another ship. I believe it was a container ship, but some of the other guests thought it was another cruise ship. Regardless, it was a rare sight. I’m sure we won’t see many more of those for a few days.
I had contacted a fellow puzzler some time back to get a copy of a puzzle he had made. It was a burr lock made on a Strassys 3D printer. It came in while we were on the first part of the trip so when I hit Miami I took it with me. I ended up giving it to George while waiting on his injection. This helped distract him. I thought that would be the end of that. But this is George we are talking about. His mind began racing and I knew what would be coming next. He started to research the machine, and then he used my account to chat with the fellow that made the puzzle about his industrial machine at his office. This went on for quite some time but I knew it was coming. One day soon I was expecting him to tell me he wanted to purchase that machine. I did one better, I asked him how much the machine cost and told him to just buy it. Luycky George to be married to a woman who completely understands him.
Dinner was in the grand dining room and we again sat with 2 other couples we have sat with before. We made an agreement to meet one couple at 3pm to play tile rummy again. I enjoyed it last time and thought why not. We can’t always play cards.
Yet another sea day. I woke after 11 hours of sleep. I think I was more wiped out by that injection than I want to admit. At 10:00 I went to the talk on the Ottoman Empire. Again, it was a repeat of my undergraduate days. George joined me after about 15 minutes. I guess he is enjoying them as well. Today she defined 6 words. I took a photo because I think they are important for people to understand. Some things are not interchangeable even though many reporters and others do so. When the talk was over, we returned to the room. I blogged for a while, while George worked on a program.
Today we sat out on the veranda and watched the ocean go by. The waves are rolling and vibrant blue. The ocean is so vast. It still amazes me how much water is out there. It just goes on as far as the eye can see.
At 11:30 I headed down to the destinations desk and paid for our next cruise. We decided to take the 13 day (it’s really only 12 days-but you know how marketing is) called "Alluring Caribbean" in February 2023. This one has 6 cities that we have not been to before so it was the best of what was leaving out of Miami. That is one of the joys of living in South Florida. Close cruise terminals.
We then had lunch in the usual spot and returned to the room to watch a bit of news and update a computer program.
At the appointed time, we went upstairs to play that rummy game with Rod and Merry. As always, their company is a pleasure. Rod won 2 games, George won one. Rox and Merry lost all 3, but ultimately Rox was the big looser with the highest points. Too bad it’s not first to 100, I’d excel at this game. Sadly we had to quit because George was getting grumpy and needed a nap before dinner.
I sat down and poured a glass of wine. He went down for a nap but sadly that didn’t happen. His brain was spinning. He was trying to work out how to buy the machine and have it pay for itself. He hopped back up again and started talking. There is no stopping him once his brain begins to work. He’s just like I am. What a wonderful lover I have found. One who doesn’t stop until successful. So, it looks as though we are about to order a new 3D printer when we return home. Thankfully it’s not a large one so it can be set up in George’s office. I’m sure we’ll have to run another dedicated electrical line for it, but we have good electricians who know what they are doing.
Dinner tonight is in Toscana again. I’ll have the bean soup that I love so much as usual, but I plan to step out of my comfort zone and order a carbonara. I didn’t care for it. I’ll not order it again. Ah well, I tried. There was also pasta in the bean soup tonight. I’ve not had that before. But having said that, the lentil soup at lunch was brilliant. I absolutely loved it.
The fourth sea day. Only three more left until we make landfall.
Last nights dinner did not sit well with me so I was out most of the morning. Who am I kidding. I wanted to go to yoga at 8:30 and then the lecture at 10:00 but neither happened. I woke with the captains mid-day announcement. I’ve not slept 12 hours in a very very long time. In fairness though, I did awake around 3 and went back to sleep at 7 so there were a few waking hours in the middle.
We had lunch as usual, and played cards in the afternoon after words. I wanted to go see the lecture on Houdini and George did as well. Sadly, his nap took precedence. I opted out, we will watch it on the tv together later tonight. It’s always better to do things together.
My only observation about today is that it is getting colder. Who in their right mind travels to Europe in winter unless it is to ski? My feet are freezing. I’ve pulled out my wooly socks and turned the thermostat in the room to 30 degrees. Hopefully it will be warmer when we return from dinner. In the mean time, I wore the Oceania wind breaker today and now have on a wooly sweater. I’m wearing it to dinner and I don’t care what anyone says. The ship is too cold yet. Even she hasn’t warmed up for these colder climes yet.
Until next time, Happy Puzzling and Smooth Seas.