This morning the conditions had not improved. During his PM talk, the Captain warned that the winds on the outside deck had been exceeding 50 km, so the exit doors were cordoned off since last night. And they would remain so during the rest of today. Come to think of it, we did go under those tapes after dinner last night for a quick walk. But it was not as windy as it was today. And it did not stop us this morning or afternoon when we ventured out for some exercise. There were people outside besides us, but they were crew workers grinding, chipping, and painting the railings. Nothing besides driving rain stops the work in progress.
Trying to keep breakfast minimal is always hard. But maybe not, as our waiter forget several of the items we had ordered. Some are undoubtedly better than others. Or he was anxious to clean up to get ready for the Mariner Lunch today.
We need to mention that prior to today, while doing business at the front desk, it was impossible not to hear people complaining about being invited or not being invited to the medal ceremony held at 11:30am. This has been a touchy subject that we recently read about on Cruise Critic. For instance, while on a grand voyage, these medal ceremonies were held in the Queen's Lounge, and everyone is invited. Now the group is limited to a small number of guests, and no matter how they try, they will never get it right for all. Where is it decided to cut off the number of guests? On the Alaskan cruise, there were about 56 people in the lounge, while today, there were up to 200 guests. Truthfully, we feel the day is coming that these medallions will not be awarded anymore. It is confusing to deal with the Mariner Star Program and the Medallion Program. They are two different beasts, aren't they?
A reception for the Mariner Society was held at 11:30am in the BB King's Blues Club where the medallions are awarded. We attended one already for the Alaskan cruise. So the protocol should have been the same, but it was not. We have not had the pleasure of meeting the captain of the vessel, Captain John Scott. And although he was standing there chatting with Marco, the HD, no attempt by the Mariner Society rep who led us to our "reserved" seats was made to introduce us. In our way of thinking, it is just common courtesy to do this. It only takes a few seconds.
Our reserved seats were not so special, as five of us President's Club members were jammed in a couch area with large chairs in front of us. Chairs so close, we had to turn sideways to get around them. Even though a few bar waiters passed by us, drinks were never offered. One other PC couple we know, had to get up and visit the bar to get their own beverages. We did not bother, thinking someone would come along soon. Didn't happen. Our other PC friend offered us some of the nuts in her jar, but we declined. On the Alaska cruise, we had custom drinks from the bar, and special canapies offered. Why not now? The only conclusion we could come up with is that the staff on this ship is not used to dealing with this level of Mariners.
After a small number of medals were handed out, we were called up to have our photo taken with the Captain and Hotel Director. At least this was the same as the last time.
We had not intended to go to lunch, but Mega said they had reserved tables for us, and they were waiting to seat all of us, at different tables. Both dining rooms were being used, as it appears that everyone was invited this time. In fact, we heard that there will be another ceremony and lunch tomorrow. So we ended up attending, and did get seated at a table for two next to where the Captain, Hotel Director, and the Cruise Director were giving the champagne toast. It was short and sweet, and an opportunity to introduce the crew member of the month.
The menu was a nice one with starters of a shrimp, mango, and cherry tomato salad or cream of chicken and artichoke soup. A choice between a ginger soy glazed beef tenderloin, eggplant curry, or macadamia nut crusted ono were the mains. Finally, dessert was a coconut mousse tart.
Before we left the room, we had a chance to visit with the other Pres Club couple. They agreed with us about the change in this awards ceremony, saying they were disappointed. Wonder if they will pass this message along to anyone? We felt we needed to speak up.
Recently, while reading Cruise Critic, we can upon a thread concerning changes with HAL. A wise person wrote something to the effect that if you settle for mediocrity, then that is what you can expect. Hopefully, we are not stepping on their toes, but we totally agree with that outlook. With that in mind, we went back to our room, and wrote a constructive "Share Your Thoughts" card. Perhaps our comments will help them in how they conduct future Mariner Awards for the President's Club members.
Later this afternoon, we received a call from the Hotel Director, apologizing profusely about their "mistakes". He freely admitted that they are not accustomed to hosting guests in our category, but they are learning. With that said, he offered to include us in tomorrow's activities, which would be a repeat of today's. Thanking him, we declined. Twice in 24 days was plenty for us.
The remainder of our day was spent relaxing on our veranda until the wind drove us inside. The breeze was still warm, but when the clouds came over, it was downright cold. We doubt it will be nice much longer, since we are sailing northeast on a rapid pace.
An ad was placed in our mail slot this morning stating that there was a one day sale on their high end watches. We found that strange, because we just purchased one yesterday and there was no mention of a sale today. Getting to the bottom of it, we inquired at the front desk if these watches were being sold at a lower price. After a phone call to the shop, we discovered that there was no "real" sale today, only the same watches at the everyday 15% off price. It was simply a promotional ad to get people into the shop in hopes of finding a better deal.
Dinner was back in the Tamarind Restaurant tonight. With the movement of the ship in the rolling seas, it was far more pronounced up on deck 11. So it was not crowded at all, and that worked well for us. The wait staff were so attentive, making our meal delightful. You never find better spring rolls or a Thai salad than in this venue. The wasabi crusted tenderloin is the best beef in the house. We were happy, but full campers when we left the room by 9:30pm.
The show this evening was a comedian by the name of Dan St. Paul. He has been the opening act for Seinfeld, Natalie Cole, and Ringo Starr among others. His current show is "What's funny after 50".
Then we discovered that we would lose one more hour on the clocks tonight. We knew it was coming, but always resist doing it.
Bill & Mary Ann