Crossing the Pacific

Woke up this morning quite tired due to the lost hour and decided not to go to breakfast, but to make the most of the fruit bowl in our cabin instead.  Trevor went to the buffet and brought me back a cup of coffee (as there is no kettle in our stateroom).

At 10 o’clock we went along to the Cabaret Lounge to listen to a lecture by our dining companion Dale Pollock, the former Hollywood producer.  His talk was all about George Lucas, the guy who created and directed the hugely-influential Star Wars films.  Despite the fact that neither Trevor or I are film buffs, the talk was very interesting indeed.

We then just spent time pottering around the ship, passing pleasantries with our fellow passengers, some of who we were now getting to know a little.  We had a couple of pre-luncheon drinks in The Den and, because I was now feeling quite hungry, we went up to the Windows Café and I enjoyed a selection of tasty dishes at the buffet.

We were sitting quite near the sliding doors leading out to the rear decks, and this was a bit of a mistake, because every time the doors opened they let in a gust of freezing wind.  Despite the fact that most of the fog had now gone, it was still windy and uncomfortably chilly outside, and it was not surprising to see the pool deck largely deserted, only a few brave souls lying out on the loungers, wrapped heavily in the provided checked blankets.

At two o’clock we went along to a presentation by the ‘Destination Specialist’ Charles Richardson.  He spoke to us in detail about the volcanic Kamchatka peninsula, where we were heading.  In fact, the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy town’s coat of arms features the “three brothers”, three active volcanoes that dominate the city’s skyline (and indeed much of the peninsula).  The talk was very interesting and explained how the continents were formed, about tectonic plate movements and earthquakes, tsunamis and, of course, volcanoes.

After the talk we went along to the Discoveries bar to take part in the “Selfie Scavenger Hunt”.  In this, we were given sheets of paper containing photos of parts of the ship, whether they were paintings, ornaments, signs or fixtures and fittings.  You had to find the item and use your phone to take a ‘selfie’ with it.  We only had 20 minutes to find 12 items, so it was fun to see everyone racing round the ship with their papers, looking for the items.  Some of us met up and traded information; Trevor and I managed to find 10 items before the time was up.  The entertainment host running the event said everyone who had 10 or more items would get two stamps on their prize passport.

The prize passports work in a similar way to price vouchers; you collect your stamps and, at the end of the cruise, exchange them for Azamara Club Cruises branded prizes such as a t-shirt or an umbrella (if you’re lucky) or tat such as bookmarks or packs of cards.

After the treasure hunt we had time for a drink in The Den before the quiz at four o’clock, which was all based around colours.  Trevor and I didn’t have anyone else in our team this time, and we only scored 13/20 (but got a stamp on our prize passport for participating).

The next quiz, the music one, was based this time on Jazz and Swing, and we nearly didn’t participate because we thought we’d be rubbish as we don’t know anything about jazz, but in actual fact we scored 14/20. The winners got 18.

We remained in The Den for a while after the quiz, engaged in interesting conversation with our fellow passengers.  Then it was time to go back to stateroom 6009 and get showered and changed for our dinner.

In the Discoveries Restaurant, we shared our table with two other couples, one from Australia and another British couple.  As ever, the food was scrumptious (did I say they do a fantastic Caesar salad on here?) and the drinks and the conversation flowed; in fact, while the Australian couple excused themselves after dinner to make it to the 8.15pm show, it was after nine o’clock when we and the other couple left the restaurant to go and bag our seats in the Cabaret Lounge for the 9.30pm show.

Tonight it featured a great instrumentalist called Jakub Trasak, who played different types of violins with a little bit of a twist.  For example, he played Coldplay’s Viva la Vida on the violin, which seemed an unusual choice but it worked really well.  He was excellent and we enjoyed the show tremendously.

We then finished off the day by going to the Living Room and sitting at the bar listening to the Latin beats of the Riviera Sounds, chatting to the bar staff, and enjoying a nightcap or two.

Once again it was after midnight when we left the bar, but we had to advance our watches and clocks by one hour again, so it seemed as if it was after 1.00am.  These 23-hour days are playing havoc with our body clocks; we were now 10 hours ahead of British Summer Time!

We returned to stateroom 6009 and settled down for the night.  We had another sea day to look forward to tomorrow, and we slept very well.

Friday, 17th May 2019

Got up at 8.30 this morning and looked out onto our balcony.  There was still a brisk wind blowing and the sky and sea both looked quite grey.  We have a lovely big balcony stateroom, 175 square feet, but so far we’ve never really used the balcony as it has been too chilly to sit out.  Hopefully we’ll see some warmer weather and sunshine later on in the voyage.

We didn’t really do great deal today, just spent the time pottering about the ship and relaxing.  At half past ten we went along to the Cabaret Lounge where Captain Magnus was holding a question and answer session with some of his officers, namely the Chief Engineer, the Galley Director and the Head of HR.  Some people just asked ridiculous questions, such as why was the wi-fi so slow (do they really pay thousands to go away on a transpacific voyage to interesting places just to spend time on their wi-fi?!).  Much as I use the wi-fi when at home, it really doesn’t bother me not having wi-fi or an internet connection when I’m away; the whole point of the holiday and voyage is to do something that you can’t do at home.

After the Q and A session we went and had a cup of coffee and a walk around the ship, then returned to our stateroom where we passed the time pleasantly relaxing, reading and I did some of this blog.  This took us nicely to lunchtime, which we spent in the Windows Café, prudently choosing a table out of the way of the sliding doors and the cold wind.

So far, my swimsuit has not seen the light of day this cruise, and every time we walk past the swimming pool there is hardly ever anyone in it, a total contrast to our last cruise in the Indian Ocean in January.  😊

After lunch we went along to the show lounge to listen to another very interesting presentation by Charles Richardson; this one was about the Battle of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands (Alaska) as it is a port of call we will be visiting later on in the cruise.

Afterwards I felt quite tired and decided to go back and have an hour’s power nap, to try to catch up on the lost hour last night.

Today’s 4.00pm quiz was appropriately nautical-themed, and we scored 18/20.  We then joined up with David and Raleen, the Australians we’d done the music quiz with the other day, and another couple from New Zealand joined us for the music quiz; this time the theme was The Beatles.  We scored 19/20 and thought we’d done quite well, but a couple from Liverpool got 20/20.  Well, they would have to, wouldn’t they?  😊

The rest of the afternoon passed in its usual pleasant way, until it was time once again to go to dinner.  Sometimes it seems as if we do nothing else on a cruise except eat and drink!  Tonight they were holding a Mexican buffet in the Windows Café, so we went up there and enjoyed nachos, chilli, enchiladas, chimichanga and other tasty delights. There was a particularly piquant chipotle sauce that went down a treat, and we left the restaurant fit to burst.

The evening’s performance in the Cabaret Lounge tonight came in the shape of Ernest Marchain, our cruise director, who had spent time on Broadway in various music theatre productions.  He was an excellent singer and performer, and we enjoyed the selection of songs he performed very much.

After the show we made out way to the Living Room, where tonight it was the turn of the passengers to be in the limelight; yes, it was Karaoke Night.  There were not many people in the Living Room, and it appeared that most people preferred dancing to singing, because I was the only person who got up to sing!  I started off with Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time then, when no-one else got up, I sang Hazel O’Connor’s Will You.  This was the first time I’d sang that song, because the usual ones that I do didn’t appear in the song book (a lot of them were American songs and artistes who I’d never heard of).

After my second song no-one else got up, so the karaoke only lasted 20 minutes before they decided to abandon it for the night and put the disco music back on, whereupon the usual dancers hit the dance floor.

We stayed in the Living Room until around 11.30pm, then returned to 6009 where we read and relaxed for a little while before settling down to sleep.  Once again we had to put our clocks and watches forward one hour, but we didn’t want to stay up too long because we were due to arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia, tomorrow morning and we had a half-day tour booked.

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