Ships that Pass in the Night

Ahhhh… woke up and stretched luxuriantly in our crisp cotton sheets this morning, and lay for a while watching the sea passing by outside our balcony doors.  Then I got up and went outside; once again the sea-breeze was brisk and it wasn’t as warm as we would have liked.

Today we had nothing planned at all; we were just going to go with the flow, so to speak.  It was great not to have to look at the clock and just to do what we wanted.  We didn’t really see anything in the programme we fancied doing today (other than the quizzes, of course!) but we looked forward to whatever the day would bring.

As we walked along the upper deck to breakfast in the Ocean View Café, the wind buffeted our skin and hair and there was a hint of rain in the air; hardly anyone was outside apart from those stalwarts who make the most of the jogging/walking track around the deck, who wouldn’t let a little thing like the weather prevent them from taking their morning exercise.

Afterwards we adjourned, as usual, to the Sky Lounge for the quiz with the rest of our team. We exchanged pleasantries and anecdotes then picked up our pencils and answer papers ready for the questions, interrupted at 9.45am as usual by Captain Leo’s announcement.  We didn’t win this time, meaning there was no grumbling from the other team who, I believe, were thoroughly fed up with us winning ‘all the time’.  😊

Then we just relaxed and lazed around the ship, reading, watching TV or just spending ages looking out at sea, almost hypnotised by the waves.  Looking around as far as the eye could see, from horizon to horizon, we could see nothing at all apart from the endless Pacific; we hadn’t seen any other ships for days.

My vivid imagination put myself in a situated where I was shipwrecked and was just alive on a raft, waiting to be rescued.  It must evoke fear and intense loneliness, the feeling there was no-one else in the world, no other living thing.  What must it be like at night, once the sun disappears?  In the black, black night there would only be the stars or moon to light your way, and it could be days and days before another ship would pass by, always assuming that someone spotted you and came to your rescue.  This is why I love reading the true stories such as Sole Survivor and Adrift where survivors of shipwrecks have shown remarkable fortitude and resourcefulness against all the odds.

As we were walking along on our wanderings around the ship, we came across Captain Leo and told him how much we enjoyed the Liars’ Club last night.  He asked us where we were from and when we told him England he said “from the North, by your accents?”  We were impressed!  He then asked us if (shock, horror) we were Newcastle United supporters and we told him that, on the contrary, we were Sunderland supporters.  “Aha… Sunderland”, he replied.  “Yes, I watched a documentary about Sunderland on Netflix!”.  We were quite amused at the Greek captain of the Celebrity Eclipse watching the Netflix series entitled Sunderland ‘Til I Die which we didn’t think would be of any interest to anyone but Sunderland supporters.  What an astute bloke.  😊

The day passed in its pleasant way and soon we were back in the Sky Lounge for the Music Trivia, which was TV themes.  Trevor and I hardly contributed anything this time as most of the television shows were American; it was only those that had made their way across the Pond that we recognised.  In any case, our team didn’t win.  Maybe 12 wristbands each was as much as we were going to get.

Afterwards we sat at the bar in the Sky Lounge and enjoyed a couple more drinks.  Then it was time for the final round of the Progressive Trivia, and the league tables showed that “The Internationals” were now only a point behind us.  The pressure was on!

When taking part in a quiz, there is no such thing as a “hard question”.  You either know the answer or you don’t, and if you don’t know the answer then it’s “hard”.  Some of us had different answers from our other team mates, so we had to discuss amongst ourselves which answer we were going to go with.  Once the scores were totted up we were most interested to see what our rivals had scored; it appeared that they were now one point ahead of “It’s Only A Game”.  As this was the final round, it looked as if we were destined to finish in second place, after being in the lead all the way through.  However, the total scores would be examined and checked by the quiz organisers prior to the final decision being made.  We were magnanimous in defeat; after all our team name said it all – it’s only a game. 😊

After the trivia we returned to our cabin, pottered around for a bit, then got washed and changed and ready for dinner.  As we were doing so and as dusk was falling, we spotted the lights of another ship on the horizon; it was a large vessel and was obviously another cruise ship.

Then we made our way along to the Moonlight Sonata restaurant and greeted our tablemates on #350, asking who had been up to what and looking forward to another sumptuous meal.  Some of our tablemates had also seen the other ship and someone must have been looking on Marine Traffic because it was identified as a Princess ship.

When our waiter brought the bread basket out, there was an extra loaf of bread covered with a white cloth. Grace, who is Jewish, explained that as today (Friday) is the Sabbath (in the Jewish religion) it was traditional to eat the plaited white loaf known as challah, and she asked us if we would like to join her.  The bread was passed around and everyone tore a piece off.

According to Jewish tradition, the three Sabbath meals (Friday night, Saturday lunch, and Saturday late afternoon) and two holiday meals (one at night and lunch the following day) each begin with two complete loaves of bread. This “double loaf” commemorates the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert after the Exodus. The manna did not fall on Sabbath or holidays; instead, a double portion would fall the day before the holiday or sabbath.

In some customs, each loaf is woven with six strands of dough. Together, the loaves have twelve strands, alluding to the twelve loaves of the showbread offering in the Temple. Other numbers of strands commonly used are three, five and seven. Occasionally twelve are used, referred to as a “Twelve Tribes” challah.

I found it all very interesting; I always like to learn about the beliefs and traditions of other religions and cultures.

After our delicious dinner and our coffee and liqueurs (I tried Frangelico for the first time and liked it a lot) we went along to the Entertainment Court to see what was going on as well as wandering around the shops in search of any bargains.  Then we went to the Quasar Lounge where we joined another couple for the quiz, which was Movie Trailers.  We were absolutely appalling as we are not movie buffs at all; I think there was only ET and The Green Mile (one of my favourite films ever) that we recognised.

In the Eclipse Theatre tonight, the entertainment featured comedian Al Ducharme.  He was really, really funny – he was brilliant at making all sorts of noises, voices and sound effects. He was certainly different from your average comedian, and we really enjoyed the show.

Afterwards there was nothing on in the Quasar Lounge, so we finished the evening off perching on bar stools in the Sky Lounge where there was lively dance music.

We returned to stateroom 8166 around 11.30pm, but we had to put our clocks forward once again tonight as we travelled east, so we would lose an hour in bed.  Tomorrow was our last sea day, and we determined to make the most of it.

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