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Mexican Riviera - 2018

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Date:                                     January 2nd, 2018
Length of Cruise:                10 Days
Ship:                                     Grand Princess (Cabin: Baja 312)
Cruise Line (Princess #):   Princess Cruise Lines   (#17)
Embarkation:                      San Francisco, CA
Ports of Call:                        Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Mazatlan,
                                               Cabo San Lucas
Final Destination:               San Francisco, CA
Total Days With Princess: 164
Total Days At Sea: 182

DAY ONE   -   EMBARKATION DAY        02 January 2018

Our reliable driver service picked us up this morning at our home a little after 10:00 am, and ran us over to the ship at Pier 27 in San Francisco. Kent & Linda's little dog Sandy is staying home, where Delaney will take care of her until Linda returns from her Christmas visit in Boise.

It is foggy in San Francisco, but our ship can be clearly seen from the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge, as we cross the bay to 'San Francisco. The trip along the waterfront on the Embarcadero freeway is never 'free'. It has taken us as much as most of an hour to drive the few miles from the bridge to Pier 27. This time, our driver drove through San Francisco streets, coming out on the Embarcadero right at the pier. Amazing. Only about five minutes from the bridge.

Check-in was the usual quick deal, and we were able to drop off our carry-on items in our cabin, and walk on up two decks to Lido Deck (14) where the Horizon Court is located, for lunch.

This is actually our fourth cruise to what is referred to as the "Mexican Riviera", and our eighth cruise aboard the Grand Princess ship.

We sat at a table with a couple from Stockton, who were both heavily involved with U.S. Vets, and we talked about the Veterans Administration and the work they do for other vets. They were doing a 'back-to-back' cruise, remaining on the ship from the previous cruise, and continuing on with the current cruise. Fifteen days to Hawai'i and another ten to Mexico. This was their 31st cruise.

They left soon after we sat down, but we were joined by another couple, Doug and Alana from Vancouver. We enjoyed visiting with both couples.  We headed back down to our cabin to see if our luggage had been delivered to our cabin yet. No luck.

There was the required "muster" at 1520 hours, where we all gather in our assigned muster stations for instructions on emergency procedures and directions, as well as a simple demonstration of putting on a life jacket. This was a first for us... we no longer have to bring our life jacket from our cabin to the muster. Always an added pain in the tushy, and it did not seem to serve much purpose. Seems like other cruise lines are doing the same.

We sat with a couple from Dublin... across the freeway from Pleasanton. Her name is Esther, but we did not catch his name. They indicated that they had been on 90 cruises. I asked what they retired from and they said they both worked for the County. Hmmm. Good for them.

Back to the cabin to see if our luggage had been delivered yet. It was not in the hallway in front of our door, so we figured we would be dining in our clothes that we wore onto the ship. They were inside our cabin, waiting for us. We will not be dining in our jeans tonight. LOL

We dressed and went down to the dining hall that is assigned to "Anytime Dining" which means we can eat dinner any time, between 1700 and 2100 hours, and we usually tell them "Party of two, and we will share a table with others". They have tables for two, four, six, eight and ten usually, Tables for two are rare and quite in favor, so we usually are taken to a table for six or eight... sometimes ten... which is too big, as you don't get to talk to everyone at the table. We enjoy a table for six mostly. Tonight was one of those. A couple from Walnut Creek was already seated, and a couple we talked to briefly in the elevator came after us. They were from Santa Rosa. The two men seemed to want to talk about cars, but were not really knowledgeable about them. The women were rather reserved. The fellow from Walnut creek seemed to be rather liberal in his politics, and had few good remarks about existing and past conservative administrations. He did have a caustic comment about Lyndon Johnson, however. The Santa Rosa couple said they had been spared and faired well in the recent fires in their area. It was a pleasant dinner.

Back to the cabin for a while, as the only show production this first night did not start until 2130 hours, so we watched a little TV and rested. We went down to the Princess Theater an hour early, to get good seats. We had decided to bring a couple of undershirts for me, to try to stay a little warmer in the theaters. Unfortunately they did not get put into the suitcases and were sitting at home. LOL. They keep it so chilly, for some reason... possibly for the dancers, who work up a lot of heat.

The show was their usual "Welcome" show, but they included one of their performers that will have his own show later in the cruise. Ray Coussins was a piano player that traveled with Frank Sinatra when he performed. A very good player, he also sang. Was nice to hear some of the older, 'better' music from our past. We look forward to seeing his show later in the cruise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqMrX4eQaAw 

Back to the cabin to watch a little bit of TV and hit the sack. Or on a ship I guess it is a "rack". LOL


DAY TWO - AT SEA       03 January 2018

A restful night. The sea is very calm and pleasant. It is a little overcast today, but the water is as smooth as glass. We have literally not felt any ship movement so far.

We get a complimentary stocking of the wet bar in the cabin, since we are now 'Elite' class. It is mostly alcoholic beverages, which we have no use for, so I called to see if they would exchange everything for Diet Cola and they did. So, we are stocked with drinks for the cruise. A 'coke' in a glass with ice from the bar can be around $2, and that is less than a full can of drink, so, these 2o cans are certainly worth the trouble to ask them to exchange the booze.

We went up for brunch around 1100hours or so... we are an hour ahead on the clock. Hard to believe going down the coast of California lets us switch over to the next time zone.

The Horizon Court was crowded, so we sat next to a window with a couple from Canada. Charlie and Marie-Cloud... pronounced Cload... French, you know. A lovely couple, it is their first cruise. We enjoyed their visit.

After brunch we stopped by the stores to see if any of them might carry some undershirts that I might wear in the theater to stay warmer. My idea of trying to stop my getting a cough/cold on a cruise, which seems to happen most times. We also brought the inhalers that we were given by the doctor when we were fighting that bad bronchitis a few months ago. No such luck. We looked at all of the knit shirts that were available, with logos and destinations printed all over them, but nothing without a collar that could be worn under a dress shirt. We did pick up a light jacket that I also should have brought, but it was not really the right size... but it was usable. And warm. LOL. We are chilly on this trip... not as warm as we expected.

Dinner was pleasant. A couple from Canada joined us, and he was really into the theater. They live in a small Canadian town that is 'off the beaten path' and he talked a lot about their volunteer theater and other civic projects. Also at the table was a couple celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary, and their two young girls, six and eight I think. They were well behaved and cute. The kids, I mean. LOL They live in Dublin, across the freeway from our hometown. He coaches local sports teams and cares for their kids at home.

The show tonight was Troy Thirdgill. He was very funny. He had some fresh material.

Some of his stuff:   "Happy New Year. This is going to be a great year for me. May, 2018. That is the day I get to stop paying alimony. If you are married, stay together... if you like your 'stuff'. That judge was giving away my stuff like HE bought it. She even got my dog. Well, the dog went willingly. He could see all the stuff was going to her, so he went with it. Can you believe it? She called me the other day, and said my dog was sick. I have not seen her OR the dog in eight years and she wants me to pay $6,000 to make the dog well again. Even if he was still MY dog, if he needed $6,000 to get better, he'd be dead as Lincoln. Don't get me wrong. I love animals. But I don't love 'em $6,000 worth. I love 'em maybe about four fifty... that's it. She asked me: "What do I say to him when he looks up at me with those big, brown eyes?" I said: "I love you... Goodbye buddy.", showing like he was blowing the dog a last kiss. "I told an egg joke last week and a lady came up to me to tell me: "Don't you know about how they are so mean to the chickens that lay eggs? They keep them in tiny cages all their lives, feeding them and taking their eggs. When they no longer lay eggs they kill them." I don't know nuthin' 'bout no chickens. I mean I've got mortgage... alimony... bills. Chickens?... they're waaaay down at the bottom of that list. Chickens are slow, can't fly, and taste good. That's what I know about chickens."

He had the theater in stitches. "I find there are about seven percent of the people that are... well... off! Not dumb, or stupid, or strange... just... OFF. I mean, there are things that everyone just knows. I don't know where we learn it. It is just what we know. For instance... on the ship... I know that you let people get off the elevator before I try to get on it." That brought a round of applause. That really hit home. LOL.

He did some great interacting with a few folks in the audience. He had great comebacks. I stayed and caught his second show. I wanted to see how he reacted to a second audience. He was just as quick and original with them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=um13-3TJlLQ 

Back to the cabin for a little TV and then sleep.


DAY THREE - AT SEA        04 January 2018

A sunshiny morning. Southbound along the Baja coastline, we are still a little north of the tip of Baja, where Cabo San Lucas is located. We are headed on down to Puerto Vallarta, our first port of call. Looks like today may be a little warmer than what we have been messing with so far.

When kids are riding in a car, parents play games with them, like "Car Spotters" where you identify cars by make and model. Advanced  kids. OK... guy kids. Well, on the sea those guys may play "Ship Spotters". On the left horizon is a cargo ship. On the right is an NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines) ship with her colorful hull decorations. She is north bound. You are not at all alone out there in that big ocean. Of course, we are pretty much within the "shipping lanes" that are prescribed along the coast of the US.  Off in the distance are the hills of Baja California.

It is pleasant to be able to sit at the desk, with the whole outer bulkhead made of glass and a balcony outside, and the ocean slowly slipping past us as I type. We are on the port side (left side) of the ship, so off in the far distance we can see some land forms that make up Baja California, Mexico.

We went up to brunch, and sat next to a couple from Brentwood, California, about forty miles from our home. They are both in Real Estate. Rod and Joyce. They were interesting to visit with, but they were soon finished with their meal and had things to do. The Horizon Court was rather busy, so the 'fishin' was good... we like to 'people fish'... we sit at a larger table and attract other diners to sit with us. Tish and Susie joined us. They were cute and exuberant. They met in a group that paddle large kayak-type boats for pleasure. About sixty years old, they were having fun. Just recently they were in Africa on a trip that involved riding elephants and traveling on a train in a fancy berth for several days. Tish retired from the Alum Rock school district in San Jose (30 miles from our home), where she was head of the food services. Susie is from near Honolulu, where she went after graduating from high school in Oregon as a Junior, but she traded in her return ticket back to Oregon and stayed in Hawai'i. After a couple of years she bought a four bedroom home, rented three rooms out, and that paid for the house. Since then she has bought and sold homes there.

We came back down to the cabin to read and type and whatever. Formal night tonight, so we have to get snazzied up.

At dinner we were seated at a table for six, but only five of us were seated. A single woman from the bay area joined us and the Santa Rosa couple again were seated at our table. Russ and Martha. They run a couple of family-owned vineyards, and they told us more about the extent of damage they received from the fire. Home was OK but they have some damage to outbuildings, a couple of tractors, and some vines. Their neighbors did not fare as well. We talked a little about the comic the night before, which they had also seen and enjoyed.

Tonight's production show was the Princess favorite "British Invasion" where they do songs from the sixties by the groups that 'invaded' the US... the Beetles and other British artists' work became popular in the US. I believe they do the show on every Princess cruise, every ship. Princess ships are flagged in Bermuda. It is a good show.

Retired to the cabin and caught a little miscellaneous TV before the eyes slammed shut.


DAY FOUR - AT SEA   05 January 2018

The sea is remarkably smooth, and have been this whole cruise. Let's hope that it is not a prelude to nasty times going north. LOL. The sun continues to shine beautifully. We can see the coastline of the continent just a little off to the side... we are probably maybe ten miles off shore.

There is a presentation in the Princess Theater this morning about survival in the wild... or wilderness. I thought it might be interesting, so we went down and as we sat down, behind us was Russ and Martha from Santa Rosa. We had a chance to chat some more and get to know them a little better, and then the presentation started. It was interesting. Number one item to take with you for survival? A cutting instrument. Second was a covering such as blanket or plastic or space blanket, and number three was a source of fire. This fellow (Gordon Dedman) trains Australian Army personnel on survival techniques. He had a list of ten items to try to include with you or carry in your car, or take with you if you are going off on a hike and may not find your way back. Following those three were a steel container for heating water, cordage, compass, duct tape, bandana... two of 'em, a torch/flashlight, and last a first aid kit. Each of these items, he pointed out, were multi-purpose, and he talked about several uses to which each one could be applied. Interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6xsCEGukH4 

We had not had breakfast yet, so we headed up to the buffet for lunch. We sat next to Ken and Mary from Sunnyvale. They were not able to stay too long. We headed down to do some shopping in the stores on board the ship after that, and then went back to the cabin.

At dinner time, we were a little earlier than usual, and there was about a ten-minute wait for the dining room to start seating folks. I looked up and a tall fellow with half his face painted like a skeleton came up and put his arm around Rosalee, and walked off with her. Huh? LOL. They went up to the forward part of the line, and when they did not come back, I assumed that I was supposed to follow. I had stayed in line, thinking this was someone that we knew, and they were messing around. I could see them in line up ahead so I walked up, and realized it was Russ. LOL So, we sat with them at a table for four, and got to know them better. LOL.

We were able to get out fairly early, and we tried to make the 7:00 show in the Vista Lounge, which was the comedian again, with a new show. We got separated from Russ and Martha, which was just as well, as that late you are not going to sit together... just fill in the open seats people leave when they don't want to 'crowd someone'. Silly. Fill in. Don't leave a single seat in the center of the row to make someone climb over ten people to get to the seat. People won't bite. Rosalee and I found two single seats, about two rows apart. The show was good.

We figured we would go for broke and try to make the 8:00 show at the other end when we got out of the first show, but they posted the theater as full up just as we got there. So, we went up to the cabin, watched some TV, catching the replay of the presentation by Bob Ray of Rock and Roll. A very good presentation, we learned about the very beginning of Rock and Roll. And Rosalee and I lived through that... without knowing about it. Mr. Ray is a fantastic presenter, and is very knowledgeable of music history. Not the Beethoven and Mozart you think about, but the stuff that means more to us. If you are a California native, you may remember hearing him on the radio. These are the radio stations where he worked, until radio quit using DJs:

 Bob Ray
KMPC [Los Angeles CA] 1967-1968 - sports writer
KSRF [Los Angeles] 1968-1969
KACE [Riverside CA] 1968
WSAR [Fall River MA] 1969-1970
- Tom Mitchell
KLIV [San Jose CA] 1970-1979
KEEN [San Jose] 1975-1978
KSFO [San Francisco CA] 1979-1980

After that TV presentation we went down to catch the second show in the Princess Theater.... the one that was full before. It is the Princess 'standard' show called "Stardust", with music from the fifties and sixties. It is always a good show. After that... back up to the cabin for a little TV and sleep.



DAY FIVE     PUERTO VALLARTA     06 January 2018

We woke up this morning to find ourselves tied up to the dock in Puerto Vallarta. Isn't that a typical travel brochure image designed to lure you away from your winter doldrums at home?

A parasailer is already in the air. That is a water skier hanging from a parachute, which is being pulled by a boat. It lifts the water skier up into the air and when they slow down, the skier comes back down. Some of them don't wear skis and are just lifted directly out of the boat, and brought back in with a winch drawing the cable into the boat.

 A beautiful park/lawn greets us with a wide brick walkway leading away from the ship toward the main thoroughfare or boulevard going by. Ten buildings that are at least 14 floors tall are not too far away, and of course, directly across the traffic way is a large parking lot next to the Sam's Club Discount House, which is next to the Walmart store. Across from them is a large shopping center. I recall a comedian in the past remarking that people spend two thousand dollars and travel 1,500 miles on the open sea to shop at Walmart.

Small white tents all set up along the brick walkway, pedaling their wares... water... trinkets... clothing... hats... purses... and massages. We do not plan to get off the ship. We have a lovely view of the city from our balcony, as we are on that side of the ship, so we can see plenty. Plenty of traffic. Plenty of people. Plenty of sunshine... we finally got warm. It is warm enough you would not want to stand out there too long without a hat or a nice tree. Lots of city noise. 

We went up for brunch and sat next to Jay and Jerry, mom and adult son from Petaluma, at the north end of San Francisco Bay. They soon left and Sue Mei joined us, and she was a pure delight. If we meet no one else on this trip, our trip is complete. Eighty years old and from China originally, she lives in San Francisco with her husband, Kong, who was out walking she said. She shared her early life in China and her parent's efforts to get them out of China. Her father was already out of China before WWII because of his work, and mom wrote to him, telling him to never come back, because he would be jailed. The Chinese government took everything they had. They sold all of their clothing to buy food. When mom was able to get out, she could not take all three daughters with her. Sue convinced her mom to leave when she had the opportunity, and Sue was finally able to get out at 19 years old. She got a college education in Japan in medicine, and went to New York, but before she settled, she heard the song, "I Left My Heart, In San Francisco", so she talked her husband into going out there.

They have since become quite wealthy, through her parents and grandparents, as well as her own efforts and her husband's efforts. This is about her sixtieth cruise. She shared how she became sick as a young woman in New York, and doctors diagnosed her as having the flu. She got worse. A friend was a doctor and he diagnosed her as spinal meningitis. Her father took her to the only hospital that would admit a meningitis patient at the time. She was ill for a good while, and the sisters from the Catholic Church where she attended came and prayed with her every day. She dreamed that three angels came to her and said that since she was good and helped so many, she would be OK. She said when she woke, she was better, and she has no residual effects of the terrible disease that leaves most victims seriously affected. She said she has since lost faith in the churches, but has a strong faith in the angels and in God. She is a very sharp "young" woman, and a joy to speak with.

Back down to the cabin, for R&R and to enjoy the afternoon on our balcony. It is nearly 1500 hours and the balcony is in shade now, so we can enjoy the outside. It is very busy outside... at least three vehicles with sirens have gone by, each time trying to get people to move over and let them through. Before we sailed at 1930 hours, there were more than a dozen emergency vehicles passing by with lights and siren. One was a plain, unmarked, white crew-cab pickup, with a siren running, but absolutely no emergency lights anywhere. Not sure how anyone would know who had the siren if they were driving on the road.

We went down to dinner probably five minutes earlier than usual. While in line, we were looking for Russ and Martha. They never did appear, and we thought they may have gone ashore. They seated us at a table for six, next to a nice window. We thought that Russ would have to be kidded about that... he had said that he always wanted to sit next to a window, but they never seemed to seat him there. Soon, they seated another couple with us... Don and Carol from Murphy. That's not too far from our home, up in the "Gold Country", where gold was discovered back in 1849. Later we learned that he has a '59 Jaguar XK150S that he drives daily. I could die. Probably my one dream sports vehicle. They were fun to talk with. They also have a daughter named Kimberlee :-) Soon another couple joined us... Russ and Martha. LOL. Just by coincidence, they were seated at our table. So, Russ got to sit at a window table. Of course, outside the window was land. LOLOL.

A lot of travelers were still off-ship, so there were plenty of open tables available, so we sat and chatted after dinner. The after-dinner show was Motown in the Vista Lounge, which is a good show, but the Vista Lounge is not a good venue for anything but standup comics. You just cannot see well and it is freezing in there. Plus, Motown music is not our favorite by a long shot. There was a Mexican folklore production in the Princess Theater that started when we were having dinner, so we decided we would wait until later and they were showing the movie "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Mississippi", which I had heard someone say was a good movie, but I could not remember who said it. Russ and Martha decided they would join us, so we all went to that. It was not a good choice. Francis McDormond, the "gal from Fargo" was in it, and she is a good actress, but shortly before dinner I realized Woody Harrelson was in it, and though I loved him in Cheers, every film he is in he depicts a filthy-talking, bad guy. This movie was full of language that was just not fun to be around. Every conversation was GD this and FU that, and it was just not good. Bad choice on my part. After the movie, the four of us remained seated and visited for nearly an hour. Nothing else was in the theater that evening. It was nearly midnight before we headed up to our cabins. We learned that they are on the same deck, same side as we are, about fifteen cabins forward of us.


DAY SIX      MANZANILLO    07 January 2018

We have never been in this port before. It is quite a large port... not a sleepy little Mexican town at all.

In fact, every city we have visited on this cruise have been quite large... large enough we cannot see the edge of town from high up on the ship. So, tell me again why it is that Mexicans "HAVE" to go up to the US to survive? This looks a lot more prosperous than our Port of Oakland. This is only one view of the port. Our ship will berth over to the right, completely out of this picture.

This is not our ship... and it is a picture made from two images. That's why it looks like it is bent. She showed up later in the morning, after we had awakened and gone to do our morning events. She was still there as we left in the early evening.

This ship is the MS Europa, a Hapag-Lloyd ship out of Germanythat is billed as the "World's Most Beautiful Yacht", and a ten-day cruise on her will run between $7,000 and $44,000, depending on the cabin you choose and other amenities. All the cabins are suites, and on the outside, and all have twin sinks, tubs AND showers, and the largest have bidets. The small cabin is 291 square feet of floor space, about the same as a mini-suite on a Princess ship, and the two largest suites are about 950 square feet. Two propulsion pods drive her at 21 knots of speed, with a German crew. English is spoken on board. The top deck is listed as a clothing optional deck, so it is out of sight and unobtrusive for those looking to maximize their exposure... when at sea, of course. There were no nudies on top when they were in port. Something one has to remember, when cruising. If you have an 'outside' cabin, don't go to sleep in the nude with the curtains open. You may be the center of attention from a ship next to you if you wake up in port. Less than fifty people fit in the movie theater, and the largest theater/club/public room holds all of the passengers at once. She carries about 405 passengers and a crew of over two hundred.

We went up to  brunch, and sat next to Ken and Mary from Sunnyvale. Ken used to run several General Tire outlets, and Mary is a pastor in a church. We learned a lot about their family, and we had some interesting discussions about cruising and about religion... not necessarily connected in the same discussion. They had cruised several decades ago, but this was their first recent cruise.

We went back to our cabin, and I noticed that there was a film showing in the Princess Theater that we had not seen, so we went down for that. We did not know what it was about, but the Princess Patter said something about it being a comedy. The title was "Battle of the Sexes" and that sounds like a common subject for comedy films. We arrived a few minutes after it started, but within seconds we could see that it was going to be about Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, a vocal sexist... or chauvinistic... champion tennis player, who challenged the leading women tennis players for a match, who were challenging the male-oriented professional tennis organization for equal treatment, billing, and rewards on the public tennis circuit. We enjoyed the movie. It was not a comedy, by the way.

Dinner after the movie, where we ate with a couple from Florida and another couple from the bay area. We did not get their names. The bay-area couple left before dessert to meet with their family, and the other couple  stayed along with us, for dessert, but we left earlier than usual to try to get a seat in the Vista lounge for the magic show with Alex Ramon. We were early enough that there were plenty of seats available, and the show was very interesting. He was a very nice, pleasant, cleanly cut young man.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J8VRvlz1rA 

Somehow I have managed to pick up a cough. We have taken extreme measures to avoid anything that would bring this on, and have even been using an inhaler left over from my last bout of bronchitis, each day, just for the possibility of preventing any 'bugs' from getting a start in my lungs. I guess that did not work. But, we brought the heavy cough medication and an anti-biotic that a doctor has prescribed for these occasions, so I am using everything.

After the show, we rushed to the bow and were able to catch a seat for the singer. Josh Young is a Tony Award nominee and Broadway performer who sang Andrew Lloyd Webber music, and did a beautiful job of it. http://www.josh-young.com/audio.html 

Back to the cabin where we watched a movie on TV and then sleepy time.



DAY SEVEN      CABO SAN LUCAS    08 January 2018

When we awoke, we were sitting in the bay off Cabo San Lucas (Bahia San Lucas). Quiet and peaceful, and the sun was shining. All day long we tended to drift in a circle with the bow anchor in the center of that circle. We are figuring on staying on board today, for a relaxing day.

I take images of the beach each time we are here, and the buildings just keep coming. We can almost not see land beyond the beach, with all of the multi-story condos going up.

We went up for brunch, and sat at a table that had only a couple sitting there, and realized it was Russ and Martha. After a nice visit, they left to go ashore, we went down to the cabin to read and rest.

Dinner at a table for eight. Two gentlemen were from Union City, next door to Fremont. An older couple was from somewhere in the Bay Area, Rosalee and I, and two young women from Berkeley. The young women were quite vocal over how young people are facing such trying times today, with "the mess the world is in". They wanted more help from society, and felt we really had to raise our minimum wage to $15 per hour, and more. I asked them if things were so tough, how they were able to afford a nice cell phone, the price of a cruise, and a car. They said they had huge school loans to pay off. I told them many of us did what they are doing, but took longer than they are taking, and made a lot less than what they are making currently. They left the table a little early, and the other two couples immediately voiced similar opinions to what I had expressed.

Alex Ramon, the magician we saw last night in the Vista lounge was in the Princess Theater. We went there with Russ and Martha, and when it was over, I suggested we go to the Vista Lounge to catch the movie "Dunkirk", but they had seen it and rather than leave them, we went up to the Horizon Court and visited until midnight, and then left to go to the cabin.

I watched a film on TV and then went to sleep. My usual congestion has come back.


DAY EIGHT     AT SEA    09 January 2018

Rosalee is also coming down with a cough. We are not seeing a lot of people coughing on the ship. Something we may have picked up before we left home.

Bob Ray was offering another in his lecture series: Enrichment Lecture: Motown Story. He has early recordings tied into his lectures, making it very interesting.

After brunch, we returned to the cabin to watch TV and caught President Trump's address to Tennessee farmers. It was a good speech that was well received. Later, on the TV, we were able to watch the movie we missed the night before: "Dunkirk". It tied into the movie we saw before the cruise, called "The Darkest Hour", which told about England's King Edward hiring/appointing Winston Churchill to replace Chamberlain as their Prime Minister. This was after England was deeply involved in war with Germany, and the US was not yet involved, and sadly trying to stay out of the skirmish.

We found Dunkirk a little confusing. It seemed to be following the storyline of half a dozen separate individuals at the same time, and it was very difficult to separate the stories, since they were all involved in the theater of war, and wearing uniforms.

We went down for dinner and they seated us at a table for ten, which is much too large to all be able to visit, let alone hear everyone speak. Two chairs went unfilled. It was a pleasant meal.

The after-dinner show was These Guys, a group of singers that could sing beautiful harmony. Sadly they only sang one song a cappella, and the audience loved it. The show was good anyway, but could have been better to everyone's liking. 

Back up to the Horizon Ct with Russ and Martha for some hot tea and a visit.


DAY NINE     AT SEA    10 January 2018

I attended another Enrichment Lecture on Survival in the Bush, by Gordon Dedman. It was about survival shelter and fire He started small fires about four different ways... on the Princess Theater stage. LOL

I came back up to the cabin to get Rosalee and we went back down to the Princess Theater to catch the One hit wonders latest installment of Bob Ray's lecture series on "One Hit Wonders". We remember hearing most of these songs in our past. It is interesting to hear the full story behind the groups that made a single hit song and never went much beyond that. Remember the "Singing Nun"? She committed suicide in 1985 after receiving static from the church over her song, and she left the church. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" was a "one-hit wonder", believe it or not, and 75 years later was recorded by the Hawaiian singer "Iz" who sold more than five million copies. Incidentally, he is also deceased.

We saw Russ and Martha in the theater and went up with them to lunch. After a few hours, we went back to the cabin to pack our bags. Tonight is another Formal night, which does not seem to bright, considering they want the bags out in front of the cabin door before we go to dinner, if possible, but definitely before 2300 hours tonight. They have to gather them all up, sort them into the proper color/number that is on their tags, and arrange them to take them off at the pier once we get in tomorrow. That makes it a bit difficult to dress formally, when you don't want to wear your formal attire off the ship in the morning.

Russ and Martha joined us at the dinner table, and both of the shows tonight were "been there... done that" shows, so we went up to the Horizon Court and spent the evening visiting. We had a nice evening. They were involved in the terrible fires that went through the wine country north of San Francisco last month. I mentioned before that their home was saved but several outbuildings were lost, as well as some equipment, and their crop of wine grapes are a loss. They said that the smoke and debris from the fires settled on the grapes and it gives them a bad taste when harvested and processed. So they have to just let them rot and try again next year. They said sometimes the smoke can give the wine an interesting taste, but with homes burning, there are carcinogenic elements in the ash, and that transfer into the grapes. We learn something every day. We enjoyed getting to know them. They have our e-mail... perhaps we may see each other again.

Back to the cabin to make sure we are ready to vacate the cabin in the morning before 0830.


DAY TEN      DISEMBARKATION   11 January 2018

We came in under the Golden Gate in the dark, and it was very cloudy/foggy, so no pictures were taken, for sure. We did not have breakfast, as we usually don't when we are home. We should be home by 1100 hours, so we can eat then.

We arranged for the car to pick us up around 1000 hours, but we never know exactly when we would be able to disembark. Things have to happen with the officials before they can release the passengers. We could wait in the Wheelhouse Bar on deck seven, to be called to walk off. They were moving ahead of schedule, so we would be off an hour before the car was here. It was cold and wet outside, and with these colds, and my coughing my head off, we did not want to wait outside. When our color/number was called, we stayed on board for maybe a half hour. We then left the ship because if you don't pick up the bags, they get put into another place and you have to get help to find them. They have close to six thousand bags to get delivered to the right persons, and they need to clear the space or those coming off later.

We found our bags... almost the last ones in our group to be picked up. Then we just sat inside the huge pier building until the car was closer to picking us up. When we went outside, it was another twenty minutes out there until the car was able to get into the area to pick us up.

An easy drive home, and we were again in our abode. Sniffling and hacking and feeling under par, it was still nice to be home.

This is getting finished up on the 25th of the month, because I have been fighting this cold. But it is ready to post. Finally.