Friday, April 27, 2007

Panama Cruise, Day 9: Day at Sea

Today the Sun Princess sailed along the coast of Central America, crossing the Gulf of Fonseca, passing the Latin countries Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. Later in the day we crossed the Gulf of Tehuantepac, and should end up in Santa Cruz Bay by tomorrow morning. I went for my morning walk along the Promenade Deck and stopped to take this photo of myself, in the reflection of the glass windows. Spending a full day at sea is such a luxury because it forces you to slow down, relax and potentially do things you might not normally do in your everyday life.
For example, after reviewing this morning’s “Princess Patter” (daily ship newsletter), I found several activities that caught my interest: Pastry Chef Demonstration at 10:00, Gents Table Tennis Competition at 10:45, and the Art Auction Extravaganza at 2:00. How would I find time for the critical things like a late morning nap by the pool, or “Cheeseburger Madness” for lunch, and my favorite routine: afternoon cocktails? Speaking of cocktails, the best place for afternoon cocktails is at “Topsiders”, an outdoor bar that overlooks the main pool deck and offers a birds-eye view of everything going on. Jose Carlos is the friendly bartender whose secret ingredient includes a splash of “quick wit” and a twist of “fabulous”. He is a lot of fun and knows how to work a crowd of thirsty passengers. Photos below: bartender Jose-Carlos, who makes great cocktails, and one of the bars he runs, "Topsiders",located on deck 14 overlooking the main pool.

I should clarify that afternoon cocktails are NOT to be confused with pre-dinner cocktails. This is an entirely different routine. Unlike afternoon cocktails in a swimsuit, this is more formal and requires some preparation: a shower, fresh clothes, some bling, and a splash of cologne. All 12 of our thirsty family members meet at 7:00 PM to take over the Rendez Vous lounge and harass Vladimir, our reliable server from the Ukraine. Vladimir has a great sense of humor, bantering with us as we giggle over multiple martinis before heading to dinner each evening. Photos below: Vladamir & our evening haunt, the Rendez-Vous lounge:

Captain’s Cocktail Reception
This evening I attended a private reception with the ship’s Captain before dinner. After a quick photo op with Captain Nick Carlto, he and I chatted about the Panama Canal journey and some of his favorite ports of call. Naturally I told him I was writing a daily travel blog about the cruise on The Palm Springs Savant site, he asked me for the URL. So Captain, if you do read this, many thanks for the free cocktails! Photo left: The Palm Springs Savant with Sun Princess Captain Nick Carlton.

Princess Art Collection
If you’ve been following this travel blog since April 19th, you’ve already seen my ongoing exhibit of the Princess Art Collection. Today I’m presenting a few notable sculptures that I’ve found:

Learn to Speak Like a Sailor (not the curses though)
After my first nine days on the ship, I’m starting to get a handle on the “nautical lingo” used by the officers and crew. I decided to share a few here, completely FREE OF CHARGE!

Aft: toward the rear, or stern of the ship
Amidships: the middle section of the ship, lengthwise
Companionway: a flight of stairs
Forward: toward the front, or bow of the ship
Lee side: the side of ship sheltered from the wind
Port side: left hand side of ship as you face forward
Starboard side: right hand side of ship as you face forward
Windward side: the side of the ship exposed to the wind

Tomorrow we arrive in Huatulco, Mexico.
-Rick Rockhill

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