Boarded the ship in the early afternoon. Checked out the cabin. Unpacked. Had a late lunch. Started getting oriented to the many different areas on the ship. There was a big to-do for the sailaway, everyone gathered on the stern deck and we watched San Diego, and the mainland, fade off into the distance as we go forward into the open seas. Exciting.
Not having sailed this route before, I was a little surprised to see how cloudy it was on the way to Hawaii. It was cool for the first couple of days at sea. We were leaving from 32º 42'N (San Diego) heading for about 21º N (Honolulu). San Diego not much different from my home, Ventura area, at 34º 12'N. It warmed up in a few days as we moved further south.
The captain of the Statendam is Jack van Coevorden.....Captain Jack. Who could have guessed.. At 4:15 we were all engaged in the lifeboat drill. Those life vests are hard and stiff, and uncomfortable on the boobies!
At 5:15 they were casting off the mooring lines. We were setting sail for Hawaii. The next stop would be Hilo, on the big island, 5 days away. They said they were traveling at a speed of 20 knots on this leg of the cruise. One knot equals 1 Nautical mile. A nautical mile is 1.15 statute miles, so we were going about 23 statute miles per hour. Doesn't seem very fast, does it?
Our next night at sea is a formal night. There are going to be 7 more formal nights on this cruise. It is fun to dress up, occasionally. I am not sure what its going to be like to dress up 8 times in a month! Got some great pictures for this first formal night though. Good photographer.
I got right down to business the next sea day and booked a facial at the spa. The spa has been newly designed/decorated in the last few years, and is a very plush and lovely spot on the ship. I asked my esthetician to figure out what my skin is doing now and how I need to care for it. The nice little lady who did the facial ( they seem all to be from South Africa on this ship) told me that my skin is still oily, but dehydrated. This matches my suspicions about my skin, even tho I am almost 60, I think it still oily, and is not dry skin, but something else is going on, so the dehydration sounds very plausible.... so I succumb and purchase the skin care products recommended. The products work and the skin looks 10 or 20 years younger (more about this later).
A few days into the cruise there is a presentation by a guest chef. The ship had a Culinary Arts facility, very nice for these extended sea days. Chef Mavro from Honolulu is onboard, and he is a founding member of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, and holds the James Beard Foundation award. His lecture, he is hard to understand, but he is cute and excitable, in a French way. He's from Marsielles originally, now lives in Hawaii. He is almost Italian in his gestures, waving his arms and hands around, getting perturbed at his own comments. We who attend his cooking demonstration all get a bite of the appetizer he prepares, and are very appreciative of the tastes and flavors, regardless of the gesticulations. His restaurant is rated as one of the Top Ten in the World, by Fodor's. A must do when we reach Honolulu.
Exercising at sea. There is a fantastic gym on the ship. Most of the people go for the treadmills, leaving the weight equipment open. Funny. On the Promenade deck, it takes 4 laps to equal a mile, so 6 laps or more takes the place of a treadmill, and the alternate days are the weight machines. The view from the gym is spectacular. Glass front and sides, looking forward over the bow. Boy, you can't get that at home.
Next, I sucker in for a reflexology treatment at the spa. The girl is nice and sincere about what she believes, but all I'm interested in is the foot massage aspect of this treatment! She explains how foot reflexology will affect different organs and body parts - Yada, yada, yada. It feels fantastic on the feet and ankles. And I bet that's all its good for, but heck, that's worth it to me. She tells me to drink lots of water over the rest of the day to flush toxins.
Next day I find out I've got a cold or virus going on. I get really sick with a sore throat and congested ears, etc. A couple days later, I go to the ship's doc and tell him I think I need antibiotics. He checks everything, asks me questions, and then agrees, antibiotics. I gave him the short version, I am well versed in clinical diagnosis.. Well, whatever it was the antibiotics seemed to kick it back pretty well. Throughout the rest of the cruise I watched passenger after passenger succumb to this and be sick for quite a few days with upper respiratory problems. I was glad that he listened to me and agreed with me on the treatment. Most of the other folks do not fare so well or recover within a day or so like I did.
We are nearing our first port. Hilo, Hawaii. Tomorrow morning, Sept. 30. I had the pleasure of vacationing in Hilo a couple of years ago. Stayed for two weeks. Always cloudy and drizzly there, but warm and beautiful.