Day 20 - At Sea
|Sunday, October 29, 2023: We were heading southeast from Cyprus in the warm and sunny eastern Mediterranean.
|Tom went up to the Lido and fetched a light breakfast for both of us. We didn't wan't a large breakfast this morning, just some to tide us over until ...
|... brunch! At 11:00 AM, we headed down to the dining room for their three course, set menu, sampler-style brunch. Yay!
|Debbie took a photo of the fancy dining room ceiling from our table.
|The first course was a grape and fruit skewer, mini focaccia caprese, muesli with berries, egg salad and smoked salmon on brioche, pate home-style on toast, and a shrimp sushi roll.
|The main course was sweet and sour shrimp tempura, waffle with berry compote, mini chicken cordon bleu, mini corn beef hash with spinach and potato, egg Benedict shooter, and a mini herb and mustard encrusted beef striploin au jus. As we were finishing this course, a dining room manager stopped by so we asked him how many more of these there were going to be on this cruise. He had to check then let us know that there was going to be just one more brunch on December 3rd, which was another Sunday and another day at sea.
|... for dessert, which was a tropical fruit pavlova, chocolate cheesecake, and strawberry shortcake.
|As we sailed south toward Egypt, we kept going out on the balcony and looking at the sea around us. This ocean-going drilling ship was one of more interesting ships that we saw.
|At 12:30 PM, we headed up to the Crow's Nest on deck ten at the front of the ship. We went all the way forward on deck eight, and came up the stairwell through the spa, ...
|... and stopped on deck ten right outside the Crow's Nest.
|The ship's shore excursion office is here, which must make for a nice view for the crew while they work.
|The last time we were here, it was jammed with people, so we didn't notice the layout of the room.
|There were two huge displays right at the front of the room showing lots of information about the ship. The one on the left is showing the ship's current heading, position, and the current wind direction and speed. The display on the left is showing temperature, humidity, and pressure and the running chart of the ocean's depth under the ship.
|Every 15 seconds or so, they changed to different information. The one on the left was now showing the ship's current speed, propeller RPM, and thruster attitude. The one on the right was showing sunrise and sunset times, the ship's current time, and the estimated arrival time for our next port. As each display changed, Tom kept muttering, "Why can't we get this information on our cabin TV?"
|We were here to get a refund on one of our private tours that we had booked with a fellow cruise passenger. We had booked a tour with her for the port of Sharm el Sheikh, and since we were no longer going there, she was giving everyone their money back for the tour. There was a line of people waiting to speak with her, and we took a look around while we waited for her to be free. Near the front of the room, there was a bookcase filled with jigsaw puzzles that you could get out and work on at one of the large tables in the room.
|Tom took a minute or two to look out of the large windows.
|There was also a bookcase filled with games to play, include classics like Monopoly and Scrabble, but also games that might be a little trickier to play on a moving ship like Jenga.
|There was a Sjoelen board set up on a long table near the games. Also known as table shuffleboard, it is played by trying to slide wooden disks into the slots at the end of the board. The game originated in the Netherlands, so it was very appropriate that it was here on a Holland America line cruise ship. Tom tried sliding one puck to try it out and it went right in, of course. At this point, there was no longer a line to speak with our tour organizer, so Debbie sat down and handled getting our refund.
|We decided to walk back to our room on the outside of deck ten, passing the stairs to The Retreat, the secluded luxury area of the ship with private cabanas available for rent. We didn't see anything about renting them for this trip, so maybe it wasn't being offered or maybe it sold out long in advance. No idea.
|This white metal thing is the roof of the pool on deck nine, ...
|... which was partially open today to let in some air.
|Further aft is the ship's radar and Starlink internet antennas.
|Inside this darkened glass area is the arts and crafts center.
|Behold our mighty smokestacks that are actually producing very little smoke.
|There is a combination basketball/pickleball court at the rear of deck ten. It is completely enclosed in netting for obvious reasons.
|Here's the Sea View Pool on deck nine as viewed from above. Doesn't that look inviting? You can see why we've enjoyed this very pool several times already on this cruise.
|Baklava! It was Taste of Cyprus in the Lido, so they were serving Cypriot baklava. We got two pieces each and took them back to the cabin to eat later in the afternoon.
|Later in afternoon, while enjoying her baklava, Debbie worked on her LEGO daily calendar display for one of our upcoming days.
|Around 2:30 PM, this adorable bird stopped by and stood on our railing for a few minutes.
|We did not travel directly toward Egypt we left Cyprus. Our captain had said that it was because it was very close by and we would travel too slowly if we went straight there, but we wondered if it had more to do with the current situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip than maybe he let on. The US Navy had a battle group somewhere in the area somewhere near the center of that elbow.
|Since we were only traveling at a speed of 11 knots, we had almost no wake. It was quite a change from the other days at sea where we were almost always at 18 or 19 knots.
|Dinner tonight was burgers and fries from the Dive-In Restaurant, ...
|... while watched the ships that were around us. Some were small fishing boats, ...
|... and other were quite a bit larger.
|Around 4:30 PM, we neared the Port Said Anchorage, where we were going to drop anchor and wait overnight for our turn to enter the Suez Canal. There were many other ships already anchored here, ...
|... and more became visible as the sun went down.
|We'd been using the Marine Traffic app to identify the ships that we were seeing, and with so many around, Tom decided to try out the augmented reality feature. As he panned around, the app overlaid information about the ships over their image on the screen. So cool!
|As was often the case, we didn't see any of the people in the cabins below us while we were out. It made us feel like we were all alone on the ship, which was awesome.
|Boats like this one seemed to be making stops at some of the cargo ships that were anchored near by, and we wondered about all of the interactions and commerce that was taking place. Were they bringing crew back to the ship after shore leave? Bringing out spare parts?
|As the sun had set and it was getting darker, the ships started to light up.
|Halloween was just around the corner, and our minifigs in the LEGO daily calendar were trying to decide what costumes to wear. You shouldn't wait until the last minute for something like that.
|Once it was completely dark, we could see the lights of Port Said about five miles away. We were expecting to get a very early start in the morning, so we went to bed early and set our alarms so that we wouldn't miss any of the Suez Canal transit tomorrow.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy