Keith's Panamanian Travel Ramble

The wanderings of Andrea and Keith around Panama

I Need My GPS

Today is 14 October, a sea day. Our next port of call is Huatulco, Mexico and will arrive early tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to this stop, even though it is Mexico, as I have heard good things about it and have not been here. My brother says it is very picturesque.

Today, my brother, Robert, received a very official looking card delivered to his room advising him that he and a guest (that would be me) were invited to join another couple for dinner at the Pinnacle Dining Room. The Pinnacle is one of two premium dining rooms on board, where you pay a $29.95 upcharge for your dinner. This surcharge gets you an extra special atmosphere, higher end appointments, no crowd, more space, better food, and abundant service.

2014-JKH-Ship Interior 2014-JKH-Ship Interior

We arrived at the Pinnacle at the designated time to learn that the invite was a mistake of some kind by the administration office. Apparently the people who invited us didn’t know anything about us getting an invitation. (I’m sure they would have invited us if they had only met us!) They were holding a 70th anniversary, yes 70, and had a number of friends invited to their dinner at the Pinnacle. Seems like the office screwed up a bit. I wonder who didn’t get invited and if they were important or missed. I guess when it is your 70th anniversary, a few things can slip between the cracks. Anyways, we stayed and tried the place out.

2014-JKH-Ship Interior

I am searching for a place on board that serves cappuccino (one of my weaknesses). There is a place on deck 10 but is it busy and noisy. They also only serve in paper cups (there should be a law about that). Eventually, we accidentally discovered a little wide spot in the hallway on the way forward to the theatre. It’s called Chocolate Seduction and it sold individual chocolates as well as specialty coffee. I anxiously asked if they could serve a cappuccino in a mug, to which the disappointing answer was no. I sucked it up and ordered one in a paper cup! Ughh! The cup was terrible but the coffee was amazing. This gal really knew how to build a great cappuccino. I told her the coffee was great but I hated paper cappuccino.

2014-JKH-Canal

The next day we went back to the quiet wide spot in the hallway and this time Maria served us huge heavy full ceramic cups of cappuccino. She said they were Jacuzzi sized and she was right! For us they were the same price as the paper version that was ½ the size! Talk about how to solidify sales! Every day we went for a cappuccino, Maria served us the Jacuzzi sized version. Only us! Nobody else got to use the mugs! Maria gets my vote for the best service and coffee on the ship.

2014-JKH-Ship Interior

There is a Digital Workshop, of about 20 or so computers that runs a full schedule of 45 minute sessions on various Microsoft apps that are part of or associated with Windows 8.1. Subjects include things like photo processing, how to use the people or the calendar apps, email, and many more. Most classes are crowded and have people lining up to get in 15 or so minutes before the start. In fact, there are 24 different class topics taught. These are free! Some might think that would be what they are worth, given it is Microsoft, but this is a popular activity that has become available on 15 Holland America cruise ships. I am told that Microsoft provides the hardware and, although the TechSperts, as they are called, are paid by Holland America, their choice is a joint effort between Microsoft and Holland America. It is great to see the classes full of older people who are determined to learn how to better use their computers. My question was, if Microsoft has Holland America covered off, what cruise line is Apple working? The answer is Celebrity! So if you are an Apple person, book on Celebrity but be ready to pay as I am told the sessions are $20.00 each.

My room is an outside cabin with a partially obstructed view. I really don’t need a big view as I am out of the cabin most of the time. It does have a floor to ceiling window, which provides lots of light and I do have a view between two tenders that partially obstruct my view. It is just enough to let me know when to grab my camera and head out on deck. The cabin has an amazing amount of storage room!

2014-JKH-Ship Interior

This ship has four outside glass elevators in the middle of the ship. It helps in navigating your way around because they are in the middle of the ship as well as they provide a great view of the world as you ascend and descend the nine deck levels.

2014-JKH-Canal2014-JKH-SHow

For such a directionally challenged person, it is difficult for me to find my way around. I put lots of miles on just trying to get to where I want to be. There are a couple of basic rules. Even numbered state rooms, like mine, are on the left or port side of the ship but that requires that you know what direction you are travelling, and you cannot determine that if you cannot see outside because the ship travels so smoothly. Determining direction from the movement of the ship is not possible. Next, the 900 seat theatre is located at the sharp end and the dining room is located at the back. So without being able to tell direction of travel from movement it is not uncommon for me to end up at the theatre, looking for food or the dining room looking for the show! I need a Seeing Eye dog! The captain uses the phrase “Fun at the front and Food at the rear”, but that really doesn‘t help me. I did discover that there is a map of the ship in each elevator lobby which can help with direction as the map is oriented to the direction of travel.

I’m starting to become concerned that I won’t be able to find my way off this thing and that as they haul it off to the scrap yard someday, I will still be aimlessly wandering the hallways looking for the way off! Oh well, with all the food they are serving I guess I can just call it exercise. If I only had a GPS!

2 Responses to “I Need My GPS”

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