The twelfth day of our trip was a good way to relax and catch our breath before our last two stops of Naples and Rome. From Dubrovnik to Santorini, we had had eight straight days of running around ports and trying to do and see as much as possible. But I don’t regret running around at all. I was amazed to talk to some of the other people on the ship, and find that they had been on cruises of the Mediterranean before, and they had been to all of the other ports before except for, say, Dubrovnik. So they took a WHOLE CRUISE just to go to one more port. One couple we met said that they were probably going to stay on board ship while we were in Athens, because they had been there before. STAY ON THE SHIP?! In ATHENS?!?!?!?! This boggled my mind.
During the day at sea, everyone was on the ship, and there was a lot available to do. The first thing we did in the morning was go to an interdenominational worship service in the Explorer’s Lounge. Let me say, first, that I enjoyed the service. We sang some great hymns, and it was good to be gathered together with God’s people wherever you are. But going to seminary can ruin a worship service in a way, since it can make you more inclined to view the service with a critical eye – thinking about where the liturgy came from or what the pastor studied in preparation for the sermon instead of merely being led in worship. Although, as I said, I did appreciate the service, my critical eye wants to point out that this is probably the only worship service I have ever been to that was a combination of the Book of Common Prayer and inspirational forwarded e-mails. But I’ve got to give credit where credit is due: the assistant cruise director, who led the service, is not trained as a pastor, and has obviously not chosen to follow the vocation of a pastor. For someone in that position, I think he did a fine job.
After the service, Mary and I went to a cooking demonstration in the Princess Theater, given by Princess’ head chef. This guy was amazing, and he could easily have his own cooking show.
And he was funny, too. Here are a couple of quotes that I remember:
“Don’t buy olive oil that costs less than $10. That’s not olive oil. It’s jippy loob. You know jippy loob? It’s what you put in you car.”
“Never trust a skinny cook.”
After the cooking demonstration, everyone in the audience was invited to walk through the kitchen in one of the evening dining rooms to see what it looked like (and to get a chance to buy the chef’s book at the end). The kitchen? I’ve never seen that much stainless steel at one time in my life. Andrew Carnegie would be proud.
In the afternoon, we relaxed, ate, and read our books on deck. I went to a lecture in the late afternoon on Broadway musicals in the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. It was informative for someone like me who didn’t know a whole lot about Broadway musicals. I’m not sure about anyone else. After the lecture, we all went to the fitness center, which is a good place to work out. It’s on deck 16 and you can look out on the water, so you can’t beat the view.
Before dinner that night, we went to a cocktail party in Club Fusion for two groups of people: frequent cruisers and Princess employees (like me!). The first category was by far the larger, and the gathering was really for them. The captain greeted us, we had some drinks (I had a screwdriver, and I’m not really sure how it became green. But it was good), and there were recognitions of the people who had been cruising the most. It’s something to shoot for someday, but I won’t be mentioned in the same sentence as these people until I’ve gone on over 20 cruises. On second thought, maybe I’ll shoot for something else.
After that, we had dinner at Da Vinci’s, and it was our second formal night. Here are a few pictures of us all dressed up:
Then Mary and I watched “The Golden Compass” on deck. I’d avoided seeing it in the theater, mostly because of my policy of not encouraging Philip Pullman or those who would like to make movies out of his books. (I wrote about this earlier, when the movie came out.) Now that I’ve seen it, I must say that I didn’t think it was that great anyway.