The juxtaposition of wide open ocean and relaxing sea days with wild party nights and non-stop music on this cruise is dramatic. After two port days in a row, I was really looking forward to a bit of deck time with my new Kindle, finally getting around to reading the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. This morning after breakfast, Deb went on her way to explore some of the day’s offerings while I found the 11th deck, as you can see, completely empty. I had the deck chairs all to myself, but the problem with this ship is that there is so much protection from the wind, that you don’t even get much of a breeze and the pool is very far away. I drug my chair into the shade and gave up on getting much of a tan this time around. I am red-haired and freckled anyway, so I shouldn’t be doing such things. It was rather amazing to spend a couple of hours on the top deck without the presence of one single other human being on a rather small cruise ship. The faint sounds of music emanating from several sources explained it, however.
Deb managed to get down to the Lido aft deck for the Sisters of the South and the rest of the afternoon just sifted away till we ambled up to the Crow’s Nest to see Ryan Shaw, one of my favorite performers on the ship. Ryan won a couple of R&B Grammies, and his blues slips into that RB thing more often than not. Not being a particularly big RB fan, there was something amazing about this young man’s art. He sang about love and spirituality and humanity in ways that reminded me more of Rastafarian lyrics than anything else, but with a blues twist. I loved hearing him and watching him, and found myself heading toward whatever venue he happened to grace. In fact, when he sang Imagine, I cried big silly tears all alone behind my sunglasses.
The Crow’s Nest was fun, more intimate that some of the other stages, and Deb joined me there at the bar where I had managed to save a couple of seats right at the dance floor. I had one more “cruise drink”, a pina colada again, but still didn’t get any umbrellas. I guess that umbrella in a pineapple boat with all sorts of fruit is saved for old ladies on old lady cruises. Ha!
After the great music we headed down to the 9th deck and the Lido pool to try to actually get in a swim before dinner and the big Mardi Gras celebration to follow. One thing about this cruise that was different was the absence of children. I think there were only 2 kids on the ship, and one of them was Joanne Osborne’s little girl. The other child on the ship was in the pool with his dad, but it was still fairly uncrowded considering it was a reasonably warm sea day. Deb’s braided hair was great for swimming, but I had taken mine out after getting tired of the headache and the stupid gray haired scalp showing through my skinny braids.
By the time we had some supper at the Lido (skipping the dining room tonight) the party antics were swinging into high gear on all decks. I have never seen so many people in so many crazy costumes this side of San Francisco, although I have to admit, I haven’t been to New Orleans during the Mardi Gras either. One previous evening during dinner, we were joined by two Norwegian couples who told us how popular the blues are in Norway, in fact most of Scandinavia has a rather large blues loving population that frequents the big blues festivals held there. It seems that they called the 10th deck “Little Norway” and referred to the 40 plus Norwegians on the cruise as “The Vikings”. They were all great people, who certainly knew how to have a good time. Cruisers will recognize the “formal portrait” lineup in the photo, but the get-ups of the subjects are a bit different than the formal wear usually reserved for ships dinners and portraits. The Vikings were especially good at this part, and I wondered just how much extra they paid for all the luggage flown from Europe.
The night was loud and raucous and great fun, with the Mardi Gras costume parade as a high point that just set everything up for a long night on all the top decks for those who had the stamina to stay up. Again, I reminded Deb that we had a port day tomorrow and an early kayak trip scheduled and needed to be ready to disembark as soon as the ship landed. Do I sound like the Mom here? Or some kind of old fuddy-duddy? Deb was patient with me, and I’m sure she would have done just fine without my mom worry stuff. I think the crew enjoyed this cruise tremendously as well, they all sure looked like they were having fun and loving the crowd and the music. While Deb danced away into the night, I fell into the bed around the toweled animals and slept like a rock.