Cruising...Lost in the minutia while out to sea...Late posting tomorrow due to morning tour in Moorea...

View of the sea before the seas became rough.
Today's our fifth day at sea.  Its been easy to get lost into a pleasant routine of building relationships, eating reasonably good food, watching seminars, movies and presentations and lounging poolside for short stints.

The past few nights we've added the 9 pm live shows to our routine and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them.  By 11 pm, we're ready to retire to our cabin for a hopefully good night's sleep to begin again the next day.

We're never bored or antsy.  We spend little time in the cabin other than to sleep, shower and change clothes for the evening.  Since neither of us are able to nap, we never stop to lay down or snooze as some cruisers do.

Rough seas have precipitated the closing of the swimming pool.  Walking about the ship has been tricky the past 24 hours as the rough seas have increased.  Of course, neither of us suffers from any seasickness.
Overall, the majority of the passengers are over 50 and Australian, as I mentioned earlier, some of the most lively and animated people we've met anywhere.  We've also spent time with equally fun Americans we've met of the 200 on board.

The overall Australian theme aboard ship has been an excellent intro for us into Australia life and lingo.  Tom, who's had a blast at the men's club, the "Shed" will attend again today after missing yesterday when we attended a movie with our new friends, Pat and Charles.

After finally watching the highly acclaimed, "The Imitation Game," we highly recommend seeing this superb movie which particularly appealed to both of us, me for the technological aspects and Tom for its World War II era. 

The casino, which we continue to ignore preferring not to lose any money.
By the time the movie was over, we wandered about the ship, eventually heading back to our cabin to dress for the party we were invited to for all Crown and Anchor members, a priority points club comparable to "frequent flyers."  Oddly, the party was held in the theatre, not necessarily a good venue for a party. 

A smaller ship such as this, Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas, with a capacity of 2076 passengers is in the category we prefer. With less people, its actually easier to make and maintains friendships when it possible to find each other again, as opposed to the much larger ships where its easy to get lost in the crowd.

Again last night, we had dinner at a 10 seat sharing table sitting next to older travelers with much more experience than us.  Hearing their stories encourages us to consider locations we may have dismissed in the past.  How brave many of them are who are well into their 80's and 90's, giving us hope that we may be able to carry on for years to come.

View from an upper level balcony overlooking the Centrum, the center area of the ship.
After dinner we watched a fabulous comedian in the theatre.  It was interesting to hear so much of the humor geared toward the Australians and how quickly we are picking up their humor. 

Although I prefer not to stereotype people, in general the Australians are one fine bunch of people.  Their sense of humor leaves us roaring with laughter and easily getting in on the fun with our own quips.

Tomorrow, we're going on a fabulous tour on the island or Moorea with a marine biologist.  After reading many reviews on TripAdvisor for suggested activities on this small island, this seemed most appropriate for us.  Many comments we read suggested we chose tours offered by the ship for safety reasons.  Although, we prefer small tours arranged on our own or with others, in this case, we feel this was a better decision.

Returning to our cabin, this pin was awaiting us.  We are now officially Platinum members with a long way to go on Royal Caribbean to reach a tier with many benefits.
As a result, we won't be posting until after we return from the tour.  Please be aware that tomorrow's post won't be available online until later in the day than usual.  Good signal providing, we'll be back with exciting photos and stories of our tour.

Also, if you do not see a post on a specific day, it is due to the fact that the ships Internet is down which we've been warned could but may not, transpire at some point between now and June 11th when we arrive in Sydney.

These mechanical devices are used for the aerial acrobats.
Thanks to all of our readers for following along with us on cruises.  We realize our photos are not as exciting while out to sea as at other times, but as we come to several great ports of call over the next several days, we hope to amp up the adventure.

Happy Friday!

Photo from one year ago today, May 29, 2014:

Ironically, one year ago today we posted information on this cruise we are on at the present while we were living in Madeira, Portugal.  For details from that post, please click here.

Crossing the Equator in a few minutes...Hilarious King Neptune Celebration poolside...

King Neptune getting ready to start the Equator crossing ceremony.
Soon we'll be crossing the Equator and the ceremonies poolside are about to begin.  We're sitting at a table poolside with new friends with Pat and Charles from Missouri, USA and having a blast.

The dancers heading out to the main area.
From Wikipedia, here's info on the crossing of the Equator:

"The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the British Merchant Navy, Dutch merchant navy, Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, Russian Navy, and other navies that commemorates a sailor's first crossing of the Equator.[1] The tradition may have originated with ceremonies when passing headlands, and become a "folly" sanctioned as a boost to morale,[2] or have been created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the Equator are nicknamed (Trusty/Honorable) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs (in 1832 the nickname griffins was noted ."

There he is, King Neptune, the festivities have begun.
Soon the polliwogs will participate by the swimming pool as a celebration of our crossing the Equator.  I'd never heard of a pollywog until this cruise which refer to those who've volunteered to be indoctrinated through a ritual which include breaking eggs on their heads and tossing them fully clothed into the pool.

The human resource manager getting "egged."
As the participants kneel to have the raw eggs broken over their heads the crowd is roaring and laughing over the fun antics.  It couldn't be more fun.
At the moment, the hosts of the party just dumped cups of flour on top the heads of those that had been egged.  The crowd roars some more.

One of the hosts of the ceremonies, the Cruise Director.
The inclusion of various staff members in the festivities only adds to the frenzy of the crowd; the human resources manager and various ship officers.  It makes us all laugh at how it must have been Roman times when people were mocked in the square especially when the staff members are being beaten with wet pasta.

It appeared that every passenger was watching the festivities.
Why is it us humans get a kick out of such festivities, I'll never know.  Perhaps, part of our humor is over the fact that we're just happy its not us out there being egged, floured and beaten with wet noodles.  In any case, its rather humorous and neither of us are exempt from this good humor.

The "kiss the fish" ceremony.
Now, the environmental managers are having to "kiss the fish" which is hilarious followed by more egg breaking and flour dumped on their heads and down their shirts and finally, full bowls of cost red pasta sauce dumped over their heads.

The second cruise director getting egged.
Now, passengers are volunteering for the final part of King Neptune's Equator ceremony as a dozen seniors and a few younger passengers kneel on the floor to be indoctrinated as "pollywogs," as those who are experiencing crossing the Equator for then first time in their lives. 

Getting "floured."
Again, the broken eggs, the flour and the wet pasta and finally, the red pasta sauce and the crowd is going wild.

Getting "pasta noodled."
Today, we share these photos, tongue in cheek, admiring the brave souls who volunteered to be spectacles of themselves.  The final volunteer was one of the cruise directors who is hilarious and a great sport.

Pasta and pasta sauce on the head of a brave passenger.

The Cruise Director getting floured.

As of this moment we have crossed the Equator and are in the southern hemisphere for the next almost two years to come.  The adventure has just begun!

What a brave guy!

Photo from one year ago today, May 28, 2014:

An ocean view in Madeira, Portugal one year ago.  It was at this time one year ago we beagn making some new plans for the future.  Please click here for details.

"Sexiest Man Aboard Ship Contest"...Tom and the "Shed"...

The ceiling fixture in the main lounge area, the Centrum.
Cruising is ideal for us.  We love the routine we naturally slide into within a few days, hanging out with new friends, meeting more people at meals each morning, evening, and when wandering about the ship.

Yesterday afternoon Tom attended the daily "Shed," an Australian tradition whereby men get together and shoot the breeze. He had a great time and most likely will return again each day.  How unusual for us to be apart for a few hours.  I easily filled the two hour time slot working out and taking photos.

In three days, we'll reach our first port of call, Moorea, Society Islands, where we'll get off the ship to check out the island.  Its especially enjoyable for us when we have an opportunity to visit new locations to see if its a place we'd return to someday for an extended stay.

Tom refused to partake in the "Sexiest Man Aboard Ship Contest" that transpired yesterday afternoon. We both got a kick out of watching the contest poolside.
If not, its still interesting to see other parts of the world, the local customs, the way of life, and the dedication many islanders must exercise to fulfill the expectations of tourists constantly flooding their area.

We're very sensitive to that fact and we make every effort to be kind, patient and appreciative when services are provided to us.  Many island nations have lived off the cruise business and tourism to sustain a quality of life that may be impossible without it.

Part of the competition was pushups.  This passenger did the most number of pushups, 66 and eventually won the competition with his excellent dancing skills.
Most of the islands we'll visit between Saturday, May 30th and June 11th have small populations, high poverty levels and struggle to make it through life.  It is through the naivety of us travelers that a simple beautiful life can be had living on a tropical island. 

But, for the masses living on these islands, life is hard, fraught with poverty, illness and strife often without running water, electricity and modern comforts and conveniences.

This poor guy couldn't do one pushup.  This made Tom especially happy he hadn't participated.
We have no delusions in our pleasant way of life of following the sun, that the people that serve us in any manner share in what appears to them to be an affluent life.  For us, its hardly affluent when we've made many adjustments  and sacrifices in order to live this life we've chosen. 

We've often said this and continue to remind ourselves...we are humbled by this life we live.  Humbled by the beauty of the people, the environment, the way of life, and the how simply one can live and find happiness at every turn.

This guy did a "moon shot" while the dancing part of the competition took place. 
Sure, its easy for us to say this as we lounge on a cruise ship writing to our readers today using modern technology, eating good food and having all the "creature comforts" one could want.

From one laugh fest to another, one great philosophical conversation to another, to one enriching expose of our lives to theirs, we strive to maintain a degree of gratitude and humility.

One of the buffet tables in the Romeo and Juliet, the main dining room.
However enthusiastically we share our story that often leaves mouths agape as to how we could possibly manage to let go of all of our world goods, the people we love and a place to call "home" we don't forget for a moment that is could change on a dime.

As each day comes, we find ourselves being grateful for one more opportunity to become engaged in our surroundings whether its people, scenery or wildlife and when, on occasion, its all of these.

The dining room as it was being set for breakfast.
At the moment we're sitting outdoors near the pool in a dining area with tables and chairs drinking cold beverages on a hot, humid day and a somewhat overcast day at sea.  We don't have a complaint in the world.  The seas are relatively calm so far and that too could change on a dime.  If it does we'll be ready to take on the challenge with aplomb.

Please bear with our less than perfect photos aboard ship.  There's only so many photo ops on the ship.  However, in a few days, we'll have more exciting photos to share of the many islands we'll visit on the journey to Australia.


Photo from one year ago today, May 27, 2014:

At night the island of Madeira became a cacophony of lights and magic as we enjoyed this view from our veranda.  In the entire two and a half months, we never tired of either the daytime ocean views or the lights.  For details, please click here.

Sorry for late posting! Too much fun! Update on posting while cruising...Cruise itinerary...Making new friends aboard the ship...

Please excuse blurry photos.  I'd accidentally changed the setting on the camera effecting the quality of some of the photos. Also, with the weak wifi signal on the ship, our formatting and line spaces may be inaccurate.
Tom's miniature lemon merengue pie for dessert at last night's dinner.

For details for this cruise's itinerary and details regarding the ship's amenities, please click this link.

Over the next number of days while cruising our daily posts will be arriving a few hours later than usual, although we'll continue to post every 24 hours or so. Once we arrive in Australia on June 11th and get settled, future posts will be available every 24 hours.

My breakfast this morning.
With the upcoming crossing of the International Dateline we'll be losing a day having experienced multiple time zone changes.  We'll cover more of that later as the time zones change.

Last night, Tom at the bar, enjoying his unlimited cocktails wearing his white dress shirt for dress up night. 
The reason we'll be running late in posting is a result of our having too much fun!  What can I say?  These 1400 Aussies and 200 Americans on board are the most fun group of people we've ever encountered on a cruise. 

They're everywhere, ready for sharing a good story and having a good laugh.  How did a nation of people have the friendliness and good humor in common?  Maybe we'll figure it out over the next few years.

I ordered a small salmon plate and received this extra large salmon plate. 
We've discovered that we have a lot of language nuances to learn and are making an effort to pick up everything we can in the hopes of "fitting in" into the Aussie homeland.

My view while working out on the elliptical machine.
In an effort to avoid germs and have better service for organizing my breakfasts, which I do have when cruising, its easier to order my specific meals from the helpful dining concierge, Cecelia, who's in charge of all the passengers with special diets who dine in the main dining room.  She's got mine figured out.  There's no such a service in the Windjammer Café, the buffet style venue.

Although the Windjammer has a specific "gluten free" buffet area, it has few items that work for me when many are high carb gluten free baked goods and sugary items none of which work for me.    Last night at dinner, I ordered my breakfast and tonight's dinner in advance, giving the chef ample time to make the items suitable.
More equipment in the fitness center.

This morning we had breakfast in the main dining room.  Thus, in the future will avoid the Windjammer buffet entirely. Tom was able to order what he wanted both in choices and portions and my choices worked out perfectly.

The theatre where seminars and shows are performed.
However, while dining at a "shared table" which we always do, its impossible not to become friendly with our tablemates.  Thus, the lengthy delay in posting today and most likely on most days going forward as we continue on the cruise. 

We're out to sea with no land in sight in any direction.  An announcement was made that there will no access to satellite TV for the next several days since the ship will be too far out of range.  We don't watch TV anyway while cruising.  We stay out every night until we're ready for bed, exhausted from loads of fun. 

Cruise ships often have peculiar décor.
During the day we only go to the cabin to change clothes, put away our laptops or grab an item we may need.  Today's a busy day.  As I write this now, it 1:30 pm.  At 2:00, Tom will head to a history seminar while I visit the fitness center the second day in a row.

Having lost a degree of fitness in Kauai after being sick for a few weeks, I'm finding that working out is helping me restore my former self.  Over the next few weeks I'll continue to improve and then, when we arrive in Trinity Beach I'll join a nearby health club for the three month stint which I've already contacted for rates.    

Cha cha lessons in the centrum.
Today, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm Tom will attend a men's group called "The Shed," an Australian tradition where guys get together and shoot the breeze over cocktails.  This morning Tom explained that in Minnesota, its comparable to "Garage Logic" (his favorite radio show which he still listens to each day when we're on land).  I'm thrilled that he gets to do this and tomorrow he'll fill in the details in the post.

While he's in "The Shed" I'll sit by the pool and read a book on my phone.  Wow!  This is the life.  No wonder we love cruising.

It was fun to watch the dancers carry on.
When we meet back at the cabin at 5:15, I'll be showered and dressed for dinner and Tom will do the same.  Shortly afterward, we'll head to the bar for happy hour and later in the main dining room for more lively banter and fun.  We haven't yet been to an evening show. 

We seldom find the arranged activities and shows quite our cup of tea instead preferring to meet up with our new friends for happy hour, breakfast or dinner. 

This towel character, an elephant, was sitting on our bed last night when we returned for bed.
One more item regarding posting while on the ship: we will only be able to post  eight to ten photos each day.  Although we have an unlimited data wifi package, photos take too long to post, often almost two hours for more than a dozen photos.  With less photos, we can upload the post in a more timely fashion, albeit a little later each day while cruising.

Have a terrific Tuesday!  See you again soon!

Photo from one year ago today, May 26, 2014:

The ocean view from our house in Madeira where we lived for two and a half months, having a fabulous experience.  For more details, please click here.

Sailing takes me away to where I've always heard it could be...Ship couldn't leave...

Balcony view of our cabin.
With a party to attend at 9:30 am today, I wanted to be able to stay and enjoy ourselves without leaving early to upload today's post.  Thus, I'm rushing a bit.  We'll check back later for error corrections.

Consistency means a lot to us and to our much appreciated worldwide readership which last night grew well over 300,000 reads.  Perhaps, that's nothing compared to millions on other sites but, for us who aren't necessarily bogged down by these numbers, its astounding.  Thanks to all of our readers for the dedication to following along with us.

As for today's heading, this song has been running through my brain over the past few days.  The next few lines in this 1980's song continue with:

"Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

Well it's not far back to sanity, at least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me"

Our cabin, small but well equipped.
Ah, these words not only bring back memories from another era of my life when I was single at the time, owned a 26' Chris Craft cabin cruiser that I kept in a slip on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota, had two kids, owned a house and a business and life was a combination of raging responsibility and occasional carefree fun at age 32.

This song also holds true today for the joy and freedom we experience in our daily lives. We've already met and made friends with a lovely couple from Australia, Judy and Mal, whom we'll surely see again. And last night, at dinner we had an excellent time with Michael, Allison, Jenny, Jenny, (two named Jenny) and Ken, again all from Australia.

View of Honolulu.
The ship is supposed to be on it's way to Australia and the South Pacific where we'll live for the next almost two years.  However, last night there was an announcement regarding mechanical problems.  Here we are at 9 am Monday and we still haven't sailed away.  We're still in the harbor in Honolulu.

This morning the captain announced we'll be ready to sail by noon, 13 hours later than last night's schedule 11 pm departure.  We'd never experienced a late departure on a cruise ship.  Hopefully, its not a sign of things to come.

Boarding the ship was painless.  We arrived at noon and within 30 minutes, our bags were whisked away (we kept our carry on with us on the cart).  By 4 pm when the bags hadn't yet arrived we grabbed our laptops and headed to the bar. 

Before it was time to dress for dinner, the bags were awaiting us outside of our cabin door.  I'd been wearing the same clothes for two full days and was anxious to unpack and freshen up to get ready for the evening. 

Lobby bar.
Two things are different on this cruise than on the 10 cruises over the past 27 months.  For one, this time Tom purchased the drink package for the first time at $57 per day, $1026 for the entire 18 night cruise. 

At the ship's prices of $10 to $12 a drink (in a small glass), economically it made more sense.  Tom is generally a lightweight drinker but why shouldn't he splurge a little and have all he wants? Besides that's part of the fun of the  venue; cruising, schmoozing and whooping!

Luckily, this cruise ship doesn't require both of us to purchase a package or he wouldn't have done it.  That rule prohibits the "sharing" of one package. All I drink is water, iced tea, plain coffee and hot tea, definitely not worth a "package" when all of these are included in the fare.

What precipitated Tom's decision to purchase the drink package was the second item that's different on this cruise...we were able to purchase an unlimited wifi package for the entire cruise, suitable for two devices concurrently, for a grand total of $299! 

A barge and tugboat from our balcony.
A package such as this had never been available on any past cruises when we often paid well over $1000 for metered wifi, jumping off and on to avoid ringing up a bigger bill.  We'd sign up for two $400 packages, using every last minute.  Writing and posting alone would eat up most of that.

You may ask, why would we be online when we're on a cruise?  When we're not eating, participating in activities, going on tours, hanging out with others, attending parties, seminars and movies or reading books, our lives continue as always. 

A view looking up.
A cruise for us is not a vacation/holiday.  Its a continuation of our worldwide travels and daily lives that happens to be on a ship which we use for transportation when possible.  The tasks we continue to document and the searching for future locations continues regardless of where we are, on a ship or on land.  Tom enjoys Facebook, email and  I enjoy researching our travels and my other interests.

Plus, we particularly enjoy staying in touch with friends and family wherever we may be.  Yesterday while we were relaxing in the main lobby bar, I received a Skype call from my dear friend Chere.  I admit the signal was bad and will be worse out to sea but we had an opportunity for a few minute conversation to be resumed once we're on land.

Luckily, we can't be pressured into buying art aboard ship.  We don't own a wall!
As for the ship, Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Sea, is old and a bit worn in spots.  A toilet overflowed before we boarded and there was an awful stench in the hallway outside our door.  We addressed it with the maintenance department.  They explained that they've made the repairs but, the smell remains until the carpets are all cleaned this morning.  We shall see how that goes.

Otherwise, its not unlike the other ships on which we've sailed on in the past.  The cabin is small as always but has a full sized sofa and coffee table which makes us happy that we don't have to sit on the bed when we stop in to relax, unwind or watch the news. 

A short time later, the band began to play.

More on the ship later as we continue on and become more familiar.  We're content, excited to spend these 18 days and night aboard ship, see the sites and ports of call along the way and to interact with the many people we'll meet during the days and at dinner. 

The view from the main lobby area.
So far we haven't met any Americans.  This cruise ends in Sydney.  In speaking with many Australians, they arrived in Honolulu early for the beginning of their vacation, then taking the cruise back home.

Tom, shortly after signing up for unlimited drinks.  Check out his eyes!
Tomorrow, we'll be back with a reminder of the upcoming itinerary, more ship photos and perhaps people photos.

We hope our US friends and readers have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day especially in remembering the powerful message on this important holiday.


Photo from one year ago today, May 25, 2014:

Gina, the property manager, brought us this gorgeous rose. For more details on our post from one year ago, please click here.