Muscat, Oman to Aqaba, Jordan
Today we returned to northerly headings as we navigate through the Red Sea towards Aqaba and then the Suez Canal. We are pleased to report that the ever present fresh winds are still blowing, with today’s version being 25 to 30 kts from fine on the port bow. This theme of this cruise is definitely the Rock n Roll cruise, but not for the music.
Temperature: High 32C/90F, Low 27C/81F
Wind/Weather: NW’ly winds of 25 kts, freshing to 30kts early afternoon. Low swell. Fine and clear.
Clox: Z+ 3 (no change)
Distance to Noon: 1,731 miles from Muscat
Throughout the day Sea Princess maintained NNW’ly courses or 332 degrees at a speed of 20.2 kts through the Red Sea, towards our next port of call in Aqaba. Shortly before 08:00 we passed the Yemen and Saudi Arabia border, so on the Stbd side we are now following along the Saudi coast. About Noon, on the Port side, we crossed the border into Sudan and are now following along that country’s coastline.
I am finally almost back to the pink of condition, but today is Judi’s turn to get sick. A flare up of a normally stable condition required a visit to the medical centre for some antibiotics. While we have lots with us, we don’t have the best option. The ship’s doctor agreed with her diagnosis and dispensed the antibiotic she requested, but she is still quarantined for up to 48 hours. Therefore, today will be a rather quiet day.
My first activity was the Enrichment Lecture – Star Stuff, An Illustrated Astronomy Quiz. I found the title interesting, especially the inclusion of a quiz within a scientific lecture. The presentation was really well done, as each subject was introduced with a multiple-guess question, which she had the audience answer by a show of hands. She then provided information on each subject explaining the correct answer. Some of the subjects were:
- What is the definition of a planet, with the discussion explaining why the new definition in 2006 eliminated Pluto as being one of our solar system’s planets
- Where would a person weigh more – equator, pole or Saturn. My vote was the pole due to the increased gravitational effect, but she said Saturn, although she did mention that her husband disputes her theory as it has no solid surface.
- She showed a picture of bands of light shooting across the sky and asked if they were – shooting stars, meteors, comets or satellites. My vote was for meteors. She quickly eliminated the last two, as they would tend to provide a more constant track and then she advised they were meteors, but shooting stars are simply another name for them. She also included a lengthy explanation of exactly what patterns we see.
For lunch I headed down to the dining room where we had some great conversation. One of the other couples are planning a trip to Canada next year, which included driving across the country. Having completed a coast to coast trip last summer, my brain was picked dry. They initially mentioned spending 35 days, so I advised it is 5,000 miles coast to coast. However, they are only doing Toronto to Vancouver, so really only 1/2 way. Suggested they research cell phone packages, since we still incur roaming charges and research a few places to visit, as in only 35 days they can’t possibly see it all.
Next up was the TechatSea Presentation from the Chief Engineer. I found this very interesting, as on all previous ships it was presented by a First or Second Engineer. Entering the Princess Theatre, I spotted our tablemate Bruce, who is a Marine Engineer, so I sat with him and chatted. The Chief Engineer was excellent, taking over 2 hours, whereas most blow through the presentation in 35 to 40 minutes. He started with a great personal introduction and how he arrived on cruise ships as a Chief Engineer. His presentation was extremely detailed, even including the anticipated fuel cost for the entire World Cruise, which is US $5.75 million. He continued with some excellent photographs, explaining each system in a fair amount of detail. My favourite was the final question – with the head wind and swell the bow had dug in a few times during the presentation, with a fairly notable occurrence about the beginning of the questions. The passenger with the final question asked what caused the bang and shaking, to which the Chief Engineer immediately responded with, “Potholes”. Everyone erupted in laughter. I’m afraid this dispels the adage of there is is no such thing as a stupid question.
This brings me back to memory lane, back in the days when I used to conduct bridge visits about every 1/2 hour, when at sea. Yes, when I worked on the bridge of cruise ships, Bridge visits were a regular occurrence at sea. On this particular ship we had a searchlight control in the deckhead at each side, and I had already explained their purpose when a pax asked, “What are those handles for sonny”. Without missing a beat I responded they were an emergency dump valve for all toilets on their respective side of the ship. I can only wonder how many grandkids heard that story!
Dinner was OK, but the show was very enjoyable this evening. Dinner was again a standard menu and almost everything could have been hotter. This seems to be fairly standard, at least at our table. To start, I had Chinese dumpling, which actually looked awful, but tasted better than they looked. For main course I had Lamb chops, which were cooked perfectly medium rare, but those lambs must have died of natural causes, as it was closer to mutton. The evening show was vocalist Phillip Browne, who has a very powerful voice and has starred in many West End Shows, including a lead role in the Lion King. The second shows are rarely well attended, but this evening not a single seat was available with even more standing at the rear. What an excellent performance and most unfortunate that he departs the ship in Aqaba.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.