Day 42 – At Sea – July 2nd, 2015

Dubrovnik, Croatia to Civitavecchia, Italy

One of the first sea days on the cruise that we didn’t just see the shore in the distance, as today we transited the fairly narrow Messina Straights between the Italian mainland and the Island of Sicily. A couple of hours after clearing Messina Straights we also cruised by an offshore, active volcano.

Temperature: High 30C/86F, Low 23C/73F

Wind/Weather: SE’ly winds about 10 to 15 kts until Messina, then flat calm with glassy seas. Clear skies with a slight haze.

Sunrise/Sunset: 06:07/22:39

Clox: Z+2 (no change)

Distance to Noon: 374 miles since Dubrovnik

Navigation

Sea Princess maintained SE’ly courses across the Adriatic Sea until making landfall south of Maria di Leuca, which is the heel of the Italian boot. Various W’ly courses were steered along the bottom of Italy, until picking up the Messina Pilot about Noon. Northerly courses we steered through Messina followed by generally NW’ly courses towards Civitavecchia. We cruised by the off shore active volcano about 15:30.

 

Activities

With the walking and climbing stairs yesterday, Judi had a really quiet day, getting her back stretched out in preparation for the tour of Rome tomorrow. I spent almost the entire day trying to get caught up on photographs and blog posts. Did great on the blog posts and completed the Venice photos, but I took another 200+ yesterday in Dubrovnik, so I’m still way behind, especially considering we have 4 ports in the next 4 days.

Messina Straights

This was a new experience for me, as we boarded a pilot for the short passage, but the pilot boarded at almost full sea speed. Normally ships reduce speed to 2 to 4 kts for boarding the pilot.

Pilot approaches

Pilot boat approaching with the Sea Princess still at sea speed.

Princess ship in Sicily

One of the Princess Grand Class ships berthed alongside in Messina on Sicily

Approaching Messina

Approaching Messina Straights.

Sea Princess listing while altering towards Messina

Sea Princess heeling over as she makes the turn towards the Messina Straights

After we successfully navigated through the gap, Judi and I headed for a quick lunch, before returning to photographs. At 15:00, I took a quick break, heading up to watch the transit passed the active volcano. Apparently at night you can see orange colours from the heat, but by day we only saw a trickle of steam.

Sea Princess passing an active volcano

Sea Princess cruising passed the active, off-shore volcano

Volcano

Volcano close-up.

This evening was the Captain’s Circle Cocktail Party and unlike Captain Kent, the new Captain did the traditional party in the Vista Lounge. You queue outside the door and on entering go find a seat and waiters circle with trays of drinks. You then get a couple of speeches, prior to the Captain making a welcome back speech. Wow, this one is really uncomfortable with public speaking, arriving just before his speech and then trying to leave early. It was most embarrassing to have the Captain leaving the stage and the hostess calling him back to conduct the most cruised passenger draw. I also watched the officers in attendance. Behind us was an Italian 2nd Officer standing with a cadet, who both stood like pylons throughout the entire event, not mingling or talking to anybody. They also had a couple of UK cadets, also at the back of the room, who at least chatted to a passenger when he came to talk to them. I also noted another UK cadet, who spent the entire evening wandering around tables and chatting to passengers, I perfect example of a passenger ship deck officer. All the Pursers and Nurses in attendance were comfortable in wandering around the table to chat. Really bad show from most of the Deck Department, including the Captain. 

Dinner tonight was not one of the galley’s better nights. We waited eons for the main course of Surf & Turf, until our waiter advised the galley was behind in cooking the steaks. Well hopefully they will be hot tonight. The steaks can best be described as “crap”, tiny slivers of filet about 1/4” thick. If not cooked correctly, surely they would be over cooked, but no. My medium rare came out seared both sides and still raw in the middle. Even touching the top of the steak I knew it wasn’t right, so how come supposedly professional cooks in the galley can’t tell when a steak is properly cooked. Our waiter brought 2 back, 1 was good and the other raw like the first on. Basically, getting 1 correct out of 3 seems to be the metric for this galley. The prawns, however, were perfect.

With a long day coming up tomorrow, we skipped the show and headed straight to bed.

 

As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.

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