John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Wednesday 20 January 2016

[Tuesday 19 January 2016]

Thomson Dream Mayan Treasures
At sea

Cruise News, Wednesday 20th January 2016

Excursion Guide and other documents
All the tickets for the excursions we’d booked for the “Mayan Treasures” part of the cruise were delivered to our cabin at some time. Each of them had instructions for time and location of pickup, which I appended as a footnote to each day’s heading in the following documents. There was also this letter:

Excursion Guide — Mayan Treasures
There was a folder “Excursion Guide — Mayan Treasures” enclosing thirteen pages with details of excursions available.

13 pages of details of excursions available — not a lot of use to us, because we’d already booked excursions in advance for each day ashore

Your Shore Excursion BOOKING FORM
There were two versions of this — again, not a lot of use to us because we’d already booked.

I was awake at 7.30am, so I… went to the Lido Restaurant ca.8.15am for breakfast: Rice Krispies; bacon, “sausages” (very low-grade, hence the quotes) and baked beans, and orange juice; and coffee. When I returned, Janet was just getting out of bed. …I went back with her to the Lido — we sat outside in the Pool Bar — and had another coffee while she had fruit. She found that they had a zero-calorie version of Fanta orangeade — Fanta Zero — and had one (09:34:50). We returned to the cabin ca.9.45pm. I went alone to the 10am “Caribbean Port Showcase” presentation of excursions available. This took the form of an “interview” by, I think, Martyn Bell, the Cruise Director, with Paula the leader of the Destination Services team, interspersed with audio-visual presentations about excursions at each port of call. She was in her fifties, I guess, and came from Blackpool. I suppose it was of some interest, though we’d already pre-booked all our excursions. There was a draw to select a cabin number to win a free tour, but our number didn’t come up. Now that the volume of air being emitted by the air-conditioning system had been reduced, the cabin got rather too warm and stuffy; so Janet arranged for the engineer to come again and readjust it. After I returned from the “Caribbean Port Showcase” we went to the Lido Pool Bar again; I had a couple of pints of Strongbow cider and Janet had four Fanta Zero (11:58:42, 12:13:00, 12:40:41, 13:20:43), and we looked at the excursions we’d booked, the start times, etc. I had salad items for lunch. Before going back to the cabin, we went down to deck 8 to the shops… (13:45:01). At some point, today or tomorrow, a note appeared “Just checking things are OK”.

So I rang Reception to confirm that things WERE OK. We went out again; I had an Espresso in the “Coffee Port” (16:20:46) but Janet’s Fanta Zero (16:18:24, served by Maria Deleon) was different from the zero-calorie, canned-in-Atlanta-Georgia ones she’d had earlier; it had the Spanish word “Naranja” on the label, and more importantly it had calories; so she got them to replace it with one from the Lido Pool Bar. We sought advice from “Destination Services” what to do about currency at our various ports of call, and were told that US dollars were accepted in most locations: so we went to Reception, only to find that we couldn’t buy currency using our ship’s account; they would only trade cash for cash. We retrieved our sterling from the cabin: we only had £45 in notes, so we went back and traded £40 for $52. We returned to the cabin, and when later we decided to take a turn on the promenade deck — the deck that runs all the way around the ship, including outside our cabin — we found that it was raining. It was still warm, though. When the rain stopped shortly afterwards we had our walk. The wet deck wasn’t slippery. We went to the Lido Restaurant at 6pm for dinner. I can’t remember what I had: probably the bouillon soup option (there were always two types of soup available at the starboard counter; but whether I selected items from the main port-side counter (which, in contrast to yesterday, didn’t have an excessive queue this evening) or whether a stir-fry from the other starboard counter, I don’t remember. I switched from Strongbow cider to a pint of Heineken lager, and Janet had a Diet Coke (18:11:27). …We went down to the Broadway Show Lounge for the 8.30pm show, but the “second sitting” Gala Reception for people to dress up in posh suits and meet Captain John Westgarth-Pratt was just finishing, and we were directed to the end of a long queue, mainly of “suits”. There were two such queues, one for each entrance of the Broadway Show Lounge on that deck. We therefore thought that we wouldn’t be able to get seats that were any good, but we found a couple of spaces in seating, arranged in a semicircle round a table, not too far back. The problem was, there were a couple of extra seats that had been placed in front of us; and when people sat there their heads were in the way of a clear view of the stage. When the waitress came by, I had a Campari and soda and Janet a Diet Coke (20:32:20). The show was advertised in Cruise News as “Broadway Blitz”:
Broadway Blitz
Tonight’s show features music from some
fantastic musicals, from the girls getting you
hot under the collar in Saigon, to a back alley
in London for feline adventures. Then hop to
Baltimore for a new hairdo, before finishing on
the plains of Africa experiencing the circle of
life. Not to be missed.

But this wasn’t the show that was put on, though there were songs from musicals. One of the show team had a fine baritone voice, and indeed when the song “There Is Nothing Like a Dame” from South Pacific was featured, his singing of the very deep bass part was perfectly executed. We were moving about in time to the music, but everyone else in sight was immobile, like dummies. We went back to the cabin ca.9.30pm. …We went to bed. Unfortunately, our cabin is directly above the Medusa Lounge and the resident rock band’s cacophonous wailing, drum banging and tuneless bass was intrusive.

[Thursday 21 January 2016]

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