I awoke sometime after midnight realizing that the ship was rocking back and forth a little more than usual. I went to the balcony window and peered into the dark. What I saw was an angry sea covered in whitecaps.
We were cruising up the coast to our first port of call Norfolk, Virginia and got caught in the effects of tropical storm Ana. Oh, my, the ship rocked and rolled all night making for an interesting night’s sleep.
We woke early to 40mph winds and 13’ waves. It was going to be an interesting day, I thought. We headed up to the lounge for breakfast and met up with Steve and Luann and chatted a while until they had to leave to attend a class. We decided to stay and have another cup of coffee and met another lovely couple from Oregon.
We spent some time with Tom and Maryann and learned that Tom had a very interesting career; he is a chainsaw sculptor. He shared some photos of his work. We were very impressed.
The captain requested that everyone stay inside for the day as it was dangerous to walk on the promenade deck. Every chair, stool and couch was filled with passengers reading books, knitting, putting together a puzzle or participating in one the myriad activities around the ship.
I attended a presentation and tasting of a variety of foods prepared in the Chops and Giovanni’s Table restaurants. It was wonderful to listen as they shared how the dishes were prepared. When the talk was over everyone who was in the Centrum was invited to come up and sample the dishes. Unfortunately, I did not move fast enough so by the time I got to the table it had been surrounded by hungry passengers. I finally got to the table and was able to get a small sampling of the Caprese Salad and the Focaccia della Casa. I loved the focaccia so much I asked the sous chef if I could get a copy of the recipe. He said he would check and see.
Next Randy and I attended a nautical talk by Captain Stig Nilsen. The variety of questions posed to the captain were quite interesting and the captain handled all with ease and humor.
One of the questions asked was, “What wave height are we experiencing now? “4 meters (13’), replied Captain Stig.
Then a passenger stood up and asked, “Would you share a story of the worst weather of your nautical career? What is the worst storm you have ever been in?”
“I remember it well. It was the 19th of September 2007. We were in the Gulf of Alaska on the Serenade of the Seas. We sailed into an artic low pressure that is very hard to forecast. Coming out into the gulf that night we were hit with 140 knots of wind which is a category 4 hurricane. At 148 knots that was the highest we had to record because everything that we had to record with blew off. We ended up with a 15 meters (49’) wave height. We had some windows knocked out. The dining room was very quiet”.
At the end of the story a passenger stood up and thanked the captain for his work on getting everyone safely through the storm. “I was on that ship,” he said. “It was a good ride”.
With a chuckle in her voice, the cruise director, Clo O’Connor asked the captain how the weather looked for her 2pm walk on deck. “It doesn’t look good,” he replied. This brought about many laughs from the audience.
Tonight was our first formal night of the cruise. Dinner was wonderful especially as they were serving one of my very favorite meals; Beef Tenderloins. We all got so engrossed in conversation we all lost track of time, so no dessert tonight.
We hurried along as best we could with the ship rocking and rolling to the theater to see the headliner show with The Diamonds. The show was just wonderful with the group paying tribute to many groups that appeared on American Bandstand. It was so much fun to hear songs from your youth, to sing along with and dance a little in your seat. They received a wonderful standing ovation at the end of their show.
The group sang favorites that included, Bandstand Boogie, Chantilly Lace, Surfer Girl, The Stroll and, of course, Little Darlin’. They were good, they were energetic and connected immediately with the audience. This evening’s program was a perfect way to end the day.
After the show the group came out to the lobby of the theater to greet guests and sell their CD. I asked if they would autograph it. They were very pleasant and kind doing, not only the autographs, but having the patience to have their pictures taken. I wanted the CD for my friend Sandy who just loves music.
We made our way back to the cabin for a good night’s sleep because tomorrow we dock at our first port-of-call; Norfolk, Virginia.