We had a change of plans this morning. Instead of going to Nanortalik, we are heading to Qaqortoq … both in Greenland. We will be arriving later than we were expecting to, so I have some time to catch up on some miscellaneous items about the journey from Iceland to Greenland.
Icebergs, “bergies”: As we head towards the arctic waters, we need to be on the lookout for icebergs. The captain has brought on two Danish iceberg experts to help with the spotting. We saw our first “bergies” today as we approached Greenland … smallish ones. (Note, Brad and I had a difference of opinion about how to spell “burgie” … or “bergie”. I was finally persuaded that it should be “bergies” to match “icebergs”.)
Birds: We have been noticing the birds, or lack of birds, as we are out at sea. When we travel from Iceland to Greenland, it takes two days. We aren’t anywhere near land for most of that time. Yet we see birds flying around the ship. We wondered … where do they sleep? So we asked our favorite bird experts, Jim and Becky. They said that some birds don’t sleep much, but they can alight on the water and rest. We also double-checked our one bird ID and they confirmed that yes, this is a great shearwater, a common bird in the area. They also told us that the birds flying around should be northern fulmars (the glide a lot, kinda mottled gray and white) and northern gannets (they plunge dive, beautiful white and black with golden heads). They both nest in huge numbers in Iceland and Greenland. We haven’t done a definitive identification of those smaller birds yet, though.
Whales: Yesterday, I was doing rounds on the promenade deck, gazing in an unfocused way out to the horizon. My eye caught something … could it be a whale spout? Or are my eyes just fogging up? So I stopped and waited … and sure enough, I saw two more. I then RAN up to the cabin to alert Brad and to get my binoculars (thanks, Dad … it is the pair you gave me many, many years ago …. still love them!). Brad was napping, but he got up and we went to the balcony to scan the horizon. Nothing. Nothing. Uh oh. Maybe I was seeing things? But then … it happened. We saw maybe three or four of them spouting, and they were showing their backs a bit too. Yay!
Foggy: Speaking of foggy, it has been quite foggy for the past few days. On our first night sailing from Iceland, I woke up a couple of times to the ship blowing its horn (or its whistle, as the captain says). The captain explained the next day that when there are fog conditions, they are required to sound the whistle every two minutes. There have been lots of whistles! We wonder how the crew can spot the bergies in the fog??
Spa services: We always take advantage of the spa services when we are on a ship. I had a massage early on the trip, and it was a good thing as I was having some back pains (the bed isn’t as comfortable as our lovely one at home :-)). Anyway, I had ZaZa from Serbia (she told me there are 40 Serbians on the crew). She is amazing! She really got in there and gave those muscles what for, and worked on some muscles I didn’t know needed working on. I felt so much better. I signed up for two more massages so she can continue to fix me all up. She also recommended that I try acupuncture, so I had my first treatment from a nice woman from Minnesota. It’s hard to tell what effect that is having, since it is mixed in with the massage, but we will see. Brad had a similar experience and was also very happy with his masseuse … and signed up for three treatments too. They give you fabulous “discounts” if you sign up for multiples. I don’t think I will be able to submit these receipts to my insurance for reimbursement, though …
Carpet Bowl: As we were wandering around the ship, we happened upon a competition of “Carpet Bowling”. It is like lawn bowling, but on the carpet mid-ship. Quite a few people are competing, and there is a large audience. You can think up all kinds of fun activities to keep yourself occupied while at sea …
Wine tasting: Another activity that we engaged in was a wine tasting event. We had five different wines, and some of the restaurant staff gave presentations on the different selections. There was one selection from California, three from Australia, and one from Chile. Surprisingly, our favorite was a Brown and Brown Orange Muscat and Flora dessert wine from Australia. It smelled so good … I said it could be perfume. And it was a light, citrusy, slightly sweet and very lovely. Brad doesn’t usually like sweet wines, but he suggested it would be good to find this when we get home if we can.
Fellow Passengers: We found out the following facts about our fellow passengers. There are 1288 people sailing the entire 106 days (Sydney to Sydney, Brisbane to Brisbane or Auckland to Auckland) … out of the 2000 passengers. Nearly all of the folks who say they are on the World Cruise tell us this is not their first one. The cruise line changes the itinerary every year in order to provide folks with additional reasons to sign up. This November, they will be accepting reservations for the 2020 world cruise.
Cruise Addicts: We went to the Captain’s Circle cocktail party last night, and they gave awards to the folks who have done the most cruising on Princess. The person that was #1 has cruised just under 2000 days. Wow. He is a doctor (retired, I presume) from Michigan. One more tidbit about that … they announced a new class of Princess ships that will start sailing next year, with the first called the Sky Princess. On board, there will be two “sky suites” that are 1565 square feet, on two levels, two bedrooms, two baths and a 700 square foot deck, with 270 degree views. The future cruise consultant told us that she booked one already. Wowzer.
New favorite drink: You’ve been on the edge of your seat wondering what I will choose as my favorite drink on board. Well, Peter, the Serbian waiter, recommended the 24 karat margarita. It is a hit. that is what I will order when I am at the ship’s bar. However, the rum punch drinks. that they were handing out at the Captain’s Circle cocktail party last night were pretty good too.