Day 26

A sunny sea day with gentle swells was a good reason for a leisurely morning breakfast. The morning program listed two enrichment lectures that we attended. Historian Andrew Jampoler spoke on “Disease and History” with many examples and illustrations of how, before the age of modern medicine, lethal epidemics, and fatal disease shaped human history as much, and even more, than did the acts of great men and women, or the events of politics and wars. One example was the age of the conquistadors and European explorers. The diseases they brought to the new world of North and South America obliterated 90% of the native population who had no immunity to the European diseases, like smallpox, yellow fever, typhoid, and others. The indigenous people were too weakened, and small in numbers, to seriously resist. The outcome was already predetermined.

Professor George Losey provided an illustrative talk on “Symbiosis on the Coral Reef.” He showed the many intricate relationships between plants and animals that have evolved in one of the most ancient and stable marine environments. Some fish have a service relationship to larger fish by cleaning their scales of parasites, such as the remora cleaning sharks. Grouper and reef eels team together to hunt prey. Some predator fish have evolved a camouflage coloring to mimic docile fish so they can travel in their packs and quickly strike a prey and return to the pack to hide.

A few minutes after these lectures was the noontime fun and games. Today’s game was something like charades where a team member had to mimic a word for us to guess with 75 seconds. The team with the most correct answers after three rounds wins. Jamie, the Cruise Director, was the game host and kept this hilarious. Surprisingly, our team won and earned two Regent points.

After lunch, I went to the casino area to buy three squares in the Super Bowl grid. Pat exchanged our excursion tickets for Monday for an earlier departure time, so we would be back on board in the afternoon to see the Super Bowl, or at least the second half.

We participated in a backstage tour this afternoon. Passengers asked all types of questions of the cast before we were led into the dressing rooms. All types of costumes, shoes and wigs were displayed. There is assistance with quick changes, but each cast member is responsible for his or her own wardrobe and makeup. They must all continue to fit into their costumes, so they must watch what they eat (not like us). We learned about backstage secret passages and saw supply areas with extra items that could be used or altered for a particular number. The lighting, sound, and technical operators also spoke to us and showed us how they controlled their aspects of the performances. They are the unsung heroes. The whole event was pretty fascinating.

We came in second in trivia today. Hooray for us!

Later this afternoon our hula class of about 20 faithful souls performed for the rest of the ship. They have been taking lessons with June on all the sea days so far. Mac and I went to a couple of lessons, but gave them up in favor of listening to the lectures. The group danced about 5 songs and were quite good, June handed out graduation certificates at the end, a nice touch.

We had a special dinner tonight with our trivia team and their spouses. Two couples are getting off the ship in Auckland in a few days, since they had only signed on for the first segment of the cruise. We exchanged personal information cards and will try to stay in touch. We will miss them.

Tonight’s entertainment was guitarist Tom Ward. He played well, but didn’t have the orchestra accompany him. We got restless and left after a half hour to return to our cabin and write today’s story. Tomorrow is another sea day.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac