Another sea day and there are the usual lectures and game activities, except we have a new guest onboard, Jason Montague, the President and CEO of Regent Cruises. There was a morning town hall meeting where Jason presented Regent updates about the fleet. Several ships have had or will have massive renovations to upgrade facilities and change some cabin configurations to include more drawers for storage space. This had been mentioned many times by past guests. The new ship, Regent Splendor, has just begun construction and will debut in 2020 with Mediterranean itineraries. Jason spent almost an hour fielding questions of all types from passengers present in the theater. Some were complaining about shore excursions that had problems and others just asking about company policy and future cruise destinations. Jason admitted that some issues still need to be addressed and he will work on these. He seems very open to suggestions.
Terry’s talk this morning was more personal than historical. Many years ago, as a charity fundraising challenge for his wife’s home for disabled children, he agreed to walk the 120 miles across the Namibia Desert on a week’s adventure. He started training for this journey by trekking the foothills of the Himalayas. He described his journey to get there and showed beautiful pictures of the rugged, mountainous landscape and told interesting stories of the happenings along the way. The Namib Desert stretches along the coast for 1,180 miles and inland from 30-87 miles. The only moisture there is from sea mist and fog. They had to consume at least 4 liters of water per day and no washing was allowed. After a day, they all smelled alike, so no problem. There were many pictures of the trek through hot barren landscapes that looked more like moonscapes and plenty of endless miles of massive sand dunes. He spoke briefly about our next port, Luderitz, an old German coastal town, very quaint and Bavarian looking. Tomorrow’s excursions news will be more descriptive.
We next rolled into the noontime games where we played 31 and Pat won a couple of points. Art and I went to play ping-pong. Bob left the ship and Pat will go into that news. I skipped lunch and returned to the suite to work on downloading and sending more pictures for the web site. The penguins were so adorable and I took too many pictures. Hope you liked them. We are getting accustomed to looking at new faces and remembering names. It will take a while.
[Pat Here] We learned this morning that our good friends, Bob and Twila, left the ship yesterday. Twila had been having back problems the past few weeks, but I guess the pain got worse and she was experiencing numbness in her arms. She called her doctor from Cape Town, explained her symptoms and he recommended her return. She and Bob didn’t want to chance more serious problems as we cross the Atlantic Ocean for 10 days. We were very sad to hear this news. We also heard of another world cruise couple from Australia that participated in trivia who also departed yesterday because of a suspicious x-ray shadow on the husband’s brain. We are fortunate to be in good health.
I went to another card-making session with Julie today. She provided photos of Cape Town, and we layered sections on top of one another to get a three-dimensional look. I am getting a good collection of cards and won’t have to buy greeting cards for a while after getting home.
The afternoon destination lecture by Mike Scott featured Namibia, our next two ports of call. He began with the history of discovery in 1486 by Portuguese Diego Cao, but it was not until 1840 that the Germans discovered guano, poop from birds and penguins, that the first European settlement occurred. After WWI, the League of Nations recognized Namibia and placed it under South Africa’s administration. By the 1960s, attempts toward independence led to guerilla war with the SWAPO and South Africa. Independence came on April 1, 1989. The local currency is on par with the South African Rand. The ship will anchor in the harbor; therefore, we are tendering in. He described his personal experiences from previous visits to help us anticipate what our excursions will include. He very briefly touched on the mid-Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha. It has 270 inhabitants and the shore town is called “The Settlement” by the locals, but Britain knows it as the Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. It even has its own British postal code. He showed pictures of the beautiful picturesque island. One problem is that there is no harbor and the wind and sea waves will determine if we can tender in or be ship-bound. Either way, the locals will come to the ship to sell their wares. That is a very nice accommodation, because they seldom have ships passing their island. Based on prior history, ships have only had a success rate for reaching shore of 20%.
We showed up the Stars Lounge for Mensa and Trivia and got some more Regent points. There were a few less teams in Trivia and we suspect the newbies are fewer than the last segment and some have not yet discovered how much fun the game is.
There was the usual Captain’s welcome aboard cocktail party in the theater where the chief staff and department heads were introduced to the passengers, along with music and entertainment.
We had a nice dinner tonight with Trish and Jeff, and Lisa and Morry. Most of us enjoyed lobster or filet.
Headliner Showtime featured Colleen Williamson, a soprano with a tremendous voice range including alto notes. She sang a few songs from the 60’s which we still knew, and then moved to musicals. Numbers from Phantom, Cabaret, Man of La Mancha, Chicago, and An Affair to Remember followed. She was tremendous, perhaps the best singer we have had so far. Colleen will be with us until Rio and will do several more shows.
Yours in travel,
Pat & Mac