Friday 17 March 2017

Azamara Journey - At Sea 1

My distinct impression is that Captain Tysse disapproves of New Zealand weather, and its forecasters, and is pleased to be leaving both behind. This is the first time Azamara has cruised NZ waters and our skipper is unimpressed. He was upfront that his main purpose in giving us an extra taste of the fiords yesterday was to encourage interest in the company's annual 15-day Norwegian route which is - unsurprisingly, since he was born there - his particular favourite, including as it does the "pretty colourful villages" that wild and untouched Fiordland, to its implied detriment, lacks. I saw people today duly signing up for that cruise in the main foyer today, at the steadily busy Loyalty Desk.

Today was our first sea day, a bit wet and rough to begin with, and there was staggering (as well as sheafs of sick bags discreetly placed about the ship); but it improved as the day went on, and became distinctly brighter. We are promised 30 degrees in Hobart the day after tomorrow, which after our recent chilly dampness seems like another world. No doubt the Aussies will be crowing about beating the Kiwis at weather.

We actually heard from Tony the Invisible Cruise Director today - it was purely coincidental, of course, that one of the things he was promoting in his PA spiel was his own performance tonight singing Irish songs, it being St Patrick's Day.
Today's programme included also Bingo, with a free Tshirt and the chance of winning a prize cruise; a sale of stuff from the shops; a spa seminar on 'Youthful Lips'; a lecture on Maori Art (which seems a little late in the piece); various Trivia competitions; a wine-tasting pitting Oz against NZ; and, amongst other 'activities' (bit of a misnomer) a Watercolour Class, at which I discovered that my technique has suffered somewhat in the fifty years since I last picked up a paint brush. Other than to paint, you know, walls.
It wasn't all frittering time away today - there was laundry to do. But the reward was dinner at one of the two special (= higher end but also pay for) restaurants, Aqualina, on the tenth deck at the stern. And very nice it was, too. Excellent service from Allan, from the Philippines, who gets home every 6 months for 8 weeks, and for the rest of the time gets just part of one day off a week - but sometimes not, depending on cruise schedule and weather. What would the hospitality/service industries worldwide do without the Filipinos?

Anyway, delicious food, beautifully presented and served, with a view of white-capped Tasman, white-clouded blue sky, sundry seabirds swooping low and soaring high, and - sadly, inevitably - a discordant musak track of jangly and irritating jazz.

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