A Lazy Day At Sea

No–there are no buts. The ship is very nice. So far I am pleasantly surprised/pleased by this Carnival cruise.

“The ship is very nice,” I said as I walked back in the room a few moments ago.

“But,” Helaine replied?

No–there are no buts. The ship is very nice. So far I am pleasantly surprised/pleased by this Carnival cruise. There is a lot to like.

We’d asked for early seating so were surprised when we got our assignment for late seating! Our decision was more a result of indecision, so this substitution wasn’t much of a problem. We headed for the Sensation Dining Room and were escorted to a table for six. A lone couple was sitting there.

For a few minutes it was mostly awkward silence and then we began to chat with Robert and Terry from Panama City, Florida. He is in construction, she hair. They’re both in second marriages, both with two children of their own–mid and late teens.

Terry has never seen snow!

We and they could not be more different and yet they’re great dinner company. I’m not sure there’s another way we could have met… but we did. Shipboard luck.

Dinner was was pretty good. The steak was a little dry. Helaine had touted the “Chocolate Melting Cake” based on what she’d read on line. Thank you Internet posters! The cake was great.

We headed to the main showroom for the “Welcome Aboard” show. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you’ve seen this show. The ship features an oversized combo they refer to as an orchestra. They’d be better with better arrangements.

There were around a dozen boy and girl dancers. Each danced well, though no two started or stopped at the same time!

There was a featured male and female singer and they really could sing. Nice.

The cruise director was the emcee. That’s what cruise directors do.

The featured act was Tony Esposito, an Italian guy from the south. The southern Tony dominates the Italian. He was very funny. We’ll come back for his “R” rated show tonight.

Saturday began in the middle-of-the-night for us. I was spent long before midnight. We went to the casino anyway.

It was about this time I realized this ship and the NCL ship we were on a few years ago are very similar. In fact, they might be built from the same design. I’ll have to check when we’re back in Connecticut.

I love poker. The ship has a “PokerPro” electronic table. My thought was I’d eat up the competition, made mostly of people who never play. Maybe I will, but it’s going to be tougher than I though because of the rake structure. Rake is how casinos make money at the poker table. Mostly it’s 10%. Here it’s 12.5% and a $6, not $4, cap. That’s a huge amount of money removed from the table with each hand.

Today was a day at sea. I spent it walking the decks and shooting pictures. The weather was mainly sunny with a high in the mid-70s. The breeze was light.

This is not February in Connecticut!

Burying The Lead

There is a phrase used in journalism when you take the most important part of a story and overshadow it with something less important. That’s what’s going on with the Weather Service’s forecast for New Orleans.

Monday: Occasional showers and possibly a thunderstorm, mainly after 1pm. High around 85. Windy, with a east wind between 65 and 70 mph becoming calm. Winds could gust as high as 100 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Occasional showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Hello? You’re forecasting a hurricane for heaven’s sake. And, you’re forecasting it in, arguably, the most susceptible place in the country.

In the forecasters defense, what you read is a product of a semi automated process which puts words to forecast parameters… still. This way a forecaster can write lots of different pinpoint forecasts based on wide area information.

Let me use that word again… still!

Hurricane Katrina has strengthened, but not as much as would be anticipated. There are odd signs.


All that aside, conditions in the Gulf are so strongly favorable for development that short term fluctuations or even developmental weakness should be disregarded. At least that’s how it looks this morning.

It’s always possible, after the fact, things like the flight level wind will be looked at as a sign we saw and missed.

There’s not much surface data coming in now from the area near Katrina. The highest wind I can find is ‘only’ a 45 knot (about 52 mph) gust at a buoy (the 30 foot tall one in the photo on the left) located about 300 miles south of Panama City, FL. The buoy is rolling in 25 foot waves, in the 86&#176 water.

Right now I’m scared for New Orleans.