We had five days at sea between Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Seychelles. That sounds like a lot, but time goes quite quickly, and there is plenty to keep one busy.
The MSC Sinfonia is Karen and my home for the 30 days duration of the cruise. Captain Pietro Scarpato is doing a fine job keeping the ship on track.
Since MSC is an Italian shipping line, there are a good many other nationalities on board. Conversations are hilarious: ”The Indian in the hot tub told me…..”
Announcements are made in at least six languages. It is quite fun meeting so many South Africans and hearing Afrikaans conversations.
What a warm feeling it is to talk in one’s mother language. On other cruises, there are mostly Americans, and talk often revolves around where you live, grew up, went to college, and which teams you support, leaving me out of it.
Now, I can relate, and what’s more, almost everybody knows my comedian dad’s name since he is a household name in South Africa. I had to smile this morning when a lady told me that her husband has been writing ‘Piet Pompies’ on all the Trivia questions he could not answer!
Our cabin is comfortable, and we love the balcony – good for the views and drying our washing! Sometimes, memories of my previous ordeal on the Viking Sky come flooding back when I watch the waves, but on the whole, the sea has been very calm and NOTHING like the waters during that storm.
Karen and I follow a comfortable routine, each doing her own thing and having time together. We play cards every day, and both of us write – me, articles and blogs, and she, keeping a careful diary. We also enjoy the hot tub and swimming pool.
To think that we sailed from the Suez Canal through the Red Sea bordering on Sudan, Eritrea, and Saudi Arabia through the Gulf of Aden ( near Ethiopia) and around the Horn of Africa (Djibouti)!
This important sea route sees 21,000 ships crossing the gulf annually. We had extra security on board when we passed Somalia since there was still the danger of lurking pirates. However, they are wary of large cruise ships since the crew uses the big water hoses on them when they try and board.
When we crossed the Equator (0 degrees latitude) on the 16th day of the cruise (December 2nd), there was a ceremony to celebrate the occasion. King Neptune handed the captain a big key to cross the Equator, followed by King Neptune’s party with much dunking, drinking, and hilarity!
It is entertaining (and sometimes confusing) to see the time changes while we travel. First, an hour forward, then an hour back, then forward, then back…
We do not miss a single show! There has been quite a variety of excellent performances. The Latin American dance duo is incredible, performing acrobatic feats at lightning speed while keeping big smiles on their faces! The latest trio to get on board is three Setswana tenors who trained at Wits University (Witwatersrand in Johannesburg). They have amazed us with their talent.
It is a special treat to check the daily menu with various offerings: appetizers, main course, and dessert.
We developed a taste for frog legs that turned out to be larger than the ‘rooster leg’ on the menu one night! I avoid 4 pm tea since it offers delicious little scones, fruit cobblers and custard, and various cakes and cookies.
While Karen only has coffee, I have a light breakfast. A few times, the chefs surprised us with fruit tables with watermelons carved into images. And now, it is time for dinner.