Tomorrow Rarotonga

A  bit about the Mariner; she is seven years old, two and a third football fields long and thirty yards wide. Full speed she can do 20 knots or 23 mph. She cruises at 18 knots or 20.7 mph and is 50,000 tons of class. Each cabin is stocked to order. Ours has Vodka, Bloody Mary Mix, Chardonnay, diet Coke, etc. The big surprise was the iPod stereo player, preloaded iPod included.

At 6 PM the ship had a “block party”. At exactly 6:00 the ship’s whistle blew. The idea was to then leave your cabin and come out in the hall to meet your neighbors. The crew would bring some wine and snacks around. I can’t think of a drearier place than a ship’s passageway to “party”. We didn’t go out, and on the other side of the door all was quiet.

Last night we had duck again, but a large step up from food to cuisine. This was the best duck ever, cooked to order with Foie Gras and wedges of spicy apple. My appetizer was caviar with something under it, but who cares;

Michael’s was crab and mango.

Signatures is not fancy when it comes to décor,

but from caviar to Crème Brulee the food is incredible.

At 10:15, Michael went to TV land and I went to Stars Night Club, a low lit room with bar at one end, small area floor level for a combo at the other, and dance floor in the middle. Seating for we jazz junkies was awkward, with most of the chairs and tables scattered around the dance floor. Understandable, as most dancers pay little attention to what the band looks like. There was one small table with one chair facing the band (after I moved it) about 9 feet from the drummer; 4 feet from the vibes.

The session with one 10 minute break lasted until midnight. Besides the bass, drums, vibes and tenor sax, singer Michelle Amato was featured. She is the best jazz vocalist I have ever heard on recording or in person, and I’m including Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, and Anita O’Day. This was a huge treat for me. To be at sea, only an elevator ride from my soft bed, and listening to great jazz, can’t be topped. They will be playing in one room or another until we arrive in Los Angeles, and except for the dance set coming up tomorrow night, I shall be as close to front as I can.

The Christian Tamburr Jazz Quintet hung it up at midnight. I was bopping to myself all the way back to our cabin. Too stoked to sleep, my book finally fell out of my hands after 1 AM.

It is now Friday. The clouds are low with intermittent rain, the waves high, and the ship is bouncing around. Michael and I spent the day in our suite, reading, watching TV, napping, room service for all meals and loved it. We call these “catch up days”. It occurred to me that the last time I was in the Tahiti area it was the end of the rainy season. Now it is just past the beginning of the rainy season. We are both hoping for some sun tomorrow in Rarotonga, capital of the Cook Islands.

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