At Sea (October 28, 2021)

Considering San Diego is just over a half hour’s drive from Mexico, it was no time at all until we were sailing south along the 775 mile long coast of Baja California which is, by the way, the second longest peninsula on Earth!

A relaxing day was welcome after the anxiety of preparing for the trip, hoping we’d all pass the health screening, and getting across the country. The plan was to sleep away the morning, but that didn’t happen, so we jumped up and headed to a late breakfast. The pain au chocolate was totally worth it! The pastry station will be my first stop from here on out.

The day was beautiful, bright, and sunny with the Baja coast in view most of the day. From breakfast Dan and I headed to a lecture on luxury cruise ships of the past. Mary Amanda was a fun, funny, fast talking presenter who had no problem holding our attention. She started by explaining the difference between ocean liners of the past (minimal glass) and cruise ships of today (the more glass the better)! Ships from as far back as anyone can remember were primarily used to transport goods and the mail with only the crew in terms of passengers. The British shipping and logistics company P&O modified a few of their freight liners to accommodate a limited number of passengers in the early 1800s, but freight remained their focus. In 1840 the Britannia was built and could accommodate a whopping 119 guests and had a cow on board for fresh milk and a cat to keep the rodent population in check. There was one toilet and one tub for all 119 guests to share (you read that right)! In 1870 the Oceanic introduced luxury sailing and in 1900 the first actual cruise ship was built in Germany. Between 1900 and 1914 the cruise industry was thriving with ships from different companies and different countries vying to be the fastest and the fanciest. Among these was The Titanic which launched in 1912. 1913 saw the launch of Germany’s Imperator with a capacity for 4,594 guests! Think two indoor swimming pools, libraries, smoking rooms, lounges, chandeliers, hand woven carpets, and intricate wood paneling with the goal still being to get where you were going as fast as possible while basking in the lap of luxury.

World War I put a temporary end to all that when the luxury liners were refitted to support the war. After the war cruising was reimagined when Ile de France introduced not-in-a-hurry-to-get-there, or anywhere actually, travel. It was a light, bright, art deco ship where women were welcome at the bars for the first time! Revolutionary. Normandy is considered the very last of the great ocean liners. It was very popular with Hollywood elite in spite of dinners that lasted four hours. Don’t ya know the passengers had their fingers crossed that they’d be seated between captivating conversationalists? Amazingly the Normandy was launched during the great depression and had no problem finding luxury food items and guests willing to pay for them.

And there you have it: Over time the cruise industry has morphed into what we have today. Ships have added more and more glass to their fleets necessitating careful selection of routes in order to avoid weather that the ships could not withstand. Interiors are lighter, brighter, and considerably less ornate. Diners are no longer expected to sit through a dozen courses or dress in finery. Casual, comfortable, and relaxing have replaced hoity toity.

Besides learning all things cruise, we enjoyed small snacks that were waiting for us in the room, walked the deck for exercise, relaxed, and one of us tried his luck in the casino. Dinner tonight was one of our two fancy nights with the guys in optional coats and ties and us gals dressed accordingly. Over cocktails in the Sky Lounge, we exchanged stories about what we’d all been up to during the day. Dan managed the seating arrangement for dinner and gave us part one of an eight part contest he devised using a column from The Wall Street Journal.

Want to try your luck?
1) According to the US Federal Reserve, this is a good yardstick to gauge a potential romantic partner’s promise.
a) Credit score
b) Investment portfolio

2) What portion of NCAA Division I athletic departments generate enough revenue to cover the expenses of their sports programs?
a) 50%
b) 10%

3) According to the online dating service Match, straight men with this pet have a 5% lower ‘like’ rate compared with other straight men.
a) Boa constrictor
b) Cat

See why I am in last place?

Tonight’s entertainment: The Celebrity Singers and Dancers sang and danced to popular Broadway and West End shows. We all thoroughly enjoyed their high-energy, enthusiastic performance.

Pop quiz: What is the longest peninsula in the world?

For what it’s worth…..

The currency in Mexico is the peso.
20.8 pesos (MXN) = $1.00
1 MXN = $0.05

Tijuana is the largest city in Baja California.

There are four main desert areas on the Baja peninsula.

Every year gray whales migrate 10,000-14,000 miles round trip from the Arctic to Mexico’s
warm water lagoons! They make this incredible trek, the longest of any mammal, to mate and give birth.

The Wall Street Journal answers: a, b, b


2 thoughts on “At Sea (October 28, 2021)

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