Day 21Sea days - on the way again to Dalian, China

Trip Start Feb 04, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2012

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

From the navigator:  Yesterday evening, once all necessary departure checks had been completed, Diamond Princess thrusted off her berth and proceeded east back otu through the Shanghai channel.  After disembarking our local Shanghai pilot at the mouth of the channel, we entered the traffic separation scheme and set a northerly course into the East China Sea, before setting various northeasterly courses towards the Yellow Sea. 

There were two traffic separation schemes we had to transit enroute to Dalian.  We passed "Dasanshan Dao" island on our starboard side as we proceeded to our designated berth at Dalian.  

This day at sea was very interesting, starting in mid-morning with a Culinary Show by the ship's Executive Chef, Amedeo Scarin, and Maitre d'hotel, Francisco Patricio.  A kitchen "set" was created on the Princess Theater stage, and a gourmet meal was prepared, accompanied by wonderful humor of the chef and maitre d'hotel, playing off each other in fun ways.  At the end of the show we were able to tour one of the nine galleys on the ship, where we saw food preparation areas and many cooks preparing food, fruit carving,and dessert making.  What to do next after such a mouth-watering event?  Eat, of course...a pub lunch was served in one area, and a Pastry Extravagnaza Buffet in the top open deck.  It was a quick lunch because we were on to another great event:

Meet the Cast & Backstage Tour.  We have gone to every show in the evenings of the Princess Cruise Singers and Dancers.  The cast was on stage for us to meet and greet, all very hospitable, explaining their lives as shipboard entertainers.  Most of them had been traveling on ships for a number of years and were in their mid-twenties and up.  They are very talented singers and dancers.  We then split up into groups and took a backstage tour, learning about how productions are put together.  There are four floors of costumes on electric revolving racks (like at the dry cleaners).  The costumes are all made by seamstresses, and each performer is responsible for the care and repair of their own costumes.  The costumes were all laid out at the performers' dressing rooms for the evening performance.  Each production costs more than one million dollars to produce, and the practice times are intense and ardurous.  The polished performances definitely showcase the professionalism.

I attended an afternoon Navigation Sea Lecture by 3rd Officer Dave, who talked about the workings of the ship, from disposal of garbage, the sewage system, physical plant, and once again, phenomenal statistics about the operations of a ship the size of Diamond Princess.  This is where I learned about "traffic separation schemes".  

And of course, the last lecture by John Maxtone-Graham was a "must-see" for me.  This lecture included John's wife, Mary, and they presented a series of skits and stories, sub-titled:  "All you Ever Wanted to Know About Passengers But Were Too Polite to Inquire".  It was very fun and a delightful wrap-up to the many lectures I went to by John.  His personal experience and stories aboard so many of the trans-Atlantic ships was well worth my time.

One more day of mid-day tea, strolls around the deck, atrium melodies by pianos Pavel Albrecht and the Tea for Four Strings, and then a lovely dinner before the Farewell Cocktail Party hosted by Captain Bob Oliver.  We had a special invitation to this because we have Platinum Status (designated by how many ship days one has sailed with Diamond Cruises).  So we dressed up and enjoyed cocktails and appetizers, and had our picture taken with Captain Bob.  Folks were awarded for the most number of sailing days, and if I remember correctly, the person who has sailed the most with Diamond Cruises has sailed over 1400 days.  That's ALOT of sailing - some years worth out of their lives!

On to the Showtime production in the Princess Theater, this time the show, "Piano Man", by the singers and dancers we met and talked with just this morning.  It was fun to see them in costumes  on stage that we had seen in their dressing rooms, and once again we were impressed with the quality of showman/showwomanship.    

There were many more activities that could have consumed us way late into the night, but we were done and headed to bed.  We missed the big New Years Balloon Drop Party and dance.  I'm sure they had a good time without us.   
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