Friday, January 15, 2010

Marseille? Probably not in this lifetime...

13th October 2009 Marseille, France

Throughout the course of the evening and early morning, Ruby Princess maintained her predominantly westerly courses as we transited the Ligurian waters on the northern part of the Tyrrhenian Sea, leaving Corsica Island on our pot side towards the port of Marseille. Shortly before sunrise we edged our way slowly toward our Pilot boarding area. Our vessel was rolling and pitching moderately and at times heavily to strong gale force winds. After analyzing the situation, the Captain took the decision to abort our call to the port of Marseille at 06:30 due to severe adverse weather conditions and as a matter of safety for our fine ship and everyone onboard.

Well, RATS! Couldn't dock. The seas got rough and windy as we left Livorno...lots of movement. We had gone down to play team trivia in one of the lounges and WON! OK, so Mike knew most of the answers. I contributed some, in addition to writing down the answers as a good scribe should. We turned in early as we all had excursions planned for Marseille. It was to be my big, solo excursion splurge, an all day adventure into La Provence. When the alarm went off, the ship was still moving quite a bit, clearly not docked. We were at breakfast when the announcement was made that obviously the excursions were cancelled, and we would have another day at sea.

We lingered over breakfast with a nice guy named Harley, who had grown up on the main island of Hawaii in the '40's. Interesting guy. He had gone on a number of cruises, including one on the Queen Mary. He said that he and his wife were the youngsters on that one; the average age was in the 80's. Apparently there were double the usual number of coffins onboard that sailing. What??? There's a usual number of coffins? Huh.... hadn't thought about it, but I guess it makes sense. He also talked about the working conditions and compensation for the staff aboard the ship. The ship is registered in Bermuda, so the US federal regulations regarding hours and compensation do not apply. Obviously, the officers are well compensated, followed by the entertainers, then the kitchen and waitstaff in the various dining rooms and lounges, the staff of the cafeteria-type venues, and lastly, the stewards. Ours is named Kittimasak, Kitti for short. He is the sweetest, most pleasant guy. We had noticed that there were no maids, just stewards. They are all Asian or darker complected people. Harley said they are all from third world countries and work long hours for low pay. They are signed for six month contracts and, when at sea, work seven days a week, 16-20 hours a day. Poor Kitti! I know we saw him everyday when we got up and as late as 9 or 10P.M. It was an interesting conversation with Harley.

We watched the waves for a while and then went up to prepare for pastel class. I lost a port, but gained a class!

See all of Janet's lovely colors? I have a small fraction of that number. They just don't mix to make any shade I want like my paints do. Frustration!

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