Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, 2018

It doesn’t feel like Christmas Eve when you’re working all day, but it sure kept us out of trouble.  We were docked in Buenos Aires for most of the day, but at the container port, so going ashore wasn’t attractive to anyone except Rosie and Patrick.  They had left their phone in their room at The Brick and sort of wanted it back.  Wendy, the Event Manager, was off the ship, too, which wasn’t so good for me, because my DV broadcast had not gone out last night.  I duly recorded another one, changing “tomorrow” to “today”.  Unfortunately, when Wendy came back, she blasted out the first, rather than the second, so I had to record a third, apologizing for the first, and stressing that the cocktail party was tonight.  Yup, Christmas Eve.

One group leader, a travel agent, no less, had called in the morning to complain that no one in her group had received anything from Distinctive Voyages.  I said I would wait while she looked outside her door.  Sure enough she was calling me on suppertime news, and we had delivered after dinner.  They had their packets.

I met with every department I needed to and wrote my cocktail party speech.

Thirty-three people came to the cocktail party, which was good, considering we were competing with “Carols with the Captain” and our group of 18 must have had their own event planned, as not one of them came.  Neither our group of eight didn’t come, either, nor did our other group of six.  That accounts for most of them. Groups within the DV group change the dynamic.  My group of six was there, of course, and Patrick took the pictures for me.

It was a nice party, and it was nice to connect with these good people.  I wish our shore excursion were coming earlier in the cruise, it will be almost over before we see them again.  We hit the rush in the dining room, so dinner was a late affair, and we missed the show, but we like each other’s company and all was well.

Christmas in Montevideo

The six of us, Rosie, Patrick, JP, Ellen, Andrea and I, met for breakfast on the aft deck, outside the Oceanview Bar, happy that it was warm enough to do so.  Then we went out in Montevideo.  We shopped our way to the cathedral, getting there in time to catch the last half of the noon mass.  Both the cathedral itself and the service were beautiful.  The familiar hymns are nice to hear in their intended setting. When the mass was over, we toured the church, like the tourists we are.  The cardinal was giving an interview on the front steps.  There was a little market in the square in front of the cathedral, but most shops and restaurants were closed.

Patrick had struck up a friendship with the chef at one restaurant that was open, El Cuatro Equadorio.  The cuisine was very local, consisting of foods grilled with the heat coming from the top of the oven, circulating by convection.  We wanted to try it.  As in the church, we were the only tourists, and it did not get us favored treatment.  Quite the contrary.  This was a locals’ place and the locals got served first on Christmas Day.  When our two enormous Stellas came in their ice bucket, we fell on them with great joy and ordered a third.  It was pretty hot by that time and Ellen and I decided to cool our hands on the ice bucket.  JP was having none of it.  He told us to stop warming the beer.  The food finally came and it was pretty tough and disappointing, but we ate with the citizens of Montevideo, and that was super.  At one point they ran out of big ice buckets and we found ourselves with one bottle in a double, when the next table had two bottles in a single, which just didn’t fit.  We offered to switch and got the short end of the stick when they kept all the ice.

And that was Christmas, topped off with a turkey dinner in the main dining room, and The Eclipse Holiday Show.  On these big ships, not only are the production shows all singing and all dancing, they’re all Cirque du Soleil, too.  Those acrobat schools in Montreal are sending talent all over the world, at sea.  The stage, slings and cables, are all there, and our acrobats are good.  They are the best part of the show, really.

Boxing Day, December 26, 2018, in Punta del Este, Uruguay

I stayed aboard, wrote and delivered a newsletter, while Andrea went to the beach and everyone else toured the town.  It was a tender port and I was happier working than waiting around for little boats. Patrick got a great souvenir picture, though.


The newsletter wasn’t optional, if I was to find 60 people who wanted to spend New Year’s Eve with us.

Andrea and I were invited to the Helipad for Sail-Away.  I tried to beg my own clients in, but it was strictly for VIPs. As far as we could gather, that meant Suite Guests, and, well, us.  It turned out well, though, we made some nice friends, Jorge and Javier, from Miami.  Jorge used to be a travel agent and he was convinced the we needed to experience Luminae, and bring my clients.  He was sure they would be buying suites from now on, if they had that experience.  These are my Montreal clients.  They’re gourmets, spoiled with Montreal’s fine food, not to mention what they make themselves.  The Michael’s Club concierge was there and she told us how to go about it.  We could be guests of Jorge’s for $30 per person.  That would work for us.  We were delighted and so were Rosie, Patrick, JP and Ellen, when we told them at dinner.

The show was Charyn Cannon, a blues singer, and she was good.