Day 16 –At sea……exploring behind the scenes..
The people in the stateroom next to us appeared to order room service breakfast every day, something we’d never done. Having decided we should at least try it, we hung our request outside the door before going to bed and were greeted with a tray piled high with goodies soon after 8:30am. Whilst we enjoyed the novelty of sitting in our fluffy white robes munching on grapefruit, waffles, poached eggs and bacon, we won’t be rushing to do it again anytime soon.
The rest of the day turned out to be a pretty busy one in spite of being at sea. In the morning, we went to the final of the lectures by Dr John Rennie Short, this time on Buenos Aires. Given we’re about to spend 4 weeks living in this diverse and somewhat eclectic city, it was particularly interesting to gain his insights. Together with his previous talk on Argentina, he provided us with a lot of clarity on some of the things we’d already observed during our brief stay in BA prior to embarking on the cruise. Why the city was so different to what it been when we visited 11 years ago.
The Insider Tour of the ship planned for our first week, had been postponed and we were glad they’d managed to fit it in rather than cancel. It was fascinating to spend the good part of 2 ½ hours exploring the bowels of the ship. The galleys were largely empty as the lunch rush had just finished and the staff were resting before the evening service. This was apart from the pastry chefs who were frantically preparing for the signature chocolate buffet to be presented that evening. The meat freezer took us back to our time in Antarctica at sub 20 degrees! Given we’re nearing the end of the cruise, the stores were fairly empty – we now know what they’re likely to be feeding us over the next few days based on what’s left (and what they’ve run out of). The Environment Officer shared how they incinerate, dispose of and recycle everything on board. It’s difficult to comprehend the volume of stuff they contend with on a daily basis.
Our visit to the Engine Control Room was interesting, although having a few engineers in the room took us to levels of detail that were a little beyond us. We did gain additional insight into the 4 diesel engines and 2 electric propellers and a little more information on how fresh water is “created” on board.
Our visit to the Bridge was certainly a highlight of the tour, not only for the view, but to see how the navigational and security systems all work. It was fun to visit the outside instrument panel.
Less of a highlight but definitely eye opening was our journey to the depths of the ship and the laundry. The staff there work in less than salubrious conditions, washing & pressing clothes and linen. We were astounded at how small the area was despite the volume of items that pass through. In spite of the cramped, hot and humid environment, the staff still keep smiling!!
A good thing we managed to fit in a trip to the gym before dinner as the chocolate buffet to follow was irresistible!!
Day 17 –At sea
Our penultimate day was largely spent packing and relaxing.
Before going to bed we had to put all our suitcases outside the stateroom for staff to collect as we slept.
Day 18 –Terra firma never felt so good….
We woke up to a drizzly morning in Buenos Aires. We still managed to enjoy breakfast undercover on the back deck of the ship. With some time for coffee after breakfast, we relaxed in Mosaic for the final time. It was soon time to disembark and we headed down the gangway to the shuttle that would take us to the terminal. Strangely, we seemed to have nearly all the people that we’d spoken to the most during our time on the ship – Peter, Cheryl, Sandy & Murray from New Zealand, Sudhir & Chitra from San Diego and Mark & Gayle from London. It was sad to say goodbye but hope to meet up with some of them again!
We found our bags easily and very soon we were in a taxi and on our way to the apartment. Even though we arrived early, Naty was waiting for us with our keys – so by 10am we were in and getting settled.