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May 14, 2017
Our First Lecture: Traveling the World Part 1

We were one of the headline activities in the daily Princess Patter!

The Pacific Princess is one of Princess’ oldest cruise ships. Though it bears the name of the original “Love Boat,” it is not the ship that was depicted in the old television series. Nevertheless, our ship was used for that show’s anniversary reunion.

For passengers used to huge, modern cruise ships with their 3,000-5,000-passenger capacities, the Pacific Princess is a shock. It is a small ship, 181 meters long, accommodating only 688 passengers. There is one dining room. There is one theater. There is no central atrium. The single swimming pool can fit about a dozen people.

On the other hand, the Pacific Princess is quaint and intimate. It takes no time to walk from one location to another. Everyone gets to know each other. In fact, many people specifically cruise on this ship because it is their favorite in the fleet.

Our cabin is 4055, on the fourth deck around the corner from the purser’s desk and across the lounge from the cruise director’s office. We were pleasantly surprised to find that we have a nice passenger cabin with an ocean view. (Our original expectation was an interior crew cabin. We found out that when we contracted, Princess didn’t have a cabin for us. They bumped another crew person to give us this cabin.)

Our cabin, no. 4055 on deck four

Dinner is divided into early and late seatings, but we don’t have a reservation. Our cruise cards are blank. So Oscar the maître d’ is letting us do the equivalent of open seating. (We knew Oscar from a previous cruise.) We show up whenever we’re hungry, and he puts us at a table with different people every night.

Our cruise director is Sammi Baker, a dynamo of a woman we also know from a previous cruise. When we met with her on Saturday, May 13, she had unexpected news for us: she didn’t need 11 lectures!

“I kept telling the office, would you please let that poor man know that we only need seven lectures?”

Nope, no one had let us know. Russell immediately breathed a sigh of relief. In fact, Sammi might not even need seven lectures. She was still working out the daily schedules, and there were several other activities she needed to slot in. Everything was subject to change. We would need to keep our eyes on the “Princess Platter,” the daily onboard newspaper/schedule.

Sammi, our cruise director, as featured in the Princess Patter

We gave Sammi a revised list of six lectures:

  1. The Adventure of a Lifetime: We Took Our Kids Around the World for a Year… and Survived
  2. We Traveled the World for a Year! Part 2: Living Out of a Suitcase
  3. The Adventure of a Lifetime: We Built Our Octagonal House… Without Killing Each Other
  4. We Built Our Own House! Part 2: Watching your dreams go up in smoke
  5. Crossword Puzzles That Will Amaze and Delight You!
  6. The Incredible Story Behind the Search for Longitude

(Last week, our son Joss had spent two days doing research for Russell on “The War of the Currents.” Unfortunately, that lecture will need to wait for a future cruise.)

Lecture No. 1 was on Sunday, May 14 at 9:30 am. (Happy Mother’s Day!) Unfortunately, we lost an hour the night before due to a time zone change. Fortunately, we still had about 50 people in the audience.

The title that ended up appearing in the Patter was: “Adventure of a Lifetime: We took our kids around the world and survived!”

Russell and Gail co-presented the lecture. Gail showed some souvenirs from our original trip: our sons’ shirts with all of their pins, our collection of country patches, and a towel from Tanzania.

We were supposed to speak for 45 minutes, leaving the last 15 minutes for questions and answers. In fact, we ended up talking for over an hour and still didn’t get to tell all our stories.

We have made a point to wear name badges at all times and be social with everyone. Throughout the rest of the day, we continued to meet people who gave us very positive feedback on our first lecture!

Russell delivers his first lecture in the Cabaret Lounge


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