Monday, December 17, 2007

Anniversary cruise - Day 3

Jewel itinerary
It's day 3 of our anniversary cruise, and our second day on board. Today is a sea day as we cruise toward a Cozumel landing about 7 AM tomorrow. Right now we're heading west just a few miles north of Cuba. 12172007 Cuba. Random thoughts from today -

12172007 The bingo machine
- We played bingo this morning. Bingo is big on cruise ships, as is any and all forms of gambling. Anything to part us from our money. We bought the $69 package (heh, heh) which came with a sheet of paper cards, 12 raffle tickets, 20 pull-tab card and this electronic bingo machine loaded with 48 cards. This is what bingo has come to - you give them your money, the machine plays for you and it tells you lost, and you don't even have to listen to the numbers. We didn't win any bingo, but we did get $54 on the pull-tabs, so we nearly broke even and had some fun along the way.

- I'm connecting to the internet through the ship's satellite connection. Cruise ships are very slowly starting to realize that this internet thing is here to stay, and that hey, some people use the internet for leisure. I've been on 8 cruises and the advances have been painfully slow.

  • First cruise 1998 - no internet
  • 2000 through 2004 - A small area set up as an afterthought with 4 or 5 PCs called the internet cafe
  • 2005 - Wireless arrives at the internet cafe! But only if you're actually in the cafe. And it's painfully slow
  • 2007 - On the Jewel, the first advance since wireless - ethernet connections in every stateroom! And wireless in the public areas of the ship. Not bad. Of course, the internet cafe is still 6 PCs in a hallway and they have one guy who has to answer all the questions/complaints, and he's swamped.
Now that they've finally got the access nearly up to snuff, they really have to work on pricing and speed. I'm paying 0.40/minute to connect and to get that rate you have to drop $100 for 250 minutes. Needless to say, I'm composing this offline. And I swear the entire ship has one internet satellite. It's not dial-up, but it's definitely reminiscent. Fortunately, I'm somewhat savvy, so I've connected my laptop to the ethernet connection and set up a secured wireless adhoc connection with mine as the gateway. So for the same amount of minutes, we can have Michelline and her parents on too. Speed is about the same since the bottleneck isn't the 100mbps ethernet connection, it's the internet connection itself. Ok, I'm off to a beer tasting.

1217207 The beer lineup
- I signed up for the beer tasting at the beer bar, Maltings. We had a little fun at the beginning when they dragged a very heavy, blind drunk guy off his barstool onto the floor. Eventually they brought a wheelchair and rolled him away. Luckily he wasn't belligerent. He was very pleasant but unhelpful as they were manhandling him into the chair. You can see the offerings above. I found both the Boddington's and Gunniess in the can to be quite bland. The Guinness didn't seem like the same thing I had gotten on tap. The lagers were ok. I'm really not much of a lager person. The Newcastle was the best, but I've always liked Newcastle. Along with the beer, they had trivia. There were 7 questions, but we only got three. Three teams got five right and they had a chug-off to name the winner. Damn, the winner drained a tall beer glass in about 4 seconds. Had to be about 20 oz. For your enjoyment, here are the questions -
  • What's the oldest brewery in the US?
  • What's the first foreign beer, an American brand, ever imported into Germany?
  • What's the national beer of Jamaica?
  • What country has the most varieties of beer (starts with a b)?
  • What brand was the first light beer, in the 70's?
  • How many years did prohibition last in the US?
  • What's the strongest beer, ABV, sold in the us at 17%?
  • What's the most expensive beer in the world and where does it come from?
The answers may not be accurate, but as the cruise guy said, it was his game. All-in-all, a lot of fun. I'm going to do it again on Thursday.

12172007 Hand Sanitizer
- This is something new on this cruise for us. These things are everywhere. They're automated hand sanitizer dispensers. The cruise lines have gotten a real black eye over all the cruise ships that have come down with Norwalk or some other stomach virus. I don't know how effective it is, but I've been using them. Better safe than sorry.

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John Howard said...

This is what bingo has come to - you give them your money, the machine plays for you and it tells you lost, and you don't even have to listen to the numbers.

That's ridiculous, why even play then? If it's just to gamble, they could collect your money and have a computer run the games while you do something else and just credit your account if you win.

The Disgruntled Chemist said...

Boddington's and Guinness from cans are pale imitations of the real thing. Boddington's on tap is a thing of beauty.

I love trivia, and I love beer. Let's see how close I can get without using the google.

Oldest brewery in the US: Anheuser-Busch

First American beer into Germany: Miller Genuine Draft

National beer of Jamaica: Red Stripe

Most beers: Belgium

First light beer: Miller Lite

Prohibition: lasted three years (?)

The strongest ABV beer question is wrong; Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware makes a beer (120 Minute IPA) that's 20% ABV. I don't know the answer they were going for.

Most expensive beer: No clue

I'm sure about the Belgium one and the first light beer one; the rest are educated guesses (except the last 2 obviously).

And I could totally drink 20 oz of beer in 4 seconds. Less, if it was Guinness.

I'm glad to hear you're doing good, wholesome activities on your cruise. Have a great time!

Chris Howard said...

I haven't looked up the correct answers on Google yet, either (this connection is about dial-up quality. Here's what the cruise guy said.

Oldest brewery - Yvengling (sp?)
First foreign beer in Germany - Sam Adams
National Beer of Jamaica - Red Stripe (of course)
Most varieties - Belgium
First light beer - Miller
Prohibition - 13 years
For the strongest beer he said a Sam Adams variety which I didn't catch, but I figured he had it wrong.
Most expensive beer her said was Tutankhamen from Egypt, made from the recipe found in the tomb. I'm a little suspicious of that one too.

thesteveabides said...

Oldest brewery - Yvengling (sp?)

Yuengling. It's a Pennsylvania brewery, I think.

The Disgruntled Chemist said...

Um, that was me. Apparently I'm signed in to TypeKey?

Angelos said...

Sam Adams Utopia.

25%, $125.

From what I've heard, not worth it.

Chris Howard said...

Um, that was me. Apparently I'm signed in to TypeKey?

Damn, I thought we had a new reader :).

Looks like Blogger has just implemented something called OpenID, where you can log in with several different compatible accounts. You should see a dropdown by the sign-in using box.