On our cruise around Asia we had another sea day between China and Vietnam. Having departed Xiamen the previous evening we were on the South China Sea with a full day of relaxing to endure.

Our body clocks were still not fully adjusted to the timezone difference from the UK which meant waking at ridiculous o’clock was still the norm so breakfast was eaten nice and early and we followed that – as we’d gotten into the habit of doing so on sea days aboard Diamond Princess – with a quick walk around the top deck to see if there was anything of interest happening aboard or visible out to sea and to take part in the Radio Taiso exercises that were displayed daily on the large movie screen on the cruise ship. The overcast conditions were the visual clue to the increasing humidity.

After that it was inside and down to the piazza to pick up the daily puzzles from the library before picking an activity (or not, depending on the mood and offerings) to occupy our minds and bodies. The source of information for choosing what to do around the ship with Princess Cruises is the Princess Patter and here are scans of this particular sea day’s programme:

We are creatures of habit for the most part, typically limiting ourselves to trivia and seeing if we can get some swimming in around reading, drinking, and relaxing. Prior to this cruise we’ve also tended to pop along to art auctions but over the first few days on Diamond Princess we’d had a nasty run-in with the people of Park West Gallery who manage the art on Princess ships (and many others). I’ve alluded to this in previous posts and do intend to fully write up just what happened at some point but to drop a rather massive hint as to what that might entail our eyes lit up when looking at the Princess Patter and spotting a lecture on the psychology of scammers and scam victims. This lecture didn’t just appeal because it had a direct bearing on what we’d experienced but also because I’ve been a long-time member and supporter (and for a while, organiser) of sceptical organisations in the UK and I wanted to see what a police officer might bring to bear on a subject I knew a little about anyway.

It was a good lecture and a good one for a cruise line to put on where there are a lot of elderly people who tend to be far more vulnerable to scams. We did find the slides describing how scam artists work to be most amusing when comparing how the Park West Gallery salespeople had behaved towards us and mentioned as much when we filed our post-cruise complaint to Princess.

The rest of the day went pretty much as expected, though: a long swim in the Sanctuary Pool led to the pair of us burning various bits we’d missed when applying our Factor 50; burgers and fries were eaten by the pool at lunch; trivia contests were entered and lost in crushing style; the odd drink or two might have passed our lips while reading or playing cards.

As we got ready for dinner in the early evening we had a lovely view of the setting sun on the South China Sea from our stateroom balcony.

Dinner was perfectly fine again with fabulously quick service from our waiter, Alexander. Skywalkers at the end of the evening was practically empty and we ended up back in our cabin earlier than we’d expected, looking forward to the first of two new ports in Vietnam for us in the morning.


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