January 28, 2023
First the very good news, we were tested for covid yesterday after day 5 of quarantine and we both tested negative. They tested us early in the morning and when the nurse called us with the results I did a happy dance in the hall. So we could now be out and about with masks on for 5 days.
It was a day at sea today and I got out for my walk, we ate in the terrace cafe for lunch (breakfast was still room service) and I was back at the blackjack tournament where I won both games!! I don’t think my fellow players (we call them the “usual suspects”) were very happy to see me back.
Tonight we had the first of two Oceania Club cocktail parties. As has become pretty standard, they need to do two because there are so many guests who are repeat Oceania travelers. We have reached the highest level, the President’s Circle and there are 19 of us on board with 11 including us reaching that level on this cruise. Pretty impressive loyalty. We enjoyed the party with friends Marilyn and Charlie. One of the singers, Laura Pachnos, entertained us during the party along with the Insignia band who are simply amazing. No matter who our guest performers are, the band just gets a short rehearsal with them and plays all of their music flawlessly.
After the party, we continued to dinner with Marilyn and Charlie. It was the second of two Mexican theme nights in the terrace and as usual, Farid, our chef, outdid himself. Beautiful presentation and delicious food.
After dinner, Norm relaxed and I played a bit of blackjack and then went to the show. It was a group called Jared and the Vagabonds. Jared played Jerry Lee Lewis on Broadway in the play Million Dollar Quartet. They were simply amazing and they got a standing ovation. They will perform again in 2 days.
Tonight at around midnight we will cross the equator and tomorrow we will be in Manta, Ecuador where we have a tour of a coffee plantation and then relaxation at the beach. This is the place that Panama hats are made and if you want a good handmade one, it can cost anywhere from $300 to $1000. Good thing I don’t wear too many hats!