Due to a communication snafu today’s demonstration did not make it into the daily program. The daily program is sort of like an evening newspaper here on the ship. It lets people know what all of the next day's events are and it usually includes some recreational information on where the ship is, where we’re going and occasionally some background information on key members of the staff like the captain and the executive chef. The result of the omission was that we went from well over a hundred people at our first demonstration to about half that for the second. Fortunately we had mentioned that we would be working with tuna today during yesterday’s lobster demonstration. The cruise director made an announcement about a half hour before we started so some people were still able to find us in the Wang Theater. Many of the people who came to the second demo had been to the first and were much less shy with questions and comments. This made things a lot more interesting on both sides of the counter.
The ship is still in a code red situation so we haven’t been able to do any of our culinary classes. Code red happens when only 2% of the people on board the ship are sick. Apparently on the previous cruise there was a mini-epidemic of the Norwalk virus and because of that we began this cruise in a code red situation. We are hoping that the code will be changed to yellow in Honolulu, as are most of the passengers and crew members on board. During a code red situation there is no self-service of any kind for any food or beverage. When you walk through a buffet a staff member must assemble your tray with silverware and hand it to you. There is a rope between the passenger and the buffet table and a server at each station to pass your food to you. You are handed coffee and water. There are hand sanitizer stations all over the boat and when you are entering the main dining room stewards greet you with a squirt to the palms as you walk through the doors. We were originally supposed to let passengers taste one of the dishes from our demonstrations but with a code red that’s no longer possible. Even when we move to a code yellow I believe that during the cooking classes we (and the passengers) will be required to wear rubber gloves whenever handling the food. It’s a tough situation for everyone but the crew is handling the extra workload quite gracefully. It can’t be fun to chase people around with sanitizer or toss salads to order on a buffet line but there seems to be no growling, however quietly, at the strain.
On the plus side, we are feeling fine, the weather is warm, the feedback has been good and we are about to enter Hawaii for the very first time. I should mention that we have been having difficulties with e-mail here on the ship. Apparently the Internet service provider does not support Entourage, which is the mail program we both use. So, if you have sent us something please be patient. We may not receive it until we return to NYC. It’s actually quite strange because we are getting some of our e-mails and there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what makes it through and what remains in some digital holding tank. I only realized it was an issue when I stopped receiving a few of my daily messages. But perhaps a break from civilization every once in a while is a good thing.