The Black Watch is a very British ship, Fred Olsen is a Norwegian company, the Captain is Finnish, and the workers are Pilipino. The ship is almost 45 years old, and although it has been refurbished several times and transferred from Royal Caribbean to Norwegian to Fred Olsen, it is showing its age; clean and well-maintained, but lots of coats of paint. It has remarkably little in common with the 6,000 passenger behemoths that are now being built.
I guess there are three restaurants: the main one, where we have dinner at table 14, second seating with John, Beverly, Carole, and Claudio. There are always 8 or 10 entrees plus the usual starters, soups, salads, and desserts. There is a specialty steak and seafood restaurant, which has an upcharge and so little used to be uncomfortable. And one less formal pub-ish place that is always buffet. And it did do the tradional Sunday Roast. Breakfast and lunch are buffets in both the formal and informal spots.
The food is fine, leaning a little toward British. I had bangers and mash last night, with three different sausages that were quite edible. A couple of the Brits at our table had the fish and chips. There are also several bars and lounges with live music on some sort of schedule. And stage shows every evening, with an assortment of singers, dancers, and one comedian, whose humor is very British with a lot of references to people I’ve never heard of. The casino has one roulette wheel and one black jack table. The only activity I have noticed there is the dealer knitting.
They claim two swimming pools, one that you can actually swim in, about as long as ours is wide. Then there are three hot tubs and a couple “Swim-Ex”, with artificial currents so you can swim in place.
Deck 7 has a walking path that takes 5 laps to make a mile (3.1 laps to make a kilometer) and involves cutting through the poolside bar and dodging occasional contests of shuffleboard or something I don’t recognize. Finally, there are a couple lectures a day, with topics like the ports of call or the life of John Paul Jones or Lord Wellington.
This is more final. There is a movie theater (or theatre) showing decent, if not first run, movies. One from yesterday was “Water for Elephants.” The television has a couple BBC and other news channels, as well as 40 or 50 movies. After having dinner at 8:30, barely finishing in time to make it to the stage show or movie theater at 10:30, we have yet to stay awake through the opening credits of any television movie.
Rumor has it that the other “American” is named John, is originally from Virginia, but is now a naturalized UK citizen. I don’t know if he voted to leave or remain.
Tonight’s dress code is formal: “Gentlemen will be comfortable in tuxedo or dark suit.” So we will need to dress for dinner soon. They seem to be making a major assumption about when I feel comfortable, or maybe I’m not in category Gentleman.