Our itinerary called for two days at sea before we would reach our first port. We kept ourselves occupied with the many Capital Jazz activities, concerts, parties, and ship amenities. The ship's daily publication, Fun Times, contained a list of all the happenings on the ship.
Traci was up early to go to Sherman's fitness class while I slept in. Traci is very disciplined when it comes to working out. I think she only missed one class the entire week. As for me, I work out only on mornings that I have to go to work. Since I was on vacation, working out was not a consideration for me.
I joined Traci in the dining room for breakfast where I had a disappointing plate of pancakes. They were dry. Fortunately, the meals got better as the week progressed. We had good conversation with others who were seated at our table. By the time we finished, I realized I had already missed my first planned activity for the day - Spanish 101 with jazz saxophonist, Kirk Whalum. I could have really used that class at the ports of call of this year's cruise.
One of the Capital Jazz activities that I really enjoyed was the Q&A sessions with the artists. On the first sea day, I attended the Q&A of R&B/pop singer Ce Ce Peniston. I went from that session to the Q&A of vocalist and American Idol winner (Season 2) Ruben Studdard. I really enjoyed his chat. I do not know him personally but he has the type of personality that makes you feel like you are catching up with a friend you haven't seen in a while.
I stopped by our cabin and was surprised to find that Traci had been napping since breakfast. But then again, I probably should not have been surprised. Her pre-vacation ritual is to pull an all-nighter consisting of packing and re-packing until she finally decides what outfits she wants to bring on the trip. The lack of sleep seemed to have finally caught up with her.
I noticed we had a visitor on our balcony - a dove. Traci said it had been out there for longer than an hour. It eventually flew away. I hope it had enough stamina to make it back to land. The ship was well out to sea at that point.
This dove on our balcony was a long way from land.
I left Traci to continue her nap while I went up to the pool deck to check out the block party with the cover band, Kasper & the 911 Band. It was a fun party and sing-a-long type of event. I followed that up with the daily 4 PM Name That Tune contest on the Promenade Deck. I did not do so well at this last year but was eager to redeem myself this year. Although I did not win, I did much better than last time. Even if you don't play, it is still fun to stop by near the end when they reveal the answers. Everyone begins singing and dancing to the songs.
The theme night attire for the evening was football jersey. This was appropriate because it was also a football Sunday. In fact, there was no 8 PM concert scheduled that day to give people the opportunity to watch the New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys game on the pool deck's Jumbotron. You could also see some of the games from your cabin TV.
Sunday Football on the Pool Deck
Theme Night: Football Jersey Night
The 9:15 concert that evening was smokin'! It featured the smooth jazz group Fourplay and the smooth jazz/fusion group Spyro Gyra. Each member of both bands is ultra-talented. I was impressed to see saxophonist Jay Beckenstein of Spyro Gyra play two saxophones at the same time! The group's drummer, Lee Pearson, took a mind-blowing solo in which he played complex licks with his arms crossed behind his back! It is something that has to be seen live to have a true appreciation for it.
We still had energy after the concert so we joined the throngs of other passengers at the Lido buffet for some late-night snacks. I then headed downstairs to the midnight jam session leaving Traci to join in a card game of Spades with a group of people who were sitting at the table next to us in the Lido buffet.
Jay Beckenstein of Spyro Gyra playing 2 saxophones at the same time!!
On my way to the jam session, I paused in the lobby to check out the line dancers. They always looked like they were having so much fun every night. Sometimes it was line dancing. Sometimes it was salsa dancing. Regardless, the music was infectious and the atmosphere jovial. People would dance late into the night every evening.
The jam session was fantastic! Bassist Gerald Veasley hosted it. Many top-notched musicians took turns trading solos. I never knew who was going to show up from one minute to the next. Rapper Chubb Rock even got up on stage and rapped a little. A highlight for me was Lalah Hathaway, who came on stage during one of the smooth jazz grooves. I have always loved her rich voice. This was my first time hearing her live. I had no idea she is such an amazing scatter and whistler! She truly uses her voice as her instrument.
There were more than 20 artists at this jam session - everyone from members of Fourplay to bassist Aaron Mills of Cameo. It was a great treat to witness so much improvisational artistry. I stayed until the end which meant that I did not get back to our cabin until around 2:30 AM. Continue...