7/3/13 - 7/20/13
Update: All new posts can be found at http://thewanderingmind.net.
Our first full day of the cruise was a sea day. We had a leisurely morning, beginning with breakfast at Blu. After checking out the morning's view from the balcony, of course.
For most of the morning, we relaxed and enjoyed the ever-changing views of the Italian coastline as we traversed the Strait of Messina between Sicily and Italy. We sat in the cozy chairs of the relaxation room, hypnotized by the view and the oh-so-subtle movement of the ship. And perhaps one of us got a little too comfortable.
After wiling away most of the morning this way, we explored more of the ship.
Clay decided to play in a blackjack tournament, which he won. Of course, only seven people entered, but he did win actual money, like $175 of actual money. Clay has his own, more "interesting," although perhaps less accurate, version of events. Written from my perspective. Obviously. I may have edited a bit, mostly for appropriateness and grammar. What can I say? I can't let it go, which is why Clay both loved and despised when I edited his term papers in college. Mostly despised. Yet he still kept asking.
"Swift Stroke of Pure Genius"
Little did I know that Clay was such a good gambler. He entered the ship's blackjack tournament, which was comprised of the best players on board the ship, including some who owned casinos in Monaco and Monte Carlo. Clay played technically sound hand after hand. Although he gave a lot of credit to luck, I know from watching the level of experience and competition at the table that he was just being modest. He decisively climbed up the ranks and before you knew it he was sitting at the final table. It was almost as if he had not been presented a worthy challenger until the final table. Once at the final table, it came down to just seven hands; the one with the most money after the last hand would be declared ship champion. The dealer had a blackjack on the 1st hand, but Clay skillfully played the next several hands, doubling his money in short order. I don't know whether Clay had a premonition on the 4th hand, but he lowered his bet to only $50 and this proved crucial as he was dealt a horrible hand of 15 with the dealer having an 8 showing. After this, he quickly recovered to put away a little more money over the next two hands. Unfortunately, going into the final hand, he was down by about $300 to a high roller who regularly plays in Vegas. The betting was done in order and could not be touched once placed. Also unfortunate was that this pro would be betting after Clay. Clay made the snap decision to only bet $200 knowing that if the high roller won her hand he was done regardless, and in hopes that she would bet a lot and lose her hand. Well, given that she was a pro, she countered and matched him exactly at $200. The cards were dealt and Clay was blessed with the fortunes of 2 queens. The pro was not so fortunate and she busted on her first hit with the dealer showing an 8. Clay tried to quickly calculate and in a swift stroke of genius decided to double down on his pair. The situation was tense and I was nervous. This proved to be decisive as he was then hit with a face card on each. The crowd reacted to the tremendous move and started cheering and patting Clay on the back for his forward thinking. It came down to the chip count and Clay managed a win by only $100. He was then presented the cash prize, a lovely custom trophy, and a stunning polo, but most importantly was declared the Blackjack Champion of the Celebrity Reflection. The pro walked away from the table in disgust and one of the other players from Monte Carlo told Clay that he was welcome in his casino at any time. I guess his summer in Vegas paid dividends after all.
We kept the winning streak going by dominating at trivia. Clay and I are quite the team - he knows everything about sports and animals and geography and I know pretty much everything else. For our amazing trivia skills we won... A Celebrity Cruises pen!
After more relaxation, because, really, we had not done enough of that, we got dressed up for the first of two formal nights during the cruise.
Because Blu is a specialty restaurant, we had the choice to dress formally or not. It seemed like most people chose to wear their dressier clothes, so I would have probably felt out of place choosing more casual clothes. Plus, why would I miss out on a chance to get all dressed up? It's not like I had anything else to do that day, well other than relax and relax some more. The food at Blu was again delicious.
After dinner, we watched the sunset from one of the hot tubs. Later we found a cozy spot at the Sunset Bar, where we rounded off our day of relaxation with more relaxation plus cocktails as we sailed toward our first port - Santorini, Greece.