We set the wake up call for 6am, thinking it'd be great to see the sunrise from the deck of the ship. But when the phone rang, it was all I could do to mumble to reset it for 7:30am before I fell back asleep.
When it rang at 7:30, we threw ourselves out of our respective beds and headed up to the sun deck for another attempt at the hot tub. This time, it was open and we had a heavenly soak.
After that, we had a buffet breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe on the sun deck. It was pretty good, but I was in sad straights because they didn't have Diet Coke available, my caffeine beverage of choice. Luckily, there was some in the room, so I did finally manage to get both eyes open. :)
After breakfast, we went to the cabin and changed out of swimsuits and watched a bit of the HL Euro eps on tv. I was stunned when I saw the Eurominutes from Forgive Us Our Trespasses. They left out a great scene between Methos and Keane in the US version! I'll give out those spoilers seperately, if anyone's interested...
Then we went to the Follies lounge on Deck 5 for the Q&A at 10am. There, Maxi won my undying thanks for having saved us a table in the front and very center. A waiter was coming around, taking drink orders, so I had a second Diet Coke just to make sure I was completely awake.
The Follies Lounge is a three story room (extends from Deck five to Deck seven). The stage is raised, with a balcony on the top level. The floor was a steep incline, with rows upon rows of tables, seperated by benches. Here's an example of a couple of tables... (U=chairs)
U (table) U U (table) U
U (table) U U (table) U
Donna and Gillian arrived first, and stayed near the back chatting with fans. Peter arrived next, sticking mostly with his handlers (coulda been fans among them, but nobody I knew). Then Jim and David showed up, and they all took their seats at the table that had been set up. They puttered for a moment before Liz finally arrived. She gave Peter, Jim, and David a kiss and sat down at the end.
Before the questions started, a group of four fans presented the panel with contributions to a charity in their names. I wish I could remember the charity, but I'm blanking on it it involves training assistance animals for the disabled). Everyone seemed very touched by the gift.
Then the con gal with the microphone opened the floor for questions, and off we went. Some were amusing, some were inappropriate, and none shed light on the future of HL. I asked about the HL4 movie and who had signed for it. They said AP and CL right away, but wouldn't commit to more than that. Jim said there was a Watcher storyline proposed for the movie, but that nothing was set in stone. Peter and Liz also said it was way too early to know anything for sure and left it at that.
One person asked "Why did Richie die?" There was scattered laughter which turned into applause and cheers. As one, the panel pointed to David A., who grinned shamedfacedly.
He went into a detailed description that I won't try to paraphrase, but it can be found in the Q&A transcript (part of Cruise in a Can).
The Q&A lasted two wonderful hours, but they brought it to a halt so we could explore Nassau. We went back to the cabin, changed into swimsuits, then headed off the ship to join our shore excursion group.
Mike and I had chosen the 'Yellow Bird' tour, which was nicknamed the "Drink Til You Sink" Cruise. We boarded an open air, two-story catamaran, complete with bar and reggae band. We were served all the rum runners we could drink until we reached a private beach, where we frolicked for an hour. There were so few people that it was easy to get a part of the beach to ourselves.
The view from the ship was breath taking. It was a beautiful day, surrounded by beautiful scenery, and absolutely delightful. I couldn't have planned a better day.
We returned to the Sovereign of the Seas at 4:20pm and ran to get ready for the Meet and Greet the Guests party. I had exactly 40 minutes to go from sand-covered mess to a formal dress. Not easy, but somehow we managed.
Maxi had once again saved a seat for us in the front row of tables surrounding the dance floor. In the middle of the dance floor were six chairs with a stool in the center. We were on the opposite side of the lounge from the previous night, but still the guests ended up sitting a few tables behind us. Most of the cruise goers were already dressed for the formal Captain's party, but the HL guests were still pretty casual (well, except for Liz, but then she's always well-dressed.). Peter looked very good in jeans, I must say...
The guests eventually moved to the chairs and sat down. (Jim took the stool.) The con organizers announced that everyone would be able to take a picture with the guests individually with their own camera or they could get a polaroid. On the one hand, I was a little disappointed because I was hoping it'd be more like Liz's tea from CCC. On the other hand, I was thrilled to be able to get a picture with the six of them and have a chance to talk to them, however briefly.
The guests were sitting in the following order: Donna, Gillian, Peter, Jim, empty chair, Liz, David. I was a bit disappointed that the empty chair wasn't between Jim and Peter, but I love Liz too much to ask her to move. (I felt they were gracious enough to be blinded for two hours, I didn't want to push it.)
They brought us up, table by table, to have our pictures taken. Mike, Maxi, and I were towards the front, so we got to go early, for which I was supremely grateful. I don't remember who went first (my heart had somehow located to my throat), but I know Mike and Maxi went before me.
I noticed Mike talking to Peter when he went up, but I couldn't quite catch what was said. Mike told me later that "I just told him that despite what he may have heard about the Harem, they're really not bad. They're a fun group of ladies and writers and nothing he should worry about. And he shook my hand and said to give his regards to the harem." So Peter sends his regards... :)
When it was my turn, it was all I could do not to tremble. I walked up towards the empty chair and Liz focused on me and said "Oooo." (Which I considered a high compliment from her!) I got up to the empty chair that everyone had been sitting in and looked at Jim. "Do you mind if I move this out of the way and stand next to you?"
He smiled. "No, not at all." he said, and pushed the chair backwards.
Several in the crowd laughed and whistled, so I said, "Hey, I want to be up here with him." with a shrug. I saw Liz grin at me, but I was too nervous to notice much else. I'm having one of my infamous 'near Jim' blank spells...) I know Jim put his arm around me and I put mine around him in return, but other than that, the rest is blank. Go fig. ;)
I remember being back in my chair and immediately heading outside for some fresh air (and to stop shaking!). When Maxi and I came back in, we found out that the polaroid that Mike had had them take hadn't come out well, so they were retaking some of the pictures with a real camera. I'd gotten the shot with the guests and Mike on his camera, so I asked him a reeeeally big favor - would he mind if Maxi and I stood behind the guests when he had his picture retaken so we'd have a harem shot of sorts with the guests. He said sure (yea, Mike!).
I gave my camera to Gypsy to take a seperate picture and we waited for everyone to go have their picture taken once before we went through again. After about another hour, we noticed that people were having their pictures retaken, so Mike got in line and we were up again. By this time, someone had requested that Peter and Liz trade places, so the empty chair was now between Peter and Jim. Mike surprised me by telling me to take the seat and he and Maxi would stand behind the guests. (double yea, Mike!) I plopped down (had taken my shoes off by this time) in the chair and we took pictures again. If there are extra details here, they're lost in the fog of nearness to Peter.
It had to be pointed out to me that the HL guests were sitting about 4 or 5 tables over from us, and had been since the night before. Doh! I was sitting on the wrong side to see them, which was just as well, since I would have spent the whole dinner 'not' looking at them.
The theme this night was French (the previous night had been Italian). If you noticed, I hadn't eaten lunch (well, I drank it ;) ), so I was starving. I had French Onion Soup, salad, french bread, leg of lamb, skipped the escargot (blech), and finished it off with the infamous Cherries Jubilee. (Yes, we had noticed that it was flavored with Kirsch. I had no choice but to eat my 'flaming Richie', now did I? Except that it wasn't actually flaming when we got it, but I was too tempted to wait for them to light it.) The Clan Denial erupted in laughter over the dessert, also, and they were taking pictures, holding it up for the camera.
Now, at the Meet and Greet, we had received raffle tickets, but they wouldn't tell us what the prize was. The rumor was that it was breakfast with the guests, but no one knew for sure. They didn't announce winners at the Meet and Greet, and they didn't announce them at dinner, so we were very curious but unable to find an answer.
After dinner, we immediately went back to the cabin and changed back into casual clothes. We met up with Maxi and went in search of music to dance to. We found it in the Music Man, where they were playing 70s music. We danced there for a while, but it was awfully hot, so we wandered up to the Sun Deck. There was a live Reggae band playing up there and they had two cruise guys leading the dance floor, teaching simple dances. Maxi, Mike and I dropped into deck chairs like bean bags (verrry tired by this point), but the music was infectious. First, Maxi's feet started bouncing to the music, and then mine went, too. Then the shoulders joined in and we gave up and jumped to the dance floor. (Mike's knee was bothering him, so he stayed on the sidelines.) The beat was so strong that we stayed dancing for quite some time. (Don't ask me where the energy came from. It was 1am by this time!) Mike headed back for the cabin, but I wasn't quite ready to go, so Maxi and I danced a few more songs before I gave up and called it a night. Maxi had the energy to keep right on dancing! As for me, I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.