January 18 – The Baltimore was scheduled to leave last Sunday at 8 pm. Over the course of the weekend the departure time was adjusted forward and back at least twice. I finally boarded Sunday at 3:30 pm but the ship did not depart Pier 46 until the the following day at 5 am. All of this served as a reminder that the Baltimore is first and foremost a working container ship, not a passenger hauler. Freight calls the shots.
Also, international passenger travel by ship is never coming back into vogue. However clean and well-ordered the vessel might be (and the Baltimore is first-rate), few people have the time for such a long voyage.
Because I am the only passenger on board, I was allowed by the Captain to bunk in the Owner Representative suite, with a living area, separate head and bedroom. There is a television and DVD player and a selection of films, mainly in German, in the officer’s recreation room. My room has 6 large portholes, 3 looking forward and the rest to port. Even on days of relative calm like today (January 18), I can watch through the forward portholes as the horizon appears and disappears at rhythmic intervals as the bow of the ship heaves up and down.
Speaking of heaving, yesterday the North Pacific was rough and I felt every pitch and roll of the ship, particularly in bed. Heavy seas also caused the containers, stacked 9 high, to groan and creak. Fortunately the scopolamine patch behind my ear is working well although I supplemented it last night with over-the-counter Bonine when the issue whether my dinner would reappear was up for grabs. The crewmembers assure me that what we have experienced so far is nothing compared to their other voyages in the area. There is general perplexity as to why someone would choose to cross the North Pacific in January.