Stage Manager’s Log
M.S. Prinsendam
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Dover, England

Today I got a nice late start to everything, slept in. I had no real plans for what I was going to do in Dover, I figured I would just wing it. Some people had been planning to go to a pub and watch the World Cup, but that didn’t really interest me. So after a little breakfast I changed into some street clothes and got off the ship. We were docked at a real cruise terminal today so there was a lot of bustle on the pier. There was another ship in port behind us too, I don’t know what line they were though.

Today there was an open top double deck shuttle that ran from the terminal to the town center, and also up to Dover Castle. First stop on the shuttle was the town center, which didn’t really look all that interesting, so I stayed on and went up to the castle. Some people who also went up to the castle said that they got in for free by showing their crew ID’s, but I didn’t even think of that. I don’t mind supporting the historical organizations though.

Dover castle was very interesting; I spent most of the day there. First I walked around the oldest parts of the castle and inside the Keep. There were some great views from the top of the Keep. It seems to me that Dover Castle would be very hard to hold a siege against. It is on top of a hill, and it is right on the water.

I took one of the tours that they offer at the castle, the Hidden Wartime Tunnels tour. Unfortunately they don’t let you take pictures on that tour, I am not sure if this is a national security thing or a preservation thing. Anyway, the first network of tunnels was built during the Napoleonic wars. The tunnels are carved out of the cliffs under the castle. Later, during World War II the tunnels were refit by the Royal Armed Forces and turned into a major command post. The original Napoleonic tunnel level is know as the Casemate level. During WWII two more levels were added, the Annexe level which contained a hospital, and Dumpy level which was used for more office space.

This underground command post was used throughout WWII. Winston Churchill had an office there, Operation Dynamo was run from there, and almost all costal defenses of England was controlled from these tunnels. They had one of the largest telephone exchanges in England in the tunnels. It was only in the last two decades that the tunnels have been open to the public and restored.

After the tunnel tour it was getting pretty late in the day, so I hopped back on the shuttle and headed back to the ship. At 1600 we had a rehearsal for tonight’s production show, “Hit the Deck.” Rehearsal was not to great, Katie had just got back today from visiting her father who sadly is not doing to well with cancer and some other blood disease. Also, the first copy of the tape that we tried did not have the backup vocals track, so that threw off the actors. At least we have a backup tape.

Dinner tonight was not to bad, I had some pasta with alfredo and a cut of some steak. You don’t’ always know what you are getting into if you eat the steak. But they always have a steak dish, a pasta dish, a fish dish, and a chicken or duck dish.

After dinner we had the two performances. This was the first cast show that got a standing ovation. I do think that the first performance was better than the second. So it goes. After the shows I tried to send some emails, but the internet was not working, I guess they were doing some upgrade to the equipment. So at that point I decided to just head home as we have an hour forward tonight and tomorrow is a sea day.