This was our first cruise on the Amsterdam. We'd previously sailed on the Rotterdam and the Volendam, so the Amsterdam layout was familiar, and we had no trouble finding our way around the ship. The Internet Cafe was in a different location, between the Java Cafe and the Atrium, on deck 4. The Amsterdam is a beautiful. well run ship. As a long time handbell ringer at my church, I was fascinated by the atruim clock and the mechanism that rang the suspended hanbells every hour. Our cabin was a cat. D on Main deck. We had "Main Upper," 8 pm seating for dinner, at a table for 8 - wonderful tablemates! Our stewards served us well, a very efficient team. We never went hungry, the food was wonderful. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room or Lido were also well done. We had several theme nights in the dining room, besides the 4 formal nights. There was Dutch Night, with NO hats, an Antarctic Night, with an "Ice Ball" in the Crow's Nest, Oriental Night and Carnivale, all with interesting decorations at the entrance to the dining room. The Black & White Officers' Ball was held in the Crow's Nest on the 3rd formal night. The Dessert Extravaganza was on the last formal night in the Lido. Music in the Ocean Bar was the best for dancing. The football playoff games were shown in a decorated Casino Bar. Entertainment, on the whole, was "typical cruise ship." I like the shows by the ship's singers and dancers best, and was disappointed that they only performed 3 times, but the productions were new to us. Activities during the day were plentiful and the young activities staff were delightful. Many times, what you wanted to do overlapped something else. Most interesting were the "Exploration Speaker Series," three Antarctic explorers who shared their experiences with us. A fourth gentleman , our "Ice Pilot," gave interesting talks on Antarctic ice, how we get around it and if we could follow "plan A" on our itinerary. They were, Dr. John Splettstoesser, a geologist, Dr. Bernard Stonehouse, a zoologist, Dr. Charles Swithinbank, a glaciologist, and Captain Patrick Toomey. It was like taking a college course with a fantastic field trip topping it off! Dr. Stonehouse's book was available for sale, and sold out. The Port Talks were well done, not "shopping talks," like on some cruises. As on other long cruises, we were treated to the Filipino and Indonesian Crew shows. Surprisingly, there was no "Future Cruise Consultant" on board. (I think Bob breathed a sigh of relief!) The photographers were everywhere but not "in your face." The shops carried the usual items, but were nicely stocked with t shirts and sweatshirts pertaining to the Antarctic cruise, there were some wonderful alpaca sweaters for adults and children, leather crafts, Brazilian gemstones and penguins in many shapes, sizes and materials. The Ship's Staff:
Commander, Captain J. Peter Harris Hotel Manager, Brian McNeill Cruise Director, Lynda Konarski Executive Chef, Pedro Lontoc to name a few. Coming next, The Trip.