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About WriterOnDeck

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Plano, TX
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  1. Before we left the Amsterdam I asked Henk if I could leave my gala dresses on board for the Grand Africa followed by the 2021 world. He actually paused for a moment before saying "no."
  2. I would be waking up at a safari lodge in the Maasai Mara, returning to the Amsterdam and world cruise this afternoon on Mombasa, Kenya. [pout]
  3. How did you get a final statement? The last I got was a preliminary statement through 3/20.
  4. Given the Zaandam passenger deaths just announced on HAL's blog, I doubt corporate will make future cruise announcements today.
  5. And thanks for starting this thread. I was updating on Facebook and now on my blog (www.WriterOnDeck.com), so will just say here briefly that we had a long but uneventful day or so getting back to Dallas. I'm thankful to be one who can't stay awake on a plane so I mostly slept. I know we all have a lot of processing left to do. And my sister Elaine and I are self-isolating at home for 2 weeks to be absolutely sure we haven't contracted the virus in our travels. I hope others are doing the same. Thanks for following us -- I really appreciate all the comments on my blog. This is a wonderful community.
  6. Having seen what the Zaandam is still going through, in highsight I think HAL made the best decision for us. At least the Zaandam has three HAL ships who can send medical staff and supplies to it. We would have been by ourselves in the middle of a very big ocean. And who could say that we would have been virus free on the ship (the Zaandam thought it was and it had been several days since it had been in a port -- although no one knows what illness is there yet)? Yes, there was risk in flying home, but also in the drive home from the airport.
  7. On the world cruise just now ending she still has sat near the Lido bar for a late lunch, usually with a glass of wine, and plenty of stop-by chats with crew and passengers. She also was a regular in the piano bar when Diane was performing. A rousing rendition of Hello Dolly on Diane's last night.
  8. Lots of betting going on here as to how many itinerary changes there will be, as no one thinks this will be the last. Some are putting their money on 10! (seems excessive to me). We'll just go with the flow. I for one don't mind the seven sea days in a row.
  9. A follow-up letter tonight from Capt. Jonathan saying that if you make independent travel arrangements to Indonesia and/or Singapore, you will not be allowed to return to the ship. I suspect that HAL is trying to protect our who had Asia. Our stop in Tonga today was only approved by the government last night; the last four cruise ships were denied stopping. (Interesting articled in the local paper online this morning, and some shop owners were not pleased that we stopped.) Obviously a lot more info to come, as Singapore was a segment end/beginning.
  10. I was on the recent VoV and found the ship's staff from top to bottom excellent. I don't expect the captain to be the social director, but he was very accessible in the Crow's Nest when posting weather and sea condition updates. His positive attitude spread throughout, I believe. I agree that the dining room staff is overworked, and the delay between courses got worse as the cruise went on. I don't know if that was a kitchen problem or a dining room problem. But every year the stewards seem to have more and more tables. My last two cruises were Grand Voyages and they are different. Others have stated some differences; I would add all the instructors (watercolor, bridge, tai chi, etc.), local chefs joining for a week or two, etc. If the VoV were always on the Zuiderdam or similar sized ship, the price would come down. When I originally booked, it was on the Rotterdam. The change in ship (reported accurately above) meant there were many more cabins to fill. So last-minute bargain pricing changed the equation. Everyone has their own opinion, but I thought it was a great cruise. I have 4 more HAL cruises booked (two worlds and one grand included). Yes, I wish some things were different. But I just wanted to say the OP's experience wasn't mine. (I reported my experiences, good and no-so, in my blog at www.writerondeck.com.)
  11. I did the 80- and 82-day Grand Asias the last two years. The cruise critic rollcall may get busy, but it will be a great resource. In Singapore, book lunch at Spagos (Wolfgang Puck) on top of the Marina Bay Sands. It's 45 Singapore Dollars, I think, 3 courses and well worth it. I loved the Food and Win-sponsored HAL foodie tour in Shanghai. Of course the best is the view at night from the ship...
  12. Thanks, but I think both your writing and photos are great!
  13. It's fun reading this thread while on the same trip -- everyone gets different pictures and has different experiences. Thanks for your blog here! Rather than post some of my pictures and posts, I'll just mention that mine are included with my blog at www.writerondeck.com. If it is easier, you can subscribe there by email and get each new post that way. Onward to Bergen!
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