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About rafinmd

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    Central Maryland
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Crystal, Blount Small Ship Adventures
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  1. Adding Serenity 11/24/19 I have started issuing “Bon Voyages” as cruises are a week away from starting. The list of people I include comes from the main Crystal Forums “Future Bookings” thread. The roll calls are semi-private while anybody can read posts on the main forum, so I do NOT transfer names from the Roll Calls to the Bon Voyages. If you want to be included in the Bon Voyage you must post your intentions on the on this thread: Future Bookings I expect most Esprit, Encore, and River cruises will not generate roll calls. Where I learn of a roll call I’ll try adding it to the bottom section. Cruise critic has instituted an automated “roll call finder”. I think it is in people’s best interest if this thread and the automatic system produce the same results. For that to happen, It seems like the best format is month, day, year, and NOT with a date range. (Rather than a date range consider something like Crystal Symphony June 15, 2019 for 14 days. 2019 Crystal Symphony Feb 19 - OCS190219-16: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2575048 Mar 7- OCS190307-16: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2601806 Mar 23 - OCS190323-16: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2650559 Apr 8 - OCS190408-18: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2568285 Apr 26 - OCS190426-13: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2668137 May 9 - OCS190509 -17: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2628956 May 26 - OCS190526-22: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2685926 Jun 17 - OCS190614-08: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2598041 Jun 25 - OCS190625-07: Alaska Discovery Jul 2 - OCS190702-10: Majestic Midnight Sun Jul 12 -OCS190712-11: Spectacular Alaska Jul 23 - OCS190723-07: Glaciers and Totems Jul 30 - OCS190730-11:Frontier Vistas Aug 10 - OCS190810-10: Alaskan Grandeur Aug 20 - OCS190820-07: Fjord Explorer Aug 27 - OCS190827-07: Scenic Alaska Sep 3 - OCS190903-07: Alaskan Adventures Sep 10 - OCS190910-07: Accent on Alaska Sep 17 - OCS190917-11: Northwest Gold Rush Sep 28 - OCS190928-13: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2674935 Oct 11 - OCS191011-14: Costa Rica and Panama Canal Oct 25 - OCS191025-14: Caribbean Flavors Nov 8 - OCS191108-09: Yucatan Channel Palette Nov 17 - OCS191117-07: Tropical escape Nov 24 - OCS191124-07: Caribbean Cornucopia Dec 1 - OCS191201-10: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2582352. Dec 11 - OCS191211-10: Treasures of the Sun Dec 21 - OCS191221-15: Hawaiian Serenade 2020: Crystal Symphony Jan 5: Golden Pacific Paragons Jan 13: Pacific Island Pradise Feb 2: Pagodas and Pearls of the Orient May 8: Arabian Nights and Amalfi Sights May 24: Mediterranean Enchantment May 31: Montserrat to Marrakech Jun 7: Joie de Vivre et Jardins Jun 16: North Cape Brilliance Jul 3: Baltic Palaces and Panoramas Sep 1: Masterpieces of the Mediterranean Sep 11: Adriatic and Greek Isles Rendezvous Sep 20: Gods and Empires Sep 27: Italian Intrigue and Romance Dec 7: Icons of Southeast Asia Dec 22: Far East Festivities 2021:Crystal Symphony Jan 6: Southeast Asia Storyteller Jan 15: Monumental Malaysia and Myanmar Dec 6: Australian Wine and Wildlife Dec 21: Dazzling Holiday Down Under 2019: Crystal Serenity Jan 13 - OCY190113-85 (9302F): https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2338268 Feb 20 - OCY190220-21 (9304): https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2338271 Mar 13 - OCY190313-26 (9305): https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2338273 Apr 8 - OCY190408-10: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2635455 Apr 18 - OCY190418-09: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2666726 Apr 27 - OCY190427-07: Greek Isles Fantasy May 4 - OCY190504-07: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2675244 May 11 - OCY190511-06: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2685555 May 17 - OCY190517-06: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2682424 May 23 - OCY190523-06: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2659615 May 29 - OCY190529-12: Peninsula Panorama Jun 10 - OCY190610-11: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2621255 Jun 21 - OCY190621-16: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2574595 Jul 7 - OCY190707-10: Baltic Treasures Jul 17 - OCY190717-12: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2686259 Jul 29 - OCY190729-14:Western Europe and Vintage France Aug 12 - OCY190812-11: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2560715 Aug 23 - OCY190823-08: Romantic Riviera Aug 31 - OCY190831-07: Ligurian Sea Medley Sep 7 - OCY190907-07: Romantic Reflections Sep 14 - OCY190914-07: Adriatic Adventure Sep 21 - OCY190921-12: Beyond the Pillars of Hercules Oct 3 - OCY191003-07: Iberian Images Oct 10 - OCY190010-13: Holy Lands and Greek Idyls Oct 23 - OCY191023-13: Mediterranian Passage Nov 5 - OCY191105-07: Iberian Influences Nov 12 - OCY191112-12: Crossing to the Caribbean Nov 24 - OCY191124-12: Holiday Sojourn Dec 6 - OCY191206-08: Colorful Cultures Dec 14 - OCY191214-08: Accent on the Lesser Antilles Dec 22 - OCY191222-15: Haute Caribbean Holidays 2020: Crystal Serenity Jan 6: Epic Empires & Idyllic Isles Jan 7: Latin Rythms and Spice Jan 22: Splendid Seas and Polynesian Pearls Feb 4: South Pacific Tropical Kingdoms Feb 19: New Zealand Natural Wonders Mar 3: Australian Wilds and Beyond Aug 16: La Dolce Vita Aug 23: Mediterranean Isles Aug 30: Trans-Atlantic Discovery Sep 20: Autumn Equinox in New England Sep 28: North American Treasures Dec 9: Island Discoveries Dec 16: Caribbean Kaleidoscope Dec 23: Holidays in the Caribbean 2021:Crystal Serenity Jan 5: Coral Sunsets and Golden Panorama Jan 21: South Pacific Wanderlust Feb 11: Exotic Isles of Southeast Asia Aug 13: Emerald Isle Immersion Aug 20: Celtic Discovery Aug 27: Cultural Wonders Sep 5: Across the Atlantic Sep 17: North American Majesties Oct 3: Skyscrapers and Fortresses Dec 12: Caribbean Cachet Dec 22: Caribbean Holiday Esprit: 6/16/19: Grecian Yachting Gems 7/7/19: Dreaming of Dalmatia River cruises: General Crystal River Cruise Roll Call Debusy 4/15/19: Tulips and Windmills 10/9/19: Splendors of the Rhine Mozart: 11/25/19: Danube Seranade
  2. Day P80, Monday, March 25, 2019, Disembark MS Prinsendam, Fort Lauderdale The Veendam is continuing her return to Fort Lauderdale and passed Half Moon Cay around 8AM. I woke very early and was out on deck a little before 4:30 with the moon shining very brightly over the aft decks. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/moon0325.jpg At first we felt pretty much by ourselves in the water but only briefly as the pilot boat approached about 4:40. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/pilot.jpg A tug boat soon joined the party and follow us into the harbor tying up to our stern for a while. We backed up to pier 26 and the first lines went out just before 5:30. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/arrival.jpg I made 2 trips up to the lido for breakfast, first raisin toast and then returned after 8 for sausage. The sun came up on the first of those visits just before 7:30. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dawn0325.jpg Disembarkation was a bit slower than expected as CPB ran late in processing crew immigration but we never got more than about 30 minutes behind. As a 4-star mariner I was given a wide window for disembarkation time (7:45 to 9:15) and I left about 8:45. We got our final gifts as we left the ship--A bag with a mug and hat with the Grand Voyage logo and a tee shirt with the logo and itinerary. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/finalgifts.jpg Most parts of disembarkation went fairly smoothly but the porter service was quite disorganized and after finding my bags it was a half hour before I got any luggage help. Finally one porter took my luggage along with 3 other peoples and we made our way through the Global Entry line. One was on a transfer to the airport while 2 of us were getting taxis. The porter took us to the taxi stand and then said he would continue to the airport transfer bus and then drop the shipped bags with FEDEX. The ride to the Hampton Los Olas was quick and I was dropped off about 9:45. There was a room for me on the second floor and I had to walk through the breakfast room which closed at 10. I quickly surveyed the offerings (I didn't really need any more breakfast but got skim milk and surveyed the offerings) just before they closed. I will probably do the same early tomorrow but will get a good breakfast on my train. The room is quite suitable. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/hampton.jpg Plans started to go awry when I left the hotel for lunch. It is very close to Broward Transit's central bus station and I bought a day pass. My intent was to go to Panera for lunch and I got on the right bus but in the wrong direction. I had gone quite a distance when I decided it was time to get off and retrace my steps. In the meantime, I started to get messages on my voice mail. One of my bags showed up at the airport and it was first airport people telling me it would go to lost and found; the 3rd call was a Holland America representative with the same information but a callback number. When I called her back she had found the Fedex tag on the bag and said it would be taken to the Holland America office and Fedex would be called to pick it up. Back on the bus in the right direction I headed for 17th street and stopped at Burger King (skim milk), Publix (Raspberries and apples), and Panera (Chicken soup plus macaroni and cheese for dinner). I was back at the hotel about 4. and joined my Holland American Webcam group watching the Prinsendam sail away from Fort Lauderdale for the last time. It's the end of an era that a plaque in the stairwell attests has been a regular feature for over 15 years. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/ftl.jpg The evening was quiet in the hotel catching up on some internet matters. As a parting shot I came relatively late to the Prinsendam but it was pretty much love at first sight. I'm sure the Crystal Symphony's days are waning but for now I look back at my time on the Prinsendam thankful for the opportunity but feeling a great sense of loss. It was really difficult watching her leave without me. Roy
  3. Unfortunately not quite true. I seldom do long flights but will need several, Maryland to/from Florida, London to Amsterdam to Barcelona and again London to Barcelona but nowhere near as bad as some of the long flights I've done and will likely still have in my future. Roy
  4. Since Cruise Critic was redone I haven't been able to redo my signature but I have a very full schedule. I have one more HAL cruise before about an 18-month hiatus (not intended but that's how the itineraries work for me). I'm on the Nieuw Statendam transatlantic leaving Easter Sunday and going to Amsterdam. I haven't been on Cunard for quite a while but have a fair amount there scheduled as well as Crystal and a return to HAL in September 2020. The details: Nieuw Statendam to Amsterdam April 21 Queen Victoria Kiel to Southampton May 9 Short getaway on QM2 followed by transatlantic May 12. QM2 NY to Southampton October 18 River Cruise on Crystal Bach October 27 Crystal Serenity Barcelona-Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale November 5 Crystal Symphony Caribbean November 24 For 2020 2 long world cruise segments Crystal Serenity LA to Sydney January 22 (arriving March 3) QM2 Sydney-Southampton-NY March 6 and in the fall: QM2 New York to Southampton Late September Crystal Serenity Barcelona to Quebec August 31 Zuiderdam Quebec to New York September 17 Roy
  5. Day P79, Sunday, March 24, 2019, At sea, MS Prinsendam The Veendam is at sea for 2 days from St. Maarten to Fort Lauderdale, about 1 day behind us. When I first went to the lido for coffee just after 5 I found I was not alone. There was a veritable menagerie of towel animals everywhere imaginable, on tables, on the deck, the pool railings and even stuffed into the fake shrub buffer around the smokers area. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/towelzoo.jpg The variety was amazing. They used not just the usual plain white towels but also the pool towels and beach towels, and some on the floor were huge. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/bigcritters.jpg When we were in Barbados a number of large empty tubs had been loaded on the bow. I saw notes "to be offloaded in Ft. Lauderdale." They were joined by what appeared to be large rolls of carpet; I suspect a lot of the excess supplies are being moved to a HAL warehouse in Fort Lauderdale. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/outgoing.jpg It was a very cloudy morning with occasional drizzle but near the end of my walk I saw a little bit of color in the sky. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dawn0324.jpg It was a busy sea day again with an interdenominational worship service at 9 and the first time I have been served Communion since early December. I skipped the 10 o'clock talk and at 11 we had a farewell toast in the showroom with a very large group of the crew representing all departments coming on stage. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/farewell.jpg We spent much of the day sailing along the North Coast of Cuba. I don't think there was anything unexpected in Captain Jeroen's final noon update but it was emotional I think both for him and for most of us. My afternoon's activities started with a talk by Jim McParland on the Atlantic and he also tried to justify himself as an east coaster by describing his route to the sea. I identified with his talk having navigated most of those routes on the 100-passenger ships of Blount Small Ship Adventures. He was followed at 3 by a backstage tour in the showroom. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/backstage.jpg Most of my time between the tour and dinner was spent packing. The usual 4 were present at table 19 for one last dinner. I am not fond of the Culinary Council dinner concept but found a salad, pasta, and tart that I liked. Since trivia was on at 7, our farewells were pretty rushed. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes24.jpg I was nearly finished packing before dinner and my bags went out between 7:45 and 8:30 and everything I didn't need in the morning was packed in my carryons by 8:45. We were given Cruise Logs for the 2 segments but I had already packed my scanner and I won't be able to post them until my shipped bags reach me. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/bagshome.jpg There was a single variety show in the showroom at 9:30 with Martin Beaumont as emcee and performances by Magician Ruben Vilagrand, Jennifer Singer, and John Denver tribute artist Jim Curry. It was a nice show but a little too long for me. I left a little before the last song (10:30) and was soon in bed. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/finale.jpg Part 2 of my parting shot is our ports (plus a few other places) in order from East to West. Despite going far out into the Pacific, only once did we get a tiny bit east of Ft. Lauderdale, and I was surprised by how much further we were to the East on Greenland. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/gsaportse2w.pdf Roy
  6. I think most of her crew will move to other ships and raise the bar wherever they go. Roy
  7. Did you see the video of with the Veendam in Santarem? I think there's a link on Kathi's thread. Roy
  8. Well, I guess that's it. Thanks Jacqui, Lou & Dave, and fellow Addicts. I'm guessing Kathi isn't quite home yet. Roy
  9. I think the webcam sometimes does strange things to horn sounds. Roy
  10. We had a tug going in; don't see any for sailaway. Probably a bit less windy. Roy
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