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Krazy Kruizers

Westerdam - Jan 9 - 16

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This will not be written as I did for the Statendam since we have done the Caribbean MANY times and it is not a unique cruise.

Jan 9 - Embarkation - beautiful day in Ft Lauderdale ( in fact we had 2 gorgeous days there). Besides the Westerdam there were 7 other ships in Port Everglades - Costa Mediterranea, Costa Atlantica, Star Princess, Jewel of the Seas, Millenium, and Dawn Princess. The Westerdam was docked at pier 29 - an old freight dock that is used when there are a lot of cruise ships in Ft Lauderdale. They can handle a cruise ship as there is a passenger waiting area - very few seats. We left the hotel at 11:15 and got there by 11:25. Checked in only to find that the only thing they could give us at the suite embarkation desk was our folder. Pictures could not be taken or anything else as there was a computer problem. Then the Miami coast guard arrived to check out the building. Ft Lauderdale ran out of coast guard and called upon Miami. They would not clear the ship. For some unkown reason they wanted the cars that were parked right outside the second level of the terminal to be moved. Well this couldn't happen as this is not a regular cruise ship terminal and no one knew where all the workers were working. Finally after a lot of discussion, they let us board the ship at 12:20. Due to the lack of chairs many people were getting a little tired of standing around. We got to the Nepune Lounge within a couple of minutes. And everyone had to start lining up to have their pictures taken and to register their credit cards, and do whatever else they needed to get done. We decided to just sit down and snack a little. At 12:50 suite passengers where able to go their cabins. Once the line diminished in the Neptune Lounge we got our pictures taken. We were only in our suite a few minutes when we got a call from the Pinnacle Grill wanting to know if we would be taking advantage of our free dinner that night (American Express) - never had them call us before - usually a note on the bed or in the mail box depending on the ship.

All other passengers had to go to the Hudson Room to have their pictures taken and register their credit cards - heard from others that at times the line was quite long in spite of them having several computers. An annoucement was not made until 1:50 that the cabins for the other passengers were ready.

Due to so many ships in Ft Lauderdale we didn't sail until after 6 inspite of what the cruise log said.

The first suite get to gether was from 7:30 - 8:15 PM in the Neptune Lounge for cocktails - a lot showed up and we met cc'ers "sea-n-me" who had a cabin right next to us.

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Jan 10 - Nassau - a short day here - 7 AM until noon. Lovely sunny day - nice temperature. We talked to several people who were disappointed that they did not have enough time to get over to Atlantis and spend some time there. For people doing their first cruise to this port, they really don't have a lot of time to do anything.

On the roll call board a meeting was scheduled for CC'ers to meet in the Crow's Nest at 2 PM. Well - we were there - no one else showed up. We did not set the time or place.

This was Formal night - not a lot of people dressed up.

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Jan 11 - A Sea Day - the ocean was a bit choppy. There were a lot of activities - we chose to do a kitchen tour - have done several on various ships. On a couple of the walls, they display the various meals that will be prepared during the cruise so that the meal preparers know what the finished product should look like - too bad someone didin't look at the picture of what my meal was supposed to look like at lunch that day in the dining room (I ordered the mandarin salad which was supposed to have a piece of salmon on top - no salmon came on mine). Afterwards we all went over to the Queen's Lounge for the cooking demonstration. Once again they prepared the crab cakes that are served in the Pinnacle Grill. Other who have gone to these demonstrations asked if they ever prepare anything else - answer - yes - every month something different is prepared at these demonstrations. WRONG! - until all the ships get the new Culinary Arts Program in place, all they prepare is the crab cakes. As I said we have been to several kitchen tours and cooking demonstrations on several ships over the last 3 years since the Pinnacle Grill was installed and that is the only dish we have ever seen them prepare.

As I mentioned we chose to have lunch in the main dining room. We were seated at table # 193 - aft - lower dining room - we felt and heard the engine noises. Horrible table.

Even though this was a sea day, it was a casual evening.

This was also the night of the VIP party (according to one of the ship's officers - Chris Hewitson - Environmental Officer - this party isn't called this any more (another discussion). It was held in the Crow's Nest because the Hudson Room, the Half Moon Room, and the Stuyvesant Room were reserved all week for a special group of bridge players. Of all the VIP parties that we have attended over the last several years, this one held in the Crow's Nest was the best because of location and people being able to move around and talk easily without being jammed in a small area.

More to come - but not right away.

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Okay - I've got a few more minutes before we watch last night's taping of CSI Miami.

Wednesday, January 12 - St Maarten - rough seas - we were just about the last ship to arrive - besides us, there were 8 other ships here - Carnival Victory, Carnival Glory, Explorer of the Seas, Caribbean Princess, Sun Princess, Century, Summit, and the Maasdam. The Queen Mary 2 was supposed to be here as well - don't know what happen to her - there was a report that she decided to anchor at Marigot - don't know if this was true. We had a long tender ride into the pier. Because of the rough seas, many people chose to stay on board the ship. There were 5 accidents with passengers getting onto the tenders at the ship that we know of - there could have been more. Originally we were going to take a cb over to Orient Beach because of the rough seas, we chose to stay on board - since DH's stroke he has problems with his right leg and we didn't want to risk his having an accident.

This was also a casual night and it was also BBQ night. Many attended the BBQ - we chose to go to the Pinnacle - just another great meal there like on the other ships.

*Note about the Pinnacle Grill on the Westerdam. It is made up of 5 Indonesian and 5 European wait-staff and 2 Indonesian wine stewards. This was a slow night there - very few people went there - most went to the BBQ. We were told that as the European wait-staffer's contracts end, they will be replaced with the Indonesians - don't know if this is really going to happen - only time will tell.

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Jan 13 - Tortola - just a wasted day. The Star Princess was docked beside us and around 10 AM the Costa Romantica anchored not to far from us. For a small port, 3 ships made for crowded walking in town. Since we have been here before and have done the island tour as well as the Baths, we chose just to walk into town and walk through the few shops that are there.

We were originally scheduled to leave here at 6 but it was announced that we would leave at 4. Some of the tours over to the Baths and etc. were not informed of this so they didn't get back until late. We left here after 6 PM.

It was an informal evening.

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Thank you KK for your report: interesting and fun reading. Sounds like a few rough spots along the way.

 

I get the feeling from reading your report as well as several others lately that some of the ports are swamped with ships right now. Someone reported the other day that they were in St. Thomas with 14,000 other passengers with ships everywhere they could stick one.

 

I notice HAL has pulled the Zuiderdam out of the Caribbean this summer and will not have any ships there at all for the summer season.

 

I wonder how this will all turn out over the next few years.

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Jan 14 - A Sea Day - partly cloudy - some sun - calmer seas. Today was the Mariner's party at 11:30 and the suite buffet in the Crow's Nest at 12:30. Went to both and enjoyed them.

There were lots of activities.

Today was also the disembarkation talk for those getting off the ship on Sunday. It was at 10:30 and anyone who went got a free glass of champagne. We didn't go since we wouldn't be getting off the ship.

Tonight was formal - more people were dressed up than on the first formal night.

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Jan 15 - Half Moon Cay - beautiful weather - we got there about 7. We were among the first to go over on the 8:15 tender. Since we were the only ship there, nothing was crowded anywhere. The evening before we had gotten a new map of the island showing where the various new attractions are on the island. The new map shows the location of the cabanas and their colors. There were only 30 children on our cruise and we saw only a couple of them playing in the kid's new water park. Overlooking the kid's water park they are working on a new "Half Moon Saloon". Have no idea when it will be open. Since we were there last March, we noticed that they are now using larger "trams" for transportation to get people around. There aren't as many "island" shops anymore - just 4 - one selling jellies and sauces, another for hair-braiding, another for souveniours, and the last selling carvings. The HAL store is still there. The posts for the other "stores" are still there. There was also a Ben & Jerry's ice cream stand.

There were a couple of problems with the clam shells. A few people didn't know that you had to rent them. One man going along the beach took the money directly from the people while another man sent people back to the shore excursion booth to rent one. Several of the new tours were on sale: Stingray adventure $39 reduced to $19; Horseback Riding $69 reduced to $49; and Aqua Trax $59 reduced to $39.

The water was a little chilly but after a couple of minutes you get used to it.

 

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The cruise back into Ft Lauderdale got a little rough around 3 AM. We had some very bad seas. We heard the dishes crashing in the Neptune Lounge.

Overall, this was the roughest weather we have ever seen on an Eastern Caribbean cruise. It didn't bother us, but there were people who got sea sick.

I forgot to mention that several people got sick on the tenders at St Maarten because of the rough waters.

In Tortola they now have the pier area blocked off by a fence. When we were there last March, we were able to get off the ship, turn left at the end of the pier and walk across the field to get into town. Now with the fence you have to walk a longer route pass all the vendors. No big deal.

The evening that we were in Tortola, a water pipe burst causing water to cascade onto the Vista Lounge stage. That evening's show was postponed until the next night. We were in the Explorer's Lounge when the announcement was made. Shortly after that the emergency doors in the kitchen area closed with a loud bang - that got everyone's attention. No one knows why the doors decided to close on their own.

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Welcome home KK!

 

We are so glad we got the chance to meet the both of you. Your posts have always been so helpful to us.

 

Hope our paths cross again some day.

 

Renee

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We also enjoyed meeting you.

Hope you didn't have any problems getting home.

You have a wonderful daughter - hope she enjoyed the cruise as well.

Do hope our paths meet again.

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