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TracieABD

Live from Rotterdam--7-10-10 through 7-17-10

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I am going to make my first attempt at writing a “live from” blog. Bear with me, as this is a fairly new venture. We are on our way to Alaska via Seattle on the Rotterdam.

Friday, July 9, 2010-We made it to Seattle yesterday without incident. Our luggage arrived intact, albeit a bit battered. What is it with the baggage handlers? I am not sure this batch of luggage will survive to see another trip. It is looking sad and fragile at this point. It may be time to retire this “old bags”. Maybe it is time to start viewing luggage as “Bic Lighters”, sort of disposable. Be that as it may…

We used Already There car service from the airport to our temporary digs at the W on 4th Street. Our driver was great and knowledgeable, save for the gum snapping. I had no idea that one could snap gum that a 110 decibels and with such military precision. It was remarkable (see??? I am remarking!). He did get us to the hotel with amazing rapidity. Check in at the W took all of 45 seconds (yep! My husband the engineer timed it!) and we were on our way to see some of the sites of Seattle.

I have to interject a bit of background information here. My husband is a fitness fanatic! He is unbelievable at 51, in better shape than some folk in their 20’s. (I used to be into his brand of Draconian physical fitness, but decided to pursue another interest and kind of stopped running on a daily basis. Because this interest involves lots of sitting in front of the computer, I have become a little soft around the middle and wide around the posterior.) Whenever we visit a city, he becomes the tour guide on one of what I like to call his “forced death marches”. This means hours of walking at a 12 minute mile pace, most of it up hill, both ways, barefoot, in the snow…. So we walked all over Seattle (I used to live very near to Seattle, so it is sort of like coming home), from Fremont, to Capital Hill, to Downtown and the Market. And just to prove that I am no longer in great shape, I am the proud owner of some really gnarly looking blisters—lots of them. A nice compliment to my brand new pedicure. After I poured the blood out of my shoe, my dear husband atoned to the tune of a brand new pair of high tech, orthotically-correct sandals! I am walking a bit better today, but I was limping pretty good last night.

For those of you who are looking for a really delicious and inexpensive meal, try Beecher’s Cheese in the Market. Best grilled cheese sammich EVER! (My husband is telling my best mac and cheese, EVER!) I swear that we route our travel through Seattle just for the cheese. OK- Now you know we are dorks.

Saturday, July 10, 2010. Ship day!!!Yay!!!

The W, in conjunction with Acura, offers free rides! The catch is you have to ride in this pimped-out Acura SVU and listen to a bit of a sales pitch. It was a great ride, in a lovely vehicle, with a really nice driver. Will I buy an Acura? Not sure…

We arrived at Pier 91 at 11am sharp. We had completed the entire check in process in about 10 minutes. We waited for about 30 minutes to board and were on the ship by 11:40. We never broke a sweat (much to my husband’s chagrin).

Based on the advice received from CC, I asked, as a 1 * Mariner, for an invitation to the MDR for lunch and viola! No problem! Once boarded, we made our reservations for cooking class, the PG, dinner, Thermal Spa, and were seated for lunch by noon. Also, the rooms were ready when we boarded. Bonus! Our bags were in the room by 1 pm.

If anyone is interested in the food, I will give a brief overview of what we eat--- This is the “no judgments” portion of the blog….

Lunch in the MDR: I had melon and proscuitto, tomato basil soup, pasta in a garlic cream sauce, and a chocolate mousse cake. My husband, who’s name is Richard, (I guess it is time I formally introduce you), had shrimp cocktail, mushroom soup, salmon, and fruit tart. So far, the food is great! We will not starve!

After lunch we unpacked. By “we” I mean me. I am a little OCD and this is always evidenced in my organizational skills. My suitcase looks like something that could be filmed in a luggage ad. All of the clothes are color coordinated from light to dark in the color spectrum, box folded, lined-up, buttoned down, and in ship-shape order. To put is simply, my husband’s suitcase looks like someone threw up in it. Because staterooms are notoriously small, I feel the need to get us unpacked and organized. I am not a clutter person—one more example of “less is more” (unless, of course, it comes to shoes)!

We explored the ship. As HAL neophytes, we needed to crawl around all of the corners and spent a significant amount of time ooo-ing and ahhhhh-ing over lots of the features. We have cruised on Princess before, and are doing the whole comparing-one-against-the-other thing. Now I know how it feels to be the second wife! Love the ship, love the layout, love-love-love the crew! These are some really accommodatin’ folk!

We have open seating in for dinner, and reservations were easy to make. We walked right in and were seated immediately. I had carpaccio, potato soup, a papaya salad, and a caramel toffee yummy-thing. Richard had seafood ceviche, salad, crab legs, and baked Alaska. One of the best things about my husband is he does not have a sweet-tooth, therefore when we said our vows 19 years ago, it was written in that I could always choose his dessert. That way I get two! Great guy, huh?

We are pretty tired and will probably just hang around the room tonight. I need to recuperate from our “forced death march” of yore!

I will try to post more tomorrow. It is the final of the World Cup, so I am expecting a sea of oranje… More later.

Tracie-Lynn

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A great review for a first attempt. I'll check in everynight to read your latest instalment.

Thanks for taking the time to post your review. Enjoy your cruise. Helen

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Hi tracy im glad to get your report . Im boarding the rotterdam in 2 weeks on your same trip so im really glad to hear your report . Especially the weather cold? , ships condition , FOOD , And your daily experence keep posting ill watch for it CARL

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Great start!! Thanks for taking the time and effort (and money) to include us in your cruise experience. Will be cruising on the Rotterdam on the 31st so really interested.....

 

Have a great time!

 

Wendy

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Thanks for reporting in, I love your style and am looking forward to the rest of your review. The Rotterdam is my favorite ship -- enjoy your cruise!

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Thanks for the update! We're on the 8/14 sailing of the Rotterdam and cannot wait! I feel like I'm living vicariously through you and getting a second cruise for free. :D

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Me Thinks this is gonna be one heck of a GREAT Review and funny to boot!!

 

I am so looking forward now to each installment. Love your style and sense of humor.

 

May I have some more, please? :D

 

Joanie

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Later Saturday, July 10, 2010.

After our dinner, we decided that we just had to do a little more… Isn’t that sort of a central theme to cruising? Just a little more… A little more eat. A little more drink. A little more fun… Well, you get the picture.

We (that means me) decided to go to the Wujang Theater to see It’s Complicated. This is where a rather lively dialog ensued. Theater might just be a bit of a misnomer. It has the seats (really comfy, I might add). It has the popcorn. It also had 2 50” flat screen TVs. Where was the big screen? It took us a minute to realize the theater part was an after thought. This is really the Culinary Center, slyly disguised as a theater of sorts. To compound this, I have to tell you a little more about us. I don’t sit really well (sort of like a poorly trained puppy) and my husband only enjoys movies when something explodes, gets decapitated, or is launched into space. We are not movie goers per se. As a matter of fact, the last movie we saw together was Juno, while waiting for a red-eye in Las Vegas. Needless to say, we became “those people”. You know the ones who crawl over your lap, in the dark, narrowly missing your feet, to escape the theater about 30 minutes into the film.

We escaped to the Crow’s Nest for a night cap. It was calm and quiet and really, really foggy. Perfect way to end the evening.

Except for one more thing… And I am wondering if the constitutes a justifiable reason to prevail in the pending divorce… After we get back to the room, I discover that while thinking I was dressed really cute in some pants and a little tee and a great (brand new) cardigan sweater, that I had in fact paraded myself all over the ship with a sticker on the front of my (brand new) sweater that proudly stated M for medium. You know, one of the long navy blue stickers that runs down the front of the garment stating M…M…M… So for those of you who are people watchers, and you name your subjects, I was that woman. Title me “Lady in outfit, who did not look in mirror before leaving the stateroom” or worse yet “Sticker Woman”. The reason for the divorce, you might ask? Because I completely blame my husband for this. He stared at the sticker all night and never bothered to mention it. When confronted, he innocently stated, “Oh, you take that off? Who knew?”

Sunday July 11, 2010. Sea Day

It was really early in the morning when I awoke. The seas have been reasonably calm. I have a real propensity toward motion sickness and cannot tolerate mezclinine-based medications. So I am stuck with ginger and the psychologically suggestive- Sea Bands. I take lots and lots of ginger. I carry ginger tablets, crystallized ginger, ginger gum, ginger hard candy, ginger chewy candy, ginger Altoids… You get the point. Think Bubba, here. So far, I am doing well on the open ocean. I can get really motion sick, too, if I am not careful. My husband, on the contrary, only thinks it is fun if it moves. That means I have lovingly and desperately clutched sickness bags in helicopters, float planes, boats, kayaks, Ferris wheels, off-road jeeps, mopeds, and believe it or not a surf board. Yep. That was me—girl who lost lunch during a surfing lesson. You are probably saying to yourself, “Wow, Tracie, that was waaaaaaaaaaaaay to much information just to prove the point that you get motion sickness. Go back to the review now.” And I comply.

The ship is in beautiful condition. Our stateroom was immaculate and the furnishings are in good order. We are in a Verandah Suite on the Navigation Deck. The number is A7064. We originally booked a BB-Guarantee, and this was considered an upgrade. I have three small issues with the room: location, location, location. No, really. The room is in the aft part of the ship. So there is a noticeable vibration. My husband likened it to those “magic fingers” beds of long ago, only this time we need no quarters. The second issue is that our verandah is seemingly smaller than those on the deck below. And third, we are right under the Retreat, which means we hear running children, and deck chairs scraping. We knew that when we booked a guarantee that we could end up any where in our category or above. This is where we landed. Seriously, this is not a complaint; it is just for your information and edification. You might just want consider this when selecting a stateroom.

Our room stewards are Jabbar and Roby. So far, we have only met Jabbar. On any given vacation, I am really high maintenance on the first day. Then, my demands begin to taper off, until by day four the room steward is checking for a pulse. I become that low maintenance. Like I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, our luggage was in our room by 1 pm and BONUS, we had another stateroom’s luggage as well! In exchange for the interloping suitcase, we discovered my laptop bag did not make it to the room. This would cause panic and distress for most people, but in my case loss of said bag could be reason for homicide. My husband asked the one critical question: “Tracie, do you have your zip drive?” You see, I am a college student and over half of my dissertation is on that drive. A quick check to my purse revealed that I could indeed locate said object, and therefore I could really care less about the computer. Both of us breathed a sigh of relief, and Richard trotted off to find the room steward to report interesting luggage situation while I restrained myself from rifling through the mysterious garment bag. Once again proving a new variation of Newtonian Physics: Suitcases are neither created nor destroyed; they merely land in the wrong stateroom. After a short wait, the laptop case was found! I have to confess that I was mildly disappointed. I thought it might be time for a new computer, but alas through the diligence of our “Stewart”, that will not come to pass. At least not on this trip…

The weather in Seattle was lovely and hot. Hey, I am from North Carolina. I know hot. And when the sweat is rolling down my backside during one of the many uphill portions of my husband's death marches, it is hot.

It is cooling signficantly as we approach North. It has also been very foggy with a bit of "dribble" (I used to work at a group home for adult males with autism, and one of my guys used to give us the weather report... he would always say dribble instead of drizzle! I guess it imprinted)...

More later...:):)

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Really enjoying your review:) DH is not a fan of cold weather but has finally agreed he may entertain the notion of doing Alaska next year:) Did you happen to fly out of RDU?? I know Southwest goes to Seattle...hoping perhaps next year after 30 some cruises...I will get to Alaska:)

 

I will tell him a North Carolinian said it was hot in Seattle..he'll be happy:D

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Loving your report!!! What a hoot! Really looking forward to reading this as you go along...my mom will be sailing Alaska on the Rotterdam next week. Plenty of info for me to pass on to her!

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I'm just loving your review -- and laughed out loud about the M M M going down your sweater (sorry, but it's one of my fears that I'll do that too, and it hit home) :D:D

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We will be boarding the Rotterdam next Saturday after you get off! It will be our first cruise ever, so your report is just what this newbie needs!!!

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Love reading your reviews! It is making me even more excited for our cruise on the 17th!! You have great writing style, very enjoyable to read. :)

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Consider me a fan, Tracie. I have been laughing and smiling along with you. I can tell you are going to make it a fabulous trip.

 

Thanks for taking us along.

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Tracie, great reviews. Very enjoyable and the label thing? i have done that. fortunately my husband had me remove it after he asked if I looked in a mirror. it happens to all of us. Morale of the story? don't buy new clothes for a cruise (right!!) Much fun. Thank you.:)

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Tracie:

Love your commentary... but I am a little concerned....I think we may be married to the same man!:confused:

Oh wait, mine just walked through the kitchen and your Mr Bataan Death Marcher is on his way to Alaska...whew I was worried there for a moment.

Have a great trip.

Sara:rolleyes:

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Great review so far, glad you are having a good time. I figured you would, as we had a blast!!

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What a great, fun, informative review. Thank you so much for taking the time and for the entertainment in reading your review.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010. Sea Day

Well, the seas have been a bit bumpy, so we have all been a little green around the gills, as it were. I have taken so much ginger; I may need rehab to address this new addition to my system. My husband has resorted to mezclinine and is fairing better than me.

Let’s talk about food. We are not big buffet people, so we try to avoid it at all possible costs. We had room service for breakfast. As an experiment, we wrote in a bunch of extra stuff on our room service hang tag. I added a poached egg and Richard added in maple syrup and durian (that is the really weird stinky fruit). We received the maple syrup. No egg and definitely no durian. Thank goodness, because that would be worthy of a whole new thread titled, “Should durian be allowed in staterooms?” Then people would have to weigh in about how durian eaters ruined their balcony experience and how their room smelled of durian. We would have to have a poll about durian in the casinos and a bar dedicated to eating durian… OK, I digress (by the way, I digress A LOT)!

Lunch was in the MDR. The food was good. I had Thai chicken salad and tortellini with sundried tomatoes. Richard had a hamburger. Lunch was really good.

Tea. I went to tea alone, because Richard doesn’t drink or do tea. It was different. The finger sandwiches and scones were served buffet style and tea was served at the table. Yum.

Dinner. Formal night. Richard is a big believer in formal night, so we dressed up in our suits and dresses (I wore the dress), and made our way to the dining room. I was pretty woozy still, so I stuck with the consommé and a salad. Richard had shrimp cocktail and surf and turf. As an aside, he did order a salad, but that went MIA… For dessert he had cheesecake which he rated as “fine” and I had chocolate soufflé which was excellent. We were out of there in about an hour and I was out of that dress in a flash.

I went to yoga this morning. It was a basic class that was able to reach all level. If I had found my sea legs, it would have been the funniest class I have ever attended. Because the sea is bumpy, all of the balancing postures were next to impossible. All 15 of us would attempt to balance only to fall over in unison. I would have loved to be an observer, but I was too busy trying to balance.

I also decided to get a weekly pass to the thermal suite. Richard surprised me by signing up as well. This is pretty unusual for him, as he is a beer drinking, jeans wearing, TV watching and scratching kind of guy (in my opinion, the best kind of guy). He and I decided to check it out today and he really enjoyed it. A lot. Now, I am secretly a little worried that he may start waxing his eyebrows and using lots of hair product. Oops… Digressing again…

We are in for the night. I just can’t seem to motivate myself to stagger down the hallways to see a show or a movie. I think I will have to hit the sack early as I get to fulfill a lifelong dream of zip lining tomorrow. I will need to be at the top of my game for that.

More tomorrow! :)

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So sorry about the rough seas, but oh-so-funny about the yoga class! Sounds like you still had a good day despite the quesiness. Cannot wait to hear about zip-lining!

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Great review! You write sooo well ... we'll be on the Rotterdam on July31st, so it's great fun to follow along. Be safe and have FUN! :D

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Glad you found your zip drive and your computer or we might not be enjoying this rollicking sea tale. One of the best I've read. Thank you! Try peppermint tea if you've OD'd on ginger. You can get some really good TAZO peppermint/tarragon tea at the Explorations Cafe on deck 5 (Upper Promenade deck).:)

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Thanks for posting this! Although, I can't believe you so flagrantly stereotype all durian eaters. ;) We'll be onboard as well in a few weeks. I was so hoping for yoga too. Thanks again!!

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Glad you found your zip drive and your computer or we might not be enjoying this rollicking sea tale. One of the best I've read. Thank you! Try peppermint tea if you've OD'd on ginger. You can get some really good TAZO peppermint/tarragon tea at the Explorations Cafe on deck 5 (Upper Promenade deck).:)

 

Absolutely.... peppermint tea does wonders for me too, so please give it a try.

 

I also agree that this is one of the best reviews... I LOVE your writing style. Very entertaining, indeed.

 

More, please.

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Love this review. Your DH is very like mine. So warning, get prepared for the hair product, it's coming!

 

hee hee....

 

Thanks for posting.

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excellent again.:) thank you.:D I do hope you are feeling better though and you adapt to the seas (or the seas adapt to you!!)

 

Have a good time zip lining.

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Love your "Live" -- but -- I hate to tell you -- the Wajang Theater came before the Culinary Art Center. The Rotterdam was built with the Wajang Theater and then in 2005 when she underwent her SOE the Culinary Arts Center was built into the Wajang Theater.

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Loved the review so far, but one thing struck a cord with me and now I don't feel so bad. I live in a household of "death marchers". They would not know a cab if it hit them in the crosswalk. I have seen every town in Europe we have visited from the ground up or cobble stone as the case may be. Try hauling all your luggage from Heathrow to London via the tube, not a happy camper on that trip.

Looking forward to the next installment.

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I am enjoying your summary so much... you have quite a sense of humor.

 

Can you tell us who the Cruise Director is now on the msROTTERDAM?

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Juneau

Wow! Last night was really, really bumpy. I cannot believe that we survived it in our cabin. Others did not seem quite as fortunate, as evidenced by the copious amount of carpet steam-cleaning that seemed to in continuous occurrence throughout the ship today. Yikes!

But after all of that rocking, I awoke this morning to flat and calm waters. We ordered room service for breakfast, and guess what? This morning I had a poached egg! Actually I had 2 poached eggs, even though I only ordered one. Maybe on Holland America, eggs only travel in pairs. Sort of like a really, really fancy version of the Ark! Alas, there was no durian. My husband was disappointed yet again.

We snacked around for lunch and then left the ship to walk around Juneau. I may not have mentioned this earlier, but while most of us have descended from primates, my husband is a direct descendant of mountain goats. Needless to say, we marched up and down some pretty steep hills. Do my gluts look smaller yet? Really, be honest! Can you see the change???

We then met on the dock to go zip lining! Best shore-ex EVER!!!! You take a jet boat across the sound to Douglas Island, go through an orientation, don some really uncomfortable gear, take a big stinky truck up the side of a mountain, climb some stairs, hook into a line, and FLY! I loved it. I would do it a million more times. As a matter of fact, I think this is how I will commute to work in the future! It is so much “funner” than a whale watch. JMO. I never worried about safety. They have you wear so many strappy things (known by civilized folk as harnesses) and they check and adjust your strappy things a lot. I had to remind the young guide that typically I require a man buy me dinner and take me to a movie prior to adjusting straps in those particular regions of my body and he just laughed, and gave the strap a good yank. No way that I was going to fall out of a tree. We had people in our group of 8 from the ages of 12 to ~it would be impolite to guess~. Everyone did really great except for one person who took like 9 out of 10 zip lines to get the hang of it. You really have to keep your hands away from the moving apparatus and ropes. Did you know that fleece can get hot enough to melt from the rope friction? That is the lesson we all learned today! Seriously, if you get a chance to try this, do! It was really fun!

My husband and I separated after our zip lining excursion. I will miss him and hope that I will prevail in the pending divorce--- Just kidding. I was checking to see if you were awake! The truth is I went back to the ship and he went to climb Mt. Roberts (see, I told you about that mountain goat thing). I had dinner in the MDR with an extremely nice couple. The food was good tonight. I had a salad, potato soup, pork chop, and chocolate cake. We sat and talked for a long time. Asep, the asst. manager of the dining room, spent quite a while talking with us about his views on the recent Thai political upheaval; a topic I am immensely interested in!

It was about 7 pm, and I began to worry about Richard, so I left the ship to go and find him in Juneau. Just proving that we really do know each other well after 19 years of marriage, I found him in the very first place that I looked: Tracy’s Crab Shack. There he was, my handsome husband, sitting on a bar stool, eating some really big crab legs and drinking a beer. He looked so content; I don’t think he missed me at all! We walked around Juneau a bit more and he told me all about his climb and his close encounter with the marmots. We returned to the ship and he promptly fell asleep.

I went to the thermal suite to relax (as if I had such a stressful day!) and to watch the ship leave Juneau. I could not help but feel grateful as I alternated my gaze between my book and the mountains while rapped in fluffy towels, and perched on my heated, ergonomically correct lounger. I may never come home!

More tomorrow, as we cruise Hubbard Glacier!:):)

Tracie-Lynn

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Tracie-Lynn: I am so glad you are having a wonderful time! I can remember just recently when I told you my son and his girlfriend were doing this exact cruise a bit before you and you kept wondering when his review would be posted. By the way, they enjoyed the surprise Pinnacle dinner I bought for them...have you tried dinner there yet?

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Really enjoying your review................has had me laughing out loud several times.The story about the sticker on your sweater had me roaring with laughter.................been there,done that.Can't wait for the next instalment.It's giving me something to look forward to when I come home from work.:p

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Nice meeting you this morning on the EMPTY SEA! Enjoy the Rotterdam

J T M

aka: HIMSELF

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