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RetiredMustang

Dave’s Live From Noordam Eastern Caribbean Feb. 18 – March 1, 2013

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My favorite excuse for not having the chocolates out is that "the kitchen hasn't sent them up yet". 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm...

 

I asked and Executive Chef once about the chocolates in the Explorer's Lounge and it was obvious that he didn't know what I was talking about!

 

I can believe that.

I remember one time when there was a huge tray our on display around 8 PM of chocolates and people coming out of the dining room went by and grabbed handfuls of the chocolate. The plate was empty into a few minutes.

Then on another cruise the bar staff claimed they didn;t have any to put out on that cruise.

Maybe that will soon be another cutback.

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I can believe that.

 

I remember one time when there was a huge tray our on display around 8 PM of chocolates and people coming out of the dining room went by and grabbed handfuls of the chocolate. The plate was empty into a few minutes.

 

Then on another cruise the bar staff claimed they didn;t have any to put out on that cruise.

 

Maybe that will soon be another cutback.

 

Wow, they grabbed handfuls of chocolate?? Totally unnecessary. You would think it was a boatful of starving people doing that, not folks who just left the dining room after a great meal. People just astound me sometimes. What are they thinking? It is that type of behavior which forces cruise lines to cut back little "nice gestures" like chocolate which everyone enjoys. All because of the piggish and gluttonous actions of a few. What a shame.

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As HAL newbies, I am thoroughly enjoying your 'live from' posts! Are you by chance following this up with the 10 day Southern? I would LOVE to share your adventures on those islands ;) Thanks again for taking us with you on your journey!

 

Sorry, we are aboard only for the 11-day this year. We were on for both in 2010, and I blogged (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1143462) that cruise as well, including Samana and the ABCs. The blog is three years old and I did not do photos on that one, but I did some descriptions of the ports and what we did.

Dave

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Friday, Feb. 22, St. Lucia

We approached Castries before 8 a.m., and sailed into the harbor to dock at Pointe Seraphine. I always try to be on deck for sail-in to Castries because it is a very pretty harbor, ringed with hills and small yacht harbors (photo attached and larger size at: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/510/At_the_entry_to_Castries_Harbor.jpg .

It was showering off and on from the various clouds about, and as we looked back, we saw a double rainbow. I took a picture, which I’ve attached; a larger size is available at: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/510/Rainbow_at_Castries.jpg The camera (at least mine) is not as sensitive as the human eye, and the photo may not show the fainter secondary rainbow above the first.

We did the aerial tram last year, and this time signed up for the “Explore Our Planet and Rainforest by Bus” ship’s excursion. We first boarded a bus that took us to the center of town, near the Carrenage where smaller HAL ships dock (that’s where Maasdam docked last year). Today is Independence Day in St. Lucia, so the main waterfront street was blocked for a parade, and many businesses were closed.

There were 12 of us in our tour, and we went into the “Our Planet” display. There were hologram introductions by Prince Charles and the Governor-General, and a half-dozen shows and interactive displays. There was some standing about, stair climbing and where there were benches, they were hard and mostly unpadded.

My opinion on “Our Planet”: It has a five-star rating from one of the travel web sites, which I think is a gross over-rating, and I would not visit the place again. The photography was good, and the special effects somewhat OK, but the narrative was horrid. I’ve seen enough BBC nature productions, and National Geographic specials as well, where the last 5-10 minutes is one long haranguing lecture. But, Our Planet was about as subtle as a gray-haired used car salesman with a red hairpiece, a green plaid jacket and bright yellow pants. The part with Science on a Sphere was interesting, as it showed world weather, then volcanos, earthquakes, a depiction of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami off Japan, and then a display of all commercial air flights around the world – all projected in turn on a globe hanging in the center of the room. That was impressive, but did not make up for the rest of the displays/lectures; even the Science on a Sphere ended with a clanging lecture. I would recommend giving “Our Planet” a miss.

The rainforest was pleasant, but turned out to be the same one that the aerial tram goes through. A guide led the group through the understory. There were numerable hummingbirds and banaquits flying about. This is worth a visit if you can get it as a stand-alone, or as part of a shore excursion that does not include “Our Planet.”

Well, we’ve cast off and are sailing from Castries to pick up shore excursion passengers at Soufriere, near the Pitons. The captain said he would open the bow deck on deck 4 for the scenic sailing, so I will try to grab a decent photo.

More later,

Dave

323837020_AttheentrytoCastriesHarbor.jpg.e1e91bd9dc52bdb59b5f345baef7c5f3.jpg

584056213_RainbowatCastries.jpg.d01c018b2f55cab731fa327d2c7447d7.jpg

Edited by RetiredMustang

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Wow, they grabbed handfuls of chocolate?? Totally unnecessary. You would think it was a boatful of starving people doing that, not folks who just left the dining room after a great meal. People just astound me sometimes. What are they thinking? It is that type of behavior which forces cruise lines to cut back little "nice gestures" like chocolate which everyone enjoys. All because of the piggish and gluttonous actions of a few. What a shame.

 

So very true.

We noticed a few nights later that the staff would bring out a small plate of 4 chocolates after you ordered a drink.

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Dave,

what is the bow deck on deck 4

Thanks in advance

 

The bow deck on deck 4 is the open deck in the front of the ship on deck 4, which is one deck above where the wrap-waround walking deck, upper dining room, Ocean bar, etc. are. Normally it is closed during travel, but the captain opened it as we were going more slowly that we do in open seas. It allows for uninterrupted views in front of the ship, which makes for more photo opportunities than normal.

 

Dave

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Friday, Feb. 22, St. Lucia (Cont.)

We sailed from Castries and headed along the island to Soufriere and the Pitons. The captain did open the forward deck on deck 4, and the travel expert provided a narrative during the sail. Unfortunately, much of the island was rainy/socked in as we went by – the showers did not last long in any one place, but there were waves of them passing by, so the island would be sunny, then rainy, then cloudy, etc.

We nosed close to Soufriere while the tenders ran back and forth to ferry the passengers from ashore back to the ship. The weather finally cleared from the Pitons and the sun enough to light them, so I got a picture. It is not the tourist brochure bright green hills and azure seas, but it gives you the idea. Photo attached, and larger size at: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/510/The_Pitons_St_Lucia.JPG

There was no show tonight, and instead there was a BBQ on the Lido deck, followed later by a party with happy hour.

One thing I forgot to mention – the Captain yesterday in his afternoon comments from the bridge told us that the person who had been medically evacuated by the helicopter had made it to a hospital in the U.S. mainland and was expected to be OK. He didn’t violate any privacy with those general comments, but we appreciated knowing that whoever it was is going to recover.

More tomorrow,

Dave

Dinner menu, Feb. 22

Appetizers: Orange and Avocado Carousel; Bay Scallops Cocktail; Prosciutto, Genoa Salami, Melon and Figs; Double-Baked Chees Souffle.

Soups and Salad: Cock-a-Leekie Soup; Pumpkin and Squash Soup; Chilled Watermelon Gazpacho; Romaine Lettuce Spears.

Entrees: Spaghetti Puttanesca; Greek-Style Beef Salad; John Dory Fillet with Black Olive Mousse; Broiled Paillard of Beef with Dijon Mustard Sauce; Rack of Lamb with Tomato Couscous and Garlic Pearls; Turkey Roast with Giblet Gravy and Cranberry; Roasted Beet Risotto.

Desserts: Sacher Torte; Frozen Watermelon Pie; Warm Espresso-Date Pudding; Chocolate Delight no sugar added; Vanilla Ice Cream; Coffee Ice Cream; Mango Sorbet; Vanilla Frozen Yogurt; no sugar added Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream; no sugar added Vanilla Ice Cream; Blueberry Sundae.

From the Daily Program:

Vista Lounge: Lido Pool Party. Join us for an unforgettable evening on the Lido Deck, under the starry skies of the Caribbean … Enjoy Happy Hour beverages for the duration of the party, 9:30 p.m. Lido Deck midship

Queen’s Lounge: Win a Cruise Bingo, 8:00 p.m.

Ocean Bar: the HAL Cats, 4:00-6:00 p.m., 7:00-10:00 p.m.; Happy Hour 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Piano Bar: Entertainer Diane, 9:00 p.m

Explorer’s Lounge: Adagio, 6:00-10:00 p.m.

Crow’s Nest: Solo Guitarist David, 7:00-11:00 p.m.; Happy Hour 9:00-10:00 p.m.

Northern Lights; DJ Jazzy, Tropical Rhythms,10:30 p.m-midnight.

Tonight’s MovieArgo, Queen’s Lounge, 1 p.m.,10:00 p.m., Vista Lounge 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m. p.m.

Afternoon Tea, MDR, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

A Taste of the Tropics BBQ, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

 

1447658589_ThePitonsSt.Lucia.jpg.0f5d2591b40dbb854cbb24b48c58b6c5.jpg

Edited by RetiredMustang

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The bow deck on deck 4 is the open deck in the front of the ship on deck 4, which is one deck above where the wrap-waround walking deck, upper dining room, Ocean bar, etc. are. Normally it is closed during travel, but the captain opened it as we were going more slowly that we do in open seas. It allows for uninterrupted views in front of the ship, which makes for more photo opportunities than normal.

 

Dave

looking very forward to that hope the ship's captain does the same for us. really enjoying your blog

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Saturday, Feb. 23, Bridgetown, Barbados

We picked up the pilot at about 7:00, and we docked and cleared to go ashore by just after 8:00. It was raining on Barbaos (and eventually us) as we came in, but the rain stopped, the clouds shifted or burned off, and it turned sunny. I hope it stays that way for DW’s snorkel trip this morning.

We were the largest ship in port, but there are three interesting ones sharing the harbor with us. One is an older-style liner ship called MV Freewinds, which Wikipedia says is owned by International Shipping, a company connected to the Church of Scientology.

The second is a beautiful 5-masted sailing ship, the Royal Clipper, of Star Clippers line http://www.starclippers.com/en/our-fleet/royal-clipper.html

The third is Windstar’s Wind Spirit, which I believe is based in Barbados and does 7-day itineraries among the smaller islands. It appears the Royal Clipper has unloaded passengers here today (there are a lot of bags in the terminal by the Star Clipper flag), so this may be a base for he as well. I’ve attached photos of the three ships. Larger-size versions are available at the links below. I took the photos of the Freewinds and Royal Clipper from on-board Noordam on our approach, and the one of the Wind Spirit after going ashore about 8:15; you can tell how the weather changed in that short time.

Freewinds: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/509/Freewinds_in_Barbados.JPG

Royal Clipper: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/509/Royal_Clipper_in_Barbados.JPG

Wind Spirit: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/509/Wind_Spirit_in_Barbados.JPG

We have visited Barbados many times, and did many excurisions including Harrison’s Cave, and island drive and swimming with the turtles twice. This is a lovely island with lots to do. But,, I decided while DW was snorkeling that I would go to the Barbados cruise terminal, and take advantage of the free wi-fi to run Live Update, Windows Update, etc., and upload a lot of photo files to Cruise Critic Photo Gallery at a much faster (and free) internet connection than from the ship. I will post several posts from the terminal today before I go walkabout, looking for a cutter and a Banks.

More later,

Dave

1346501588_FreewindsinBarbados.jpg.35ae8fa0310d9293a88cb10207b64c28.jpg

1956262899_RoyalClipperinBarbados.jpg.bebbb3a374d442ef31cc6806e17951e4.jpg

310634057_WindSpiritinBarbados.jpg.c1db00930423f5bdc6e44ae29b229031.jpg

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I am going to do several posts in quick succession here, to post many of the shipboard photos I have been taking. Attached are shots of the Atrium bar and the basketball court on top of midships. Larger-sized ones at the below links:

Noordam Atrium bar 1: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/520/Noordam_Atrium_bar_1.JPG

Noordam Atrium bar 2: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/520/Noordam_Atrium_bar_2.JPG

Noordam basketball court: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/520/Noordam_basketball_court.JPG

More to follow,

Dave

332907278_NoordamAtriumbar1.jpg.69a0c57adafe20f6b433af977b960099.jpg

1308551621_NoordamAtriumbar2.jpg.8a19242bd978f92b349b900b2aa76b8a.jpg

275126474_Noordambasketballcourt.jpg.476bff39d308552e24af6f946d250f0c.jpg

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And, the last set of photos for this session, the Pinnacle bar and restaurant:

Noordam Pinnacle bar: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/520/Noordam_Pinnacle_bar_2013.JPG

Noordam Pinnacle restaurant: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/520/Noordam_Pinnacle_restaurant_2013.JPG

I think I will stop for while with this post. I’ve suddenly turned somewhat psychic, and I believe I can perceive a flying-fish sandwich (cutter) and a cold Barbados beer (Banks brand) in my very near future.

More later,

Dave

2014166963_NoordamPinnaclebar_2013.jpg.957c7ce54c8c730156c6929f5233380d.jpg

1900056657_NoordamPinnaclerestaurant_2013.jpg.c39cfb178e14c6e709a6718807c6529f.jpg

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great photos - brings back many happy memories of the wonderful noordam

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... and take advantage of the free wi-fi to run Live Update, Windows Update, etc.,
Gutsy move, doing that in the middle of a cruise!! :D

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Saturday, Feb. 23, Bridgetown, Barbados (Cont.)

Well, there may be something to this paranormal thing, because my prediction came true – I had a cutter and a Banks! Photo attached and at: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/514/A_cutter_and_a_Banks.JPG

Shortly after we had docked, another ship joined us in the harbor – the HMS Edinburgh (D97). Photo attached and at: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/510/HMS_Edinburgh_in_Barbados.JPG

I also walked around the piers to get a shot of Noordam, framed by Wind Spirit. Photo attached and at: http://pictures.cruisecritic.com/data/520/Noordam_near_Wind_Spirit.JPG

I then did some walkabout, and later enjoyed my sandwich and cold beer and then returned to the ship. DW returned from her snorkel trip and reported it to have been excellent. She was on the ship’s “Carlisle Bay Shipwreck Snorkel” and said they had seen three wrecks and tons of fish, and enjoyed mostly bright sunlight. So, that tour is a keeper. She also reported that she got one of the old blue towels at the gangway, did not have to leave our name/cabin number, and just dropped it in the bin when she returned – in short, Noordam is still using the old way with the towels.

A couple of other things I have not mentioned yet, but are still as we remember them: We were in Code Orange for the first 48 hours (successful so far), and they have served hors d’oeuvres in the Ocean Bar before dinner.

Tonight was the second formal night. We had reservations at the Pinnacle, and ate way too much of that wonderful food (also as usual). I will post the current menu sometime later in the cruise.

More tomorrow,

Dave

Dinner menu, Feb. 23

Appetizers: Sun-Ripened Pineapple Delight; Orange-Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail; Smoked Duck Carpaccio; Mussels a la Mariniere.

Soups and Salad: Ginger Chicken and Vegetable Soup; Country Style Lentil Soup; Gazpacho Andalusia; Boston Bibb Lettuce.

Entrees: Tagliatelle alla Conti; Pacific Rim Salad; Crispy Sweet-and-Sour Shrimp; Fillet of Beef Wellington; Sauteed Veal Medallions with Creamy Mushroom Sauce; Pomegranate-Glazed Cornish Game Hen; Savory Grilled Tofu.

Desserts: Sorry, I was not able to get the list of desserts for tonight.

From the Daily Program:

Vista Lounge: Simply Broadway featuring the Noordam Singers, 8:00 and 10:00 p.m.

Queen’s Lounge: Tonight’s Gameshow: Sea Quest, 9:00 p.m.; Ben & the HAL Cats 10:30 p.m. – midnight

Ocean Bar: Ben & the HAL Cats, 7:00-10:00 p.m.; Happy Hour 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Piano Bar: Entertainer Diane, 9:00 p.m - close

Explorer’s Lounge: Adagio, 6:00-10:00 p.m.

Crow’s Nest: Solo Guitarist David, 8:00-11:00 p.m.; Happy Hour 9:00-10:00 p.m.

Northern Lights; DJ Jazzy, British Invasion 10:00 p.m-midnight.

Tonight’s Movie Taken 2, Queen’s Lounge, 10:00 a.m., noon and 6:00 p.m.

English Afternoon Tea, MDR, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

414595116_AcutterandaBanks.jpg.7f88caafa116609517b2ca4507cec02f.jpg

188623978_HMSEdinburghinBarbados.jpg.92e082e33d17de9f292aeec1d154cfc0.jpg

966167747_NoordamnearWindSpirit.jpg.9266eca5aae3177b63bafcfb1c9799c0.jpg

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Gutsy move, doing that in the middle of a cruise!! :D

 

Yeah, John, it's always a risk to run Windows Update, especially away from home. One of our sons has a random signature generator, and every now and then pops up one of our favorites: "Failure is not an option ... it comes bundled with your Microsoft product.":D

 

Dave

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The bow deck on deck 4 is the open deck in the front of the ship on deck 4, which is one deck above where the wrap-waround walking deck, upper dining room, Ocean bar, etc. are. Normally it is closed during travel, but the captain opened it as we were going more slowly that we do in open seas. It allows for uninterrupted views in front of the ship, which makes for more photo opportunities than normal.

 

Dave

Thank You Dave had a complete brain freeze (up here in Canada.) Bow and Stern of ship lol Getting too excited for the 21 day cruise :D:D:D

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