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Johnny B

John and Diane are at it Again!

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Some Lurline info:

As a youth growing up in San Francisco I used to look longingly at the Lurline as it arrived and departed out of San Francisco from the cliffs of the Presidio. I longed for an adventure onboard this famous ship.

 

My Grandmother was aboard the Lurline as she left Hawaii on December 6, 1941 the day before the Pearl Harbor attack. She had quite a story about that passage.

 

We have been following your World Cruises for years and have enjoyed your wonderful writing skills as it takes us along on your adventures. I see the Amsterdam in the shipyard as I work in San Francisco and know what lays ahead for her and you two. Best wishes and Bon Voyage!

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There's nothing that makes writing a blog more rewarding than having people read and respond to it, so thank you all for that.

 

I envy you your view of the Amsterdam, since San Francisco is one of my very favorite cities. I was born and raised on the Peninsula (Redwood City, to be specific) and since my parents had met and married in San Francisco, we used to go to "The City" as much as possible. My mom would dress up in a suit, hat and gloves, make me wear a dress, and we'd go shopping at Macy's or The City of Paris. Our blue collar family would put together a picnic, drive to Golden Gate Park, and watch the polo matches - go figure! I think I was the only one at school that knew what a chukker was and that there were six horses in a "string" of polo ponies. One of my school highlights was when my mother would check me out of school on a Wednesday with the excuse of a dental appointment when I knew that Wednesday meant we were going to the matinee of a play in The City. Sailing from SF is very satisfying in many ways.

 

It's funny that you should ask how we chose our cabin. In 2008, since it would be our "once in a lifetime" cruise, we decided to splurge on a verandah cabin on Deck 6. It was wonderful. By 2012, we realized that this was getting to be a habit and we'd better cut back, so we booked an outside cabin on Deck 2 (Main Deck). However, every Deck 2 cabin is right below Deck 3 with the promenade which goes completely around the ship. If they weren't scrubbing the decks at 5:30 in the morning, someone was jogging around it, even though the big red signs say "no jogging." Needless to say, it got old very fast. Therefore, for our segments in 2013, we opted for Deck 1, Dolphin Deck and really enjoyed the location and quiet of Cabin 1918. John used to joke that he could see the fish swimming by because we were so far down.

 

Because we enjoyed 1918, we booked it again for 2014, but we told Shannon, our cruise agent, that if any good upgrade offers came up to let us know. Because this cruise has an itinerary very similar to 2013, it isn't fully booked, so we were offered an upgrade to Verandah Deck for about half what it would have cost had we booked it originally. It's a good deal, but one never knows if it will happen. Last year, for example, the ship was chock full of passengers and no one could change cabins.

 

So . . . we didn't really choose our cabin, since we wouldn't have chosen one across from the stairs, but the world cruise is pretty quiet, so we're hoping it won't be a problem. John is really happy about it, because since he was good and cleaned out the rain gutters, he can just sit on the verandah and watch for flying fish. He loves nothing more than to watch the ocean go by.

 

Tomorrow we head to The City for an overnight and then board on Wednesday. The suitcases (and wine) are packed and all we have to do is wash the sheets and towels and we'll be on our way. See you soon.

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P. S.

Darrell and Karen, we just hope we have next-door neighbors as good as you folks were. We also hope no one is blowing bubbles anywhere nearby!

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Thar she blows! We saw the Amsterdam sailing across San Francisco Bay, doing some trial runs before boarding passengers tomorrow. She looks bright and wonderful and we can hardly wait!

 

Our day began before 5:00, because while we would usually just go back to sleep, we knew we had things to do and places to go. The sheets and towels got washed (as did we), and we were off not too long after sunrise in San Luis Obispo, headed to beautiful San Francisco by way of Oakland (to drop off some luggage and wine for delivery to the ship tomorrow. I don't know why we didn't learn to drive one-way rental cars to Los Angeles and San Francisco until now, but it's a great idea. We picked up our Ford Fusion yesterday, dropped it off near Fisherman's Wharf today, and we're on our own. Even though we've been to SF millions of times (it seems), we took the cable car over Nob Hill and got off at Union Square to pick up a few last minute things at Macy's. Then we took a different cable car back and enjoyed a nice walk along the waterfront to our hotel. We did take a small detour to find a liquor store where we could buy a few Mega Millions lottery tickets for tonight. If we win, this blog is toast and we're off to meet with our CPA, our attorney, and our minister. We'll just BUY the ship!

 

Anyway - moving away from fantasy - we're back at the hotel where it turns out there are lots of other HAL passengers, as this is where they're accommodated overnight before boarding tomorrow. We met a nice young Dutch couple at the bar (had to do it - it's Happy Hour now) who had just arrived from Amsterdam by way of Paris and are incredibly tired - no surprise.

 

After all the planning, paying, and imagining, this is our last night NOT aboard the ship. We'll be there to check in shortly after 11:00 tomorrow and will let you know how it goes.

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Bon Voyage - looking forward to reading about your long cruise on the beautiful Amsterdam!

 

Sue/WDW1972

1/5/14 Nieuw Amsterdam

11/7/14 DCL Dream

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I can't even imagine the excitement of boarding a ship for the adventure you have ahead of you. I don't think I'd be able to sleep the night before. Again, Bon Voyage and thank you for taking us along. Cherie

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Cherie, we are so excited! We even walked down to the ship this morning to find out how early we can board. As far as sleeping, we firmly believe that there's better life through chemistry - at least in extreme situations like this.

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We walked down to the ship this morning to find out what time we could board, and Mr. grumpy pants said "Not before 12:00 and probably closer to 1:00. So, being the eternal optimists, we took a taxi there and arrived at 10:30. What happened? They checked us right in and after about 15 more minutes we were through security and on the ship! we found out that only 600 passengers are embarking in SF and another 625 in San Diego on Friday. Of

That total, about 5% are staying on for the world cruise.

 

Coming back on board the Amsterdam is really quite wonderful. "Welcome home" is the most common greeting from officers and crew whom we know from previous cruises. And it really does feel like home each time we board.

 

Our luggage and wine were delivered very promptly and then the problem is "where the heck do we put everything?" Strangely enough, the regular outside cabins have four closets, but the verandah cabins only have three. This situation resulted in a field trip to Ross and Walgreens to find stacking hangers - you know, the kind where you can hang several pieces of clothing on one hanger. Even with those, though, the closets are bulging at the seams!

 

Now we're just sitting here with glasses of celebratory Champagne waiting for the first lifeboat drill. It's always fun to see the people who think it's optional - the captain is NOT amused.

Sadly, our free Verizon Internet ends when we sail, but we'll hook into the ship's (overpriced) system and continue to post.

 

So . . . Bon voyage to us.

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I hope your trip is magical! I will look forward to reading about your adventures abroad!

 

Bon voyage!:)

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Gene writing here; the Port side of MacMarSue! While a passenger this morning crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, I looked westward and saw a cruise ship coming towards the Golden Gate. In the 6:15am darkness I could make out the lines of a HAL ship. Sure enough, it happened to be the Amsterdam coming towards the Gate after what must have been a voyage out from dry dock to a suitable turning point to again enter the Bay and dock at the cruise terminal. She looked radiant in the clear morning darkness.

 

When again around 7am we were driving eastbound on the Bay Bridge I could see her aligned to enter the cruise terminal dock. This time more clearly as the morning light was upon us and see was readily seen.

 

I thought of this ship and you two fortunate seafarers all day and was delighted, upon my return westward over the Bay Bridge to see the Amsterdam contently at berth awaiting her excited passengers who were in the boarding process.

 

Yesterday I wrote about the Lurline leaving Hawaii on 6 December 1941 with my Grandmother on board. The ship had a number of Naval dependent wives and children aboard and the blackout screenings came down when news of Pearl Harbor arrived onboard. She also said that there were a number of "ladies of the night" onboard who were very helpful to the Naval wives in safeguarding and assisting the children during this crossing to San Francisco.

Just a story from the past...

 

Bon Voyage and good health to all of you aboard the good ship Amsterdam!:)

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We walked down to the ship this morning to find out what time we could board, and Mr. grumpy pants said "Not before 12:00 and probably closer to 1:00. So, being the eternal optimists, we took a taxi there and arrived at 10:30. What happened? They checked us right in and after about 15 more minutes we were through security and on the ship! we found out that only 600 passengers are embarking in SF and another 625 in San Diego on Friday. Of

That total, about 5% are staying on for the world cruise.

 

Coming back on board the Amsterdam is really quite wonderful. "Welcome home" is the most common greeting from officers and crew whom we know from previous cruises. And it really does feel like home each time we board.

 

Our luggage and wine were delivered very promptly and then the problem is "where the heck do we put everything?" Strangely enough, the regular outside cabins have four closets, but the verandah cabins only have three. This situation resulted in a field trip to Ross and Walgreens to find stacking hangers - you know, the kind where you can hang several pieces of clothing on one hanger. Even with those, though, the closets are bulging at the seams!

 

Now we're just sitting here with glasses of celebratory Champagne waiting for the first lifeboat drill. It's always fun to see the people who think it's optional - the captain is NOT amused.

Sadly, our free Verizon Internet ends when we sail, but we'll hook into the ship's (overpriced) system and continue to post.

 

So . . . Bon voyage to us.

 

Yes, Bon Voyage to you!!! I will be following you on this wonderful voyage.

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Thursday, December 19

 

It’s our first full day on board, and it is incredibly relaxing. Although most of our 130 days will be sunshine and roses, sailing primarily through the tropics, sailing down the coast of California in December may have a few roses, but very little sunshine. We figured that we sailed by our nearest beach at Avila this morning at about 7:00, but we were too far offshore and there were way too many clouds to see anything.

 

After this morning’s stretch class and some time on the eliptical cross trainer, we discovered that, even covered, the Lido pool area was pretty darned cold. Why did we decide it would be a good place to sit and read later in the morning? Who knows, but about 10:00 John decided that shorts and sandals were not his best idea ever, and my tee-shirt wasn’t quite what was necessary, so my HAL fleece (thank you Trivia prize) and John’s jeans and tennis shoes made an appearance shortly thereafter.

 

We spent part of the morning talking with our friend Jeff (of blog and photo fame) about his two prior cruises and plans for what to do in our upcoming ports. He had some good ideas and we gave him some of ours. Who knows, we may end up onshore together, with us hopefully getting some photo tips.

 

We’ve noticed some real changes on the ship since drydock. There is new decor on part of the Lido pool area, the Explorer’s Lounge, and several other places, and our cabin has new furniture - at least since 2010, the last time we had a verandah cabin.

Another new addition is a new Internet service. It was touted as “new, improved, and much faster,” but no one could get on this morning and we’ve had to wait until 2:00 in the afternoon for someone to figure out what was wrong. I do love “New and Improved.” At least now I can post!

 

Another difference between this cruise and the usual world cruises is the crowd - it’s MUCH younger! There are kids running around and splashing in the pool, and most of them seem to be pretty well behaved. Since there are only 600 passengers on board now, it also seems fairly unpopulated, but tomorrow in San Diego will take care of that when more than 600 more come aboard.

 

One of the beauties of this cruise began almost at once. It's truly magical to sail out of San Francisco under the illuminated Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. We have some wonderful photos which I'll post tomorrow.

 

There are beautiful Christmas decorations all over the ship, and I’ve lost count of how many Christmas trees brighten almost every room. It’s shaping up to be a lovely holiday on board, and right now I think it’s time for it to shape up to a lovely nap.

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love following along with you can visualize all that you are doing. Jeff sent us photos of the changes all look great just so glad the ORANGE leatherete couches are gone from the cabins.Have a Very Merry Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year.

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Hey Alan and Sandra -

We have a lovely black couch now - so much better than orange. We also have new curtains as well as bed coverings. The fish paintings are pretty much the same.

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So . . . here are the SF photos. They're nothing compared to Jeff's, but we do our best. Can't tell you how exciting it is to use FREE internet at Horton Plaza (San Diego) Starbucks! We'll try to post about San Diego later today - hopefully for free.

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OK, here's another try, but not having such good luck.

 

Guess not - maybe later. My computer is saying "security error" and I don't know why. It has no problem with text.

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So glad to be following your cruising adventures again! I love the way you write...it is so nice and easy to read. Love the details also! Happy 50th Anniversary! Your "before and after" pictures are so lovely. Thank you for letting us come along with you on your travels!

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