Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
WCB

Enjoy the "Treasures of the World" with Bill & Mary Ann on the 2014 World Cruise

Recommended Posts

A lot of us were watching the Amsterdam on CC last night on the web cam and I know everyone wonders what caused the final two passengers to be late? A lot of us are guessing the weather and flight delays?

 

Can't wait to hear about the upgrades/changes the Amsterdam had in dry-dock since we will be on her in June 2014.

 

Yes, it was reported on the other world cruise thread that the couple flew in from Newfoundland IIRC and Canada's weather has been brutal. That said, flying in for a world cruise the same day is not the best plan. They are very lucky the ship waited.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, it was reported on the other world cruise thread that the couple flew in from Newfoundland IIRC and Canada's weather has been brutal. That said, flying in for a world cruise the same day is not the best plan. They are very lucky the ship waited.

 

 

Thanks L, that was the odds on favorite guess on the delay. I was interesting listening to the CB radio and how the captain was giving them 6-7 minutes to get on board once they neared the ship. He sounded pretty impatient. Yes...not wise to fly the same day of the cruise....:eek:.

 

What other thread are you looking at besides this one for the World Cruise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks L, that was the odds on favorite guess on the delay. I was interesting listening to the CB radio and how the captain was giving them 6-7 minutes to get on board once they neared the ship. He sounded pretty impatient. Yes...not wise to fly the same day of the cruise....:eek:.

 

What other thread are you looking at besides this one for the World Cruise?

 

The John and Diane are at it again thread. Love both of these threads.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love reading your updates - is the cruise directors name Gene Young? He was on the Prinsendam last spring and told us he would be on the World Cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So excited I remembered to check the boards when HAL posted that one of the Grand World Voyages had set sail. I knew someone posted on here and I'm very excited to read all about the trip.

 

Thanks for taking the time (and the money with the internet charges!) to share your adventures with us. A Grand World Voyage is totally on my bucket list. i just have to convince my fiance that he wouldn't be bored on a cruise that long!

Edited by SplitRaindrop

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The John and Diane are at it again thread. Love both of these threads.

 

Thanks, I just plain missed that one...;) I am now caught up with this one. She is a good writer also.

Edited by RAJKR74

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for posting your world cruise blog for us to read. Look forward to reading all about your adventures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be living vicariously through you 2 for the next 3 months. A world cruise is Retirement Year 1 plan.

 

 

Sent from my KFTHWI using Tapatalk 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Report # 8 Second Day at Sea January 5, 2014 Sunday Partly cloudy, windy, 80 degrees

 

It was sweet being rocked to sleep last night in our new bed with a duvet and fresh, fluffy pillows. We're not sure if the new mattress was part of the re-furbishments that took place in the last drydocking, or it is because of the request we put in months ago for a brand new mattress. Whatever the reason, we are happy with the bed.

 

Other changes in our stateroom include a re-covered couch and chair. The old barrel stool is missing, however, and we do miss it. It was useful as a footstool, as well as another place to store stuff under the seat, which was removable. According to the hotel manager, he thinks all of those barrel stools have been destroyed.

 

The window drapes are made much smarter. That is, there is an insulated beige blackout curtain against the window with ribbon-striped sheers in front of the solid drape. Matching sheers drape from the ceiling near the desk and couch, sort of setting the bed and the desk/couch area apart. A brown plaid carpet was added in the staterooms, while the hallway carpets were also changed to a dark blue pattern.

 

Nothing in the bathroom has been changed yet. The corner mirrored medicine cabinet remains, and so does the old fixed hairdryer in the bathroom above the sink. Still included in the cabin drawer is a handheld hairdryer, which plugs in on the desk.

 

Two of our requests are always a small refrigerator and a fan. Yesterday, the refrigerator was already present, but there was no fan. We had asked for a tower fan, but eventually received an oscelating circular fan on a stand. It does appear to be very new. The other thing we had asked for were 4 dozen wire hangars. Why, you may ask? Well for one thing, wire ones take up far less room in the limited closet space. You can hang twice as many clothes. We did keep some of the wooden ones for slacks, but the rest were turned back to our room steward. These hangars were also not there when we arrived, but our kind room steward said he would drop them off later.

 

We really felt bad when we came back after a late lunch yesterday to find four dozen wooden hangars covering our bed. Oops, he did not see the word "wire", so he had to take them away and bring us the right ones. We told him no rush, but he was back in a flash. Since we had run out of time to put our stuff away yesterday, we saved that lovely job for today.......like, all day.

 

All the normal "at sea" activities kicked off today, but you would not find us at any of them. Our day began with a breakfast in the dining room that we were not sure was going to happen. As of late last night, we had not received the daily newsletter for today. It arrived early this morning, and upon checking the dining room times for breakfast, we found the only times given were for lunch and dinner. Had they cancelled the served breakfast in La Fontaine dining room? Boy, we would really be frosted if that was true.

 

Well, we went there around 8:30am to find breakfast in full service and an apology for the lack of communication. The food and service were still the best as ever, and we went out happy, full campers. After a walk of a couple of miles on the lower promenade deck, we headed back to the grindstone to complete the job of settling in.

 

We stuck with the unloading and re-arranging until well after 5pm. It had taken weeks to pack this stuff up, so to unravel it all in one day was quite a feat. But we accomplished the majority of it, and will finish up tomorrow. By the way, our window garden got planted this afternoon as well. If it works, we should have some sunflowers, wildflowers, along with some bulbs of amaryllis and tiger lilies. Will be fun to watch the progress.

 

Finally logging in on the new internet system was fairly easy. We had pre-purchased the most affordable plan, 1000 minutes (25 cents a minute with a bonus of 100 extra minutes). The new system has been reportedly working much better than the old system. One of the major changes in this area is that there is no designated internet manager now. Emily, the librarian, has taken over that job as well as her own. She shall be busy for sure.

 

Dinner was interesting tonight. Trying to keep it light, we ordered the sesame steak salad for our entrees. The salad arrived, but without the beef. Our embarrassed waiter brought a generous portion of sliced steak for both of us. It was delicious, even if it was consumed separately. Our tablemates have meshed quite well, and it is nice to see, because not all of the tables of guests are as animated as we are. They spend more time watching us, than visiting with each other. Seriously, we are like a bunch of kids re-united at summercamp.

 

The first of our Grand World Voyage gifts arrived tonight.......2 traveller's journals. They will be useful.

 

Gosh, it is midnight once again, so must close this story for tonight.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nothing in the bathroom has been changed yet. The corner mirrored medicine cabinet remains, and so does the old fixed hairdryer in the bathroom above the sink.

Ah! Good news for those of us who have a cruise booked on this ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a great start? I really feel like I am on the ship with you the way you put your day into words for us.

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for taking us along again. I've been looking forward to this. Wishing you a wonderful cruise with calm seas and great friends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Report # 9 Sailing towards Puerto Limon January 6, 2014 Monday Partly cloudy, windy, 82 degrees

 

The weather has continued to be comfortable since we left Florida.......not overly hot, but not too sunny either. There has been a steady wind blowing, which has kept the aft deck sparsely populated for the last couple of days. No saving lounges on this trip so far. We counted about 50 "lay-lows" as the Aussies say, set up on the back deck, and many of those were vacant.

 

After having another satisfying breakfast, we went for a short walk outside. The only sealife we spotted were a couple of smallish flying fish. No birds or larger fish yet. That could be because we were traveling across the Cayman Trench, which has the deepest waters in the Caribbean, according to Captain Jonathon.

 

We attended the first of the CC meetings in the Crows Nest at 11am. Half the lounge was filled with members, one of the largest groups we have seen. Champagne, mimosas, and coffee and juices were being served. A table was set with some food as well. Some non-member folks had wandered into the room, looking for people that were organizing some of the independant tours. We understand that they were all present, and would be collecting cash for those excursions people had signed up for.

 

Those of us who know better, also know NOT to discuss tour arrangements until well after the Hotel Manager and CD give their welcome speeches and have left the room. After all, by organizing independant tours, our group comes into direct competition with the HAL shore excursion staff onboard. That is not taken too kindly by the staff, although, that fact was only mentioned to us in private by a high-up staff member a few years ago. The phrase, "a thorn in my side or a knife in my back" comes to mind.

 

Our group leader welcomed us all, then introduced Henk M. the hotel manager to the group. He said a few nice words, then he introduced the new CD, Gene Young (no, not Steve, as mistakenly reported). Henk could not have spoken more highly of him without a lot of embarrassment, so we think he will be widely accepted by most everyone. When our leader took the microphone back, someone asked her immediately about the tours. She quickly said we do not talk about that right now, but later, hinting to wait until the staff had left the lounge. Funny thing is that Henk and Gene did not leave, but stayed to observe and mingle with the crowd. Our advice to the staff or more specifically, the shore excursion department.....lower the price of your tours, and more folks will book them. Simple, but the truth.

 

Well, the momentum that was supposed to keep us working in our room was gone. It was easier to look at the job at hand, close the door, and take a walk. What a better way to relax than change into swimwear, and go to the aft pool. Armed with our books and drink bottles, we headed up top. Did we mention that we like lemonade, but not with all the sugar? Our solution was to pre-order the water package, and bring Crystal Lite lemonade packets (no sugar). Filling our thermoses with ice from our room, we do not have to bother Manny, our favorite bar staffer, to supply the ice. We are not allowed to fill our personal bottles with ice in the Lido, due to cross-contamination we guess.

 

Even though the sun was not hot....the wind was blowing a slight gale, one of us did get a tad bit burned. Any spot of skin that did not get the lotion, tended to toast. Will have to be more careful as we headed further south towards the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.

 

We spent some fun time with Barb in her upgraded room on deck two. We teased her that the cabin was so far aft, that she could go outside and drop a line to fish! She is happy, because she had booked an inside, and got upgraded to an outside cabin. With one bed taken out of the room, it looked huge compared to ours. Anyway we were there to help her with a plumbing problem. Once fixed, she was one happy lady, since she can take a shower without it dribbling out.

 

At 7pm, the second seating guests were invited to the Captain's Welcome Champagne Reception in the Queens Lounge. This is a bit confusing, since as long as we can recall, they offer more than champagne or wine, because this is a Grand Voyage. We headed for our favorite chairs on the extreme left side of the lower lounge. We can visit with familiar people as they go by, but more importantly, we get the best beverage and food service. Taking pictures, you can stand up and not block anyone's view.

 

The band played on as some of the more limber folks danced in the center of the room. By 7:40pm, Gene introduced the Captain of the vessel, Jonathon Mercer. Then the Captain brought each department head on the stage, giving a brief description of their nationality, their duties onboard, and some of their favorite pastimes. His best introduction was that of the hotel manager, Henk M. Among other activities enjoyed by Henk, such as running, biking and hiking, his one passion included wrapping a rubber band around his waist, then thrashing about in the aft pool. The entire lounge of guests broke out laughing, since most of us have seen Henk do this numerous times on previous trips. Just by coincidence, Henk happened to stop by and chat with us today at the back pool. He said that even though he liked swimming, he found running to be more productive and far less boring. So for that reason, he did not plan on utilizing the pool as much this year. We remember on one trip, Henk asked a few ladies first if he could do his exercise in the pool, and they said NO. We are certain they had no idea who he was at the time. But you know how some gals are about getting their hair wet....no way.

 

One surprise we had while the head staff were being introduced, was that the executive chef, Ed Sayomac, was not here. But a German fellow by the name of Daniel was in his place. In our humble opinion, we can say that, so far, we are quite pleased with the food in the main dining room. The presentation, portion sizes, and the higher quality of the meat or fish has been consistently excellent.

 

The party ended right at 8pm, and the lines for the first upcoming show "Forbidden Broadway", reportedly a hilarious and brillantly wicked musical, were stretched to the front desk and beyond. Will report on our tablemate's opinions of the performance tomorrow. As you guessed, we did not attend at 10pm.

 

Dinner was fun, because we had a guest host. Renee from the salon onboard joined us. The hosts always supply white or red wines, so everyone that imbibed had a fine time. And so did those of us who do not drink wine. Renee knew most of us, so she felt comfortable. As the formal nights continue, we doubt any officers or staff members will be available to host dining room tables, as the Captain's Dinners in the Pinnacle Grill will take priority. That is, assuming they will still have those special evenings.

 

One good thing, is that we have begun the start of the clock changes, as tonight we were requested to put the clocks back one hour. Fine with us.....we SO need the extra sleep.

 

One more day at sea, and we will be in Costa Rica. Truthfully, these first few sea days have flown by.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always enjoy traveling with you. I look forward to all of your post. Thank you for taking time to share with all of us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gene was our cruise director on our Grand Asia & Australia voyage in Sept. 2012. He was fabulous! His mother was on that trip; she was a hoot, we were down a few cabins from her and spent quite a bit of time with her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I winter in Fl. I enjoy following your blog.

I asked last winter and you nicely answered about the pizza thing.

One more question and Then I think I will just read your blog until April

Here it is Why do you not take in any of the shows?? I know from cruising some are good and some not so good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Report # 10 Sailing Towards Costa Rica January 7, 2014 Tuesday Partly cloudy, occassional showers, 82 degrees

 

All was well as another day advanced while at sea. That is, except for the elevator area forward on deck one. Appears there has been a leak somewhere higher up in the ship, and something foul-smelling has ended up down this way. This morning three of the four elevators were shut down, and there was a dehumidifier plugged in to dry the carpeting. Paneling was removed from the back wall, so they must be searching for the problem. These kind of things happen all the time on all the ships. Just like at home, things break. We're glad that it is far aft and not forward where our room is located. The aroma was not very pleasing to say the least.

 

At breakfast this morning, we spoke to Presti, one of the head waiters in the dining room. We asked why Ed Sayomac was not here, and he told us that Ed decided to leave the ship and his executive chef position right before the Asia/Pacific cruise was over. It was his choice to turn the job down perhaps due to overload or stress. Luckily, his replacement is equally as talented.

 

There was one lone masked booby following the ship this morning. He had his work cut out for him, since there were few flying fish, their favorite dish. We love watching them dive like a rock when they spot one. It has to take all their energy to soar all day for the few fish they catch. We have yet to see a fat booby! Oops, maybe that did not come out right??

 

Another phase of the room job got finished this afternoon. The desk area is neat and organized with the plug strips connected for all our toys. One of us did some computer organizing to catch up with basic bookkeeping for our trip so far. We find it much easier to keep up with purchases as we go, instead of waiting until the end of each week or so. Keeping track of shipboard spending also helps us to reconcile our statement too. Speaking of onboard sending, we figured that we have saved a lot by being 5 star Mariners. We get unlimited laundry, which is worth $678. for the 113 day world cruise. If we had to pay for unlimited pressing, it would be another $339. That makes the laundry by the bag at $20, sound like a deal. The only drawback is the size of the bag ( about 12 inches by 20 inches ).

 

The last thing left to do is hang our world wall map, and a dozen or so Command hooks for small stuff like the calendar, etc. That will have to wait until we sail through the Panama Canal, because tomorrow is our first port day of the trip. Looking forward to firm ground for a day. Speaking of the Panama Canal, the head baker demonstrated how to make Panama Rolls this morning. Hope it was televised, so we can make them at home. They have to be one of the highlites of sailing through the canal in our opinion.

 

We saved some time to start our books at the aft pool. We no sooner got settled, lotion slathered on, and books out, then it rained. Beginning with a light drizzle, it soon came down hard enough to flood the entire deck. Thinking we could tough it out, we changed our minds, and took shelter against the wall. It stopped as fast as it had begun. We added dry towels and spent the rest of the afternoon there under partly cloudy skies.

 

Our tablemates reported that the show last night was OK, but not quite up to Broadway standards. Only real New Yorkers can say that, and that is exactly where our new tablemates, Bill & Marianne, live. Tonight the show features gymnast, Lance Ringnald. We are certain that this audience will marvel at his limberness, remembering the days they may have moved like him.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Report # 11 Puerto Limon, Costa Rica January 8, 2014 Wednesday Cloudy, 85 degress, chance of rain

 

Costa Rica is a very unique country in Central America. Each and every tour guide we have had up to date, has been adamant about telling us just that. Their pride of their country shines through as they proudly describe the history, culture, and livelihoods of the citizens. Costa Rica, meaning The Rich Coast as described by Christopher Columbus in the early 1500's, has come a long way from those days to what we see today.

 

Starting from the lowlands, crops such as bananas, coconuts, mangoes, and pineapples create plantations of solid green landscapes. Heading up into the volcanic mountains, their largest income crop is coffee. Topping bananas and coffee combined, tourism has skyrocketed. We can see why. Many of the young folks have studied extensively in the tourism field, becoming the most educated guides we have encountered. The key to a successful economy is in the education system. Costa Rica appears to leave few children behind.

 

We decided on an HAL tour today that took us to see the landscapes of the countryside. However, our first stop was a must......a tour of one of Del Monte's banana factories. The processing of this delicious fruit is interesting and hard work from what we witnessed. The bus took us through the plantation of mature banana plants with the developing fruit grown in long blue plastic bags. They are used to keep the fruit bug free and clean.

 

At the plant, we were able to walk on the outside and observe the sorting, cleaning, and boxing of the green fruit. The workers are paid on how much they box, so speed is important. Many of our guests asked if we could sample the fruit, but our guide told us that nothing is picked ripe. They would never last being shipped around the world. He did, however, purchase some tiny bananas elsewhere for us to sample once we left the plantation.

 

The drive along the beach-lined coast brought us to an open-air train with one huge engine and two historic, recently restored cars. Our group of 40 or so had the use of both cars, so we were not crowded. Nice. All the wooden sash windows were open, and it was noisy as the diesel engine started up. Passing through dense jungle growth, we soon spotted some howler monkeys high up in the canopy of the trees. What keeps them there is obviously some type of fruit they are enjoying. Another treat to see were some sloths. They are the slowest-moving creatures of the forest. These fellows are not really large in this part of the world. Much bigger ones can be found in the Amazon. The train conductor was the one who had seen these animals first. He even stopped the locomotive so everyone could take as many photos as we wished. Of course, that guaranteed that he may receive a few extra tips by doing so. In the past, these trains were used to haul the produce from the plantations to the dock area for exporting. Other trains were utilized to bring the coffee beans down from the mountains, although, there was no tour that offered a ride on one of those. Perhaps they only operate those on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.

 

After a 45 minute train ride, we were bussed to the Tortuguero Canal, where we were treated to platters full of sweet, delicious watermelon and pineapple. Ice cold water, tea, and beer were also served. And for the all important visit, the restrooms were roomy and very well-equipped. As usual, the ladies lined up, while the fellows breezed through theirs.

 

Everyone had plenty of room to find good seats in the flat covered riverboat. Frankly, we did not have to go far to see wildlife on the banks, in the trees, or in the air. The only monkeys our boat driver spotted were some howlers, but they were buried so deep in the canopy of leaves, no one else could spot them. We got up close and personal with several sloths and one bright lime green "Jesus Christ" lizard, who is capable of running across the surface of the water. He was more interested pretending to hide from us, while the driver got up close enough to touch him. White egrets, blue and grey heron, kingfishers, and some plovers either flew past us or posed quietly on the shoreline. A pair of cinnamon-colored waterbirds with orange beaks continued foraging among the water hyacinths, but spooked as we sped towards them. This part of the tour ran overtime, since we all spotted more wildlife as we headed back. The guide and driver kindly accommodated us, and went in circles or backed up so we could take photos. Great sightings today, even though we did not expect to see much in the warm afternoon when most creatures lay low. Luck of the draw.

 

Funny story: A nice lady sitting behind us on the boat kept seeing many birds or lizards, even turtles. But the rest of us could not find them, not even the guide. She finally confessed that perhaps she should not have had two beers at the boat landing. What she thought was a turtle was a floating coconut!

 

Darn, the almost 6 hour tour was over as we pulled into the pier area. We really did enjoy this excursion, even if we had done it the last time we were here four years ago. You always see something new. And by chance, we were on with a nice group of folks from the ship.

 

We made a quick sweep through the souvenier building, locating a mango wood vase, which the vendor swore will hold water for fresh flowers. We shall see. It is cut out of one solid piece of wood, so there are no seams for leaks. And it is heavy enough not to fall over in rough seas. Remember the lovely long-stem roses we got on the first evening onboard? Well, we cut them back, and placed them in an empty plastic water bottle. Sometime in the middle of the night, it tipped over and filled one of our pairs of tennis shoes with water. My feet were nice and cool the next day until they dried.

 

The Puerto Limon sailaway party was held on the aft pool deck. There was music, drinks, and hot appetizers (we never saw them?). Since the sun was shortly going down, and the skies were cloudy, it was a pleasantly cool sailaway. Many folks attended.

 

Dinner followed at 8pm, and was fun as always. All of us had done different things today, and sharing stories gave us all more insight into the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.

 

A question has been asked as to why we seldom attend the entertainment in the evening. Well, we can tell you there are far more reasons for us not to go, than there are reason to go. It is simple.....it is hard to burn the candle at both ends. If daylight is burning, then we will be outside and on the go all day either at sea or in a port. So far, naps are not on our agenda. After dinner, at 10pm, we are happy to call it a day and retire to our room. It is far better to fall asleep in our comfortable bed, than find ourselves fading away in the showlounge. Most nights still last until after midnight for both of us sometimes. There are the jobs of writing blogs, downloading and sorting photos, and washing hair....it's long and takes time to dry naturally. And don't forget.......we have seen these shows more than once, and for the most part, they have not changed too much over the years. If we hear a really good one is coming up and we can't miss it, yes, we will go and judge for ourselves. Sometimes we stay, and sometimes we leave after 10 minutes.

 

Tomorrow we shall be leaving the Caribbean and heading towards the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal. The only negative is that the clocks have to go AHEAD one hour tonight. That is SO rude.............

 

Bill & Mary Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
      • Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo invites you to #CrewUpWithWomen
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...