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Sail Away Gang - in living Colour - a photo review

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Good morning!

 

Well as good as it can be since the cruise is over and we are back to reality! I will be editing my photos and sharing some of them here. So if you like, come along and join the fun...we certainly had enough to share!

 

We were on the Westerdam for 20 days in a quad cabin on deck 4: 4163. When I say we I mean myself, DH, DD (13) and DS (10).

 

We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday April 9. We stayed at the Embassy Suites and thought it was a great location. Close to everything but away from the hustle and bustle.

 

We had an extra piece of 40 lb luggage which was filled with school supplies we had been collecting for 16 months for a Mayan school we would be visiting in Guatemala. This was certainly one of the highlights of our trip for all 4 of us:

 

Here is a quick glimpse of the "stuff" that my children wouldn't think twice about but was greatly appreciated by the school:

 

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And the 43 pencil cases that DD and I had made over the winter:

 

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When we arrived at the Embassy Suites, Sapper1 and her DH were in the lobby waiting for us. What a wonderful way to start our vacation. It wasn't too long before DD and DS wanted to get in the pool. Who could blame them after the winter we had? The pool area is beautiful:

 

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I sat in the shade and soon enough we had filled two tables with Sail Away members. This was the start of new friendships and a great adventure.

 

The hotel is close to shopping and restaurants. We found everything we needed (and a few things we didn't) very close at hand.

 

 

Our room had a view of the port area:

 

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And on Saturday morning watched the Westerdam arrive:

 

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Our intention was to share a cab with Mumsysailor and her DH to get to the port. But on April 11 there were 6 ships in port and the Westerdam was the smallest, believe it or not. The taxi companies were not responding with assurance we could get a minivan cab so a bunch of us paid $8 pp and took the hotel shuttle. More than what we intended to spend but it got us there with all our luggage and that was worth the price. From the time we left the hotel and got our ship cards it was maybe 30 minutes...perhaps 20. We sat waiting to board for another 30 minutes max. Our number was 14 if I remember correctly and the numbers were called 2 at a time.

 

In no time our view changed to this:

 

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Okay...how's it going so far? I will try to get more interesting, promise!

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A chance to relive our trip!!! How good is that! Keep the great photos coming. And thank you in advance.

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As a family of 4, we were in plenty of time to attend the Mariner's lunch but from experience, we gave it a miss because the menu is set and DD and DS prefer the Lido so that is where we went.

 

By the time we were finished lunch and went back to the cabin all the luggage was in the room and the unpacking started. Up to this point we had always stayed in interior "L" cabins so this VC verandah was new to us. We found space for everything with DD and DS each having one of the underbed drawers.

 

The verandah quickly became our favourite space:

 

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The bed coming down over the main bed was a surprise as we were told it would be over the sofa like on the Disney Magic.

 

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We were also told the sofa would "flip over" to become the single bed like in the interior cabins we had booked up to that point. But this was not the case.

 

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There is a cupboard over the sofa that holds the extra linens on one side and all the "kid" stuff that came out of the backpacks when we arrived. There are 2 shelves in each section of the cupboard so it was good storage space. But you can see there is not much room to access the verandah when the sofa bed is pulled out. Our stewards pulled it out every night when we were at early dinner.

 

It may look like there is enough room between the desk and the bed to step over the single bed....but take my word for it, there isn't

 

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We were not quite finished when the Muster Drill started so down to lifeboat 15 we went.

 

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It took longer than I would like to call out everyone's cabin number and name and soon enough the Captain was on the PA very loudly telling us he wanted "Silence on Deck". Disney gets points here again as they just scan one room card from every cabin and verify that the number of people in the cabin are present. Very quick. No complaints, it just took about 30 minutes on HAL and I find standing still that long difficult. But when it was done the sail away party started!

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The Westerdam was leaving Ft. Lauderdale for the season and repositioning to Alaska out of Seattle. Everyone was wanting to take part in this sail away. The more the merrier! The captain certainly kept up his end of the bargain and we all lost count of the horn blasts!

 

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We were not the first ship to leave port that day...but we were the loudest!

 

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Edited by Host Walt
Group photo removed at request of 1of4

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Oh what fun! You will bring back all the memories and you are such a good photographer. Looking forward to more :)

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I'm enjoying your review, especially the photos. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

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I have to get back to work so here are a few pictures from around the ship. I will post more when I get home.

 

The atrium has a crystal sailing ship that revolves:

 

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The ocean bar takes up the whole area on deck 3 from port to starboard. The Pinnacle Grill is directly below on deck 2.

 

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The starboard side of the Ocean Bar:

 

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Great photos - thanks for taking the time to do this!

 

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

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Thank you so much for the photos!

Now I am able to identify everyone by the Sail away gang pictures!

So loved reading the thread. Now will enjoy your's.

Denise😄

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Seems I returned to work just in time for a fire drill. Since I can't go down the stairs unless it is a real emergency I will take this opportunity to add a few more pictures....

 

Denise made a comment about knowing who people are....so here we are:

 

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Many people on board thought DD and DS were twins. Well in fact DD is a twin but not with DS. Her twin is watching over us. DD is just shy of 3 years older than DS.

 

But it is a reasonable assumption as they are very close:

 

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After sail Away we went right to the dining room for our early set time of 5:45. The great thing about having a cabin near the aft of deck 4...the dining room is one floor below!

 

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We had table 83 which is at the railing. A perfect spot for us and DS has a lot to look at and hold his interest as there is no electronic games during dinner (our policy, not HAL's). The ceiling of the dining room is covered in large glass flowers:

 

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Dinner was quite slow, taking over an hour to get the first course. Our two dining room stewards were run off their feet as they had 28 clients and some large table to serve. It went like this for 3 or 4 nights and then they were able to get an extra body to help.

 

We went back to our cabin so DD and DS could change for Club Hal. The beds were already down for the night:

 

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I won't tell you how many times DH and I cracked our heads on the upper bunk. It became a running joke in our family. I got used to it quicker than DH who was still hitting his head in both directions (getting into bed and getting out) on the last day!

 

We had registered DD and DS for Club HAL as soon as lunch was over. It is not like we had a choice as they both insisted! They were 2 of 9 children under 18 on board for the first 16 days. Out of the 9 only 5 went to Club HAL and one of those only in the morning of sea days. Club HAL did not take this opportunity to relax; they ran a full program every day just like the week before when there were over 300 children on board.

 

The manifest on the Friday, the day before we left, showed 5 children total. But then a Norweigan ship cancelled its canal cruise due to mechanical issues and so The Westerdam became a sell out and 4 more children boarded. There wasn't an empty cabin on the ship!

 

The pictures of Club Hal and The Loft coming up!

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Woops, seems I spoke too soon. I sent the pictures of Club Hal and The Loft to that site that can't be named and not to here so they are at home. So I will continue on sith some of the art found around the ship:

 

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The beautiful floor outside the Pinnacle Bar:

 

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But wait...there is more!

 

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Even the elevator doors were beautiful:

 

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Fire drill is over...time for work (unfortunately)!

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Great pictures.

 

Your children are adorable.

 

Thank you KK! :)

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Thanks so much for sharing your pix. Looking forward to seeing the ones still to be posted. I've seen many photos of the Westerdam, but some new locations I hadn't seen in your excellent photos.

Edited by qsuzi

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I read all the post when having my tea break in the office. Thank you so much for sharing! And you two children are so adorable.

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But wait...there is more!

 

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Even the elevator doors were beautiful:

 

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Fire drill is over...time for work (unfortunately)!

 

So nice to meet you and your beautiful family!

Thank you for the wonderful pictures!

Denise😄

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1of4 - I'm enjoying reliving this wonderful cruise through your pictures.

 

 

Might I add that not only are they adorable children but they are also sweet and well-behaved.

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What a beautiful family you have. I'm pretty sure if I were you, I'd have been one big bruise by the time the cruise ended, both from hitting my head on the upper bunk over the main bed, and from smacking my legs trying to get out to the balcony with the sofa bed made up. LOL I'm willing to risk it, though, for the sake of another cruise! LOL

 

Smooth Sailing ! :) :) :)

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Here we go....

 

What a beautiful time we had at The Oasis at Half Moon Cay. The weather was perfect for us 4 white and sun deprived Canadians. I can't imagine a nicer day.

 

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There is no water like this at home. DD and DS had a ball! Even a hawksbill sea turtle came up to them and swam around eating sea grass for quite a while. They were amazed and just floated over it. Magical!

 

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Thank you to our fellow roll call members who swam with DD and DS. They just loved being in a group!

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Here we go....

 

What a beautiful time we had at The Oasis at Half Moon Cay. The weather was perfect for us 4 white and sun deprived Canadians. I can't imagine a nicer day.

 

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There is no water like this at home. DD and DS had a ball! Even a hawksbill sea turtle came up to them and swam around eating sea grass for quite a while. They were amazed and just floated over it. Magical!

 

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Thank you to our fellow roll call members who swam with DD and DS. They just loved being in a group!

 

Love it!

We were there in March doing it twice B2B and weather was perfect! Your lovely family sure are enjoying themselves! My Favorite little Oasis.

Thank you

Denise😄

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Monday April 13 - Sea Day

 

I loved having the balcony. It was a good thing that only my family saw me hump over the sofa bed to get to the verandah...and they were all asleep!

 

It allowed me to take sunrise pictures...like this:

 

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We had our M&G at 11. It was very well attended and we had a great time meeting everyone we had been talking to via the roll call. Kazu made amazing name tags so we were all set to just put faces to names.

 

DH took DD and DS from Club Hal to attend. Ever wonder what Club Hal or the Loft look like. Well on the Westerdam they look like this: (I got permission to take these pictures)

 

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One more from Club Hal:

 

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Now here is the teen area:

 

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We also had a Pinnacle Grill lunch. Sorry. I only managed two pictures...guess I was hungry!

 

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The Westerdam is the largest HAL ship we have been on so I was still finding my way around. I always bring my camera and my family pretend they don't know me....

 

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You have to walk through the shops to get to the Vista theatre

 

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Pinnacle Bar

 

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Explorer's Lounge:

 

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Wednesday April 15: Cartegena

 

You know when you have a picture in your mind about a place? Well I had one for Cartegena and it was smashed to smithereens!

 

I get up early...way too early...at home so I was always awake before the sun. I would climb over the bed dragging my camera with me. Glad I did as the sunrises were spectacular:

 

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DS was afraid of contracting Yellow Fever. He has a right to be cautions as he has been hospitalized many times. So instead of stressing him he and I stayed aboard while most others went into town.

 

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At times I thought we were the only two on the ship!

 

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I was fascinated by the skyline. I am not a city person, usually prefer natural landscapes but Cartegena really surprised me:

 

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There was a cute shopping area at the end of the dock. I only brought my cell phone and I have to transferred most of those pictures yet. There was a mini zoo, or so it seamed. Black swans, flamingos, peacocks (a bit aggressive), parrots and monkeys...

 

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DS wanted to get a girl in his class a gift. He chose a beautiful blue shawl for her birthday next Thursday.

 

So after we bought DS a Panama Hat and the shawl we made our way back to the Westerdam.

 

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It was a short port day so we were on our way at 1:00. As we left I saw this fort and a staff member was standing close enough to me to notice me taking pictures. He said he had never seen it before.

 

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Sorry. Bed time for me as the early morning commute is looming.

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Really enjoying this review and your photography. It's icing on the cake after the great live thread. Thanks for taking time to do it.

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I was really surprised by the cityscape in Cartagena, too. It was nothing like I imagined. But the old town was lovely That little area at the dock had an amazing collection of animals and birds. But oh so hot!

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I appreciate you taking time to write and post this review, super photos, what a wonderful experience for your children.

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I know i was only on for 5 days but I'm surprised I didn't see you and your family. We were in room 4033 and also had early dining at table 40. I had been reading the posts before I got on in San Diego so i knew what you looked like. Next time.

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Lots more great pictures.

The Loft has been updated since I took pictures of it many years ago (don't have them any more).

The zoo at Cartagena dock keeps getting bigger each year.

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