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Follow Bill & Mary Ann on The Tales of the South Pacific - 47days - Fall 2015

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Report # 1 Getting Ready to Travel Again September 29, 2015 Tuesday Balmy 85 degrees

 

Well, all good things eventually come to an end……….the end of summer, for us, a very busy time of year, but also quite agreeable weather-wise. It has been a record-setting season with high temperatures, but also many devastating forest fires, for the most part, all put out now. Autumn is beginning very warm as well, but we all wish for cooler days with the prospects of rain. Almost forget what it feels like to have rain.

 

Anyway, minimal packing has been accomplished….not a favorite chore for either of us. This upcoming trip will be 47 days, taking in the Hawaiian Islands (hurricane-free, we hope), Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Niue, Cook Islands, and finally, French Polynesia. Doesn’t get much better than that for the palm-tree and beach lovers among us. If all goes well, we will be joining Holland America’s Amsterdam in San Francisco on Wednesday, and flying back from San Diego in mid- November. A few years ago, the powers-to-be decided to skip the port of San Francisco, due to poor weather on the way from Seattle. At the last minute, we found that we were flying to San Diego to board. Expect the unexpected, we always say. Part of the decision to take this trip was the ease of boarding the ship without a flight. That, and the promise of the palm trees and beaches, of course. And we had really been looking forward to leaving from the new terminal in the city, but for some reason, we are leaving from the old, dingy cruise terminal. Will try to figure this mystery out once onboard.

 

Can you believe we ran into Christmas decorations, full-size trees and ornaments, in one of the major stores in our local mall while out for lunch today? Way too early for that. At least with this 47 day cruise, the Tales of the South Pacific, we can stretch summer a bit longer. Nice to leave the chores behind, even if it is for a few weeks.

 

Hope you can join us once again for another adventure in paradise.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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We have done that cruise and loved it!

For some reason now our terminal the new one is only used now on rare occasion when 2 ships come in port.

So looking forward to your blog. Enjoy this wonderful cruise!

Weather will be perfect for you here in San Diego on Wednesday!

Since we live here at the beach we have had a warm perfect summer!

Nice fall weather now!

Denise:)

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Yeah! Yippee! Who hoo! Love reading about your adventures. Nice you can leave without flying.

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YAY! Another Bill & MaryAnn adventure! I loved reading your account of this year's world cruise so I'm sure this report will be just as thrilling! :D

 

P.S. Stores pushing Xmas earlier and earlier is truly getting ridiculous! I was just in London and Harrods already has a whole array of Xmas foodstuffs. I was happy to be able to get my Xmas pudding at least but really, I think after Halloween at the EARLIEST for Xmas stuff...preferably waiting until mid to late November!

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So excited to be reading another journal of your travels! This is an itinerary that is in my dreams; so happy to be 'sailing' along with you!

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I live a couple miles from Clayton and will be following along with you on your blog! "Back in the day" I frequented the Clayton Club bar......ever been there?

 

Nancy

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I am looking forward to your reports and observations. .... especially since I am not land bound for the next year and am going through cruise withdrawal. But, need to do some work on the condo ...

 

Susan

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Thank you; it seems so long since I've been anywhere (with you). Bon Voyage!

 

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

Gerry

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Wow, what a nice send-off! Thanks to all for the best wishes.

 

Yes, we do know the Clayton Club. Been there a few times.

 

Allan and Sandra......see you next year on the world cruise!

 

Just about out the door.........

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Bon Voyage!!!! Have an amazing cruise. We will be following your travels. :D

 

We are heading out from Concord on BART to take photos of you leaving port. As much as we have wished for rain......it could have waited until tomorrow! :eek:

 

Cheers, Denise

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Report # 2 Boarding Day in San Francisco, California September 30 Wednesday Rain showers and 70 degrees

 

One of the good things about today was the fact that we did not have to go to the airport to fly to board the Amsterdam. Usually that means we have to get up in the wee hours of the morning to get to the airport 2 hours before our flight. Not so today…………we had a pickup time of 9:30am. Perfect. However, we were not traveling alone, as we were sharing the van with an elderly couple who were headed for the SF airport. What they did not factor in was the extreme traffic, a given for this part of the world. So, in order for them to make their flight check-in time, they asked if we did not mind riding with them to the airport, and getting dropped off after them. Well, we weren’t thrilled with the idea, but the ship was not leaving until later in the day, so we said fine. We’re believers in karma, and someday, this situation might happen to us. Nothing is worse than the stress of possibly missing your flight. The detour was less than an hour, despite the rainy weather.

 

There were two HAL ships in town today……….the Amsterdam at Pier 35, and the Oosterdam at the new Pier 27, both ships having come south from the Alaskan season. We understand that about 175 folks joined the ship here today. So by the time we got to the check-in desk, there were few people there. It had to be the quickest ever. We were escorted by one of the front desk gals, who we recognized from several world cruises. At the gangway, we were greeted by the Hotel Director, Cruise Director, and many staffers who remembered us. We surely did not expect that warm personable greeting. Nice.

 

Our room was ready, and there were more surprises such as a fresh fruit plate with giant raspberries, black berries, strawberries, mangoes, watermelon, grapes, and bananas. A bottle of champagne was on ice, and a bouquet of flowers were on the end table. There was even a gift box of Molton Brown bath products. Since our three pieces of luggage were not there yet, we decided to leave our carry-ons, and head for a walk to Pier 39 and lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. We were wrong to think it would not be crowded at 12:30pm. We got the last table for two in the bar area, and were served rather quickly, sharing a salad and chicken tenders. Both were really good.

 

It was still raining lightly when we finished lunch. We strolled around the shops, then headed for the sea lions. There were only half the amount as we usually see, but noisy and entertaining anyway. Got a few photos of Alcatraz from the end of the pier.

 

When we got back to the ship, security told us that our photos were reversed on our keyroom cards. Well, that’s a first. We would need to get that fixed at the front desk. Back in our room, we just happened to notice the red light on the phone. Tom M., our host, had left a message for us to meet him and some of the members from our travel company in the Ocean Bar. Since we knew most of them, we had a quick 10 minute visit, then they had to exit the ship. From there, we went up to the Crow’s Nest for a Mariner welcome onboard cocktail. Actually, they served us two glasses of champagne. We did not recognize any of the folks that were there, except for the Beverage Manager and his assistant.

 

Wanting to check out the new pier terminal, we left the ship again, and walked to Pier 27. The plus side to this facility is the huge parking lot, which the old pier does not have. Unfortunately, we could not enter the terminal building unless we were boarding the Oosterdam, so we don’t have a clue on how it looks on the inside. Maybe next time……………

 

Then we walked quickly to the Ferry Building and strolled past all of the shops inside. Got a few colorful photos. Since we had to be onboard by 4pm, we headed back. The muster drill for the newly-embarked passengers would begin by 4:15pm, and we had better not miss that. With so few passengers participating, the drill went fast and smooth. Figuring that it was a good time to open that chilled bottle of bubbly, we went back to the room once again. By now, the luggage had arrived, and it was a good time to start unpacking. Pretty easy compared to a four and a half month cruise. We had plenty of space to stash our stuff.

 

According to Captain Fred Eversen, we should be leaving a bit later than scheduled…..around 5:45pm, due to bunkering fuel. Since the best spot to watch the sail out of the bay was the aft pool deck, we made our way to the railing. The rain had stopped, and there was no fog to be seen. Captain Fred pulled out of the pier, and took us totally around Alcatraz. That’s the first time ever that we got to see the backside of the Rock. Pretty cool. Literally cool also, as we traveled under the Golden Gate Bridge, the breeze picked up, and most of the passengers went inside. The sun was setting quickly as we left the shelter of the bay…..a very nice way to begin the cruise.

 

What’s for dinner? We always check out the entrees in the Lido. The best-looking meal was the turkey, although we thought about our friend Barb, who definitely would have ordered the liver and bacon plate. There was just enough time left to finish unpacking, as well as polishing off that bottle of champagne.

 

Expecting a line outside the La Fontaine dining room, we found none. We were greeted by Tom G., the Dining Room Maitre D, Presti, and many staff we knew. Prior to this trip, we had requested table number 65, a round table for eight (fixed seating, deck 5). As we waited for tablemates that never arrived, we learned that the table will fill up after San Diego. Our waiters informed us that around 480 boarded the ship in Seattle, and another 175 today. So it was no wonder that this seating was sparsely attended. So for a couple of days, we will be sailing half-full. And as always, the cuisine and service was top-notch.

 

Stopping by the front desk, we had our cards fixed, as the girls giggled about the mix-up. They simply took new photos, and put them on the same cards. And they worked. Easy.

 

It had been a long day, but we weren’t too tired to notice that our mattress and bedding were quite new. We think that all of the staterooms were outfitted with new furniture during the retrofit last May. Will explore more tomorrow to see what other upgrades we can find. Sure hope the clouds thin out, and we see some sun too. We know the staff are looking forward to the warm climates of the South Pacific after sailing in Alaska all summer. According to Christel, the Guest Relations Manager, summertime was way too cold for her and husband Henk. Keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t cross with the hurricane in that general area…….

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Love, love,love!

Will enjoy every morning like I did with your last blog with my coffee.

We enjoyed doing this same cruise and it brings back memories!

Enjoy my home when you dock in San Diego!

Good weather.

Happy sailings!

Denise:)

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We had to cancel this cruise because of Gary's illness and subsequent death. I am so happy that I will be able to cruise along with you by proxie. Thank you for posting and please say hello to my friend Trisha aka Kakalena.

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A very enjoyable post. Wonderfully written!

 

I love to read how superbly HAL, both on board and off, treats President's Club members.

 

Thanks and best wishes for a super crusie!

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So very excited to be enjoying this blog with you. My autumn nights will be transformed now that I have this all to look forward to. Enjoy !!!

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How nice that both of you are enjoying another amazing cruise! Thank you SO much for taking all of us along. We wish you a wonderful time! Your posts are always something we look forward to every day. I wish you the best weather! Evelyn

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Report # 1 Getting Ready to Travel Again September 29, 2015 Tuesday Balmy 85 degrees

 

Well, all good things eventually come to an end……….the end of summer, for us, a very busy time of year, but also quite agreeable weather-wise. It has been a record-setting season with high temperatures, but also many devastating forest fires, for the most part, all put out now. Autumn is beginning very warm as well, but we all wish for cooler days with the prospects of rain. Almost forget what it feels like to have rain.

 

Anyway, minimal packing has been accomplished….not a favorite chore for either of us. This upcoming trip will be 47 days, taking in the Hawaiian Islands (hurricane-free, we hope), Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Niue, Cook Islands, and finally, French Polynesia. Doesn’t get much better than that for the palm-tree and beach lovers among us. If all goes well, we will be joining Holland America’s Amsterdam in San Francisco on Wednesday, and flying back from San Diego in mid- November. A few years ago, the powers-to-be decided to skip the port of San Francisco, due to poor weather on the way from Seattle. At the last minute, we found that we were flying to San Diego to board. Expect the unexpected, we always say. Part of the decision to take this trip was the ease of boarding the ship without a flight. That, and the promise of the palm trees and beaches, of course. And we had really been looking forward to leaving from the new terminal in the city, but for some reason, we are leaving from the old, dingy cruise terminal. Will try to figure this mystery out once onboard.

 

Can you believe we ran into Christmas decorations, full-size trees and ornaments, in one of the major stores in our local mall while out for lunch today? Way too early for that. At least with this 47 day cruise, the Tales of the South Pacific, we can stretch summer a bit longer. Nice to leave the chores behind, even if it is for a few weeks.

 

Hope you can join us once again for another adventure in paradise.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

Enjoy your cruise ;but ,please take mosquito repellent with Deet on your cruise .See why:

 

The sane diseased mosquito (no cure ) is in French Polynesia & Tahiti ,Western Samoa ,Marshall islands ,ie . If you google "mosquito Problem in the Caribbean " you will find all information on this . The CDC has warnings out .Don't ignore this .Folks over 65 & those with high blood pressure ,diabetic & heart problems would be in grave danger ,if bitten . Stay in sea breezes always & don't get into shade where the mosquito could be lurking .Always put on suncreen first & in 45 minutes to 1 hr apply mosquito repellent .;)

 

Since it is fairly new ,most doctors can not diagnose this disease .For folks under 65 & basically healthy ,if bitten will have severe joints aches for months or years:o

 

We are on the Noordam Oct 3rd & making a stop in Apia Western Samoa & this mosquito problem is there as well .We have packed mosquito repellent;)

 

The south east USA is under warnings as well . In 2013 there were reported 2000 cases in St Martin .in 2015 there are over 1 million cases so far in all the Caribbean islands & South America & Flrida

 

Please read all you can about this mosquito & the dusease & what the CDC tells you.;)

 

With proper precaution you & every one else going to the south Pacific ,Caribbean & South America can come home safe & sound:D

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Thanks for bringing us along one more time. Love reading about your adventures!! Have a great time!

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Report # 3 Sailing Towards San Diego, California October 1, 2015 Thursday Partly cloudy and 75 degrees

 

According to a nifty atlas by Lonely Planet, in 2012, California was the world’s 8th largest economy. Of course, that is the golden state where we were born and lived our entire lives. Besides our favorite city of San Francisco, our second favorite has to be San Diego, where we are heading next. We intend to contribute, ever so slightly, to the economy, to replace a few items one of us forget to pack. Oh well, gives us something to do, right?

 

We can report that the new bed was marvelous last night, giving both of us much needed deep sleep. A few cruises ago, we had to pad the bed with blankets, and even get a board under the mattress to give one of us more support. Glad they disposed of the old beds, and began with new ones since the last dry-docking. Two other areas that got some much needed attention were the lower promenade and the deck nine jogging area above the Lido pool. On the lower promenade deck, the teak decking has been sanded and re-grouted almost completely. On deck nine, another type of teak-looking flooring was installed. It is not the same as the plastic floor-covering on deck eight aft that burns the soles off of your feet. We had noticed that deck nine was looking pretty shabby the last couple of years, so it is nice that it is finally fixed. The elevators have been spruced up with new carpets (still printed with the week days). Leather has been added to the side panels in a shade of light beige.

 

In line with improvements, the Lido has changed some of the food venues, at least at lunch. A variety of poorboy-style sandwiches were available, all placed in a neat small loaf bag. No more waiting in line for that custom sandwich or panini. The pasta is a separate station, along with a custom stir fry counter. There is still a sushi/sashimi display. Three types of pizza looked about the same as our last cruise. It is possible that there are new chairs in the Lido too. They looked larger, and much more sturdy.

 

Lastly, there is new carpeting in the ship’s shops, and perhaps new drapes opposite the Ocean Bar in the sitting area. That’s as far as we explored today.

 

Breakfast in the main restaurant was as good as ever. For some reason, hot coffee tastes much better out at sea. As much as we are tempted by the freshly-baked pastries, we have decided to curb the habit. If they offer the Panama rolls, then maybe we will make an exception. Looks like we missed those, because we saw they had San Francisco rolls (same recipe, different name) the morning they sailed into the harbor.

 

We spent the rest of the morning setting up the computer and logging online. We found that in our absence, they have switched to Bing for their provider. We knew something was up when we could not log off. Of course, if we had gotten the flyer in the library first about setting up our account, we would have known this. A visit to the librarian gave us more info, such as unused minutes from the last world cruise could be credited to your account on this trip. That’s a first.

 

Between the room work and our long morning walk, we were ready for lunch around 12:30pm. Great time to try the dining room. The entrees have been conservative, making it the perfect way not to overeat. OK, one of us did have a few potato chips on the side, but just a few.

 

The sun was out today, so we decided to check out the aft pool. It was beautiful back there, and not all that crowded. Tomorrow may be a different story. With 600 more passengers boarding, there will be many more sunbathers for sure. We have been running into more and more folks we know for previous trips, and other CC groups. In fact, that was our next stop……..the Crow’s Nest for a mini-meeting for Cruise Critic. Here we met more folks that have done this same trip, but on the Statendam. The starboard side of the Crow’s Nest was full of members, and after tomorrow, it is expected to double in size. It sure is fun visiting with people in person that have followed each other’s cruises and experiences. For sure, there are groups that have joined up to go on tours, but we heard little about that today. Another meeting is scheduled for the 4th when all are invited.

 

Sunsets are one of our favorites things to see. While on this trip in particular, we never miss an evening. Although it was not spectacular, the sunset around 6:40pm was nice. Funny, there was just the two of us on deck nine watching. Once the sun dipped below the clouds on the horizon, it was downright cold. Every day we head south, it should warm up quickly. A strange thing happened while we were watching the water near the ship. We saw a clump of kelp, and under the greens, was a shark. Yes, a shark. We were not certain it was alive, but there was no mistaking it’s identity.

 

There is a change on this cruise with the evening entertainment. There has been only one showtime…….7:15pm. Perhaps this has begun due to the fact that the second show at 9:30pm has had fewer and fewer people attending. Tonight’s performance was by a group of young Aussie’s called La Forza. The three talented singers sang songs from artists that we know and like. We have to admit, this time slot works much better for us, since we seldom attend the shows after dinner. It’s simply too late for us, and we often end up drifting off during the show. Before dinner at 8pm obviously has worked here, since the lounge seemed full. Tomorrow, however, there will be standing room only if they continue the one show time.

 

Dinner was excellent, and still quiet, because we are two at a table of eight. Our waiters have gone out of their way to keep us company. One of our fellows stumped us with a toothpick trick, which we should have known. In the distant past, waiters made origami figures and showed everyone magic tricks. Seldom see that now. We had remembered a word jumble for them to figure out. They could not solve it either. So now we are even. With a full table of guests tomorrow, there will be no time for magic.

 

Looking forward to a nice day in San Diego tomorrow.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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