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John and Diane's 125-day Adventure at Sea


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Thursday, December 22, 2016

On Board m/s Amsterdam en route to Puerto Vallarta

 

Well, here we are again! After 28 days on the m/s Koningsdam looking around for our absent friends and having yet another long hike from our fore cabin to the aft pool, we decided that while the K-Dam is a beautiful, shiny new ship with many bells and whistles and wonderful optional restaurants, we just missed our “home at sea,” the Amsterdam.

 

Since it was our daughter’s year to spend Christmas with her husband’s family, we decided it was the perfect time to drive to San Diego, board the Amsterdam there, and join for the 14-day Christmas cruise. The very best thing about our “brilliant” idea was being able to spend time with wonderful cruise friends. We spent the night in a hotel across the street from the port, and were able to have breakfast with our chef buddy George Geary, and our ship “besties,” Ann, Cathy and Jeff. George is hoping to be contracted to do a couple of weeks on the world cruise, as he has in the past, but HAL is being rather difficult about it. They tried to eliminate the guest chef program entirely, but it rather backfired on them, so we will begin the world cruise on its San Diego stop with Denise Vivaldo, another chef we’ve become friends with (on board ship and on Facebook, at least).

 

Even though our hotel was just across the street from the ship, we had to Uber over because of our four huge suitcases and two medium sized ones. It was money well spent. The driver loaded the luggage into his Chevy Suburban and a porter loaded it onto a carrier. The next time we saw it was when it was delivered to our cabin. If it were up to me, I would still be unpacking, but John is far more organized than I am, so it was all done in about 90 minutes. One advantage of the Amsterdam over the Koningsdam is that there is more storage space here - a total of 9 drawers in the desk area instead of 3, along with four closets, two drawers in each nightstand and two drawers at the foot of the bed. Additionally, the cabin is not only longer but wider. Yes, we did enjoy our time on the Koningsdam, but it is just wonderful to be “home.”

 

One lovely tradition of the holiday cruise is the lighting of the Christmas tree in the atrium. There were masses of people around the railings on decks 3, 4, and 5 and they joined in the singing of Christmas carols followed by the lighting of the tree. Crew on deck five then began throwing out handfuls of paper “snow” which actually ended up looking more like snow than litter when it descended on the tree and surroundings.

 

In addition to Jeff and “the sisters,” we have even more friends on board: Alan and Sandra and Susan and Michael. We all sat together for sailaway and then met in the Crow’s Nest at 7:00 for pre-dinner beverages and hors d’oeuvres. When we finally arrived in the dining room, where we sit downstairs with Jeff and company, we even had a view of Alan and Sandra’s table and Michael and Susan’s table upstairs on the railing.

 

The second best thing about being on board is being greeted, hugged and kissed by all our crew and officer friends. Our all-time favorite staff member, Manny, immediately brought us glasses of Pinot Grigio at the sailaway (after exchanging lots of hugs and kisses). I just cannot explain how wonderful it is to be surrounded by such great friends - passengers, staff and crew.

 

The cruise itself is so different from the world cruise. For one thing, I learned at the front desk yesterday (while getting our keys which would actually open our door) that there is not ONE cabin available, which means we must be at about 1400 passengers. We were lucky enough to be offered a paid upgrade on Tuesday (while driving to San Diego), so we’re in a verandah, as we will be for the world, but we have no idea if it will be the same one or not. Moving is a pain, of course, but moving from one verandah cabin to another is such a privilege that I can’t complain.

 

We’ve been told that there are 110 children on board, and while we’ve seen lots of them, they seem (so far) to be rather well behaved. The last time we began the WC from the West Coast there were about 80 kids on board, we never had a problem with them - except that they made me wait in line for the ice cream!

 

The other differences here are interesting. The casino is pretty much standing room only, whereas on the WC there are usually only a few people at any one time. The lines for things are a bit longer and there are more people at the Lido for breakfast and lunch,

but overall, passengers seem very excited to be spending the holidays on a cruise and everyone has been very pleasant.

 

This cruise is beginning the way they all should - with two days at sea. It gives everyone a chance to catch their breath and, for passengers new to the ship, to explore their new surroundings. For us, it’s time to relax after an abbreviated but intense “Christmas” season at home and to begin this, my sixth WC blog. We are so looking forward to the next 125 days (amazing, isn’t it?) and I hope you’ll “cruise” along with us.

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I too, will be boarding on January 4 for my first world cruise. And the Amsterdam is my favorite ship. I also got an upgrade to a veranda and am thrilled about it!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Congrats Sherita, happy for you! We just took an upsell for our asia cruise so pretty happy too! Will be following your blog.

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Welcome back to your favorite ship (mine too). Thank you for taking the time to do your live from report. I always look forward to "sailing" with the two of you. You have a real zest for life so have the greatest time ever! Evelyn

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See you in a few days on the ship ..Gail and Marty

 

Won't be long now and we will be joining as well for our first WC :p.

 

I just retired yesterday so lots going on.

 

Keep the ship upright and water tight until Fort Lauderdale!

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I too, will be boarding on January 4 for my first world cruise. And the Amsterdam is my favorite ship. I also got an upgrade to a veranda and am thrilled about it!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Sorry to highjack the thread but wanted to congratulate you on getting an upgrade to a verandah? Nice to know that it can happen to solo cruisers. Have a great time (you should go again in 2018:D).

 

Kathi

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Sorry to highjack the thread but wanted to congratulate you on getting an upgrade to a verandah? Nice to know that it can happen to solo cruisers. Have a great time (you should go again in 2018:D).

 

 

 

Kathi

 

 

 

Kathi I am doing part of the 2018. Auckland to Hong Kong.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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