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Around the World on Amtrak, KLM, and HAL

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THANK YOU Roy for asking about the Cruise Log.

 

Good news indeed.

 

Glad you seas are smooth at least.

 

So enjoying your posts.

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Thank you for the jellyfish picture. I missed it when it wasn't there in the previous post.

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Thanks, Roy! Good news on the Cruise Log. Sounds fishy to me, tho.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Roy thank you as always for such wonderful photos ( 👍loved the jelly fish)

First I am glad that there is a possibility that our cruise logs are coming back! I really hope that’s true!

Glad you got your walking in and the weather is holding!! Thanks for taking me to China with you through your writings and photos! I so loved them more than you will ever know! One final note World Series husband wants Astros I don’t care! I said Dodgers since were from San Diego! Oh well.

Take care.

Thanks again Roy for all!

Denise:)

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Thank you all. My impression was that the log was not quite ready to come back (Henk doubted it would be ready for my departure) but it's on the way.

Day A26, Friday, October 27, At sea, MS Amsterdam

 

The Oosterdam is in Puerto Quetzal. The Prinsendam is in Crete.

 

While Captain Eversen had predicted this day would be much like yesterday it started out (I’m writing this at noon) much nicer. It is a little warmer, and while still cloudy the fog was gone and there were enough cracks in the clouds to give a hint of a sunrise, although the colors only showed up in portrait mode on the camera.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/dawn1027.jpg

 

We are sailing through the Yellow sea more or less midway between China and Korea. There is quite a bit of freight traffic within sight and an occasional small fishing boat in spots. A sure sign of warmer weather is the deck steward each morning setting out the cushions on the loungers near the end of my daily walk.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/cushonpatrol.jpg

 

Much was familiar with the sea day pattern. After my morning omelet it we had 9AM bible study. Ian’s talk at 10 didn’t ring a bell with me but Terry Greenberg had a fascinating talk at 11 on the first 30 years after the Chinese 1949 revolution. I hadn’t heard his background before but Mr. Greenberg was a Canadian diplomat who was stationed in China. After bible study I went up to the lido for coffee and returned via the deck 6 “porch”; on a perfect day out there there was nobody else around. On the way down I did check the bow and it was not open.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/wideporch.jpg

 

In his midday update Captain Eversen indicated the weather looks good for Shanghai. We will enter the Yangtze basin about 1AM and Huangpu about 5:30. It turned out to be a perfect day for lunch on the aft deck without any extra clothing.

 

Edward Murphy’s middle lecture was on North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jung un, a real piece of work. Our options seem quite limited, the most positive news may be that he may well be wearing out his welcome in China, but still a very dangerous situation.

 

I had kept my lunch light with an eye for visiting afternoon tea. A variety of treats was waiting for me, centered around a small but nice scone.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/teagoodies.jpg

 

The Amsterdam is looking fine after the drydock with lovely carpets. I did notice one thing that puzzled me a bit; on each set of steps there’s a tan spot at the top and bottom of the set. What I don’t quite understand is that sometimes it’s the top and bottom steps that are tan, while at other places the tan is on the deck just below the steps and on the landing just above the steps. I would have thought it would be consistent.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/stairs.jpg

 

While the sun was a bit elusive in the morning it looked like sunset would be spectacular, but there was a level of clouds or haze just above the horizon. The best view was actually outside my window just before sunset.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/dusk1027.jpg

 

The final Gala night of my segment was known as Red Lantern night with the dining room decorated appropriately. While we normally have 6 at out 8-top we were overflowing. One of our tablemates had invited a friend whose roommate does not like to dress up and we were expecting one extra. The roommate showed up as well and we also had a host, Comptroller Josef for a total at 9 at a very cozy table 43. The gazpacho, chateaubriand, and carrot cake were all delightful.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/dishes27.jpg

 

My final Gala night pillow gift was a set of plates. They are lovely but will be a bit of a packing challenge for my flight. After dinner the moon above the ship was almost a semicircle.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/plates.jpg

 

The featured entertainment was a singer, Birdy. My short synopsis was “shrill”.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/birdy.jpg

 

My first day tour in Shanghai runs from 8:30 to 8:30 so my next post will be delayed.

 

As my parting shot at this time in the voyage I am starting to think 4-letter words. Perhaps the worst of them is P-A-C-K, a deadly 4-letter word.

 

Roy

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Roy,

 

When we got off the Koningsdam [still in its Inaugural Season] we received a large, boxed plate of the ship - just before packing. I slipped it in amongst my clothes in my large suitcase and it survived with no problems. They could have picked an earlier time but at least my large suitcase was available - there is never any extra room in my carry-on.

 

Carole

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Roy the photos especially of the sunset from your cabin I liked. Good weather for you too! The plates were a nice touch. If boxed I see no problem as the one CCer mentioned placing in suitcase. The 4 letter word Pack is still great 👍 because your still on a fantastic adventure. Enjoy your tour and look forward to more.

Denise:)

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Roy, I'm heading to Ft Lauderdale in the morning to board Koningsdam on Sunday, so I probably will not be here for a while. I will catch up as soon as I can once we get home, because I am really enjoying your journey. :D Besides, it will be a good cure for my post cruise depression!

 

BTW, in my world right now that 4 letter word you mentioned, p-a-c-k, is a very GOOD word! It means we're about to go on a cruise! :cool:

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Just catching up on your posts. The Great Wall brought back memories from our visit. Thanks for posting.

Allan

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LOL Roy, P-A-C-K is indeed a 4 letter word.:eek:

 

But, since you are going to another cruise, it's a good word ;)

 

Those plates are lovely. A very nice touch. Hope they get to your next ship and through the travels back to your home unharmed.

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Thank you all

 

Day A27, Saturday, October 28, 2017, Shanghai, China

 

The Oosterdam is in Corinto. The Prinsendam isat sea from Crete to Malta.

 

When I first went for coffee we were sailing up a very wide Yangtze river. At 5:30 we made a turn to port by a buoy which was quite a bright red in the dark but not sufficiently to show up on a camera. The Huangpu is pretty narrow with many junks sailing up and down and a variety of facilities on each shore, navy, coast guard, commercial, and industrial.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/huangpu.jpg

 

Sunrise was just after 6, and was almost directly ahead of the ship but a few minutes later it showed on our port side as a big orange ball just above the horizon.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/dawn1028.jpg

 

We sailed under a bridge a little after 7 marking our final approach t the port of Shanghai and a couple of minutes got my first glimpse of the Volendam; we came to a rest with our bow just behind her.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/1stlookvolendam.jpg

 

My tour for the day was a long one, a 12-hour visit to Hangzhou. We were just about the first people off the ship just after we were cleared, and 39 of us set off on an hour’s bus ride through slow traffic to the Hongqaio train station, adjacent to Shanghai’s domestic airport. We passed through airline type security to enter a huge, sprawling terminal.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/station.jpg

 

Our train was scheduled for 10:13 and Han, our guide escorted us to the gate where access was controlled and a display board listed us as next on the track train G7507. When the yellow entry for our train changed to green we would be free to proceed.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/ondeck.jpg

 

The train was pretty pleasant but not as roomy as our Acela, 5 across a row rather than 4 and a few inches less legroom. It was very fast; I believe it is capable of about 250 MPH but the maximum I saw was about 180.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/my-car.jpg

 

On the way we passed one small river which was also quite heavily traversed by small freighters and at our one intermediate stop got a good look at a train like ours in daylight.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/hst.jpg

 

We disembarked the train at a suburban station for Hangzhou and drove into the center of town for lunch at a local hotel. It was a typical Chinese luncheon with large tables and a lazy susan with a variety of dishes. Hangzhou is the southern terminus of the Grand Canal which stretches north to Beijing. We did not actually see it but it seems to be a community source of pride.

 

We did spend a fair amount of time at West Lake. In pre-revolutionary days it was the in place for many of China’s rich and powerful including a villa once owned by Chang Kai Shek. Emperors from the dynastic period had places here and had the lake enlarged, and it is said to be the model for the lake at the Summer Palace in Beijing. The lake has been silt prone and several dredging spoils have created lovely islands. We cruised around the lake for about 40 minutes.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/westlake.jpg

 

Our other stop was at the Lingyin Buddhist Temple. There is not much religious practice now in China and the Temple seems to function as about 95% tourist attraction with shops and restaurants at the gate but the 5% temple function included a solemn ceremony while we were present. Our Hangzhou guide David said it is rare to witness such ceremonies.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/linying.jpg

 

One of the unique features of the temple is a large statue of a laughing Buddha.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/laughing.jpg

 

Our guides were very cautious on time and despite very slow traffic we arrived at the station about an hour in advance of our 7PM train.

 

The train arrived in Shanghai promptly at 8PM but walking through the huge station to the bus and Shanghai traffic had us arriving back at the ship more than an hour later than our scheduled 8:30. A surprise on arrival was that when I first saw “the ship” it turned out to be the Volendam, scheduled to leave at 8PM (As I write at 4PM Sunday, it’s still here). The less pleasant surprise was that the lido had not been held open for us; there was not a bite of food served anywhere on the whole ship. My “dinner” was a bag of potato chips the guides had passed out on the tour. I did get ice cream when the late night snack opened.

 

A performance by Shanghai Acrobats was scheduled for 9:30PM. I poked my head in bug it was standing room only and I was not up for standing around.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/gymnastics.jpg

 

Pudong (just across the river) is beautifully lit up at night but the lights get turned out promptly at 10PM. I got just a quick look at them from the outer decks.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/shanghainght.jpg

 

Today’s parting shot–13 hours for a tour is a bit too much.

 

Roy

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Roy you are so good about those tours. You are right about a 13 hour tour. They are challenging.

 

Terrific photos and commentary as usual.

 

Keith

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What a tour Roy! So much to take in and so many great experiences. Wonderful pics

 

13 hours is a long tour day indeed. You must have been zonked.

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Roy, because I have to eat mid-afternoon to take a pill, I always have snack crackers with me. Looks like my dinner would have also been snack crackers. :D

 

Of course the real situation - I would not have even attempted a 13-hour tour. So I guess I need not worry.

 

Thanks for taking us along. I'll probably never see China in person; not enough 'want to' to schedule it.

 

Carole

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Hope you survived that long tour!! Your right 13 hours too long!

Great photos Roy!! The best shot that I loved was the picture from the ship with the city lights!!

Boy I would complain about no food for guests on long excursions!! 😖 I would get room service!!

That has happened to us in the past too!

Sleep well and look forward to more👍

Denise:)

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13 hours is too long.

We turned down the Copper Canyan tour on our Mexican cruise -- 18 hours -- too long.

I guess they felt that for 39 of you it wasn't worth having a little snack area open you all. You should make note of that on your survey.

Once again, great reports and wonderful pictures.

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But doesn't the late night buffet start at 10pm?

 

Finally caught up on your thread following my trip, Roy. Looking forward to the ship change!

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You are a better traveler than I am, Roy. My heart is (quite literally) no longer in a 13-hour tour.

Loved the picture of the lights across the water, at night. That 'bottle opener' building is a real focal point.

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Thank you everyone.

 

Day A28, Sunday, October 29, 2017, Shanghai, China

 

The Oosterdam is at Puerto Caldera. The Prinsendam is in Valletta.

 

The day started out cloudy and stayed that way, at times approaching fog.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/mistnotsun.jpg

 

My plan for the day had been to walk a bit and ride the Maglev train which connects Pudong with the Pudong airport. When the Volendam was still here in the morning I had hoped to linger long enough to watch her leave. I did go for a walk about 8 almost reaching the bund. The port entrance is near the bow of the Volendam and on the way back I got a pretty good view of the 2 sister ships together.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/sisters.jpg

 

I pretty well gave up on watching the Volendam’s departure sometime after 10 and rode the shuttle into it’s destination near the bund. It was about a 1km walk from the shuttle dropoff point to the East Nanjing Road subway station.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/thebund.jpg

 

I found navigating the Shanghai subway system challenging but not impossible. Signs are not very good but most everything is also shown in english. Some of the walks between the entrances and platforms seem to be quite long. The trains are modern and seem to be high quality but are quite crowded and I never got a seat. My ride on the subway was 6 stops, probably about 20 minutes each way and about 70 cents each way.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/subway.jpg

 

Finding the maglev was probably a bit more difficult than navigating the subway. I walked around looking for about 10 minutes before finding the right door. The train runs on a very plan track, really just a smooth surface. In economy the seats are 6 across and the legroom is ok but not really generous. Scenery goes by very quickly, and an oncoming train can literally be missed if you blink at the wrong time.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/maglev.jpg

 

I believe the train is capable of speeds well over 200 mph but appeared to be governed at about 185. While cruising the display board speed was consistently 300 or 301 kilometers. I walked around the airport a bit but you need to pass security (and I presume have a ticket) to get to the checkin areas. I don’t think it did in 2004 but the subway now also goes all the way to the airport, certainly for a much lower price than the maglev.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/184.jpg

 

I returned to the ship about 3:15 and will get off just one more time in Hong Kong. There was a note on my bed that our departure has been delayed until at least midnight. The listed reason was high traffic levels on the river. It sounds like we could be here longer; the note mentions that we will not be allowed ashore on Monday as our visas expire then. It also mentions that there will be an update on our Hong Kong arrival, ominous for me as my airport connection should have been adequate but a major delay could be a problem.

 

There were 4 of us at table 43 with the Canadian couple missing; they had been expected. I think in a cruising dinner first for me, in addition to the fruit cup I had the macaroni and cheese as well as the traditional crisp of the day.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/dishes29.jpg

 

The featured entertainment was Annie Gong, she played a variety of music on an electronic accordion. On the finale the light, sound, and technical crew marched around with brooms on a rendition of beer barrel polka.

 

https://solocabinchallenge.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/gong.jpg

 

My parting shot is that something seems to be really strange in Shanghai with both us and the Volendam in port way past our planned departures.

 

Note: Still docked at 7AM Monday; getting antsy about making my flight.

 

Roy

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Late depature does seem strange Roy.

 

Uh oh on your disembarkation. I sure hope it goes as planned and you have no problems with your flight.

 

Fingers crossed (yn) for you. You don't need that hassle or problem for sure.

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A quick update–Captain Eversen came on the PA at 8:30 local time this morning with an update. He indicated Volendam’s initial delay was due to a problem with bunkered water, not with the Volendam’s purification, and that the problem was resolved in a timely manner. He also indicated that we bunkered water but have been monitoring the water quality and there is no problem for us.

 

He indicated that the other problem causing a delay for both ships was a typhoon causing storms at the pilot station at the mouth of the Yangtze and that the station has been closed. As of 8:30 Monday morning we are cleared to depart Shanghai at 10:30. The Volendam will follow at 11. With no further delays we should be in Hong Kong on time; I hope so, not a lot of free time between arrival and flight.

 

At 10:30 there’s water between us and the dock. Great news, more later but I’m headed out on deck.

 

Roy

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