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Scrapnana

LIVE from the 2018 HAL Grand World Voyage!

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Scrapana and others who use the packing cubes, how many do you usually use for a long trip? I have always used zip top large plastic bags for that purpose. If I replace them with packing cubes, it will be costly. Insidecabin had recommended a set of, I think, four cubes. They must hold a lot more than 2-1/2 gal. plastic bags.

 

Cubes are also available at the Japanese store DAISO. They have stores in California, Texas, and Washington. Also Canada. And they have an online store. Cost is about $2.50 per cube. I bought about a dozen and we use them for lots of things besides travel. (e.g. great place to keep first aid supplies in the car).

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Our bags have the correct ship and cruise - interesting!

 

Considering Prinsendam was in FLL the day before you I'm betting they have part of the World Cruise bags on board and Amsterdam got part of theirs. I'm sure someone or someones in Seattle are less than happy about it :-)

 

I wouldn't worry unless Amsterdam starts heading for Antarctica :D

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I am loving your blog Kathi. It makes my day. It was -40 this morning so I just imagine being onboard with you!

 

You should inquire about your first pillow gift. I saw a picture of someone else’s on their blog and it definitely said the correct Voyage. Just FYI if it bugs you.

 

Keep enjoying!!

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Great reading, thanks!

 

I would love to hear what is different on a world cruise over a standard HAL cruise.

 

Just a few:

1. The passengers and their experience level

2. The captain, in this case, Captain Jonathan Mercer, who has done the last several grand world voyages, hosts a "captain's dinner" in the PG once a week so most, if not all, can participate

3. The GWV gifts handed out to the pax

4. A usually, more experienced staff, for sure with senior management and the HODs

5. There are several formal "balls/dances" in the main show lounge to the tune of once a month. i.e. black & silver, black & gold, a masked ball, and a Valentine's ball

6. Regular guest speaker series

7. Dance hosts and bridge instructors

8. A silent auction

9. A murder mystery during a PG dinner

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Food isn't better anymore? Or is this a touchy subject?

 

SFOPeter

 

I don't think food is touchy; it's subjective ;) Amsterdam has had a Czech executive chef, Peter, for her last two world voyages who is very good, as is her food. Those captain's dinners in the PG are excellent

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i am following your blog. I liked the Trivia questions and the answers!

When I did my first blog I did not include answers thinking my friends would enjoy answering them and googling if they were stumped on the answers. When I returned home I was royally chastised for not giving the answers. I learned my lesson!;)

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Love the Trivia questions, so long as you also give the answers, that is. Hope that becomes a regular part of your reports.

Sorry to hear that Debbie didn't resolve her differences with HAL to remain the Piano Bar musician for the World Cruise. But then, I suppose the Piano Lounge (it was never a Piano Bar on this ship) has also been switched to Mix?

 

Are Meet & Greets planned for every segment of the cruise? I'll be interested in knowing if those on the entire cruise, or even multiple segments, go to more than one Meet & Greet.

 

We have a Meet and Greet planned for the first sea day after Sydney, Hong Kong, and Cape Town. So far a number who are on the whole voyage have said they will attend all but things happen so we will see.

 

I don't think it is called Mix but I will check tomorrow.

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Have a great world cruise - see ya in Singapore

 

Glad you are home for a little R&R. See you then!

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Thanks to all of you who are following along. Remember if you want to see pictures, check out my blog. https://2018halgwv.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

To Hell and Back – Grand Cayman Island – January 6, 2018

 

We were able to make it to Grand Cayman although the captain later told us we were not able to actually anchor but had to keep the engines running all day to stay in place. We were in port with the Germans and Italians - Aidaluna, Costa Deliziosia, and the only ship of a small company, FTI cruises, called Berlin (principal language onboard is German).

 

Tendering started at 10 am. I did not need to be on shore until 12:15 to meet my tour group. The ticket suggested to allow a half an hour for the tender but I decided since I was ready I might as well get a tender ticket. I could always walk around town. Turns out it was a smart move. One of the tenders had engine problems so had to return and another one lowered and readied. I picked up my tender ticket shortly after 10 and my number wasn’t called until 11:30.

 

It had been raining heavily when I woke up but hadtapered off to just sprinkling by the time we arrived in Georgetown, the capital of the Cayman Islands. There are three Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman being the largest at about 76 square miles.

 

The tour I chose was called “Cayman Island Highlights and Turtle Farm”. We set off promptly at 12:30. There were 15 in our group in a mini-bus. Kent was out driver/guide. We started out driving along some of the priciest real estate on the island – Seven Mile Beach. Lots of expensive condos and hotels along with a few mansions.

 

Our first stop was at the Turtle Farm. They breed sea turtles here. Capturing and killing turtles for their meat used to be one of the major industries on the island, so replenishing their numbers is important. We were able to see turtles at different ages (some live to be 100). Know how to tell the difference between a male and female sea turtle? The males have longer tails. Most of the turtles bred here are released back into the sea when old enough.

 

One of the high points of the day was being able to hold one of the baby turtles. For being so small it was amazing the strength in their flippers.

 

Next after the turtle farm we went straight to Hell. Yes, one of the districts on Grand Cayman is called Hell. We were able to see the formations that gave the area its name. Hell even has its own post office.

 

After leaving Hell we went to taste the rum cakes. I usually don’t care for alcohol flavored food but they were very good.

 

Then it was back to the downtown area where I walked around for a bit before the rain started again and I took the tender back to the ship.

 

It was already 4 pm so I grabbed a sandwich in the Lido - we still have made to order ones (I hadn’t eaten anything but that square inch of rum cake all day).

 

Trivia was at 5. Two of our group from yesterday was not there but we were able to get three more to join. Today’s questions were much harder than yesterday’s and we only got 13 out of 17 points (winners had 16).

 

1)What color were the Ghostbusters overalls in the original movie?

2)What is Shakespeare’s shortest comedy?

3)Who captured the most headlines in Britain in the fall of 1888?

4)What is the length of a regulation soccer match?

 

We left port a little bit late and I watched the sail-away on the Promenade deck. (no toots)

 

On the way to dinner I stopped at Guest Relations to leave a thank-you note for Captain Mercer for attending the Meet and Greet and ask why I had received a messenger bag for the wrong cruise and the wrong ship. They had no idea but said they would check into it. I think many people didn't even look at the logo - everyone at dinner said they were going to check theirs.

 

All seven were present for dinner. I had a Caesar salad, Beef Stroganoff, and Crème Brulee.

 

The evening entertainment was David Meyer who played the Xylo-synth(sp?) (a high-tech xylophone) and played laser beams (no idea of how that is done). His wife also performed in a couple of his numbers.

 

We gain an hour of sleep tonight and tomorrow is a sea day.

 

Trivia answers…

1)green

2)Comedy of Errors

3)Jack the Ripper

4)90 minutes

Edited by Scrapnana

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I'll check out your blog, thanks for the link. I'm also reading some of the other WC blogs so I've got lots of reading to do. Thanks for sharing.

Allan

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Loving your blog and glad to read you inquired about the incorrect messenger bag. But I love the photo of you holding the turtle. You look so happy! I have started asking DH the trivia questions...he missed the one I got (only one:o:o). That made my day!

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Kathi, loving your blog and photos. Just wondering how your cabin compares with the forward-facing cabin you had on the Westerdam for the Sailaway cruise? From your photos they look very different apart from the view!:)

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Cubes are also available at the Japanese store DAISO. They have stores in California, Texas, and Washington. Also Canada. And they have an online store. Cost is about $2.50 per cube. I bought about a dozen and we use them for lots of things besides travel. (e.g. great place to keep first aid supplies in the car).

 

Thanks for the info.

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Hi Kathi!

Enjoyed reading your blog. We did the same tour several years ago and I loved the turtle farm. Glad the rain calmed down.

I like the trivia!!! I had know idea on the answers!😞

Denise:)

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Kathi, loving your blog and photos. Just wondering how your cabin compares with the forward-facing cabin you had on the Westerdam for the Sailaway cruise? From your photos they look very different apart from the view!:)

 

It is laid out so differently that it feels smaller. There is a lot of unusable space. Strangely enough, although the steward pulls down the shades when he comes in in the evening, I do not have to pull the shades down as soon as it gets dark as on the Westerdam.:confused:

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At Sea – January 7, 2018

Instead of having a “morning program” on TV as I have seen on many previous cruises, on sea days there is a “Coffee with Hamish” (the cruise director). The coffee takes place in the Explorer’s Lounge and the two that have taken place so far have been packed. He will usually have a guest. Today the members of Abba Fab were the guests. They talked about how they got started and the various shows they do. They also mentioned that they have now been together longer than Abba was.

 

After the coffee I headed to the Crow’s Nest for our Sit and Stitch get together. There were about 10 present. I had to leave just before 11 because my travel agency was having the first of their sea day get togethers. The three hosts have “office hours” where you can ask questions, get help, etc.

 

The only trivia for the day was held at 11:45. I played with my usual four teammates. Trivia is getting harder and this time we only had 10 out of 15. The winners had 13.

1) What Latvian city is known as “the Paris of the Baltic”?

2) How many copies of an album need to be sold to be declared gold?

3) Who is the only person to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie commentary?

4) Which two planets in our solar system are known as the “ice giants”?

 

Today was the first Sunday Brunch. On previous Grand Voyages there have been Sunday Buffets. Because of health regulations, many of the buffets of the past are no longer. According to the maître ‘d, this brunch is something that began on the Amsterdam only a few months ago. It is planned to be held every Sunday that is a sea day. The menu will change each time.

During the noon announcements the captain mentioned that the temperature was 81. I decided to spend some time out in the sun (it’s been a couple of weeks since I have experienced sun and warmth at the same time!) so I went up by the Sea View pool. It felt wonderful so I decided after arts and crafts I would go swimming.

 

Nancy Grace and her friend (who’s name I cannot remember) are in charge. Nancy has a huge list of activities for our sea days. The two meetings so far have been much more popular than expected. She mentioned today that she had put together 100 kits for each activity which is twice what HAL suggested. Today there were a few people who came late and all the kits were gone. It did not take long to put together the zippered purse/keycard lanyard (Nancy had already sewn together the bags). We were also given a small pen to put in the bag. About 60 more projects to do over the course of the cruise.

 

By three I was back in my cabin changing to go to the pool. I decided to try the Lido pool (the one that has a retractable roof which today was open). There were very few people around and I swam for a half hour. I then sat in the sun (and will admit I nodded off a few times) for about 45 minutes.

 

The reason there was no trivia tonight is because it was the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception. It is also our first Gala Night – the Black and Gold Dinner. For those unfamiliar with HAL, within the last two years they changed Formal Nights to Gala Nights. The dress code is not as stringent for Gala Nights. I had read in blogs from previous years that people still tend to dress more formally on the world cruise and it certainly looked like that to me.

 

During the reception there were (free) drinks and appetizers, the band played and some people danced. Then Captain Mercer came out and introduced the senior officers.

 

As soon as that was over it was time to head for dinner where all the chairs were covered in black or gold and the napkins were also black or gold. We had a surprise visitor at the table – Mario, the Second Engineer from Croatia, hosted out table. We all had a good time and invited him to join us again (he is on until Singapore).

 

Went to see the stand-up comic who I only considered so-so. When I returned to my cabin there was another “pillow gift”. I also got the correct messenger bag from the other day.

 

Trivia answers…

1) Riga

2) 500,000

3) Roger Ebert

4) Uranus and Neptune

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