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rafinmd

Around the Horn in 80 days.

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Considering the World Voyage: I would immediately toss out Option 2 - np matter where it went, travelling west to east - always losing time - never gaining. 

 

Probably Option 3 - but even it has its problems - - - and I have no money. 😉

 

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Your tour sounds interesting.  I do hate when we have to sit on cramped buses.

 

Agree -- early morning tours are the best.  That way you can get out of the heat in the afternoon.

 

Great pictures.

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Goodmorning Roy!

I really enjoyed your blog and the pictures! Going to the falls was to me your best pick and looked like fun!  Did your group go into the water to cool off at all? Looked like fun. I was really impressed with the artist who did the sculpture on the cross out of metal. Glad you got back to the ship before the take over of the other ship too.

I’d be ready for a cocktail and relaxation on board!

Denise😊

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Thank you for posting the 2021 World Cruise possibilities! Some of them are intriguing, and I would want a segment or two. Others, like sailing eastbound, are out of the question. The first one has me all excited for at least the first segment.
I wish I could figure out where the turn-around days would be; I can only guess. It would make it easier to hope I could manage.

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Thanks again for posting the world cruise options for 2021.  My vote (as if...) would be for option 4!  Asia! Amazon!  Africa!!

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Your photo on your blog of the sunset with Christ the Redeemer on the right is glorious.  Very memorable, I'm sure.

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Thanks everyone.  It looks like some of you have been reading the blog.  I got it posted JUST before the show but am still running behind.

 

Day P51, Sunday, February 24, 2019, Arrive Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


This is my third visit to Rio (Maasdam, 2015 and Crystal Serenity, 2017) but will be the first time I leave the city by ship.  I headed out on deck about 5:30 and there were already a lot of people there.  I had trouble deciding whether sunrise was a vertical or horizontal ship.  It came up behind a small hill and emerged from the side of the hill as our position shifted.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dawn0224.jpg


It was quite a busy day at the port as the Celebrity Eclipse was in ahead of us and the MSC Fantasia led the way into the port ahead of us.  The MSC Orchestra arrived later in the day.  HAL listed 8 tours running the gamut from "Easy Rio", 4 hours and $60 to "Rio By Land and Air" with a helicopter (7 hours and $360).


I opted instead for a 10-hour private tour arranged by Cruise Critic.   We were later than most, departing about 9:45.  We had about 15 people in a large bus and thankfully the air conditioning ran beautifully.  The end points of our tour were Rio's iconic landmarks, Sugarloaf and the Christ the Redeemer statue, starting with the statue.


The monument stands at the top of 2.330 foot Corcovado hill, and can be accessed 3 ways.  There is a hiking trail and a narrow winding road but most people get there by the cog tramway.  The tramway was built in 1884, originally as a tourist destination with a hotel at the midway point and picnicking at the summit.  We arrived at the tram's base station about 10:20 with reservations for the 11AM departure.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/trambase.jpg


For most of the route we run through either close-in walls or dense vegetation but there are a few spots where we get nice views.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/tramview.jpg


We had about 40 minutes free time at the top.  The area is quite crowed with a lot of people lying on the ground and taking selfie with the statue.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/redeemer.jpg


Our return tram was at 12:30.  I had a good seat going up but for the return trip found the knee room very difficult to deal with.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/tram.jpg


Next up was lunch at Fogo de Chao, a traditional Brazilian Churrascaria (Steak house).  It's a concept I'm familiar with now as Crystal has recently deployed it's lido cafes as Churrascaria in the evening (their equivalent of HAL's Canaletto).  There's a buffet set up for salads and breads and the waiters come around with cuts of meat on large skewers.  If we want it they cut off a slice and we move it to the table with tongs.  The waiters just keep coming time after time with chicken, beef, sausage, pork, and perhaps other meats and you almost need to pace yourself.  Desert was not included but I don't think anyone had room for it anyway.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/lunch24.jpg


Next up was the city's beaches.  We had stops of roughly half an hour each at Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.  At Ipanema in particular, parties in advance of Carnival were under way and the area was crowded and festive.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/ipanema.jpg


The heat (39C) was starting to get to me and I stayed on the bus at Copacabana.  I did not see as much activity there.  I saw the Celebrity Eclipse departing the port while we were at the beach.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/copacabana.jpg


Our final destination was Sugarloaf.  It is not as tall as Corcovado but it's sharp peak makes it very interesting.  It is reached by a pair of cable cars with an intermediate stop on a shorter mountain.  Each leg of the journey takes about 3 minutes.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/sugarloaf.jpg


The cable car was first built in 1912.  At that time there was a single car holding something like 20 people.  Those cars served for 60 years but in 1972 a second cable was strung and new cars were introduced that held first 75 people each but were replaced in 2008 with a 65-person version.  Samples of the old cars are on display.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/cablecars.jpg


Our goal was to watch the sunset on Sugarloaf which I had understood came down behind Christ the Redeemer.  It may have been the time of the year or I may have been mistaken because the actual sunset was significantly to the right of the statue but it was still a gorgeous sunset.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dusk0224.jpg


We were back at the port a little after 7 and I wasted no time getting to the lido (about 7:45).  Security was a bit long as the MSC Orchestra had arrived and docked next to us, taking longer to get back to the ship.  I was not particularly hungry after lunch and just grabbed a few convenient things followed by ice cream.  While I was eating I saw the MSC Fantasia going by on it's way out to sea.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dinner24.jpg


There had been a single Samba show at 7:30 in the showroom.  I would have been late and was tired.  It was followed at 10 by the showing of the Oscars.


My parting shot will be based on a bit of a coincidence.  I may at least for now have a new favorite number, 300.  Two items were on my bed with that number.  One was in the When and Where noting that this is voyage number 300 for the Prinsendam and announcing a "300 Sailaway Party" at 4:30 with free drinks celebrating the voyage.  For me, Voyage number 300 has been spectacular.  The other was an invitation for me for a celebration recognizing my 300 days of sailing with Holland America.  The awards program followed by lunch will come on Tuesday.  Viva 300.


300.jpg


Roy

 

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Brings back fond memories of our visit to Rio. We were there during Carnival, which had been on our bucket list for years. 

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Good evening Roy!

First SPECTACULAR AND STUNNING SUNRISE AND SUNSET PICTURES!

Amazing.

what a great day and I know very hot but you photos looked like you had fun and good food!

👍 Congratulations to achieving 300!🎉

 

Denise😊

 

 

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Congratulations on getting to 300 days on HAL.

 

Many years ago we flew down and stayed in Rio for 4 days before one of our South American cruises just so that we could see everything.  We sailed on the Old Nieuw Amsterdam.

 

Wonderful pictures -- brought back many memories.

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Day P52, Monday, February 25, 2019, Leave Rio de Janeiro


My second day in Rio was not as tiring as the first.  I did go on deck for an abbreviated morning walk.  Since we were in town I did most of the walk on deck 12 where I would have a better vantage point for a sunrise potentially obstructed by hills and buildings.  It came a bit later than I expected but was quite pleasant.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dawn0225.jpg


The tour I booked was "Carnival Behind the Scenes".  It was a short drive to the site and we were warned we would be extremely limited in picture taking.  One of Carnival's primary sources of income is a TV contract and the network insists on not revealing plans ahead of time.  There were spaces where we could take photos, but not in many of the work areas.


We entered the site through a large warehouse area where floats are built and then headed up to a conference room for an orientation.  Carnival in Rio is both a celebration and a competition.  There are a number of "samba schools" which each put on a show and are judged.  The very highest scorers (Special Group) are given special privileges including the best parade times and space in a complex where they plan the year's program and create their costumes and floats.  The next level down gets the next best slots but must find their own work spaces, usually in the outer suburbs.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/orientation.jpg


The primary site of the celebration is the "Sambadrome"  It's about 700 meters long and is the site where the top samba schools make their presentations over a 6-day period.  Lesser teams put on their parades in remote locations with far fewer viewers.  Each samba school presentation lasts about 80 minutes with about 4,000 people (mostly volunteers) participating.  We were shown a video which gave a pretty good picture of what things look like in the Sambadrome.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/drome.jpg


We went to the upper floor of the warehouse for a look at some costumes (all from prior years).  The costumes are all created at the samba school.  There are many of most designs and we saw a bank of sewing machines where the work is done.  At the end of Carnival most of the materials in the costumes are recycled but there were a few old costumes on display.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/costumes.jpg


Each year there are a few "special" costumes for people in key roles.  Each special costume costs from hundreds to thousands of dollars and some samba schools will sell used special costumes.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/special.jpg


We spent quite a bit of time in another small room.  Here, each of us was fitted with one of the costumes and could pose for a picture.  Even for a short trial I found the costume pretty hot and the participants must wear them, mostly outdoors in the heat of Rio for about 6 hours.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/myturn.jpg


Once everyone was fitted we also posed for a group photo (I am on the far left).


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/groupshot.jpg

.
After our costumes were back on the racks one of the dancers from the Carnival came in and did a little dance for us, with us eventually joining in with a bit of a conga line.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dancedemo.jpg


Our final stop was a gift shop where drinks were also given out.  I had mis-remembered this tour as 3 hours while it was actually 4.  We left the samba school at 11 and I had hoped to be back before noon but that was not the case.  We drove around the beach areas for a while and our return was a little after 1.  I had seen quite a bit of the beaches on Sunday but not really the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.  It is surrounded by trails and was the site of the rowing events at the 2016 Olympics.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/lagoon.jpg


We were back at the pier just after 1.  I still did not have any Brazilian Real, and ATM's were both unreliable and expensive.  My goal was to get lunch at McDonalds and pay with a US $20 bill and I walked into the heart of the business district looking for something promising.  I did find a McDonalds but they did not take dollars.  I walked back a different route and along the way found a currency exchange place (and of course, once you find one  there are several others within a block or two).  Soon I had 75 Real.  By this time the lido was closed and lunch was probably going to be fries from Dive-In but I passed a second McDonalds quite close to the port.  By this time I was ready for a break.  It was a bit after 2 when I got back to the ship quite sweaty and tired.  I had seen signs for 39C (104F) on my walk.


The sailaway 300 party on the lido deck was VERY well attended.  The Ocean Bar quartet was providing the music.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/sail300.jpg


All aboard was 5:30.  Captain Jeroen came on the PA about 5:25 and we would be ready to go very soon.  I headed up to deck 12 where soon the lines were dropped and we edged away from the dock with the First Officer at the controls with the Captain and Staff Captain looking on.  It was Captain Jeroen who pushed the horn button, 3 long blasts followed by a short with a very nice echo.


I had decided I wanted to be on deck for sailaway and I was mostly despite a change in the weather which left clouds, a threat of rain, and frequent flashes of lightning.  Dinner came a little at a time with a salad and bread taken out on deck while we turned the ship towards the sea.  Heather was providing commentary.  I watched from on deck as we passed a group of navy ships and a domestic airport with a plane coming in for a landing.  I went in to the lido for an entree (chicken and potatoes) and then went down to deck 7 for the rest of the sailaway.  When I got down we were passing between 2 old fortifications.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/fortifications.jpg


About this time it was not yet sunset but the sky was quite colorful a bit to the east of where it should have been.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dusk0225.jpg


It seemed dark with the storm but right about the time sunset should have been Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer were almost lined up on our starboard side.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/2icons.jpg


I had planned to join my table for coffee and desert but they had all gone by 6:30 when I dropped in for my peach crisp.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dishes25.jpg


The featured entertainment was supposed to be tenor Lee Bradley.  He had travel problems and was not onboard.  In his place we had a second show by comedian John McDonnell.  I thought it was another very good show.


My parting shot will be congratulations to "Green Book".  Also to a passenger on board who guessed 16 Oscar winners and will get a free dinner in the Pinnacle Grill.


Roy

 

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This is one post that’s just for Cruise Critic and won’t be on the blog.  I thought I would recap my record with HAL in more or less descending order:

Prinsendam, 91 days (will be 171 days when I disembark)
Amsterdam, 57 days
Zaandam, 50 days
Maasdam, 23 days
Veendam, 14 days
Nieuw Statendam, 0 days (14 booked)
Denalidam, 13 days
Koningsdam, 10 days
Rotterdam VI, 9 days
Rotterdam V, 7 days (plus 2 as a hotel)
Statendam, 7 days
Ryndam, 7 days
Westerdam, 7 days
Oosterdam, 5 days
Volendam, 3 days
Noordam, 0 days
Eurodam, 0 days
Nieuw Amsterdam, 0 days


Total 303 days, working on 407.


At the ceremony I was in the largest group of medallions, 46.  There were also 25 bronze, 11 gold, and 5 Platinum (pictured, along with the penguin).

 

 

platinum.jpg.b80f5c9c82d889d48229bb77b79cbb5f.jpg
Questions on the value of various loyalty programs seem to have been a hot topic on this forum so it may be time for my own views.  Coming from Crystal, where the onboard experience is very much the same be you a first time cruiser in the cheapest cabin or have 200 cruises in a penthouse, I look at loyalty programs with a bit of a skewed eye.  I actually like the benefits of their loyalty program.  The only extra I get on board is a box of chocolates (they stopped doing pillow chocolates several years ago) but there are some nice financial rewards, about a 2-3 percent discount on every cruise, onboard credit every 5th “milestone”, and free cruises every 25 sailings (I’ll sail free for a week in November and get a free 12-day cruise within a year or so).


I view other loyalty programs with a bit of a flexible but somewhat jaundiced eye.  Coming from a background where everyone gets everything I look at perks somewhat suspiciously.  I believe everyone should be a valued customer and starting in a new loyalty program should not be the equivalent of pledging a fraternity.  I remember an eastbound transatlantic on another cruise line where I was NEVER allowed to go into the equivalent of the Crows Nest to watch a sunrise because that space was reserved every morning for “Elites”.  Not surprisingly, I’ve rarely been back to that cruise line.


I’m fairly happy with HAL’s program.  Many of the rewards are discounts (enjoy them if you want to use the services; if not just ignore them) and I especially enjoy the free laundry (although I’m fine with the free self service laundries on Cunard and Crystal).  The one thing I wish they would improve is the boarding process; other lines seem to have done better having enough people to check in everybody promptly while I’ve had several long waits for HAL cruises.  I would think that is not a good business practice, that becomes someone’s first impression of a new cruise line.


The medallions are nothing intrinsically special but they are a nice thought.  If people like them fine (I do appreciate them although they are not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things), if not I can’t see why they should bother anything.


What do I get for 300 days with HAL.  A piece of metal with a blue ribbon.  Give me a break.  What do I REALLY get for 300 days with HAL.  300 MEMORIES.  If those are right I’ll be back; the other stuff is what a former colleague called “frosting on the cake”.


Roy

 

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Roy first still with a grin on my face LOVED YOU IN YOUR COSTUME! Remember Johnny

Depp caricature in Alice in Wonderland at all? Well he was the Mad Hatter! That is who you reminded me of! LOL

What a fun place RIO. Warm weather but such great pics.

 We were going to Carnival but we ended up in New Zealand! Why? Our best friends at dinner one night at our fav pizza place, a few beers in us decided the 4 of us on a napkin write down where our next adventure together for a month would be. I wrote Rio, my dh wrote Singapore area, New Zealand, and Manchu Pichu. Welp New Zealand was it!

I so love your reports👍 Keep them coming

Denise😊

 

 

 

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What do I get for 300 days with HAL.  A piece of metal with a blue ribbon.  Give me a break.  What do I REALLY get for 300 days with HAL.  300 MEMORIES.  If those are right I’ll be back; the other stuff is what a former colleague called “frosting on the cake”.

PRICELESS ROY👍

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We have over 1100 actual sea days on HAL -- many of them good memories.  

 

I never thought to take time to figure out how many days we have sailed on the various ships.

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The perks from Crystal sound like the best of any of the cruise lines that I heard about.

Allan

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Thanks for posting that, Scrapnana.
Congratulations, Roy. Wear that medallion happily.

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