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John and Diane's Lucky Number 7

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Interesting article on those sites and the Chimu child sacrifices in this month's National Geographic.

 

 

 

 

Susan

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Friday and Saturday, February 1, 2

Callao (Kai - ow) for Lima, Peru

 

We have had a busy and exhausting two days, but it was well worth it.  While we’ve been to Lima in the past, on this visit we saw things we hadn’t seen earlier.  In a city of nine million, it’s pretty easy to miss things and see something new each time.

 

On Friday, the one thing we knew we wanted to see was “The Magic Fountains.”  If you’ve ever seen the water show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, all you have to do is imagine that - but much more.  There’s music and “dancing” water fountains and a laser show all in one.  It tells the history of Peru and attracts thousands of people for each of the three nightly shows:  one each at 7:15, 8:15, and 9:15.  We decided on the 7:15 because it would be dark but early enough that we wouldn’t get back to the ship in the wee hours.

 

Because we didn’t want to take the shuttle into the city, return, and then have to return again in the evening, we just decided to take it fairly easy during the day and get an Uber into the city directly to The Magic Fountains.  Well that didn’t work too well.  We realized that unofficial vehicles were not allowed into the port, but as we were already seated in the shuttle, Rich found out that a small van would take us just outside the port.  We hopped in that vehicle and then found that it took us to a side street that was basically a huge taxi stand.  Have you ever been surrounded by dozens of taxi drivers at once, all trying to get your business?  Finally Rich gave up on the Uber idea and we negotiated with a driver to take us directly to the Fountains for US $20.00.  Since the shuttle dropped passengers at a mall across town, this seemed like a good idea - until we got into the rush-hour traffic and were sure we were going to die in a flaming traffic accident.  The 30-minute drive only took us an hour, and then we were dropped off at The Magic Fountains.

 

The best deal of the evening: we found out that people over 65 were admitted for free, so we got our tickets and then headed out for dinner before the show.  Restaurants were looking more like little delis until we spotted a Chinese restaurant down the street - one with tablecloths!  We had seen several Chinese restaurants on the way in, and Google was nice enough to inform us that there are over a million Chinese in Peru - over 5% of the population.  We ordered the dinner for four and, when it was served, we found out it should have been labeled dinner for eight.  We ate all we could and there were still leftovers that could have fed us for the next two days.

 

After dinner it was back to the fountains.  There were literally thousands of people there for the show, so it was a bit of a challenge to find a place to view all of it.  The dancing water was accompanied by beautiful music, while a laser show on the water told us of the history of Peru.  It was amazing.  Afterward, we thought we would have a hard time finding a taxi, what with all the crowds, but as soon as we exited the park, there was the gang of drivers.  All we wanted was to get back to the mall for the shuttle, so we waited until their prices went down to $10.00, which we thought was fair.  We hadn’t realized how far it was, so that price turned out to be a bargain.

 

Once we arrived at the mall, the challenge was to find out where the shuttle picked up passengers - since we had taken a taxi into the city.  That only took about a half hour and some help from the tourist information lady in the mall, but there was the bus, and about thirty minutes later, we were back at the ship.

 

The next morning, John and I decided we’d like to just take the shuttle into the city and take a look around.  When we disembarked, we found that other than the mall, there wasn’t much to see in that area, so we had a stop at Starbucks (for the free wifi) and then explored the mall.  Our best discovery was the two-story grocery store called Wong, where we stocked up on necessities:  cookies, chocolate, and chips.  Then it was time for lunch, and the mall has an entire outside area with take-out on one side and sit-down restaurants on the other side.  Since we wanted our last Peruvian Pisco sours, we chose the sit-down side, where I ordered two empanadas (the biggest ones I’ve ever seen), and John had a Peruvian dish with slow-cooked pork in a spicy sauce and rice on the side.  Both were delicious.

 

Then it was time to return to the ship for a short nap and sailaway.  We were supposed to push off at 6:00, but because of a medivac situation for a passsenger who had had a heart attack, we sailed at 6:30 while watching all the little boats in the harbor.     

 

It was a great two days in Lima and we’re looking forward to our next visit here - hopefully for a longer stay. 

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Diane, not sure why, but none of the videos play for me. It might be a problem at my end, just wanted to get the problem on your radar.

 

As always, a wonderful post!

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Just caught up to your wonderful posts.  I am wondering if the Alfredo you had for a guide was Alfredo Mercedes?

We have used him several times for sites around Trujillo, if so you really lucked out.  

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Then it was time to return to the ship for a short nap and sailaway.  We were supposed to push off at 6:00, but because of a medivac situation for a passsenger who had had a heart attack, we sailed at 6:30 while watching all the little boats in the harbor.   

 

Hearing this is never good. There could have been two people disembarked. A friend of ours who was also on the WC called  yesterday to tell us that she had to leave the ship. Am sure our friend was not the reason for Amsterdam sailing late as our friend did not mention being in a hospital and had probably left the ship earlier in the day based on the time of a missed call I had from her on my cell phone. Was actually working on flights to get back home. Have not heard anything yet so far today.

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Friday and Saturday, February 1, 2

Callao (Kai - ow) for Lima, Peru

 

We have had a busy and exhausting two days, but it was well worth it.  While we’ve been to Lima in the past, on this visit we saw things we hadn’t seen earlier.  In a city of nine million, it’s pretty easy to miss things and see something new each time.

 

On Friday, the one thing we knew we wanted to see was “The Magic Fountains.”  If you’ve ever seen the water show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, all you have to do is imagine that - but much more.  There’s music and “dancing” water fountains and a laser show all in one.  It tells the history of Peru and attracts thousands of people for each of the three nightly shows:  one each at 7:15, 8:15, and 9:15.  We decided on the 7:15 because it would be dark but early enough that we wouldn’t get back to the ship in the wee hours.

 

Because we didn’t want to take the shuttle into the city, return, and then have to return again in the evening, we just decided to take it fairly easy during the day and get an Uber into the city directly to The Magic Fountains.  Well that didn’t work too well.  We realized that unofficial vehicles were not allowed into the port, but as we were already seated in the shuttle, Rich found out that a small van would take us just outside the port.  We hopped in that vehicle and then found that it took us to a side street that was basically a huge taxi stand.  Have you ever been surrounded by dozens of taxi drivers at once, all trying to get your business?  Finally Rich gave up on the Uber idea and we negotiated with a driver to take us directly to the Fountains for US $20.00.  Since the shuttle dropped passengers at a mall across town, this seemed like a good idea - until we got into the rush-hour traffic and were sure we were going to die in a flaming traffic accident.  The 30-minute drive only took us an hour, and then we were dropped off at The Magic Fountains.

 

The best deal of the evening: we found out that people over 65 were admitted for free, so we got our tickets and then headed out for dinner before the show.  Restaurants were looking more like little delis until we spotted a Chinese restaurant down the street - one with tablecloths!  We had seen several Chinese restaurants on the way in, and Google was nice enough to inform us that there are over a million Chinese in Peru - over 5% of the population.  We ordered the dinner for four and, when it was served, we found out it should have been labeled dinner for eight.  We ate all we could and there were still leftovers that could have fed us for the next two days.

 

After dinner it was back to the fountains.  There were literally thousands of people there for the show, so it was a bit of a challenge to find a place to view all of it.  The dancing water was accompanied by beautiful music, while a laser show on the water told us of the history of Peru.  It was amazing.  Afterward, we thought we would have a hard time finding a taxi, what with all the crowds, but as soon as we exited the park, there was the gang of drivers.  All we wanted was to get back to the mall for the shuttle, so we waited until their prices went down to $10.00, which we thought was fair.  We hadn’t realized how far it was, so that price turned out to be a bargain.

 

Once we arrived at the mall, the challenge was to find out where the shuttle picked up passengers - since we had taken a taxi into the city.  That only took about a half hour and some help from the tourist information lady in the mall, but there was the bus, and about thirty minutes later, we were back at the ship.

 

The next morning, John and I decided we’d like to just take the shuttle into the city and take a look around.  When we disembarked, we found that other than the mall, there wasn’t much to see in that area, so we had a stop at Starbucks (for the free wifi) and then explored the mall.  Our best discovery was the two-story grocery store called Wong, where we stocked up on necessities:  cookies, chocolate, and chips.  Then it was time for lunch, and the mall has an entire outside area with take-out on one side and sit-down restaurants on the other side.  Since we wanted our last Peruvian Pisco sours, we chose the sit-down side, where I ordered two empanadas (the biggest ones I’ve ever seen), and John had a Peruvian dish with slow-cooked pork in a spicy sauce and rice on the side.  Both were delicious.

 

Then it was time to return to the ship for a short nap and sailaway.  We were supposed to push off at 6:00, but because of a medivac situation for a passsenger who had had a heart attack, we sailed at 6:30 while watching all the little boats in the harbor.     

 

It was a great two days in Lima and we’re looking forward to our next visit here - hopefully for a longer stay. 

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Sorry about the video.  I tried to upload it, but it got about 1/10 of the way through and then just stopped.  However, John has posted a video on our Facebook page:  dianeandjohn st john - if you're interested.  

Today is a sea day and we're enjoying it thoroughly.  

 

Our guide in Trujillo was indeed Alfredo Mercedes, and he certainly IS the best.  

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

At Sea en route to Arica, Chile

 

For a supposedly relaxing sea day, today was a lot of busyness and excitement.  Fortunately, there was time for a nap in the middle, but every other bit of time was taken up by activities.  

 

It was Sunday, so after picking up cappuccinos (in lieu of breakfast), we headed to the Queen’s Lounge for church.  John and I and four of our tablemates sat together and enjoyed the singing, scripture, and the message.  Afterward, there was an hour break before 11:00, when we headed to the main dining room for one of our favorite events, the Sunday Brunch Sampler.  This is an event which takes place every sea day Sunday.  The distinctive aspect of this particular brunch is that everything is tiny.  Three plates or platters are consecutively presented; the first is a cold sampler, the second is a hot sampler, and the third is a dessert sampler.  Each of the first two samplers had seven “courses,” each just really tiny and cute.  My favorite was the pancake stack, three of them, each about the size of a quarter, with maple syrup on the side.  I’ve added a photo of the menu to show exactly what was served.

 

We finished at about 1:00, which gave us free time to do things like write blogs, take naps, and read.  It was Super (or Snoozer) Bowl Sunday, scheduled on board for 7:00 in the evening (we were an hour ahead of EST), but when John went down at 6:00 to take a look at the Queen’s Lounge, it was beginning to fill up, so at 6:15 we staked out our area, reading until our friends showed up.  The best thing about Super Bowl on board is the food, and since the New England Patriots were playing, the highlight was lobster rolls.  In addition, however, there were pigs in blankets, tacos, burritos, chips and salsa, and all kinds of other wonderful football junk food.  

 

We did manage to stay for the whole game, and I don’t think I saw anyone in our group taking a nap, even with the absolute slowness of the game.  I know it set all kinds of records:  only SB ever to not have a touchdown in the first three quarters, the most punts, the longest rolling punt, etc., etc., and if the food hadn’t been so good, I think we would have been gone at halftime.  The worst thing about the SB onboard is that we don’t get to watch the commercials.  HAL has to pay extra to ESPN for us to get the game, but instead of all those wonderful ads, we get the same ESPN messages over and over and over.  We did get the halftime show though, such as it was.

 

Since the game went until 11:00 (our time), it was going to be a relatively late evening, but then we found that it was a night to set our clocks ahead an hour, thereby making bedtime midnight.  Generally, the WC always has us setting our clocks back every four days or so (so we get an extra hour’s sleep), but because Chile is east of Peru, we set them ahead on two consecutive nights.  Now, however, we’ll start going back and catching up on that sleep.

 

Now it’s five glorious sea days with our next destination Easter Island, one of our favorite places.  I’ll do my best to keep you entertained in the meantime.  

 

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Arica, Chile

 

Here we are on the border of the Atacama Desert, the driest and one of the largest on earth, and there’s a lovely little town that doesn’t look at all like part of a desert.  We docked at Arica, Chile’s northernmost city, at about 8:00 this morning, and the tour groups headed out to their buses.  We weren’t at all in a hurry to join the crowds, so it was a typical gym/breakfast/shower day for us.  

 

Finally, at about 10:00 it was time for us to head into town.  There was our usual complimentary shuttle to the port entrance, from where we just walked across the street and into a beautiful park.  The main walkway of the park was crowded with vendors’ tents and merchandise, but we weren’t buying, so we just continued on through,  Across the street is one of the prettiest churches I’ve seen, and it has the distinction of being designed by Gustave Eiffel of tower fame.  Apparently he designed the church in France, after which it was built in sections and shipped to what they thought was the ends of the earth.  Here in Arica it was assembled and here it still stands. The photos show both the outside and the inside of the church. 

 

There is a large number of pedestrian only streets here, and we made use of many of them.  The first one we strolled was lined with cafes and mid-street seating providing a place to enjoy the coffee or snacks.  Although we were getting a bit hungry, we forged on, taking the side street to the main pedestrian area, much wider and filled with all kinds of shops and restaurants.  There we found a Scotiabank branch with an ATM, so we took out 10,000 Chilean pesos, thinking that might be just too much.  After we sat down for our requisite cappuccino, I looked it up and found that 10,000 pesos were equal to about $15.00 US, half of which we paid for the drinks.  Oh well.  

 

We continued our walk along other pedestrian side streets, coming across small craft vendors, juice stands, and stalls that sold fish so fresh that it had been caught that morning.  We seldom saw ship’s passengers, and the local Chileans paid us little attention - a situation that we strive for but don’t often achieve.  There is an excellent archeological museum which has several mummies on display (along with instructions on how to mummify a dead body - if you need it), but we’d visited there before so stuck to our wandering along with the Arica locals.  

 

After walking and walking, we were back at the square across from the ship and, still not wanting to buy anything, we hopped on the shuttle and headed back to the ship.  Now it was a good time for a late lunch, and since on Sunday we were too busy with the brunch to have our weekly shared Dive-In burger and fries, that was the choice for today.  It was, as usual, delicious, and we then had plenty of time for John to have a nap and play pickleball while I got a start on Something in the Water, our first book club selection.  The group discussion is on Saturday, so I’d better get to it.

 

We’e now headed for five sea days and I’m just anxious to take it easy, finish my book, and get those two hours of sleep back.  

 

P. S.  The reason for the photo of me and the street sign is that my maiden name is Thompson.

 

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On 2/4/2019 at 4:36 PM, tennisbeforewine said:

Sunday, February 3, 2019

At Sea en route to Arica, Chile

 

For a supposedly relaxing sea day, today was a lot of busyness and excitement.  Fortunately, there was time for a nap in the middle, but every other bit of time was taken up by activities.  

 

It was Sunday, so after picking up cappuccinos (in lieu of breakfast), we headed to the Queen’s Lounge for church.  John and I and four of our tablemates sat together and enjoyed the singing, scripture, and the message.  Afterward, there was an hour break before 11:00, when we headed to the main dining room for one of our favorite events, the Sunday Brunch Sampler.  This is an event which takes place every sea day Sunday.  The distinctive aspect of this particular brunch is that everything is tiny.  Three plates or platters are consecutively presented; the first is a cold sampler, the second is a hot sampler, and the third is a dessert sampler.  Each of the first two samplers had seven “courses,” each just really tiny and cute.  My favorite was the pancake stack, three of them, each about the size of a quarter, with maple syrup on the side.  I’ve added a photo of the menu to show exactly what was served.

 

We finished at about 1:00, which gave us free time to do things like write blogs, take naps, and read.  It was Super (or Snoozer) Bowl Sunday, scheduled on board for 7:00 in the evening (we were an hour ahead of EST), but when John went down at 6:00 to take a look at the Queen’s Lounge, it was beginning to fill up, so at 6:15 we staked out our area, reading until our friends showed up.  The best thing about Super Bowl on board is the food, and since the New England Patriots were playing, the highlight was lobster rolls.  In addition, however, there were pigs in blankets, tacos, burritos, chips and salsa, and all kinds of other wonderful football junk food.  

 

We did manage to stay for the whole game, and I don’t think I saw anyone in our group taking a nap, even with the absolute slowness of the game.  I know it set all kinds of records:  only SB ever to not have a touchdown in the first three quarters, the most punts, the longest rolling punt, etc., etc., and if the food hadn’t been so good, I think we would have been gone at halftime.  The worst thing about the SB onboard is that we don’t get to watch the commercials.  HAL has to pay extra to ESPN for us to get the game, but instead of all those wonderful ads, we get the same ESPN messages over and over and over.  We did get the halftime show though, such as it was.

 

Since the game went until 11:00 (our time), it was going to be a relatively late evening, but then we found that it was a night to set our clocks ahead an hour, thereby making bedtime midnight.  Generally, the WC always has us setting our clocks back every four days or so (so we get an extra hour’s sleep), but because Chile is east of Peru, we set them ahead on two consecutive nights.  Now, however, we’ll start going back and catching up on that sleep.

 

Now it’s five glorious sea days with our next destination Easter Island, one of our favorite places.  I’ll do my best to keep you entertained in the meantime.  

 

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I love those brunch bites.

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On 2/3/2019 at 12:43 PM, tennisbeforewine said:

Sorry about the video.  I tried to upload it, but it got about 1/10 of the way through and then just stopped.  However, John has posted a video on our Facebook page:  dianeandjohn st john - if you're interested.  

Today is a sea day and we're enjoying it thoroughly.  

 

Our guide in Trujillo was indeed Alfredo Mercedes, and he certainly IS the best.  

Hi, saw this post while I've been searching for a guide in Trujillo!  Would you please send Alfredo Mercedes contact information? gkoff1849 at sbcglobal dot net.  Many thanks!!!!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

At Sea en route to Easter Island

 

Gung Hay Fat Choy - or Happy Chinese New Year!  

 

The Lido was transformed yesterday into a festive celebration of Chinese New Year, with dragons, lanterns, and some incredibly good Chinese food, including excellent dim sum, my particular favorite.  There was discussion about whether to have dinner in the Lido, but the vote was for the dining room, even though the food in the Lido looked excellent.  We really do like just having eight of us around the table, able to talk about our day and discuss what’s coming up.  John and I were really bad, though, and went to the Lido at about 5:30, before we were dressed for dinner, and collected a container full of dim sum and egg rolls.  They were all delicious.  Later, when we went to the Crow’s Nest, the hors d’oeuvres weren’t nearly so good, so we were more than happy to skip them.  

 

Dinner was pretty darned good, too.  My starter was small slices of pork in a Chinese sauce, and Rich’s main course was Chinese-marinated pork ribs, which he was kind enough to share a bit with me.  Leslie and Handler had a dinner in the Pinnacle hosted by Ensemble, their tour group, but were nice enough to come and join us just about the time our main courses were served.  

 

Ordinarily we would all go to the show at about 9:45, right after dessert (angel food cake with berry sauce for me), but the entertainer was a magician and that’s just not our favorite.  We tend to avoid ventriloquists and magicians, but we do like singers, most instrumentalists, and comedians.  The last comedian, however, began slow and even though I waited and waited for him to improve, it never happened.  That’s really sad because some comedians are really good.  The funniest one I’ve ever seen was Rita Rudner, who was on for two world cruises.  She just stood up on the stage at a microphone for a full hour and told stories, and the audience was roaring with laughter the whole time.  

 

A highlight yesterday was when our team won at Trivia - for the second time.  The questions were really hard, so our winning score was only 11 out of 16, but it was enough.  After the first question (what does M & M stand for in the candy), we thought it was all over.  We all knew one of them was “Mars” as in Mars bar, but luckily one of our team members was pretty sure it was Murray, and she was right.  Another question that stumped most teams asked what event shut down Twitter in July of 2009.  One of our team members suggested it might have been someone’s death, which gave another team member the idea that it might have been Michael Jackson - Bingo!  That’s how teams work together.  We’re on a team with four people that we didn’t know before this cruise, but we’re enjoying all of them.

 

John has now begun to join Rich in some serious pickleball.  Yesterday, even after time in the gym in the morning, he played at 1:00 and then again at 4:00.  When he told me he was sore, I wasn’t surprised.  I felt so guilty about him getting extra exercise that I even did another session on the treadmill.  Gotta do something to work against all those extra calories!

 

Last night was our first “set the clocks back” night, so we had an extra hour’s sleep and it’s nice to know that this will be the pattern for the rest of the cruise, on an average of every four days.  Between that and the afternoon naps, we’ll be a happy bunch on this cruise. 

 

Address for Alfredo:  reservations@trujillodelperu.com - and then just be sure to ask for Alfredo as your guide.

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Wonderful report.

 

The pictures of the Lido decorated for the Chinese New Year are great.  They did a really great job of decorating.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

At Sea en route to Easter Island

 

Our five days of lovely crossing continue, and the only thing I could wish for would be some sunny weather.  Both of us love to hang out on the back deck, reading, chatting with friends, and soaking up the sun.  We don’t spend as much time as our friend Jeff, but then our dermatologist doesn’t yell at us like Jeff’s does.  In this morning’s announcement, the Captain told us that this afternoon should have some sun, so I can hardly wait to see if his forecast is correct.

 

Last evening John and I had a conversation about our dining room stewards, which led us to a conversation about the Amsterdam crew in general.  There are a couple of truths about our crew:  they are the best crew on the high seas and anyone who has been on this ship for very long knows it.  One of the most satisfying memories I have on a previous world cruise was when a crew member on the Lido made some small mistake, resulting in a thorough tongue-lashing from a passenger.  The result was wonderful.  One passenger, then joined by a couple of others, lit into the rude man and let him know that if he didn’t appreciate how wonderful this crew was, he should jolly well find himself a different cruise line, because there would be no welcome for him here.  There wasn’t actually applause, but there were a great many happy faces at the put-down.  Rule number one:  you’d better appreciate our crew members.  The best-attended shows on the ship are the Indonesian and Filipino crew shows.  If you don’t get a seat about a half hour before they start, you just won’t get a seat.  

 

The dining room is an excellent example of why we appreciate our crew.  From previous cruises, we know several of the dining room staff, from our assistant waiter, Putu, to our waiter, Indi, to our area manager Asep, to the wine stewards Joel, Kay, Nestor, and Manny, to the dining room manager Ronald.  From one cruise to the next, we are recognized, welcomed, hugged, and valued.  One of our waiters from our segment in 2018 was Sam, and last evenig he didn’t have anyone at his station so he walked John over to our table, began handing menus to all of us, and then told us which dinner selections he recommended.  Indi, our regular waiter, was also our waiter for the full WC in 2017, and we were almost as happy to see him as he was to see us.  We’re all on a first name basis and as happy as clams at high tide.

 

Another dining room steward, Anam, loves magic and card tricks, so he’s the waiter for our friends Jan and Dick’s table, because Dick also loves card tricks and performs a new one at his table every evening after dessert.  When you consider that this is a 113-day cruise, that’s a lot of card tricks.  The important bit, however, is that HAL knows well enough that two wanna-be magicians belong together, so Anam is assigned as their waiter.  In fact, Anam stopped at our table the other night and showed us his newest trick.  He had done this from time to time in 2018, and we love the entertainment.  

 

That, of course, doesn’t even touch on the room stewards.  Each cabin is assigned two of these fine young people, and we have found that they just can’t do enough to make us happy.  On our first day, when we first met Wayan and Patrick, we told them that we don’t need towel animals or towels on the floor next to the bed in the evening. (Apparently this is a Deck 6 and 7 amenity, but I don’t understand it).  We also told them that we’re usually awake by 7:00 and off to the gym by about 7:15.  Since they begin their room cleaning chores at 7:30, they begin with our cabin and it works out very well for all concerned.  They’re quickly done with our room and we come back to a spic-and-span cabin.  They constantly ask if there’s anything else they can do for us, but they do everything wonderfully already, so the answer is “No, but thanks for asking.”

 

I know that you can find cruises that are more expensive and include more “treats” like free drinks and complimentary shore excursions, but you really won’t find a cruise line with a better crew. 

P. S.  Haven't been able to access internet for over a day; sorry for the delay.

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Even though they have been shorter cruises, we have sailed on the Amsterdam quite a few times and do agree that the crew on that ship are excellent.

 

Great pictures.

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February 7, 2019

At Sea en route to Easter Island

 

While walking along the hallway the other day, I heard one woman asking another, “It’s another sea day.  What in the world are we going to do?”  That question is really beyond my understanding since, along with many other world cruisers, I think sea days are the highlight of a cruise.  However, if that concern is what’s keeping you from a long cruise, let me assure you that there are dozens of things to do on a sea day.  

 

Most mornings we have breakfast on the Lido deck with Rich and Ginni, and it’s always a challenge for Ginni to get to her watercolor painting class on time at 9:00.  She told us that yesterday she was five minutes early to class and even then there were no chairs left.  Ginni also commented on afternoon arts and crafts class, which often has 150 (!) passengers participating.  They do make some great things, one of the most interesting being a charm bracelet which, at the end of the cruise, will have a charm for each of our ports.  

 

Mass is celebrated every morning at 8:00, and the Protestant minister and the Rabbi have classes each sea day at 9:00 and 9:15, respectively.  I love the name of the Rabbi’s class:  “Rappin’ with the Rabbi.”  In addition, there is a shabbat service each Friday evening, in port or at sea, and on Sunday there is both mass and an interdenominational service.

 

If you’d like to learn more about where we’re going, there are always really interesting lectures.  Right now we have a woman named Gloeta Massie who is lecturing about squid and other undersea creatures.  The passengers coming out of her lectures can’t say enough about how interesting she is.  

 

If you’re into sports, there is plenty to do.  There’s the gym all day, of course, and if you’d like special classes, you can sign up for spin or yoga at $12.00 each.  Pickleball seems to be very popular, so much so that there are three sessions.  If you’re a beginner or just need instruction, you attend at 9:00 AM, but if you’re “mediocre” - as John says he is, you can meet other players at 1:00 or 4:00 each afternoon.  Even if you just like to walk, there’s a “Walk a Mile” session in the morning.  At 9:00 there is Aqua Aerobics, Tai Chi, and Ladderball (whatever that is).  

 

Are you a cook?  While the guest chef programs of old have been discontinued, there is “America’s Test Kitchen,” where a guest or staff chef will demonstrate how to make particular dishes.  Today it’s “Make Your Own Takeout.”  What I miss about the former guest chef program is that a chef would be on for about 2-3 weeks, with a couple of demos (including samples), and would then teach a couple of classes.  My favorite chef, George Geary, stays very busy even without HAL, but I really miss him.

 

There are computer classes, too, including everything from introductory lessons to how to use various apps and, today, “Learn to Use Your Digital Camera.”  The classes are focused on PC’s rather than Macs, however, so unless I have a specific question, they really don’t help me. 

 

Right now, as happens each year in the South Pacific, we have a group of Tahitians on board who draw quite the crowd a couple times a day with their classes.  There have been classes on playing the ukulele, native drum dances, how to wear a sarong, and making shell jewelry.  Today the troup will be providing music and dancing around the Lido pool during lunch hour.  These Polynesians are always a highlight of the cruise.

 

How about less active activities?  AT 10:30 each morning, the “Sit and Knit” group works on “Project Linus” pieces.  These good works, including blankets, sweaters, and caps, are used for children whose families don’t have the means to provide them.  If knitting and crocheting aren’t your favorites, then maybe you play bridge, which includes instruction in the morning and duplicate play in the afternoon.  There a movie every day, the HAL Chorale, and of course, Team Trivia.  

 

It’s a sea day:  take your choice.  You certainly won’t be bored!

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I have a question when you have time...Are there any children on board?  I think on previous world cruises there have been a couple lucky kids, and you even helped with their schoolwork.  I look forward to your posts and again thank you for bringing us along.  Cherie

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Saturday, February 9, 2019

At Sea - Easter Island tomorrow!

 

First, an explanation.  I’ve been dating these posts as the day I’m writing about, instead of the day that I’m writing.  It has me waaay too confused, so now I’m dating them the day I write them.  That’s why there’s no entry dated Friday, February 8, but that’s what I’ll be writing about today.  Confusing?  I hope not.

 

Yet another sea day, with the weather improving every hour.  There was a bit of rain in the morning, and then the sun began to peek out at us, and by the afternoon it was sunny enough to have some time around the pool on Deck 8 aft.  This time I was a bit more careful, and although I have some sun markings, they aren’t as red and obvious as the last time, when I fell asleep on my stomach and was quite colorful for a couple of days.  Looking out the library window right now, it’s just blue sky everywhere.

 

A couple of days ago I wrote of winning at Trivia, and in true Karma fashion, the next day we had our lowest score ever.  I guess I shouldn’t tell you that we won yesterday, because I’m sure it will guarantee a really lousy score today!

 

It was a “gala” night yesterday, and the assembled multitudes put on their “glad rags” for cocktails and dinner.  One of Rich’s ping pong opponents is Edmond, the ship’s Beverage Manager.  We’ve gotten to know him pretty well in the last two and a half weeks, so we invited him to join us for dinner as our “formal night officer” last night.  Edmond’s wife, Josephine, is the Deck 4 Dining Room hostess, and because of her duties she couldn’t come, but next time we hope we’ll be able to host both of them.

 

The evening was called “The Mysteries of Rapa Nui,” since we’ll be arriving on Easter Island tomorrow and that’s the name of the people who built all those fascinating statues called Moai.  To enhance the theme, each table had an 18-inch moai along with a large glass lamp that cast a blue glow over the table.  Whoever did the decorating did a great job.

 

We learned all kinds of things about Edmond, including how he began as Beverage Manager on Norwegian Cruise Lines where he met Josephine.  It’s a great story that, as he was reboarding his ship in the Bahamas, he was recruited by an official of Hilton International to work in the new Hilton hotel that was just then under development.  He took the job after finishing his NCL contract and they lived in the Bahamas for four years (flying back to the Philippines five years ago for the birth of their son) before joining HAL - just last year.  From all accounts, Edmond is really quite good at his job and is really easy to get along with.  I guess his ping pong is pretty good, too.

 

Getting to know officers and crew members is one of the joys of long cruises, and this morning Hance (pronounced Hahn-sah), the Lido manager, told us some more about a young deck steward name Muli.  After Hance left, our conversation with Muli continued, and we found out that he’s from Sumatra and that that particular culture is matrilineal, indicating that everything is passed down through the female line.  Muli is actually his family name, taken from his mother, and his friends call him “Dickie,” which we’ve begun using also.  He said that, unlike most cultural groups around the world, the birth of a daughter is a father’s proudest moment, because it means that everything inherited from the parents’ mother can then be passed down to the daughter.  In fact, daughters inherit 80% of the family’s wealth, with the sons sharing only 20%.  Muli has only two sons, however.  In addition to getting to know individuals better, we learn ever so much about others’ cultures.  Since we see “Dickie” every morning, I think we’ve now forged a bond that will make us understand each other better.

 

Well, now it’s time to head off to Trivia to see how bad today’s score will be!

 

 

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Just got caught up.

 

Great reports.  Know what you mean -- one day you do well at trivia and next day you feel like a fool knowing nothing.  Hope your luck changes.

 

Hear there is going to some rough weather in the Pacific.

 

 

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