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RetiredMustang

Dave’s Live from Zuiderdam Voyage of the Vikings, July 30 – Sept. 3, 2019

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In spite of the bad weather in Akureyri, glad you were able to do your excursion.  Wonderful report and pictures.

 

Good to hear that you outran the worst of the storm and the seas are calming down.  Hopefully it won't be raining too hard in your next ports.

 

JMO -- I really don't like the new concept of EXC in the Crow's Nest.  Thanks for the pictures.

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Aug. 12, at sea (Cont.)

 

The seas have calmed, with no whitecaps, the sun is out and blue skies are all around.  The temp has climbed to what the captain just called a balmy 47F/9C.

 

More later,

Dave

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LOL  I was thinking this is what the Zuiderdam looked like in February, and then I realized you are on the Zuiderdam!!!  Talk about the gray matter clogging up.  Loving your photos and commentary.

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Thanks for the pictures of the Crow's Nest. It breaks my heart to see what has been done to that area, but at least I know now not to bother going up there unless I want to book a cruise, or see if there's a good book in the exchange.

Turned into a nice day for you! Happy to see that. Good day to go outside and get some fresh air.

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Hi again Dave,

Great reports once again.  Yes, Captain Bart does a good job informing his guests unlike some of the others that tend to say little or nothing so as not to alarm anyone.  I'd rather know it is going to be a "rock and roll" night than to wake up startled.  Do you think the Vista class handles the seas as well as or better than the R and S class?

 

As for the new EXC center/Crow's Nest;  It maybe design pretty but it isn't a good use of prime real estate.  Those screens at the front windows should be on a wall and those huge panels near the shore excursions are also a waste.  Game tables next to the windows? NO!  If anything, there needs to be more seating facing out, possibly at different levels, to accommodate those of us who cruise to see the beautiful areas we go to.  The V of the V cruise is a perfect example; beautiful scenery often in cold and unfriendly open deck weather, where you need to be inside with a view out.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, St Pete Cruiser said:

 Do you think the Vista class handles the seas as well as or better than the R and S class?

 

Yes, I think I do think they and the Signature class do as well as the smaller ships; I have not yet been on a Pinnacle class ship.  I have been in North Atlantic storms many times before, on Eurodam twice, and once on a U.S. Navy cruiser and once on an aircraft carrier (which took green water over the flight deck -- now, that was a storm.)  On Eurodam, we skirted hurricanes twice, including seas of 17 meters once.  I have not sailed R and S class in the North Atlantic,  but sailed on Maasdam twice on Pacific crossings with heavy storms.  I think, all in all, HAL ships are well engineered to handle rough seas.  Not all passengers are.  (BTW, I don't feel that there is anything special about me because  my genetics gave me an inner ear configuration that does not make me seasick in even the heaviest weather. In heavy seas, I tend to sleep in all, odd, and sometimes inappropriate times, like in the Ocean Bar.   If I did get seasick, I would have made a terrible career choice of 28 years active U.S Navy service  😀.)

 

Dave

Edited by RetiredMustang

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Aug. 12, at sea (Cont.)

 

During the day, we received our certificates that said we were now members of the Order of the Blue Nose, those who have passed north of the Arctic Circle.  We passed it between Isafjordur and Akureyri, but if I heard the captain correctly, we also passed north of it to avoid the storm last night.  It is a nice memento to go with our several Shellback (crossing the equator) certificates.  We have crossed the International Dateline several times as well.  We don’t have the Order of the Albatross (Antarctic Circle) or the hardest to get, the Shellback Plus, which involves being at 0 latitude, 0 longitude, off the west coast of Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea.  It is unlikely we will attain the last two.  In any case, we think it was an accomplishment to get the Blue Nose certificate.

 

We lose yet another hour of time tonight, setting our clocks forward to conform with western Europe time, for our port calls to Bergen and Rotterdam.  So tomorrow, we will be 6 hours ahead of EDT.

 

Here are tonight’s dinner and dessert menu:

 

710341091_dinner12Aug_1.thumb.jpg.40a844deab34cf6bfeb66c6d60ce2678.jpg1201401041_dinner12Aug_2.thumb.jpg.c6b2526d841365c084872077344d2eb2.jpg

 

160423559_dessert12Aug.jpg.0acee0e9fe749ab441ad07e323a25562.jpg

 

 

And, here is tonight’s Lido dinner menu:

 

2101780492_dinnerlido12Aug.thumb.jpg.c3e84584eccd2b2ffac75f063810cb3c.jpg

 

 

More tomorrow,

Dave

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We were on Zuiderdam in November, 2017 soon after dry dock (and the changes in the Crow's Nest). At that time there were no books out; however, a few days later some of the 'coffee table books' were displayed and no one touched them. I asked one of the staff about a book exchange and was rold that HAL was discouraging that.

Also, those jigsaw tables were placed as there are now; however, there were no lights above them. I moved them every morning and the staff relocated them to the dark every night. I wrote a long letter to Seattle. It appears that some things have changed.

When we were on the ship, I never saw anyone using those interactive table things. Such a waste of space (and money) for the itineraries that this ship does.

We will be on VoV next year on Zaandam, a smaller ship and one we really like.

Thank you for all the time you have spent so far with this report.

Jim

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Interesting to see the photos of the Crows Nest,  thank for your updates.

It's about 9 degees C here today, the wind feels straight from the Antarctic .

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Aug. 13, at sea

 

Another sea day before visiting Bergen tomorrow.  It was beautiful all afternoon yesterday, but chilly.  It has warmed up to 53F/12C at 6 a.m., but it is mostly cloudy.  We expect cloudy with spotty showers in Bergen, which sounds like normal Seattle weather to us. 

 

Here is today’s When and Where:

 

13Aug_1.thumb.jpg.b2744b68991a7fb220f83c9712342df5.jpg13Aug_2.thumb.jpg.2837d1419e2f60af505e9c2467085290.jpg

 

 

13Aug_3.thumb.jpg.3d55ae78a094d32785b7e32c01d096c4.jpg13Aug_4.thumb.jpg.a076130cca78033df675cb96cc3792c7.jpg

 

 

13Aug_5.thumb.jpg.8a03d450dd43cb78628379bb7999c0c5.jpg13Aug_6.thumb.jpg.5afc7e2d832233f34997fa3cb2486c4e.jpg

 

 

More later,

Dave

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Posted (edited)

Aug. 13, at sea (Cont.)

 

I went to the Mariners Reception at 10:15 in the main show lounge.  Today, they did something different.  They had us audience members enter on deck 2 starboard side.  We went in and found that the lower level seats and the first wo rows of the ramped seats were blocked.  I sat down and realized that the awardees had been asked to enter on deck 1 port side.  The different thing was that, as bronze awardees arrived, they were presented with their medallions and had their photos taken with the captain and hotel manager, and then took their seats.  Silver and above awardees were directed to take a seat.  I would estimate that there were several dozen bronze awardees.

 

When CD (I guess now CTD) Jonathan started the proceedings, he acknowledged the bronze medal awardees, but not individually.  And, as usual, he asked current bronze medallion holders in the audience to stand.  Again, there were several dozen.

 

Then, silver and gold medallion awardees were called up by name for medallion presentation, photo, and applause from the audience.  There were about 40 silver medallions awarded, and about a dozen or so gold ones.  After each level, Jonathan asked current silver and bronze holders in the audience to stand.  About 40 silver holders and about a dozen gold stood up, including me.  Jonathan then asked Platinum holders to stand, and about six people did (including Santa Claus, but he was in civvies today  ).  There were no platinum awards given.  Jonathan then asked the four Presidents Club members to come forward for photos.  Then, he concluded the ceremony with an invitation to the luncheon.  All told, the ceremony lasted about 30 minutes.  If he had called all the bronze holders by name, it would have taken much longer, and I get that, but it’s too bad they all couldn’t have received individual recognition.  There were about 100 people in the awardees section, and at a guess around 200 in the audience.

 

After about 10 or more of those luncheons, we stopped going years ago.  But, I always go to the ceremony at least, to cheer on and applaud the new awardees – previous awardees did it for me, so I will do it for the new ones.

 

Here are a couple of photos:

 

476922406_gatheringforreception.jpg.3d008b6e517af94a145ddc87fba7b427.jpg

 

1818090539_bronzeonthewayin.jpg.9e6c2bfb4907d1b18287566465a10170.jpg

 

 

And, here is a photo to show something we have noticed during port talks.  The Zuiderdam has these posts supporting the show lounge balcony, and they block the view from many of the setas.  It felt like we were in Wrigley Field or something.  I don’t remember any of the other Vista ships having these posts.

 

1671713767_whatweretheythinking.jpg.e9e3316418d7972270ab3ab45ec3a6f8.jpg

 

 

More later,

Dave

Edited by RetiredMustang

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Glad you got your certificates and are now Blue Nose people.  We were on a different cruise line when we passed north of the Arctic Circle and got nothing.

 

We have crossed the equator several times on HAL and only once got a certificate.  Different ships -- different procedures.

 

For several years we have only gone to the awards ceremony.  We gave up the brunches a long time ago.  Can't stand the free-for-all in the dining room.  One of the worst awards ceremonies was in 2016 on the Westerdam.  People were called up in groups to get their medals but no pictures were taken of anyone.

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When we got our bronze medallions they were just left in our stateroom. 

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3 hours ago, RetiredMustang said:

And, here is a photo to show something we have noticed during port talks.  The Zuiderdam has these posts supporting the show lounge balcony, and they block the view from many of the setas.  It felt like we were in Wrigley Field or something.  I don’t remember any of the other Vista ships having these posts.

They do. On the second level they block the view of anyone using the wheelchair space.

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2 hours ago, ORCRUISER said:

When we got our bronze medallions they were just left in our stateroom. 

We have been lucky enough to have our medallions presented by the Captain and Hotel Director every time.  And, one time, we were accompanied to the Dining Room by the Hotel Director who sat and had lunch with us.  Seems like this does not happen any more.  

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Aug. 13, at sea (Cont.)

 

Sorry all, I had intended to post more photos from around the ship, but after three time zone changes from Seattle to Boston, and then six more in the last two weeks, the Sleep Troll grasped me and threw me onto the bed for a nap after lunch.   Another day at sea.

 

Here is tonight’s Gala dinner and dessert combined menu:

 

 

731151630_dinner13Aug.thumb.jpg.0f86979aa283b7dabc7016c49adde7f6.jpg

 

And here is the Lido menu:

 

30427446_dinnerlido13Aug.thumb.jpg.4266b1fa4799b1118f47a15445bc0325.jpg

 

 

More tomorrow,

Dave

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12 hours ago, taxmantoo said:

We have been lucky enough to have our medallions presented by the Captain and Hotel Director every time.  And, one time, we were accompanied to the Dining Room by the Hotel Director who sat and had lunch with us.  Seems like this does not happen any more.  

Not to boast, but we were met by a dining room host and walked to the Mariner's lunch to sit with the Hotel Director after the awards ceremony.  Our names were on the table when we arrived. This was just last month on the Zuiderdam.

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Aug. 14, Bergen, Norway

 

At 5:45 a.m., we are in the fjord leading to Bergen.  The skies are mostly cloudy with occasional light rain, and the temp is 54F/12C.  The forecast is for showers and clouds, with a high of 61F/16C.

 

Here is today’s When and Where:

 

14Aug_1.thumb.jpg.82665b5b02a9d3da43e309d96cb96f48.jpg14Aug_2.thumb.jpg.79be62ab7340f8716559836a07c4c148.jpg

 

 

14Aug_3.thumb.jpg.9598c206e97aecfa2c5b6d85378bc152.jpg14Aug_4.thumb.jpg.827613c5e981db87b6c33b68953cd559.jpg

 

 

14Aug_5.thumb.jpg.037cfab71955982c1f9189d2a03ae337.jpg14Aug_6.thumb.jpg.0ddfac942c6a8c0ff774ba540c28cd34.jpg

 

 

And here is the Bergen port guide:

 

944175395_Bergen1.thumb.jpg.f30a0255106b3672e60f2c06d7f9832f.jpg

 

1300544966_Bergen2.thumb.jpg.7d088cc7ee39c88643a34cd744f74b5a.jpg

 

 

More later,

Dave

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Aug. 14, Bergen (Cont.)

 

We continued our way into Bergen.  I knew we were supposed to pass under a bridge, but we bypassed the first one I saw:

 

468968805_bridgetoKnarravik.jpg.e21d7e9558a1f40f064d4d390a1b8c66.jpg

 

 

But, we veered left to take the channel leading under a larger and taller bridge:

 

300660837_largerbridge.jpg.0d10538017ffae3872838e2d4a759494.jpg

 

 

We approached our moorage shortly after 7:

 

1662257854_approachingBergenmoorage.jpg.2c4c08d1931cc5157a5a80c84cdc5bfa.jpg

 

 

The last time we were in Bergen, we had taken a ship’s shore excursion that included a drive and walking tour of the central city area, and a funicular ride to Mt. Floyen and back.  We had wished we had had more time then to explore some of the trails around the top of the mountain, and decided when we came back that we would just go up the funicular on our own and take our time. 

 

We were cleared to go ashore about 7:50.   DW and returned to our stateroom to gather our stuff, and left shortly after 8, bound for the info center and then the funicular.  Jessica during her port talk had recommended buying the funicular tickets at the info center, to avoid the lines at the station itself.

 

It was easy to do on our own.  It was a walk of about 1 km to the info center at the top of the harbor.  We passed the famous Bryggen houses and part of the fish market on the way to the info center:

 

856114716_Bryggenhouses.jpg.73bb187b36570466dd9d760e20c7e301.jpg

 

1514308779_Bryggenhouses2.jpg.781cbe066ec7e849899255d3db2e6597.jpg

 

1700761208_fishmarket1.jpg.b96ea6025c9955fcd15718be635abf3b.jpg

 

122139385_fishmarket2.jpg.2ff4b2b67bb37981913890d833cee59e.jpg

 

1222678126_fishmarket3.jpg.ccac07f2df95d9ce89725c75970fc44c.jpg

 

1346339666_touristinfocenter.jpg.62930c1a455faecf7ce26c5b83b39b36.jpg

 

 

The info center had maps and guides, and there were several desks where attendants could give you info or sell you tickets to sights or to the many tours one offer.  If you didn’t arrange a tour beforehand, either a ship’s shore excursion or a private tour, you could walk to the info center and get on a tour quickly.  We bought our tickets with a credit card.  The round-trip fare was 125 Norwegian kroner per person, about U.S. $14.50.  A short walk back along the harbor front brought us back to the Starbucks, where we turned and walked two blocks up to the station.

 

1806667469_funicularstation.jpg.1d871b71bdc777c97a0bb5b9e3816aa4.jpg

 

 

As it turned out, there was no line as we started up the street or when I took the picture, but about eight people had formed a line by the time we got to the station.  We followed the sign for pre-paid tickets to bypass the line, and cleared the electronic turnstiles just as a funicular arrived.  Here is a shot I took looking backwards on the ride up:

 

1972271904_lookingback.thumb.jpg.4a461df2273694d16ba484eca16247b6.jpg

 

 

At the top, there is a large viewing platform, a café, shop, restaurant, etc.  Here is a photo I took a little later that shows the area most people use to take photos:

 

872164690_viewingplatform.jpg.cbde77568f730dc5dc25574f5a13750b.jpg

 

 

And, here are some of the photos I took from that platform.  Zuiderdam is to the right in the first photo:

 

1590333466_viewfromtop1.jpg.4a7c4540c59a3587b6ff145f55af53b8.jpg

 

1835073353_viewfromtop3.jpg.9ab1fc9532d0e0179487e3ef05ba660a.jpg

 

402846116_viewfromtop2.jpg.5387aa5230520061dcb765eb3578166b.jpg

 

 

More in the next post,

Dave

 

 

 

 

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