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Stow Away with Bill & Mary Ann for 181 days on Amsterdam's So. Pacific & 2020 WC

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Report # 1   San Diego, California   Day One   October 26, 2019  Saturday    Sunny & Hot   23 Pictures   Part #1 Of 1


Well, here we go again, beginning another adventure, which turned out to be a bit longer than we usually undertake.  Late summer usually has us thinking of cruises to Alaska and Hawaii.  But this year, HAL offered another South Pacific itinerary that really appealed to us.  Aptly named “Tales of the South Pacific”, we booked this 51 day cruise, with a two day stay in San Diego.  We will have a 12 day break in December to take care of a million things at home, including the holidays, then head off January 1st for the 128 day Grand World Voyage.  It is exhausting just thinking about it, as it has taken much planning to make it work smoothly.  So far, we’re off to a good start with the unexpected news from our travel agent yesterday that we had been given a complimentary upgrade from our outside room to a veranda.  Miracles do happen.  And it came at a good time, since the situation at home in California has been bleak recently.  The dry weather conditions, mixed with low humidity and high winds has prompted power outages.  At the time we left home, there had already been two phone calls from the power company warning us of blackouts that would begin Saturday evening. News about the many fires in the state have been beyond disturbing as well.  Perfect time for us to leave, we guess.


In August this year, we experienced a weekend of wild fires (arson-started), which closed our roads for two days.  During that time, a doe had a fawn on our place, which is something that occurred once before this.  So we have had a border, with the fawn staying within the safety of our fence, and the doe visiting to take care of her baby.  It has been fun watching her grow and forage for the acorns from the oaks.  She (we assume the fawn is a girl) has been joined by a large buck, who sustained an injury. He took refuge in our place too, rested for a week, then was on his way. Both animals, as well as several of their buddies have become almost tame as they allowed us to approach them with no fear.   We do hope by the time we return, they will be gone and doing their thing elsewhere where they can find more feed.  Once winter hits, there is little to sustain them.


  Much to our surprise, as our driver picked us up at 4:30am, we found that the main road had sustained a water leak that undermined the street.  A crew was working in the dark fixing this leak, making it necessary to reduce the traffic to one lane.  Good thing this was taking place on Saturday, and not during the commute work week.  These things can never be predicted, sort of like Murphy’s Law.  In all of the forty years we have lived here, this is the first time to experience these conditions.  If this helps to prevent more devastating fires, then this will be the new normal.


Back to our journey, the ride to SFO was just over an hour.  Lucky again, we had both gotten the TSA pre-check, which worked well for one of us. But with the new knee brace, one of us got the xray and closer scrutiny.  Wanded and swiped, I passed with flying colors.  All went off according to schedule, and we arrived to San Diego before 10am.  It had to be warmer here than at home….more like summer, and not autumn. 


Our hotel for the next two days is located within a few blocks of the cruise terminal.  Today, the Star Princess and Eurodam were in port, so the activity in downtown was noticeable.  Requesting early check-in, we were given a room immediately, instead of waiting until 4pm.  Nice, since we had been up since 3am, and needed to relax for a bit.  But only for a little bit.  With some shopping we needed to do, we were off to get the job done.


But first, after discovering the Westfield Mall was being re-modeled, and only a few stores were opened, we searched the Gaslight District for a suitable restaurant for lunch.  Highly decorated for Halloween, we found the Sign of the Whale, a sports-type bar, was perfect.  And besides, they had specials on ice cold beer today.  Sharing a burger, we enjoyed watching the locals arriving dressed as witches for the occasion.  This must be the weekend for parties.  Even the pet dogs were decked out as pumpkins and ghouly ghosts. 


We did find the local pharmacy with the directions from our waiter, and found most everything we needed.  Looking forward to some down time after the long walk today, back at the hotel, we did some emailing and TV watching.  By 6pm, we headed out for dinner at Claim Jumpers, a few blocks away.  We ordered our favorite salads while watching the Eurodam leave the scenic harbor.  The sun was setting as we finished our meal, ending a nice, but busy long day.


More tomorrow…..


Bill & Mary Ann


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I was down at the cruise terminals today to watch the Eurodam and Princess Star cast off.  Our dry and hot Octobers make up for the cloudy "June gloom" here in San Diego.





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You are blessed to be trusted by the deer family.

We also have visiting deer families here in Port Angeles, WA.  They especially love apples on the ground .  .  .  and on the lowest tree branches.

Hope your knee behaves.

Bon Voyage !  and thank you for bringing us along on this adventure.  :)


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Been checking to see when your were going to post. Love reading your posts.

How lucky to have the 51 day cruise before the 128 WC. Enjoy!


Linda started reading about your cruises. Wonderful you could combine

cruises and have over 231 days.  I would love that.

Edited by Belle
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Looking forward to "sailing" with you via my couch.  How does one even begin to prepare for a 128-day cruise?  Longest I've done is 24, since I'm still working.  I really must retire to enjoy travel, but once I retire, big question is: Will I be able to afford those lengthy cruises?  Or will I be following along with people kind enough to post like Bill and Mary Ann?


Bon voyage!


BTW, my heart goes out to all in CA. affected by the fires and the loss of electricity.

Edited by sevenseasnomad
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So glad you will be posting!!  Will be following along.  Always enjoy your updates.  Thank you for taking the time to let us all “cruise” along.

  The deer story is very sweet!!  Must have been so beautiful to watch the fawn grow!!

We had the pleasure to meet you & Bill on the Eurodam cruise to Hawaii in 2017.  Laura & Mark  from SEA.  Happy sailing!! Hope you have a wonderful cruise!!

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Regarding Horton Plaza (mall in downtown San Diego) - it is nearly abandoned. The only businesses left are: Macy's, Jimbo's (organic market), 24 Hour Fitness, and a post office. According to current plans, the mall will be "reimagined" as a mixed use development. However, between City delays and lawsuits from both Jimbo's and Macy's, the current plan won't be implemented until mid-2021 at the earliest (according to a presentation we attended last week). I suggest avoiding the area at night as it is plagued by the homeless.


There is a large CVS on 4th and Broadway and a Ralph's (supermarket) on 1st and G.  There are lots of restaurants along 4th and 5th Avenue, along with numerous clothing and other stores.

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Report #2    San Diego, California   Day Two  October 27, 2020   Sunday   Overcast      2019 Tales of the South Pacific and 2020 World Cruise     58 Pictures     Part #1 Of 1


After a good night’s rest, we woke up to overcast skies.  What a sharp contrast from the blue skies and sun we had yesterday.  On the plus side, it would be a comfortable day for walking.


Our hotel includes a complimentary buffet breakfast, so we took advantage of the variety of hot and cold items.  Much the same as what we have at home.  Speaking of home, we have gotten numerous emails telling us of extremely high winds and a wildfire quite close to us.  The power had been shut off last night, and the projected time it would resume would be noon on Monday.  At least, we won’t have to evacuate, since we have already left.  We pray that all will be fine in a few days.  The fire was mostly contained today, we heard.


It was good to get outside and stretch our legs.  Down by the pier, we discovered that the Disney Wonder had docked this morning.  No wonder we spotted several kids and their parents dressed in Mickey Mouse t-shirts and ears.  Been there, done that, and was a kick for a one-time cruise.   Can’t beat those Mickey ice cream bars and fruity popsicles poolside.  From there, we followed the waterfront past the USS Midway Museum, Seaport Village, and the marina.  Nice to see all of the many fishing and yachting vessels in the harbor.


Taking our usual path, we wandered through the Hilton lobby, across the skyway, then down the elevator to Petco Park, where the Padres play.  The Gaslamp Quarter begins there, and it was hopping with activity this morning.  Dozens of cafes and restaurants were in full swing with Sunday brunch and morning football games.  We ended up once again at the Sign of the Whale, because their California burger was so good yesterday.  With 25 big screen TV’s and one 17 foot TV, the place was beyond crazy loud.  Since they were hosting a private party at 3pm, they stopped service at 1:30pm to close the place out.  Worked out well for us.


We still had some shopping to do, and we did locate another CVS pharmacy nearby.  Also found an Ace Hardware.  Street traffic was busy since there was a craft faire happening.  Had to steer clear of those tents because you always find something irresistible there.  One final stop at Rite Aid for a few sodas, and we headed back to the hotel…..exhausted (at least one of us).   Good time to catch up on news from so many various channels that we do not have access to at home.  And so many movies, but so little time.  By the way, thanks for all of the emails that have been pouring in online.  So nice to know we have some pretty nice followers, and we certainly appreciate the wonderful comments.


Figured we would head back to the Claim Jumper for a light dinner while it was still daylight.  What a surprise we had when we entered the restaurant and saw good friends that we met way back in 2002 on the Volendam.  Even though we have kept in touch all of these years, meeting occasionally in between cruises, we had no idea they were booked on this upcoming trip.  Now we will have plenty of time to catch up on all of our travels.  Then we noticed two more couples come inside that we also recognized, so there should be quite a group of regulars on this trip, which is taking place of the Grand Asia/Pacific.


We chatted until darkness fell, then all called it a night.  It was fun watching the Disney Wonder sail out of the harbor playing the familiar Jiminy Cricket tune once again.   Back to the lobby of the hotel, we helped ourselves to chocolate chip cookies, a nice treat offered every evening along with a gigantic bowl of buttered popcorn. 


Tomorrow, we will packed and ready to check out by 11am.  It has been a nice visit here in San Diego, and looking forward to many more adventures ahead.


Bill & Mary Ann



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With 10 other President's Club members and 175 Five Star Mariniers sailing, you should see many familiar faces.



Thanks for your always interesting posts.


Bon Voyage!



P.S. You're sailing very late tomorrow....lucky for me I have the "early shift" 7 - 4 pm.


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