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

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Am praying that your home will be spared by the fire.

 

How wonderful to see friends from the past that will be on your cruise.

 

Enjoying your reports.

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following along...how wonderful your blog will include your South Pacific travels...my brother is visiting here in NC...he lives in Baja...where they have also had fires...he has been following it all closely ....prayers for everyone in CA and Mexico who are enduring these fires...I remember as a teenager in the 60's the Santa Ana winds in San Diego but neither my brother or I remember fires like today.  

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Good Morning!

 

We will be following along as we cruise along with you. Congratulations on the upgrade. If anyone deserves one, you two do!!

 

Here is the Amsterdam at about 5:30 this morning. See you soon.

 

Cheers, Denise and Howie 

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Yes, you guys were lucky to get out on time, what a mess it was here yesterday, 101 closed, 80 closed, fire on both sides of Carquinez bridge, 24 closed, fire in Lafayette, even a short fire in Clayton, but no damage there, enjoy your trip, have done it twice, will be great.

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Report #3   Boarding Day - San Diego   October 28, 2019   Monday   Sunny & 75 degrees   56 Pictures   Part #1 Of 1

 

Sometimes the anticipation of a very busy day ahead causes problems with sleeping.  That was the case last night, as both of us did not sleep as soundly as we should have.  However, the buffet breakfast provided at the Hampton Inn was more than sufficient to get us going at 9am.  The dining area was far less crowded today, as all of the Disney folks had left yesterday.  Today, the crowd was looking more like the HAL variety with far fewer kids. 

 

The best thing was that the weather had improved, the sun was out, and it was promising to be a fine day to be outside.  So we headed out for a short walk to the pier, where the Amsterdam had docked sometime very early this morning. Which was probably about the time we finally fell asleep.  At the entrance to the terminal, we inquired as to when  we could check in, and we were told by 10:30am give or take a few minutes.  The ship may not be ready to allow the incoming passengers to board until somewhat later, but we were assured we could wait comfortably in the terminal until that time came.

 

As we were strolling the waterfront, we ran into friends Denise and Howie, doing much the same as we were.  Always great to see them, we shared news about home with the power outages, fires, and extreme winds.  They confirmed what a mess we had all left.  At least the fires were doused, the winds were subsiding, and the power would surely come back soon.  No homes had burned in our area, thank goodness.  Another wind event was predicted for Tuesday, but hopefully not as intense.  All of our lives have been dealing with mostly earthquakes, so these conditions that have happened recently are pretty new to us.  Bottom line:  Mother Nature has a mind of her own.

 

Back in our room, we packed our luggage, and headed slowly back down to the pier.  Yes, we could have gotten a complimentary shuttle from the hotel, but they did not leave until after 11am.  The route they would have taken went to the airport first, then back to the pier.  So we figured by the time we did the round trip ride, we could have walked there in a quarter of the time.  Worked just fine, since we only had three suitcases and hand carries. 

 

At the gate entrance, we were directed to pull our luggage to the parking lot, where porters collected them.   Glad to be free of those, the next time we will see them will be in our room.  The xray check had a long line, but arriving this early, we had plenty of time.  The ship was scheduled to leave at 11pm, giving ample time to enjoy the day in the city again.  As expected, the new leg brace set off the beeper, but with a quick wand and pat down, I was free to go.   Next were the two lines for check-in.  One was for 4 & 5 star Mariners, and the other was for the remainder of the guests.  With this cruise not a Grand voyage, there was no line for suites and President Club members.  Since the 4 & 5 star line was longer than the regular line, it was suggested by the shore team to go with the shorter regular line, which we did.  Mistake, since the priority line was taken ahead of us.  Oh well, live and learn.  And we still had plenty of time, we kept reminding ourselves.   The check-in process was swift, and they did have the updated info with the room change. 

 

The size of the crowd had grown significantly by now, so we were seated in the front row for the supervisor to escort us and another President Club couple onto the ship.  That happened in about ½ hour, getting us boarded by 11:30am.  From there, it was like a homecoming.  Our first greeter was Philip, the chief of the dining operations, and a good buddy.  He even double-checked to make sure our new room assignments were complete, before we all headed up in the elevator.  Good to go, we locate our room on deck six, which will be enjoyed for the next 7 weeks.  In the past, we have done a few world cruises in this type of room, but we did notice that the layout is different from the outside cabins.  Noticeably narrower, we remembered that the actual size of the veranda room seems slightly more compact that the outside category.  The desk is longer with more drawers, but the shower-only bathroom is smaller as well.  Very nicely remodeled however, with glass door shower, new sink and counter with a three-tiered glass shelf, and a shelf under the sink.  The space for toiletries seems to be ample enough.  Missing is the extra-large closet that is near the desk in the outside cabins.  Since we brought far less stuff for this trip, we still have ample space to stash it all.  We were happy campers to find two trays of fresh fruit and chocolates left on the coffee table, as well as a bottle of champagne on ice, and two bottles of alcohol, compliments of Orlando Ashford and the Mariner Society. 

 

We had an invite to the Crow’s Nest for a 45 minute 4 & 5 star Mariner reception at 1pm, but we decided to pass on it.  Too early to indulge with champagne for us, we would save that for later in our room.

The luggage had not arrived yet, as it all had to go through security xray.   Already, we had noticed that some folks had gotten messages in their mail slots to go to the front desk since prohibited items had been found in their luggage.   In fact, we even received a note in our room with that same general message.  This was a first.  Other messages were that we would receive an English language newspaper daily, and the bad news was that the dry cleaning facilities were out of service for the duration of this cruise.  Thank goodness, the regular laundry service was still intact. 

 

With nothing more we could do to organize the room, we took off to enjoy a walk and lunch in town.  The weather was just too nice to stay on the ship.  Muster was scheduled for 4:15pm, giving us about 4 hours to explore.  So we headed for The Cheesecake Factory near Seaport Village.  Since we never had wandered out of the village, we never knew that restaurant was located there.  For a Monday afternoon, it was surprisingly busy at 1pm.  If we wanted a booth, there was a ½ hour wait, but there was seating at the high top tables in the bar, and that was perfect for us.  The food and service were excellent as always, and even though the ample servings of cheesecake looked tempting, we decided on  small scoops of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the village.  Following the waterline, we passed the Fish Market and the Bob Hope dedication.

 

Slowly walking back, we made our way to the offices on deck three to search out the housekeeping chief, Shiv, who we owed many thanks for outfitting our room as requested.  He is the best.  Jacques, the head wine sommelier, was next, and we would search for the hotel director, Henk, later, as he was not in his spot.   It felt like we never left here, since the time from May has flown by all too fast.

 

Back in our room, we discovered all of the luggage had arrived.  We also met our room steward, Gede, who could not have been nicer.  He took out a few items we did not need, and offered to do whatever he could to make us comfortable.  What a crew they have here.  On our end, we do try to keep things orderly, and seldom bother them for much.  There was a little time to unpack before the drill. 

 

At the muster drill, we did recognize many folks, even if we did not recall their names.  Our guess is that the long-traveled guests that usually sail the grand Asia, have substituted this cruise instead.  Captain Jeroen Schuchmann, along with the cruise director conducted a speedy muster drill, while we kept watch for seals in the harbor.  Only saw a few seagulls.

 

Unpacking took the rest of the afternoon, followed by sharing that ice cold bottle of champagne while testing out the veranda chairs.  We were well relaxed by 7:30pm, the fixed dinner seating time.  That came as a surprise, since traditionally, the time has always been 8pm.  Suits us fine.  Our table was 81 on the railing, a four top set for two.  The menu had many selections, but not as extensive as on the world cruise.  One of us had chicken Caesar salad, and the other smoked mozzarella chicken…..both very tasty.  Portions sizes were just right for us.  Dessert was tempting, but we passed, knowing we still had a platter of fresh fruit in our room.

 

There was one show time featuring Amsterdam’s Entertainers in the Mainstage at 9:30pm, a better time for most guests.    No Happy Hour tonight, although most folks were happy to turn in early for the night including us.  The ship left the pier sometime around 10:40pm, slipping away quietly into the mighty Pacific.   It had been one long day, but it has started off and ended quite well.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

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Others turn on Netflix, but personally I love finishing a busy day full of meetings, calls and stuff to worry about by reading an almost live report of a really long cruise. Thank you! 

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We are following you, so want details, especially food even on shore. Really glad the fires decided to give you all a pass. I think there is more storage in the outside cabins on Dolphin than the balconies, so I'm happy with an outside. Handler doesn't agree, but he's not trying to find a home for all those purchases I make on the way. Do you think main seating dinner on the world will be 7:30? Give everyone we know on the ship a hug for us and tell them we'll see them in January.

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Thank you for sharing your first day cruise report with us. Very well written and hope your house is ok and you have a wonderful cruise.

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Sounds like a great start to your next adventure. Thank-you for bringing us along as we enter gray November.  Bon voyage!  🚢🏝

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Just got caught up on your reports.

 

Glad the fires missed your home -- hopefully it will stay that way.

 

No dry cleaning service -- that is bad news.

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Report #4    Day at Sea   October 29,2019   Tuesday    Enroute To Hawaii    Sunny and 65 degrees   12 Pictures   Part #1 Of 1

 

The first full day at sea was a nice one.  The weather was pleasant, although not too warm yet.  The seas have been mostly smooth with occasional rolling, which we normally do not notice.  Located five decks above our usual room, the motion of the ocean is much more pronounced.  It does contribute to sleeping well, like being rocked in a cradle.

 

Breakfast was at table 179 in the lower dining room.  It had been promised to us when we left the ship in June, following the tradition of the last several years.  We were joined by two other couples that also shared these tables in this section during the 2019 world cruise.  Nice to have familiar company and the service of a most popular waiter, Gan and his assistant.

 

Of course, we headed for the lower promenade deck for a morning walk.  It did not last too long because it was quite chilly on the starboard side.  At 10am, there was a Cruise Critic meeting in the Crow’s Nest.  Surprisingly, there was a pretty big crowd there today, which rivaled the size of the world voyage.  The rules began with the announcement that this meeting would not be consumed with the private shared excursions.  They could meet elsewhere for those.  And we might add that no staff members or officers attended that we could see.  They have long since adhered to that, with a few exceptions, mostly due to the fact that are too many groups these days.  Cookies, coffee, and juices were still provided.  We stayed a short time, because we had more jobs to do.

 

One of those jobs was to straighten out our shipboard account, which was not accessible on our computer.  Somehow the information had been switched with our names.  At the front desk, a new fellow attempted to help us, but when Cynthia came over, we were most happy to have her take charge.  Now we are able to track our account again.  The most important thing was that all of our credits had been posted correctly.  And one nicer thing is that the tips have been included this time, due to a short-time promotion offered months ago. 

 

Shipboard activities began in earnest today, with the highlights aimed at everything Hawaiian, naturally.  Lei making, hula dancing, and ukulele lessons were on the program.  By the way, the format has changed for the When & Where pamphlet.  A tri-fold paper, it has a detailed itinerary of the day, with no ads.  Dining and service hours are posted on the back, with a few ads back there as well.  A separate narrow sheet is included with the ads of the day.  Simplified and less paper, which seems to be the direction HAL is headed in the way of conservation.

 

Another 2 week planner pamphlet had daily entertainment in the Mainstage….yes, there still are shows happening here at 7:30 and 9:30pm. An interesting message was included saying that only one companion seat could be reserved before the show commenced. Another hint was that the early diners attend the late show, while the late eaters go early. Also the gala evenings (only four on this cruise) are marked on this calendar.  The backside had four of the top officers onboard which is the Captain, Jeroen Schuchmann, the Hotel Director, Henk Mensink, the Chief Engineer, Pieter Jacob Engels, and the Cruise Director, Justin Ross Southard.  The specialty restaurants are advertised, and we heard that the prices may have gone up.  Will check that out.

 

After catching up on computer work, we went to lunch in the dining room.  After all, they were serving meatballs and spaghetti, a favorite dish for one of us.  It was salads, one with skewered lamb, and one plain.  We noticed regular and raw sugar in bottles now, along with the packets of non-sugar sweeteners.  Saving on paper again.  And there were no vases of flowers on the tables, although that might be reserved for the grand voyages.  In the evening, the little lamps are the decorations now.

 

During the first happy hour at 4pm, we took over the large chairs on the railing, and listened to the new band that joined yesterday.  They were good, and drew a crowd.  Also gave us a chance to meet up with more friends that have begun their long journey, combining three or more cruises, which will end in mid-May.  And for those that would like to know, there was also another happy hour at 6:30pm.  Not sure if the second drink was still $2, as it appears that all of the beverages have gone up a bit in price.

 

We had to wait until 6pm to pay a visit to the internet guru.  There was a glitch with something, preventing signing in.  It had something to do with being here this year on the grand cruise, and their system said someone else had our exact email address.  Well yes, that was us. This has occurred before, but they are always capable of figuring it out.   In the meantime, it gave one of us time to search out a few books to read from the library.  No need to check any of them out, because there is no librarian that we could see.

 

Passing by the Pinnacle Grill, we encountered the manager, who is not Tina.  She will be returning in January we were told.  Anyway, we will need to come here to make our 10 reservations before the available dates are filled.  She said there will be Sel De Mer, sommelier, and various specialty dinners taking place, so we will need to go in between those.   Can’t wait for the clothesline bacon!  So good…….

 

Dinner time came right after we enjoyed watching an excellent sunset from the veranda.  We do hope it is the beginning of many more to come.  The entrees we ordered were prime rib and halibut.  Both were delicious and portioned conservatively.  We were raised with “clean your plate” syndrome, so less is better in our case.  We did share a fruit sundae for dessert.  Our table for two is nice, because we are finished in an hour or so.  Among the several visitors to our table was Philip, who informed us that Presti will be coming back to the Amsterdam as the dining room manager for the world cruise.   What great news.  Ronald has returned to his favorite job as manager of the Lido. 

 

The show in the Mainstage was guitarist Louie Shelton, but we passed.  We would have an hour to stroll around, and figured hitting the hay earlier would be a better idea.  Back in the room, we discovered we had been given one very useful HAL tote with a new design and waterproof fabric.  On this year’s world cruise, there were no totes gifted, at least where we lived.  And the first of the towel animals appeared on the bed.  Although we do like them, we wrote our room steward a note that he can pass on making them for us, freeing up some of his precious time.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

 

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It’s great to read your reports again, especially since we just got off the Amsterdam on Monday. It makes your reports come alive even more, recognizing names and places we’ve come to love, and miss already.  Regards to Gan and Herry, and Philip.  They are fantastic, so happy we lucked out in the dining room and saw them at dinner daily (table 70 😊).  And now we’ll sit back and come along for the ride, thanks for doing this!

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I agree that diner portions need to be conservative, and they were on our last cruise aboard Oosterdam.  They were so conservative that we were hungry at 10 o'clock every night, something that's never happened on a cruise.  We either ordered room service, or we ran by the Lido for ice cream.  Yes, they were serving it that late at night.  We were truly, but pleasantly, surprised.

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Report #5   Day at Sea  Enroute to Hawaii   October 30, 2019   Wednesday   Cloudy & 66 degrees Part #1 Of 1

 

Despite our wishful thinking, it was not powerful enough to produce sunny skies today.  In fact, the entire day, for the most part, was overcast and dreary.  At least it was not too cold, since the further south we go, the warmer it has gotten.  There was a hint of humidity as well.  And everyone agreed that in a few days or so, we might start complaining about the warm and sticky heat. 

 

Lectures, shop sales, games, and eating kept the passengers busy.  Noticing that the seas had calmed down somewhat, we took a nice long walk after breakfast.  So far, the only sea life we have spotted were two birds, who must be tagging along with the ship.  We doubt there are any islands in the area we are sailing.

 

There was also a message informing all of us that a contracted service staff is onboard to inspect and certify the elevators.  At times, some of the elevators will be out of service temporarily.  This is a first for us, but good to know they are maintained properly on occasion. 

 

Relaxing on our deck after lunch, we discovered we had nice new blankets provided for our use while here.  Instead of the smaller wool plaid blankets, these are more like a thin flannel/fleece comforter.  Very useful. And of course, if we chose to purchase them, the cost would be around $35.  A funny thing happened while we were enjoying the breeze.  It appeared that the power went off, and the ship came to a stop.  The Captain announced to all not to panic, since they should be able to resume operations shortly.  Now we had trouble understanding his entire message with the echo on the outdoor speakers.  So assuming this was a planned test of some kind, we thought nothing of it.  In fact we had no clue the power went off, putting some folks in total darkness.  After a short time, the power did come back, and the Captain said he would explain this tomorrow.

 

More and more folks have discovered that breakfast and lunch in the dining room is quite civilized, because we would guess that it is fuller than on the grand cruise.  Of course, we understand that the ship is full with over 1200 guests.  The service was a bit slower than usual, but that is to be expected in the beginning.  Once a pattern develops, the managers will be better prepared to distribute their wait staff where it is most needed.  For us on sea days, there is no pressure to rush anything, especially a fine meal.

 

Later in the afternoon, we finally had a chance to stroll deck eight.  After checking out the Lido, which looked properly stocked with many popular stations, we went to see if the spa manager, Rene, was here.  Yep, there she was, like she never left.  Always a pleasure to chat with her and catch up on ship news.  (Greg and Heo…..Rene sends her “hello” to you.)

 

Around 4:30pm, we went to the Ocean Bar and took our favorite seats, which happened to be behind the backdrop curtain for the photography session.  Since this evening was the first gala night, we wanted to see how dressed or not, the passengers were.  Much to our surprise, most everyone dressed for the occasion, that is……sports coats, suits, and tuxes for the fellows, and sparkly dresses and suitable outfits for the gals.  Nice to see this tradition has not bit the dust yet.

 

Sometime this afternoon, we had been delivered an invitation to an Exclusive Welcome Reception for the 10 President’s Club Members that are onboard with  the Captain, hotel director, Henk, and cruise director, Justin, along with other staff officers.  Well this was a surprise, since we surely did not expect any events for such a small group on this cruise.  It was held at the Crystal Terrace at 6:30pm, and we knew just about everyone there, with the exception of the Captain and some of his officers. All of us were offered drinks of our choice, and presented with various tempting fancy canapes.  Lucky for us, friends Howard, Gyl, the Captain, Henk, and the food and beverage manager joined us at a high top table.  We thanked Captain Jeroen for getting the ship running again, but refrained from asking much more.  He sort of indicated that what happened was a bit of a mystery at the moment.  By 7:15pm, the staff officers had to go to the Mainstage for the Captain’s welcome toast.

 

Henk, the hotel director, informed us that he would join us for dinner this evening, which was nice.  He usually does this at our table for eight, but tonight, we had him one-on-one.  We chatted about a million things for over 2 hours, until we noticed that the upper dining room had almost emptied out.  The entrees were all appealing, but we ended up with one surf and turf (tenderloin steak and shrimp), and one ricotta stuffed pasta shells.  Totally delicious.  Dessert was a shared lemon meringue cheesecake.  Every dish tonight appeared to look different from anything we have seen served here.  And to the better so far.  It turned out to be a fine evening.  We even had time to duck into the show lounge to watch the On Tour performance by the singers and dancers.  There were many more people attending this second show, since it began at 9:30pm….not 10pm.  Perhaps these new times will remain this way on the grand voyage.

 

Back in our room, we found a note to turn the clocks back one hour.  Perfect……….we need the extra sleep.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

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Crystal Terrace? Where is that one, a new name for me.  Fantastic thread as usual, very readable and informative.   Much appreciated!

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Very interesting about the power failure, since the same 5hing happened briefly about 2 weeks ago.  At that time the captain explained within minutes that one of the generators had ‘tripped’ and shut down, which caused the other generators to do the same.  Those were restarted and things were slowly coming back on-line, and they were working on figuring out what had caused the first one to turn off.  To the best of my knowledge, it remained a mystery...and obviously it has not been solved.

 The elevators: during the entire 35 days, different elevators were being worked on.  There was also a failure of a pump, where the access hatch was on deck 3 by the midship elevators behind a wall panel.  Initially it smelled gross, the next day a totally corroded pipe was replaced.  Maintenance must be ongoing all the time, I guess.

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2 hours ago, Ineke said:

Very interesting about the power failure, since the same 5hing happened briefly about 2 weeks ago.  At that time the captain explained within minutes that one of the generators had ‘tripped’ and shut down, which caused the other generators to do the same.  Those were restarted and things were slowly coming back on-line, and they were working on figuring out what had caused the first one to turn off.  To the best of my knowledge, it remained a mystery...and obviously it has not been solved.

 The elevators: during the entire 35 days, different elevators were being worked on.  There was also a failure of a pump, where the access hatch was on deck 3 by the midship elevators behind a wall panel.  Initially it smelled gross, the next day a totally corroded pipe was replaced.  Maintenance must be ongoing all the time, I guess.

Even on a newer ship maintenance is ongoing.  The environment these sails sail upon is indeed a harsh one.

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Report #6   Day at Sea   Enroute in Hawaii   October 31, 2019   Thursday   Mostly sunny & 76 degrees  14 Pictures  Part #1 Of 1

 

Happy Halloween!  Hard to believe that the month of October has come to an end.  How time flies these days.  Today was a good one to gather and share some current information for those who like details.  At breakfast this morning, we learned that there are some new crew members on the ship.  A total of 22 Thai gals and guys are now employed here.  They have jobs in the kitchen, and are included with the wait and bar staff.  Having been trained in a school in Thailand, they have arrived with less schooling than the facilities in Indonesia or the Philippines, we were told.  So when they arrived here, their instructions have continued as they work.  A bit more on the shy side, the assistants in the dining room are currently serving coffee and helping the waiters.  Twinkle, the acting Beverage Manager, said she is looking for some Thai food to be cooked in the crew quarters, which she loves.  We like it as well, but have been advised that the Tamarind, a Thai-themed meal option, will not happen on this cruise.  Too bad.

 

We found out last night, that the little morning newspapers will eventually be eliminated, and they will be put on the Navigator computer page and phone app. The difference is that these papers may be the full content. This might occur after the dry-docking next May.  It is also an attempt to go paperless, as is the rage everywhere else you go. 

 

The only on-the-wall flat TV’s that we have seen only exist in the new lanai rooms on deck three.  Another addition to the dry-docking will be flat screen TV’s in all of the rooms, and they will be interactive, like the ones on the newer ships.  We sure do hope this happens, as we really enjoyed this aspect while sailing on the newer Eurodam.

 

The laundry service has been speedy, with it being returned same day so far.  With many 4 and 5 star members, as well as suites and President’s Club members on this cruise, that is really nice.  Whether the speed lasts, we will see.

 

It appears that some of the prices have gone up in the specialty restaurants.  The Canaletto now costs $19 per person, while the Cellar Master’s dinner will be $95 each.  The sip and savor sessions with appetizers and one glass of wine has risen to $7.  The lowest priced wines by the glass still run $9, without the 15% gratuity.  We will research the Pinnacle Grill and Sel de Mer prices tomorrow.  Happy hour in the bars in the evening has remained buy one, get the second one for $2.  Sure makes a lot of people happy.

 

There have been many reported glitches with the internet here.  Denise and Howie informed us that 22 passengers, including them, were waiting like forever in a line to see the digital communications manager yesterday.  When his time was up, he just up and left for a meeting.  No apologies.  You would think with problems that arise like this, there should be a backup person to help.  The internet prices are not cheap either.  For a 51 day premium package purchased before the cruise, it ran over $500.  Buying it onboard the ship, the price was $630.  And now many, if not most people cannot even log on.  How do the other cruise lines get it right?  And to complicate the situation even further, we had a note informing us that from today to our arrival to Hawaii, we may have limited or diminishing bandwidth.  This is normal from what we can remember, so it is a good thing we are being forewarned.

 

We had an invite to attend a sommelier suite wine tasting at 1pm, with a chance to use our 50% discount on their wine packages.  But since we seldom drink wine, we passed on the event.

 

Halloween decorations were here and there, but mostly in the dining room and the casino.  The highlight of the night will be a costume party in the Crow’s Nest at 9pm.  There will be a best costume prize given to one of the most creative passengers we heard.  Many of the staff members donned the witches hats and masks, but they cannot compete.

 

It was so nice this afternoon on our veranda, we relaxed there instead of going to the pool.  The sun did come out, and it has become intense the further southwest we travel.  Time to use that sunscreen for sure.   

 

There was another notice sent to the passengers concerning our visit to Fanning Island.  Guests like to donate helpful goods to the local community, which is fine, but for those who will not go ashore in the tender boats, these donations can be left at a station on the ship to be taken over to the local representative.  Now the funniest thing we read was that items not permitted were any kind of material goods belonging to Holland America.  Guess that could be ship towels, robes, beach towels, blankets, etc.  Also no food or beverages would be allowed ashore.  One thing we recall from past visits is that chocolate room candies or chewing gum is not a good idea to hand out to the kids.  There are no dentists on this island we were told.  The best way to help these folks in a respectful way is to purchase their clever handicrafts.  They really are quite unique and make great gifts.

 

Dinner was festive in the dining room with carved pumpkins on display.  Brought back memories of the veggie and fruit carvings we used to see.  That craft is long gone from the HAL ships, we are afraid.  The waiters were dressed with an orange vest, while their assistants wore phony axes or saws attached to their heads.  Many of the guests had some kind of costume item such as a head dress, mask, or lights flashing on a cap.  But the best had to be Tom, our former TA buddy, who had on an orange wig and a painted scary face to match.  Kind of like Bozo the Clown.  What fun he has as a host.  Bet he wins the contest, as he was heading up the crowded elevator to the Crow’s Nest around 9pm.  Surely, we will hear about it tomorrow.

 

Jim Short was the comedic entertainer this evening.  A very funny guy, we have seen his show many times.  And the clocks went back another hour tonight.  The crew sure likes that even more than the guests.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

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