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Pete and Judy's 2020 World Cruise on the ms Amsterdam, Holland America Line

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39 minutes ago, MMDown Under said:


Wishing you a safe journey home. 

Thanks for sharing your WC experiences on your enjoyable blog.  Nice to have another WC to look forward to in 22.

Our flights had to be changed since Delta canceled their SYD LAX service.   We are now going home via Sydney on the 22nd, then on to SFO with UA on the 25th and continuing on to SAN on the same day.

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6 minutes ago, The-Inside-Cabin said:

Our flights had to be changed since Delta canceled their SYD LAX service.   We are now going home via Sydney on the 22nd, then on to SFO with UA on the 25th and continuing on to SAN on the same day.

I thought passengers could have difficulty getting home because Qantas and Virgin have cancelled their international flights and greatly reduced domestic capacity.  Hope you are able to get home on your new airline bookings.  

The one blessing is your WC ended in Australia, with a common language.  

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Day 77, Fremantle, Western Australia


Today is the final night of our abbreviated Grand World Voyage.  As you recall, my first post had the headline “Happy Days are Here Again!”.  This post is labeled “Keep Smiling”.  Although we are disappointed that we didn’t complete the cruise, HAL has been very generous with their FCC and we will be able to go on the 2022 World Cruise with little additional cash outlay. 


For the most part,  everyone is still smiling. There are always some who never seem to be happy, but that is their problem if they want to look for the bad side of every situation, always seeking to assign blame and tell everyone how they are doing it wrong.  We even heard that someone complained that the spa people were smiling too much and were too happy considering the circumstances.  Well – to them I say “Keep Smiling!”


salad.jpg The salad makers in the Lido keep smiling!


Much of the stress among some passengers is a byproduct of the cruise experience.  Cruising allows travelers who aren’t experienced in navigating strange airports, dealing with taxi drivers, switching terminals,  reading funny menus, etc. to see the world in the comfort of the Holland America bubble.  They can see the world without flying and come 'home' to familiar food and the same bed every night.  Shore excursions are planned and the only travel skill required is to know how to find the main stage meeting point for a tour excursion.  When the HAL bubble burst, through no fault of HAL, some people who never made an airline reservation on their own, never rode in a taxi, don’t have cell phones, don’t know how to navigate internet were in maximum stress.  HAL would eventually sort everything out, but their stress was understandable.


I will complete the rest of the cruise blog port posts as I get time over the next week.  I try to write my blog with an eye toward future cruisers to use as a port reference in addition to a daily chronicle.


Here in Fremantle, we were berthed between Seabourn and Princess.  While we were in the Crow's Nest,  Jesse and Colleen Kazemek,  guest entertainers from the Beatles Show, emailed us from the Pacific Princess.  We ran out to the forward observation deck and they went out to their aft dining area and we waved and took pictures of each other.


They got on the Pacific Princess on 29 Feb and will remain onboard until April 14th or so.  They are doing new shows with all the other guest entertainers who are stuck on the Pacific Princess.



Keep Smiling!



This photo was taken thru the Crow's Nest glass, making it a little fuzzy


Emilio, the extremely talented lead guitar for the HAL orchestra, performed a spotlight show at 7 PM tonight and was wonderful. He played for 45 minutes and was backed up by the HAL orchestra.


He played a mix of Beatles songs and Santana with a little Chuck Berry and surf music thrown in. The audience leapt to their feet in a rousing standing ovation when he finished.







We heard a rumor, unconfirmed, that a select few passengers from Seabourn and the Amsterdam may be sailing back to LA on the Pacific Princess.  It may be guest entertainers or crew or passengers, but it made for interesting speculation.


We are heading back home on the 22nd at 3:20 PM Perth Time.  We have arranged for a driver service to take us to the airport ($100 AUD).  Once we land in Sydney, we will stay at the airport hotel until 1 PM on the 25th when we take a United Flight to SFO and then on to SAN.  We should be back home by 2 PM on the 25th. 


Our driver in San Diego has been taking us to the airport since 2008 so we know him quite well.  He hasn't had a job in 5 days and has nothing scheduled for 3 weeks.  We plan to have him take us to the grocery on the way home as our cupboard is bare.  


Our debarkation window is supposed to be between 8 and 11 AM tomorrow, but we will be ready for changes as passengers who left the ship today waited several hours past their original debarkation time.

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45 minutes ago, The-Inside-Cabin said:

Our flights had to be changed since Delta canceled their SYD LAX service.   We are now going home via Sydney on the 22nd, then on to SFO with UA on the 25th and continuing on to SAN on the same day.

Best wishes to you!  I just read on the Princess board that some Amsterdam people are boarding the Princess ship that is in port with you now.  Have you heard of this happening?

ETA:  We cross posted and I see you addressed my question

Edited by FlorenceItaly
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I understand there are people who genuinely cannot fly, which is why they cruise.  They would no doubt have a doctor's letter confirming that they can't fly. It would make sense for all the other cruise lines to co-operate to get these people home on a small ship which was cruising to the US anyway.  

We have someone on our Australian thread who only cruises on cruises out of Sydney, because his wife can't fly.  I have never asked why, but medical people would know. 

The Inside Cabin - I suggest you make a grocery list with alternatives if what you normally buy isn't available.  Might help the time pass on your long haul flight.  Are you able to order on line?  If so, you'd know in advance what is not available.  We have had a problem here with restocking of shelves at Supermarkets.  

I have self isolated since Friday and on day 3 I've already had a fail for Mushroom casserole - no tin of crushed tomatoes. (Plan B  will be mushrooms and a few fresh tomatoes on toast for breakfast.) 

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2 hours ago, The-Inside-Cabin said:

Our flights had to be changed since Delta canceled their SYD LAX service.   We are now going home via Sydney on the 22nd, then on to SFO with UA on the 25th and continuing on to SAN on the same day.

As a resident of SD County, I wanted to pass on to you that there is short supply in the grocery stores here.  The stores are trying to keep up with stocking items on the shelves and many stores have opened their doors to Seniors in the early morning so they can shop without crowds....but, then there are crowds of Seniors too.  Online orders seem to be out of stock.  Costco is unbelievable...long lines to enter the store, then more lines to purchase paper goods...then more long lines to check out.  Restaurants are offering take-out orders, No inside dining and bars, clubs are all closed and many San Diego residents are staying home as requested by our Governor.  My hubby went out this morning to Stater Bros at 7:45 only to be greeted by 100 people waiting to get in the store...he turned around and came home.  He went back to the store at 10:00 and no lines...shelves were skimpy, but they restocking shelves as he shopped. 
Take care and safe travels home.  

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23 minutes ago, The-Inside-Cabin said:

Sitting in the Perth Airport ready to fly to Sydney. 

Enjoy the first short leg home.  I'll watch Channel 9 news in the East tonight to see whether they cover your interview.  Big news is WA, SA, Vic are closing their borders.  Tassie and NT have already closed their borders.  They are trying to slow the spread of the virus down.  Border is still open between NSW and Old, at present.  Huge stimulus package being given by the Federal Government is not top news item.  Cruise ships on the East Coast are big news.  Ruby Princess has18 confirmed cases now with the virus. Norwegian Jewel has been told they will not be able to disembark in Hawaii.

Amsterdam passengers were very lucky they were able to disembark in Fremantle.

Edited by MMDown Under
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Marine tracker shows the Amsterdam left Fremantle at 6 PM local time.   Next stop - Durban on 5 April.  


Pacific Princess and Seabourn Sojourn are heading to Sydney - not sure what that is all about.  Food and Fuel?


 We are still tracking to leave Sydney on 25 March on United Flight to SFO.   

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We finished packing early this morning.  We will be leaving 7 suitcases and 3 boxes in our room that will be FEDEXED back to Imperial Beach once the ship arrives in Fort Lauderdale.  

Luggage-in-Room.jpg?w=1260&ssl=1 We left our luggage in our cabin

We will be traveling with two checked bags, two carry-on bags and our personal items.   At first we were only going to take carry-ons, figuring that we would only be in transit for a few days.  But after all the news about people getting quarantined for 14 days at various points in their journey, we decided that taking one checked bag each would give us maximum flexibility in that event. 

Our final room service breakfast was delivered a little after 8 AM as requested.  One feature of Holland America that we absolutely love is that they allow us to stay in our cabin and get a normal room service breakfast on the final day.  Too many other cruise lines seem eager to kick us out of our cabin ASAP and cut back services on the final day.  Not Holland America and we like it very much.


They started calling off departures around 8 AM.  We had YELLOW ONE as we had asked to be in the final group,  but we weren’t sure about the order of the colors.  I called the front desk and they told me that Purple 3 would be the group that was called right before ours.  Our flight to Sydney wasn’t until 3:20 PM so we had plenty of time. 

I had arranged for a driver to meet us at noon, back when I thought we may be able to control our own departure time.  Once I learned we were leaving early, I sent the driver a message via WhatsApp and he said he would be able to leave early, and pick us up on 40 minutes notice. 

NOTE:  Having a smart phone with a data plan overseas is not essential, but gives you more options and flexibility.  WhatsApp is used by most tour operators all around the world and learning how to use it at home will be helpful when you are in a different country. 

Based on the delays yesterday, we expected the offload schedule would slip, so we were ready for a long wait.  The periodic announcements kept reminding us to have our flight documentation ready for inspection.  I guess they wanted to make sure that we had plans to leave and didn’t expect to hang around Australia longer than necessary.

The offload seemed to be moving along much quicker today.  Our group was called around 9:30 AM and we gathered up our final items and got ready to leave our cabin.


After we doubled checked that our labels were secure we completed our final cruise ship departure checklist.  

  • All the electrical outlets – Empty
  • Nothing under the bed – Check
  • Nothing in the drawers – Check
  • Nothing in the closets – check top shelf
  • Nothing in the safe
  • Nothing still hanging on the walls.

The gangway was located today on Deck 3 in the atrium. When we arrived, there were only a handful of people in the area.  We spotted one of our favorite entertainers, Alana Conway, waiting with her Harp.

Alana-and-Harp.jpg?w=1260&ssl=1 Alana Conway


As we headed off the ship we were greeted by Henk and Hamish who bid us safe travels.  

Henk-and-Hamish.jpg?w=1260&ssl=1 Henk and Hamish

A peppy, upbeat tune was playing over the speakers on the Promenade Deck as we turned to head toward the gangway.  Much to my pleasant surprise, most of the ships officers were lining the promenade to bid us farewell.  The music inspired me to do my best to imitate the “stroll” dance from the 50’s and I ‘jived and juked’ down the promenade one last time.  The assembled officers all smiled an cheered as we danced off the ship, one final time – at least until next time!

Farewall-on-Promenade.jpg?w=1260&ssl=1 The Amsterdam Crew lined the promenade deck

Once on land, we walked thru a very empty terminal and down some escalators to the exit. 


We had expected a long process with the Australian Border Forces and were fully prepared to document our future travel plans.  The Officer only glanced at our customs declaration, not bothering to examine our passports, before waving us along with a smile.

Once outside the terminal we observed that the taxi queue was over 100 people long and we were glad that we had made arrangements for a driver to pick us up.  For a while, very few taxis were arriving, but after about 15 minutes, there was a steady stream of cabs and the line started to move a little more quickly.


I was approached by a reporter and camera man from Channel 9 who interviewed me for about 5 minutes.  They were interested in learning if there were any sick people on the ship and seemed to be fishing for something newsworthy.  I had nothing but praise for the ship’s crew and how we were being treated and welcomed in these difficult times.  They posed for a picture and then they were soon on their way.

Channel-9-Interview.jpg?w=1260&ssl=1 Channel 9 news crew

Our driver, Steve, arrived soon afterwards, and we had a pleasant 40-minute drive to the airport. 


Once inside the airport, we were able to tag our luggage ourselves using the boarding pass on our phone.  A kiosk scanned our boarding passes and then printed out our luggage tags. 

Baggage-Tag.jpg?w=1260&ssl=1 We printed out our own luggage tags

There are conveyors nearby where I scanned our boarding passes once again and then scanned our luggage tags and off the bags went!  Total Self Service!  Since we are flying domestic, there wasn’t any need to clear Immigration or Customs here.

Kathi, aka, Scrapnana, shared our ride to the airport, but since her flight was not until 11 PM she had to remain outside security and we bid her a fond farewell.

Judy-and-Kathi.jpg?w=1260&ssl=1 Safe Travels Kathi

Once thru security we discovered our tablemate Susan, along with friends Rich and Sandy at one of the restaurants.  Their flight was also much later, but they managed to get thru security early since they already had boarding passes on their phones and the people running the security gates don’t look at their departure time.

We ran into a few other people from the ship who were a little peeved at their airline because they were denied access to the business class lounge despite having paid extra for business class tickets.  It turns out that since their flights were not until 5:30 AM the next morning, they weren’t allowed into the lounge until 4 AM the next morning.  Hard to explain why the lounge was so picky under these circumstances.


We boarded our flight around 3 PM and once again noticed that we were on the same flight as Alana Conway, the wonderful Singer/Harp player. 

Our flight was pleasant and not crowded.  No one was in a middle seat and many people had a row to themselves.  Everyone was warned not to switch seats as they needed to be able to track where everyone was sitting.  I suspect that if someone eventually tests positive for Corona, they want to be able to keep track of who was sitting nearby.


We landed in Sydney on time and were soon at the gate.  As we left the jetway, I noticed a women standing near the exit with a clipboard and examining us carefully as we walked by.  At first I thought she was some sort of health inspector until I spotted her blue Holland America polo shirt. She was Helen from the HAL Care team, who was available to assist HAL passengers on our journey home.  She helped us with some advice on how to get to the International Terminal and the Rydges Hotel where we will spend the next 3 nights until our flight home. 

HAL-Care-Team.jpg?w=1260&ssl=1 Helen from the HAL care team

As we were waiting for our bags, we spotted Alana Conway one last time heading home with her harp.

Harp-Player.jpg?w=1260&ssl=1 Alana Conway leaving with her harp

Not wanting to wait for the shuttle, we took a taxi to the Rydges Hotel ($25 AUD). As it turned out we avoided the massive line at the Hotel check-in that lined up behind us once the shuttle arrived.


Our room is nice and couldn’t be more convenient.  We are right across the street from the International Terminal.

Off to bed as we start our time in Sydney waiting for our flights.

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Posted (edited)

Our return flight just landed.    Good to see your plane arrive when there is only one a day.    

My Scheduled Flight:
UA 870 | SYD - SFO
(Sydney - San Francisco)

🛫 Expected Departure SYD:
March 25, 2020, 13:00 GMT+11
Terminal: 1 | Gate: 53

🛬 Expected Arrival SFO:
March 25, 2020, 08:40 GMT-7
Terminal: I | Gate: ?
Baggage claim: ?

Flight Duration: 13 h 40 min

Get The Flight Tracker for more info
iOS: https://goo.gl/0FLcoS
Android: https://goo.gl/Mbh6xv

Edited by The-Inside-Cabin
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Your posts have always been a real treat, you are always so upbeat, even with this year's problems.  Thank you so much for sharing the good & the bad.


If I can ever get Mr Chew to take another GWV (we did 2019) I hope we'll be able to meet you!


Safe travels home!  


(We stayed in the airport Rydges a few years ago, before & after an Australia circumnavigation.  Loved it!)

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I am so glad you got a flight.  People on my flight who were working temporarily or going to school in Australia were afraid the US flights could end any day.


Thanks again for the ride to the airport!


Safe travels home and I will see you in 2022!



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We are still in SYD.  Cleared security and immigration.    They carefully reviewed our passport for evidence of recent travel to a restricted country.   We were good to go and got a red dot!  


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I'm looking forward to hearing that you are home safely. Each time I hear that someone is, I think, "Woo hoo!"


I was so pleased to wake up to an email from my aunt (in-law) that said she and her husband are home safely in Hawaii and under quarantine.

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8 minutes ago, 1ANGELCAT said:

Have a safe flight. FYI Tim Tams are available at Target . I believe they are made by a division of Pepperidge Farms , as I’ve also seen them in their outlet stores.

Amazon delivers them. 

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