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July 27, 1970--50 years ago today--was the start of my first cruise.

 

Rotterdam V, an 11 day Caribbean cruise from Pier 40 in New York to Bermuda, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten.  We sailed at 8:00 P.M.  My traveling companion and I stayed on deck so long after sailing that we missed our first MDR dinner and just barely made it to the Lido Restaurant for dinner before it closed.  The service crew were all still European with lots of Dutch.  If there were other nationalities represented, I was unaware of them.  Excellent service everywhere on the ship.

 

Our outside 2 berth stateroom was on the lowest passenger deck, just forward of the La Fontaine Dining Room.  On the other side of the interior wall lining our corridor was the Odyssey Dining Room.  To get to the Foyer in front of the La Fontaine, one had to go through a mechanical type space where the shell door was that was used for tender usage.  (It is now the exit from the SS Rotterdam Hotel Tour where the ship is docked in Rotterdam.)  

 

We boarded the ship around 5:00 P. M. as I recall.  Excited, but with a "to do" list to accomplish before sailing.  We needed to reserve Deck Chairs.  Got a pair in a good location on the aft pool deck and another pair that we hoped would be in a shady area on the open deck aft of the Ritz Carlton Lounge.  Made good use of both locations.  Don't remember what each cost; but, each chair had a little sign with our name on it.  I think we used the rest of the time before sailing exploring the entire ship and then unpacking; we were unpacked before sailing.  Unpacked as well as we could be.  Both of us were novice cruisers and we had--and this is no exaggeration--9 bags for the two of us.  I had 5; my friend had 4.  (We drove to New York (and parked the car at Pier 40 during the cruise) in my 1965 Corvair Monza.  The trunk in the front was full, the rear seat was folded down and it was full and the back seat's floor had no room.)  I remember picking my friend up on the morning we left for New York.  When his landlady saw the amount of luggage that we had she asked "Are you guys planning on outfitting Patton's 3rd Army?"

 

It was a great beginning for both of our traveling and cruising experiences.  We decided to book this cruise in celebration of both of us earning our Master's degrees in June, 1970 after 5 years of work.  

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Thank you RK!  We hope that more people join us on this thread and shake off the I Can’t Cruise Right Now” Covid Blues.  
 

RK, the Rotterdam V was a true classic.  She had some very interesting cabins with different layouts.  You were onboard in 1970...just before the Dutch demise...when Holland America had to abandon Holland and leave the Dutch personnel onshore.  You were present at the twilight of the great transatlantic era.  You had Heineken pint drafts for 25 cents and bottles of really good European wine for $3.00-$4.00 and excellent service.  The deck chairs would have been around $3.50 for the duration...maybe a little more because of the 11 days.  The evenings were spent in the elegant Ritz Carlton Lounge, perhaps in the second level balcony overlooking the ballroom dance floor while a live orchestra played endless dance numbers.  You brought too much luggage because you dressed up at night.  The Rotterdam V was gorgeous.  

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41 minutes ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

You had Heineken pint drafts for 25 cents

 

And, at that time, I was not a beer drinker!  I remember the price as being 10 cents/glass.  But, how large of a glass or if my memory is correct, I don't know.  Whatever, it was good stuff that was inexpensive even then.  

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45 minutes ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

You brought too much luggage because you dressed up at night.

 

Yes, we did.  I was overly in excess of shoes. Just an example of "the young and inexperienced", I guess.   

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Posted (edited)

So many wonderful memories come flooding back when I think about this thread.  So many tropical nights onboard ship.  We, my wife and I, dined and danced til dawn...many times.  So many happy days and nights at sea.  Having my feet planted on the deck of a moving ship at sea is one of the all-time happiest places for me to be.  
 

It all began when I was 16 years old.  I belonged to a factory sponsored drum and bugle corps and we were lucky enough to be sent to Great Britain in the summer of 1965 on the iconic Queen Elizabeth I running mate to the equally famous Queen Mary I which now resides in Long Beach, California.  Our group was given the privilege to board the Queen the night before sailing from NY Harbor.  We were traveling with a large group of factory executives and their wives who were in First Class...we were in Cabin Class.  Our bus pulled up to the pier at 11:00 PM.  All I could see was the huge black bow with the white super structure with the stacks bathed in flood lights.  It was love at first sight.  I’ll never forget that first sight of that great ship that had carried so many famous people and 100s of thousands of soldiers in WW II.  We had to carry our own luggage onboard.  I walked onboard with my B2 bag packed to the gills.  My father was an officer in the Air Force so I got to borrow his bag which worked out perfectly.  I was immediately overwhelmed with endless polished paneling and the smell of furniture polish and fresh cut flowers which were everywhere.  I asked the ship’s officer on duty where to go to find my cabin...D280.  I ended up walking two thirds the length of the ship before I found the elevator on the rear deck.  In those days the elevators were manned 24 hours a day.  We had an elevator operator who looked just like Boris Karloff...we called him Boris and he loved it.  Down we went...all the way to D Deck.  I made it to my cabin and settled in.  We had an inside with two lower beds and a half bath...the tubs and showers were down the passageway.  If you wanted to take a bath you alerted the cabin steward and he would prepare the bath for you...lol.  We took a quick turn around a few decks and hit the rack around 12:30 AM.  Sleeping in NY Harbor was a bit muggy in mid July (no AC...just the adjustable air nozzle  and wall fan which worked pretty well.) We were so exhausted we slept soundly unti we heard this God awful bugle blast at 6:30 AM.  The cabin steward took a brass nozzle off a fire hose and blew it like a bugle.  He had been a Royal Marine in the war.  He introduced himself and promised to take good care of the dozen or so corps members in his section.  We were washed and dressed by 7:00 AM. and told to head for the First Class dining room for breakfast.  So my first morning onboard the QE, I got to dine in the First Class dining room...WOW!  You had to see the breakfast menu to believe it.  Three kinds of bacon!  6 different fruit juices.  Cut fruit in silver bowls.  My first British banger (sausage) and an omelette just for me accompanied with a bevy of breakfast rolls and pastry.  I was in Heaven!

Edited by CGTNORMANDIE

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12 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

And, at that time, I was not a beer drinker!  I remember the price as being 10 cents/glass.  But, how large of a glass or if my memory is correct, I don't know.  Whatever, it was good stuff that was inexpensive even then.  


10 cents was for a half pint...a very good deal!  It was Heineken, the official featured draft beer on HAL.

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6 minutes ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

 So my first morning onboard the QE I got to dine in the First Class dining room...WOW!  You had to see the breakfast menu to believe it.  Three kinds of bacon!  6 different fruit juices.  Cut fruit in silver bowls.  My first British banger (sausage) and an omelette just for me accompanied with a bevy of breakfast rolls and pastry.  I was in Heaven!

 

I have seen those First Class Menus.  Wow!  So many choices, with only a limited amount of room in the tummy.  (Although, my tummy then would have been more accommodating than it would be today!😀)

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I have seen those First Class Menus.  Wow!  So many choices, with only a limited amount of room in the tummy.  (Although, my tummy then would have been more accommodating than it would be today!😀)

Edited by CGTNORMANDIE

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For some reason I could not respond to the quote from RK above.  
 

RK, in those days I could devour a horse and then break for a seven course lunch!!

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Great thread and memories of some magnificent liners. I can add to some of them, but mine are from having worked on the ships. Here is my experience joining my first passenger vessel.

 

My first trip to sea, as a 17-yr old, started 19th August 1975, when I joined the P&O cadet training vessel MV Otaio for a little over 4 months. This was the equivalent of boot camp and we only went to the Bridge to manually steer (at night) or to chip/paint, polish brass or strip/sand/varnish the doors. Basically for 4 months we learned basic seamanship and the P&O way.

 

At end of January 1976, I was assigned my first passenger ship, SS Uganda or Ug Tug, which is an educational ship with about 1,000 kids and 300 1st class pax. Another cadet from my 1st ship was also joining Uganda, so the company booked us on the overnight train from Glasgow to London and then a flight out to Malta the day before she sailed. Woke up in the morning to find the train still at Carlisle rather than London. Missed our flights and no way to contact the company until we eventually reached London.

 

They flew us to Malta the next day, arriving 1 hour before departure. Met the Chief Officer who told us to get up to the Bridge for departure and keep quiet. Standing at the back of the Bridge, trying to be invisible, we heard the Staffy shout, "Stand-by." We looked at each other wondering what that meant. He then repeated it, with a considerable increase in volume. Since it was obviously directed at us and we didn't move, he initiated some expletives, screaming at us, before kicking us off the Bridge. Welcome to a career at sea lads. We were both 18.

 

The Chief Officer heard of the incident and invited us (haha) to his cabin. At the meeting, he advised that had the gangway not been removed, we would have been kicked off the ship before she departed. Once he determined we were only 2nd trip cadets, having been on the cadet ship, he gave us 2 weeks (1st cruise) to figure out how to be a Deck Officer. Steep learning curve, but we both survived.

 

Experiences on cruise ships have changed considerably for both the pax and crew. Sadly, for the pax on most ships the experience hasn't improved. Young cadets today think it has improved for them, as most kids today would struggle under that situation. Personally, it was more P&O character building, preparing us for eventual command.

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Queen Elizabeth 1965 continued:

 

The morning of July 14th. dawned bright and warm in New York Harbor.  We were required to dress in full uniform after breakfast and report on the aft deck at 10:45 AM for an 11:00 AM sailing.  We used the extra time to check out the First Class and say hello to some of the factory executives who we knew from our hometown.  My mother came down from Mass. to see us off and then she would head off to the Worlds Fair at Flushing Meadow.  I remember my mother being fairly envious that her 16 year old son was sailing for Europe on the QE.  I showed her my cabin and, of course, she was imparting some motherly advice when the cabin steward dropped by to assure her that I would be well cared for.  I remember her smiling and saying “Wow, you really have it made”.  The call for “All ashore that’s going ashore” was made and the impromptu Bon Voyage parties came to an abrupt end.  
 

Just before11:00 AM the gang plank was removed, the shore lines were dropped and the Queen Elizabeth started to move at precisely 11:00 AM.  The drum corps was in perfect formation on the aft deck, dressed in formal crimson long coat uniforms with color guard flags waving and drum majorettes in the front line with short crimson skirts with short military jackets and white boots.  We played Anchors Aweigh as the great ship backed out into the harbor while planes flew low overhead and a helicopter filmed our departure.  The company President had arranged for an entire film crew to accompany us and film the entire trip and subsequent performances in France, England and Scotland.  I remember thinking that I was standing on the same decks as those who had gone off to war and then returned in victory.  I remembered those iconic photos of the returning servicemen crowding the decks of the QE as she returned to New York Harbor in 1945.  Winston Churchill, in a commemorative salute after WW II, claimed that the two Queens had shortened the war by a full year due to their ability to move tens of thousands of troops to the European theater.  They consistently delivered more than 10,000 soldiers per week to England.  As we passed the Statue Of Liberty I knew my adventure had begun.  
 

(As we were making our way out of the harbor I noticed a man on the deck below me leaning out over the rail while taking pictures with a very expensive camera.  All of a sudden I heard this loud scream and watched as the man lost his grip on the camera and it dropped into the sea!  He had forgotten to wear a camera strap.)

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On 7/27/2020 at 4:42 PM, rkacruiser said:

July 27, 1970--50 years ago today--was the start of my first cruise.

 

....Continued---

 

July 29th, we arrived at our first port of call, Bermuda.  The Rotterdam had to anchor in the Great Sound and the Bermuda Government tender had to be used to get to Hamilton.  The tender had limited covered deck and my traveling companion and I were out on the open deck.  En route into the city, it began to rain.  By the time the tender docked, we were both totally soaked.  We had booked a comprehensive all day tour of Bermuda, including lunch.  Returning to the ship to change clothes would mean we would miss our tour.  So, we began the tour and, fortunately, it was warm and breezy enough that we quickly dried.  It was a good day, but because it was my first shore excursion, it also was made memorable by starting my shore excursion experiences totally wet!

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Great RK...What was Bermuda like in 1970?  Tell us something about the Rotterdam and life onboard.  

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On 7/30/2020 at 7:53 PM, CGTNORMANDIE said:

Great RK...What was Bermuda like in 1970?  Tell us something about the Rotterdam and life onboard.  

 

You are stretching my memory.  I did not keep a journal and the memorabilia from that cruise is long gone.  

 

Never having been to Bermuda, Bermuda was as "English" as I expected it to be.  Really no outstanding memory of the island.  Did not visit the caves, but did visit St. George and found it to be more interesting than Hamilton.  

 

Aboard Rotterdam V, the Cruise Director was Dutch.  Our Steward down on the bottom deck was a young man who was European, I think German.  Service was fine.  My friend and I was seated at a rectangular table for six near the starboard entrance to the La Fontaine Dining Room.  Only 5 of us were ever present.  The most memorable dining experience was when a Steward lost control of his serving platter of meat and gravy at a table next to mine on a Formal Night.  Au Jus and whatever spilled down the back of a woman wearing a formal low cut at the back gown.  Every "white coat" in the DR descended on her!  

 

In my original post, I realized that I omitted a visit to St. Barts.  I remember buying a lovely French tablecloth/napkins set for my Mother at a shop there that Mother often used for our our holiday dinners.  

 

No memory of entertainment, etc.  

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July 31, 1971, SS Rotterdam V sailing from Pier 40 in New York on a 9 day Caribbean cruise,

 

This was my second cruise, my Mother's first cruise (but not her last), and my Brother's only cruise.  It was a graduation from college gift by me for my Brother as he started his career and a "Thank God the Boys Are Through College and Are On Their Own" for my Mother.  

 

We sailed at Noon and embarked soon after 9:00 A. M. according to my photo album.  Both my Brother and I had driven to New York (he from his new home outside of Washington, D. C.).  I know I parked my car on Pier 40.  Where his car was, I am not sure.  We stayed overnight at the Sheraton Motor Inn on 12th Avenue and returned there for another couple of nights after our cruise.  Maybe that is where we left his car?  (Incidentally, that hotel is now the Consulate of the People's Republic of China!)

 

As always, sailing was exciting.  After sailing under the VNB into the Lower Bay, I had to remind my family that if you wanted to have lunch in the Dining Room, we need to get there ASAP.  We did.  Good lunch, but nothing really special.  

 

The afternoon was spent unpacking, exploring the ship, a visit to the Lido Bar for refreshments mid-afternoon with my Brother (and I have wondered for years why I remember that).  Our travel agent (this was my second cruise with the gentleman) sent a beautiful fresh fruit basket and a box of candy.  I don't recall eating any of the fruit.  Probably did enjoy some of the candy.  (Glad that this type of excess is not ordinarily done.)

 

Our Stateroom Stewardess was a Dutch young woman.  She did an excellent job.  

 

This cruise in 1971 was also the time when HAL was making the transition from European/Dutch crews to crews of other nationalities.  That is another story for a future post.  If anyone cares to read it.  

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

You are stretching my memory.  I did not keep a journal and the memorabilia from that cruise is long gone.  

 

Never having been to Bermuda, Bermuda was as "English" as I expected it to be.  Really no outstanding memory of the island.  Did not visit the caves, but did visit St. George and found it to be more interesting than Hamilton.  

 

Aboard Rotterdam V, the Cruise Director was Dutch.  Our Steward down on the bottom deck was a young man who was European, I think German.  Service was fine.  My friend and I was seated at a rectangular table for six near the starboard entrance to the La Fontaine Dining Room.  Only 5 of us were ever present.  The most memorable dining experience was when a Steward lost control of his serving platter of meat and gravy at a table next to mine on a Formal Night.  Au Jus and whatever spilled down the back of a woman wearing a formal low cut at the back gown.  Every "white coat" in the DR descended on her!  

 

In my original post, I realized that I omitted a visit to St. Barts.  I remember buying a lovely French tablecloth/napkins set for my Mother at a shop there that Mother often used for our our holiday dinners.  

 

No memory of entertainment, etc.  

Hi RK,

 

Hmmmmmm...I think that perhaps the cocktails were to blame for the memory loss?  
 

Now about your cruise...St Barts, Saint Maartin and Saint Thomas were different places back in 1970.  Do you remember them?  When I first went to Saint Thomas in 1972 the downtown was a sleepy little village with just a few side streets.  We landed there on a Sunday so a few of the stores opened up.  They were usually closed on Sundays!  We were on the Amerikanis...only about 500 pax onboard.  We were the only ship in the harbor!  LOL!  
 

Yes...we would love to hear about the transition. 😉

Edited by CGTNORMANDIE

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17 hours ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

St Barts, Saint Maartin and Saint Thomas were different places back in 1970.  Do you remember them?  When I first went to Saint Thomas in 1972 the downtown was a sleepy little village with just a few side streets

 

Little memory of St. Barts; we booked an drive around the island and saw many nice beaches.  No large resorts and housing was sparse.  Our port time was short.  The tour was short, not much time for shopping, then back on the tender to return to the ship.

 

I recall St. Thomas as you described it.  To me, the downtown area really hasn't physically changed much over the years.  Many stores have changed hands, but A. H. Riise is still there.  We took an island drive that visited most of the usual tourist sites with a refreshment stop at Mountain Top Hotel for a Banana Daiquiri.  That was the first of those that I had ever had.  Liked it, but probably had a very minute amount of rum.  In subsequent visits to St. Thomas, I was sad to learn that the hotel had burned down, not been replaced, and the daiquiri was not to be had during a tour.  

 

What has changed in St. Thomas is #1, the traffic!  #2 is the products that are sold.  In 1970, liquor was probably #1 seller.  Electronics and jewelry were available, but I don't think they were "pushed" as much as they are today.  Clothing of good quality  made in Europe that was expensive in the U.S. were also available.  I purchased a cashmere cardigan sweater made in Scotland for a fraction of the cost it would have been at a department store at home.  That sweater has worn like iron.  I still have it and it is just as warm and nice as it was in 1970.  During my most recent visit to St. Thomas, I went shopping for another sweater of such quality.  Asking shop clerks if anything like that was in their store, I would get quizzical looks with one clerk asking me "why would you want something like that?  Let me show you our selection of watches."  

 

St. Maarten:  A tender port to a pier (that is still there) in front of a square that leads to the Court House.  There was Front Street and Back Street.  That was it.  In 1971, my Brother found a reel to reel tape recorder that he thought he could use in his job as a music teacher.  The price was attractive (he said).  No credit cards at that time, all 3 of us had limited amounts of cash with us, but we did have a supply of traveler's checks.  Pooling what little cash we had with the traveler's checks, we had enough money to help him buy the tape recorder.  Now, how to get this large box back to the Rotterdam?  He could carry it, but getting it onto and off the tender and up the gangway?  When we got to the tender, the Rotterdam's tender crew took over, got it onto the tender and then off when we got to the ship.  I guess my Brother carried it up the gangway to our stateroom where it occupied a nice sized space in the room.  (He did find it useful in his job.  When he got married, a friend recorded the wedding ceremony using that device.  Each anniversary, his wife and he would listen to that recording.)

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Hi RK and everyone else lurking here,

 

The center of St. Thomas was sparsely populated back in 1970.  I don't even think the main drag went for more than 3 blocks...a lot of warehouses...very few stores and the streets needed paving.  AH Rhiise was the place to buy booze.  I got some great deals on rare Spanish sherries.  I remember buying a one gallon bottle of Johnny Walker Black for $25.00!!  Fine French Champagne for less than $10.00 per bottle and discounts on cases. They would box it up and send it to the ship.  

 

St. Barts was beautiful back then.  St. Martin was wonderful for gambling back then.  The Dutch controlled the small casinos and they were honest.  I loved going to those little places.  I never won less than $500 each time...maybe I was lucky.  Now you don't have a chance to win in the newer bigger casinos.  


keep those memories coming!  

 

 

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22 hours ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

Yes...we would love to hear about the transition. 😉

 

Before embarking in 1971, I knew that a transition from a European crew to an international crew was taking place.  I expected no difference from my experience from 1970 and only once was there any experience observed.  

 

Our Stateroom Stewardess was Dutch, our MDR Stewards were Italian and German, our Table Captain was Dutch. The Cruise Director was Dutch although a different gentleman (and just as competent, if not more friendly)  than the gentleman that I had experienced in 1970.  

 

There was an open deck forward of the Upper Promenade Deck on the Rotterdam.  When you found the hatch, you could go out and watch the "action" on the open bow where the sailors worked on the lines and the anchor controls.  This seemed to be a popular area for off-duty crew members to gather when we sailed from island ports.

 

One afternoon as we sailed, there was a small group of crew members.  Some were European.  Some were not.  A very loud argument began between the two groups.  It continued for a protracted period of time.  I turned, for some reason, to look up at the Bridge.  Captain Laagay was at the Bridge's windows witnessing what was taking place.  Shortly, an Officer appeared and "shooed" all of the crew members below deck.  

 

I surmised that there was "tension" between the different nationalities of crew members as one was being replaced by another.  To their great credit and to the credit of Holland America Line, such a transition resulted in no disruption for the guest experience.  At least, in my experience.  

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Interesting RK,  the transition took a bit of time but HAL got it right.  They went with Indonesian personnel and they set up a training school.  I remember when this was happening and hoping for the best.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

Interesting RK,  the transition took a bit of time but HAL got it right.  They went with Indonesian personnel and they set up a training school.  I remember when this was happening and hoping for the best.

 

My first cruise ever was on the Flavia, 3-days r/t Miami-Nassau-Nassau with my parents in 1969.

 

My second cruise was in September 1973, 7-days r/t Pier 40 in NYC to Nassau on Rotterdam V. I was originally booked on a 10 day cruise from NYC with a friend on the Canberra from NYC, but the bookings were dismal and P&O canceled the remainder of Canberra's ex-NYC season about half-way through. We looked for another cruise to book before it was time to return to college campus for fall semester. My friend couldn't change dates. I initially tried to exchange my tickets for a 7-day cruise on the Oceanic, but Home Lines' fares for a single room were significantly higher than what I had paid for the Canberra. I went to the HAL booking office on Pier 40 and exchanged my Canberra ticket for an inside, single room on the Rotterdam. It was an even swap. If my memory serves correct, my single fare in an indoor, bunk-bed room was $199 for the week. I slept in the lower bed and used the empty upper bunk to dump/toss clothes!

 

My parents, brother and several friends came down to Pier 40 and we all crammed into that indoor, closet-sized cabin for a bon voyage party. It was like that old Marx Brothers movie, "A Night at the Opera" with a dozen+ people crammed into the cabin. I was on deck throwing streamers to my parents on the pier as we sailed. Their car was parked on the roof of Pier 40 and we could still holler at each other, the level of Rotterdam's boat deck being almost even with the parking deck of Pier 40.

 

I was assigned a table for 6 in the dining room (don't remember which one) for the late dinner sitting. HAL tried its best to match me with dining companions as close to my age as possible. I am certain that I was the youngest solo passenger onboard. I remember the themed Dutch night in the dining room (oh, the "pot roast"!). And the Dutch Fair set up one evening in the Club Room (the ship's casino in later years). 2 sailing days to Nassau; overnight at the pier in Nassau; and two sailing days back to NYC.

 

This was the first or second year with the Indonesian and Filipino service crew. I remember there was great, obvious animosity between the remaining Dutch officers and European senior staff toward the Indonesian and Filipino staff. The type of behavior that I recall would never be tolerated today. The environment onboard was so toxic, it was nearly 12 years before I ever set foot on a HAL ship again. We sailed on one of the first cruises of the Nieuw Amsterdam III, and by 1985, it appeared that all of the "old guard/legacy" Dutch/European staff had moved on, and the Indonesian/Filipino staff provided the warmest, kindest, most professional service we had ever encountered.

 

We sailed many subsequent voyages on Rotterdam V until the ship was replaced by Rotterdam VI. We sailed the maiden Mediterranean season in 1998 on Rotterdam VI. Our final sailing on Rotterdam VI was a transatlantic from Ft. Lauderdale to Rotterdam in May 2011. It was a Rotterdam trifecta. Sailing on the Rotterdam VI to Rotterdam, NL and then stayed overnight on the hotel-ship Rotterdam V in Rotterdam.

 

Rob

Edited by ryndam

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Hi Rob,

 

No wonder you are called Ryndam!  Evidently you saw the worst of the transition.  It did take some time to make the change.  Going with the Indonesian staff was the best thing HAL ever did.

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6 hours ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

hey went with Indonesian personnel and they set up a training school.  

 

In 1971, I don't recall any Filipino crew members whatsoever.  Bar staff were all European.  The advertising literature around that time did show crew that appeared to me to be Indonesian and not Filipino.  So, I am unsure just when the Filipino crew began their service on HAL ships. 

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5 hours ago, ryndam said:

This was the first or second year with the Indonesian and Filipino service crew. I remember there was great, obvious animosity between the remaining Dutch officers and European senior staff toward the Indonesian and Filipino staff. The type of behavior that I recall would never be tolerated today. The environment onboard was so toxic

 

Thank you for joining us on this thread, Rob!  We all appreciate it!

 

I am surely glad that my Mother, Brother, and I did not experience anything like that in 1971!  That would have discouraged my Mother and I from cruising on HAL again, I think.  (This was my Brother's first and only cruise.  While he did enjoy the cruise and had a good time, he preferred a different type of vacation.)  

 

6 hours ago, ryndam said:

Our final sailing on Rotterdam VI was a transatlantic from Ft. Lauderdale to Rotterdam in May 2011. It was a Rotterdam trifecta. Sailing on the Rotterdam VI to Rotterdam, NL and then stayed overnight on the hotel-ship Rotterdam V in Rotterdam.

 

My only sailing on Rotterdam VI was a Voyage of the Vikings cruise around 2015.  A tour that I took included a visit to the hotel-ship Rotterdam V.  Sat where I sat one evening in the Ambassador Room, visited the beautiful Ritz Carlton and "found" the Tropic Bar (don't know why I never patronized that in 1970 or 1971 or 1996), sat for awhile, reminiscing, in the Smoking Room and seeing that those couches along the windows still can be reversed from looking out the windows to looking into the room, and there was even a table with tablecloth erected in the La Fontaine Dining Room at the spot where we had dined.  If I ever get to visit Rotterdam again, a stay of a day or more has to be booked on hotel-ship Rotterdam V!

 

6 hours ago, ryndam said:

I was originally booked on a 10 day cruise from NYC with a friend on the Canberra from NYC, but the bookings were dismal and P&O canceled the remainder of Canberra's ex-NYC season about half-way through.

  

My traveling companion in 1970 was booked on one of the Canberra's cruises that Summer.  His sailed and he enjoyed it.  His stateroom was one of those that was an "outside", but there was a window that looked out of a corner of his stateroom into a "foyer" type area with others of that type that provided a "view" of the outside.  I recall these rooms were built in units of three and his was number 3, furthest from the outside.  

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