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Johnny B

John and Diane's Amazing Round the World Aventure

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People were bored? :confused: They left the ship? :rolleyes: They gave up the co$t of the cruise! :eek:

Some people have more money than brains.

 

It never ceases to amaze me when I read about people booking the World Cruise who have never taken more than a seven-day cruise before in their life. You would think before investing that amount of time and money, one would make "dammed" sure they knew what a longer cruise was truly like. There really is no comparison between your typical seven-day itinerary and a longer, more exotic one.

 

I will say, though, that a long cruise with a lot of days at sea is not for everyone. Some people truly can't deal with it and they feel as though they are "cooped up." I encountered several folks like that on the Hawaii/South Pacific cruise I took in January of 2006. Those last five sea days back to San Diego were a killer for them. As one of my tablemates said, "I'm ready to jump overboard and just swim back to San Diego."

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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January 11, 2008.

 

Well, Gamboa, a town along the Panama Canal, is the least likely location of a luxury hotel of almost anywhere I’ve ever been. It used to be American Army housing, and now it’s a really lovely 4-star hotel set in hundreds of acres of rainforest.

 

 

John & Diane

 

Thank you so much for allowing us to sail with you. I know exactly where Gamboa is, because 20+ years ago, we lived at Fort Clayton, Panama and spent every weekend in our boat fishing Gatun Lake. We would watch the cruise ships go by and dream of one day transiting the canal on a cruise. Panama truly is paradise! :) Thanks for taking us back!

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I cannot believe that the couple left the ship because they were bored! The ship had barely left Florida and at that stage there had been very few sea days.

 

Surely there had been a death in the family or some major catastrophe that made them leave the ship. If not, what a waste of money, as I doubt if they could get their fare refunded.

 

I do know that not everyone enjoys sea days. We have done a couple of longer cruises, 21 and 34 days respectively and my DH is not as happy as when we are visiting ports. There is no way that I could get him on a 110 day plus World Cruise. At the moment 35 days is his limit but I am hoping to get him up to 60 days eventually.

 

Jennie

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Maybe the couple they saw leaving was Regis and Joy Philbin. I think they were supposed to leave the ship in Panama. He is due back on his show on Monday.

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I cannot picture a couple abandoning a 5 or 6 figure RTW cruise just because they were bored during the first week! Undoubtedly they must have had HAL's CPP insurance plan to cover their loss.

 

rustermans

[joining you in Hong Kong]

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Thanks so much for taking us along. It brings back very fond memories. We did the 2005 and 2007 world cruise and are booked on the 2009.

 

If Joan & Bill are still at your table tell them Leslie & Handler (Texas friends of Jim M. who have a condo in Dillon) say "hi, and are glad they decided to sail". Tell Joan I really wish they would do the 2009 too. She is a great bridge teacher.

 

Keep your reports coming. I feel like I am right there with you.

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Greetimgs Diane and John,

 

Have a safe and memorable trip. We will see you in Istanbul!

 

Bon Voyage and enjoy the champagne....you will need it!

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

Hi Bill and Mary Ann

 

Glad to see you here.......makes me want to be back on board but I think we will wait a bit until maybe 2010. I heard from Madonna today and she is about to join the Veendam based in Tampa Fl for the season. It will be her first vessel since she 'left' the A'dam in Europe last March. Also hear that little Angel is on board but not your bar friends from the Crows Nest!! Hope all is well with you both.

 

 

Paul

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John & Diane...have a great cruise and well done on the blog. Say hello to 'bronzed' Jeff from Paul and Maria. We sat out there with him everyday on last years GWV. Also say a big hello to the lovely Joan (and Bill) who taught us everything there is to know about the great game of bridge when we attended all her marvelous classes last year.

 

 

Paul

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Hi Maria and Paul,

 

Hey, good to see you are still reading the sites! Can you believe it was a year ago today that we flew to Ft. Lauderdale for the world cruise??

 

Wish you were going in 2009.....we had lots of fun at the back pool, didn't we?

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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John and Diane,

I cannot thank you enough for taking the time and expense to document and share your World Cruise Adventure. I am sure your former students would say you both were wonderful teachers.

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John and Diane,

I have been enjoying your posts as you've set sail on this great adventure. Thanks for sharing....

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Hi Maria and Paul,

 

Hey, good to see you are still reading the sites! Can you believe it was a year ago today that we flew to Ft. Lauderdale for the world cruise??

 

Wish you were going in 2009.....we had lots of fun at the back pool, didn't we?

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

Yes I was just reminiscing earlier today about our long lazy days on the back deck watching Jeff go from bronzen to deep bronzen. We certainly had some laughs together. Now that it's nearly a year since the voyage can you tell us that it was you the 'stole' the ubiquitous yellow bikini??? We won't tell honest! Keep in touch.

 

 

Paul and Maria

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January 13, 2008

 

First of all, thanks for your wonderful comments. It’s nice to know that people enjoy reading about our life aboard ship. I’m never very good at keeping up journals, but this will serve as one for this cruise.

 

The more cruising we’ve done, the more we’ve learned that people who think the food is the best part of cruising really haven’t cruised very much. That’s a generalization, but we have found that Grand World Cruisers treat food very matter of factly – it’s there, it’s good, but there are almost never grand midnight buffets, and while there are a few small butter statues, there aren’t any of those huge ice statues (complete with chain saw in the background).

 

We traveled on the Amsterdam in August to Alaska, and we find the food on the GWV has moved up several notches. There seems to be a plethora (love that word) of things like lobster, caviar, beef tenderloin, and such. They’re not my favorites, but those crab cakes last night were really tasty.

 

We eat breakfast virtually every morning at the lido buffet after exercising, because it’s so nice to be able to take a tray outside and eat in the sunshine watching the huge expanse of Pacific Ocean float by. Anything that people want for breakfast is available, from cereal and toast, to individually made omelets, to bacon, sausage and ham (both regular and turkey), to a wonderful variety of fruit (I’m particularly partial to the fresh pineapple). We even saw someone going past this morning with a full plate of Eggs Benedict. The fresh-squeezed orange juice is another favorite. We have friends who eat in the dining room almost every morning for a couple of reasons: they like sitting down and being waited on, and they eat less (with the out of sight, out of mind philosophy).

 

Lunch is usually also at the Lido buffet. The choices are amazing. There’s a salad bar, a sandwich bar, an Asian station, a pasta station (where the pasta is cooked fresh), and regular hot dishes, which vary each day. One of my favorite daily staples is olive tapenade, which I could eat with a spoon out of the dish (but others might not understand). At the other end of the Lido, there’s a hamburger/hotdog/ taco area with all the toppings. Their French fries are really some of the best. After lunch, there’s the ice cream station (cups or cones), and an entire raft of desserts, including that blasted bread pudding and custard sauce – I could eat it instead of lunch every day. The bread pudding also seems to be a favorite of the Dutch officers on the ship. The desserts and ice cream are available until 5:00 PM.

 

Mid-afternoon (at 3:15 or 3:30) is teatime. Either in the dining room, the Crow’s Nest, or even the Queen’s Lounge, tea, small sandwiches and pastries are served, just in case you can’t manage to wait from lunch until dinner without starving to death.

 

Dinner is another story altogether. It is possible to eat at the Lido buffet, but most people opt for the dining room. At our table, most people have three courses: a starter, a soup or salad, and a main course. (Then there’s dessert, of course). In self defense, I almost always order a starter as my main course, because I’m just too darned old to eat that much. Last night, for example, I had the crab cake appetizer as my main course, but others at our table opted for the rack of lamb, surf n turf, or Beef Wellington. In addition to the varied choices each night, there is a small section of “standards” including salmon, steak, or chicken. Believe me, no one goes hungry at dinner!

 

Of course, if the regular dining room doesn’t appeal, there’s also the Pinnacle Grill, a specialty restaurant which costs an extra $30 per person (or $24, if you buy dinners in advance). Their food is truly exceptional – four-star restaurant level. Three times during the GWV they have a Sommelier Dinner, during which wines are paired with set courses (for extra $$$, of course). We attended one of those on the 11th, and enjoyed Champagne with an appetizer, followed by Sauvignon Blanc with beef carpaccio, Chablis with the soup, a lovely light zinfandel with the main course, a whole roasted tenderloin of beef, and then chianti with the cheese, and Muscat with the dessert. It was really an incredible culinary experience. (We have reservations for the next two Sommelier dinners, too).

 

So, there’s the rundown on food on board this wonderful old tub. It’s plentiful, the quality is excellent, and one can eat as much or as little as desired. And, believe it or not, most of the experienced world cruisers I’ve talked to report gaining no weight during the cruise. Our friend Barbie even said that on her first world cruise (this is her 7th), she LOST more than ten pounds. (Oh that I should be so lucky!). Well, now that that’s written, it’s time to go to dinner. Bon Appetit!

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And, believe it or not, most of the experienced world cruisers I’ve talked to report gaining no weight during the cruise.

I can believe that easily. Longer cruises are more like "real life" in that you get into a routine. There's no need to try everything that's offered today because there will always be another opportunity.

Now losing weight? That's something else again. :rolleyes:

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Thanks Johnny for the wonderful description of the food on the Prinsendam. We were on a 14 day Northern European cruise on her, and found the food to be far and away better than any other ship we'd cruised on before or have cruised on since. :D :D

Thanks for sharing your Grand Adventure with us!!;)

Continued safe seas!!:cool:

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January 14, 2008

 

Today was the day we crossed the Equator. I know that many of you have done that with the appropriate ceremony, but it was the first time we had crossed it by ship (airplanes don’t count), and it was pretty darn cool. The activities took place at the rear pool, where Poseidon, his mermaid wife (and son), the ships five top officers, and a judge appeared.

There was also a “jail” with several “inmates,” a huge dead fish, and three medical folks with a long table. (Beginning to sound kinky, doncha think?)

 

Although they used to dunk everyone who hadn’t cross the Equator before, now they limit it to symbolic crew members. Guess those potential lawsuits changed the rules.

Each “inmate” was introduced and the judge read the charges. Then Poseidon told each one that he (or she) had to “Kiss the Fish,” which became a refrain for everyone around the pool. After kissing the really awful looking dead fish, the inmate was placed on the table and the “doctor” and two nurses covered them with pink, white, and green goo. We were told that in the old days it had been fish guts, but now, we found out later, it was colored meringue. When they were well and truly yucky, the officers gave them thumbs up or down; down was “into the drink” (the pool), and up was not into the pool.

 

The whole ceremony was extremely entertaining, and we saw lots of folks who had done several world cruises there, so we didn’t feel like quite such newbies. We did wonder, however, since the top officers were there, who the heck was running the ship?

 

We also have a new friend. Gary Pudney, the TV producer who is doing a speaking series on the ship, joined our table for dinner last night, and we’ve really enjoyed his company. He had been sitting at a table for two near us, and he commented that since ours was the loudest and most raucous table, he took us up on our dinner invitation. He’ll be on the ship until Papeete. This is his first speaking tour, but it’s going over so well that he thinks he may do more. Today’s topic was Grace Kelly and Princess Diana – their similarities and how he knew them. The Queen’s Lounge was filled for his talk, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

 

The only “downer” on the cruise is The Map. It gets capitalized because we notice it every time we walk by. It’s a large (probably 6’ x 15’) world map next to the front desk on Level 4. It has a long line of red lights showing our itinerary around the world, and as we travel, the areas we’ve covered turn green. It’s sort of like a lifeline, it seems. The longer we’re on the ship, the greener our route will be, and we’ll be closer to the end. Pretty darn depressing, and I’m sure even more so the closer we get to the end.

 

This is the fourth of our blissful eight days at sea, and I, for one, will be unhappy to see our longest stretch of doing nothing end. However, we do have four days left, and maybe I’ll finally get to that Tai Chi class before Nuka Hiva.

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John and Diane-

 

I had Regis and Kelly on this morning while getting ready to head to the airport - and Regis was talking about the cruise, complete with pictures. It seems that he had a great time and specifically mentioned what a great group was on board.

 

I am SURE he was talking specifically about the two of you! Happy travels-

 

Michelle

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Thanks Johnny for the wonderful description of the food on the Prinsendam.

 

Oops! If, like me, you're also reading Grumpy & Slinkie's post from Circle South America on the Prinsendam - it would be easy to get confused!

 

This time it's the Amsterdam doing the Round the World Cruise!

 

But I suspect the food is similar on both ...;)

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Oops! If, like me, you're also reading Grumpy & Slinkie's post from Circle South America on the Prinsendam - it would be easy to get confused!

 

This time it's the Amsterdam doing the Round the World Cruise!

 

But I suspect the food is similar on both ...;)

 

Opps! My bad, I surely meant the Amsterdam!!:rolleyes:

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Enjoying your travel log ...and bumping it up in hopes I will find more posts tomorrow! Enjoy your days at sea! And, sincere thanks for bringing us along!

 

Peggy

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January 16, 2008

 

If you’ve sailed the tropics, you’ve seen flying fish. Those little buggers travel in huge flocks . I think anything that flies travels in a flock; it was obvious that from their enthusiasm they were cutting school, anyway (teachers know these things). When we sailed to Hawaii almost before it was a state, we saw a few every afternoon, but here, on the equator, they fly by the dozens (or hundreds, if you believe John). I also think that they must have some kind of a flying fish Olympics for distance, since some of them travel over a hundred feet in the air before . . . well, whatever is the fish equivalent of “coming up for air.”

 

During the last two days, I think we’ve done less than we’ve done in the last five years. Yesterday it was lazing about on a secret little deck (no, Bill and Mary Ann, not yours) for the entire morning, finally making ourselves get vertical when hunger intervened, and then spending the afternoon either reading or watching one of the DVD’s we’d brought.

(Yesterday was Jane Austen’s Emma, which guaranteed that one of us did reading outside – can you guess which one?) Then, about 7:00, we realized it was time to dress for dinner, so the shower, hair-drying, makeup, decide what to wear things had to take place.

 

Today wasn’t much better; it was finish the Emma DVD for one of us, while the other lazed by the aft pool. By 11:00, we were both there, and then 12:45 told us it was time for lunch, a 2-1/2 hour activity including lots of chat with friends. This afternoon was pull up the photos on the computer time to edit. Some were really, really good and some caused questions like, “Why in the world did you take that picture?” Followed by, “But YOU took it.” “Did not.” “Did too.” You know the drill.

 

The part that makes this trip so lazy is the absolutely marvelous staff. They are primarily Indonesian and Filipino, and a nicer bunch of folks you’ve never met. Because the Indonesians are primarily Muslim, and don’t touch alcohol, they don’t work in the restaurant or bars, but they make up the bulk of the room stewards. How can you not love someone who cleans your room, makes your bed, brings you fresh ice, leaves fresh towels, and then, in the evening after doing that for the second time that day, leaves a cute little towel animal on your bed? The Filipinos make up the majority of the restaurant waitstaff, wine stewards, and bartenders. The only complaint I have about them is that the waiters are always trying to get me to eat more! Oh to be 25 again! Our main waiter is Shariff, and he not only takes our orders and brings our food, but he remembers what we like and don’t like. For example, he remembers that I don’t like pepper, so when he’s going around with the pepper mill, he kindly passes me by. Nestor is our wine steward, and besides being efficient and pleasant, he has one of the best senses of humor I’ve ever run across.

 

I’ve been told (but haven’t checked with anyone who could tell me with authority) that the two ethnic groups are roomed in separate “dormitories,” and certainly their dietary rules are different, so there must be two separate staff dining rooms. The officer level, of course, may dine with the passengers (I guess things haven’t changed THAT much since Jane Austen), but they don’t do it as much as they did in the old days, when every officer had his own table and sat there nearly every night. Nowadays, officers only sit at passenger tables on formal nights, and not even always then.

 

Well, back to the balcony, to pretend to read and really to watch for flying fish and dolphins while drinking a lovely dry French rose. Ain’t life wonderful?

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They are primarily Indonesian and Filipino, and a nicer bunch of folks you’ve never met. Because the Indonesians are primarily Muslim, and don’t touch alcohol, they don’t work in the restaurant or bars, but they make up the bulk of the room stewards.

 

The Filipinos make up the majority of the restaurant waitstaff, wine stewards, and bartenders.

Ummm ... I think if you ask again you'll find that most of the dining room waiters and assistants are Indonesian, and it is just the bar staff, in maroon jackets, that are the Filipinos.

 

If you like spicy food you want to see a big grin from your waiter, ask him for some sambal. (It is a very hot Indonesian pepper sauce.) He will bring out a large jar of it, and wait to see you try it, to watch your reaction! :D

 

I'm thoroughly enjoying your postings, because I wish I was there! BTW, please keep that ship in good shape for us ... we get on the day you get off. :)

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