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RetiredMustang

Semi-live from Westerdam

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Hello CC'ers,

 

I am writing this early Monday morning as we are passing by Eluethra Island in the Bahamas, en route to Little San Salvador island, that we all know better as Half Moon Cay.

 

 

DW and I are on the beautiful MS Westerdam, and departed Fort Lauderdale yesterday afternoon on a seven-day Western Caibbean sailing. This is the first time I've attempted it, but I will try to do a semi-live blog of the trip.

 

We left the Washington, DC area Friday and drove down, staying in hotels in Florence, SC and Orlando on the way. Yesterday, we drove the Florida Turnpike from Orlando into Fort Lauderdale, an easy jaunt and something that kept us from going crazy waiting for boarding time. Even after getting caught in a traffic jam when the police stopped traffic at 17th St. and US 1 for a motorcycle procession (ah, spring break time), we were able to fill the gas tank, get back to the port and park, drop off our checked bags and get into the terminal before 11 a.m.

 

Check in was a breeze -- we went through security, went straight up to get the ship cards, and got a boarding number. Yesterday was beginning of daylight saving, and I think the ship was doing their best to clear in a bit less time than normal. Still, we only waited about 15 minutes before we were allowed to board.

 

We went to lunch in the Lido, and were able to get to our staterooms before 2 p.m. Most of our luggage came before lifeboat drill, and the last piece shortly after that.

 

The ship is as wonderful as we remember it from our b2b two years ago, although there have been some changes that we noticed:

 

- The Explorations Cafe is now in the starboard half of the Crow's Nest and includes what used to be the Oak Room.

 

- The Erasmus Library is closed, and the cases appear to be filled with jewelry displays; perhaps it is part of the shops complex now.

 

- The area forward of the library still has a small coffee bar area, but mostly is now shops as well.

 

- I don't know if it was only for embarktion day, but the Lido stations are a bit different: the sandwich line is the first half of the hot foods line; the salad bar is where the deli sandwich station was, and the area where the salads used to be was taken up with cold cuts and such things. There are still separate Asian and pizza/pasta stations. As others have reported, they had no trays, but we were not inconvenienced by that, and noticed that mobility-challenged people were being helped by staff as always. Once I figured out that I was really in the sandwich line instead of the hot line as I intended, it went very smoothly. I am always appreciative of the fact that we are now allowed on early instead of huddling in a terminal, and am impressed with how well the ship and staff can handle that influx of a large number of passengers whe are in mostly the Lido area -- not many people were in the other public spaces for the first couple of hours.

 

The captain is Henk Keijer, and the CD is Kerry Watkins. I've not seen the HM yet. The staff is as friendly and helpful as we have always found.

Probably because it is spring break time, the passenger mix seems different that usual, We have a good many children (by HAL numbers anyway), and a lot of younger people -- 20 and 30-somethings. We are in SY on the 6th deck, and our neighbors on one side consists of a family with young children, including a boy of about four who is having a wonderful time; we met in the passageway when he and his mother were returning to their cabin as I was returning to mine, and he enthusiastically greeted me -- I think he likes shipboard life, at least so far!

 

The cabin is great. We used to book "V" class cabins (or "A" or "B" on S-class ships), but had an SY on last fall's Noordam T-A. Well, SY is now the minimum standard for DW! It really is a comfortable cabin, with more space to move around in and more places to stow things, but the clincher is the bathroom, which has separate shower and tub, but most importantly to us, has double vanities and medicine chests and a long storage shelf.

 

We were suprised not to receive "The Voyage Begins" sheets with our room keys, or to find the first day's program in the stateroom, but both were delivered early evening. Here are some key info points:

 

- Formal nights are Monday (today, HMC day), and Thursday (Grand Cayman day). We had heard that the second formal night was Friday, but that is Costa Maya day, with long shore excursions and a later sailaway. We think Thursday makes more sense for the second formal, and suspect that Friday will be the steel beach picnic on Lido deck in the evening.

 

- Internet is $100 for 250 minutes, $55 for 100 minutes, or 75 cents per minute for pay as you go. We got a 20-minute bunus when we signed up for the 250-minute package. (Thanks to RevNeal for the tip on writing out the posts before logging on and then cutting and pasting to save online time. Great idea, Greg!)

 

- Laundry deals are: $20 for a bag full, or $45 for unlimited. Unlimited pressing is $30 for the cruise. We usually get the unlimited laundry package on longer cruises, but will just go with the bag-full deal, and probably only once on the seven-day cruise.

 

There are a few other CC'ers on board, and we tried an informal gather in the Crow's Nest after the muster drill, which was a 4:15, which seems a bit earlier than it used to be. Our sailaway was about 4:45, which also seems earlier, but there were a LOT of cruise ships sailing yesterday, so that was probably our departure slot in a complicated port loading plan. At any rate, a few of us gathered in the Crow's Nest. When the ship started sailing, the others moved to the Lido party, and I rejoined DW for unpacking and then our first traditional seating dinner time.

 

I asked for a table for 2 when I booked the cruise, and we actually got one! We have only last night to judge so far, but we enjoy it very much. While we have met some wonderful table partners over the years, we dsicussed last night that this makes it a "cruise off" where we can just enjoy each other's company at dinner.

 

For the first time, we ordered a wine Navigator package -- we bought the Admiral's package, five bottles of premium wine for $199. We had a very nice chianti last night, and have ordered a pinot grigio for tonight. The way it works is, we tell the wine steward which wine from the list we want when we want it; we didn't have to pick the five bottles at the beginning.

 

We did a bit of slots action in the casino, introduced ourselves to the staff in the Ocean Bar, and turned in early (we are early risers). We missed the show, which was only offered at 10 p.m.; we are not big fans of Broadway-style productions, and we had been up since about 5 a.m. (in anticipation of going on cruise!). Perhaps we'll take in a show if there is a comedian or magician, but we usually pass on them. Tonight is supposed to be the Captain's Welcome toast before the show, but we will probably not attend.

 

We still haven't checked out the Explorers Lounge, Pinnacle, etc., etc. More to follow, but now it is about time for one of my favorite cruise moments -- coffee on our balcony with DW while the sun rises. If you have any questions, let me know, and I'll try to find the answers (or maybe I'll just make it up ;)).

 

Dave

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Thankyou for your review so far...

 

It feels like we are sailing with you!!!

 

I am intrigued with the navigator wine package... Wondering what your other choices are?

 

For the first time, we ordered a wine Navigator package -- we bought the Admiral's package, five bottles of premium wine for $199. We had a very nice chianti last night, and have ordered a pinot grigio for tonight. The way it works is, we tell the wine steward which wine from the list we want when we want it; we didn't have to pick the five bottles at the beginning.

 

 

Have a wonderful time.. We will look forward to your updates..

 

:D:D:D

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Thanks for taking us along with you! We'll be on the Westerdam in a few weeks, so I will be following along with great interest.

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Thank you for checking in and letting us know how thigs are going.

When we were on the Westerdam last April/May -- they were converting the Erasmus Library from an area that had Travel books and where the port person's desk was located to another boutique.

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This was the list that we saw on our recent cruises:

 

Navigator's Choice of White Wine:

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rirsling - CA

Monkey Bay Chardonnay - New Zealand

Caliterra Cgardonnay - Chile

Danzante Pignot Grigio - Italy

Blackstone Sauvignon Blanc - CA

 

Navigator's Choice of Red Wine:

Twin Fin Shiraz - CA

Three Blind Moose Cabernet Sauvignon - CA

Veramonte Merlot - Chile

Ravenswood Zinfandel - CA

Marchesi Di Frescobaldi Remole - Italy

Kiara Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - CA

Laboure-Roi Pinot Noir - France

 

Admiral's Choice of White Wines:

Four Emus Chardonnay - Australia

Columbia Winery Gewurztraminer - WA

Silverado Sauvignon Blanc - Napa, CA

Laboure-Roi, Macon Villages, France

Franciscan Chardonnay - Napa, CA

 

Admiral's Choice of Red Wines:

Spellbound Cabernet Sauvignon - CA

The Jibe Pinot Noir - New Zealand

Niner Merlot - Paso Robles, CA

Marchesi Di Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chanti - Italy

Blackstone Syrah - CA

Ravenawood Icon - Sonoma, CA

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Thanks for doing this Westerdam thread. She was our first HAL ship, and will always be special to us because of that. I look forward to more of your interesting reports.

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Thank you for taking us along. We will be sailing her the end of this month and can't wait. I would love to see the menu if you can manage that. Thanks!

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THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I was so excited when I saw a "live from" (or almost) thread that I almost cried! As you will note, I was supposed to be on this cruise, but we had to cancel because DBF had a medical procedure. I can now follow the cruise vicariously through your thread. THANK YOU! :D

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Thanks so much for posting Dave. I will be on the Westerdam at HMC in just three short weeks :D. I will be following your reports with great interest and hope you don't mind answering some questions if you have time.

 

I spend a lot of time on a cruise reading, and was hoping to not have to add to my already overweight luggage by choosing books from HAL's normally well-stocked library. Now your comments on the library have me somewhat concerned. Where is the library now? I recall they had moved the library on the Zuiderdam up to the Crow's Nest area along with the Explorations Cafe. Can you tell me if that is where the library is now, and does it seem to be well stocked?

 

Have a great cruise!

 

Bonnie

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Thanks for posting. We'll be onboard next week. My co-worker did your itinerary three weeks ago and loved it and the ship.

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All,

 

Well, the sun rose this morning, but it was mostly overcast. We pulled into HMC on time, and were cleared right away to go ashore. DW remarked that we had not filled out a Bahamas entry card -- apparently either Bahamas has changed their procedures, or HAL has a way now of reporting passenger information to the Bahamas immigration. Easier on us, the passengers.

 

We went ashore in one of the first launches. It stayed overcast for the first couple of hours, but then the clouds burned away and the sun came out, and the sand gleamed, and the bay was azure! We walked all the way to the end of the beach -- or a least to where a rock outcrop blocked the way and a sign said going further was dangerous and forbidden. In all, a mile or more.

 

I took a high-density shot back along the beach, so that it appears that the island is deserted, with a pristine white-sand beach fading into the distance. That will greplace a smaller, similar shot in a frame DW has at home that contains the first verse of "Sea Fever" -- she uses it when doing relaxation drills or as an anticipation of the next Caribbean cruise.

 

We then nabbed front-row seats at the I Could Stay Here Forever bar and watched the parasailers and sun worshipers (and sun-burners) in the chairs on the beach. We came back to the ship after having a barbeque lunch, with the semi-wild chickens and other birds offering to share. A lazy afternoon followed, and we are about to dress for the first formal night -- me in my Caribbean mess dress (formal fish bowtie and cummerbund) and DW in her La Isla Bonita dress.

 

To answer some questions:

1.The wine navigator offers the following choices:

 

Navigator's Choice:

- Robert Mondavi Private Selection Reisling (Calif.)

- Monkey Bay Chardonnay (New Zealand)

- Caliterra Chardonnay (Chil)

- Danznte Pinot Grigio (Italy)

- Blackstone Sauvignon Blanc (Calif.)

- Ravenswood Zinfandel (Calif.)

- Sylvester Kiara Reserve Canernet Sauvignon (Calif.)

- Three Blind Moose Cabernet Sauvignon (Calif.)

- Frescobaldi Remole (Italy)

- Veramonte Merlot (Chle)

- Twin Fin Shiraz (Calif.)

- Laboure'-Roi Pinot Noir (France)

Price: 3 bottles $89; 5 bottles $149; 7 bottles $199

 

Admiral's Choice:

- Four Emus Chardonnay (Australia)

- Columbia Winery Gewurztraminer (Wash.)

- Estancia Pinot Grigio (Calif., and $9.99 a bottle at the Arlington VA Total Wine)

- Silverado Sauvignon Blanc (Calif.)

- Franciscan Chardonnay (Calif.)

- Laboure'-Roi Macon Villages (France)

- Spellbound Cabernet Sauvignon (Calif.)

- Tintara Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia)

- Mark West Pinot Noir (Calif.)

- Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti (Italy)

- Capalon Merlot (Calif.)

- Blackstone Syrah (Calif.)

Price: 3 bottles $118; 5 bottles $199; 7 bottles $269

 

And yes, a 15% service charge is added to the above totals. OK, we get Estancia Pinot Grigio at home for $10 a bottle, so the mark-up is high, but we only wanted to drag along a few half-liter boxes of suille wine for in the room. (That's swill if you are winos -- suille if you are wineaux like us.)

 

2. Menus: I'm not certain if I can take photos of and post menus, but will try to keep track. Last night they offered as entrees a penne with a tomota-base sauce, prime rib (which I had), an eggplant canneloni over risotto (which DW had, it was eggplant slices wraped around cheesy filling).

 

3. Jerzbird: I am so sorry you could not make it; blonde21 tried to organize us, and I met her and her DW yesterday as well as SteveinPhilly, but I don't know if they ever met up with other CC'ers.

 

More to follow,

 

Dave

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I spend a lot of time on a cruise reading, and was hoping to not have to add to my already overweight luggage by choosing books from HAL's normally well-stocked library. Now your comments on the library have me somewhat concerned. Where is the library now? I recall they had moved the library on the Zuiderdam up to the Crow's Nest area along with the Explorations Cafe. Can you tell me if that is where the library is now, and does it seem to be well stocked?

 

 

Bonnie

 

 

We are equally as concerned. On board for 14 days and don't want to weigh ourselves down with a ton of books, But reading while sunning or relaxing is essential. Please say the Library is intact somewhere!!:eek:

Debbie

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All,

 

Last night was the first formal night, and everyone seemed to adhere to the code. There were a few tuxes for the men, but most were in dark suits and a few were in sports jacket and tie. The ladies were dressed ranging from full gowns to cocktail dresses and pant suits. No overalls or jeans cutoffs were to be found (at least until we turned in -- they may have come out later.) If I did it right, I have attached a photo of me in my formal fish.

 

Dinner was wonderful. I'm not expert enough or my laptop lacks the software to crop, enlarge, etc. photos so I won't try to post the photos I took of the menus, but they are typed below. DW and I both had the four mushroom soup (very tasty), and she had Beef Wellginton while I had the fettucine ai frutti di mare (scallops and mussels and clams, oh my!) The fettucine was fresh-made, and the shellfish was in a lobster cream sauce -- very good.

 

This morning is also looking like it is mostly overcast. I hope it burns off by late morning as we have a snorkel trip lined up in Grand Turk, and its better snorkeling if the sun is out.

 

For waiting2retire and Samsmom, sorry I wasn't complete in my descriptions -- yes, there is still a library, and it is in the Explorations Cafe on Deck 10. The choice of books seems about the same or a little less than when it was down below. If you don't bring your own books, I would recommend that one of your embarkation day activities be to hit the libary before all the good titles are checked out.

 

Westerdam dinner menu, March 10, 2009

 

Appetizers

- Melange of Tropical Fruit - with an intriguing cilantro balsamic maple reduction

- Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail - plump cilled hsrimp with an American coctail sauce

- Beef Carpaccio - Thinly sliced beef served with capers, pine nuts and shaved Parmesan cheese

- Cribbean Fish Cakes - moist and tender, flavored with capers, leek, jalapeno, bell pepper and served with a smoky cjipotle lime sauce

 

Soups and Salads

- Cream of Four Mushroom Soup - A rich and warming blend of oyster, shiitake, button and enoki mushrooms

Jamaican Chicken and Callaloo Soup - Shredded chicken breast with butternut squash, callaloo greens, garlic and thyme, combined in a flavorful chickeb broth and toppe with toasted coconut

- Chilled mango Gaspacho - Our Master Chef's unique and incomparably refreshing version of a classic gazpacho

- Chopped armer's Salad - Baby spinach with red onion, tomato, cucumber and feta cheese

 

Entrees

- Fettucine Frutti di Mare - Plump scallops, shrimp clams and mussels tossed in lightly whipped lobster brandy cream with chopped Italian parsely

- Oven Roasted Quail - Stuffed with spinach and goat cheese on a bed of shiitake mushroom brown rice with glazed pineapple

- Filet of Beef Wellington - Mouthwatering tenderloin of beef wrapped with a duxelles of duck liver and mushrooms, wrapped in a puff pastry, served on a mirror of Madeira sauce with duchesse potatoes and a medley of green asparagus and Chinese pea pods

- Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb - Rubbed with Dijon mustard and garlic herb crumbs, served with a full-flavored Pinot Noir sauce, minted virgin olive oil, robust ratatouille, and savory potato pie

- Baked Mahi-Mahi Filled With Shrimp Mousse - Served with steamed crab legs, poached red skin potatoes, steamed spring vegetables and garlic herb butter sauce

- Seared Beef Tataki Salad - Quickly-seared lime-cilantro garlic marinated flank steak, served rare with avocado, tomato, mixed greens and tossed with wasabi vinaigrette

- Couscous Florentine - Couscous and spinach served with a grilled vegetable kebab accompanied by a dill-flavored nonfat sour cream sauce

 

 

Westerdam dessert menu March 10, 2009

- Master Chef Rudi's Double Strawberry Cheesecake - A luscious blend of low-fat cream cheese, fresh eggs and sugar, served in a shimmering fresh strawberry sauce

- Chocolate Souffle' - Satiny French chocolate lightened with egg white foam and baked to lofty heights, served with Amaretto sauce

- Strawberry Romanoff - Grand Marinier marinated strawberries topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream

- Crepes Suzette - Crepes smothered in a warm orange-caramel sauce with Grand Marinier

- lmond Fruit Cake - A moist almond butter cake layered with cherries ande Frangelico whipped cream

- Slice Fruit Plate

- Assorted Cheese Plate

 

More later,

Dave

943417438_FormalFish.jpg.4986e0517abace6c5a74e058ae59f13a.jpg

Edited by RetiredMustang

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Your reports are great ... they make me hungry. :) We love your tie and cummerbund - how unusual. Very nice!

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A lovely formal fish tux, indeed. Thanks for sharing! The menu looks wonderful. I'll have the lamb, please.

 

If I read correctly, they have done away with the Oak Room. Is there a place for the cigar smokers now? They also used to have Friends of Bill W and Friends of Dorothy meetings there and some other small gatherings. Any idea where they've been moved?

 

I'm really enjoying your reports. Thank you for taking the time to do so. I eagerly await your next one! Say hi for me to any fellow CC members you run into!

 

Maureen

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As we wait to dock at Grand Turk.

 

First, the menus were from March 9 (last night), not tonight's menus. :o

 

There is no Oak Room any more so far as I can see. Cigar smokers are asked to smoke in the aft pool area. What used to be the library was open last night and it does appear to be part of the jewelry area of the shops. Friends of Dorothy are meeting in the Ocean Bar, and at least for the first day anyway the Friends of Bill W. met in the Piano Bar. That seemed odd to us, but of course the actual bar is not open at the time they meet.

 

Dave

Edited by RetiredMustang

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THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I was so excited when I saw a "live from" (or almost) thread that I almost cried! As you will note, I was supposed to be on this cruise, but we had to cancel because DBF had a medical procedure. I can now follow the cruise vicariously through your thread. THANK YOU! :D

 

Thank you, Dave, for your live from thread...everyone always enjoys those!

 

jrzebird...I am so sorry to hear that you had to cancel this cruise! I hope there's another on the horizon for you.

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I know you said you weren't a big fan of the shows, but I'd like to invite you to see Joel Mason's Tribute to Elton John. He's on your cruise this week, and is pretty good. I'm not just sayin' that....no, really.:D

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I know you said you weren't a big fan of the shows, but I'd like to invite you to see Joel Mason's Tribute to Elton John. He's on your cruise this week, and is pretty good. I'm not just sayin' that....no, really.:D

 

 

I have been wanting to see Joel's show for the longest time; I have heard so many good things about it on these boards and from others I know who have seen him onboard.

 

Please tell me he will still be on board for the March 29 Westerdam sailing so that I can finally see his show :o:D

 

Bonnie

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All,

 

 

For waiting2retire and Samsmom, sorry I wasn't complete in my descriptions -- yes, there is still a library, and it is in the Explorations Cafe on Deck 10. The choice of books seems about the same or a little less than when it was down below. If you don't bring your own books, I would recommend that one of your embarkation day activities be to hit the libary before all the good titles are checked out.

 

 

 

Thanks so much Dave, for taking the time to clarify this. I will certainly do as you suggest and hit the library as soon as I can. Samsmom, what time are you boarding :D:p

 

Bonnie

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Thanks for your "semi-live" blog, RetiredMustang! Our Westerdam cruise starts on April 5 - just a little over 3 weeks away. Love your updates - keep `em coming. Did they start putting out trays in the Lido? It seems strange not to have them - doesn't it require several trips back and forth to the stations?

 

Looking forward to your next post(s)!

 

Linda

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Hello there,

Just stopping by to let you know I appreciate your taking the time to share your cruise with us.

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Retired Mustang-enjoying your comments very much. October will make our 3rd time on the Westerdam so I guess you could say we love her.

 

Love your tux-where did you find the Caribbean bow tie and cumberbund?

 

Bob

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You do look quite handsome! We too are sailing on the Westerdam next month. I am enjoying your blog very much. I can't wait to read tomorrow's entry! You didn't tell us which dessert you chose. We're all living vicariously here on land, you know!

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Retired Mustang, (without anyone else jumping on the bandwagon please), could you find out where the current public areas are that are available to smoke in? Thanks!

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I know you said you weren't a big fan of the shows, but I'd like to invite you to see Joel Mason's Tribute to Elton John. He's on your cruise this week, and is pretty good. I'm not just sayin' that....no, really.:D

DH & I saw his show(s) last month, and really enjoyed it.:D

He's very talented on piano, and he's a funny guy!

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Dave, love the tie and cummerbund and would also like to know where you got it!!! Think I could talk dh into wearing it:D

 

Enjoying your "semi-live from" as we were on the Westerdam in February and wish I was back on her now!!!

 

If would also recommend seeing Joel Mason, his Elton John show is probably the best cruise ship show I've ever seen, it's just great:):)

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Thank you, Dave, for your "semi live" reports. We are going on our very first cruise on May 31st on the Westerdam. It's nice to know what to expect. That dining menu makes me drool! ;)

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Lookin' pretty spiffy there Dave!! :D

 

 

Thanks, John! I clean up good, don't I? Cruising Bob -- DW dresses me well. We found the bow tie and cummerbund in the window of a specialty formalwear place in an underground shopping area near our home, and I commented that they looked cool. DW surprised me with them on my birthday. I suspect if you look at shops that specialize in tuxes and prom dresses near you, you could find even wilder colors and patterns. I noticed recently that the shop has a vest in the same pattern .... hmmm.

 

EltonJoelsMomager -- If you mean Joel Mason, he is on board now. I don't know if he will be on board March 29, but I will try to find out.

LindyLou2, Nope, no trays in the Lido. And I don't think it's causing many problems -- as I wrote earlier, those who are having difficulties are helped quickly by staff members. Yes, you may have to make a couple of trips, but we found ourselves doing that even when they provided trays. The food stations are a bit different than we are used to on Vista class ships, but we have not gone hungry yet (far from it!)

 

Today continued mostly overcast until early afternoon. We went on a morning snorkel trip to Round Cay reef, and then to Gibbs Cay to play with the stingrays. The water was choppy and not as bright as I would have liked, but we saw lots of fish at the reef, including a (we hoped) semi-tame Barry Barracuda, a meter-long (fat! if fish can be called fat) specimen that the boat crew said had been fed by humans since he was a small fry. I noticed they fed him before we gathered around. At Gibbs Cay, we walked into chest-deep water and fed the sting rays, and were able to stroke them, and hold them if we wanted. This was about the fourth time I had done so, both here at Grand Turk and at Stingray City on Grand Cayman. It's always a fun time with the rays.

 

I did not see any obvious damage remaining from the hurricane of late summer/early fall 2007, but we did not go into Cockburn Town, and did not do so in spring 2007 when we last visited, so I would not have any memory to compare with anyway. The cruise pier area, the reefs and the islets looked as great as we remembered.

 

A good joke from the captain. It may be an old one, but it was the first time we had heard it. Just before sailaway this afternoon, he updated us with the plan ahead, and said that some people had asked him what a "cay" was. He replied that a cay, or "key" as it is pronounced and sometimes spelled, was a low, sandy island. He said that, if it had kept to the meaning of the word,Grand Turk would not be Grand Turk Island, but he understood why they decided not to call it Grand Turk Cay.

 

I think I've done a better job of taking photos of tonight's menus, and will try to attach them. If I find that I have failed miserably in rendering a readable copy, I will re-type them tomorrow.

 

We set clocks back an hour tonight, and tomorrow is an at-sea day en route to Grand Cayman, which we are scheduled to visit on Thursday.

 

Tomorrow I hope is one of those relaxing, lazy wonderful days at sea that we enjoy so much. I'll either have a lot of pointless rambling observations to make, or I may just forget about you all tomorrow and melt into a puddle "reading" on deck or watching for flying fish. I really like it when I am watching the waves, and thinking, and watching, and thinking ... and then I wake up!

 

More later,

Dave

Wdamcmenu_031009.jpg.1f305e987a662d4aed6d00a314debf6c.jpg

Wdamdessert_031009.jpg.2c2ef536e417088be2ca3ae391fb6696.jpg

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Thanks so much Dave, for taking the time to clarify this. I will certainly do as you suggest and hit the library as soon as I can. Samsmom, what time are you boarding :D:p

 

Bonnie

 

Hey Bonnie,

We hope to be able to board as soon as they allow. We are driving down the night before and staying at the La Quinta that night. As I understand your not allowed in the port before 11am? So that is when we are shooting for. Why, wanna race to the Library:cool:. JK. The books are more for my Mom than myself. I'll probably just bring a few paperbacks. We probably should move our conversations back to roll call so we don't mess up this great thread! :eek: Catch ya there ok?

Debbie

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Well, my difficulty in posting menus looks like not so much a problem with my camera skills as it is with the size of files that CC uploads. Below are Tuesday's menus in text format:

 

Tuesday dinner menu

Appetizers

- Watermlon Cocktail - Bathed in a zippy orange mint sauce

- Sweet Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella - Drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil under a basil chiffonade and served with fresh foccacia bread

- Tuna Tartar with Prawn - Sushi-grade tuna and a jumbo prawn marinated in orange, lime, onion and cumin

- Beet and Chili Quesadillas - Oven-roasted baby beets with jalapeno and Poblano peppers in a flour tortilla

 

Soups and Salads

- Caribbean Fish Chowder - Caribbean fish, roasted red pimientos, cream, potato, celery and diced pumpkin

- Pasta Fagiloi - Tuscan-style beans and macaroni soup with aromatic herbs and vegetables in a rich nourishing broth

- Chilled Apple Vichyssoise - With a kick of apple brandy, sprinkled with diced Granny Smith apples

- Californian Gourmet Greens - Toasted pecans, sun-warmed cherry tomatoes, and fresh orange segments

 

Entrees

- Home-made Lasagna - Oven-baked layers of tender pasta, meat, cheese and tomato sauce

- Caribbean "Jerk" Chicken Breast - Island-spiced and served with seasoned three-bean ragout, golden-grilled pineapple spears and leeks with pearl onions

- Korean Kalbi Beef Short Ribs - Soy and ginger marinated beef short ribs, broiled and served with lemongrass steamed jasimine rice and sauteed greens

- Calf's Liver With Apples and Bacon - Thinly-sliced and sauteed, topped with caramelized onions and served on a bed of suateed spinach and with a crispy potato pancake

- Seared Corvina Fish - Nestled next to cocotte potatoes and topped with fresh arugula and cherry tomato salad in a zesty lemon dressing

- Santa Fe Salad - Lime-marinated turkey, fresh corn, black beans, cheese, tortilla strips, tomato and mixed lettuces with a spicy peanut cilantro vinaigrette

- Asian Vegetable Noodles - Chinese soba noodles tossed wtih scallions, bell pepper, snow peas and sesame oil

 

Tuesday dessert menu

- Key Lime pie - The real deal, incomparably refreshing and tartly bracing, in a unique pie crust

- Chocolate Avalanche Cake - "Boulders" of chocolate-drenched cake enriched with a fudge sauce

- Strawberries Pavlova - A sweetly crisp meringue basked with whipped cream and freshly sliced strawberries

- Caramel Peach Melba - Sweetened peaches swirled in a carmael and raspberry sauce with Peachtree liquer. Served with vanilla ice cream

- Strawberry Shortcake - Glazed sliced strawberries capped wth airy whipped cream and served on a light buttermilk biscuit

- Sliced Fruit Plate

- Assorted Cheese Plate

 

Dave

Edited by RetiredMustang

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Please tell me he will still be on board for the March 29 Westerdam sailing so that I can finally see his show :o:D

 

Bonnie

 

He'll be there (until April 19).

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The Internet speed sure slowed down this morning, I suppose as because it is a sea day, no one is ashore and everybody decided to check their e-mail. The connection has been pretty good, but there is a finite pipe the ship gets from the shore, and if enough people are on it slows way down.

 

EltonJoelsMomager -- I checked with the front office, and Joel Mason will be on Westerdam the March 29 sailing, and a couple sailings after that. I see you also got that info -- super!

 

We asked if Westerdam had an I-pod art tour like Noordam does. The answer was no, so we just are wandering looking at the art pieces around the ship. We also like to do what we call the Grand Prix of Staircases, where we ride the elevator to the top and walk down, checking the art in the staircases and by the landings on the way down. We've seen the Stephen Card paintings of current and previous Westerdams, as well as a Westerland and a Westerdyke, and the Princess Margriet, all in the forward staircase. The midships staircase is a mixture of old prints and some art pieces. We haven't made the aft staircase yet.

 

We did attend a very informative coffee chat with the Hotel Manager Marco Van Belleghem and the culinary manager Stephen this morning. They had a series of very interesting (to us at least) slides showing various storerooms, laundry facilities, crew mess areas, etc. -- most of the stuff we've always wondered what they looked like.

 

Marco had an interesting story. He was HM on Noordam earlier this year, when CNN came aboard to do their piece. I know there is another thread going that talks about the CNN piece, but have not read all of it yet. Marco said that HAL has started a program in Seattle and Fort Lauderdale to collect the Elemis products leftover in the staterooms and donate them to the rescue shelters in the cities. It's good to know that the leftovers are going to a good cause.

 

We did not get a questionnaire about our number of sailings days and I had not seen anything about a Mariner event, so while I was at the front desk asking about Joel Mason, I asked about that as well. The young lady told me that the computer lists we verified last year was what they used, and they only sent questionnaires to those they were unsure of their level of award. Since we received our bronze medallions a couple of cruises ago and are nowhere near silver level yet (but working on it!), they did not send us a questionnaire. She said the invitations to the Mariner event would be going out shortly. I forgot to ask if W'dam holds a luncheon like Noordam does, or if they do something different. We'll find out soon, I suppose.

 

I've started writing down some things I've noticed that have changed, for the better in most cases, and will talk more in detail later in a kind of round-up; I'll jot down notes as I go. But, I think in many cases, the changes happened because HAL listened to us, not so much the CC threads probably, but from the customer feedback they get. So, if you like something, tell them so.

 

Stephen did say that HAL/Carnival was still in the asking and appraising stage of any changes to the smoking policy, and that changes may indeed be coming, but he couldn't say what they might be. We have noticed that the casino is smoking on this sailing, but the Ocean Bar appears to be all non-smoking.

 

Well, time to check out the deck sale and see if I can nab a ball cap or something, and I'm sure it's been at least an hour since I had anything to eat :D, so I'll stop here.

 

More later,

Dave

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