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Rotterdam Transatlantic Part 4

deck chair

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As may be true with other readers, my favorite room on HAL ships is the crow's nest observtion lounge. With the commanding views its an ideal location to view passing scenery and the sea. During the day, it was home for some organized activities. As did I, others found it a nice place to read in one of the comfortable arm chairs that faced the forward windows. In my view, however, it is only these forward facing arm chairs in the crow's nest that are comfortable. The other sofas and small chairs about the room are not well padded, comfortably large or sit high enough.


It was also annoying that during the day one would often find recorded music being played through the speakers in the crows nest. It would have been nice to have had quiet. Its as if HAL believes the passengers will go crazy and mutiny if there isn't noise of some sort. One afternoon, I tried in vain to find the control panel to turn the sappy music off or at least turn the volume down. Obviously HAL spent a fortune to make sure passengers could never discover the controls. Looking back on it now I should have asked one of the bar tenders who are there in the evening. Do any readers know where the controls are????? Please let me know before I sail on the MAASDAM next July for 35 days.


Of course, during the evening the crow's nest is a delightful location for pre-dinner drinks especially with the hot goodies that are provided. The waiters in the crow's nest are really fantastic with great memories for your preferences. In addition, unless it was very cowded, service was very speedy and sure. Of course, the ocean bar is another nice venue with good music and service but I really prefered the setting of the crows nest and the musical group that played at cocktail time and later in the evening.


Later in the evening the crows nest turned into a disco/nightclub but with fading exceptions few people were in attendance. Really, except for 50's night and the Black and White ball, the crows nest after dinner was not a well attended place. Pehaps it could have been a more popular place if the cruise director had bothered to organize more events for the passengers. I think the passengers would have shown up if the CD had made more of an effort. I can only imagine the revenue HAL is losing because if passengers aren't there, they aren't buying the expensive drinks. Late night the waiters who served the area just stood glumly looking at their watches around with few passengers to serve.


The most touching moment in the crow's nest for me that I witnessed: A very elderly woman,no doubt harboring many regrets, sitting by herself one night, lonely, isolated being invited by others sitting nearby, to please do join them. She seemed relieved and grateful to do so and drink in hand began chatting away with great energy as if she had millions of words stopped upside her and now could finally utter them. She gabbed bout this and that but mostly, about the past...I never saw her again as if she had thrown herself into the sea or flown away on the wings of a seagull.


I learned from crew members that while we were enjoying great weather and condtions for this voyage, passengers who had been on the preceeding crossing had to endure one crummy, rainy, foggy and rough day after another causing cancellations of some port calls. I guess the passengers on our crossing just lucked out just as some soldieres come home alive as others are not so fortunate, just as if some wives and wives are lucky to find wonderful spouses while others do not...


After two full blissfull days as sea we were due to arrive in SAINT JOHNS....


More later...

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Deck Chair,


Each morning I look to see if you have posted another instalment. It is like reading a book and I cannot wait until the next chapter.


You mention that you will be on the Maasdam in July for the Transatlantic. I hope we meet up with you. We are doing the first leg, Boston to Rotterdam and cannot wait to begin this wonderful trip.



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I'm here to tell you that the crew was almost right in the report on the previous crossing; it was never rough this year. Now 2003! That was rough!

It's funny, when you started this tale, and you mentioned all your crossings, I was going to suggest that you think about the Maasdam cruise next July. Now I see you're way ahead of me. So far there are about 20 or so folks from this board. I do hope you'll find your way to the Roll-Call thread and keep in touch.

I'm so enjoying every installment of your report. Please keep 'em coming!

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