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Westerdam 12/12/04 Review - Part 4 (very long)

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Tortola: Out of all the stops, I think this was our favorite. We were docked at the pier and, since we skipped breakfast, we were one of the first ones off the ship. We walked through a fenced-in area that held an information booth and got directions to Sunny Caribbee. Once through this area, we decided to walk to town although there were plenty of taxis and “jitneys” available. As we rounded the bend to get through the port gates, we came upon a “straw market” – numerous tables set up under tents with locals selling all sort of items. We wandered through this area before we headed up the street. As we were walking, we noticed a Black Coral shop off to our right in a tiny strip mall. They had some wonderful items for purchase. We then continued to Sunny Caribbee ( I had been on their website and knew there were items I wanted to purchase) This shop was getting crowded by now (there were 4 ships in port), but it was not too bad. After we left Sunny Caribee, it started raining lightly. We turned right and, about a block further, we found Pusser’s Rum. By now, it was starting to rain in earnest. Again, I had checked Pusser’s out ahead of time online and we ended up buying quite a bit of rum. We kept count of how many liters we had (allowed only 2 liters per person with no duty). They had some nice little ceramic bottles of rum (50 ml) which we stocked up on for souvenirs. By the time we were through at Pusser’s, the rain had stopped and we started walking back to the ship toting heavy bags of liquor. I had gotten a blister on my toe from my sandals and it was humid after the rain, so partway back, we caught a taxi for $3/pp. Luckily it was an air-conditioned van, which was heavenly!! We got back to the ship, after having to show our ID’s to Tortola officials, while others were still disembarking, so we had a relatively quiet empty ship. We had lunch and packed away the liquor in our carryons. I had brought along bubble wrap, and made use of all of it.


While Ed watched some TV and relaxed, I wandered the ship and came upon the “sailaway” festivities on the promenade deck. As I was looking over the rail, an ambulance pulled up to our ship and a passenger was taken away. A sad moment, having to cut a cruise short for health reasons. Kudos to HAL staff – they seemed to handle everything smoothly, even to escorting the passengers wife to the ambulance and getting their luggage. This delayed sailaway by ½ hour, but did not make any difference to anyone. In fact, we would not even have known that we were delayed if I had not seen the ambulance.


We then spent a little time in the casino before getting ready for dinner – it was informal night. A word about our table mates – I had met Marsha & Roberta on our roll call board back in early May. After numerous posts, we started emailing each other and got to know each other pretty well. We decided to request that our dining seating be linked and found that HAL did honor our request. Our tables mates were wonderful and we had a great time meeting up with them at dinner and at various other times on the ship and on shore!


We skipped the show, donated to the casino and went to bed early (toting liquor is very tiring LOL). Unfortunately the Filipino Crew Show was tonite at 11:30 p.m. and we did not want to disturb them, in case we fell asleep during the show and snored, so we did not go, thinking we could catch it on tv the next day. Sorry to say, either they did not show it or we had the tv on at the wrong time, but we regret missing it.


Day 5 – Sea Day: After eating breakfast in the dining room, I headed to the Win A Cruise Bingo while Ed stayed in the cabin and relaxed. It cost $20 for a single strip of 3 cards. Prior to the start of the bingo game, they pulled the Win a Cruise lottery winner. We had entered with 3 chances for $20. Unfortunately, we did not win the lottery and I did not win the cruise at bingo – C’est la vie!


We lunched in the Lido and relaxed until 2:30 p.m. when we headed for the Vista Dining Room for the Dessert Extravaganza. There were already lines of passengers waiting to get in, but someone had said if you wanted to take pictures, you could get in ahead of time. I had our camera, so I walked up to the doors of the dining room and asked if I could photograph the Extravaganza. To my surprise, I was let right in. As I was finishing taking the pictures, they opened the doors to the passengers. Ed had waited in line, but I got lucky. They handed me a plate even though I wasn’t in line. I waited until Ed got there and we just could not decide which, among all the desserts we would choose. We each took about 4 different ones to try, all of which were very good, but the best was a separate station where they were making crepes in orange sauce. They were out of this world!! Another dessert that stood out was the chocolate fountain with fresh berries for “dipping”. We found a table and, immediately, a waiter came by to pour tea. Our tablemates were very nice and we had a good time enjoying the pastries, the tea and the company.


This is one day we regretted having early lower seating in the dining room. We were full of dessert! We did eat dinner, but I think this was the one day we skipped soup and dessert. We went off to the showroom to watch the Westerdam cast in a Stage & Screen Movie Musical Concert. This show, like the previous one was mediocre. Although the cast had a lot of enthusiasm, the execution was weak. Two of the main singers had good voices and blended well, while the other two were mismatched. The female had a powerful voice, but the male, when he sang by himself was ok, but was drowned out by the female. As far as the backup singers and dancers, the singing was good, but they looked out of sync dancing.


By the way, if you want a drink while in the showroom, get one before you enter it. There were only 2 drink waitresses and it was pretty hard trying to get the attention of one or the other to get drinks.


After donating to the casino, we headed to our cabin and bed.


To be continued......

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No, HAL did not confiscate it. Since we left the ship early that day, we got back early and there was no one from housekeeping there to take it, so security told us we could take it with us.:D

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You lucked out, Kris, they confiscated our Pusser's at the gangway. (My, that sounds risque, doesn't it?) :D


We missed the dessert extravaganza altogether - I think I napped through it. I really like it much better when they have it as the midnight "snack" instead of scheduling it for mid-afternoon. The afternoon lines are longer and it has to make it very difficult to get ready for first dinner seating. Oh, well - I certainly didn't lack for food during the cruise. :rolleyes:


It was nice meeting you on the cruise, and I'm enjoying reliving it through your review!



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