Friday, March 1, 2013

Our 115 day cruise, day 55, at sea

Another day, another Starbucks.  Went to coffee a little late today.  We did our usual and went to Curves, went to get our nails done and then went to the grocery store.

I do have a funny story to tell you happened while we were in Chandler.  Vicki went into the hotel to check in...Out she came and very calmly said..."we are going over there , to the door with the alligator."  Vicki moved the car a few feet and then we got out and took out suitcases and headed for the room.  We got to the door but I did not see an alligator.  We opened the door and Vicki started laughing hysterically.  I looked around but I did not see anything.  OMG...she said..."its not an alligator it is an elevator!"  lol!  We both laughed and laughed!  It does not take much to entertain us! lol!

Now you are probably wondering how the quilt is coming.  I did lay it out this morning and I will sew it together tomorrow.  After I sew it together I will put 2 borders on it and it will be ready to send it to Judy so that she can quilt it!

                                     I can see from the photo that I need to do a little rearranging.                                                    

 It was an absolutely beautiful day today.  We are pushing upward to the 80's which is heaven in the desert.  It won't be long and we will share with you, the desert in full bloom!  
   There are people who say that the desert is ugly.  I don't agree with them.  The desert is beautiful and when it starts to bloom it is spectacular!                                                                                

 We enjoy looking at all of the different plants that grow in the desert and that are able to survive the hot hot summers.  It is interesting how much the cactus weigh, It is all water weight...sound familiar? lol                                           

We love the spring and fall here when the temperatures are so mild.  I will go on a special photo opp when the desert is in bloom!  Finally someone will let me drive a golf car...right Bonnie?  Well at least I can pretend!                                          
                                               At least I tried!                                    

Where we did not go today.....but the Amsterdam did!

 At Sea  Postcards from Paradise!
 Day at Sea March 1, 2013 Friday

So far, the Amsterdam has been lucky not to have hit that cyclone that passed by here a few days ago. What we are experiencing are deep swells, rolling and pitching, high winds, all leftovers from the storm. It was still warm enough to go to the pool, although there were many clouds overhead. Actually, the clouds blocking the sun was a good thing. When it rains here, it RAINS here. But did we run for shelter when we had occasional sprinkles? No, it felt good. Without warning, a big cloud dumped copious water on the decks, sending us under the overhang. It was probably a good thing for two reasons. It saved us from any more sunburn, and gave us time to have a bite of lunch before attending the special presentation and Q&A with Stein Kruse at 2:30pm in the Queens Lounge. It was a bit hard getting to the Pool Grill, since the deck was half-closed for the construction of bamboo parts for what looked like a pagoda spanning the midship pool. The Amsterdam bronze bears were being closed in with bamboo fencing, and a bridge was added that spanned the width of the pool. It's a sure thing that the party will be held on March 2nd, after our day of touring Bali.

At the presentation, the most current news of the cruise industry was discussed by the CEO. Despite the problems that the industry has had in the past year or so, business is booming. Among the subjects discussed were the future of the HAL ships, including the new build of a Pinnacle class ship. It will be under 100,000 gross tons with a large number of passengers. When asked how we liked that, there was a resounding "boo" throughout the lounge. Mr. Kruse looked quite surprised with that reaction. He's got to understand that this is a tough crowd to sell something new. Crowds and supersize vessels are not our cup of tea.

He continued on with a discussion concerning the Seabourn line, also under the Carnival umbrella. He told us that the three original Seabourn ships will be sold, with the newest ones replacing them. Another ship will be added soon as well. Stein hinted that there is a discussion about possibly blending the Seabourn days with the HAL days. Now that might help boost some business towards the higher-end cruise line. He did reassure everyone that the Prinsendam will be around for many more years, since much money has been invested in upgrades on her. We know. We were on that ship when many of those upgrades were being done.

Gerald, the Mariner president, went over the new perks for the Mariner Club. Many of us are wondering when the level of perks will be added for those with days over 500 to 1399. According to one of the questions asked of him, Mr.Kruse said they are "working on it". Hmmmm, we have heard that before, more than once.......

Finally, the announcement of the 2015 Grand World Voyage itinerary came from the CEO. It will be the "B" proposal, westbound and round trip from Ft. Lauderdale. We do not know if the ports are exactly the same as the proposal, but there will be 11 overnights. There are no stops whatsoever in South America, except Santa Marta in the Caribbean. From the Caribbean and the Panama Canal it heads to French Polynesia, 3 ports in New Zealand, around the south coast of Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, no Hong Kong, Singapore, Phuket, Myanmar (new), Sri Lanka, India, Dubai, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, Azores, and finally back to Florida. The majority vote was for going back through the Mediterranean, no surprise to most of us.

Lastly, the Q&A session included Captain Mercer and Henk Mensink, the Hotel Manager, who both will be back on next year's world cruise. Questions included one regarding the Amsterdam's planned drydocking at the end of this year. Most of the work will be cosmetic, like carpeting and curtains and drapes on decks one and two. We are sure much more will be done, but that info was not shared with us. Another inquiry dealt with smoking. After this world cruise, there will be no more smoking allowed in public areas. That includes the Crows Nest and Sports Bar. Not sure of the outside bar, decks, or verandas.

There was also an open forum where guests could ask Stein, the Captain, or Henk questions directly, something they have not done in the last couple of years. The internet and the slow speed was thoroughly explained once again. Someone asked if BBC could be added to the mix in our room TV, and the answer was yes, if people wanted to pay lots more for it. In addition, upon being asked if the world cruise itinerary could include an extensive visit to Northern Europe, he said pull out your credit cards, and we will do it. To be truthful, some of his answers bordered on being arrogant, especially when our buddy Mel asked innocently about increasing the benefits for longtime cruisers. He basically did not want to address that one, even though Gerald would have been the man to do it. Like we said, they are working on it.

Barb was missing at dinner, because she was invited to the second Presidents Club evening in the Pinnacle Grill with the powers to be. She popped in to the dining room and joined us shortly after 9pm to share a little news about the affair. Apparently the food and the wine were great, and she was glad it was over.

Tomorrow will be a really big day with Bali to see and savor, and the big party, which will be held from 5 to 9pm. If nothing else, it will be a "hot" one for sure.

Bill & Mary Ann

Update from Jeff!
Today started out very nicely, very sunny with a nice breeze.  Then the clouds rolled in with some rain here and there.  It was probably residual from the tropical cyclone hanging out in this part of the world.  There was a Q&A session with Stein Kruse in the afternoon which was very informative.  Tonight we had dinner in the Canaletto Restaurant with Jane & Barry Smythe.  The food and company were just wonderful.  Really looking forward to Bali tomorrow.  My friend Made will meet us at the terminal and take us around for a while.  Later in the day and evening we will have the “Big” Party on the ship that Stein Kruse throws every year…  Promises to be a great day!!!

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