Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thursday, January 16, not quite done!

Well, everything is taken down and in the night it glows with all the decorations that are battery operated!


Now, I need to get those batteries out of everything...I am not going to start sewing until I have this all put away.  Finished for today....going to the doctors in an hour and then to see Rosine!

This is a picture of Vicki with her hair done the way the hair dresser wants her to wear it!

This is the way I like it...not so curley...Now she looks neat and like her normal self!

                               And then there is my hair...looks okay I guess!

I think this will do it for now....will post more when we get back from the doctors....maybe!

 Welcome to the 2014 World Cruise on the Holland America, msAmsterdam!  This 115 day cruise is my virtual cruise and I hope you will join me!  We will be traveling to wonderful places and learning about different cultures

Photos from Jeff Farschman's blog,,,,
Narative by …”.Treasures of the World”, by Bill and Mary Ann

Day 11 Lake Titicaca 
Well the internet on the ship is a disaster, I am in a Peruvian Market trying my best to post.  I don’t know if I will have any connection in the coming days.  I will be looking for the press releases for who is getting fired at Holland America and Harris Corporation for this abysmal failure of an internet system.  Back when I was in the IT business we had a little trick we would use….  Test it before you deploy it!

Report # 7 Embarkation Day January 4, 2014 Saturday

Well today turned out to be a marathon day, but in a positive way. Exhausting, but successful. Or, at least it will be when we finally leave the port in Ft. Lauderdale. As we write this at 10:50pm, we still have not left the pier. This is the very first world cruise we have done where we did not leave around 6 or 7pm. Sure miss that traditional sailaway, although there is a party happening in the Lido pool area until 11:30pm. That is, if you can stay up that late on this marathon embarkation day.

The day began with us getting up early, and rolling the three suitcases by the door for pickup at 8:30am. We headed for breakfast in the restaurant, and enjoyed the all American entree of bacon, ham, and eggs with toast. Our ride to the pier was scheduled for 11 am, so we had plenty of time to eat, then take advantage of the last of the free internet.

The luggage was still in the room until 10am, but was picked up well before we had to leave. It is always nice to see it go, because some friends of ours have had their bags accidently left behind on past cruises. Yes, they did get mailed to the next port, but that usually isn't for a couple of days.

It sure turned out to be a dreary, rainy day. Not heavy rain, but occassional showers. Guess we will not be spending any time on the back deck today. The ride was quick, since we were only about 20 minutes away from Port Everglades. There was a problem, however, because there were at least seven ships loading today. And some of those were massive. Like the Oasis of the Seas, two other RCI vessels, a couple of massive Princess ships, and at least two HAL ships. Between crew and passengers, you are looking at thousands of folks boarding around the same time. You can imagine the line of cars, taxis, limos, and buses lined up to get into the port area. So it took another 1/2 hour to arrive to the Amsterdam.

Anticipating a backup for the check-in process, we were pleasantly surprised to find a short line with many agents to move the folks swiftly. We were instantly greeted by our hosts, Gerald, the HAL Mariner manager, Henk M the hotel manager, and a new cruise director for us, Steve Young. Looks like this is a great start so far.

Check-in was so fast, that we barely had handed over our passports and boarding passes, and the required credit card, of course, and we were on our way. Being that we are 5 star martiners, we were given a priority card so we could wait upstairs instead of downstairs. Seems that there was a holdup with the disembarking folks, and we had to wait to board the ship. Something to do with the crew clearing customs and immigrations, we heard later. Anyway, we did not have a long wait, as some of our buddies had. We think it was somewhere around 1pm by the time we boarded the ship, and we could have made it to the Mariners Lunch in the La Fontaine Dining Room, but with such a substantial breakfast, we passed on lunch once again.

The good thing was that our room was ready for us, and we could stash our hand carry items away before any luggage arrived. We had another nice surprise waiting for us in the We had three bottles of champagne (two on ice), two champagne flutes, and a bottle of white wine. Wow. We had put in a request that if we were gifted a bottle of champagne (usually given by our travel agency), we would love it on ice, so we could enjoy it while unpacking. This is the very first time our request was granted. Takes some of the pain from tackling that chore.

Now for the not-so-good thing. Do you ever do something without thinking it through, then wonder, "Why did I do that???" Well, here's the scoop. To lighten up my handbag, I took out some heavy items and put them in one of the suitcases that got shipped from the hotel. One of those items was a ziplock bag of small locks and keys for the locks. What I failed to remember was the keys were needed to unlock the Fed Ex-shipped duffels, three of which arrived first. Surely, those suitcases would be delivered shortly, right? No such luck.

Oh well, good time to take a break, and go exploring around the ship and search for familiar faces....crew and passengers. We ran into many folks, but one of the most important was the dining room manager, Tom G. Although we had spent days emailing him through the help of a good friend and hotel concierge manager on the Statendam, our table that we had settled on had been changed as of today. We are certain that we had originally asked for a tabletop change for 311 (from a seating for 12 to 10). And we are certain we had been told it was not possible. Hey, give us a drill, we will exchange the plywood quite easily. Long story short, that is exactly what was done for our group. We have a feeling that we had a little help from Gerald B. after a conversation we had with him last night at dinner. The dining room manager seemed to think he had come up with that idea, so we let him think he did. We got what we wanted, and will thank Gerald when we see him next time. See, there is some truth to the old saying it is "who" you know, not "what" you know.

At about 4:30pm, we were all summoned to the muster drill. If we chose not to attend, we could be escorted off of the ship.. Everyone was there, unless they had missed their flight and were not there yet. Two JLG's were in operation, going up and down with painters. They made so much noise beeping, we could hear absolutely nothing being said by the Captain. Oh well.

We did take some time to go outside to the aft deck to watch some of the other ships leave the port. The gigantic RCI vessel was like watching an island floating by. We doubt that they will have many ports in the Caribbean where they will be able to dock that behemouth. Since it was still raining somewhat, we headed back to our room to see if our other luggage had arrived. Right before dinnertime at 8pm, the three pieces of hotel luggage finally arrived. At least we could retrieve the keys for the duffel locks. The only problem was that one was missing. Wonder where it is?

Well, the mystery was over when our phone rang and the front office gal requested us to come and identify our bag with one of the security officers. They asked us if we had a fishing knife in the bag. Or something that resembled a weapon made of metal. Rooting through the bag, we came up with a small sack of travel tools, that we always take with us for emergency damages. We had to chuckle when the officer asked exactly what did we plan to do with the tools? Fix broken things, we said. Like the time the handle of our new suitcase was torn off of the side, and we had to find nuts and bolts to create a new handle. This has happened more than once to us.
So with the simple explanation, he said fine and our bag would be brought to our room. By the way, there had to be at least 100 pieces of luggage that had been singled out by the xray machine for inspection. The only other time this happened to us was when they thought we had a suspicious cylinder-like item full of metal objects. Guess what it was??? Our own ice bucket with costume jewelry inside of it. Some kind of bomb, huh? Oh well, they can never be careful enough, even if it causes embarrassment on both sides.

It was time for dinner, 8pm, and we were so zonked that we did not change our clothing, which was perfectly acceptable. The new smart casual night description specifically states that denim, in good taste, is permitted. That means jeans with no rips, holes, or tattered hems. Do they realize that those "distressed" jeans cost even more than new ones? Go figure.........

We gathered our new tablemates, who were being escorted to the old table. They had not been informed that we were gong to a new location. They seemed pleased with it once we explained how we fought for this spot with a smaller tabletop. The rest of our group arrived........Margaret and Keith, John and Diane, Barb, and of course, our namesakes, Bill & Marianne. We had a fine time from beginning to end. The food was very good and the service was even better.

There was a sailaway party in the Lido pool area from 9:30 to 11:30pm. We storlled through the area after dinner, but decided not to stay. As it was, we did not leave the port until well after 11:30pm. That was the time we quit typing and called it a day.

There was many things we will tell you about regarding the upgrades made to the ship while she was in drydock, but we'll save that for tomorrow.

Bill & Mary Ann

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