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About Storylady

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Orange County, CA
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    Reading, Travel, Photography
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  1. Yes, our neighbor received a card from Tonga. We mailed all our cards at the Post Office not at the desk at the port. Had thought of buying more cards and mailing them, but they were all out of stamps in the late afternoon at the small temporary post office at the port.
  2. Last time Captain Mercer blogged on the HAL Blog was March 2014. It was my understanding that he set up his independent blog after that due to having approval from Seattle for what he wrote. I first sailed with Captain Mercer in 2005 on the Oosterman. Have been following Captain Mercer and Captain Albert for years. He said he will write again. So we just have to patiently wait until he does.
  3. We also had to buy a bag. It wasn’t to increase sales. I asked while onboard what happened to the luggage. They told me it was orginally in Sri Lanka waiting for our arrival. I can’t remember if if the Front Desk that told me, the luggage had then been shipped to Darwin which we also missed by a day as you know.
  4. Ruth, we didn’t get that this time as it was supposed to be a gift after leaving Sri Lanka. Rumor was the container that had the carryons were shipped from Sri Lanka to Darwin, but we missed Darwin by one day. So no luggage to take home pillow gifts. We did buy one of the flimsy HAL rollaboard’s (almost like an upright duffle bag) to carry one non fragile items so that I items we didn’t give away could be packed. Glad I did before we arrived in Perth as the shops were than closed!
  5. I realize that. Since they were advertising Antarctic experience and mentioned Palmer Station and Paradise Harbor, I figured that their certification still allowed them to go. After all one of the huge Princess ship (Sapphire) has for cruises scheduled for Antarctica from December through January. HAL has only one and probably because her certification will expire after that cruise
  6. If you look at the Westerdam’s interactive map, they list going to Palmer Station, Dallman Strait and Paradise Harbor. Having compared my experience of cruising Antarctica in the Prinsendam to cruising on the Amsterdam. I would say that you will have a nice Antarctic experience unless the weather foul. The Westerdam definitely should be able to cruise Bismarck Strait to pick up Palmer Station staff. They definitely should be able to do Gerlache Strait. But if not they will cruise by Deception Island and King George Island, etc.using the Dallman Strait. Probably won’t go into Antarctic Sound as it is often clogged with ice. As for history, you will get plenty of nice lectures about the history of exploration of Antarctica which is definitely interesting. They won’t be able to sail through many of the small channels such Errera of Lemaire, but you will get some good photos of the Antarctic peninsula. I would go for it as it will be less expensive for a single than going on a small cruise line such as Azamara.
  7. We been twice. We purchased the premium tickets both times. Your seating is facing the castle. I believe in the regular seating you are facing the bleachers on the side, thus sideways to the marching bands. Our seats both times were perfect despite not being able to pick them out. We were hug enough and very close to the center. We knew someone who purchased their tickets, but they had to leave early to catch the train as it didn’t run after 12 AM. But that was on the Prinsendam which docked at Rosyth across the Firth of Forth. I really think getting the tour was better as it wasn’t easy navigate at night. HAL had people stationed at every corner directing the way to the buses.
  8. The Amsterdam is still in Manila Ba, the Captain’s companion just made cookies to send to the crew onboard. From what she said in her posting, crew have disembarked and crew are embarking. Our luggage still hasn’t been off loaded. Sarah Coles is suppose to be composing a letter to send to everyone. And the luggage will be delivered to Ft Lauderdale. Check the roll call, one of the passengers got a long e-mail from Sarah. And I received a message from her also.
  9. Another interesting article that I haven’t seen posted. Media seems to like to point out cruise ships, but what about resorts, planes, restaurants, theme parks, concerts, sports events etc. haven’t seen the media say much about them. http://www.yourcruisecoach.com/cruise-travel-and-covid-19-perception-vs-reality/?fbclid=IwAR2DQTW7ohbIhwB3UTj0fh_sWkx3ilHmw0wlr-vK-X7xiDmOR49tds69O1k
  10. Before the Amsterdam reached Manila, Filipino cruise ship crew had been quarantined for 14 days in hotels. The Philippine government decided that the crew should be quarantined on ships instead. One of the Filipino crew posted an article about the chaos of Filipinos stuck in hotels and not allowed to go home even after the 14 days. So it was better for our crew to be quarantined on the ship. The Philippines have over 500,000 Filipino seafarers who will all be returning to the Philippines sometime this year. No wonder there are so many ships still stuck in Manila Bay.
  11. Just had an update from a wife of an officer on the Koningsdam which has been involved in gathering different nationalities on the Koningsdam so that they can all go home on a chartered flights. Right now they are headed to Panama where they will embark new Filipino and Indonesian crew that have flown on a chartered flight from Indonesia and Manila. On the same flight will be all Latin Americans and Caribbeans still on Carnival ships (mainly Princess and Seaborn) in Manila Bay. That is probably the reason why the Amsterdam is still in Manila Bay. The new crew members will replace their counterparts who will then be flown home. As for the Latin Americans and Caribbean crew members, they will stay onboard the Koningsdam until their country’s borders open to allow them to go home.
  12. Angel, DRM wine steward, on the Amsterdam just posted her experiences being quarantined: the good, the funny, the sad parts and the happy parts. She is so talented! Wishing her the best.
  13. Angel, DRM Wine Steward, posted a video of the last group on the Amsterdam going ashore. Angel is the one who created several of the other excellent videos. Enjoy their happiness. https://youtu.be/HD9YlS5sWMg
  14. Jarrie, the barista at the Explorer’s Cafe, is still onboard the Amsterdam. She is hoping to go home soon. She messaged me that Sir Henk is still onboard. Can’t answer the question about the luggage as she has been quarantined for 21 days!
  15. The Westerdam is now in Manila, it will be sometime before the Filipino staff get to disembark as they have only been there a few days.
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