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Journey with Bill & Mary Ann on the Amsterdam's 2016 Grand World Voyage - 114 days +

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Once again, thank you Bill and Mary Ann for taking the time to post your excellent blog. The pictures were awesome! Have a safe and healthy summer.

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Report # 137 San Diego, California May 16, 2016 Monday Overcast & 68 degrees

 

The Amsterdam sailed silently into the spacious harbor of San Diego early this morning…..sometime after 7am. Heavily-overcast, it appeared that the clouds were high, and should not present a problem with flights. Bad news, for those who are touring here today, or staying for a few days after disembarking, it looks like it will be a gloomy day. However, it could have been worse. Last year, when we got off, it was raining, and not lightly. Told it hardly ever rains here, we were surprised and unprepared for the flooded streets. Did not affect the flight as we remember.

 

We got up early, only because we wanted to enjoy one last served breakfast in the dining room. Besides, we could watch the customs and immigrations check happening in the King’s Room on deck five. While we ate our Greek yogurt, fruit, and English muffins, we saw the non-US citizens begin to arrive starting with group 5. They always start with group 5, as there is no 1-2-3 or 4. Not one person in group 5 appeared, which was not a good sign. Continuing with 6 and 7, some folks began to file through. We found out later that over half the guests on this ship are from Canada. We know there was a lot from Holland, Germany, and England as well. We would not be allowed to leave this ship until every foreign passenger had gone through this check on the ship. The estimated time for this procedure was 9:15am. It went beyond to 10am before all of the folks complied. For three or four times, Gene had to announce room numbers and finally names before all were cleared.

 

We had gone out on the promenade deck in hopes of saying goodbye to the few folks we knew on this trip. We did see Peter, the purser, dressed in regular clothes (no uniform), ready and anxious to head to the airport for home in Philadelphia. However, he was stuck like us, waiting for the final clearance. He will be back on this ship for next year’s world cruise, which is great news. We did see more friends Rich and Peggy, who were leaving the ship today too. They will also be back in January. Really nice folks.

 

With the ship finally cleared by 10am, we got our stuff and jammed in line on deck two to debark. The passengers leaving did everything they were asked NOT to do. Like start lining up at 8am, sit on the stairs, block the elevators, and line up down the hallway, blocking the doors to the cabins. Yes, we all had designated color-coded tags to leave, but you know how that works when everyone has to be first.

 

To complicate the situation, there was a mandatory crew drill, where the forward staircase was used for the staff to go down to the lower decks. The timing could not have been worse, but when these drill are scheduled, it was not taken into consideration that 500 people would be getting off the ship at that time. Could be that these drills are conducted with shore side personnel, and they are the ones that do not care about interruptions.

 

Once we checked out (with many sad goodbyes to the wonderful security staff), going through customs was a breeze. All we had to do was check to see if our bags were in the right pile (Fed Ex), and proceed to the line, where we handed off the customs form and had our passports looked at. Taxis and vans were lined up outside the doors, as always. The short ride to the airport took 10 minutes and cost $13. Plus a tip. Saved some money by not taking HAL’s bus, which was probably still waiting to load the 50 or so passengers.

 

Our short flight home was delayed by over 40 minutes by the time we loaded the plane by 2:11pm. This time is was due to mechanical problems, something you definitely don’t need to hear. The desk girl began to announce that there was little to no room left for overhead bags, even if they were the legal size. By the time we went to board, she stopped one of us, not running our boarding pass. If she got a report there was no more room, my bag would have been taken away. As it turned out, there was room for three more, so she let me go. We did notice than some of the rolled suitcases were much wider than others, but they let these people board with them. We say of it doesn’t fit the mold, then take them away. Other airline do just that.

 

Oh well, it did end OK when we finally touched the ground at the San Francisco airport around 3:40pm. Ken ws waited right outside the baggage pickup area, and we were off for a 2 ½ hour ride home. An hour and a half longer than it should have been, but it was a good chance to catch up on news we missed for four and a half months.

 

We got home with enough time to take a look at the fallen tree and the weed growth in the back of the property. Yes, we will have our work cut out for us, but we have all summer to do it. The best we could do, was walk inside, close the door and scrounge up some dinner. Tomorrow will be another day to face the music……..a reflect on how much fun we had on this long cruise. Sure went by fast…………….

 

To be continued………………….

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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..............................

To complicate the situation, there was a mandatory crew drill, where the forward staircase was used for the staff to go down to the lower decks. The timing could not have been worse, but when these drill are scheduled, it was not taken into consideration that 500 people would be getting off the ship at that time. Could be that these drills are conducted with shore side personnel, and they are the ones that do not care about interruptions.

 

...............................….

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

 

Hi Bill; AMDM and her crew underwent her regular U.S. Coast Guard inspection upon arrival in San Diego, a part of which is a mandatory fire drill, followed by an abandon ship drill for all crew. You're right about the timing however, no wiggle room!

 

Enjoy your time ashore and see you again next year! :)

 

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Thanks for the awesome comments.........sure makes it worthwhile when we know our viewers are enjoying our exploits of each day.

 

Stay tuned, as we will be doing a follow-up on our observations of changes.....good and not so good with the HAL Grand World Voyage.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Would someone please provide me Bill & Mary Ann's web address, I have a new computer and lost my favorites file.

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Bill and Mary, thanks for such a wonderful discussion on your world cruise, it was very informative! Thanks

 

Sent from my KFTHWI using Forums mobile app

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Glad to hear you got home safely. It was nice seeing you again and we look forward to meeting again in January even though I now owe you two pizzas. We just got home ourselves after 3 days in San Diego. For a place that is supposed to have perfect weather we never saw the sun. Good to be home but it was fun being on the Amsterdam again and seeing familiar faces. See you soon.

 

Rich and Peg

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Report # 138 Getting back to normal.........................May 25, 2016 Wednesday

 

Well, here we are, home for over a week, and inundated with stuff to do. As always, we try to maintain our routine, and fit in the extra work a little at a time. Our luggage did arrive three days after we got back, which was good. It came in one piece, and so far, we have found nothing broken. Eventually, all will be put away. And thanks to the complimentary laundry, most everything we brought home is clean.

 

In regards to the changes we have noticed during the world cruise, we kept a list. Most everything was small, but definitely a change. Even though they may seem insignificant to most, added up fleet wide, these deletions can make a difference with labor and food costs on the ships.

 

In the very beginning of the world cruise, we noticed there were very few days where “buy one, get one for $1” beverages in the Ocean Bar and Crow’s Nest happened during the 6 to 7pm time slot. They did offer the special at the 4 to 5pm happy hour every day. After a couple of weeks, the later happy hour never happened. That is until a group of disgruntled folks protested, and got the 6 to 7pm happy hour restored every day. In our opinion, we should not have to BEG for it. But that’s what happened. The minute the world cruise ended, so did the later happy hour.

 

The following things we found were about the dining venues. The new “gala” nights, in our way of thinking, have always meant a decorated La Fontaine Dining Room. This does not always happen. The nights that were labeled “classic” meant absolutely no decorations. Barely even a fancy dinner menu. Remember the rolled menus we got on “formal” evenings? They are long gone. Now we get a half-size folded four page mini-menu with limited choices. This year, we only had 14 gala nights, and only about half of those were highly decorated. The savings to the company? Labor hours for the crew to hang these decorations, as well as savings in the actual items used to decorate. The entrée items have been revised. For instance, surf and turf may be a large shrimp with a tiny filet mignon. Seldom did we see lobster tail and steak together. Caviar was served only a few times.

 

Most people did adhere to the suggested “gala” attire for those evenings, except for the Daisy duke shorts one lady wore to her table. Not one word was said to her. In fact, we were told by the head waiters that no one could be turned away from the dining room unless they were wearing shorts and t-shirts on gala nights.

 

Also long gone are the farewell parade at the end of the cruise, and also no more Baked Alaska dessert. Another tradition to die.

 

The special chocolate gourmandizes are missing from gala nights. The only place you will find these offered after dinner is in the Pinnacle Grill Restaurant. That is less work for one crew member in the galley.

 

The little jam and jelly jars are missing in the dining room at breakfast. If you like them better, you can BEG for them, as they are available for the guests on deck seven, who dine in the Pinnacle Grill in the morning. The jars hold twice as much product, so the foil packets have to be cheaper for the company to buy.

 

The dessert carts that were used to display the various offerings every evening were taken off the ship in Bali. These were the flambe units, which were no longer used once open flames were not allowed on ships anymore. We understand that, but we liked the dessert display. That way, we could see what these fancy-named desserts were, instead of taking a chance and guessing. Many times, what we ordered was not what we thought it would be. We heard through the grapevine that a lot of the desserts were not being ordered after the display was pulled. The leftovers were served later at the night buffet, and the rest, consumed by the crew. More labor saved, as someone does not have to set up the dessert cart anymore.

 

Whoever decided that open seating dining on deck four, with fixed seating upstairs on deck five would be a good idea on a world cruise had to be dreaming. For some unknown reason, the majority of folks have chosen to eat around 6:30 to 7pm. Thinking they could show up and get a table without waiting was dreaming. We do know there were a whole lot of unhappy people in the beginning. At 8pm on deck four, the room was half full at most. Good for us since we got served quickly most nights, but a real headache for the early diners and especially the wait staff. They did not appear to be happy campers.

 

After the world cruise ended, the waiters were directed to do place settings with minimal silverware. Half the time, you were looking for forks, knives, or spoons, because they were not there. And the addition of new white “plain Jane” plate ware was a mistake. The food was never hot after they started using the new bowls and dinner plates. Soups had to be served with a gravy bowl, and even then, they were not piping hot. Hope they have resolved this issue by now.

 

We used to be able to pre-purchase internet packages before we joined the ship. By doing that, we would get 100 extra minutes on a 1000 minute package. That deal is gone. When we got onboard, we asked about the extra minutes for buying the 1000 minute package, and found that no extra minutes were offered anymore. Apparently, there had been issues regarding the slow internet before we got on in Ft. Lauderdale, so about two weeks into the trip, a special offer was presented, where we did get the extra minutes. It only happened once on the entire cruise.

 

Guess we have been spoiled on past world cruises, because we all used to get a gift on formal nights. They were not always expensive, but they were consistent. Now we are lucky to get something perhaps every two weeks or longer. A most definite cutback. We did appreciate what we got, but missed the special gifts of stuffed animals or electronic type gifts. At least, the commemorative plates were close to being correct this year.

 

There are no “live” bands at sail away anymore. Something to do with the band’s hours and union rules and port rules, etc. Sure miss hearing the usual songs that people loved. If we are lucky, there is some piped in music in the backround.

 

It came as a surprise that the cocktail party in the Wajang Theater prior to the Captain’s Dinner had been eliminated. That was the best part of the evening, as they served the most delicious treats with your cocktails. It only lasted for about ½ hour, so how much can they save by not doing it? It was only for the full world cruisers, which this year was over half of the folks. Guess that does add up.

 

What should not cost anything is re-running the guest lecturer’s talks on TV the same day they give a talk. This did not happen. We were given a completely mysterious answer as to why these lectures were not shown. Even one of the lecturers did not know his talks were not repeated for all to hear. He had no objection, and resented the fact his talks were not reaching everyone. Others did complain, and we did find that towards the end of the cruise, someone saw fit to put these talks on TV. But it did not last long.

 

And we did find that our wonderful sandwich-maker in the Lido had been re-assigned to the pasta bar after the world cruise ended. No more custom sandwiches or paninis. We detest those pre-made sandwiches with mystery ingredients. Talking to one fellow, he told us that he would take three of those pre-made rolls, take out what he liked, and made his own sandwich with regular bread from the line. The rest of the fillings and hard bread? He threw it in the garbage. Checking the Lido sandwich bar daily, we notice that few of the sandwiches were taken. Their best customers would be the crew who had little time to grab lunch.

 

The biggest improvement we saw was in the salad bar in the Lido. Everything was made to order with all of the bowls behind the glass. Even the dressings were not community-shared. Much better idea, which probably came from the new Hotel Director, we assume.

 

The last observance we had was in regards to the President’s Club events. Technically, we only had two events. One was a dinner in the King’s Room when the top administrators arrived in Sydney. The other one was a special kitchen tour, which was really fun with behind the scenes demos with the top chefs. A delicious tasting menu followed with heaps of champagne and wines.

 

One affair was a cocktail party in the Officer’s Bar on deck A. However, we were mixed with all the folks on deck seven, making the room terribly over-crowded. Not sure what they were thinking on that one. Last year, we had only the PC folks and officers, not only having a cocktail party, but served a dinner as well.

 

That’s most of the changes we have noticed this year…

 

Bill and Mary Ann

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Thanks for all this. I wonder at the point of a gala night at all. The guests don't want to dress up and the staff don't want to dress the dining room. Seems entirely unnecessary. Why dress up the dining room for daisy dukes? But I digress from my real question. I can't recall if you or the other thread mentioned it at all but did you have any noro on your cruise? Not you personally but the ship? If not, there must be some magic to how they ran things!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

Edited by chefestelle

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Report # 138 Getting back to normal.........................May 25, 2016 Wednesday

 

Well, here we are, home for over a week, and inundated with stuff to do. As always, we try to maintain our routine, and fit in the extra work a little at a time. Our luggage did arrive three days after we got back, which was good. It came in one piece, and so far, we have found nothing broken. Eventually, all will be put away. And thanks to the complimentary laundry, most everything we brought home is clean.

 

In regards to the changes we have noticed during the world cruise, we kept a list. Most everything was small, but definitely a change. Even though they may seem insignificant to most, added up fleet wide, these deletions can make a difference with labor and food costs on the ships.

 

In the very beginning of the world cruise, we noticed there were very few days where “buy one, get one for $1” beverages in the Ocean Bar and Crow’s Nest happened during the 6 to 7pm time slot. They did offer the special at the 4 to 5pm happy hour every day. After a couple of weeks, the later happy hour never happened. That is until a group of disgruntled folks protested, and got the 6 to 7pm happy hour restored every day. In our opinion, we should not have to BEG for it. But that’s what happened. The minute the world cruise ended, so did the later happy hour.

 

The following things we found were about the dining venues. The new “gala” nights, in our way of thinking, have always meant a decorated La Fontaine Dining Room. This does not always happen. The nights that were labeled “classic” meant absolutely no decorations. Barely even a fancy dinner menu. Remember the rolled menus we got on “formal” evenings? They are long gone. Now we get a half-size folded four page mini-menu with limited choices. This year, we only had 14 gala nights, and only about half of those were highly decorated. The savings to the company? Labor hours for the crew to hang these decorations, as well as savings in the actual items used to decorate. The entrée items have been revised. For instance, surf and turf may be a large shrimp with a tiny filet mignon. Seldom did we see lobster tail and steak together. Caviar was served only a few times.

 

Most people did adhere to the suggested “gala” attire for those evenings, except for the Daisy duke shorts one lady wore to her table. Not one word was said to her. In fact, we were told by the head waiters that no one could be turned away from the dining room unless they were wearing shorts and t-shirts on gala nights.

 

Also long gone are the farewell parade at the end of the cruise, and also no more Baked Alaska dessert. Another tradition to die.

 

The special chocolate gourmandizes are missing from gala nights. The only place you will find these offered after dinner is in the Pinnacle Grill Restaurant. That is less work for one crew member in the galley.

 

The little jam and jelly jars are missing in the dining room at breakfast. If you like them better, you can BEG for them, as they are available for the guests on deck seven, who dine in the Pinnacle Grill in the morning. The jars hold twice as much product, so the foil packets have to be cheaper for the company to buy.

 

The dessert carts that were used to display the various offerings every evening were taken off the ship in Bali. These were the flambe units, which were no longer used once open flames were not allowed on ships anymore. We understand that, but we liked the dessert display. That way, we could see what these fancy-named desserts were, instead of taking a chance and guessing. Many times, what we ordered was not what we thought it would be. We heard through the grapevine that a lot of the desserts were not being ordered after the display was pulled. The leftovers were served later at the night buffet, and the rest, consumed by the crew. More labor saved, as someone does not have to set up the dessert cart anymore.

 

Whoever decided that open seating dining on deck four, with fixed seating upstairs on deck five would be a good idea on a world cruise had to be dreaming. For some unknown reason, the majority of folks have chosen to eat around 6:30 to 7pm. Thinking they could show up and get a table without waiting was dreaming. We do know there were a whole lot of unhappy people in the beginning. At 8pm on deck four, the room was half full at most. Good for us since we got served quickly most nights, but a real headache for the early diners and especially the wait staff. They did not appear to be happy campers.

 

After the world cruise ended, the waiters were directed to do place settings with minimal silverware. Half the time, you were looking for forks, knives, or spoons, because they were not there. And the addition of new white “plain Jane” plate ware was a mistake. The food was never hot after they started using the new bowls and dinner plates. Soups had to be served with a gravy bowl, and even then, they were not piping hot. Hope they have resolved this issue by now.

 

We used to be able to pre-purchase internet packages before we joined the ship. By doing that, we would get 100 extra minutes on a 1000 minute package. That deal is gone. When we got onboard, we asked about the extra minutes for buying the 1000 minute package, and found that no extra minutes were offered anymore. Apparently, there had been issues regarding the slow internet before we got on in Ft. Lauderdale, so about two weeks into the trip, a special offer was presented, where we did get the extra minutes. It only happened once on the entire cruise.

 

Guess we have been spoiled on past world cruises, because we all used to get a gift on formal nights. They were not always expensive, but they were consistent. Now we are lucky to get something perhaps every two weeks or longer. A most definite cutback. We did appreciate what we got, but missed the special gifts of stuffed animals or electronic type gifts. At least, the commemorative plates were close to being correct this year.

 

There are no “live” bands at sail away anymore. Something to do with the band’s hours and union rules and port rules, etc. Sure miss hearing the usual songs that people loved. If we are lucky, there is some piped in music in the backround.

 

It came as a surprise that the cocktail party in the Wajang Theater prior to the Captain’s Dinner had been eliminated. That was the best part of the evening, as they served the most delicious treats with your cocktails. It only lasted for about ½ hour, so how much can they save by not doing it? It was only for the full world cruisers, which this year was over half of the folks. Guess that does add up.

 

What should not cost anything is re-running the guest lecturer’s talks on TV the same day they give a talk. This did not happen. We were given a completely mysterious answer as to why these lectures were not shown. Even one of the lecturers did not know his talks were not repeated for all to hear. He had no objection, and resented the fact his talks were not reaching everyone. Others did complain, and we did find that towards the end of the cruise, someone saw fit to put these talks on TV. But it did not last long.

 

And we did find that our wonderful sandwich-maker in the Lido had been re-assigned to the pasta bar after the world cruise ended. No more custom sandwiches or paninis. We detest those pre-made sandwiches with mystery ingredients. Talking to one fellow, he told us that he would take three of those pre-made rolls, take out what he liked, and made his own sandwich with regular bread from the line. The rest of the fillings and hard bread? He threw it in the garbage. Checking the Lido sandwich bar daily, we notice that few of the sandwiches were taken. Their best customers would be the crew who had little time to grab lunch.

 

The biggest improvement we saw was in the salad bar in the Lido. Everything was made to order with all of the bowls behind the glass. Even the dressings were not community-shared. Much better idea, which probably came from the new Hotel Director, we assume.

 

The last observance we had was in regards to the President’s Club events. Technically, we only had two events. One was a dinner in the King’s Room when the top administrators arrived in Sydney. The other one was a special kitchen tour, which was really fun with behind the scenes demos with the top chefs. A delicious tasting menu followed with heaps of champagne and wines.

 

One affair was a cocktail party in the Officer’s Bar on deck A. However, we were mixed with all the folks on deck seven, making the room terribly over-crowded. Not sure what they were thinking on that one. Last year, we had only the PC folks and officers, not only having a cocktail party, but served a dinner as well.

 

That’s most of the changes we have noticed this year…

 

Bill and Mary Ann

 

 

 

Wishing you many happy cruises

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Bill: I may be wrong, but I thought you had a conversation with a new

Hotman , named Craig or Curtis, who mentioned some changes in the industry.

I would be interested in knowing what they might be.....if not confidential.

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Report # 139 Oops……we aren’t done yet May 25, 2016 Wednesday Weather at home: beautiful in the high 70’s

 

We were not quite done with the changes with the HAL cruise product on both the world cruise and the Panama Canal sailing.

 

If any of you have ever sailed on the newer ships, you would instantly know that the televisions on the Amsterdam are obsolete. Yes, we do get a few news channels, and four movie stations (pre-recorded), and numerous in-house channels. Some of these stations are good for keeping us up-to-date on world news and weather, but the movies can use a little work. We have to admit their selection was a bit better this year as far as cycling in more recent films. However, they did repeat themselves after a certain amount of time, like every three weeks. We did appreciate the port talks and the shore excursion descriptions. But the in-house shopping channels were almost overwhelming. Instead of broadcasting the lecturer’s talks, they promoted sales from every department, which involved the use of several stations. This included future cruise itineraries, everything sold in the ship’s shops, jewelry, and the biggest sales pitch……photography and videos. Don’t get us wrong, we understand this is a business, but the photography was really overdone on the Panama Canal cruise. Many days, the photographers set up the backdrops where the passengers almost tripped over the fabric or the lights. We get it that on formal (gala) nights, people may want to have their photos taken. But towards the end of the 16 day trip, this was set up every evening from 4pm to 9pm outside the Ocean Bar. We always like to sit on the couches opposite the Ocean Bar around 5pm, but when these guys were flashing their lights every 5 seconds, we were blinded. No, they were not taking anyone’s photos, just flashing the lights. It gives the impression that dozens of folks are stopping for pictures, when in fact, only a handful stop. A day did not go by, without a flyer of some sort on our mail slot with specials on the photos or videos.

 

Anyway, we suggest their whole system of the TV should be upgraded to on-demand movies, and also having access to your shipboard account (using a personal password). We have been on other lines where over 200 movies could be watched at your own convenience, pausing, and returning at any given time. Bet this is available on the new Koningsdam. We doubt a ship of that size will ever be used for a world cruise, so we think that small upgrades like this do belong on a Grand Voyage.

 

The internet? Well that is another subject we probably do not need to address, as it has been a major discussion already on other blogs. Understanding that internet while out at sea is not the same as internet on land is a given. However, better technology is out there, and it is working with other cruise lines. Bottom line…..you get what you pay for. A few years ago, the HAL ships switched to a different provider, but we have not seen an improvement with their system. To be fair, we have to say if we ran into problems that caused us to lose minutes, all we had to do is report it, and the minutes were re-instated. The problems usually happened when the system was shut down for repairs, and no one tells you that. Yes, it did happen often, especially when we left Ft. Lauderdale. Do you know how many times we were told, “We’re working on it”???

 

Our best bet with successful internet, was finding a time when few people would be on it. That turned out to be perhaps 4am, not exactly convenient for one of us, but do-able. Arriving to a port or leaving a port? Forget it, as the system is shut down sometimes, or you are automatically cut off. Also, watch the times for emergency crew drills. Many times, all ship services are interrupted. Bottom line……..we doubt we see much improvement with the internet in the near future.

 

During this particular cruise, there were many flooding issues here, there, and everywhere on the ship. Dripping ceilings appeared on the lower promenade deck, as well as the entrance to the dining room on deck four. One of our best buddies, Tom M, was flooded five times in his room on deck six. Several times, decks six and seven had no water, because it had to be shut down for half a day. Sudden ceiling drips developed on deck one, and we heard of walls leaking in between cabins. We did have one instance when the commode began to fill and not shut off. The plumber was there in minutes, and changed the whole thing. It never did that again. We suspect that when the ship goes into drydock next year, these things will be addressed, we hope. Actually, in some of the Mediterranean ports, we noticed a dock full of electrical and plumbing supplies and equipment coming onboard, so some of this work may have begun behind the scenes. In addition, we did spot some outside contractors, not regular crew members, working on the outside decks on the Panama Canal cruise.

 

On a positive note, we were very happy with the special treatment we received from the Hotel Director, Craig. He went out of his way to meet and greet the ongoing travelers from the world cruise, especially the six of us President’s Club members. We had as many events on the 16 day cruise as we had on the 115 world cruise. As for the difference between a grand voyage compared to a shorter cruise, we can say there are few differences as far as we could see. Instead of two guest lecturers, we had only one at a time. There were a few less offerings on the dinner menu for entrees, but we always found something we liked. If not, then we always had the ten complimentary Pinnacle Grill dinners to use. A couple of the entertainers that were on the world cruise had stayed onboard to perform again. We did attend many of the performances, but did not always stay for the full show. Pretty difficult to burn the candle at both ends. Of course, we did not get gifts on the Panama Canal sailing, but then, we have to remind ourselves that we are not paying the higher per diem rate either. No matter what cruise you take, the service cannot be beat from the excellent crew and staff.

 

And that’s why we come back. There are too many pluses that keep us coming back now that we have reached this summit. It’s comfortable….it’s home for the approximate six months we travel a year. And we will be back, God-willing, next September on the Tales of the South Pacific on the Amsterdam, of course. Stayed tuned, as we will share our adventure with you all once again. Thanks for coming along, and many thanks for all the positive comments…………..very much appreciated!

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Hi lidojohnny,

Both hotel directors mentioned the same thing to us regarding the changes coming with the new slogan, Savor the Journey, which replaced Signature of Excellence. We understand that the direction HAL is headed is to create a "sameness" with all of the ships in the fleet. We see it as a stripping of the traditional touches that made the ships decidedly Dutch. It was very apparent to see when we toured the new Koningsdam while we were in Civitavecchia. Yes, the ship is new, but the feel of the old ships is gone. Very little distinctive personality about her. Nice? Yes, but in a new hotel type of nice.

 

The changes began with the new plate ware they began to use in the dining room. Plain white and generic. Bet we see more things different when we join the ship next September.

 

Greetings Peg and Rich!

Always good to see you both. Pizza sounds good to us. Doesn't it always? Looking forward to the 2017 world cruise!

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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I have really enjoyed following along with your posts as you cruised from one amazing port to the next. Thank you so much for sharing your treasured experiences with all of us!

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"But towards the end of the 16 day trip, this was set up every evening from 4pm to 9pm outside the Ocean Bar. We always like to sit on the couches opposite the Ocean Bar around 5pm, but when these guys were flashing their lights every 5 seconds, we were blinded. No, they were not taking anyone’s photos, just flashing the lights. It gives the impression that dozens of folks are stopping for pictures, when in fact, only a handful stop."

 

Had not heard of this photographer's trick. I will have to look for it.

 

Thanks, Bill and Mary Ann, for another great cruise blog, I can't wait for the next.

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Report # 138 Getting back to normal.........................May 25, 2016 Wednesday

Talking to one fellow, he told us that he would take three of those pre-made rolls, take out what he liked, and made his own sandwich with regular bread from the line. The rest of the fillings and hard bread? He threw it in the garbage.

 

 

 

Bill and Mary Ann

 

What an utterly disgraceful waste of food especially considering some of the poor countries HAL visits. How selfish can someone possibly be?

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Always enjoy your posts but was really interested in how the panama canal trip would feel different from the world cruise. From our limited experience it wasn't as different as we thought it might be, but that may have been a function of seeing so many familiar faces, both passenger and crew.

 

I agree that they need to do something quickly with the plumbing and water issues. We love the Amsterdam. It feels like home when you board and the crew and service are always exceptional. However, it is hard to sustain that feeling when you are dodging buckets in the hallway, the toilet stops working and the ceiling on the back of the lower promenade deck needs urgent attention. As you know we had folks traveling with us for the first time on a cruise and they were very happy with their experience but these maintenance problems made me feel embarassed. Maybe I identify too much with the ship.

 

Also agree that they need to upgrade the tv package. Not too interested in extra channels but less selling and more replays of guest lectures and port info would be very much appreciated.

 

All that being said, we are already looking forward to getting back onboard for another world cruise and paying off my pizza debts. Stay well and hope to see you soon.

 

Rich and Peg

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Bill and Mary Ann,

 

You mention the Amsterdam going into dry dock next year. Do you have more information about when this will occur and what they plan to do?

 

Thank you for your observations. I have enjoyed reading all your posts.

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We heard that by the end of the either the 2017 World Cruise, or perhaps before the Alaska runs, the Amsterdam will go into dry dock for about three weeks. Don't know if it will be in Seattle or Canada. This is purely what we heard from the ship's staff.

 

The upgrades should be with the bathrooms and televisions, probably starting from the upper guest decks, working their way down. We do know that deck seven already got these upgrades.

 

Guess we will have to wait and see, as this work is sorely needed to be done.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Thanks for the updates. How would you rate your land tour? We were

just wondering what you though about it. Thanks again, can't wait until

"we" will be cruising along with you again. Thanks

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I just found CC community a few weeks ago and now found this blog. I had to jump to the end and tell you how excited I am to go back to the beginning and read the entire blog. It looks like you have an amazing group of followers and that we can all learn a ton from you.

Can't wait to read!!!

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