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

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Speaking of that rare pork chop, has any one heard of anyone contracting trichanosis (sp) . I haven't!!!

Yul Brynner.

 

I have been eating thoroughly cooked pork for so long that I have a mental block against having it any other way.

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Report # 14 Sailing Towards Nuku Hiva January 13, 2016 Wednesday Partly cloudy, rain, & 79 degrees

 

Well, just as the Captain said, the weather took a turn today. It was wet and wetter. During breakfast, we watched as sheets of water cascading down the aft picture windows in the dining room. The ship is getting a super-wash.

 

Good thing there are tons of activities to keep everyone occupied today. Key lectures continued in the Queens Lounge. Two guest speakers gave talks on the Pacific Ocean, and the voyages of the Mayflower. Our location guide, Barbara H, gave people hints of what to do and see in Nuku Hiva. A different behind the scenes speech offered was a look at the back stage workings of the Huber Marionettes. The puppet master described in detail how the puppets are made and how he operates them. Sure was interesting to see how his career evolved over the years.

 

Today we will concentrate on the artsy side of cruising on sea days. This ship offers many creative outlets for the talented passengers, both advanced and those who want to learn. Around 8am, a big group of mostly ladies were gathered and waiting for the Polynesian team members conduct a shell-making class in the Lido pool area. Perhaps it was the mention in the newsletter that space and supplies were limited, that enticed the folks to be first in line. The class actually began an hour ahead of time, not 9am, since it was full.

 

A most favorite pastime for some folks is watercolors class. It is held sea days at 9am, and again at 1pm. This year the instructors are Carol and Margaret. We know some people that discovered they had a talent they never knew they had before taking these classes. At least one of them continued with the craft at home, and eventually began to sell their art, and enter into contests.

 

Several people, including a few fellows, join a group called sit, knit, & needlework. It is non-hosted and held in the Explorers Lounge. Knowing that this activity takes place on most long voyages, they come prepared with the yarn and kits to complete while sailing. Then while in the ports, they search out materials in foreign countries. On past trips, we have seen quilts, sweaters, hats, socks, and mittens, as well as wall hangings created in four months or less. Busy hands, happy hearts.

 

Arts and crafts always draws a big crowd. It is held in the Lido at 2:30pm, where instructors Judi and Skip supply the craft materials, then teach the folks to create useful little items. Today the project was a small glass tray that they covered with fabric. Since glue was involved, the instructors even supplied hand wipes to clean their sticky hands. Tomorrow they will be making rolled paper necklace beads, something we have seen and bought in foreign countries.

 

We did get some exercise this morning, but did get wet doing it while strolling the lower promenade deck. The rain came off and on for most of the day….sometimes really heavy. No chance of seeing any sun today, or anytime soon we suspect. It held off long enough for us to sit out back by the pool. The clouds were blue-black on the horizon, actually very impressive. No matter where you looked, we could see rain hitting the ocean. Luckily, it was windy, but the seas were not choppy or rough. Manny, our favorite bar tender, came back with our glasses of water at exactly 11:45am. He does this daily on sea days. This time he warned us that a huge cloud was about to arrive, and we would need to take cover. We could tell that it was coming, because the breeze dropped 10 degrees. Before we knew it, the ship was going through the car wash once again.

 

We surprised Barbie by going to lunch in the dining room at noon. She laughed when she saw us waiting there. We all had the navy bean soup, while we each tried a different entrée. The portions are just right, and you don’t overeat. It was around 2pm by the time we left, after settling all of the problems of the world (we wish).

 

It was a good time to visit friends Bill and Leta. We spent some of the afternoon chatting on their veranda. Sure brought back memories of when we were “neighbors” on deck six on a couple of world cruises several years ago. We got acquainted over the railing and veranda divider. Been friends ever since.

 

Did we mention we got our second installment of President’s Club gifts today? One of them was flowers, but way different than we have ever seen. This arrangement was a collection of no water flower bulbs (really amarylas). Each extra-large bulb was dipped in wax, then decorated with more colored wax. Since they are completely sealed, there is no need for water. The stems are already 12 inches high, and the six bulbs are secured somehow in a shallow glass tray. Anyway, while we were at the front desk making a date to participate in an upcoming cooking class, we saw samples of these bulbs that are available to purchase. Each one is $16.50 or three for $45. So we really appreciate our gift now. It is guaranteed to bloom within 3 to 6 weeks. So along with the ones we have planted already, our room should be very colorful and happy.

 

This evening was the second gala night of the cruise. The dining room was decorated to compliment the theme of Black and Silver, followed by a ball of the same name. And we had company, a lovely young lady who works in the jewelry shop onboard. She is from a tiny island in the Caribbean belonging to the country of Colombia called Isle de la Providencia. It just happens that we have been there once, and by total accident, one of us was wearing a t-shirt from there today. She could not believe that we had been there, since most people have never heard of it. Anyway, the evening was delightful as she shared her life as a child and also spoke a lot about the food they love there. She had all of us drooling describing the fresh salsas and seafood dishes that her parents fixed at their restaurant on the tiny island. We all invited her back anytime she wishes.

 

The ball began at 9:30pm, close to the time we finished dinner. In the past, these balls started at 10pm, but the attendance was not always the best. So now, they start these affairs earlier. Crowded, folks showed up in their best black and silver attire to dance, enjoy some cocktails, and hope to win the prizes of onboard services and more.

 

The good news was that the clocks went back another hour tonight. Or is that good news? It is happening so often now, we won’t know what time it is, as dinnertime becomes lunch, and lunch breakfast.

 

We have been warned that the internet may be spotty or lost at times on our way to the Marquesas. Simply put, there is not enough landmass for us to get the signals strongly. So we will post when we can.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Mary Ann many thanks again for taking time to keep us updated. Although the weather wasn't the best no one should have been bored yesterday.

Barb

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While I don't post my thanks every day for your updates, I do hope you understand how much we all appreciate them.:)

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Hi All

 

If you are interested in seeing the many pictures that accompany these reports, go to:

 

http://cruisingwithbillandmaryann.blogspot.com

 

You can also enter your email on the homepage if you would like to be notified when new content becomes available.

 

WJNWJB

 

Thank you for taking the time to post these pictures -- I know how time consuming it is.

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I am enjoying reading your reports so thank you for giving your time to write

them so we can travel with you.

 

Susan

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Thanks for posting the blogspot address for the pictures and other extras.

 

Charles

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Just coming back to this thread to see what was going on and to say thank you.

A few hours ago at work I was surprised ( and delighted) to have received an email update from your blog. (I had subscribed a few years back). At first I was trying to figure out who Bill and Mary Ann were..... and why did they sound familiar? During the WC I normally read your thread every morning with breakfast- (and I didn't remember subscribing to the CC thread, so email was a little out of context).

 

Anyway, thank you for reopening your blog. I know it takes a lot of effort from all of you. I'm going to go back now and reread each day now. :)

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Thank you for posting a GREAT blog, it is really fun to read, and I know a lot of work, and time.

Cyndi

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Thanks so much for the photo link!!!! I am enjoying your Blog so much!

 

Cheers, Denise

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Yes! A also am thanking you for "bringing us along with you" as you travel the world. It is the only way some of us can "see" it.

 

I love the pics on your blog!

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We had the pleasure of meeting Bill And Mary Ann, quite by accident in the Azores last year. We have been reading the reports of their world cruises for years. Thanks for taking the time to write these reports, it helps to get us through the Western New York winters. I have one problem with the blog in that the pictures do not look like the Bill and Mary Ann we met, not even close. Are there two Bill and Mary Ann on this cruise?

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Report # 15 Sailing Towards Nuku Hiva January 14, 2016 Thursday Partly cloudy & 78 degrees

 

Well, the day turned out to be totally opposite from the last couple of days. The Amsterdam has seemed to sail clear of the rainy skies and found some great weather. Sure is fine with us.

 

Due to the many time changes, lots of folks are waking up early, and taking advantage of breakfast in the dining room. We have never been big fans of the Lido breakfast, only grabbing some quick items when going on an all day shore excursion. The wait staff has completely spoiled us by assigning us a table for two (179), providing our favorite juice, and leaving a blueberry muffin or cinnamon roll on the dishes for our arrival. It has not taken long for the waiters to know what we like, such as hot coffee…one regular and one decaf, and the little jars of jams that are no longer available in this dining room. Now if you were guests from deck seven, then you would dine in the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast daily. This is something new they are doing on this world cruise. Usually, they dined on the starboard side of deck four every morning.

 

For those folks that enjoy card games and gambling, this would be the trip for you. Beginning at 9am, beginner bridge is offered with new instructors, Gail and Michael. For those who are more advanced in the game, intermediate bridge is held at 10am.

 

At 11am in the Casino, they conducted complimentary gaming lessons. Today they were teaching Texas Hold ‘em.

 

At 1pm, there was a $10 blackjack tournament, round two, in the Casino. At 1:30pm, we found many card tables set up in the Atrium, deck three. They were for the groups of game players meeting to play party bridge, mah jongg, dominos, and board games.

 

Then at 1:30pm, more tables are set outside the dining room on five for bridge play with the instructors.

 

At 2:30pm, a $60 Texas Hold’em was held once again in the Casino. The same game is repeated at 9pm, with a $1 to $2 no limit.

 

The big event of the day is Big Bucks Bingo at 4pm. It is held in the Queens Lounge, where they sell 3 cards for $15, six cards for $25, and $5 for add ons. There was a day, years ago, when the entire ship’s population filled the lounge for this event. The jackpot always seemed to grow immense by the end of a cruise, so the take could be big. We heard a rumor that the game could not be played a few days ago, because they did not attract more than 20 people. Wonder if this will be a thing of the past?

 

While hiking around the deck this morning, we got the lowdown from a friend on the first Captain’s Dinner that was held in the Pinnacle Grill last night. Going back several days ago, all of the full world cruisers (about 700 of us), received their assigned evening to attend this affair. We happened to notice that there was no mention about meeting in the Wajang Theater for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before the served meal. Turned out, there was no pre-dinner reception. It has been eliminated. No doubt, in previous years, it was rushed, as we had a short ½ hour to order a cocktail and eat some of the tastiest treats with that drink. The sliced marinated filet was to die for. Scallops were also a treat for most. The served dinner with officers at each table was elegant, taking close to three hours to complete. Our friend said they were seated with a couple from India, who spoke little English, and did not attempt to communicate much with the officer or them. That’s why we go as a group, and that way there are no surprises. At least the gift of commemorative salt and pepper shakers were well received at the end of the evening.

 

We forgot to mention the excellent entrée most of us ate last night for the gala evening. It was the beef Wellington plate. The meat was as good as it gets, cooked medium, with a rich concentrated gravy. We can say for a fact that the quality of the food is a notch or two above our recent South Pacific cruise in the fall of 2015. Bernie Rius, the former chef on world cruises, often said that you cannot make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear. He was so right. This evening, we ordered the veal loin, but it turned out to be more like wienerschnitzel. We also shared the almost vegetarian manicotti stuffed with cheese, corn, and spinach with tomato sauce. The cooks have added a hint of jalapeno pepper to these dishes to give it a lift. We all seem to like it. Even though there were very tempting desserts to order, we stuck to the sugar-free jello. With the new menu formats, jello is not on the nightly menu anymore. But our waiters seem to be able to find it somewhere.

 

The entertainment was held at 7:15pm, one show only. It featured a couple, The Evasons, a mind reading duo. Their act was reportedly mixed with intrigue, a dash of romance, and laugh out loud moments. Our new tablemates, Bonnie and Paul did find a few intriguing moments, but thought the show was not as spell-binding as advertised. We had gotten drawn into a movie, and forgot to go to the show.

 

Guess what went back again tonight? The clocks……one hour back. Normally, we like this, but it is becoming too much too soon. Even the staff is noticing it, as we are noticing several staff members yawning during the day. Believe us, it is catching.

 

We lost the internet connection around 4pm today. So the warning in the daily newsletter became reality.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

PS For those who may be interested in photos, our son has created a blog site, and will post from time to time.

 

Here is the site:

 

http://cruisingwithbillandmaryann.blogspot.com

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