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kazu

Live from the Westerdam-Join the "Pearls of the Pacific" gang's South Pacific Cruise

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I agree with Ruth C, Kainoa is the best. He was our location guide last September on an Alaskan cruise on the Amsterdam. He knows Alaska as well as he knows Hawaii and the South Pacific. You will receive great information.

 

We had Kainoa on an Alaska cruise, and he really knows his stuff. A fascinating presenter, and I really liked that he was available at the gangway at every port for more questions as we got off and offered ideas on what to do.

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On my way out but grabbed a few screen shots for you. It is -1 and snowing here...looks like you are having much nicer weather!! Sorry I was anxious to catch a screen shot before the camera moved but I still have the exit message on the screen.

 

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Hopefully I will be home in time to catch a few more.

 

Bon Voyage!

 

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Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Thanks for the great shots Glen & Gail.

 

Well, as I think you have all surmised, our embarkation was a total zoo yesterday. I have heard reports that San Diego is a mess and you can consider this my complete agreement. I haven never been so tired when I arrived on a ship. You had to fight for a porter/stevedore as you were dropped off far from where the bags were checked (probably just as well as I heard one person say there were 100 people there and one person checking the bags). The lines snaked for miles. In and out and in and out. We were weary before we even got to the lineup to get on board. Only one elevator working so the lines were backed up big time. I was suggested the stairs, but with only one good arm, I wasn't going to try to manager my carry on & wine with no arm to hang onto the railing.

 

Luckily for us, they got permission to open the lower level of the ship (I think it was the crew entrance as it was by the medical centre?) and they raised the rope to let some of us in that way. We lucked out. The security officer said that it was the first time that they had ever been able to get permission to do that but that they had to do something with just the one elevator working.

 

Thankfully, our rooms were ready when we arrived and we were able to drop off our luggage and put the valuables in the safe. The first thing I did was sign us up of the Master Chef's Table.

 

I nipped up to the spa to meet scluvsrain (Sherita) as we were sharing a spa package. I was really glad to find another person so we could get the couples rate as the single rate was really high. I am hoping the hydro pool will help my arm and elbow and my rehab exercises. There was a special on for embarkation day for prices to Seattle. For anyone interested, the couples' rate was $599 and the spa ladies kindly accommodated us and charged our cabins individually which I thought was really nice.

 

With that done, we were going to be close to closing for the embarkation lunch so we decided better never than that late. So, yes there was an embarkation lunch in the MDR ;). And from what I hear from others on the roll call, the champagne (aka sparkling wine) was flowing endlessly and the food was good.

 

Then there was a Mariner's Reception at 2:00 p.m. In the Crow's Nest. And yes, they asked to see your invitation or your room key. The place was pretty full pretty quickly and the drinks and appetizers flowed. CD, HD and other officers were there which was quite nice.

 

Checked our room and we were still missing some of our luggage so we grabbed a quick bite at the Dive In to absorb those drinks ;). The wine steward came around and we got our Master Cellar dinner signed up for and it was then lifeboat drill time.

 

Good news on the lifeboat drill - they SCANNED our key cards. It was done in record time and as smooth as silk. From there it was straight to the aft/seaview pool for our Sail a Way party.

 

BUT, at 5 pm, we could see they were still loading luggage so our get together started to dwindle since those on early dining had to leave shortly for dinner. Once the luggage was finally on board, we were off in record time.

 

We headed back to our cabin to check on the luggage. Normally we are all unpacked (or mostly) before the lifeboat drill and I didn't want to face that after dinner as I knew we were weary. All our luggage had arrived so, painful or not, I moved quickly to try to get most of the stuff put away. Time moved too quickly and we barely got to dinner let alone down to the Ocean Bar to try to meet up with a couple of roll call members for drinks.

 

Big surprise, I didn't even look at the key card except for the cabin number and went to the WRONG dining room!!! Fixed dining is now on the 2nd level and "anytime"/"as you wish" (as HAL calls it on the key card) is now on the 3rd level. Just goes to show you what happens when you are too familiar.

 

MDR dinner was a big surprise. First of all there was no prime rib. I also noticed a difference in the way the menus are done. First nights are usually a mess but I have to say our service was like clock work. Introductions, asking if we had any special requests or preferences, asking if we wanted a wine steward, plates removed promptly and service seamless. Very pleased (Oceania might like to take a lesson ).

 

Checked out Adagio but the room was really COLD so I had to move on. Checked out casino (nope, no kindness there) and left. After a nice walk, we decided to head to bed. The embarkation and hurry up and wait and really done us in. And tomorrow was another day.

 

Heading to tap a talk to post a few things.

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Here is the dining room menu from night one. I had the chicken which was very nice and DH had the steak. I asked him about it as I had read reports of it being thin and tough. His looked good and he said it was.

 

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Here is the Embarkation On Location.

 

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Going to try to get some pics transferred and I will be back shortly to get caught up. Lunch and the spa are calling though. Will back track to our pre-cruise dinner and our meet and greet is today. Busy, busy, busy :)

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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We went to Mass this morning at 8. The Hudson Room was packed. I hope they move to the Culinary Arts Centre next week. They were having an Interdenominational service at 9., so Father John went along at a pretty good clip. He has a very nice voice.

 

We went to the port lecture after breakfast, especially to hear Kainoa, but it was really just a sales spiel for the shore excursions. I hope we will hear more from him later.

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Thank you all for taking time to post. I will certainly follow and wish I were there.

Laurie

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I may have missed it, but how long is your cruise? I tried looking for it on the website, but didn't see it. Thanks

 

 

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I was at the 8 am mass too. I loved Father John's homily. He asked for volunteers to lector at the masses and someone to help with the schedule. Being I am the Head of Lectors at my church at home i volunteered for the job.

 

Having a good time and meeting a lot of people who are all very friendly and want to know about "Jack the bear". Have met more people that way.

Edited by Traveling Dot

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Jacqui's explanation of anytime dining being moved to the third level explains why everyone was eating when we walked into the third level to take our fixed dining table for two The waiter welcomed us by name as we sat down.

 

There was also a lineup there, which I found strange, but Jacqui's post now makes clear.

 

I am guessing that the only way they could accommodate our request for a two top was to put us in the anytime area. No problem as service was exceptional.

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Jacqui's explanation of anytime dining being moved to the third level explains why everyone was eating when we walked into the third level to take our fixed dining table for two The waiter welcomed us by name as we sat down.

 

There was also a lineup there, which I found strange, but Jacqui's post now makes clear.

 

I am guessing that the only way they could accommodate our request for a two top was to put us in the anytime area. No problem as service was exceptional.

 

Interesting. I think I would prefer to be upstairs and the 2-tops are often at the rail, so lots to look at.;) Maybe they don't have any 2-tops at all on the lower level.

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Prime rib on the menu for tonight. My card says open seating 2&3. Wish Kainoa spoke more. Love hearing the correct pronunciation of Hawaiian words and places.

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I may have missed it, but how long is your cruise? I tried looking for it on the website, but didn't see it. Thanks

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

 

 

I guess it is off the HAL website, as the cruise has begun! People who are disembarking in San Diego will have a 30-day cruise, those for Vancouver, 33, and anyone going to Seattle will be on board for 35 days.

 

We have a lot of sea days, but I think they will be filled with things to do. Today is lei-making, hula lessons, our Meet &Greet, lectures, we're going to be running every minute!

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Prime rib on the menu for tonight. My card says open seating 2&3. Wish Kainoa spoke more. Love hearing the correct pronunciation of Hawaiian words and places.

 

 

Kainoa is having another lecture this afternoon at 3 - we will have to sneak out at 3:30 to go to the M&G!

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Thanks for the great shots Glen & Gail.

 

Well, as I think you have all surmised, our embarkation was a total zoo yesterday. I have heard reports that San Diego is a mess and you can consider this my complete agreement. I haven never been so tired when I arrived on a ship.

 

Snip

 

Good news on the lifeboat drill - they SCANNED our key cards.

 

Snip

 

Snip.

 

Oh Jacqui the embarkation sounds horrible! Glad you have a few sea days to try to rest and recover before any port days. But I am so happy that HAL has started to scan room keys at muster drill. So much more efficient and user friendly.

 

Check out the bottom of page 7 (I think) for 9 screen shots of the sail away that I photo shopped to try to make them clearer.

 

I am sure you have a full day today, but now it is the fun part!

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Prime rib on the menu for tonight. My card says open seating 2&3. Wish Kainoa spoke more. Love hearing the correct pronunciation of Hawaiian words and places.

 

Is the dinner menu posted somewhere?

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The "On Location" lists Vista Dining Room - Open Seating - Decks 2&3; fixed Seatings - Decks 2&3.

 

Angie - the menus are posted at the entrances to the Vista Dining Room - but, if you are in a Neptune Suite they are delivered to your cabin.

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Embarkation Day! Call it dumb luck as we're 1 star Mariners, but we pretty much breezed through the line at embarkation! We were dropped off at the port a little after 11:00 as we had a car to return by 10:30. The Porter arrived at the drop off point almost immediately and took our bags. The was a fairly short line going through security, no one at the table filling out the health forms, and about a 15-minute line to check in. The longest was the wait for boarding to begin but there was plenty of seating. We were Group 2 for boarding and were aboard by 12:30. Our cabin was ready so we dropped off our carry-ons and went to see the maitre d' about our table, then to the tour desk to check on our tours, next had our sail and sign cards punched at passenger services and were in the dining room for an enjoyable lunch with champagne by 1:00. After lunch we went to the Cellar Master Champagne Reception where the champagne flowed freely! Stopped in our cabin and 2/3 bags had arrived along with the snorkel gear but by then it was just about time for muster which was done quite well (similar to Princess except we were outside standing by the lifeboats) but much better than Carnival) immediately followed by gathering for sail-away. We had to leave for dinner before we actually sailed as we have 5:30 dining. Dinner was good was excellent service. We attended the Welcome Aboard show at 9:30 which were several staff were introduced (as mentioned earlier). Got the unpacking done as we had that extra hour from the time change!

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I heard from our group leader this morning, that sometime during the night the ship was stopped off Tijuana and the crew was given some extra time to rest - after yesterday. The ship continued about 6 am. She was out getting acquainted with the ship - having never been on a Vista-class before.

 

Now this, I don't know if it is true - but they did call names several times - 4 pax refused to go though immigration and that's what helped - holding everything up. But I also watched the embarkation and luggage collecting [from my balcony] - what a mess. Supplies were still being loaded as the last luggage racks/containers were loaded on the ship.

 

Capt Van E says this is the 'beautiful and elegant Westerdam'. I agree.

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We went to Mass this morning at 8. The Hudson Room was packed.

The Hudson Room? For Sunday Mass??? Are they insane?????

I do hope they at least opened up all three rooms, but still....

 

On land there are fire laws about how many people can be in rooms, so as to allow egress in an emergency. I've been crowbarred into rooms like that for Mass on board, and it didn't happen the next week.

Hope the priest raised holy he|| about it, and the congregants do too.

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Well, as I think you have all surmised, our embarkation was a total zoo yesterday. I have heard reports that San Diego is a mess and you can consider this my complete agreement.

My single embarkation in San Diego was probably the worst embarkation of my life. I vowed I would never board a ship there again.

That was in 2006. Apparently in 10 years they still haven't figured out how to change over passengers smoothly.

 

Happy you are aboard now, unpacked, and can settle down to forgetting this part of the cruise.

Enjoy.

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Just back from the Meet & Greet, an d then a quick stop in the crow's Nest for Happy Hour. Kazu had everything organized perfectly, as you would expect, for a large group in the Queen's Lounge. No Captain, but perhaps he will appear at a later one, as he did on our Sail Away Gang cruise!

 

RuthC, we had only one room for Mass, it was standing room only, the person who was counting said 85, but I was near the end of the line, and the priest was breaking the hosts in half, so we were definitely more than 85! I can understand that for the first Sunday, they might be testing to see the turnout, but hopefully, next week we'll have a larger venue.

 

I will check with the Front Office.

 

When we came out, there were a lot of people waiting for the interdenominational service, too, so hopefully they will organize something better for all of us.

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Mom said interdenominational service was SRO. She is napping after lunch in PG, wine tasting, and her first CC M&G while I'm in the PB for Sip&Savor and a royal Manhattan. Love the internet so far. Knock wood

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RuthC, we had only one room for Mass, it was standing room only, the person who was counting said 85, but I was near the end of the line, and the priest was breaking the hosts in half, so we were definitely more than 85! I can understand that for the first Sunday, they might be testing to see the turnout, but hopefully, next week we'll have a larger venue.

Only one room? For a Sunday Mass? HAL should know better.

Not only is it the Sunday obligation, but many passengers didn't have a chance to attend the Vigil last night, so they would be there, too.

 

Too often I have seen Mass relegated to an inappropriate venue, to make room for some other group in a larger room. Got to wonder if the larger rooms go to groups that have a larger financial presence.

 

Well, you've had a less than great start. No place to go but up, right? :)

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Wow. Anytime dining not available tonight. Dining rooms full at 6 so had to wait about half hour with a pager when we checked in at 6:30. Evidently 70% are early diners on this cruise. Early bird special or east coast cruisers? Reminded me of my experience on Princess.

Could have won 90s name that tune in crows nest tonight if I'd been playing with an answer sheet. Tie with four correct song titles but one team named more of the artists to claim those valuable pins.

Wish the new librarian had books for book club this am but nobody told him so he took names and room numbers.

Looking forward to warmer weather so I can start enjoying frozen strawberry margaritas.

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Angie, you were really lucky getting on so fast. We arrived at the port at 10:55 and I did not get on the ship until 1 pm. I won't go into the details (you can read them on my blog if you wish) but it wasn't fun. Felt so bad I went to bed at 6:24 (after the hour change). Feeling totally better today.

 

We had a great M&G with over 100 in attendance. It was nice to put faces and names together.

 

I was able to get my dinner switched to fixed Main with no problem. No idea why they could not have done this some time in the last 11 months!

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