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Alberta Quilter

Live from the Prinsendam September 2 - 30, 2018

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Sunday, September 2, 2018.

Embarkation Day

We woke up around 8 am and had another fantastic breakfast at the hotel. The cook will make omelettes, French toast, pancakes, or eggs to order. Then there is the continental buffet consisting of cheeses, meat, yogurt, fresh baked croissants and buns, fruit salad, cereals/granola, etc. Even fish. DM tried the fish and quite liked it. It was a smoked white fish; we're not sure what it was but it was pretty good. I just can't eat fish at breakfast.

We finished packing up and got our suitcases downstairs. The desk staff called for a taxi for us and we got to the cruise terminal in short order. There were two HAL ships - Koningsdam was the other one - in port at the terminal (I think a third ship was docked elsewhere). Our porter, a young woman, led us to the correct part of the terminal. Well, it was the fastest embarkation I've ever experienced! I think it was about half an hour from the time we were picked up at the hotel until we boarded! The lineup for the 4/5 Star Mariner line were far shorter than the main lineup but, of course, there were only two check-in clerks. There was no waiting, after check-in, for the 4/5 Star Mariners so we could walk straight onto the ship (after going through security, of course). We had a bit of a walk to the ship (had to walk past the Koningsdam) to the small Prinsendam behind it. Just before the gangway, the Hotel Director was greeting all who boarded. I've not experienced that before; it was a very nice touch. I'm not sure if that was just for the 4/5 Star Mariners or for all 800+ guests.

We boarded on the same deck as our stateroom so just had to walk down the hallway. The room seems a little smaller than some of the other OV cabins we've had but it could just be the layout. The walkin closest is nice but I agree with others who said that some of the hanging space is lost because of the rods crossing each other at right angles. Part of the bottom rod can't be used at all because the wall is about .5 cm away from the rod! Ridiculous!! We also had to stow our luggage in the closet (under the useless rod) since it doesn't fit under the bed.

The bathroom has a full tub. I mean a full length tub, not the short tubs like the other HAL ships we've been on. DM figures it's even longer than the one we have at home! Took forever to fill, too!! The bathroom is a little narrow. The tub is along one wall, the toilet is at the end of the bathroom, parallel to the tub, and the sink, with lots of counter space, is across from the bathtub. There is a little stub wall between the end of the counter and the toilet area.

I would prefer that the bathroom and the closet were switched. DM needs to sleep on the bed closest to the bathroom. That meant I had to walk around the bed, in the dark, quietly slide open the door that is less than two feet from her head, do my thing, and do the reverse all without turning on a light. I just think the bathroom would be better positioned near the foot of the bed rather than the head of the bed; close but not too close for those sleeping in the nearby bed. JMO

The other unusual thing about our cabin is the window. It's the same type of window as on other ships but there is a plexiglass cover over the entire shelf area, too. DM went to put her purse on the shelf and nearly knocked herself out. It was rather funny, actually. I'm not sure why the powers that be decided to put plexiglass there. It's too bad for us as we used the shelf often in other cabins.

Of course, we had been directed to the Lido for lunch but we were still a little full from breakfast. We took some time to familiarize ourselves with the cabin, and review the When & Where (daily schedule) which indicated that the MDR (Main Dining Room) was open for lunch (noon to 1:30). Since we don't care for the Lido on embarkation day, we decided to go but had to go right away before it closed. DM had soup, I had a Brie burger. Both were good.

Our luggage was in the room when we got back after lunch. We quickly unpacked, put the luggage away, and got our first bag of laundry together. We also had to go through all the mail that arrived (re OBC, dining reservations, other perks, etc.). Then it was time for the muster drill. They scanned our cards which was good but I think there were some latecomers to the party which held us up. It seemed like it took a good half hour. A quick change and it was time for dinner (early fixed dining is at 5:30). We had asked for a table of six and were seated at a table six that was set for four. We are seated with a brother & sister who travel together; they have over 1000 days on HAL and have done four world cruises.

After dinner, we toured the ship to try to find places we know and love - like the jigsaw puzzle table! The library is very nice on this ship. We wandered through the shops a wee bit (nothing we had to have), found the Ocean Bar (just a few feet from our MDR table!). The Ocean Bar seems larger on this ship than other ships; maybe because only a small portion is dissected with a hallway rather than almost split in half like some of the other ships.

 

We quickly crashed as we were still struggling with the jet lag; DM in particular. A very good first day on a beautiful ship.

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Sea Day

We slept in until 8 am again! I slept well but DM was awake during the night again. One could hardly tell one was on a ship, the seas were so smooth. Who would have thought that the North Sea could be a smooth as glass? I certainly wasn't complaining although a slight rocking motion is rather nice...

We had breakfast in the MDR as we like to do on Sea Days. It was lovely and fairly quick. We went to an EXC talk on the ports of Edinburgh and Ullapool. I had been hoping it would help me choose a shorex for Ullapool that I wanted to book onboard to use our OBC. This talk was more for the independent cruiser by the EXC Guide, Brett, and not by the EXC staff regarding HAL tours (that was earlier in the day but I didn't read the When & Where properly). Anyway, Brett's talk was entertaining and we did learn the cheapest place to buy scotch (at the Tesco in Ullapool). We were able to decide on the Ullapool tour so all worked out in the end.

We booked the tour using the new Navigator app which worked really well. After the talk, there were long line ups at the EXC desk. There were only five seats left on the tour we wanted and I was able to snag two of them on the app with no waiting in line!! Love the app!!!

Speaking of the app, checking one's onboard account is extremely easy now. I did want to point out that, on this cruise, HAL is now showing in one's account if the OBC is refundable or not. We have OBC from the TA and from HAL - the HAL OBC is shown separately from the TA OBC with a notation that it is not to be used for casino or cash.

We are touring Edinburgh, on Wednesday, with two other couples and we played telephone tag with one of them today. We finally caught up with each other at Happy Hour in the Crow's Nest and made our final arrangements with respect to meeting time/place.

Tonight was the first Gala Night. I had the duck (because I don't eat duck at home) and DM had Yellowfin Sole. The Captain's Toast was after early dining and before Main dining times, followed by the show by the Prinsendam Singers & Dancers. The show was okay; we stayed for the whole thing which was unusual for us. We usually sit near the back so if we don't care for the show, we can leave with a minimal of disruption to others.

 

I spent some time in the library working on the puzzle while DM listened to the Adagio Duo in the Explorer's Lounge. She met up with another couple we met on our pre-cruise museum tour and sat with them, having tea until quite late.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Newcastle Upon Tyne

We had to set our clocks back last night, before arriving in the UK. Since my phone hadn't reset itself, I couldn't use it as an alarm. So, I set up a wake up call through the phone system, or so I thought...

The room service steward woke us up! He got in and out fast as we were obviously just awake and were in our pj's! To my knowledge, the wake up call never came. I won't be using that system again...

Anyway, we were in plenty of time to get ready. In fact, we were early, which turned out to be a good thing. We did have to go through a face to face immigration check, I assume, because this was our first British port. I had let our tour guide know that we could be a few minutes late because of that but all was good, except that about 15 minutes before we were going to leave the cabin, DM realized that she must have left her cane somewhere last night! So off I went, trying to find the darn thing. Fortunately, the first person I ran into in the Lido where she had her late night tea, was our dining room steward whom I had previously warned about DM forgetting her cane. It had been found and was still up there. Just as I was getting back to our cabin, our group number was called for the immigration check. There was a long line but it did move fairly quickly. We actually were out to meet our tour guide right on time.

Our tour was to Alnwick Castle (pronounced "Annick"). It was just the two of us on the tour. There were at least two other tour groups with the same company, East Coast Taxi Tours. What was really nice, was that our tour was supposed to be a five hour tour and turned out to be more of a seven hour tour for the same price. Clive, our driver, said the day was ours to do with as we wish. I highly recommend Clive (I had requested him based on other reviews on CC). DM, being a back seat driver, chose to sit in the back seat so she wouldn't "drive" as much as she would in the front seat!

Alnwick Castle is about an hour from Newcastle. On the way there, we stopped at the White Swan Hotel, to see the First Class Lounge from the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic. Somehow, can't remember how, it was added on to the hotel. The ornate wood carving is impressive so we were glad Clive recommended stopping.

We toured both the Castle and the Gardens; DM really wanted to see English gardens on this segment. The Castle is the home of the Duke of Northumberland, one of the wealthiest men in Britain. The Duchess has been working on the Gardens over the past several years. There wasn't as much blooming in the gardens at this time, but they were still lovely. We toured the Poison Garden, walked all the way up by the fountains to the ornamental gardens. DM did quite well with all the walking (except her new knee brace fell around her ankle early on!). There is a large tree house on the property but, as massive as it is, it wasn't worth the extra time/diversion to get there. It's basically a restaurant (which one can book for weddings and other events) just outside of the Gardens (the part you pay to enter). There's a coffee shop on the pathway to the treehouse but you aren't really able to appreciate the size and scope of the treehouse when you're in it and I couldn't find a good spot to view it from a distance, not that I tried very hard... Honestly, based on our experience, I think a postcard or the website would be best to give one a better appreciation of the treehouse.

We had about four hours at the Castle/Gardens and met Clive back where he dropped us off at 2 pm. We then drove back to Newcastle for a mini tour of it. Our final stop was at the end of Hadrian's Wall in Wallsend (appropriately named town!). It was actually the final fort in the wall, Segendendum (sp?). Only the foundations remain of the fort so there really wasn't much to see there. One can pay to go up to the viewing platform which is high enough to give one the view. Not sure how good it is as we didn't do it. It was a very quick drive to the ship from there, returning at 4 pm.

 

Dinner in the MDR had just the two of us at the table. The other couple went to the PG to celebrate his birthday. It seemed to take a while for dinner; our stewards seem to have more tables to service than usual (I'll have to count the seats). The entertainment was Jo Little, a British comedienne who sang very well and was quite funny, we thought.

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So was the place you picked for dinner memorable I guess not since you didn't mention it.

 

You are correct; it was not memorable. At least, not for it's good food! DM had a bowl of soup and I had nachos with beef, bacon, cheese and jalapeños. It had more jalapeños (which I don't eat) than cheese! Extremely dry.

 

I had been hoping for bitterballen and we looked all over for that but settled on the restaurant because it seemed to have lots of locals which is a good indication of a good place to eat. The woman at the table next to us had a Caesar salad which looked pretty good. That would have been much safer than the nachos. Maybe I just chose badly and definitely had different expectations.

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Thank you for taking us along with you - I'm happy to follow along!

When you get to the ship, say hi to RuthC for me!

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

 

 

I will say hi to her if I meet her. She didn't participate in the Roll Call, and we have no meet & greet on this segment.

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Excellent posts Alberta Quilter :D

 

Glad to hear you enjoyed the Banks. I thought the breakfast was great, too. Sorry to hear you missed the bitterballen though. :(

 

Sounds like you are having a good time!

 

You're right about the OV cabins. Some are bigger than others. But, since you have a tub, I believe that you have one of the larger sized rooms. (My memory can be short).

 

If you want to get your suitcases under the bed, if you open them and slide them in that way, they should fit if they are the type that divide in 1/2 when open. That has worked for us on the P'dam if the suitcases didn't fit closed.

 

So enjoying reading about your trip. Really appreciate your wonderful posts and LIVE from. Enjoy :)

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Rosyth (Edinburgh)

Our original plans were to take a taxi from the port right to the base of the Castle and walk down the Royal Mile to Holyroodhouse Palace. Then someone from the Roll Call posted about a tour including Rosslyn Chapel which figured significantly in The Da Vinci Code. Both DM and I wanted to see it so decided to join the tour.

We met the rest of our group onboard shortly after the ship had been cleared after docking in Rosyth so that we could all walk off together. We actually beat our driver, we were to meet at 8:30 but we actually met shortly after 8 am.

He first took us to South Queensferry where we could see the three Firth of Forth bridges. The oldest is a railway bridge, the new bridge is for cars and the older vehicular bridge is now only for buses and taxis. After that photo stop, most of the rush hour traffic into Edinburgh had receded so it was safe to drive onward. He dropped us off at Edinburgh Castle just before 9:30 when it opened. We had all purchased our tickets online a few months ago so could bypass many of the lineups. We had to open our bags for security purposes. Then we trotted up the hill, boy, it really is uphill. But DM did quite well, went at her own pace, and the knee brace stayed up today! But she had brought both trekking poles with her for this trip and she didn't bring them today and should have. Having both would have made her life easier today.

We got the audio guide for the castle and that was a good thing. One can go at one's own pace and see what one wants to see. The group split up; we had to be at a certain store on the Royal Mile at 11:45 to meet the guide. I think most of us were done in about 1.5 hours. We wandered down the Mile first and poked into some of the Closes that run off of the Mile. The Royal Mile seemed a little tacky to us. I was glad that DM was happy with the little we did of the Royal Mile.

Everyone met at the appointed time to go next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse which is the Queen's official residence when in Scotland. Fortunately, she wasn't here today so we could still tour her house and yard. What a house, and what a yard! The audio guide here was free which was a pleasant surprise. We didn't see today's Queen's private rooms but saw some rooms of past monarchs. We saw the Throne Room and other rooms where entertaining is done, and important people are met. We ended the tour going through the ruins of Holyrood Abbey, and then through the gardens. Very nice and not small at all! I can't imagine mowing that lawn with my little reel mower!!

We then took a drive up Arthur's Seat and took in the views. Thankfully, one drives in a circle to get up and then down the hill because the road is rather narrow, too narrow for two way traffic, even in the UK.

We then took a break for lunch, going to the oldest pub in Edinburgh, The Sheep's Heid. We were told it would be a forty minute wait for our food but we decided to order anyway. Well, the first two couples got their food in about 20 minutes which was pretty good we thought. But it took another 20 minutes for DM and me to get our food... We had to wolf it down to make it in time to meet the guide to get to Rosslyn Chapel. That was the only hiccup the whole day.

We did have plenty of time at Rosslyn, which was a 25 minute drive from the pub. There was a docent who gave a little talk about the Chapel and how it rose to fame through The Da Vinci Code. It really is a lovely little chapel, with ornate carvings, and personal touches for the St Clair family who built it and own it. There were some liberties that the film makers took with the filming of the movie, one of which left a permanent mark on the stone. The crypt downstairs looks nothing like what it was in the film, which was a little disappointing but was not really unexpected.

We returned to the ship in plenty of time for All Aboard; arriving at 4:45, cleaned up and went to dinner. We had originally booked Canaletto for tonight but cancelled it when we learned that Wiener Schnitzel was going to be on the menu! Well, that was a good decision! The Wiener Schnitzel was hot and good. Actually, that's what I want to mention to you, too. All the hot items are served hot on this ship, not lukewarm like I remember from my last few cruises. I suspect that has more to do with the proximity of the kitchen to the MDR than anything else but whatever it is, it's welcome.

After dinner, we returned to the room to take it easy and watch a movie. I tried to catch up on my posts... The entertainment tonight was Iris Kroes who was a winner of The Netherlands' The Voice; she's a harpist, singer and songwriter. We did hear a little bit of the show when we made an appointment with the Future Cruise Consultant for tomorrow. The audience seem pleased with her performance.

After spending some time in the library, chatting with others and working on the puzzle, we toddled off to bed.

 

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Enjoying your reports! Helps me relive our recent time on the Prisendam last month for the Baltic / Kiel Canal sailing.

 

Nice to see that Brett is still onboard as the lecturer. He is really very good. We went to almost all of his presentations, and for the couple that we missed, we caught them on the TV.

 

Looking forward to your future updates. :)

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Thursday, September 6, 2016

Sea Day

I was jolted awake (DM hadn't gone to sleep yet) about 11:30 last night with the ship's first stage alarm. The first announcement was that they were looking into the source of the fire alarm. A few minutes later, the Captain came on and said that the smoke detector went off in the Main Laundry. Then he came on again and said that the smoke was really thick and all surrounding staff cabins had to be evacuated. At the end of it, it was only smoke from a malfunctioning washing machine. Through it all, we were kept very well informed. I easily got back to sleep; DM not so much.

Fortunately, after last night's disturbance, today was a fairly leisurely day which sea days should be. A chance to regroup after a couple of more active days. It's surprising how exhausting it can be being driven around and trying to see all you can in a short period of time. When trying to figure out what we would do on this cruise, I tried to balance our activities so it's not too much for DM. Of course, she wants to see it all because who knows if/when she'll be able to come back. And there are other places to see as well. But I digress...

After a dining room breakfast, we attempted Geography Trivia with the Assistant Cruise Director or DJ (not sure what his title is), Cam. We were only a team of two. Fortunately, we did not embarrass ourselves even though many of the questions were hard. How many states does the Mississippi River run through? Not only did we have to give the number, we also had to name them! We were hard pressed to name many states in that area - I think we said eight but it's really ten. Don't ask me to list them; he said them so fast that I couldn't write them down!

DM went back to the room while I puzzled for a while until it was time for our appointment with the FCC (Future Cruise Consultant). Guess what?! DM gave me permission to book Norway! And, on the Prinsendam's last cruise with HAL, next June! I'm quite excited! Hopefully, I can get the time off at work. Usually, I have our next cruise booked prior to embarkation of the current cruise. We did have one booked for Sep/19, a really nice cruise, too. But our itinerary was one of the casualties of the fallout from the sale of the Prinsendam; it was cancelled entirely. So, we had nothing planned for 2019. Now we do!! And I purchased two FCD's (Future Cruise Deposits) each.

We ate lunch for the first time in the Lido today. It's a very different layout in that the food service area is not a big oval like on most other HAL ships but "u" shaped. One can only walk from the one side to the other at the bottom (aft) of the "u", but not at the top which is mid ship behind the Lido Bar and Dive In. The other unusual thing I noticed is that the food stations are mostly self service. Where the chefs cook for you, that is not self service but the salad bar, some of the hot items, are all self service. I'm not sure if that's one of the Prinsendam's quirks or if things have changed fleet wide since our last cruise in Oct/16. Today, the theme of the buffet was Dutch so guess what I got? Bitterballen! I finally got them. They seemed different than I remembered, more gooey. I remembered them more as a meatball so not gooey at all. Regardless, they were good!

After lunch, we tried Team Trivia. Our teammates from the first Sea Day (members of the CC Roll Call) weren't there so another couple and single woman joined us. Still didn't win but had a respectable result. We actually got more than expected since some of our answers were outright guesses!

We had been invited to the Sommelier Wine Tasting (a 4 star Mariner perk). We are not wine buffs; I can tell red from white and that's about it. But I do enjoy some wines and, for the past year, have joined a wine subscription. I even had to buy a wine fridge to store it all because I don't drink it enough at home. But on a cruise, I buy a wine package to have wine with dinner; another perk of being a 4 star mariner with HAL is the 50% off of the wine packages). Since our last cruise, HAL changed the wine packages which pretty much threw me into a tizzy because they took out the wine I liked. When I mentioned to our Wine Steward which one I liked, she said they had some in the back. She pulled all six bottles for me. So the wine tasting was a chance to taste some of the offerings of the new wine package (No 1). I wasn't keen on any of them really. The Sommelier was obviously passionate about wine; I just find these types of events a little too pretentious for me. He really lost me when he sniffed the wine and said he smelled oatmeal, or tomato leaves (among the usual berries, oak, and the like). I really don't want my wine to smell like oatmeal or tomato leaves! And DM, well, she is not a wine drinker; she much prefers beer!

Tonight was our second gala night. We were alone at our table again, because our tablemates had been invited to dine with the Captain and Hotel Director. Service was again slow; we had a lengthy wait between our appetizer and main course. It's possible that's due more to my special orders; we've experienced that before. The funny thing was that DM, from Day 1, has always ordered a small portion of the entree which they have always accommodated (and she's been very pleased). Well, tonight, we both ordered the filet mignon with crab and bearnaise sauce. Her small portion was quite a bit larger than mine! It was practically a small roast! Both the waiter and the DRM were so concerned that it was not what she wanted that they offered to cut a chunk off! She declined and ate what she could. I managed to eat the rest of her roast...

We went to the movie after dinner, The Bookshop. It was set in the late '50s England where a widow wanted to open a bookstore in an old house. She was met with opposition from some of the townspeople. It didn't seem like a recent release; I've not heard of most of the movies thus far in the cruise. Are they getting away from showing movies that were released a few months ago?

Then it was back to the puzzle for a while. Only the sky has been left and it was taking forever to get done. But three of us made good headway!

 

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Just wanted to warn that my posts could get a little ( a lot) spotty again as we're about to start five port days in a row. Still having a wonderful time.

 

I'll be back...

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Ullapool, Scotland

I made quite the mistake in yesterday's post, didn't I? Almost made it again today! Imagine posting about a day from two years ago!! It is 2018, isn't it?!

Today was not the day we expected it to be. If you recall, we were debating between two tours for today, Inverewe Gardens and Loch Ness. I wanted to book onboard to use OBC. Turned out the Loch Ness tour, which was 8 hours long, was sold out. So we did decide on Inverewe Gardens and booked it through the Navigator app. Very easy.

Except we didn't go.

DM had such a bad night that there was no way we could go on the tour. She woke me up around 1:15 am; she was vomiting. Fortunately, she stopped after a couple of hours and was able to sleep. She must have purged whatever she ate that set her off. The alarm went off and we determined that we shouldn't go. She didn't want to chance sitting in a bus for four hours - two hours there and two hours back. So, I called the Front Office and explained that she had a bad night and we wouldn't be able to use our tour tickets. I don't know if we'll get our money back; I'm hoping they could resell them. Now I'm wondering if I made the right choice in calling and turning in the tickets to them. Maybe I should have gone to the Showroom and turned them in directly to the EXC staff. Any thoughts on last minute tour cancellations? If we don't get our money back, well, that will suck but one does take that risk, doesn't one? I don't regret the decision to stay onboard. DM got several more hours of sleep this morning while I finished the jigsaw puzzle, wrote and posted yesterday's report, caught up on CC and news from home.

I ordered a room service lunch for us (chicken noodle soup for DM and a roast beef panini for me). Then she got dressed and we took a tender to Ullapool. We went to Tesco to check out the scotch and other items; we like going to grocery stores in other locations to see what things they have. Tesco does have quite a selection of scotch. We're not scotch drinkers but we still recognized some brands. Unfortunately, "cheaper" is relative. Since one GBP currently costs us Canadians about $1.78, once one does the conversion, the prices didn't seem "cheaper" to us! We opted not to buy any scotch. Adds weight to the luggage, anyway!!

We also got the opportunity to purchase a postage stamp. I have a friend at home who collects stamps. Actually, not just the stamp but the post mark, as well. So, she gives me address labels for our travels and where I'm able, I send her a postcard. I tried at Edinburgh Castle but they would only sell me 5 stamps for 7 GBP! I got a postcard at Rosslyn Chapel and mailed it from Ullapool, once I got a stamp. That was our only purchase in Ullapool.

We did wander the town a little more, poking into shops and galleries. Some places were closed, like the local museum, which is odd. One would think that the museum would be open on cruise ship days, particularly when it's not a frequent occurrence. One recommended shop was closed for lunch when we were there about 1:45 pm. We chose to continue our walk. All told, we were ashore for maybe two hours.

DM slept some more, in one of those comfy chairs in the library. I hadn't realized she was still in the library and left a newly started puzzle to get to Team Trivia. She caught up to me in the Ocean Bar only to find I had joined another team and there was no room for her. We still lost.

Dinner was in Canaletto, the Italian restaurant that is part of the Lido. On this ship, however, it is a separate part of the Lido, well away from the strong garlic odors that have put us off from ever trying this specialty restaurant before. Canaletto has a different special every evening; on Friday's it is Osso Buco. Normally made with veal shanks. I first tried Osso Buco on one of my first cruises years ago. Unfortunately, in the MDR, it is now Pork Osso Buco which is not nearly as good as veal. So I was bound and determined to go to Canaletto on a Friday night so I could have veal Osso Buco. It was worth it. DM, of course, was still taking it easy with her meal. We had reviewed the menu previously and she decided to have only the potato gnocchi with beef short ribs. Even though she asked for a small portion, because she didn't have an appetizer, they gave her a full portion! As the gnocchi was the other meal I wanted to try, I asked for a sample (and got about half of her portion!)

I was sooooo full!

We pretty much crashed right after dinner. Well, the service took a really long time. We started at 6 pm and we finished at almost 8:30. I think we waited about 45 minutes between the appetizer and the main course. Not sure why; others who came later were finished about the same time as us.

I think we'll try it again. On Wednesdays, the special is veal liver which Mom likes, so we'll try for a Wednesday. I had one booked already but that was when they served the Wiener Schnitzel in the MDR so we had cancelled. Next Wednesday is our last gala night of this segment; our server said that they'll serve lobster. We had a good chuckle imagining liver and lobster as a Surf & Turf! Sounded rather gross to me!! I'll figure something out so that DM can get her liver.

 

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So sorry to hear about your DM and that you had to skip the excursion. Such a shame.

 

I hope she is feeling better.

 

I don't think you will have a refund with the last minute cancellation, sadly, but, I will cross my fingers for you (yn)

 

Glad to hear you enjoyed the Canalleto. I'm not normally a Canaletto fan but I LOVE the one on the P'dam.

 

enjoying your reports very much :)

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Sorry that your mother was ill and you missed your excursion. We have had to cancel a couple of excursions last minute (DH was having muscle problems and couldn't walk) -- I turned the tickets into the shore excursion person directly who happen to be located on shore. There wasn't a wait list so we didn't get any money back. Maybe you will be luckier than we were.

I am enjoying your review.

DH also loves the veal Osso Buco.

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Sorry you had to miss Inverewe Gardens, but since your Mother was not feeling well, that was a smart move. It is a long drive and then when there, there is little place to rest if you wish to. The Gardens are lovely, but even nicer in the early Summer.

 

 

 

Susan

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hope your mom is back to normal. We were lucky when we cancelled a tour in St Peters Port about 2 years ago. We got ashore and even boarded the bus but the problem was it was very hot that day (almost 90 degrees) which is very unusual for that island. Because of that the bus (which was an older model anyway) did not have any air conditioning and the windows only rolled down 1/2 way. We had at least a 2 hour drive ahead of us each way to our destination. We sat on the bus for about 15 min and it just got hotter and hotter. The air outside was so warm we were sure when the bus moved it would not help at all. My husband is very sensitive to heat and he just could not stand it. We walked off and explained the situation to the tour guide. Honestly we were never expecting to see anything returned but when we got our final notice the day we left the ship, there was the refund. We met one of the people that stayed on the tour. She said it was horrible. We were lucky we left. So you may get the refund, who knows?

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We too had to cancel a tour because DH was sick. As the group was meeting on ship, I notified them at the lounge. We did not got a refund. I concur with others in hopes you do get a refund,

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I think it’s a shame that for a bona fide illness you can’t get your money back for the tour. At the very least put it as non-refundable OBC.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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By the way, if you have travel insurance you should be able to file a claim with them for the cost of the tour tickets. However, that might necessitate a note from the ship’s doctor, which would then generate another fee.

 

 

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Greencastle, Republic of Ireland

Originally, the itinerary called for Londonderry (Derry) instead of Greencastle. When we booked the cruise, I did a little research and found that the Prinsendam was too big for the closer docks, in Derry, and we would likely have to tender at Greencastle. I got confirmation from the Derry Tourist office in Feb/18 that yes, we were to tender at Greencastle.

HAL did not notify us of the change until about ten days before the cruise. As a result of the itinerary change, our prepurchased tour to the Giant's Causeway was cancelled. I quickly rebooked the tour; same price but it was now more than an hour longer.

It took about two hours to drive to the Giant's Causeway. We stopped for a photo stop of Dunluce Castle, a castle in ruins. A few minutes later we were at the Giant's Causeway. Our tour ticket included the shuttle ride to and fro to the Causeway and entry to the Interpretive Centre. I had read and been told that the Interpretive Centre is not worth the entry fee. I would have to agree with that, except that there are nice bathrooms there. There are bathrooms on the other side but they are two single unisex bathrooms with very long lines! The gift shop in the Centre is quite nice, too.

The Giant's Causeway is really cool to see. Unfortunately, DM couldn't climb the rock stacks; she just didn't want to take any chances with her knee. I climbed a little bit but did not go out to the Grand Causeway. We walked through the Giant's Gate and along the pathway past the Giant's Boot. When we returned, there were soooo many people! We're just not used to that many people. DM hopped on a shuttle and went back to the Centre; I stayed a little longer to try to take some pictures. Not very successful since there were so many people.

We had just over two hours at the Causeway. It took another two hours to get back. The tour description indicated that we would be taking a ferry from Magiligan Point, right across the bay from Greencastle. The guide informed us that the bus company had some sort of incident with the bus on the ferry and they are no longer allowing their buses on the ferry. That was why the tour was longer than expected.

The drive was interesting, though. I've never seen fuchsias growing wild along the road side. We were also interested in what we didn't see - vegetable gardens or vegetable fields. We saw lots of sheep and cattle. I've also neglected to tell you all about the weather! We have been sooooo lucky with the weather, so far. I think it's because I spent a fair bit of time coating our jackets with scotchguard to waterproof them. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

In Newcastle, there was a fine mist, off and on. I carried my jacket and could barely feel the mist on my arms. In Edinburgh, we had blue skies and no rain/mist. In Ullapool, when we went off the ship, it was a little cool and breezy but no rain. (I did hear that it rained just as the tour buses arrived at Inverewe Gardens where we were supposed to go so we missed that.) In Greencastle, it rained a bit along the drive to the Giant's Causeway but, thankfully, was dry at the Causeway. The basalt stones can be very slippery when wet.

We got back to Greencastle about 2:30 in the afternoon. There was a tender waiting to take us back to the ship and we had lunch at about 3 pm, in the Lido. We were starving by that point. Of course, we weren't quite so hungry at dinner at 5:30....

The English comedienne, Jo Little, had a second show tonight. Again, she sang and she told jokes. We think she is very funny. DM went to bed pretty much right after the show; I worked on the puzzle for a while before doing the same.

 

Another wonderful day on the cruise!

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