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rafinmd

Around the Horn in 80 days.

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Thank you everyone.  whogo, I wish I spoke German, that's a great voyage.

 

Day P58, Sunday, March 3, 2019, Fortaleza, Brazil


There was still not a real sunrise but at least we had a little bit of color as dawn was approaching.  I walked 6 laps right away and a couple more later plus some in town but it was not a big day for walking.

 

https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dawn0303.jpg


This is my first visit to Fortaleza.  There were just 2 tours, a city tour (4 hours, $85) and a dune buggy and beach tour (5 ½ hours, $140).  Neither interested me and I just took the first shuttle into the city, about 8:20.  The ride was about 5 miles and not anything that looked like an interesting walk.  The destination was EMCETUR, the tourist center.  Like the one in Recife it is a former (1850's) prison but very different.  The cells seemed to all be on the ground level and there were very nice courtyards between the cell blocks.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/emectur.jpg


The city did not make a very good impression on me (one step above Recife) but people who had toured the beaches were far more impressed.  I spent about 90 minutes in town.  The first place that looked interesting was an old fort about 3 blocks away.  On the way I passed through a square where a band was tuning up to get started on Carnival entertainment.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/bandstand.jpg


Nosse Senhora de Assuncao Fort was built by the Dutch in 1649.  It is still an active army facility so there was not a lot to see inside but I was allowed to walk around a bit outside the walls.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/assuncao.jpg


The main thing open was a plaza with monuments including several statues, the most prominent of which was Martim Soares Moreno, considered the founder of Fortaleza.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/mereno.jpg


Across the street was the main market, a large oval structure with 4 levels of small vendor booths.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/mercadoftz.jpg


The third building at the same intersection is the Cathedral.  The Gothic-Roman structure looks ancient but was actually built 1939-78.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/cathedral03.jpg


It is the third largest in Brazil with a capacity of about 5,000.  I was a bit surprised to be able to go inside but the first Mass was not until 10AM and did have a chance to go for a look.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/sanctuary03.jpg


In front of the Cathedral there was a small square with a statue of Dom Pedro II, Emperor of the Republic of Brazil for 58 years.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dompedro.jpg


There was not much open on a Sunday morning and I headed back to the ship on the 10AM shuttle.  A lot of other people must have not stayed long either because the shuttle was packed.


Fortaleza is apparently a tourist mecca due to it's beaches but does not seem to get a lot of cruise ship visits.  I was thus surprised to see that it has quite a new and modern cruise terminal and we dock right next to it.  I believe it has wifi although I'm not sure.  It's remote from town but there was a nice beach right across the breakwater from the dock with people surfing.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/ftzport.jpg


It would not be much of a beach stop for us as our day was quite short.  All aboard was 2PM, and followed immediately by a muster drill, required every 30 days.  It was again held indoors.  While it was hot and mostly humid I was a bit surprised as it did not seem really intolerable to have it on deck.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/muster03.jpg


We sailed about 2:30 with the first officer at the controls.  It was a very slow sailaway as swells do come into the harbor and the path out is quite narrow.  It seemed like it was almost 20 minutes after we let go the lines before we were properly lined up for our exit and started moving forward.  I had just enough time after our departure to change and be ready for the 4PM Interdenominational service.


All were present at table 19, and I think all enjoyed their tours.  I chose the citrus delight, pork, and something called Berries Financier which really turned out to be something like a cupcake with just a hint of berries and ice cream on the side.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes03.jpg


The featured entertainment was a magician Adam Heppenstall.  I thought he was good although I was drowsy and missed a good part of it.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/heppenstall.jpg


My parting shot will be about mustering.  Some ships do it indoors and others do it under the lifeboats.  Both options have their defenders and their critics.  I think there are benefits and risks both ways.  Muster is actually about accounting for everyone on board and not necessarily evacuation.  Do we really want to be standing under the lifeboats if something happens in a major storm?  Do we want to be mustering in the dining room if the galley is on fire?  I like the fact that the Prinsendam's architecture supports both options quite well and that we have had the opportunity to practice both options.


Roy

 

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It doesn't look like too bad of a town to walk around for a couple of hours.

 

Interesting that they get many cruise ships there but they have a new terminal.

 

Beach looked nice.

 

Great pictures.

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Thank you puppycanducruise and Krazy Kruizers.

 

Day P59, Monday, March 4, 2019, At sea, MS Prinsendam


Monday was less hectic than some of our recent sea days but very interesting.  The weather was not the greatest as it was pretty windy for my morning walk and I hardly ever saw the sun.  It was a gray day almost to the point of fog but it didn't really interfere with my morning walk.


We had a 9:15 coffee chat with the Executive Housekeeper.  He is responsible for all the room stewards plus the people who maintain the common areas, the laundry, tailor, and florist.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/coffee04.jpg


The one morning talk in the showroom was Vivianne Rowan with the "Scariest Places on Earth".  These are not necessarily dangerous places but sites that have some real or mythological characteristics that invoke fear.  One odd place is a mountain in Japan which gets many suicides.  There was a story somewhere about the place being one for suicide and some people seem to h
ave a pathological need to follow through on such things.


In his noon update Captain Jeroen talked about our remaining travel to Belem.  We have 2 shallow areas where we must time our passage to arrive at high tide.


My feature activity for the afternoon was a behind the scenes tour of the laundry room.  We had to sign up in advance and met in the deck 4 atrium about 2.  The first group actually started a little early, going down crew stairs to deck 2.  I suspect that's closer to the bottom than I have ever been on a large ship.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/crewstairs.jpg

The first thing we passed was a LARGE washer which can handle 400 pounds of laundry in a single load.  It's used primarily for sheets.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/bigwasher.jpg


Next up was a bank of dryers.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dryers.jpg


Around a corner there were some smaller (but still large) washers where guest laundry is done.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/guestwashers.jpg


In a cubby hole behind them there was a huge machine where sheets are pressed and folded.  Damp sheets are taken from large carts, spread out, and fed into the machine which completes drying, pressing, and folding and they come out the other end ready to send back to the stewards.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/sheetfolder.jpg


To the other side of the ship there's an area where most of the processing for guest laundry is done.  At one table a person takes things out of each bag, compares the contents with the laundry slip, and puts lapels on each piece before they go into the washers.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/guestsorting.jpg


A machine in one corner handles pressing of shirts.  There's a sort of a mannequin and the crew slides a shirt over the form.  As they do a blast of hot air and steam puffs out the shirt and as the shirt is brought further down the wrinkles are blown out and the shirt becomes ready for folding.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/bodypresser.jpg


A bit further along is a rack where orders are stored until all the items from the order are complete.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/guestassembly.jpg


The laundry rooms are below the water line where safety is critical.  Waterproof doors are normally kept closed with a sign indicating they can be opened only with approval from the bridge.  We passed a ladder leading to a hatch in the ceiling that our guide said might be the crew's only escape route in the event of an emergency.  We were warned that it would be hot in the laundry room.  It was but not as bad as I expected but I was only down there for a little while; I'll bet the heat is felt more over time.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/h2oproof.jpg


Our final stop was the dry cleaning area.  There were specific cycles for each type of fabric and the solvent used is an extract from banana plants.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dryclean.jpg


Jim McParland had a 2PM talk on the equator with a bit of a tour around the world with the features and markings in various countries.  I caught just a bit of it after the laundry tour.


We were up to 5 at table 19 with Kathi joining us.  I opted for the Blackberry soup, pasta, and mango/berry crisp.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes04.jpg


The featured entertainment was the MacDonald brothers a duo from Scotland.  They played multiple instruments (guitar, accordion, fiddle, guitar, piano, and penny whistle) as well as singing, mostly Celtic music.  They were very good and especially popular with the ladies.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/macdonald.jpg


My parting shot will be a wish for a wonderful Mardi Gras and a blessed Lent for those who observe it.


Roy

 

 

 

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I wish all ships had several chats -- I really enjoy them.

 

So many of the machines in the laundry room look new.  The picture showing the man putting on the laundry tags didn't take.

 

The Blackberry soup sounds great!!

 

Great pictures.

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45 minutes ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

I wish all ships had several chats -- I really enjoy them.

 

So many of the machines in the laundry room look new.  The picture showing the man putting on the laundry tags didn't take.

 

The Blackberry soup sounds great!!

 

Great pictures.

That picture didn't make it to my blog.  I post to the blog by email, composed off line and the photos are attachments.  Sometimes, while I click several files to attach at the same time one click gets unclicked before they are uploaded.  That apparently happened here:

 

guestsorting.JPG.179f7bf68352c516d18f1121148d8a07.JPG

 

Roy

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The laundry room tour sounds really interesting, Roy.

 

Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 

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Good morning Roy!

 Our WiFi went down yesterday😒 Just now got caught up on your blog👍

Finished my coffee too. I think I’d be claustrophobic down on deck 2😳

Very interesting seeing the photos of the laundry facilities. I appreciate that they are using banana extract as there solvents! 

Have a great day Roy. Oh yes as KK said I also could not get the picture. I understand now and thanks for showing us again👍

Denise😊

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4 hours ago, rafinmd said:

I opted for the Blackberry soup, pasta, and mango/berry crisp.

 

 

Cold soups are back??!!!

 

Oh happy day if it is fleet-wide!

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If you enjoyed your tour through the laundry room as much as I enjoyed reading about it, and especially seeing the pictures, then you had a grand tour indeed.
Thank you so much for sharing that.

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4 hours ago, rafinmd said:

That picture didn't make it to my blog.  I post to the blog by email, composed off line and the photos are attachments.  Sometimes, while I click several files to attach at the same time one click gets unclicked before they are uploaded.  That apparently happened here:

 

guestsorting.JPG.179f7bf68352c516d18f1121148d8a07.JPG

 

Roy

 

Things can happen when posting pictures.

 

Interesting how they check and label everything.

 

Great picture.

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Day P60, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Belem, Brazil


I'm pretty sure Belem is the last of our ports I have not visited before on the Prinsendam.  I was there once on the Maasdam in 2015 and this was a much different visit.


With our arrival at 11 I had planned on starting the day with a 3-mile walk.  It started ok but after about 3 laps a minor drizzle opened up into a deluge.  Over the course of the day I was able to complete about 8 laps (2 miles) but only a little bit at a time.  Both the dining room itself and the lobby were decorated for Mardi Gras.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/mardigras.jpg


The penguins are pretty much history now.  In their place we had monkeys in the lobby between dining room sections.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/mardimonkey.jpg


In 2015 we anchored about 10 miles downstream from Belem and reached town by a combination of tenders and a shuttle bus.  With the rainy season we were able to go all the way to Belem and anchor where our shuttles would drop us off close to town.  I had decided not to do a tour (perhaps a mistake) and was on the first tender not reserved for tour groups.  Another deluge was happening as we reached the tender dock and I made a mad dash for the terminal.  It's in an old warehouse and there are shops and restaurants both on the ground level and an upper story.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/portshopping.jpg


The couple of things I had hoped to check out were in different directions and I started out walking inland.  Although things must be happening in Belem based on a vivid skyline most of the places I walked were not very attractive.  They seemed pretty dirty and run down.  To make matters worse, most of the town seemed pretty deserted and the shops all seemed to be closed for Mardi Gras.  The first place I saw worth a look was the Republic Square.  The monument in the center was a woman holding an olive branch, apparently representing a new regime in the late 19th century.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/republic.jpg


What I was really looking for was just beyond the square, the lovely Teatro de Paz.  It's another majestic theater built during the rubber boom (1874) and seems to be used occasionally in the present.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/teatrolapaz.jpg


I walked back to the river along Avenue Presidente Vargas, one of the city's main boulevards.  A number of old warehouses lining the river have been converted to shops and restaurants, and the old cargo cranes have been kept painted and looking nice along the riverfront along with an old steam tractor.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/belemshore.jpg


Beyond the shore was the Ver-o-Peso market, a very busy collection of stalls and food booths.  At the end there was an indoor section with in a building with towers at the corners.  I did not enter the indoor part.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/veropeso.jpg


Past the market there was a small harbor for river boats and a couple of museums.  The Museum of Sacred Art now occupies what was Belem's first church (1698).  I frankly did not quite originally know what it was but had not planned on entering any museums in any case.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/sacredart.jpg


Just past it was the Precipio fort (1616) built to protect against potential French and Dutch invaders.  The land side was protected by a moat.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/precipio.jpg


There was an interesting viewing angle along the wall with the cannons.  One sure looked like it was trained directly on the anchoring Prinsendam.  Thank God the cannon is no longer functional.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/sittingduck.jpg


Right across a little square from the Sacred Art Museum and Precipio was the Cathedral.  For some reason a Basilica a mile away was on our maps but not the Cathedral.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/cathedralbelem.jpg


I returned to the ship pretty tired and sweaty a little before 3.  The last tender would not be until 9:30 and my tablemates had a late tour and expected to be late for dinner.  It seemed like the right time for me to go back to the Pinnacle Grill but there was a bit of a hitch.  Most of my readers know my cruise line of choice is Crystal but best is not monolithic; one of the reasons I sail Holland America regularly is I have found they do more things better (from my point of view) than any other mainstream or better cruise line I've seen.  One of the things I've grown to love about Holland America is their chilled fruit soups but they've been on hiatus lately.  They are making a comeback (I hope fleet wide and not just on this cruise) and I noticed Strawberry Bisque was on the MDR menu and did not plan to miss it.


I mentioned that dilemma to the Pinnacle Manager as I entered and she said "Certainly, we can serve that to you".  A bit unconventionally, my starter was from the MDR menu, along with the lamb chops (first time and delicious) and baked Alaska.  As I dined we got another torrential downpour.  At times visibility was down almost to zero.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes05.jpg


The featured entertainment was a male vocal quartet, Jack Pack.  I think they were ok but in truth I was exhausted and on the verge of sleep.  After the show I stepped out on deck briefly and 2 of the tenders were already stowed.  I think I heard some Mardi Gras fireworks from the shore.  I heard the rumble of the anchor chain from my cabin about 9:45.


My parting shot will be a pretty cheery one.  They say the antidote to post cruise blues is to have another one booked.  I take that one better and best is to have ticket for the next one in hand.  After return from Belem I learned the boarding pass for my Nieuw Statendam transatlantic had been issued and it's now sitting on my hard drive.  It will be a whirlwind 3 weeks at home but it's nice to look forward to the next without a long wait.  I may not even fully unpack.


Roy

 

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Love how they are decorating - penguins and now monkeys.  Makes sense that the penguins would be gone now considering where you are headed 😉

 

A second cold soup?  That is encouraging news, Roy.  Hope they are coming back 😄 

 

I LOL a little bit at the ordering an appetizer at the PG from the MDR.  I did that one time too.  Discovered it was escargot night and sighed softly.  The waiter said no problem and I had my escargots.

 

You have to grab those cold soups while you can get them.  If everyone orders them, maybe they will be back.  I am starting to get my hopes up for our cruise, but yours is a Grand and ours is not.

 

Great pics and posts as always, Roy 🙂 

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That was a great shot of the cannon trained on P'dam. I hope you all behave yourselves while there. 😄

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You had an interesting day, thanks for sharing.  Great shot (bad pun) of the cannon aimed at the Prinsendam.

The monkeys are cute.

I hope the chilled soups are back fleet wide.

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Your pictures bring back good memories of our south American cruise. We're leaving on our Eurodam cruise out of San Diego tonight so I'll miss the rest of your posts. Hope the rest of your cruise is trouble free.

Allan  

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With so many large buildings, it would appear that at one time, Belem was a thriving town.

 

That cannon certainly does look like it is aimed at the Prinsendam.

 

Great pictures of the ship with some Mardi Gras decorations.  The monkeys are cute.

 

Several times when we ate in the Pinnacle we would order items from the main dining room menu.  Especially when they had the chilled soups.  And DH would order the escargot.

 

Love the report and pictures.

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I agree with you Roy!!! It’s nice to look forward to your next cruise AND ESPECIALLY SINCE IT IS 3 WEEKS OUT!

After this R/T Cruise I take this Saturday we will be looking at less than a year😳 to our adventures with HAL and jumping ship to take our TA on Oceania and jump ship to another Oceania in Europe! (All this because of your adventures) 

Like the cannon photo👍

Denise😊

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Denise and Alan, I know your time is getting short (Especially Alan with a flight first).

 

Day P61, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Entering the Amazon River

When I do multi-ship itineraries I will usually include the location of my other ships in my reports.  This entire trip is 80 days on the Prinsendam but I will add a second ship anyway.  The Veendam is in South America on a Rio Carnival itinerary, and will be following us back to Ft. Lauderdale with a possible close encounter along the way.  It left Rio after Carnival and is now on the way to Fortaleza.


We are right around the equator.  When I woke at 5AM we were just a couple minutes South but when I arrived on deck we were a couple of minutes to the North.  I would estimate our actual crossing was about 5:15.

 

https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/backnorth.jpg


Mornings have been gray and cloudy and while I have been out at sunrise the sun does a very good job of hiding.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dawn0306.jpg


It was a VERY busy sea day and the activities starting with a ceremonial crossing of the equator at 7:30.  I had cut my early morning walk to 3 miles and walked another mile on deck 12 around the time of the ceremony as well as a 5th mile as I got coffee, breakfast, and lunch.  A line had been drawn across the lido pool deck and the photographer was taking photos of people straddling the "equator".  There was a group photo about 7:45 and a few minutes later the Captain blew the horn symbolizing our crossing.  By that time we were almost half a degree north of the actual equator but there wouldn't have been many people around for a ceremony at 5:15.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/eqceremony.jpg


At 9 I attended the Morning Devotions.  I was surprised that no mention was made of Ash Wednesday.  At 10 Jim McParland traced the Amazon from "source (Andes) through several names to the sea".  A few days ago the NCL Escape was hit by high winds and waves outside New York.  McParland mentioned that there was an area just outside the Amazon Delta where tides, currents, and tropical winds combined to produce huge waves and strong winds, especially when the tides are greatest due to a new moon (now). We were spared such an event.  At 11 Heather had her presentation of Alter do Chao, Parintins, and Devils Island.  I was able to drop in briefly between those talks as Linda had her coffee chat with entertainers Paul Adams and Adam Heppenstall.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/coffee06.jpg


My final lap to complete 5 miles came just before noon.  As I rounded the bow there was an excellent example of "meeting of the waters" where 2 different sources of water stay distinct for a period with a clear line between waters of different colors.  In his noon update Captain Jeroen mentioned that currents on the Amazon in rainy season can be up to 6 knots and that there is some tidal effect as far upstream as Santarem.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/waters06.jpg


The afternoon (2PM) presentation was Vivianne Rowan with a talk on wildlife in the Amazon.  I did not have much afternoon free time as at 3 the Oscar winning Best Picture "Green Book" was shown in the Wajang Theater.

 

The movie ran till 5:10 and I was a bit late for dinner.  It was a Gala night and we had a full table 19 as we were joined by Kathi and hosted by a woman from the Spa staff.  She is on her first contract and both a bit homesick but also enjoying the ship and the itinerary.  I chose the watermelon gazpacho, fillet steak (sans lobster ravioli), and apple strudel.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes06.jpg


With a 9:30 Black and Gold Ball the entertainment was 6:30 and 8 with the Prinsendam Singers in "Sessions".


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/sessions.jpg

Our official pillow gift was a pocket guide to Amazon wildlife.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/pillow06.jpg


We were also given a chart of our Amazon journey with the ports printed in red.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/amazon.pdf


The Black and Gold Ball opened at 9:30 with a musical selection by the McDonald Brothers.  When they had finished the massed officers assembled in front of the stage and Captain Jeroen took the first dance with Future Cruise Consultant Sheryll and others joined in.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/blackgoldball.jpg


As a parting shot a controversy rages on the longest river in the world.  The Nile is probably technically longer depending on the course selection and the season as the Amazon headwaters depend on snow runoff.  I'll still stick with the Amazon as both the largest (by volume river) and also as I think the longest navigable river, especially since the creation of the Aswan High Dam.


Roy

 

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Interesting picture of the meeting of the waters. 

 

Roy, is morning devotions part of what is normally offered on PDam, is it because it’s a grand voyage, is it the particular priest, or a pax group, or something else? (I’m wondering as we board in June.)

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Good morning Roy,

Finally a sunny day here in San Diego. I hope all those traveling from back east for the Eurodam this weekend will see sunny skies! We have had a lot of rain but the sun woke me up this am.

 Best, Best picture from you today is the meeting of the 2 waters! I’ve heard of this through our dear friends who did the Amazon. Have a great day Roy.

Denise😊

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4 hours ago, TiogaCruiser said:

Interesting picture of the meeting of the waters. 

 

Roy, is morning devotions part of what is normally offered on PDam, is it because it’s a grand voyage, is it the particular priest, or a pax group, or something else? (I’m wondering as we board in June.)

This is something just for the Grand Voyage.  HAL provides a Catholic Priest who does a daily mass but except for Grand Voyages, Christmas, and Easter not for other denominations.

 

I find that unfortunate because the other cruise line that regularly provides priests is Crystal and their priests do an interdenominational service each Sunday in addition to Mass, and they do a very good job at it.  That's also part of the mission of the agency HAL uses:

 

 

 

"

Basic Services provided by the Cruise Ship Priest:

  • Daily Mass for Cruise Passengers
  • Weekly Mass for the crew
  • Ecumenical or Interfaith services for non-Catholic Passengers
  • Pastoral care and visitation to the infirmed for all passengers and crew
  • Other religious and spiritual responsibilities as requested "

 

I know Himself does an interdenominational service regularly but I've never seen it on a cruise I've been on, and HAL doesn't seem interested in asking the priest to do it.  In fact they often schedule the interdenominational service concurrently with the Sunday mass.

 

All they provide is a room and some hymn books and the service is "congregation led" which means pretty much catch as catch can.  I've tried to prepare a few times and taken the lead but I think the best of the services I've seen was on the Veendam where one of the lead singers stepped up to the plate.

 

Roy

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