Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
rafinmd

Around the Horn in 80 days.

Recommended Posts

We must be out of Brazil.  As of 4PM we have cloth towels back in the bathrooms.

 

Rou

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you found the better of the port to explore.

 

Wonderful report.

 

Love the pictures.

 

Will be curious in the future to see how people like the Veendam taking over many of the Prinsendam's itineraries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, rafinmd said:

We must be out of Brazil.  As of 4PM we have cloth towels back in the bathrooms.

 

Rou

 

 

Glad you now have the cloth towels back in the restrooms.

 

It was many years ago when we did a couple of South American cruises and I don't remember what kind of towels were in the restrooms while we were in Brazilian waters/ports.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day P69, Thursday, March 14, 2019, Crossing the Equator and Amazon Bar


The Veendam is in Boca de Valeria.  I went on deck about 5:30 and we were moving quite quickly, 190 miles from Alter do Chao and just 103 miles from Macapa where we disembarked our Amazon pilots.  I started the day walking 4 1/4 miles (5 ½ total for the day) but never saw the sun until late morning.


The day's big event was the King Neptune Ceremony for crossing the equator, held by the Lido Pool at 10AM.  It's a sort of an initiation ceremony for "pollywogs", people who have never before crossed the equator by ship.  I went through the ceremony several years ago on the Crystal Symphony but HAL only does it for crew.  It starts with the pollywogs being led in as a group by "pirates".


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


King Neptune and his Queen (lead singers from the cast) take their places on their thrones.  


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


The pollywogs are brought before them in small groups by department and charged with "crimes".  One of the most imaginative of the crimes was a member of the front desk staff charged with impersonating a child in Boca de Valeria and posing with a sloth asking passengers for a dollar to take a picture.


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


Once the chargers are read the pollywogs are escorted over to kiss a big ugly fish.

 

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


Next up is a pair of tables on each side of the pool where green or pink slime are lathered over the pollywogs (often accompanied by splashing water or placing ice inside the shirt).


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


Finally the pollywogs are subject to a verdict by the top officers.  Thumbs up and they are required to sit all slimy on the side of the pool and bake.  


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


The last of the groups is from the bridge and engine departments (a 3rd officer and 2 cadets).  Before judgement they manage to push their captors into the pool and end up getting an extra dose of slime.  I think the pool was closed most of the afternoon after the ceremony.


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


In his noon update Captain Jeroen estimated our actual equator crossing as about 1:15PM (actually 12:58).  We will have 1 ½ to 2 meter swells once we enter the Atlantic.  We need to do about 12 knots to be at Devils Island on time.


I went up to the top deck forward to watch as we crossed the equator.  We had a blast of the horn at the precise moment.  Just a couple minutes later we passed Macapa, right on the equator (their main street is Equator Avenue and I visited on the Prinsendam in 2013).  At that point we were just under 2 miles away.

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


I usually try to eat pretty sensibly but today was a day when temptation got to me with a lunch of milk and Key Lime Pie.


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

 

There were 2 afternoon presentations.  Jim McParland started things off with a look at the wildlife of the Amazon.  He was followed at 3 by Viviane Rowan on Amazon tribes who maintain essentially no contact with the outside world.  Most are endangered through disease, loss of homeland, and other issues but Brazil is starting to protect their status.


We were back to the usual 4 at table 19.  Today it was the watermelon gazpacho, chicken caesar salad, and apple pie.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes14.jpg


The featured entertainment was the Prinsendam Singers and Dancers with a repeat of Dance (from early in the first segment).    When I returned there was a certificate in my room documenting the equator crossings on this segment.


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


I'll take my parting shot from McParland's talk.  Sometimes you wonder if anybody ever looks at what they write.  He was talking about Anacondas and had a newspaper headline "Largest Snake Ever Found in Africa's Amazon Basin".  I know I've had my share of bloopers but that seems like about as an extreme example of fake news as I can imagine.


Roy

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We love those crossing the equator ceremonies.  The original ones we did had passengers as the pollywogs.  They are a lot of fun.  Yup -- took most of the day to get the pool and area around it all cleaned up.  I have a picture somewhere of DH kissing the fish.

 

Great pictures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, rafinmd said:


I'll take my parting shot from McParland's talk.  Sometimes you wonder if anybody ever looks at what they write.  He was talking about Anacondas and had a newspaper headline "Largest Snake Ever Found in Africa's Amazon Basin".  I know I've had my share of bloopers but that seems like about as an extreme example of fake news as I can imagine.


Roy

 

Roy, If the Amazon has an African Basin too, it is indeed the largest river and longest river in the world.  That fake news is everywhere these days.  Good thing you caught this one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, rafinmd said:


I'll take my parting shot from McParland's talk.  Sometimes you wonder if anybody ever looks at what they write.  He was talking about Anacondas and had a newspaper headline "Largest Snake Ever Found in Africa's Amazon Basin".  I know I've had my share of bloopers but that seems like about as an extreme example of fake news as I can imagine.


Roy

 

That right up there with HAL’s short lived ad blooper that “we’ll take you to 7 countries and 100 continents”. 

 

Long live the proof readers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day P70, Friday, March 15, 2019, At sea, MS Prinsendam


The Veendam is starting a 2-day call in Manaus.  Winds were over 30 knots this morning and I cut my walk back to 3 miles.  It was cloudy or hazy both morning and evening but towards the end of my walk I could at least see that the sun was somewhere under the clouds.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/sunlives15.jpg


Since about the time we entered the Amazon we've had foam covers over several of the vents on decks 5 and 7.  They were a bright blue when first placed there and have trapped some pretty nasty stuff.


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


I skipped the 10AM talk on shore excursions but caught some of the 10:30 coffee chat with singer Lorraine Brown and Magician Jamie Allan.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/coffee15.jpg


The 11AM showroom talk was Jim McParland.  The advertised topic was the constellation Orion but he had told us he would also be showing some comparisons of the Amazon in November (dry) and March (rainy).  There was one that was particularly striking.  I  had posted a picture of a spit in Alter Do Chao with some pavilions with just thatched roofs above the water.  In the photo he took in November the water separating town from that spit was so far down that one could easily wade across to those pavilions.


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


I don't remember anything really special about the Captain's noon update but we are only doing about 12kt on this leg of the cruise to arrive at the Devils Island pilot station at 6:30AM.  He did give some dates of operation of the prison which were used in the afternoon trivia.  The aft promenade deck was very serene and quite well used at midday.


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


A charity auction was held in the Explorers Lounge of some navigation charts and other memorabilia to benefit Nightingale Children’s Home in Barbados.  I understand the auction
raised about $2,800.


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


Heather gave her presentation on Barbados and Beqaia at 2.  Vivianne Rowan was supposed to talk about Devils Island at 3 but she was under the weather and Jim McParland gave the presentation from her notes.


The Cruise Planner listed this as Captains Grand Voyage Dinner but it turned out to be just an ordinary Gala Night.  The usual 4 were at dinner and I chose the pear and mixed greens salad, fillet steak from the surf and turf, and pear tart.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes15.jpg


When we returned to our room the pillow gift for the penultimate Gala Night was a show plate with our itinerary.  They were clearly ordered well in advance as the plate includes our stop in Isla Margarita Venezuela which was cancelled well before the cruise left Ft. Lauderdale.


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


The featured entertainment was Los Vegas singer and vocal impressionist Robbie Howard.  He was ok but I don't really plan on attending a second show.


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


As a parting shot Christchurch has seen more than it's share of tragedy between the 2011 earthquake and the shootings of the past week.  May all the survivors find healing, and I especially think of the first responders who have chosen to become involved in these tragedies.  The emotional toll is horrible and I hope they will take advantage of all support for post traumatic stress issues.  May the deceased rest in peace.


Roy

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, travelnap said:

Roy, If the Amazon has an African Basin too, it is indeed the largest river and longest river in the world.  That fake news is everywhere these days.  Good thing you caught this one.

Actually it was McParland who discovered the error and reported it.  I would like to take credit for finding it but it wasn't my doing.

 

Roh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sea days are suppose to restful.  But yours never sound that way.

 

The plate for your cruise is beautiful.

 

Great pictures.

 

All those senseless deaths in New Zealand is a tragedy.  May they all rest in peace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Since about the time we entered the Amazon we've had foam covers over several of the vents on decks 5 and 7.  They were a bright blue when first placed there and have trapped some pretty nasty stuff.

Wow. Who would have thought that there was so much blowing on the ship, and vents, to require those covers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Day P71, Saturday, March 16, 2019, Devils Island, French Guiana


The Veendam concluded it's call in Manaus.  With the day planned on shore I walked just 6 laps (1 ½ miles) and it was dark the whole time.  We dropped anchor about 6:30.  This is my 3rd visit to Devils Island after the Prinsendam in 2013 and the Maasdam in 2015.  There are actually 3 islands.  The one we visit is actually Ile Royale and was the site of the main prison complex.  Saint Joseph Island is open to visitors but we have no way of getting there.  It was used for solitary confinement of the most incorrigible of the prisoners.  Devils Island is now off limits to visitors.  It was used for political prisoners, most notably Alfred Dreyfus.


Our hours were to be 8 to 4:30 but tendering actually started about 7:30.  I was a little past that but my tender left the ship just about 8 for a short ride to the dock.  I walked around most of the sites on the island and have marked the map we were given with the walk.


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


The first part of my walk was around the outside of the island on the trail marked in red.  It is the easiest way up to the summit although there is not a lot to see on it.  The main point of interest was the cemetery.  The death rate was very high but the prisoners were simply dumped in the water to keep sharks active in the area.  Guards and their family members were given a proper burial in the cemetery, especially a number of children who fell victim to the diseases in the hostile environment.  I have been in the cemetery on past trips but it appeared to be off limits today.


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


The red trail continued gradually uphill until it arrived at the actual prison complex.  The first building I came to housed prisoners in solitary confinement and those on death row.  The entry lobby looked ok but the cells were really bleak.  4 supports in the inner courtyard of the cellblock were the foundation for the guillotine.


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


I find it hard to imagine Devils Island as a vacation destination but the island has an Auberge.  I stopped in there for coffee.  The restaurant was an open pavilion to the side of the main building.  The restaurant was marked patrons only, and they seemed to have just a buffet for the guests.  There was a dinner menu still posted for Friday, a buffet and a la carte sandwiches; I posted it on the "Extras" tab of the blog.


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


Most of the sights on the island were concentrated near the Auberge.  The building for the general population seemed much smaller than the solitary building and while far from attractive seemed less dismal.


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


On the opposite side of that building there was a helipad and a tracking station for Frances space center which is on the French Guiana mainland.  Next door is the hospital.


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


One of the unusual things about this prison is that there was a practice called "Dublage".  If an inmate completed his sentence (many died before their sentence was over) they were required to spend an equal amount of time in the colony before they were allowed to return to France,  For a brief period France had brought women to the island hoping to start a self sustaining colony.  There was a building for expectant mothers but it was in ruins.  That turned out to be the best place for wildlife.  I saw monkeys but could not capture them on camera; more numerous were large rodents called agoutis, and there were some peacocks at the Auberge.


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


There was a chapel on the island, still in good condition.  The one unusual thing about it was there were bars at the entrance.  Other buildings held the guards and their families; I think most of them are now part of the Auberge.

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


As I continued on the trail I passed the Auberge and bought a map in the gift shop.  It was far better than the maps we had been given on the ship.


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


Down a set of stairs from the Auberge was the former home of the prison director.  It now houses a small museum.


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


I continued down a steep trail to the edge of the water.  Just across a narrow channel there was a replica of the hut where Dreyfus spent several years.  There are fierce currents around the island and it was reached by a cable car.  One of the towers for the cable car were close to my vantage point to view the island.


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


When I returned to the tender landing it was surprisingly crowded.  I had thought we would be the only cruise ship there and we were by far the biggest but Ponant's "Le Champlain" had arrived about 10 and had one of their tenders at the dock along with hours.  With just 148 passengers there were still fewer cruisers on the island than I had seen on the Maasdam.


By the time of our last scheduled tender at 4:30 we were already pulling in the anchor and started to move with a brief horn exchange with Le Champlain.  As we left our anchorage there was a place where we could see all 3 islands, Isle Royale (main island) on the left, Saint Joseph (punishment island) on the right, and a little bit of Devils Island (Dreyfus and political prisoners) in between.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/3isles.jpg


Kathi joined us in the dining room for a "Pirates Dinner".  The ship was temporarily redubbed the "Prisondam" and the waiters all wore striped prison garb.  I opted for 2 starters, the caesar salad and banana soup as well as the striploin steak and the apple strudel.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes16.jpg


The featured entertainment was a repeat performance by Classical Graffiti.  After the show the prison theme was concluded with a "Prisoners Party" in the Ocean Bar.


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


My parting shot will be a wish for a safe and joyous St. Patrick's Day.

 

Roy

 

Edited by rafinmd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I notice that the hospital has a lighthouse tower attached - or at least it did from the angle of the photo. Must be the most open area on the island.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on Devil's Island back in the 90's.

 

After climbing up the hill, we stopped in the gift shop are and had a coke.  There was also a place where we paid $5 each for a certificate from there.

 

Some of the buildings look to have been refurbished since we were there.

 

Great report and wonderful pictures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

We were on Devil's Island back in the 90's.

 

After climbing up the hill, we stopped in the gift shop are and had a coke.  There was also a place where we paid $5 each for a certificate from there.

 

Some of the buildings look to have been refurbished since we were there.

 

Great report and wonderful pictures.

 

Apparently, the French Space Agency is taking the lead in preserving and restoring some of the buildings.

 

1 hour ago, Happily@Sea said:

I notice that the hospital has a lighthouse tower attached - or at least it did from the angle of the photo. Must be the most open area on the island.

 

It is not attached but is only about 3 feet from the hospital.  I did see the light from the ship but it isn't very prominent.  Almost the entire thing was hidden behind trees with just the light sticking up. It really was not prominent enough to entice me to take a picture from the ship.

 

Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

 

Apparently, the French Space Agency is taking the lead in preserving and restoring some of the buildings.

 

 

It is not attached but is only about 3 feet from the hospital.  I did see the light from the ship but it isn't very prominent.  Almost the entire thing was hidden behind trees with just the light sticking up. It really was not prominent enough to entice me to take a picture from the ship.

 

Roy

 

Thanks for the explanation - must not be a working one - if no one has maintained the sightlines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great reports and pics Roy.

 

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and all my CC friends on board.

 

I think the talent show is today?  One of my friends is performing in the choir that Stevie from Halifax has formed.  

 

Wish I were there to see them

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, kazu said:

Great reports and pics Roy.

 

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and all my CC friends on board.

 

I think the talent show is today?  One of my friends is performing in the choir that Stevie from Halifax has formed.  

 

Wish I were there to see them

Show starts in 45 minutes.  I wonder if Ann or Sherita will be taking video.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

Show starts in 45 minutes.  I wonder if Ann or Sherita will be taking video.

 

Hope someone does.  Sherita did Sel de Mer with my friends Jane & John & Ann & Pat.

 

Jane is performing in the choir.  She has a lovely voice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day P72, Sunday, March 17, 2019, At sea, MS Prinsendam


The Veendam is in Parintins.  I must start with a correction to yesterday's post.  I had said "Devils Island is NOT off limits to visitors."  It should have been "Devils Island is NOW off limits to visitors."  That one wrong keystroke was a major blunder.


It was another windy day but I was able to get my full 5 miles in.  I did divert to deck 12 with a bit more protection for about a half mile of it.  The sun didn't really rise but I got the first confirmation that it was actually there while up on deck 12.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dawn0317.jpg


It was a fairly quiet day for me.  After the Interdenominational worship service I skipped the day's lectures (Vivianne Rowan and Heather with talks on pirates as well as Jim McParland on the Caribbean) but did watch the Chief Engineer's virtual engine room tour.


There was nothing earth shaking about Captain Gorin's noon update but he did make it official we will get an extra hour overnight before our arrival in Barbados.  We are not actually in the same time zone as Fort Lauderdale but are for all practical purposes.  Between Aruba and Fort Lauderdale we will gain an hour going from Atlantic to Eastern time but will simultaneously lose it as we also go to daylight savings time with a net change of zero.  There were intermittent periods of sun but not enough to raise the temperature to uncomfortable levels.


The highlight of the afternoon was the Passenger Talent Show.  There were 6 individual acts including 4 singers.  Lecturer Jim McParland performed a ballad about a shipwreck.


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


We also had a comedian who did some animal related stories.  In real life he helps out at an animal shelter.


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


The final individual act was a fan dance by the Tai Chi Instructor.


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


The show closed with the passenger choir.  They did a medley of selections from Les Miserables.  

https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/choir1.jpg


One of my tablemates was front and center in the choir.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/choir2.jpg


Dinner was a special for St. Patrick’s Day with the wait staff dressed as leprechauns.  The menus had a green cover and the dining room was all decorated.  Kathi again joined us to make a table of 5.  


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


A lot of us went off the special menu for the "available every day" choices with several of us choosing the Caesar Salad and two of us getting ice cream for desert.  My entree was the lamb shank.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes17.jpg


I left via the lobby between dining room halves and the monkeys were dressed for the occasion.


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

 
As we continue moving east sunset gets later (except for an overnight time change).  Soon after I returned from dinner the stewards came by to service my room and I went out on deck for a few minutes.  The sun was fading low in the sky and would not quite make it to the horizon but was nice anyway.

 

https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dusk0317.jpg


It was a changing of the guard in the animal kingdom as the monkeys are here and the raffle for the penguins took place before the main show, a variety show with singers Lorraine Brown and Robbie Howard.  There was a Saint Patrick’s Day party in the Ocean Bar but I took advantage of the extra hour for sleep.


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


My parting shot will be a thank you for the people who took the plunge and participated in the Talent Show.


Roy

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't blame you for using that extra hour to catch up on sleep.

 

Love all the St Patrick decorations -- even the monkeys joining in.

 

Great pictures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...