Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Around the Horn in 80 days.

Recommended Posts

Day P73, Monday, March 18, 2019, Bridgetown, Barbados

The Veendam is in Alter Do Chao.  I knew the expedition phase of this voyage was over when I left my room and the stewards were coming around delivering shopping maps.  I walked a minimal 6 laps with the expectation of walking more in town.  We entered the harbor about 7.  As usual, we would dock at the "sugar berth" where a series of towers and conveyors can load sugar into bulk ships.  It is not really a bad location but the views are ugly.  From the approach to the narrow path from the terminal and the views from my porthole or the front deck it is just not an attractive place


I think this is the last time before Ft. Lauderdale where we will share the port with another ship.  Mein Schiff 5, 3 times our size, was in port when we arrived and remained after we left.


This is my 6th visit to Barbados including 2 Windstar transatlantics where I disembarked there, and I've done most of the tours so my plan was to just take a walk into town.  I left the ship a little after 9 and started walking.  Pelican Island was connected by a causeway to the main island in 1961 to create a deep water port.  Until then a small river which supported only light ships served as the port.  It's about a mile walk along the causeway to the old harbor.  Bridgetown is named for an abandoned indian bridge which crossed the river.  That bridge is gone but 2 new bridges remain in the same area.  The Independence Arch is at the end of the downstream bridge.


I crossed the lower bridge and returned by the one upstream.  In between there's a plaza with a statue of Errol Walton Barrow, father of Barbados independence (on November 30, 1966, Barbados became an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations).


Returning on the upstream bridge to the main part of town I was at Heroes Square with a statue of Lord Nelson.



Adjoining Heroes Squ
are is the Parliament, actually 2 buildings facing each other.


I had a rough plan for my walk including a couple of places I hadn't been before, and next up was Queen's Park.  It's about a half mile beyond the center of town.  It was originally the headquarters of the British commander but became a National Park in 1909.  In addition to open spaces and playgrounds there is a bandstand which is used for concerts and a "steel shed" used for occasional theater and other events.  The old commander's house is an art museum but was closed.


Next stop on the way back to the ship was the (Anglican) cathedral.  It has a lovely organ and great grounds.


My next spot was the Synagogue.  The building dates back to 1654.


On the way to the Synagogue I stumbled across the original library.  It was funded by Andrew Carnegie in 1906 but fell into disrepair and was closed in 2006.  The city hopes to restore it but as of now has not found the funds.


On the way back to the ship I popped into a store and found a couple of ties I liked.  I was back at the pier about 2:45.

All aboard was 5:30.  I went to my favorite spot to watch our departure.  Rather unusually, Staff Captain Paul had on a brown/tan uniform shirt.  Captain Jeroen took the controls for our departure but it was Paul who pushed the button for 3 blasts from the horn.  While we had a rather tinny response from Le Champlain at Devil's Island Mein Schiff 5 remained silent.


I knew I would be the only one at table 19 (others at the Cellermaster Dinner) and was willing to be late for dinner.  We sailed off about 5:45 and sunset was 6:15  I decided I couldn't wait that long and started down the stairs, but noticed that there were clouds right below the sun.  I checked on deck by the Seaview pool and the sun was gone but there was still nice color.


Despite my late arrival dinner went very quickly and I was out about 6:30.  My choices were the Raspberry soup, Jerk Chicken, and Apple Cinnamon Crisp.


If an entertainer has to come back for a second time on a cruise, probably one of the best choices for that is comedian Martin Beaumont.  He did have a new routine and was good once again.

My parting shot will be a bit of a milestone.  I have now been on the Prinsendam for more consecutive days than on any previous ship.  After 73 days, it still feels like I just boarded.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have been to Barbados quite a few times and thankfully never docked at the sugar loading area of the docks.  A couple of times we were where Mein Schiff was docked and had to use special buses to get to the terminal -- we weren't allowed to walk through the freight area.


One time we did walk all the way into town and over that first bridge.  But another time we were there on a Sunday and the captain warned everyone not to walk into town -- there were gangs roaming around.  Sure enough one couple did not listen -- a couple of men approached them and slashed her arm while crabbing her purse.  Her husband nearly lost his hand trying to help his wife.


A couple of times we have done Harrison's Caves.  The first time was the best -- the second time was after all the renovations and a person didn't get to see as much of the caves.


Great pictures.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/18/2019 at 8:16 AM, rafinmd said:

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




I was lucky enough to get a small video of a couple of their songs.


I thought they did quite well and kudos to Stevie from Halifax for taking this on.


Certainly are some great things on this Grand with all the parties, etc.  The P'dam is going out in style from what I am hearing 😄 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/11/2019 at 4:42 AM, rafinmd said:

One of the co-founders, Ron Joyce, died January 31.  Mr. Joyce, thanks and rest in peace.


I have been working on catching up on your thread (amazingly beautiful pictures of the sea, Roy, thank you) when I saw this post.  Back when I was single and having fun, my friends and I were enjoying an evening on the patio at The Martini House when Ron Joyce joined our table.  He took a great liking to my best friend.  She’s pretty feisty, (having grown up as the youngest, and only, female with 5 brothers) and gave him a run for his money.  I think he enjoyed the challenge.  One of her brother’s was in the NHL so there was also something in common.  Anyway.  Sorry for the diversion.  You brought back great memories of a crazy night.  LOL

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/11/2019 at 8:55 AM, rafinmd said:

You have probably seen that I have an obsession with "Come From Away" and have a part in the play.


Wait.  What?!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, *Miss G* said:


Wait.  What?!

Oops.  Missing word.  The passage started out talking about Tim Hortons and I intended to say "THEY have a part in the play.  There are a couple of scenes of the towns people gathering in Tim Hortons.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, rafinmd said:

Oops.  Missing word.  The passage started out talking about Tim Hortons and I intended to say "THEY have a part in the play.  There are a couple of scenes of the towns people gathering in Tim Hortons.




Ohhh.  Well that makes sense now.  Haha.  That play was AMAZING.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Day P74, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, Port Elizabeth, St. Vincent and Grenadines

The Veendam is leaving the Amazon river and crossing the bar.  Sunrise was just after 6 and I was only planning to walk about a half hour so I waited until past 5:30 to go out on deck.  I walked mostly on 12 as parts of deck 7 were closed off.  Bequia island was behind the sun when the appointed time came although there was some nice color in the sky.


I have been to Bequia once before, also on the Prinsendam, in 2013.  It is likely the second most populated islands of St. Vincent and Grenadines (after St. Vincent itself, 9 miles away by ferry).  I ended up doing the same tour as the first time, leaving on the tender about 8:30.  The harbor the tender crosses (Admiralty Bay) is quite scenic.


The tour is by what the locals call "taxis", pickup trucks fitted with bench seats in the beds.  I was in the back of the vehicle and had to hold on as there were no barriers at the back corner of the benches.


Our first stop was Mt. Pleasant, the highest point on the island.  We had lovely views of the Bequia landscape, some offshore islands, and sheep and goats grazing nearby.


Next up was a turtle sanctuary.  The sanctuary is the private project of a retired fisherman who became concerned about the Hawkbill turtle's dwindling numbers.  He raises them from babies to about 5 years and then releases them into the ocean.


We had a refreshment stop at a little bar, the Whalebone Inn.  There are actually 2; one is in town but ours was in the hinterland.  The bar railing is actually the jawbone of a Humpback Whale.


Our final stop was at Fort Hamilton. On property once owned by Alexander Hamilton it wasn't really much of a fort but it has several cannons and great views.  It is quite close to the ship and the hill but not the cannons were visible from the deck.


We returned to the dock about 11:30.  I walked around town a bit and popped my head in a couple of the stores but did not see much of interest there.  The town is largely Anglican and St Mary's Church was simple but elegant.


A walk runs along quite a lengthy stretch of beach.  I did not go in the water but it looked quite nice.  I was back onboard about 1:30.


There was a big sailaway party on the lido deck with free drinks.  I watched instead from deck 9 forward as the anchoring flag was taken down from the mast, the final time I will see it on the Prinsendam.


The usual 4 were at table 19 for a "Pirates Night" dinner with the waiters (and many guests) dressed as pirates.  I chose the "Treasure Chest" fruit cocktail, the "Treasure Island" breaded pork chop, and the strawberry sundae.  We probably left the dining room a little after sunset and the sun would have been directly in front of us.


The featured entertainment was singer Jennifer Singer.  I was quite drowsy but she was very good.


I'll take a parting shot from the turtle sanctuary.  As I understand it the owner was 57 when he retired and started the sanctuary 25 years ago.  When he spoke to us he did not look at all like he was 82 years old.  Having a purpose in life is probably one of the best ways to stay young.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been years and years since we were in the St Vincent area.  Back then they stuffed 5 of us into tiny cabs with no springs.


Looks like you had a great day -- wonderful pictures.


Pirate day on the ship with pirate themed dishes.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Krazy Kruizers and puppycanducruise.  Something strange seems to be happening today.  I emailed my post to Wordpress and the mail seems to have gone through but the blog post won't show up.  I'm ready to post here too but the picture links won't work until the blog gets updated.  I'm off to Curacao so I'll check back later.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Day P75, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, [Isla Margarita, Venezuela]. At sea, MS Prinsendam

The Veendam has left the Amazon and is at sea arriving in St. Lucia March 22.  I was out on deck about 5:20 and conditions were pleasant with smooth seas and very little wind.  Sunrise was supposed to be at 6:15AM but was more of a process.  We started getting color in the sky about 6 which peaked 5 minutes later.  There was nothing at 6:15 with just a small dot through the clouds later.  It was almost 7 when the sun really became visible.


Our original itinerary had us visiting Isla Margarita, Venezuela today.  We passed it, about 105 miles to our south, about 8AM.  They had a "Grand Voyage Souvenir" deck sale at 9 but it was very disappointing.  The only thing I saw even remotely connected to our voyage were tote bags and generic "South America" tee shirts.

It was another busy sea day.  Jim McParland had a talk at 10 on the night sky.  He was followed at 11 by a Captain's Corner.  He was asked what he would not miss when the Prinsendam left the fleet and his response was that he would lie to have a ship with azipods.  The long term captain on the World Cruise is very close to retirement so perhaps the Amsterdam?


Heather had her talk on our final 2 ports at 2 but the highlight of the afternoon followed at 3, the Indonesian Crew Show.  The show opened with a song.


Next was a hand dance, a dance performed mostly while kneeling on mats.


My waiter, Adnyana was at the port end of the dancers.  In addition to the movements of their hands one line of dancers held their hands while the second line weaved under their outstretched arms rotation positions forward to back to forward.


Next up was a waiter calling himself Brian who sang a song with very impressive dance moves.


One of the highlights of the show was the Angklung Orchestra, where the members hold bamboo devices, each tuned to a certain note and shaken according to the rhythm.  A number of guests from the front rows were called up to join in.


The finale song reflected the love of their country the crew members who took time beyond their regular duties to share.  


Signs of the end of the voyage continue.  I had an appointment with the luggage shipping person and now will be sending all 3 of my big bags home.

It was just me at table 19.  I chose the blueberry soup, beef wellington, and strawberry crisp.


I was out quite early and went up to deck 13 for the sunset.  It looked clear but the sun faded into clouds about 5 minutes before actual sunset.



The featured entertainment was mime/magician Reuben Vilagrand.  My action to him seems to vary by mood or something.  This is the 3rd time I have seen him and was only impressed the second time.


We are close to full moon and the moon was shining both when I first went out in the morning and again after the show, not quite mirror images of each other but pretty close.


My parting shot will be a wish for a positive outcome from the current political situation in Venezuela.  I would like to visit sometime but this most everyone on board was pleased to learn that we would not be going there now.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great report.


I like it when the crew have their shows in the afternoon which is not often.


Isla Margarita -- have been there about 3 or 4 times years ago -- not too much there -- beaches -- had to pay to rent the loungers.  There were a few vendors set up by the ship.  The situation is bad in Venezuela.  


Two weeks ago our gasoline was $2.36 a gallon -- now it is $2.80 a gallon.  And we are told that the prices will continue to rise.


Great pictures -- especially of the sun rising, sun set and the moon.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Day P76, Thursday, March 21, 2019, Willemstad, Curacao

The Veendam has left the Amazon and is at sea arriving in St. Lucia March 22.  I walked an early 6 laps around the lower promenade deck and then returned to my room until about 6:30 when sunrise should have been but there was nothing to see.  

I am no stranger to our final 2 ports of call.  I've been to Curacao in 2013 on both Crystal Symphony and Prinsendam, 2015 on the Maasdam, and 2017 on the Koningsdam, and made the same calls at Aruba plus one in 2018 (Crystal Symphony).  

There are 2 places to dock in Curacao.  The town is divided by a channel that runs into a bay where the cargo ships dock.  That channel can be crossed on a floating bridge, and the traditional cruise terminal (with a terminal building) is on the channel just past the floating (Queen Emma) bridge.


I've never been to that terminal.  On both my 2013 calls I was well past that berth near the far end of the channel, docked right next to an oil refinery.  Not a pleasant place to be.  The other place is called the "Mega Ship Terminal" which sits about 2/3 of a mile from the bridge, and fronts on the open ocean.  There is shopping near the Mega Terminal but a significant walk to the historic part of town.  I've been there on my last 3 calls (Maasdam, Koningsdam, and today).  A second berth is nearing completion at the Mega Ship terminal which will be even farther from the center of town.


My plan was to just walk around town a bit and also do a bit of shipping (nothing came of that).  I left the ship about 8:30 and headed into town and across the Queen Emma Bridge.  The 548-foot bridge connects the "Punda", the historic part of town with Otrobanda (other side) district.  The bridge is hinged at the Otrobanda and a pair of engines driving propellers at the Punda end swing the bridge parallel to shore when a ship needs to pass.  For small boats the bridge may swing just far enough to create an opening on the Punda side and close once the boat has passed.  That can happen in just about a minute.

Once across the bridge I stopped by the floating market.  At a small waterway off the entrance channel boats tie up on the shore.  There are permanent stalls where the boats (mostly from Venezuela) set out fresh produce for sale.  The stalls are on land but the boats act as the office and store room.  I understood that the floating market is being discouraged and the hours are limited but they were still doing business into the afternoon.


I walked about a quarter mile beyond the floating market and then followed the ocean front back almost to the entrance channel.  There are old forts on each side of the harbor entry, and the one on the Punda side is also the seat of the Curacao government.  Just beyond the government space there is a large open space, Wilhelmina Park.


Curacao is home to the oldest continuously occupied Synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.  Temple Mikve Israel-Emanuel (affectionately known as Snoa) dates to 1651 with the present building built in 1732.  


I've walked by it many times but this was the first time I visited.  They have a very impressive organ, installed in 1866 and restored in 2003.  There is also a museum where photography was prohibited.


The Rabbi gave a presentation while I was there.  One thing unusual about the building is that the floor is sand.  There were several theological explanations and one practical one.  The congregation traces it's roots to a time when Jews were persecuted in Spain and one of the things they did there was use sand to muffle the sounds of worship so they would not be discovered.


When I started back to the ship a couple of freighters were transiting the channel and the bridge was open.  When that happens a pair of ferries provide a temporary link between the shores.  I returned to the ship about 2.


We were back to 5 at table 19 with Kathi joining us again.  The selections of the day did not interest me and I decided on the caesar salad, striploin steak, and butter pecan ice cream.


There was nothing advertised but the Lido Marketplace was decorated with a lot of green, apparently on a Caribbean theme.


I finished a while past sunset but the lights of Curacao were starting to show.  The Queen Juliana bridge, the current crossing for vehicles, (from 1974) can be seen in the background.


All aboard was not until 11:30 and the feature in the showroom was a movie.  I skipped it and am wrapping up this post early.  I plan to briefly visit the Crows Nest where Stevie is playing and perhaps even stay up for sailaway.

As my parting shot, March 21 is the first full day of spring.  While it officially started late on the 20th, this is really the start of spring  For those of us based in North America, this is a really welcome event in 2019.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the pic of the Lido today.  I agree with you that the Prinsendam looks good.  Now I'm sorry I did not book one last cruise aboard her.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful report.


We have been to Curacao many times.  The first few times started back in the 80's -- no Mega Pier then.  We docked inside and were very close to the Pontoon bridge.  Quite a few times we had to use the ferries because of the freight traffic.


We were impressed with the sand floor in the Synagogue as well.


That floating market used to be quite large and busy.


Great pictures.  I can remember when we left at 11 at night there used to be fireworks near where the Renaissance Hotel is.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Roy, you have no idea how much I look forward to reading your posts each day.  Thank you so much for taking the time to do this.



Share this post

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

I am no stranger to our final 2 ports of call.  I


Sorry to see and hear that your cruise is reaching it's end.


I've very much enjoyed following your reports and blog and thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and great pictures with us. 🙂 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Having tried a few other cruise blogs - yours and Kathi's are among the best. If I were more mobile I would be doing what you are doing - walking the town. Your insights into the local flavor are fun or at least interesting [in some places].


Thanks for taking me along and it was good to see you on the some of the sailaway pages..



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Day P77, Friday, March 22, 2019, Oranjestad, Aruba

The Veendam is in St. Lucia.  I walked just 4 laps (1 mile) as I wanted to get some things done in my cabin and be on deck for what will likely be my final Prinsendam sail-in (We will probably dock in Ft. Lauderdale VERY early.  I was up on deck 12 awaiting our arrival when the sun came up.


I had a pretty limited agenda for the day.  As I prepare for disembarkation I found I have only one luggage strap and was hoping for at least 2.  I also wanted to find the Methodist church.  When I was there on the Koningsdam it was a Sunday and I had planned to go there.  I never made it as there was a Carnival on that blocked one of the streets I would have needed to cross.  It was off the range of my good maps but I eventually found it with the help of my IPAD maps app.


The church was close to the ocean and I walked back along the "linear park" that follows the shore.


I was a bit surprised to see a school displaying not a local quote but one by a famous American.  I guess the sentiment is the same regardless of your country.  I looked at the various stores as I returned and most of them had luggage of some kind but none of the smaller items like luggage straps.


I returned to the ship about noon.  I had given up on the downtown stores but took a stab at the idea it might be in a hardware store and went back out about 12:30.  I did not find a luggage strap but did buy a length of rope.  I doubt it will do much good but at least it was cheap and can be used for other things.  Oranjestad has a pedestrian type street and a trolley runs along it.  It was not evident when I went out in the morning but I did see it several times in the afternoon.


I boarded the Elegant Explorer for the final time about 2, walking across one of the Grand Voyage mats for the last time.  I think it actually belongs to a passenger now but was used one last time.


While Aruba's cruise terminal is mostly a simple sail through it isn't quite as simple as it looks.  A sand bar restricts the width available to ships and I think they try to have ships on a first in first out scenario.  If one ship must pass another on the way in or out it's possible but a pretty tight squeeze.

All aboard was 4:30 and I went up to the lido deck a little after 4 to be ready for sailaway.  In his message Captain Jeroen mentioned that one other complication of leaving Aruba is that we need to coordinate our departure with flight movements at the airport a couple miles to our south.  For my final sailaway the Captain was handling the controls (Staff Captain Paul took us out of Curacao).


We let go of the lines at 4:40, and at 4:50 I watched us drop off a pilot for the last time.


It was just me at table 19.  My choices for the evening were the Blackberry Soup, Rack of Lamb, and Butterscotch Sundae.  With just me service was very quick and even after coffee I was out of the dining room by 6:30.


The featured entertainment was Jim Curry, a John Denver tribute artist.  He was quite good.


As a parting shot, I have a cumulative 5 1/5 months on the Elegant Explorer but am still discovering new things.  I just noticed returning from dinner that there was a mermaid on the deck 8 ledge of the forward staircase.  There's a glass column in front of it and I had never noticed it before.




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
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
  • Create New...