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rafinmd

Around the Horn in 80 days.

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22 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

Since Cruise Critic was redone I haven't been able to redo my signature but I have a very full schedule.  I have one more HAL cruise before about an 18-month hiatus (not intended but that's how the itineraries work for me).  I'm on the Nieuw Statendam transatlantic leaving Easter Sunday and going to Amsterdam.  I haven't been on Cunard for quite a while but have a fair amount there scheduled as well as Crystal and a return to HAL in September 2020.

 

The details:

 

Nieuw Statendam to Amsterdam April 21

Queen Victoria Kiel to Southampton May 9

Short getaway on QM2 followed by transatlantic May 12.

 

QM2 NY to Southampton October 18

River Cruise on Crystal Bach October 27

Crystal Serenity Barcelona-Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale November 5

Crystal Symphony Caribbean November 24

 

For 2020 2 long world cruise segments

 Crystal Serenity  LA to Sydney January 22 (arriving March 3)

QM2 Sydney-Southampton-NY March 6

 

and in the fall:

 

QM2 New York to Southampton Late September

Crystal Serenity Barcelona to Quebec August 31

Zuiderdam Quebec to New York September 17

 

Roy

 

This looks fantastic.....!!!

 

And you have such great ideas on how to cruise the world....without ever having to fly.....:)

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5 minutes ago, Rowsby said:

 

This looks fantastic.....!!!

 

And you have such great ideas on how to cruise the world....without ever having to fly.....:)

 

That's the best part - no flying - just cruising.

 

I used to enjoy flying - until they started packing us in.

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57 minutes ago, Happily@Sea said:

 

That's the best part - no flying - just cruising.

 

I used to enjoy flying - until they started packing us in.

 

1 hour ago, Rowsby said:

 

This looks fantastic.....!!!

 

And you have such great ideas on how to cruise the world....without ever having to fly.....:)

Unfortunately not quite true.  I seldom do long flights but will need several, Maryland to/from Florida, London to Amsterdam to Barcelona and again London to Barcelona but nowhere near as bad as some of the long flights I've done and will likely still have in my future.

 

Roy

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Posted (edited)

Day P80, Monday, March 25, 2019, Disembark MS Prinsendam, Fort Lauderdale


The Veendam is continuing her return to Fort Lauderdale and passed Half Moon Cay around 8AM.  I woke very early and was out on deck a little before 4:30 with the moon shining very brightly over the aft decks.

https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/moon0325.jpg


At first we felt pretty much by ourselves in the water but only briefly as the pilot boat approached about 4:40.


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


A tug boat soon joined the party and follow us into the harbor tying up to our stern for a while.

 

We backed up to pier 26 and the first lines went out just before 5:30.


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


I made 2 trips up to the lido for breakfast, first raisin toast and then returned after 8 for sausage.  The sun came up on the first of those visits just before 7:30.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dawn0325.jpg


Disembarkation was a bit slower than expected as CPB ran late in processing crew immigration but we never got more than about 30 minutes behind.  As a 4-star mariner I was given a wide window for disembarkation time (7:45 to 9:15) and I left about 8:45.  We got our final gifts as we left the ship--A bag with a mug and hat with the Grand Voyage logo and a tee shirt with the logo and itinerary.


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


Most parts of disembarkation went fairly smoothly but the porter service was quite disorganized and after finding my bags it was a half hour before I got any luggage help.  Finally one porter took my luggage along with 3 other peoples and we made our way through the Global Entry line.  One was on a transfer to the airport while 2 of us were getting taxis.  The porter took us to the taxi stand and then said he would continue to the airport transfer bus and then drop the shipped bags with FEDEX.


The ride to the Hampton Los Olas was quick and I was dropped off about 9:45.  There was a room for me on the second floor and I had to walk through the breakfast room which closed at 10.  I quickly surveyed the offerings (I didn't really need any more breakfast but got skim milk and surveyed the offerings) just before they closed.  I will probably do the same early tomorrow but will get a good breakfast on my train.  The room is quite suitable.


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


Plans started to go awry when I left the hotel for lunch.  It is very close to Broward Transit's central bus station and I bought a day pass.  My intent was to go to Panera for lunch and I got on the right bus but in the wrong direction.  I had gone quite a distance when I decided it was time to get off and retrace my steps.  In the meantime, I started to get messages on my voice mail.  One of my bags showed up at the airport and it was first airport people telling me it would go to lost and found; the 3rd call was a Holland America representative with the same information but a callback number.  When I called her back she had found the Fedex tag on the bag and said it would be taken to the Holland America office and Fedex would be called to pick it up.  


Back on the bus in the right direction I headed for 17th street and stopped at Burger King (skim milk), Publix (Raspberries and apples), and Panera (Chicken soup plus macaroni and cheese for dinner).  I was back at the hotel about 4.  and joined my Holland American Webcam group watching the Prinsendam sail away from Fort Lauderdale for the last time.  It's the end of an era that a plaque in the stairwell attests has been a regular feature for over 15 years.


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


The evening was quiet in the hotel catching up on some internet matters.  


As a parting shot I came relatively late to the Prinsendam but it was pretty much love at first sight.  I'm sure the Crystal Symphony's days are waning but for now I look back at my time on the Prinsendam thankful for the opportunity but feeling a great sense of loss.  It was really difficult watching her leave without me.


Roy

 

Edited by rafinmd

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Welcome back, Roy, after your long journey. It's been a pleasure following along each day. Thank you for the reports.
I wish I had been able to take this final Grand Cruise of the Prinsendam. She has been such a special ship, so I know well how you feel about being on her one last time.

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Thank you Roy for taking us along on your wonderful adventure.  Loved the details of everything.

 

Sorry you first had a worry about one of your suitcases but glad that a HAL rep helped out and made certain that it got to FEDEX.

 

Hope you have a safe train ride home.

 

Great pictures.

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Roy,

Thanks again for sharing the Prinsendam's final Grand voyage.  You were indeed fortunate to have enjoyed so many days aboard her.

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Wow on the wayward bag, Roy.

 

So glad it got resolved for you.

 

It's been a joy following along with you.  I share your sadness watching the Prinsendam sail away from Fort Lauderdale for the last time.  She is a very special ship ❤️ 

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Hello Roy,

 

Was happy to join you in person for part of your voyage and then vicariously for the rest. Safe travels and happy sailing. 

 

Andrea

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Thank you for the many amazing itineraries in your future.  It must take you months of careful planning to coordinate so many. I have them written down so I can follow along.  Happy to see a few Cunard voyages thrown in among all the others.  Enjoy being at home for a couple of weeks. ~ Patti

 

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19 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Since Cruise Critic was redone I haven't been able to redo my signature but I have a very full schedule.  I have one more HAL cruise before about an 18-month hiatus (not intended but that's how the itineraries work for me).  I'm on the Nieuw Statendam transatlantic leaving Easter Sunday and going to Amsterdam.  I haven't been on Cunard for quite a while but have a fair amount there scheduled as well as Crystal and a return to HAL in September 2020.

 

The details:

 

Nieuw Statendam to Amsterdam April 21

Queen Victoria Kiel to Southampton May 9

Short getaway on QM2 followed by transatlantic May 12.

 

QM2 NY to Southampton October 18

River Cruise on Crystal Bach October 27

Crystal Serenity Barcelona-Lisbon-Ft. Lauderdale November 5

Crystal Symphony Caribbean November 24

 

For 2020 2 long world cruise segments

Crystal Serenity  LA to Sydney January 22 (arriving March 3)

QM2 Sydney-Southampton-NY March 6

 

and in the fall:

 

QM2 New York to Southampton Late September

Crystal Serenity Barcelona to Quebec August 31

Zuiderdam Quebec to New York September 17

 

Roy

Thanks for your great trip report.  We are so jealous.  Have to ask -- do you put together your cruise schedule or do you have a fantastic TA to string these cruises together?  

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Just stepped into my house.  Will look at questions and post on today later but many errands ahead.

 

Day GSA Plus 1, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. Board Silver Meteor, Fort Lauderdale


The Veendam concluded her Amazon trip and I watched her arrival to Fort Lauderdale on the webcam there before taking a half hour walk in Fort Lauderdale down to the Stranahan River.


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


I was probably a little too eager to get to the station and checked out of the hotel about 6:45.  It was just a two block walk to Fort Lauderdale's Central Bus Station where I had a choice of options to get to the station.  The transit system has a bus there that is $2 but there a better option of a free shuttle.  I opted for the free shuttle which pulled into the station as I was waiting for the light to cross the street and was still waiting when I arrived.  It left at 7:00 and was there 10 minutes later.

 
I went up to the overhead ramp that crossed to the northbound tracks for a vantage point for the rising sun about 7:20.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dawn0326.jpg


Most of Amtrak's South Florida stations are shared with the local commuter system, Tri-Rail.  They are the dominant presence as they have dozens of daily trains compared to Amtrak's 2 in each direction.  It was Tri-Rail that runs the free shuttle into downtown Fort Lauderdale.


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


Waiting at the station was something of a reunion as there were something like 8 people boarding from the Prinsendam, going everywhere from cities in Florida to Montana.  The Amtrak station (which has the toilets) did not open until 8:20, and I was very ready for it when the time came.  The train arrived pretty close to schedule at 8:50.


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


First order of business on boarding was breakfast in the dining car, pancakes and sausage.  It was a pretty uneventful ride through South Florida.  My mother spent her last 30+ years in Lakeland and Kissimmee, and the ride through Central Florida was a bit of a reconnecting with my past.  I chose to have lunch (a salad) at noon to be finished when we got to Orlando but we were running late and I stayed very close to our car.  Most of our delays were caused by freight traffic (the freight company owns the track) but at least one train waited for us.

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

We crossed the St. Johns River about 2:30.  I took a scenic cruise on it with my mother many years ago.  I did take a walk into the station at Jacksonville as we were close to schedule and I was back on the train by departure time.  We left 8 minutes late.


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


Dinner was at 6:15, a steak.  I did not find any of the deserts very appealing.  We were just at Charleston, South Carolina when I turned in for the night.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dishes26.jpg


As a parting shot I see the Prinsendam need to divert to Bermuda to find care for a sick passenger.  Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.


Roy

 

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Day GSA Plus 2. Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Arrive home


When I woke this morning about 4 we were about an hour behind schedule, just about to cross the border from North Carolina into Virginia.  My roomette had storage for my 2 carryon bags under the 2 seats in the compartment, but when the bed is down there is no space to retrieve them.  There is a little cubbyhole above the sink/toilet where things can be stored including the things I needed right away in the morning.


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


It was still very dark when we arrived at our service stop in Richmond.  The doors were not opened and our stop was shorter than normal.  We passed through Ashland, a little to the south of Richmond, about 5:45.  It was still pitch dark.  The sun came up soon after I entered the dining car about 7.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dawn0327.jpg


My last meal on the trip was scrambled eggs and grits.


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


We were supposed to be in Washington at 7 but it was almost 7:30 when we crossed the Potomac River.


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


I did go out for a brief walk in Washington while we changed from a diesel locomotive to electric power but retreated quickly to the Silver Meteor when a Virginia Railway Express train started discharging a swarm of commuters onto our platform.


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


We topped out at about 80mph the journey up to Washington.  Using the electric locomotive on Amtrak owned tracks our speed between Washington and Baltimore topped 100 mph.


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


We were due in Baltimore at 8:15 and our arrival was actually about 8:50.  The Airport Shuttle has historically been good at tracking train and plane arrivals but that may not be true under it's new ownership.  They at first told me he was there and then admitted he had left when I didn't show up at 8:50.  They sent a car from a partner agency to pick me up.  I walked in my door just before 10AM.


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


Most of my day was errands.  I get most of my mail at a UPS store but there are some things that can only go to my actual street address.  The Post Office will only hold mail for 30 days so I had my mail forwarded to the UPS store until March 1 and then had the remainder held for me.  My first stop was the post office to pick up that mail and then 2 stops to grocery stores.  


After moving my groceries to the fridge it was Panera for lunch and then the fire house.  I have a packed inbox but dealt with just one tax item that needed my quick attention.  


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


Next was the UPS store where 16 pounds of mail will be sorted later with most of it going in the recycling bin.  I did look at 2 Express Mail envelopes and my luggage troubles continue.  I have booked Luggage Forward to take my bags from home to the Nieuw Statendam and then from the Nieuw Statendam in Amsterdam to Queen Mary 2 in Southampton.  Both the labels they sent me are for the second leg.


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


Next up was my 3rd grocery store.  As I was driving from UPS to the supermarket I saw a FedEx truck pulling up to the UPS store.  My first 2 bags arrived literally seconds after I left the UPS store and I returned after picking up my groceries for those bags.  According to FedEx tracking, the bag that was taken to the airport was picked up at the Holland America office this morning and will be delivered Friday.


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


It will take me several days to get back to normal.


My parting shot will be continuing concern for the people of Venezuela in light of their repeat of power problems.


Roy

 

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On 3/26/2019 at 4:32 PM, Hobcat said:

Thanks for your great trip report.  We are so jealous.  Have to ask -- do you put together your cruise schedule or do you have a fantastic TA to string these cruises together?  

I pretty much design the itineraries myself and have a great TA who makes it all fit together.  I really have 3 go-to cruise lines (Crystal, Cunard, and HAL) and stay pretty well abreast of their itineraries (and I usually attend the future cruise presentations, plus my other very useful reference is Cruisetimetables.com.

 

Roy

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1 hour ago, rafinmd said:

Day GSA Plus 2. Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Arrive home


When I woke this morning about 4 we were about an hour behind schedule, just about to cross the border from North Carolina into Virginia.  My roomette had storage for my 2 carryon bags under the 2 seats in the compartment, but when the bed is down there is no space to retrieve them.  There is a little cubbyhole above the sink/toilet where things can be stored including the things I needed right away in the morning.


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


It was still very dark when we arrived at our service stop in Richmond.  The doors were not opened and our stop was shorter than normal.  We passed through Ashland, a little to the south of Richmond, about 5:45.  It was still pitch dark.  The sun came up soon after I entered the dining car about 7.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/dawn0327.jpg


My last meal on the trip was scrambled eggs and grits.


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


We were supposed to be in Washington at 7 but it was almost 7:30 when we crossed the Potomac River.


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


I did go out for a brief walk in Washington while we changed from a diesel locomotive to electric power but retreated quickly to the Silver Meteor when a Virginia Railway Express train started discharging a swarm of commuters onto our platform.


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


We topped out at about 80mph the journey up to Washington.  Using the electric locomotive on Amtrak owned tracks our speed between Washington and Baltimore topped 100 mph.


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


We were due in Baltimore at 8:15 and our arrival was actually about 8:50.  The Airport Shuttle has historically been good at tracking train and plane arrivals but that may not be true under it's new ownership.  They at first told me he was there and then admitted he had left when I didn't show up at 8:50.  They sent a car from a partner agency to pick me up.  I walked in my door just before 10AM.


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


Most of my day was errands.  I get most of my mail at a UPS store but there are some things that can only go to my actual street address.  The Post Office will only hold mail for 30 days so I had my mail forwarded to the UPS store until March 1 and then had the remainder held for me.  My first stop was the post office to pick up that mail and then 2 stops to grocery stores.  


After moving my groceries to the fridge it was Panera for lunch and then the fire house.  I have a packed inbox but dealt with just one tax item that needed my quick attention.  


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


Next was the UPS store where 16 pounds of mail will be sorted later with most of it going in the recycling bin.  I did look at 2 Express Mail envelopes and my luggage troubles continue.  I have booked Luggage Forward to take my bags from home to the Nieuw Statendam and then from the Nieuw Statendam in Amsterdam to Queen Mary 2 in Southampton.  Both the labels they sent me are for the second leg.


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


Next up was my 3rd grocery store.  As I was driving from UPS to the supermarket I saw a FedEx truck pulling up to the UPS store.  My first 2 bags arrived literally seconds after I left the UPS store and I returned after picking up my groceries for those bags.  According to FedEx tracking, the bag that was taken to the airport was picked up at the Holland America office this morning and will be delivered Friday.


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


It will take me several days to get back to normal.


My parting shot will be continuing concern for the people of Venezuela in light of their repeat of power problems.


Roy

 

Dear Roy!!!

Welcome home my friend! Look forward to your next adventures.

We’ve been enjoying a very relaxing trip on The Eurodam. Since we have done this twice before it was a nice kick back and relax. We would walk each morning

around 5 miles and enjoyed the sunrises! I will miss your great pictures till your next adventure! Tahiti will be always a favorite place for us.

Take care Roy! This whole trip my WiFi has been horrible and always complained. I’m glad this post will go through to you!

take care Roy!

Denise😊

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Glad you have arrived home safely.

 

Thank you for the final reports and pictures.

 

Hope you get everything straightened out for your next cruise and the last of this cruise's luggage makes it to you.

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Glad you made it home safely.

Good luck on getting through all that mail.

I'll miss your sunrise pictures.

Take care.

 

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10 hours ago, DeeniEncinitas said:

Dear Roy!!!

Welcome home my friend! Look forward to your next adventures.

We’ve been enjoying a very relaxing trip on The Eurodam. Since we have done this twice before it was a nice kick back and relax. We would walk each morning

around 5 miles and enjoyed the sunrises! I will miss your great pictures till your next adventure! Tahiti will be always a favorite place for us.

Take care Roy! This whole trip my WiFi has been horrible and always complained. I’m glad this post will go through to you!

take care Roy!

Denise😊

Wow.  Your cruise is already 2/3 over.  Enjoy the time that remains.

 

Roy

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Well, I've been on land for over a week now.  My third bag arrived Friday.  I still have a big stack of unopened mail.  I have dug out my scanner, and uploaded the cruise logs to the "Extras" page on my blog:

 

https://morethangetaways.wordpress.com/extras/grandsouthaamerica/

 

I did get  one surprise.  I looked at my Holland America record and was shocked to find out I was only 22 points away from 5-star mariner.  I really thought I had a LONG way to go before that was possible.  It will not happen on my Nieuw Statendam transatlantic, but most likely on the Zuiderdam next year. 

 

Roy

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15 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Well, I've been on land for over a week now.  My third bag arrived Friday.  I still have a big stack of unopened mail.  I have dug out my scanner, and uploaded the cruise logs to the "Extras" page on my blog:

 

https://morethangetaways.wordpress.com/extras/grandsouthaamerica/

 

I did get  one surprise.  I looked at my Holland America record and was shocked to find out I was only 22 points away from 5-star mariner.  I really thought I had a LONG way to go before that was possible.  It will not happen on my Nieuw Statendam transatlantic, but most likely on the Zuiderdam next year. 

 

Roy

Wow Roy👍👍😊😊

22 days away from 5 STAR!!!!!!!! Good for you !

On our way back from Tahiti Hawaii!

So looking forward to home!

Looking forward to your next cruise!

our next one is less than. Year away!

Rotterdam San Diego to Fll

Oceania Riviera TA to Rome

Oceania Riviera Monte Carlo to BNC

All from you!! We studied the routes and this worked for us! Thanks Roy

Denise😊

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22 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Well, I've been on land for over a week now.  My third bag arrived Friday.  I still have a big stack of unopened mail.  I have dug out my scanner, and uploaded the cruise logs to the "Extras" page on my blog:

 

https://morethangetaways.wordpress.com/extras/grandsouthaamerica/

 

I did get  one surprise.  I looked at my Holland America record and was shocked to find out I was only 22 points away from 5-star mariner.  I really thought I had a LONG way to go before that was possible.  It will not happen on my Nieuw Statendam transatlantic, but most likely on the Zuiderdam next year. 

 

Roy

 

Glad to hear the bag has made an appearance 🙂 

 

Congrats to being so close to 5*,  Roy.  

 

Thanks so much for adding the additiona info to your blog and letting us know 🙂 

 

Good luck with the stack of mail!

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