Tag Archives: cruise

April 9-10 –Going home

Once at the CDG airport we were pretty tired. Our luggage had gone through to LAX so we only had our carry on’s and large purses, but that was plenty. Unwilling to search for the shuttle to the hotel we grabbed a cab. The travel agency said the Marriot was closest to the airport, but we passed several on the way, including a Sheraton which is actually attached to the airport. At least it was only a 20E ride and about 15 minutes. The Marriott was lovely with the softest beds and pillows, ever. When we checked in I realized my Visa card was gone, so I had Terry cancel it. I am pretty sure I left it in a machine at the Genoa Airport. We watched TV and caught the finale of Britain’s The Voice and then slept hard till morning.

We had coffee and caught the 8am bus for our 10:30 departure. The airport security was miles long and they decided my bag was too heavy. As Carolyn continued I had to go way back to turn in my bag. Good news, because it was a connecting flight there was no charge. Back at the first check point, they let me thru a shortcut and then I was on my way to find Carolyn. The lines were all moving so slow that I actually caught up to her. We boarded promptly and took off on time. Carolyn had bought some more gifts at the airport. On the plane, we were in the bulkhead with a man in the seat between us. Oh well, I am not sitting in the middle, so that’s the way it goes.

We had some ok food, chicken and cous cous and other stuff I ignored. I would really love a sweet right now, but have none.

My wonderful Bose ear buds ran out of charge and the noise on the plane seems so much more awful than normal, since I had a couple of hours of relative silence. I watched the Good Dinosaur, which I though was cute. It is a simple adventure story, no reason for the critics to be so harsh.

I ended up watching animated films all the way home. I did find ice cream bars when I walked around the planes kitchen. I got one each for me, Carolyn, and our seat partner. I also got coffee for all of us. Carolyn and I later spent some time in the kitchen stretching our legs and being entertained by a charming baby named Santiago.

Landing at LAX was quick but getting off the plane took a long time. Most people waited their turn, but some people shoved forward. We had to go thru customs, I was able to text Terry once before customs area blocked all cell use. The line was long but moved fairly quickly. It was interesting to see how the custom officers talked with some people a long time and just gave a quick nod to others. There was a large high school group on our plan and lots of overexcited parents waiting for them. The parents behaved as if the kids were being released from a kidnapping situation, lol. We finally got through and found all of our suitcases. Terry was waiting for us outside, he went to get the car while we waited curbside. The place was packed and it was frustrating for Terry to get to us. LAX is just too big and too messy.

We dropped Carolyn off and when we got home I managed to stay awake until 5:30, then I was out until morning.

All in all, a good trip, interesting sights cool souvenirs.

April 9 – Almost last day

Last night I stepped outside our room to check something on my luggage tag. I saw the woman in the cabin next door, crouching down and she looked at me and said “Madame I need help”. I thought she was sick, what she was, was, NAKED and locked out of her room. She had planned to sleep naked and shoving her suitcase out the door, it slammed behind her. Carolyn and I sprang into action. We gave her a towel to wrap around herself and brought her into our cabin. I called the desk and told them to hurry cause she was naked. Carolyn, who was wearing more pj’s than I waited by the woman’s door. When the steward arrived, he opened the door and Carolyn shooed him away. The lady, very giggly and embarrassed went back to her room, replaced out towel and thanked us over and over.

We thought this was the perfect last night, we giggled ourselves to sleep and occasionally giggle even today.

This morning we went to the International Breakfast, but mostly browsed the buffet and drank coffee. When we went to the meeting room we found Larry and Linda with seats saved for us. We were soon joined by Emmet and Andrea. The girls had left early to catch a train. We all chatted, fetched our passports and chatted some more as we waited for the announcement to leave.

With another round of hugs, Carolyn and I were on our way. We walked al long distance and got to the luggage pick up. Our luggage was delightfully easy to find and a nice Costa crew member with cute, curly hair helped us to the bus. The bus picked up a few people from another terminal and then we went on to the Genoa airport.

This is a tiny airport and we can’t check in until 3:45, so we are sitting and waiting, we arrived at 11:15. Oh well. We can’t leave our seats because this tiny place does not have enough eats for all the waiting passengers.

The airport offers 3 hours of free wi fi, which we are both using. I got us some ice cream and water, and then cookies and sprite. It is a long wait on hard chairs. We did have a nice chat with a young couple with two little kids. Carolyn also got a text from Keyane saying they had made their train and wishing us safe travels.

Tonight we stay at the Charles de Galle Airport Marriott. There is a free shuttle and we leave CDG Sunday morning at 10:30am. We arrive at LAX at 1pm and look forward to seeing everyone. Trips are fun, home is missed.

 

 

April 7 – LONG sea day and flight change

 

April 7 – Making lemonade

Well, we just now (10pm) got an email that there was a strike at Air France and our flights are changed. We will now get to CDG at 7:20 pm and have to spend the night at the CDG Marriot in Paris with no time to play or sight see. We will arrive at LAX at 1pm Sunday.

April 7 – LONG sea day

Today is a long sea cruise, we do not port until 9am. We did not sleep in because we had a disembarkation meeting at 9:30. We went to the international breakfast and I had lox, Carolyn had the eggs benedict again. It was good. A nice French couple sat across from us and we smiled and communicated as best we could.

The disembarkation meeting was about 30 min. long and contained a brief advertisement for future cruises. The instructions were pretty clear and are also on the ship channel and will be in our nightly info sheet. Our suitcases must be outside our room by 1am Saturday morning.

From there we did a bit of shopping, but nothing caught our eye. We went back to the cabin and did a lot of packing, since we will be in Rome all day tomorrow.

Lunch was confusing, since the hamburger and french fry place seemed to had disappeared, so back to the hot buffet. I had steak and potatoes and Carolyn had a little of this and that. We got ice cream bars from the machine and went back to the cabin to eat them. Then we took naps, lovely.

I got up before Carolyn and went for a walk. I found a quiz going on and had a ginger ale while I watched. I shopped a bit to kill time and also went up to the top of the ship to see what it looked like on a cold, choppy sea day. It was deserted except for an older couple in the Jacuzzi. I stopped back at the room, checked the daily activities and went to the craft activity. Keyane and Courtney were there, looking sleepy and Irene and Bobbi also, along with about 30 women. We made little decorations in the Italian flag colors and I will wear mine to dinner on a barrette. The girls and I made enough for everyone. I wandered a bit more and then returned to the cabin.

Carolyn and I are watching American sit coms in Italian and waiting for dinner. Dinner was FUN! The waiters sang and led us all dancing in a conga line and our waiter briefly waltzed with each of the ladies at his tables. The music was loud and fun and we really enjoyed it. And then to top it off, it was Keyane’s birthday so we had cake and sang happy birthday. All in all, a very satisfying meal. We did discuss our feelings about the ship and we all felt that there were a lot of issues. Emmett and Andrea have done Costa 2 other times and feel it has gone down hill each time. Larry and Linda, who are regular cruisers, feel that Costa is very lacking. The girls just mostly want the best price.

Tomorrow we go to Rome, we have kept enough out of our suitcases for Rome and then for our trip home on Saturday. We are both looking forward to Rome and home!

April 6 – Alicante, Spain

Yesterday was a sea day and there is not much to report. I did go to play one of the quiz games and Mr. Moustache and his friend were there, I sat with them. We only got 2 answers right and Mr. Moustache looked one up on his phone. I also played bingo, I did not win but it was fun. Carolyn was tired and stayed in the room dozing and reading.

Over all it was also a very frustrating (and then happy) day for me. On the night of the 4th, before dinner, I found a note canceling my Rome excursion, not enough English speakers. I was upset, mostly because Costa does not in any way let you know this is a possibility before you book. Tours get cancelled, I get that, but not for this reason. I spoke of my distress at dinner and after dinner we went to the show. The show was a mish mash of songs with nice costumes and even had a little mini Harry Potter skit. These shows offer a wide variety but sexily clad men and women seem to be a constant.

On the 5th, a sea day, I went to the service desk to complain. I was very upset. I told the girl I wanted her to know how I felt. I told her that I felt as if Costa does not want English speaking passengers. Nicky overheard and came rushing around the desk to lead me to a couch and sympathize with me. I know she understood my concerns, but I don’t think there is actually a way to explain to this cruise line how disregarded we feel. She made a few suggestions and comforted me, and Carolyn, who joined us, as much as she could. Carolyn said she would go into Rome with me, and my Facebook family sent me a slew of suggestions, but I was really unhappy about the entire situation. And then, my delightful table group changed everything! At dinner, Larry suggested we all get together and take a bus to Rome and hang out and see what we please. I was so delighted, especially since he came up with this idea partly to make sure I saw Rome. We agreed to all take the ship arranged bus and ate our dinner happily discussing it. Carolyn and I stayed for the show again and then went to our room, happier than we had been in the morning.

I want to be sure to be clear about this cruise line. The food is fairly good, though changes very little. And it is certainly abundant. Carolyn dislikes it more than I do, but we both love the ice cream. The crew are friendly and funny and helpful. The rooms and bathrooms are very well appointed. The public rooms are beautiful. The shows are fun and if you like to dance there are opportunities to learn and to dance constantly. The children have a lot to do and are very well looked after by the crew. There are several pools and millions of places to lie in the sun. The cities on the itinerary are fun and interesting and the excursions are very low priced. I feel as if I have made a really friend in Renata, a woman who works in one of the shops.

So, all that said, neither of us would use Costa again. We don’t like the disregarded feeling we get as English speakers. We don’t care for the multi language tours. We do not mind the fact that there are many languages on the ship, we have met many nice people who say hi in their native tongues and everyone participates in a bit of laughing sign language. But English is in such a minority that we feel excluded and as if we are not important or wanted. Perhaps this sounds complainy, but this is how we feel, we are enjoying everything as much as we can, we love our dinner friends, we adore our balcony and the crew is wonderful. We have seen many terrific cities and that is what we will mostly remember.

 

And now, today in Alicante:

Alicante was wonderful. We got into port about 1pm and our tour was scheduled for 1:30. We had slept very late and only got up and ready for lunch. I found and had sushi!!! They had smoked salmon sushi and gosh it was yummy. After lunch we went to our tour meeting spot. We were happy to know our crew member favorite Nicky, was to be on our bus. Irene and Bobbi were also on the tour with us. It was a German and English tour.

Alicante is a beautiful coast city, modern in many ways and yet still very different from home with beautiful architecture and tiled walkways. The promenade has a tile design to look like waves and it creates and optical illusion of higher and lower sections, even though it is flat. If you stare at the tiles it is very difficult to walk. Our bus tour drove around the city and then stopped near the city hall building. We walked around and ended up on the promenade. We were to have a taste of horchata and then be on our own for an entire 90 minutes. We skipped the horchata and headed straight for the shops. They were tented stalls all along this lovely walkway and the coast was just across the street. There were ice cream shops and restaurants also. We saw one ice cream shop that had a sigh that said it was the THIRD BEST ice cream in Spain. How hilarious is that?

We bought a few items and then had ice cream at an ordinary stand, I had coffee and chocolate gelato and it was delicious. We sat in the mild sunshine and really enjoyed our time. On our way back to the meeting place, we saw a very nice looking, shirtless young man painting a balcony railing. When I took his picture he waved and smiled. Continuing on, we stopped in a very American little ship and Carolyn bought a really nice scarf. Scarf prices here are so much more reasonable than at home.

Our bus group was on time, we are a smaller group than other tours, about ½ the bus is full. The bus drove up, up a hill to a place the guide called a fortress, and it is also called the St. Barbara Castle. The narrow road seemed to be about to scrape the sides of the bus, but did not. It was a little nerve racking. Once on the top, we began to walk along the fortress cobblestones. The age of this place is fascinating, I wish we had really old stuff in our country. The walls and ground show that it was all hand built. There were views in every direction of the entire city of Alicante as well as the mountains in the background. We came to a pretty area with benches and trees and Carolyn and others choose to stay there while the rest of us continued to climb up the fortress. In this area, there was a gull sitting on a nest at the foot of a tree. The spouse gull was nearby and when we got too close she would call out to him to protect her. We stayed a respectful distance and got to watch the two of them changes places so she could rest a bit and grab a bit to eat.

Further up the fortress were several statues along the way that were guarding the castle. They looked like archers and swordsmen and were fun to take pictures of. We also went in one room that had a beautiful mosaic wall made from shards of pottery found in the excavation of the area. I could not stop taking pictures of the scenery, the views were amazing and got more so as we climbed higher. On the top were cannons and by standing just so I was able to get a photo that looks like the cannon is aimed at our ship. The guide pointed out the bullring, another photo op.

Eventually we headed back down. I picked up Carolyn and we were all on the bus by 6. Going down the hill was scary, and the bus was crawling past the huge fortress gates.

We were soon back at the port and the busses were able to get very close to the ship, that had not been the case on our other stops. We passed a few gift shops and I was able to finally get some Alicante bookmarks. This is a city I would love to visit again, it is very beautiful, easy going with a lot to see.

By the time we got through security we went straight to dinner. Soon we were all eating and laughing and sharing our stories. Larry, when he ordered dessert, asked for the chocolate obsession WITH a scoop of ice cream, we all thought that was brilliant and as we gobbled it up, well, it was brilliant.

At dinner Courtney and Keyane told us they could not take the same bus because they had a Segway tour booked and the ship bus would not get to Rome on time. They got Andrea’s cell phone number so we can meet up when they are done. We picked Andrea because she and Emmett are currently living in Germany and we know her phone will work.

After dinner, Carolyn and I decided to skip the show, she is really tired and I have things to remember and write.

Tomorrow is a sea day and we will spend part of it getting most of our packing done. My plan is to put my little carpet in my carry on since it is folded small but still somewhat heavy. We also have a disembarkation meeting at 9:30 to explain all the procedures.

I was able to post Barcelona on Facebook and will add photos to the blog at home.

Our Trip Begins

March 25: On our way

Terry drove us to the airport. We picked up Carolyn at 6pm. We had a brief visit with Carl and then were on our way. We were able to car pool on the way over and then Terry luckily had no traffic on the way home. Terry wanted to park and help us with our luggage, but that proved impossible. So we just stopped in the Bradley lot and got a luggage cart and said our goodbyes.

We looked into a seat change at the airport but nothing better was available. We had already paid $32 to switch to a row with only 2 seats, so that’s what we kept.

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At Bradley Intl.

In the terminal we quickly went through security, though Carolyn had her luggage searched. Back in our shoes we had coffee and I had a cookie while we chatted and waited. There was a wonderful art installation in sight and it was so fun to watch. It was a series of posts with screens on them and each country that used the airport had a few minutes of decoration on the screens. My favorite was the one from Santiago, it was the neck and a bit of the body of a guitar and the strings vibrated each time a note played.

At about 9:15 we went to our gate, visited the ladies room a few times and watched a huge growing line of passengers standing, but for no apparent reason. Finally I checked at the desk, and we did need to line up, but in a much less crowded section. In less than 5 minutes we boarded.

We sat in seats 44K and when I got there a lady was there. I told her it was my seat, she said she was using it to find stuff for her little girl, and nicely asked if I would wait. I did. When she finally moved. We stowed our luggage and I sat by the window. Carolyn got the aisle seat and had an entire seats worth of room next to her. Having only 2 seats is great.

We both took something to help us sleep and then played around with the various movies and other things available on our seat screens when, to our amazement, they served us dinner at midnight local time. Carolyn had chicken with rice, she got the last one. I got pasta in lobster sauce which I did not eat. There was also a grain salad of some sort that was good. The bread was good and the applesauce was tolerable. I ignored the brownie, bleh.

After they cleared all the dishes, they dimmed the lights and we went to sleep, sort of. Carolyn slept fairly well, I am not sure if I slept or not. I felt like I was awake the entire time, but it’s hard to tell.

We both got up at about 5:30am California time. We went to freshen up a bit and I got suddenly so cold I was shaking. The steward (our section has all men) gave me some coffee and worriedly checked the temp, but I told him I was ok, just reacting to being tired.

Back at our seats we sipped coffee and tried to play solitare on the screen, but it required more button pushing that either of us could stand, so we gave up. Carolyn played a game on her ipad for a while and I am typing.

We had breakfast on the plane, some sort of egg sandwich, but there were mushrooms in the same container, I did not eat them. The orange juice was yummy and the coffee was decent.

Once on the ground we got off the plane fairly quickly. The lady in the row in front of us was searching for a lost ring, so she was still there when we left.

Our luggage is going to Genoa without us, but even so, security made me throw my water away, even though I had to have been through security to get to where the next one was. Oh well.

We took a shuttle a long way to terminal 2-G and are not waiting for our 90 min. flight to Genova on HOP Regional. Once there a driver will pick us up (we hope) and take us to the hotel.

We are tired, but happy and excited.

Carolyn says she is very tired but it is well worth it.

Sunday off the ms Amsterdam and in Seattle July 5

We woke up about 7 to the sound of being at dock. Our luggage was gone, as expected. We both cleaned up and got dressed. At the Lido buffet we got juice, coffee and dry cereal. We brought it back to our room. We felt relaxed, and finally left the room about 8:30 and sat in the library until they called us. We were Yellow 1. The line to get off the ship was very long and only got longer while we waited. Once off the ship it was surprising simple. The luggage was neatly gathered by color and we found our easily. They had spread out the disembarkation very well and there were not big crowds. Once through customs we discussed our next move. There was a place we could leave the suitcases, but the temperature was headed for 95 and we were only on foot. We decided to use Uber and had a pleasant, chatty ride to the Holiday Inn. Breakfast was still going on when we arrived. We had to wait a couple of hours for our room, but the lobby was big and comfortable and we were able to use wi fi.

I was able to get our boarding passes, both “A”s and finally we got a room. Terry is very happy to have a room with wi fi and normal TV. We walked across the street to a festival near Angle Lake. It was a tiny fair with one food booth. And it was hot and there was trash everywhere. So, back to the hotel, and we have ordered a pizza to be delivered from a local pizza place called Pizza Time. Hopefully it will be good, but even mall pizza is better than what they had on the ship.

Our plane leaves tomorrow at 12:25 and we are looking forward to seeing friends, Otis and home.

Are there any cruises in the future? Yes for me, but no for Terry. I will travel with an enthusiastic friend, and Terry will be happy in the garage with his scooters. And, you know, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Saturday on ms Amsterdam July 4

 

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Happy 4th of July and Happy Birthday to my nephew Axel!

We were woken up by a knock on the door, it was breakfast, an hour early, but we had forgotten the clocks were changed. The coffee was great, I should have done that every morning. The food was pretty bad. And the “frosted” flakes turned out to be cornflakes. Sigh.

We are going to a “cook-off” show at 11 and there is a 4th of July bar b que on the lido this afternoon.

The cook off show was very cute, two officers on the ship competed to make a meal with a steak and Idaho potato. The officers were funny, and the judges were fine. The hostess was weak, she couldn’t seem to think of things to say. Still it was fun to watch.

 

After the cook off I went to the Lido deck for the bar b que. I was sitting at a table watching for Terry and he, the brat, was sitting at a table behind me watching me. Finally he said hi, I can’t believe I did not see him. I had a bowl of ice cream and Terry didn’t eat anything. We are both looking forward to our dinner at the Skinny Tater in Victoria and then swigging down some Race Rock on tab.

 

Terry and I sat in the library for a while, I worked on my travel notebook and Terry went through his photos on the ipad. He has taken some amazing photos! When we got back to the room we began packing. We have to put our luggage out before midnight. I guess we will shower tonight.

One thing that apparently most cruises do is advertise a LOT of things for sale. Here is a photo of all the flyers put in our cabin during the cruise. We did not care for this at all.

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Terry hung out in the room and I went to the ships Dancing With The Stars show. This was by far the best show I have seen on this trip. Every day they have offered dancing lessons, and 3 men and 3 women passengers were selected to be in the competition. The stage was set like the show with a judges table and the 3 judges had paddles with scores. The show began with a dance from the ships dance group. Then we saw a brief video with Bruno and Len to introduce the show. We were introduced to all the contestants and then they came out one at a time to dance and be judged. Each passenger on the stage was paired with a professional. They danced one dance each, a Samba, a waltz and a Jive. The first dance was a Samba and the woman passenger was very good, though she almost had a costume problem when her strapless dress threatened to fall down. They were all very good. One lady missed a few steps but they all did a great job with dances they had barely learned. Five of the teams got all 10’s and one team got all nines. Then we all got to cheer for a pair and a winner was declared. I had a favorite but he came in third. This winner will be compared to all the ms Amsterdam winners throughout the season and the best one will compete against the best dancer/passenger from all the HAL ships. This big dance off will be held on a cruise that will include some of the professionals and some of the stars. It was all very cool.

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We will dock in Victoria at about 6pm and we are looking forward to it.

We waited in a long line to get off the ship, and finally we were in a taxi heading toward the Skinny Tater. Once inside, we were recognized by the lady owner. We ordered a deluxe plate for Terry and a vegetarian plate for me. TO start we each had a cup of the wonderful pickle soup. Mmmmm. My plate came with 4 perogis, 2 salads and 3 potato pancakes. Terry had perogis, smoked sausage and stuffed cabbage. The food was not as good as we remembered, it was BETTER! We ate slowly and savored every bite. When we had eaten every bit, we paid and strolled along the street, enjoying our stuffed stomachs.

Every waiter and waitress in Victoria has one of these little devices. You can add in a tip and you sign on the screen and out comes the receipt. Very easy to use.

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Pickel Soup YUM!IMG_2472

We went to the Bard & Banker to enjoy a glass of Race Rock beer on tap. This was not nearly as good as remembered, neither of us finished. Oh well. We would rather have the food good and it was. We decided to walk back to the ship and stopped at Starbucks for cookies, molasses and oatmeal rasin. US Starbucks need to carry these cookies.

On the way to the ship we came across the same man who had carved the hummingbird I bought when we visited Seattle last October. I was glad to see him because the picture we had taken was lost. So now I have a picture of this excellent craftsman.

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Back at the ship we finished packing and are relaxing on our last night as cruisers. We arrive in Seattle at 7am tomorrow and are supposed to be off the ship by 9:30. Our flight home is Sunday. This has been an interesting trip, some great days and some so, so.

IMG_0122Goodbye ms Amsterdam

 

 

Friday on ms Amsterdam July 3

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We woke up early and excited. Zip lineing, hooray and OH MY!!!
I wore my fleece lined leggings and a book t shirt and a book sweatshirt, and carried a jacket, but it was an extremely warm day and the sweatshirt proved enough. We did not have breakfast, we had to get up at 6:30 and be on the dock at 7:20.
Our driver of the Grayline bus that picked us up was a nice girl named Kat. She chatted with us, and the two brothers from our ship, who were also going. She stopped at another cruise line and picked up about 12 people who were going on a rainforest hike. When we reached the base camp for zip lining she let us off and continued on her way. Then, we were driven in a big four wheeler called a Unimog to the place where we got all hooked into our gear. Our guides, Taylor and Jeff were great. Young men, they were funny and casual but obviously very professional. I was nervous and they made me feel safe, I could tell they knew what they were doing. We left all our stuff, jackets, purse, etc in a big box and watched a tiny safety film, which was pretty useless.

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We put on red helmets and gloves that are big and silly and they guys began helping us into our harness. As we left the little building we walked out to a small platform and our first line.

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Before we started and often after that, they guys tugged on our gear and checked all the attachments. Tylor explained and demonstrated a little, how to zip line and then it was our turn. The brothers went first and then me. Tylor was at the next platform and Jeff hooked my sling to the cable and told me I could go. I thought about it for a brief moment and then stepped off.

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Wow, it was great. The gear completely holds you so you do not need to use any strength to zip line. As directed, I held my little handels, leaned way back and crossed my ankles. As I neared Tylor he called out to break. I lay one hand on the cable above me and that slowed me down. We had been warned not to grip it. Just as me feet were at the platform Tylor reached out and tugged me in. It was like flying, like going up on a swing when you’re a kid and feeling sure that you can touch the clouds.
Tylor and Jeff always seemed to know whose clip was whose and gave us turns to be first. After we had zipped a few times, we went on the longest one, almost 800 feet. I would have been happy if it had been twice that long!
On one of the platforms, Jeff, the comedian, shouted “oh no, wait” to one of the brothers just as he took off. Not being the victims of this prank we laughed at his horrified face. But he laughed also. I sternly warned Jeff that jokes were not to be played on me.
Next we walked across a suspension bridge. It was more like a narrow wooden curb than a bridge. We were hooked on but about halfway across we all stopped and enjoyed the scenery. We had such beautiful sunny weather, we saw several eagles but no bear. We chatted and joked on the bridge and then finished the walk. The last part was very up hill, I got to a place where there were no knots in the rope and I was almost stuck, I had nothing to keep from sliding back. Finally I got a good grip on the rope rail and pulled hard and got across. There was a second smaller bridge and though I was hooked on and holding the rail ropes, I still slid on the slightly down hill part, I shouted that I was ice skating!
Then we came to the last platform. I was sad, we had been having such a very good time. It was too soon, I wanted to zip all day!

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There was photographers along the way and the last one took some group shots. Once we got out of all our gear we went into the little store for some salmon on crackers, cookies and coffee. Terry bought a water for us. I bought 4 photos, one of each of us, and one group shot and one from the suspension bridge. They were very pricey but had to have them.
We looked at the small blacksmiths shop and visited Sitka, a beautiful bald eagle who lives there. She was hit by a car when she was a year old and lost a back talon and injured her wing. She is not able to go back and has lived there a long time. She is huge, 13 pounds, and very majestic.

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Our van arrived to take us back to town. We chatted about our adventure and the driver pointed out interesting sights. Back in town our plan was to wander around and see the sights. We only had about 2 hours until our ship was leaving. Suddenly we realized Terry did not have his messanger bag. We did a quick cabin check and then panicked a bit. A nice crossing guard (live signals) gave us the number for a cab and we were soon on our way back. The driver was a nice guy and chatted with us about fishing and his life in Alaska. When we got to the store, he waited while we jumped out, Terry ran to his last spot and I went in the store where they were just looking at the bag and trying to decide what to do. Whew! It was a $70 mistake, but that’s life. Back in town, our time was very short, so we walked a tiny bit and then used the rest of the time to take advantage of having some internet.

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I had some lunch while Terry finished loading pictures to our laptop and ipads. I had chicken and mashed potatoes again, safe and easy, tastes best to me. They were having a beerfest on the pool deck and though I skipped the beer, I did take some of the bratwurst to Terry. Along with 2 very large pretzel breads. For dessert, Angie scooped strawberry and chocolate with nuts and chocolate syrup for me.
I was able to make 6:30 dinner reservations for tonight at the Pinacle Grill. Hopefully the food will be better, since it is $29 apiece but anything will beat ship food.
We went to the Pinacle Grill with high hopes. We were seated in a nice booth, and the hostess laid a jacket across on of our chairs to imply Terry had a jacket, pretty funny. We were served an appetizer that was escargot in a cream sauce, it was wonderful and we had a good feeling. I ordered a baked potato and a medium rare, bone in rib eye. Terry got the same and we also ordered grilled asparagus. For starters Terry had crabcakes and I had lobster bisque. The potato was good of course, and I though my steak was delicious. I did not care for the asparagus or the soup, but Terry found them to be ok. He though his steak was too fatty. I only wished I had smuggled in a baggy, because I must have left over half my steak and they wouldn’t wrap it to go. I had coffee and sherbet for dessert and Terry had fresh berries. The best part of dinner was how peaceful it was in the restaurant instead of the chaos of the Lido deck.

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After dinner I went to the lounge to watch another singing/dancing show and Terry headed for the room. He had to take his key to the front desk because it stopped opening the door, but they fixed it. When the show was over I went back to the cabin and we spent the rest of the evening watching movies. It was very relaxing.
I filled out the breakfast order form and hopefully the food will be decent.
I have been doing most of my writing in the ships library, it is fairly peaceful here and the table / chair height ratio is perfect for me.
Tomorrow we will get to Victoria about 6pm. A long ride ahead of us.

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Thursday on the ms Amsterdam July 3

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Today got off to a wild start, at about 1am almost everyone on the ship (some slept) experienced a lot of turbulence. It was crazy, it was enough to toss you off your bed. Terry and I looked out the window, it was not a storm, it was just very rough sea. Though it was impossible to fall back to sleep for a while I was pleased to not feel ill. I guess my seasickness wrist bands are working, so that is good to know. Eventually we fell asleep, I’m sure most people did.

 

Morning came to a calm sea, we were now close to Sitka, our second stop. We took our time getting up and showering and then went to the Lido Buffet for some breakfast. The lines are so long, so disorganized and the food is only mediocre, what a pain! I much prefer the river cruise style of breakfast, with the cold food out and hot food is ordered and brought to you. Of course there are only 200 people on the river cruise and almost 2000 on this ship.

 

When we were all ready, we went, as directed, to the Wajang theatre to get a number which would allow us to be “tendered” to shore. In large, covered boats they took about 50 of us at a time. It was a quick, easy ride to the nearby dock.

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Sitka is a tiny, charming little town. We headed toward the B___________ Castle. It was such a nice stroll, with so many pretty plants and flowers along the way. Once up the hill, we found only a small, round park overlooking the sea. The “castle” which had only been a mansion, had burned down long ago and the land was dedicated as a park to honor the sale of Alaska to the USA from Russia. There were some informative signs, most interesting to me was the one about the actual transfer of land ceremony. There were a bunch of American soldiers and a few Russian soldiers, there were the representatives from each country to make the change and a planned ceremony of lowering the Russian Flag and raising the American Flag. Unfortunately the Russian Flag was stuck and after two climbing attempts to free it had failed, they tried another tactic. The soldier got the flag free, but to the horror of onlookers, he dropped it to the ground. Amid this embarrassing situation, the American Flag was quickly raised, hands shaken and they quickly departed.

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Because of it’s native and Russian beginnings the town has a strong Russian influence. We visited several shops with the Russian nesting dolls and Faberge Eggs. I bought a few souvenirs, it’s hard because I do not want to get stuff made in China, neither do I want to spend a huge amount of money for native made items. I would have loved to buy my mom a set of nesting dolls, she used to love them so much.

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The flowers were simply beautiful, it’s nice to visit places that are not in drought! We also so wild raspberries growing in many places. Terry took way too many pictures to post but here are some favorites.

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We saw a building that was a senior residence, it was a very old building that had gone through several changes until finally refurbished. They had a tiny gift shop with handmade items from the residents, as well as some other items. I bought a few things, glad that my money was going to such a nice place.

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We then headed for the other side of the harbor to see the famous totem poles and their special park and museum. The totems were fine, but the forest walk was great. The foliage was beautiful and some of the plants had HUGE leaves! We also saw and heard a mated pair of bald eagles. I wondered if they knew Liberty and Spirit, a pair of eagles who live in Northern California. The walk was through a forest, but also along the shore. We wished we could bring some of the beautiful driftwood home, but settled for pictures.

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LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THIS LEAF!

 

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Having seen everything we were interested in, we headed back to the dock. As we passed a shack selling Clam Chowder, Terry suggested we try it. The chowder was wonderful! We were both reminded of the amazing lobster bisque we had from a tiny shack on Martha’s Vineyard. You just never know for sure where the good food will be.

The last tender was to be at 3:30, but we returned about 1:00.

I was very tired, having had little sleep last night, so I took a long nap while Terry watched TV. There is always a movie on which is good and bad. Good cause the movies are current and bad because Terry will start watching in the middle and just as I find myself involved in the story and an exciting part comes along, he stands us and suggests we go out. I have never, and will never, understand how he does that.

We went to the buffet for dinner and sat by the pool. There was a very good jazz band playing. The ship was moving a lot and the swimming pool was swishing the swimmers back and forth, they were shrieking with delight and mock terror. Finally the crew had to close the pool so no one could get hurt. For dinner I had steak, chicken and potatoes. It sounds like a lot but I barely made a dent. Between the ship motion and the not great food, neither of us are eating a lot. However, my favorite server, Angie, always has great food, because she scoops ice cream. We are on a first name basis.

 

The disnitigration of manners and the unawareness of appropriate behavior is apparent on the ship. A older man who was extremely sweaty from his workout came to a table by the pool, and lay on the floor to do sit ups. It was not a very nice sight. A lady took a diapered baby into the Jacuzzi, yuck. And a very large man was leaning back in the Jacuzzi entertaining his friends with the sight of his huge belly. He looked like a beached whale. Terry looked over and said “you never have a harpoon when you need one”. Lol.

 

We took our dessert back to the room to find another nice surprise! Terry immediately found Million Dollar Baby to watch on TV and I went to the ships library to do some writing.

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Tomorrow we will be in Ketchikan and go ziplining in the morning. I am excited about that.

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Tuesday on the ms Amsterdam June 30

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We went to see a show last night. There was dancing and singing. The young performers were hard working and talented enough for the 35 minute show.

We had a surprise when we returned to our room!

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Slept in and woke up rested ready for another day. We had breakfast on the lido deck and eventually made our way to the upper rear deck where we grabbed some chairs to enjoy our progress thru the Tracy Arm. I am excited to see a fiord in person. We have seen several small whales and Terry go a good tail picture.

The food is turning out to be mediocre, but I don’t care and Terry is managing.

We saw a boat pull up to our ship and a man got on our ship from it. He is the pilot from the National Forrest service to guide us thru the fiord and make sure we don’t bother the wildlife.

 

Barbara, the ship guide, began a talk about the fiord and will point out interesting sights and explaining what we are seeing. We had comfortable seats for viewing.

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And we saw several whales!

 

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Terry spotted a tiny iceberg, our first!

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And then icebergs were everywhere and one was so dark blue it did not seem real. It was a very rare type, even the crew were excited to see it.

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We saw seals resting on the icebergs.

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We finally reached the end of the Tracy Arm and right in front of us was a huge glacier. The ship stayed still for a long while so we could get all the pictures we wanted.

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I wrote some Haikus as we moved through the Tracy Arm.

I am a glacier

Slowly reaching toward the sea

The past behind me

 

 

I finally broke free

I am iceberg on my own

Melting now goodbye.

 

See me blue like sky

See me white like a snowcone

See me drift along

 

At 3pm they will serve split pea soup, they say it’s a HAL (Holland America Line) tradition. We are outside on deck 3 now watching as we go through the Tracy Arm. The scenery is breathtaking. They brought us bowls of split pea soup and it was actually the best food we’ve had so far.

Once the Tracy Arm was completed we had some dinner and then went to the comedy show in the Queen’s Lounge. It was funny when the woman, Maria, did her own material, but when she tried to do ship jokes and clean up her act for the kids in the audience, then not so funny.

We went to bed early because we had an early wake up for our helicopter flight and glacier walk in Juneau. Today was a much better day for both of us. I do not think the sea days are our thing, on the River cruises you get off the ship pretty much every single day and that makes time zoom by. An at sea day is slow.