Tag Archives: show

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.

March 31 – A Day At Sea

We woke up at 9 but remembered that the clocks were going to be set back an hour so we still had time to be lazy while we waited for breakfast. When it arrived, we enjoyed our cold cereal and coffee but it was only ok.

There was no internet but it was a nice, relaxing day to rest up from our Barcelona tour.

After breakfast we showered and dressed and went in search of the internet café to try and send this blog. Again we were flummoxed by the elevators but finally found it. Oh joy when I was actually able to connect and send the past two days. There was no internet in the evening.

Next I went to discuss our tours at the tour desk. I was concerned that there was going to be too much walking for Carolyn. All other tours were sold out and the girl I talked to was not much help. I plan to try again later.

We stopped by the hospitality desk to get some change and check on our room account, which we realized later was a waste of time. With that accomplished we went to Costa Smeralda Restaurant (that’s how they spell it) to try a sit down lunch. The menu was very sparse and though we were seated with nice people, they only spoke French. Carolyn had pasta and a salad. I decided to take the opportunity to try rabbit. I though it tasted good and since the French diners ordered it and enjoyed it I guess it was good. The rabbit was served with two pieces, leg I think, on the bone. I wanted to nibble off the last bits but just could not pick up the bone with my hands in front of the French diners at our table. We both had pineapple sherbet for dessert and are now back in the room. Carolyn has dozed off, which is good because she was up a lot last night not feeling well. I slept a while too, gosh I love a nap!

Once we were up and feeling good we went up to the buffet in search of a little snack. I found some cookies and coffee and we were sitting by window out by the pool. There was an announcement over the loud speaker that we had to go about an hour out of our way because a passenger was very ill nad need to be taken off the ship. The announcement was made much more carefully than usual, instead of a rush of many languages, a different person who was extra good at the language made the announcement in each language.

The ocean was fairly rough and the pool water slopped out and began rushing along the floor. Everyone who saw it tried to warn others but the language gap became pretty apparent. It was pretty funny. We took a walk on a deck Carolyn called the promenade, but I think on this ship it is where the crew takes their breaks. We enjoyed watching the rough sea since we both felt ok. We went back to the room to for Carolyn to change for dinner, and it was a good thing because she had been in jeans but when we went to to dinner we discovered it was dress up night. Linda and Andrea were resplendent, the rest of us were acceptable. I teased Emmet for not singing at Karoke, turns out he went on last, after I had gone to the room. I had roast duck leg for dinner, it was very good. I also had a cheese plate and my ice cream for dessert.

After dinner Carolyn and I went to the show. When the girl brought me coffee she said my Costa account was closed but I could fix it and she gave me the coffee anyhow. The show was all Italian singing, which would have been fine, but most of the songs sounded like a funeral so I did not stay, Carolyn left with me.

We went to the desk to check on our accounts. When we paid for our tours and tried to give them each of our Costa cards we had been told at the tour desk all of our stuff was together and that at the end there would be one bill so we did not both need to hand in our cards. However, turns out that is not true. When I told the girl at the desk she said I should have come to them to find out what is really true. I disagreed and told her she should tell the tour people to get it right. I feel anyone on the ship who answers a question should know what they are talking about. We have been given incorrect information on several occasions. It may be a language problem, but I always ask in simple terms, I am used to speaking to people with limited English. For example, the maître de came to our table during dinner and I told him I thought it would be nice if we could have coffee after dinner without a charge. He said the charge was only for fancy coffee and American coffee was free. One would think that everyone who works on the ship could know these things, or else they should say “I am not sure, please check at the main desk.” Anyhow, I had her open my account with my credit card and Carolyn still had some money left on her Costa card, so she did not bother at this time. Having about 500E in ship credit is lovely, and we have very little to buy now, since we have booked and paid for our excursions, but it is nice to know my Costa card will work.

Carolyn has gone to the room, maybe to bed. I am sitting in the lobby listening to the singer and typing away. I plan to go to the Karoke show and watch my new friends. But that did not happen because our excursion was set for 8:45 and I needed to get to bed. We asked for a wake up call and we were both out.

Tangier Tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

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.

Monday on the ms Amsterdam June 29

 

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We both had trouble falling asleep but not much waking up. I got up at 6:30, wrapped in a blanket and coat, I sat on the balcony for a while, it was great!

We both were up about 8:30. I went up for breakfast and had cereal and a grapefruit. Terry was not ready to eat.

We have made a discovery, we are looking forward to our off shore time, but find the ship rather confining. There is a lot of children swimming in both pools and the jacuzzis, bleh,  and even more drinking. People seem to start very early, I saw a lady having a martini with her breakfast! And there are so many “commercials” for things to buy on and off ship. We were not expecting that at all. I went to the shopping seminar and gosh, it was such a long commercial about diamonds, blah, blah, blah.

Since we are not swimming, not drinking and not getting internet, we are sort of wandering. We like our room and balcony very much, our room is narrow but otherwise spacious. There is so much closet space, and so many drawers that storage is not a problem at all.

I had lunch and sat with a nice couple, Kristen and Bryan. Terry joined us later. I had chicken and some fruit. Even though I feel ok, my stomach is a little uneasy, so I am eating gentle food. It could be the boat, but it is more likely just my fussy stomach.

We have met some nice people, including some from near us in Mission Veijo, but the majority of people are in their own groups. Everyone is happy and smiling and that is lovely.

Tonight there is a show in the main theatre at both 8 and 10. We plan to go to the 8:00 show. The captain gave a champagne toast to the passengers and the cruise.

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We are both glad that we did not take a specific meal time. We have enjoyed the Lido Buffet and the Dive Bar and there is ice cream! We have found the buffet to be tasty enough for us, and that is really all we ask.

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Right now we are watching a movie in the room, McFarland USA and Terry is eating Rocky Road and cookies.

The sunsets are amazing!

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I must admit that in spite of earlier bragging about knowing the ship, I keep getting sort of lost. I am always on the correct floor, I have that down, but I wander a lot looking for the exact room I want. Well, I am getting exercise for sure.