Embarkation

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2012 World Cruise Logo

January 6, 2012

As 4-Star Mariners (which means we cruise a lot!), we got priority boarding, which is much nicer than waiting in the long lines for regular boarding.  We flew in to Fort Lauderdale the night before we were to board and spent the night in a hotel.  In the morning we took a cab to the port.  

Boarding the ship was like old home week, starting with seeing some friends at the airport.  Many people go regularly on world cruises, so there were lots of familiar faces, among both the passengers and crew.

Our cabin was very familiar also, as it was the same one we’d had in 2010.  This time it felt a little smaller because we brought a trunk with us.  The space it took up was worth it because it was very useful for both storage and a table surface during the cruise.

The trunk stayed right where it is in this photo, and somehow we managed to not trip over it, even in the dark of night for 4 whole months.  Our wonderful cabin steward, Ben Agung, better known as Beny, came in with his assistant, Ilyas (aka All) to help us try to rearrange the furniture to fit the trunk in better, but its original location remained the best one.

One of the great things Holland America has done is make sure the cabins are ready for occupation by 11:30 AM which is when the first people board.  The wonderful thing about that is that one can drop off all one’s carry on luggage in the cabin before proceding up to the Lido for lunch.  In the past we’ve had to haul it all with us until at least 1:00 PM.

One way this cruise was different for us is that we have been on an eating plan.  We had to figure out how to eat right without knowing what ingredients went into our meals, and to work out our timing.  We had requested that Holland America get us some of the things we needed for breakfast and snacks, and we found out that there had been serious miscommunication and misunderstanding about what we needed.  Fortunately we had brought a supply of nutrition bars with us, because the ship supplied us with one each of about 3 kinds of bars.  We also got one box each of three kinds of cereal.  The protein powder had Splenda in it, which we can’t eat, so we never did eat the cereal.  The ship did find some additional bars when we were in Sydney, Australia, but again, most of them contained Splenda.  However, between the supply we brought and the ones from the ship that did work for us, we did have enough nutrition bars to get us through the trip, allowing us to eat every 2-3 hours, as specified in our eating plan, including while we were out on excursions.

As part of our eating plan we put in a request for yogurt and berries for our evening snack, to be delivered to our cabin at 10:00 PM.  This regular delivery resulted in one of the most special friendships with crew members that we’ve ever had.  It introduced us to Gede Putra (Gede is pronounced like the Australian greeting “g’day”), a young man from Bali, who was very concerned about making sure we got what we needed, and who was so punctual that one could set their watch by his arrival.  He learned what we were doing and would check the different kinds of yogurt to make sure they would work for us.  We ended up in a lot of deep conversations with him, learning about his life and the Balinese culture.  His smile brightened our evenings.  There were some evenings when someone else delivered our snack, because Gede was training in the Canaletto restaurant (a specialty restaurant in the Lido) for the cruise that would follow our disembarkation.  While the others who delivered our snack were good, we still missed Gede when he was not able to make the delivery.

We set sail at about 5:00 PM, headed for the Caribbean and our first port of call.

For this cruise we had the best cabin stewards we’ve experienced.  Our dining room stewards were great, as were the stewards in the Lido, with whom we had a lot of fun.  Our dinner table started out with six people, two of whom rarely showed up.  Ted and Helena were with us for the entire trip.  After Sydney, we invited Carol and Jane, the watercolor instructors to join us, and as a result we ended up with a very lively table.

                                                            ms Amsterdam, docked in Dominica


© Susan L. Stone 2015                   rovingstones@me.com