Tuesday, December 2, 2014

HAL Nieuw Amsterdam 2014 Part 1

I know that this may shock you but we went on another cruise last week. We got on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam out of Ft. Lauderdale. My parents took us to the port and will pick us up. Our captain is Captain Bas van Dreumel and he was born in the Netherlands. Our cruise director is Jeremy.

Here is the link to our pictures!

Day 1 Embarkation
We got to the port around 10am and checked in immediately. We sat and talked to another couple from cruise critic (Barbara and Bayard) who recognized my shirt that I mentioned I would be wearing. We got on the ship around 11:30am and went immediately to our cabin. We were concerned because they switched our cabin from an interior 1115 to an ocean view 1081 which was a handicapped cabin. There is no couch but the bathroom is a walk in shower. They say it was an upgrade but we aren’t sure it was an upgrade since we really like the couch. The drapes are also motorized and we can’t figure out how to open or close them. Since we haven’t seen our cabin steward yet, it is a mystery. We have great dinner mates – Mike and Debbie from Indiana and Ron and Andrea from Vancouver. For the first time ever, Andrea influenced us to having 2 desserts so everyone got 2 desserts except Mike. After dinner we went to see the movie Begin Again with Keira Knightly and Mark Ruffalo. It was a strange movie.

Day 2 At Sea

We had a busy day at sea. Before breakfast we walked 3 miles. After breakfast we walked some more. At 11am, I went to the cruise critic meet and greet while Don went to the cooking demo. After that it was time for lunch and we ate lunch with the four people from the day before (Gigi, Shep, Myra and Allen). After lunch we rested until the 3pm Indonesian Tea which was nice and then we went to see the movie Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise which was entertaining. Again, the movie theater was packed! After that we rested until it was time to get ready for formal night at dinner. After dinner we went to the show NYC which was okay.

Day 3 Grand Turk

DSCF1357We had a great day at the beach! I’m glad we brought our water shoes though because the beach was rocky under water. We saw a lot of fish and a couple of sea urchins. It was about 90F and sunny. After swimming in the morning, we came back to the ship for lunch and rest. In the afternoon we went to happy hour in the Crow’s Nest before dinner. After dinner we saw the show Recycled Percussion who was on America’s Got Talent and we really enjoyed it.

Day 4 San Juan

After breakfast we went to the theater and saw the movie Jersey Boys. We arrived in San Juan around 1pm we ate lunch before we got off the ship. Then we just walked around town. Don visited his favorite thrift store. We came back to the ship in time for dinner and then went to the show.
Day 5 St. Thomas
DSCF1411We had a wonderful day at Coki Beach. The cab ride was $10 per person each way (about a 30 minute drive) and then we rented a chair for $5 per person. The umbrella was $10 but we didn’t get it and didn’t need it. We had two buckets of Corona while we were there (6 beers for $18). We got there around 9am and left at 2pm. The snorkeling was great there and Don enjoyed feeding dog biscuits to the fish. We also met a nice couple from Washington DC who was staying there on the island for a week. They ended up renting snorkeling gear after hearing how much fun we were having. The cab ride back was an adventure and when the cab driver went through a “road closed” sign and almost got hit by another car, it kind of got my blood pumping. But we avoided the accident and got back to the ship safely. We had a late lunch when we got back and took a nice long nap until dinner.
Day 6 At Sea
We had an early breakfast and then walked for 30 minutes. After that we went to see the movie Trust Me which was a stupid movie. Then we had time to walk some more before our Mariner luncheon where we got our souvenir tiles. After lunch we had a 3pm Collector’s Voyage (14 days) meeting where we won a door prize for 50% off any excursion in any port next week. We tried the Crow’s Nest for happy hour but it was packed with trivia players. Then we tried the Ocean Bar but never could get served even though we were the only ones there. Finally we went to the Explorer’s Lounge and had margaritas. After that we rested until dinner and then went to the show, Cantare which had the 4 male vocalists singing. They were pretty good.
Day 7 Half Moon Cay
DSCF1537We had breakfast on the Lido deck and then waited for the announcement to board the tenders. We didn’t get off the ship until 9:40 and arrived on Half Moon Cay around 10am. We walked around the island and decided that it was too windy and cool to go swimming. So, we returned to the ship around 11:30 in time for lunch. After lunch we went to the movies to see Wish I Was Here starring Kate Hudson which was a tear jerker. I don’t know why they choose depressing movies for a cruise ship! After that we went to afternoon tea and then walked for about 40 minutes on the deck. It was really windy outside! Then we watched football on TV until dinner.

Things I Learned
1. Handicapped rooms on a cruise ship may not have a couch.
2. All handicapped rooms are not always bigger and better.
3. The drapes are controlled by a switch.
4. Hemingway had cats with six toes.
5. Martinis that are shaken are diluted but if they are stirred, the ice makes it cold and not diluted.
6. There is no guest laundry on the Nieuw Amsterdam.
7. There are a lot of homeless people in Mongolia.
8. Having to take a tender to an island is not fun.
9. Whoever picks out movies for Holland America ships has weird tastes.
Original photos by Pat Hensley

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