Thursday, December 5, 2019

HAL Koningsdam November 2019

We sailed on the HAL Koningsdam for a 10-day cruise. Our captain was Captain Werner Timmers, hotel director was Mustafa Gulbahar and our Cruise and Travel director was Karlijn Verpalen. Our cabin was 1064 and our cabin steward was Aries. There were 974 officers and crew (39 nationalities). We traveled 2635 nautical miles and used 232,470 gallons of fuel. 90,000 eggs were consumed.

Day 1 Embarkation 11/24/19

There were seven ships in the port, so we got one of the last parking spaces in the parking garage at 11:30AM. It was easy to go through security and check-in and by 12:10, we were on the ship. We went to our cabin to drop stuff off and then we went to the Lido deck for lunch. After lunch, we walked around and then went to the Welcome Aboard reception for 3,4, and 5-star mariners. We met a lovely couple, Russ and Gloria from the Villages (by way of Texas and New Hampshire) at the reception and really enjoyed talking with them! Then went to our cabin and found our suitcases inside and unpacked. At 4pm we had our mandatory muster drill which went quickly. We watched as the ship left the port and the sunset was really pretty. By then it was dinner time and we went to the Lido deck for dinner. After dinner, we went to the theater to hear the cruise director talk about the Caribbean. Then we went to our cabin and watched the movie John Wick 3 until we were ready for bed.

Day 2 At Sea 11/25/19

After breakfast, we walked for exercise. Then we sat on the deck and relaxed until lunchtime. After lunchtime, we went back to our cabin and watched movies until dinner. We watched John Wick 3 and Angel Has Fallen. After dinner, we watched Hunter Killer, Braven,  and begin watching London Has Fallen. It was just a really nice relaxing day. Before we went to bed, we moved our clocks forward an hour.

Day 3 At Sea 11/26/19

Today was a repeat of yesterday mostly. After breakfast, we did our exercise walk. Then at 10:30 we went to a computer class and learned how to use Paint 3D. At noon we went to the Mariner’s Luncheon and met another nice couple, Robert and Josianne from the Villages. We had a lot in common with them and Robert is a ham operator! After that, we relaxed and read. We finished watching London Has Fallen, and then watched Rampage until dinner.  After dinner, we finished Rampage and started watching Aquaman.

Day 4 Bonaire 11/27/19

After breakfast, we relaxed on the deck until we arrived in Bonaire. We arrived early and got off the ship early. We went to the Animal Shelter booth and I gave the lady some yarn. She was so appreciative and said it was worth $35! Then we went to the artist’s booth who made the hummingbird paintings. We bought some notecards from her (6/$10). Then we walked around town until lunchtime. We had lunch on the ship and then got off the ship again and walked around town. Around 3:30, we got back on the ship and relaxed until dinner. After dinner, we walked around the ship and watched us pull out of the port around 8pm. At 8:30 we went to see the show featuring the magician, Martin Brock. He was okay.

Day 5 Curacao 11/28/19

Happy Thanksgiving. We arrived in Curacao at 7am at the Megapier. We got off the ship around 8am and walked toward the RIF Fort shopping area. If we took the first sidewalk to the left, we would have gone to Starbucks. At the fort, we did climb the steps up to the top of the wall to see the views. Then we walked across the floating bridge. We turned left and walked along the water until we ended up where the floating market would be if it was the weekend. We walked up and down the streets looking at the beautiful murals painted on walls. We also saw the oldest synagogue. At noon, we went back to the ship for lunch. After lunch, we left the ship to walk around the streets on the side the ship was docked at. This area was less tourist area and the more local area. At 3:30 we returned to the ship. After dinner, we went back to our cabin to watch movies.

Day 6 Aruba 11/29/19

We arrived in Aruba around 8am. After breakfast, we walked around town. We thought about buying a day pass for the bus ($10) but it didn’t look like many buses were running because of the holiday. We saw a lot of stores with long lines outside due to Black Friday sales. They were limiting the number of people in the stores. We found a free public beach called Governor’s Beach about a 20-minute walk or ½ mile from the ship. We got off the ship and turned right at the main road. Once we crossed the bridge over the canal, the beach was on the right. Next time we visit, we will try to go there. We came back to the ship for lunch and then relaxed on the deck for the rest of the afternoon. Around 5pm, we watched the ship leave the port and then we went to dinner. After dinner we went to the show Stages, featuring the dancers. Don didn’t like it and I thought it was boring. We haven’t been impressed with the “shows” on this cruise. Then we went back to our cabin to watch movies.

Day 7 Sea Day 11/30/19

After breakfast, we went to the session on “Ask the Captain” where he gave a virtual tour of the ship. Then he answered questions. He has a great sense of humor! We stayed after that session to hear about the “Language of Ships” which talked about the whistles and flags that ships use. I found that very interesting too. By then it was time to go to lunch. After lunch, we did our exercise walk. Then we went back to the cabin to relax until dinner. It was Gala night but we ate on the Lido deck and I was able to get my prime rib there. Then we went back to the cabin to watch more movies.

Day 8 Amber Cove 12/1/19

After breakfast, we did our exercise walk around the ship. Then we relaxed until lunch. After lunch we moved to the pool deck and relaxed until dinner time. We never got off the ship in this port because we have been here so many times and really didn’t see anything to do if you didn’t buy a shore excursion. After dinner, we went back to the cabin and watched movies. Before we went to bed, we moved our clocks back an hour.

Day 9 Grand Turk 12/2/19

We went to the beach after breakfast and had a great time. We asked security which chairs were the free ones and was told the ones with the green umbrellas. I’m glad we were one of the first ones off because the Carnival Horizon was in port with us so there were about 8000 people coming ashore. I think if we waited too long, we would not have been able to get a free chair. We did some snorkeling, but we didn’t see as many fish as we did other times. They also didn’t come to get food like they have in the past. After 3 hours of swimming, we decided to return to the ship for lunch. Then we went back to the cabin to watch movies until dinner time. After dinner, we went back to the cabin and I packed my suitcase while we watched more movies.

Day 10 Half Moon Cay 12/3/19

After breakfast, we packed Don’s suitcase. Then we got on the tender at 8am. It was very windy and cool, so I wore my long sleeve shirt and put my towel around my legs to keep warm. We got to the beach and it was pretty windy. We picked chairs on the third row away from the water. In front of us was a nice couple, Bob and Laura from the Villages in FL. We visited with them around 2 hours until we decided to return to the ship. We got on the tender around 10:30. After lunch, we came back to the cabin and I finished packing our beach stuff. We watched movies until dinner. After dinner, we returned to our cabin to watch movies.

Day 11 Debarkation 12/4/19

Our scheduled time for Brown 2 was 8:15. We listened for them to call our tag color/number and got off the ship around 8am. By 9am we were in our car leaving the port. It was well organized and painless.

Things I Learned:

1.     Find out the exchange rate before you get off the ship.
2.     If there is a map posted of the town you are visiting, take a photo of it and you can refer to it as you walk around.
3.     Bring empty bottles in your suitcase that you can fill with water and take with you when you go ashore.
4.     Not everything offered in the dining room is available on the Lido deck.
5.     Keep bottles of water in your cabin in case the ship ever loses power or an emergency happens.
6.     Bring a bicycle chain and lock to secure your beach bag to your chair.
7.     Bring bottles of water with you to the beach.
8.     When needing a tender, it is best to get off the ship as early as possible to get the best beach chairs.
9.     Bonaire – another couple to the No Name water taxi to another island for $35 pp to go snorkeling. The boat picks you up 4 hours later.
10.  Grand Turk - I learned from another couple that they paid $30 for two front-row chairs and an umbrella.
11.  The shows were not very good on this ship. There was only one production show and it was boring.

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