29-DAY ANTIQUITIES & SPANISH PASSAGE COLLECTOR
15 Day Barcelona to Tampa on HAL Ryndam cruise
In Jan. 2013 I cruised the Caribbean & on that voyage was the Mt. Laurel Autoharp Group; I overheard them say their next cruise was going to be transatlantic. Well it was but they were not on it.
I was on this cruise from Athens to Tampa which was known as the 29-Day Antiquities & Spanish Passage Collector; however the Ryndam broke it down to Athens – Rome, Rome – Barcelona & Barcelona to Tampa. This is the 15 day Barcelona to Tampa cruise.
There were not as many as I had expected but this was a smaller ship, capacity 1260, roughly a port of call each day & my 1st visit to the Mediterranean. However there were sufficient activities I was interested in.
I had cabin 030 which was convenient to the elevators FORE & AFT. I also had use of the Neptune Lounge & the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast.
Werner Timers kept us updated with navigational highlights & was often seen around the ship on special events. During his communication at noontime, he would inform us of the history of certain places we were passing. One looked forward to this.
Best bet here is to contact your local cell phone carrier. I was told to have airplane mode on, data off & fetch new data off. Of course turning your phone off will probably guarantee you of no surprised bill.
No experience here.
There was plenty of food; I am not a connoisseur so am unable to say whether it was good or not. This is the first cruise I tried anytime dining & I like it. You sit with different people each evening.
There are various types; basically they are all the same. Either take a bunch of books or you can put them on an E Reader which is easier to carry. In addition the E reader I took a Microsoft Surface tablet.
Embarkation & Disembarkation:
Disembarkation in Tampa was swift with customs just comparing passport & the customs form.
Entertainment in the Showroom at Sea:
The Ryndam singers & dancers were terrific, as were Brett Cave, Romany, The Marriage Game, Tribute to the Temptations, Rafael, Annette Wardell, Joe Yannety, Duo Acrobatique, & Dancing with the Stars.
Fitness & Recreation:
Did not use
There were 4 formal nights.
These are charged to your account and range about $12. When we tipped a steward upon completion of the cruise, we were told in advance by the Captain that these tips are supposed to be turned in. This leads to the question “Why tip extra?” But on the other hand you normally tip a maid when staying at a hotel.
There are washers & dryers on decks 9, 6, & 5; washing was $2, dryers $1, soap is provided free.
Navigational Sights & Scenery:
DECK 8: Lido Restaurant: Here was breakfast, the advantage of eating here was it opened
DECK 8: Gym: Went here once at the beginning to the cruise to weigh myself.
DECK 8: Explorer’s Lounge, Library, Internet, Puzzle’s & Game’s: I spent my time here while
waiting for the dining room to open, using the internet, or just reading.
DECK 8: Pinnacle Grill: I had breakfast here once.
DECK 8: Shops: Purchased a pair of shorts here.
DECKS 8-7: Showroom at Sea: Where the shows are.
DECK 7: Wajang Theater: There were movies about 12 noon most every day.
DECK 7: Front Office: Open 24/7 & I visited here a few times; Shore Excursions is beside it.
DECK 3: Tenders: decks B or 5.
Rotterdam Dining Room food:
I’m not a connoisseur but there was ample & I’m not one to complain.
There is one in the room, that’s where I put the valuables that I won’t be using on the cruise.
Service & Staff:
HAL is known for their service. Everyone was very helpful.
The ship was relatively small & there are 2 banks of elevators 4 each or 8 in total. I found walking from bow to stern rather easy plus one really does not have any choice.
About the only place you notice this is in the Casino & here 1 side is reserved for smokers, the other side non-smoking. Outside the ship smoking is allowed. At the Sea View Pool on Deck 10, smoking is allowed on the starboard side only.
Tours – Private:
Malaga, Spain: HoHo buses, taxis, miniature train trolley.
Cadiz, Spain: HoHo buses.
Lisbon, Portugal: taxi tours, HoHo bus, walking city tour
Malaga, Spain: probably available
Cadiz, Spain: probably available.
Lisbon, Portugal: available – you have to look for it
Value for Money:
I was very satisfied as I did not take this cruise for activities, but for the ports of call. It was
An interesting cruise & one I hope to repeat.
If I had a bad time it was my fault as there were many activities & shore excursions. As I have said above, I do plan to take this cruise again because of the ports & the ship.
Sat. Nov. 2:
Barcelona, Spain: mostly sunny, 64F, leave 4pm, Smart Casual
In port with the Costa
There is a bus from the pier to the Christopher Columbus statue & from there you can catch the HoHo bus. I took the Barcelona Sights & Flamenco Show tour. It was a drive through Barcelona with a Flamenco demonstration & photo stop at Sagrada Familia & a wine tasting.
Tonight’s entertainment was “Listen to The Music” with the Ryndam singers and dancers.
Sun. Nov. 3:
At Sea: mostly sunny to p/c, 68F, Formal
At breakfast (6.00) with Kathy & Larry. We had the M&G in the Crow’s Nest from 10-11. LoveHal did a great job. After we got acquainted he asked everyone to introduce themselves, thanked HAL for their part, and then asked the HAL representatives to say a few words. It was a huge success. After the M&G was lunch in the Lido followed by the movie Red2 in the Wajang Theater; it was very funny. Tonight’s entertainment was “Heat” at the Showroom at Sea along with the Captain’s Welcome Toast.
Mon. Nov. 4:
Malaga, Spain: sunny – p/c, 61F, windy, Smart Casual, 8am-6pm
In port with Costa Fortuna & Carnival Sunshine, calm seas from Barcelona to Malaga.
Breakfast with Kathy & Larry again. It’s rather nice having breakfast with the same people. When you are traveling for 15 days, it is like one big happy family. Today I took “Panoramic Malaga” a 2 ½ hour bus tour viewing the main attractions of Malaga with breathtaking views. Back at the ship I had lunch, saw the movie “We Steal Secrets” in the Wajang Theater about the Wikileaks & Bradley Manning, had Afternoon Tea, and then read. There are HoHo buses, many taxi’s (probably because 3 ships were in port) & a miniature trolley train. There is a free shuttle from the pier to town. From there you can catch the HoHo trolley. As the tour bus was going back to the pier I saw on one of the city buses an ad that said “free Wi-Fi. Tonight’s entertainment was “Brett Cave” pianist.
Tues. Nov. 5:
Cadiz, Spain: mostly cloudy, 59F, Smart Casual, 7am-5pm
Ryndam only ship in port, calm seas from Malaga to Cadiz
About 11pm last night we passed the straits of Gibraltar Today we were joined for breakfast by a Russian traveler. Cruise Director Rick stopped by to say hello; he has a house in TX that he built & spends time in FLA with his father. He said he will be with the ship until Mar 2015 when the ship will go to dry-dock, most likely in Bahamas. Take the free shuttle to town, & there connect with the HoHo bus. Today I took a bus tour “Panoramic Cadiz & Jerez with Sherry Tasting” that included a panoramic drive thru Cadiz & Jerez with Sherry Tasting in Cadiz at Harvey’s Bristol Cream. Back at the ship I had lunch, saw the movie The Great Gatsby & went to Afternoon Tea. Tonight’s entertainment was “Romany” a female magician.
Wed. Nov. 6:
Lisbon, Portugal: mostly cloudy, 63F, Smart Casual, 9am-5pm
Ryndam only ship in port, little rocking & rolling from Cadiz to Lisbon pitch yawl
At breakfast this morning Larry told us how some of the tricks last night were done. We turned our clocks back 1 hour at 2am. There was a noise last night as the ship was rocking & rolling. I discovered that it was the closet door banging; I fixed that with a chair & was able to sleep. In the morning I told the steward, he showed me a lock that I neglected to see. I took the ships “Lisbon & Estoril” tour a panoramic drive of Lisbon, view of the Old Town, & the town of Estoril which has a beautiful beach & is located on the seashore. Tonight’s entertainment was “The Marriage Game”. This is always good as it involves audience participation.
Thur. Nov. 7
At Sea: mostly cloudy, 68F, Formal
During these sea days there are plenty of activities, they have to keep you busy. There is the gym with saunas & steam rooms & showers. I spent time in the Digital Workshop trying to get help with Skydrive to no avail. Tonight’s entertainment was “Droom”.
Fri. Nov. 8:
At Sea: p/c, 64F, Smart Casual
We turned our clocks back 1 hour at 2am.Read in the library until 10:30 where I went to the Digital Workshop for help with Skydrive again, decided I will get help with the Microsoft Store back in Boston. Saw the movie ‘World War Z”. Tonight’s entertainment was “A Tribute to the Temptations”.
Sat. Nov. 9:
At Sea: mostly cloudy, 68F, Smart Casual
Today during breakfast the Captain announced that a smoke alarm went off on A deck. It turned out to be a false alarm. After breakfast I went to the Crow’s Nest then lunch & the movie Wolverine. Tonight’s entertainment was violinist “Rafael”.
Sun. Nov. 10:
At Sea: mostly cloudy, 64F, Smart Casual
We turned out clocks back 1 hour a 2am. After breakfast I worked on my review of this trip as it involves 3 trips. The more done now, the less I’ll have to do at home. Today’s movie was “The Heat”. The main reason I saw it, at breakfast Kathy said it was a funny movie. Tonight’s entertainment was “Diva” with soprano Annette Wardell. She had a great voice but it was not my type of music. Tonight I made reservations for the Pinnacle Grill.
Mon. Nov. 11:
At Sea: After breakfast I went to the spa to get a free head massage received for booking a future cruise. Then went to Showroom at Sea for Mariners Award. I got a medallion for 100 days of travelling with HAL. Following that was the Mariners luncheon. I sat with Marty (LoveHal) who told me the benefits of a 4 star Mariner that included 50% off fees at the Pinnacle Grill; so I cancelled tonight’s meal. After lunch the movie “Pacific Rim” which appeared to be a Sci-Fi flick. Tonight’s entertainment was “Rock Legends”.
Tues. Nov. 12:
At Sea: For the past few days I have been wearing walking shorts. After breakfast I gave my laundry to the cabin steward knowing it will be returned to me in the evening. I went to the Lido to work on my review then did the internet until lunch in the Rotterdam Dining Room. After that went to the Wajang/Culinary Arts Center on Deck 7. There were 3 Officers including the Captain and the Hotel Director. It was very funny and the Captain won. Just before the end the ships alarm went off which indicated a fire so everybody made a quick exit with the exception of the Hotel Director. We were told that it was another false alarm. I stayed in Wajang Theater to see the movie “Blackfish” which showed how little we know about Orca Whales, the mistreating of Orcas by Seaworld & the deaths of various trainers. At supper we talked about the main advantage of Anytime Dining is that you sit each night with different people. Tonight’s entertainment was comedian Joe Yanetty from Boston’s North End.
Wed. Nov. 13:
At Sea: Today I sat in the Location Lecture Series “The Mayan Mystery” &“History of Oceanography & Oceanic Navigation. Then lunch in the Rotterdam Dining Room followed by the movie RIPD then high tea. In the Wajang Theater was a Virtual Bridge Tour which was very interesting. Tonight’s entertainment was Duo Acrobatique with 3 performances at 6:30, 8 & 10pm.
Thurs. Nov. 14:
At Sea: Today the Lecture Series “Costa Rica Eco Tourism”. “The Artic”, & a question & answer session with the Officers. After lunch in the Rotterdam Dining Room the movie “Way, Way, Back” followed by afternoon tea. After supper I went to the variety show featuring Rafael, Joe Yanetty, Annette Wardell, & Tribute to the Temptations. Again 3 performances 6:30, 8 & 10pm.
Fri. Nov 15:
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas: Here I rented a tent, well it was cheaper than a clamshell but I ended up with a clamshell, go figure. There were two HAL ships in the Cay also. The weather was nice as well as the water. I went back to the ship for lunch followed by the movie Austenland and afternoon tea. After supper I went to “Classique” with the Ryndam cast & musicians. It was supposed to be from Mozart to Manilow but there were few classical songs if any.
Sat. Nov 16:
At Sea: Today there was a question & answer session for guest lecturer Allan Thomas then a Soprano Soiree with Annette Wardell. Now most of us agreed that she has a fantastic voice but Soprano Opera is just not our cup of tea. I spent the afternoon packing my baggage that was to be checked then worked on the carry-on baggage. Tonight’s entertainment was Dancing with the Stars featuring fellow passengers who won various dancing contests.
Sun. Nov 17:
Tampa, FL: We arrived at 7am, a nice voyage & one I hope to repeat. Debarkation went smoothly with customs just comparing the passport with customs form. I was on the bus to Tampa airport in a jiffy but had to wait what seemed an hour for the thing to move. Along the way to the airport I noticed much construction. I took Delta from Tampa to JFK and regretted doing it but that was how HAL arranged it. JFK was fogged in, well not that fogged in; flights were being cancelled but the Boston flight was not.
Master: Captain Werner Timmers
Chief Engineer: Pieter Engels
Purser: Moesa Djoemena
Guest Relations Manager: Christine Lubaton
Dining Room Manager: Pulung Baskoro
Executive Chef: Tony Tudla
Hotel Director: Kees van Santen
Staff Captain: Paul Adams
Culinary Operations Manager: Florin Dragomir
Cruise Director: Rick Barnes
Security Officer: Mark Miranda
Executive Housekeeper: Rita Lynch
Event Manager: Kristy Berlin