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Ryndam Cruise Review by KAKALINA

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Ryndam
Ryndam
Member Name: KAKALINA
Cruise Date: January 2008
Embarkation: San Diego
Destination: South Pacific
Cabin Category: C
Cabin Number: 365
Booking Method: Cruise Line
See More About: Ryndam Cruise Reviews | South Pacific Cruise Reviews | Holland America Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5+ out of 5+
Dining 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Cabins 5.0
Entertainment 5.0
Spa & Fitness 3.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 5.0
Embarkation 5.0
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 5.0
Rates 3.0
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Ship Facts: Ryndam Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Ryndam Deck Plans
THE GREAT TAHITI ADVENTURE

RYNDAM REVIEW JAN/FEB 2008

Since I am working from both my faulty memory and a journal you may notice both present and pas tense being used. Please bear with me. This will be sort of long so I will post in parts. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday Jan 5 It Never Rains In Southern California??

We drove from Scottsdale to San Diego in a one way Avis rental car. We made unbelievably good time even though as soon as we crossed the San Bernardino Mountains we hit rain, wind and clouds.

With the hour we gained we hit downtown San Diego at 8:30am. Thank goodness we arranged for early check in. We settled into our bayview room at 9:00am. The Oosterdam was in port and she looks huge and magnificent in the rain. We ducked across the street to Anthonys Restaurant during a lull in the rain. They serve a pesto butter there for the bread that is divine. The NE Clam Chowder is pretty darn good too. There are tons of people in the lobby and it turns out the Oosterdam had the norovirus on board and due to specialized cleaning won't allow any boarding until 4PM. With the rain pouring down that doesn't leave much for the folks who had to check out to do.

Those of our CC group we stayed at the same hotel had a preliminary meet and greet at the Elephant & Castle Pub located in the HI. We were there, Cathy and Carol, Elizabeth & Terry, and Janice and Jo showed up. We had a few drinks and got to know each other a little bit. We ladies admired each others shoes and a good time was had by all.

Sunday Jan 6

ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM

We awakened at 4:30AM and watched the Dawn Princess arrive at 6AM. The lovely Ryndam arrived at 6:45. It was still very nasty, rainy and windy. We watched from our window as two crewman climbed up over the Crows Nest area and removed the Christmas tree. Drinking hot drinks and feeling toasty in our room we felt sorry for those two guys out there in the wet and the cold.

Amazingly the weather broke about 10AM enabling us to pull our luggage across the street. We entered the terminal at 10:10 and were in the Lido at 11AM. They checked our luggage for us and we were off to meet old friends. Our rooms were ready by 1:30 and we had the obligatory fire drill at 4:15. Due to the weather there wasn't much of a sail away party going on. The ship was rocking and rolling and the "barf bags" made their first debut by the elevators.

I had early traditional early seating upper at 5:45 at table 303, a table for 10. I explained that I am not there every single night as I sometimes eat with my DH who always eats in the Lido. My tablemates were understanding and gracious.

Monday Jan 7

LITTLE GREEN MEN

Oh my, wonderfully rough, high seas. High winds, rain, old and fog a great first night aboard! The casino here has started something new. The slot machines are open 24 hours a day. If you need assistance with your machine you just fill out a paper, drop it in the box and they deal with it when the cage opens at 9:00AM. It worked very well and gave us something to do at 5AM since it was too cold to go outside. When we went up to the Lido for breakfast we noticed an awful lot of green people with sea sickness. Having never experienced that particular malady I feel sorry for them without understanding how it can happen.

Our CC meet and greet was a great success. The ship provided coffee, tea, cookies and someone to serve them. 25 of our roll call showed up although a few were down with the "greenies". Our guests from the staff were Carol Lagmay, purser; David Woods, culinary manager; and Michelle Worthley our CD. We had a little Q&A and all got to know each other. Many of us have booked the same excursions both privately and through the ship. We agreed to hold another get together about half way through the cruise. Thanks to Joe (Clyde3) for the wonderful name tags he made for all of us.

The show was Club Nevada performed beautifully by the very talented cast of the Ryndam. The featured vocalists Christopher Zenner and Beth Purvis. The second leads Joshua Switzer and Jennifer Quail. They are very, very good. The dancers, Katie Wendleton, Calli Freyschlag - Parker, Tiffany Jones, Julianne Wessely, Omar Felix and Chip Nash. A well practiced team that provided excellent entertainment.

The first formal night dinner was excellent with many choices. I choose the surf and turf. Later in the evening I sat with friends on the staff and we were joined by the comedienne Janine Turner and singer Paul Emmannuel. We had a good evening and lots of laughs. They are both very talented people.

There are five sea days between San Diego and Hilo. We had some wonderful lectures by Donna Giesler ( The Star Lady ) Charlie Urbanowicz ( Professor Emeritus in Anthropology at California State University), Dan Ostler (Biophysics University of Waterloo, and married to the lovely Star Lady ).

For entertainment we had the funny and lovely Janine Turner, swing clarinetist Larry "Link" Linkin, the comedy and magic of Bruce Block and vocal stylings of Paul Emmanuel. I've seen the first two before and thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of them. I liked the timing of the shows 6:30 and 8:30 for the most part.

The band in the Ocean Bar Yu4 is wonderful and we have sailed with them before also. The pianist Donald in the Crows Nest was excellent and late at night he would sometimes make up the most hilarious lyrics to commonly known tunes. Darlene and the HalCats performed in various venues throughout the cruise.

Friday Jan 11 HILO, HAWAII

WHERE IS THE SUN???

We arrived in Hilo and it was still raining. Since we had no tours planned in Hawaii at all we boarded the bus to Wal-Mart with our friend Connie while her DH Rick went to see the volcano. We visited with a friend of ours Leona who owns Lins Lei Shop in the terminal. Later we took the bus to Hilo Hatties and purchased some island wear. One sort of has to you know. Just as an aside this was our 8th trip to Hawaii and we didn't plan any excursions because we have already done so many and wanted to save it for French Polynesia so to speak. The weather in Hawaii way way too cold for us to go swimming while we were there.

It was Hawaiian night on board and everyone was sporting their island clothing. Very colorful night. It was also the night of the " VIP " party. We had received our invitation so after a very good dinner we attended the party. It was held in the Hudson Room, one of those rooms just past the Wajang Theater. There were about 40 people there plus the officers. I had a couple of Lemon Drops and DH had some Sprite. We munched a few appetizers but having just had dinner weren't really hungry. There was a nice spread for those who hadn't dined yet. After the party I went up to the CN and hung out with some friends from the cast that I have sailed with before. We had a few cocktails and talked for awhile while Darlene and the HalCats performed.

The sail past Kilauea Volcano was a real bust. It was so cloudy and rainy you could barely make out a dull glow in the distance. It was a real shame for those that have never seen it really pouring out the lava in her full glory. It is a stunning sight when she shows her stuff.

Saturday Jan 12 KONA, HAWAII

CHEAP IS STILL CHEAP

Today was a very sad day for us. We went to visit a friend of ours who resides in Kona as a working artist and discovered he had been overtaken by a swift and virulent cancer. We spoke on the phone with his widow and didn't stay very long in town at all. I did go in and talk with the Beverage Manager about arranging some glasses and cheese and crackers or something for our CC get together on Jan 19. We appeared to have worked it all out when the Culinary Manager came into the office and advised me that they would be happy to accommodate me but they would send me a bill. Astounded I said "Excuse me, a bill? For what?" I was advised that they no longer provide food for free for private parties. We're talking 30 or so people, c'mon some cheese and crackers would kill 'em?? I was not a happy camper when I left the office and am not certain how we will handle the get together now.

Sunday Jan 13 LAHAINA, MAUI

ARE WE THERE YET??

We got up early and grabbed our snorkel gear. Connie and Rick rented a car and have invited us to join them for a day at the beach. We tendered into shore and soon the rental car agency van showed up. We got the rental car and headed out for a spot a friend of Ricks had told him about. We drove through some of the most beautiful scenery looking for Hanalua Bay. We took the highway until we ran out of road. Then we took the scenic route. We were on the side of a large hill, small mountain, whatever; and could see the shoreline below us. Eventually we found out where the place was. We arrived there and found the rain and wind were so bad that they only folks in the water were the surfers with wet suits. So, we went to Whalers Village where we did some shopping and had a nice lunch. Then we returned to the ship. Later that evening DH and I went back on shore to Bubba Gumps where we had some of the best food. Those HushPups are pretty darn good. Meantime on the Lido deck they had the BarBQ and the local Hawaiian Dance Troup performing. I really think they should hold these kinds of shows in the main show lounge. Only the very few folks in the very front could see the show because everyone starting standing up to take pictures. We finally gave up on trying to see the show. They showed the movie " The Holiday" in the show lounge. Later in the evening the Indonesian Crew show was held. They are great and work so hard to bring us this entertainment after performing their regular duties all day.

Monday and Tuesday Jan 14 & 15 HONOLULU, HAWAII

MALLS ARE THE SAME EVERYWHERE

We got the good dock at Aloha Towers. We waited until the crowds were off and then walked off to take a look around. Not much has changed since our last visit. We went over to the kiosk a friend of ours Trin owns and said hello. Then we just walked around through the mall and looked through the windows as not much was open yet. There are a ton of wonderful things to do in Honolulu. We did none of them this time around. We did hop on the Bus and go to Ala Moana shopping center. DH wanted to go to Reyn's and get a good Aloha shirt. We wandered around there for awhile and then headed back to the ship. The entertainment Monday was the movie Blue Hawaii in the show lounge and the harmonica stylings of Bernie Fields. Not my cup of tea but many thought he was excellent.

Wednesday Jan 16 NAWILIWILI, KAUAI HAWAII

THE PARTY IS ON! A CHEESE PLATE BY ANY OTHER NAME

After discussing it DH and I decided to just get our own stuff for the CC get together. We went up to Wal-Mart and bought all kinds of good nuts, chips, dips, salsa and etc . We also picked up some invitations to send out. We took the shuttle to Hilo Hatties and got dropped off at Anchor Cove shopping center. We wandered around for a bit and then back to the ship. We sat at the desks in the promenade deck area and filled out the invitations. We decided since HAL was being so chintzy on the cheese and cracker thing we would ask each cabin to bring a cheese plate from room service. There is more than one way to skin a cat! Then DH and I split up the floors and took off to deliver our invites. Since the management was being stuffy we decided we didn't want any stuffies at our party. So, we invited the entire cast, and some of the event staff that we liked. Our favorite waitress Katherine agreed to come in her spare time and pour, etc. We asked everyone to bring a dollar or two to tip her.

It stayed windy, rainy and chilly throughout our visit to the Hawaiian Islands. They are just as enticing and lovely as always, however this time as we sail away from Paradise, another, more beautiful Paradise is whispering our names. We are heading South, towards adventure, sea, sun and fun in TAHITI! Up next, French Polynesia!!

FRENCH POLYNESIA

IS THAT A WHALE?

There are five sea days between Hawaii and the first port in French Polynesia. They were filled with many activities and games that I won't bore you with. We did see a lot of sea life on this cruise. Lots of flying fish, a whale or two and dolphins playing hide and seek in the waves.

The ship is in very good shape. She is elegant, clean and well cared for. With simply tons of lovely antiques and classy decor she reeks of money well spent in her recent dry dock. One point and a personal opinion, I think money could have been spent on better places the the huge spa upgrades, the extension on the spa took a great deal away from the lovely views from the Crows Nest.

The crew abound with energy and graciousness. They are happy with their management on this particular ship and it shows. The service was quick, efficient and obtained with a smile. A genuine smile. Their were two guest chefs on this cruise Chris Constatino and Lon Symensma. They did demonstrations in the culinary arts room ( Wajang Theater ) and I enjoyed them. There were also demonstrations by the Executive Chef Andreas Bruenett, and the Pinnacle Chef Ani. There was also a recipe contest for the guests. I covered that quite extensively in the thread " The Great Ryndam Recipe Contest". Another particular joy on this cruise were the two florists they brought on board in Honolulu to stay on for the balance of the cruise. These two gentlemen were amazingly creative and talented. We took great pleasure in finding the beautiful and cunningly made arrangements throughout the ship. They did indeed greatly increase the pleasure we took in being on this ship.

During our sea days we were entertained by coffee chats with the officers and entertainers. The cast performed "Street Singin'" Mostly hits of the 50's and 60's. Very well done and I enjoyed it very much. Also to entertain us we had, the vocal stylings of Annie Francis, the comedy of violinist Chris Pendleton, the musical artistry of pianist Paul Pappas, opera singer John D. Smitherman. The Master of the Ship Captain Maurits Groothuis, Hotel Manager Ceese Tesselaar, CD Michelle Worthley. We travelled a total of 8,979 nautical miles on this cruise.

CROSSING THE EQUATOR JAN 19

WHERE'S THE &$#&()_ !@ FISH!!!

The day dawned overcast with a moderate breeze. We knew the ship had planned a biggish ceremony to ask the permission of King Neptune for the Ryndam and all the souls upon her to cross into his domain. Early in the day they starting setting up chairs around the aft pool on the Navigation deck. As this is where all the smokers go to sit there were a few logistical problems. We found ourselves seats early and held on for dear life. With about 15 minutes to go before the official start of the ceremony there is not a seat to be had. Everyone has moved the chairs that were so carefully placed earlier in the day. Those of us who were up front are no longer up front but somewhere in the back of the bar they set up. Oh well, at least the bar will keep others from moving their chairs there. The stairwells are full of people standing their drinks in hand awaiting the ceremony. Suddenly, there he is King Neptune in full costume escorted to his throne by several lovely mermaids. Now begins the dirge, Dum, dum, dum, dum de dum dum dum dum dum. . . Pirates in full regalia lead prisoners in chains to the caged area set aside for the poor, demented shellbacks. They ( persons on the staff and crew who have never crossed the equator before) are led one by one to kneel before Neptune and beg for his mercy. There first horrid punishment is to kiss the fish. But wait, where is the magnificent fish meant to be kissed and caressed on this momentous occasion? Well, according to friends in the kitchen some poor nameless cooks helper forgot to purchase it in Honolulu. What to do?? They found the largest fish in the freezer, already beheaded and gutted and used that for the prisoners to kiss. Poor King Neptune, that is certainly why he was in a bad mood and had no mercy to spare for the prisoners. They were drenched with ice water and then doused all over with foul smelling liquids and noxious solid wastes from the bowels of the kitchens. One poor wretch was heard to scream out " Tell my mother I love her. . ." So sad. Once everyone was punished properly they were allowed to jump into the aft pool and clean off somewhat. Someone did manage to accidently push the Cruise Director into the pool also, too bad. Picture opportunities with the poor fish were also available. In just three more days we arrive in Raiatea, Tahiti

RAIATEA 1-22

L'EXCURSION BELUE

We arrived in Raiatea about 7:30am. There is an amazing phenomenom in the islands called l'huere belue ( pardon the atrocious spelling of the French ). It is the hour before dawn and sunset where everything appears colored in shades of blue. The clouds lowering over the mountain tops, the mist in the air, the ocean all variegated shades of blue. It was so still, so beautiful, so perfect. Then as the sun begins to rise, there, off the port side, dolphins escorting our ship into the lovely harbor. When the sun rises one can see the amazing greenness of the islands. So bright and beautiful it hurts your eyes to look at it too long. Once it is daylight one can see the totally gorgeous shade of blue and green and white and turquoise in the water. There must be 200 shades between dark green and light blue and you can see every one of them here in the islands. I don't believe I have ever seen such sheer beauty as one can see here.

NO ONE SAID IT WAS A NUDE SNORKEL

Along with several others in the CC group we prebooked a private tour with Bruno. We were dressed in our suits with our snorkel gear to the ready. We arrived at the boat just a little walk away from the dock at 9am. We all got situated under the awning on the dock to avoid the rain that was coming down quite heavily. Bruno informed us that due to the heavy seas we would be doing our tour in a different order than originally planned. There were 10 of us from the CC group and 4 others from hotels in the area. We met a very nice couple from the Czech republic. The wife spoke perfect English and we got along very well as they told us all about life in the Czech Republic. Apparently they have very few body taboos in their country although I must admit to being just the tiniest bit shocked when they stripped to the buff to put on their suits right there in their seats. I thought DH's eyes would fall right out of his head. First we went to the pearl farm which was very interesting. We listened to a lengthy explanation of how they seed the oysters and then we were able to watch them do it. Pretty cool stuff. After that we went to the pearl store. The prices were prohibitive and I don't believe anyone bought anything there.

Next we went to a private motu ( a motu is a small islet ). There were fenced off areas around the shoreline. Inside one were black tipped reef sharks, turtles in another, and yet another filled with poisonous and dangerous fish. Bruno went into the water there and pulled up huge puffer fishes so we could take pix. He also pulled up some giant living conchs and other shellfish. They were beautiful. The waves were so bad due to the weather that we were unable to swim in the surf and had to content ourselves with snorkeling in the protected cove. We did see a lot of colorful fish and tons of sea cucumbers. After about an hour and a half we were called in for lunch. It was wonderful. There were fresh cooked marlin fish fritters so delicious, poisson cru ( the famous local dish ) coconut bread, bar b q fish and chicken, rum punch and several types of wine. We had a marvelous time and everyone ate well.

After lunch we left in the boat and went to the drift snorkel in the coral gardens. We had looked forward to this part of the excursion the most. Unfortunately we didn't know that we would have to walk over half a mile against the current in the water. DH is disabled and found this to be too much for him to handle. So, we only walked part of the way and then drifted on back to the boat. It was very pretty there. We had a wonderful time and would highly recommend this excursion to anyone who likes to snorkel.

Later in the day at 4:45 the ship offered the Children of Raiatea a local cultural show pier side. I must say here that I wish they would limit the shows to the show lounge. By having this show portside we were unable to see any of it. The pax were lined so thickly along the promenade deck that one couldn't get close to the rails to see anything. The CN was too high to see anything from . It was very disappointing.

All in all it was a wonderful day in Raiatea.

Bora Bora Jan 23

AHHHHHH TAHA'A

Bora Bora is part of Taha'a in the Society Islands. As we pull into our anchoring position in the 'Rade de Viatape' we are greeted by such stunning, lucious beauty. The lush green volcanic peaks of Mt. Pahui and Mt Opanumu, and the crystal clear lagoon with sparkling coral peeking from the depths is a saturation of the senses. The sight of the mountains, the taste of the salt air, the sound of the waves breaking on the reef, the touch of a silken breeze caressing the skin, we are truly in paradise. This is the first of two days we will be here in Bora Bora. We had made plans with our friends Rick and Connie to spend the day at the beach. We let all the tours get off the ship first and then we grabbed our gear and off we went. We took "Le Truck" ( which has gone up from $3pp to $5pp one way) after checking with the driver that she could take us to the Bora Bora Beach Resort. We have been there before and it has a magnificent beach with a reef right there for snorkeling. The 'bus' took us to the Intercontinental Hotel and the driver refused to take us further. Needless to say we weren't very happy but there wasn't much we could do about it. So the four of us got off there and went to go through the hotel lobby to the beach. Rick went to find out about things and came back and advised us that they wanted $65 pp to use their beach. Of course, this included lunch and a glass of wine whether we wanted it or not. Refusing to knuckle under to that ridiculous price we walked across the street to Matira Beach. It is a very nice beach. There is a large covered ramada although there are no tables there for a picnic. The beach is mostly shell and water shoes are a necessity. The water was clear and lovely and warm however it is not deep. One can walk out at least half a mile and the water is only chest deep. If you do make the effort to walk out you may be rewarded with the sight of lovely sting rays dancing in the water. We were. SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES There were a few people who tried to cut through private property instead of walking around to the entrance to the beach. One family had two dogs in their backyard who let it be known far and wide they were protecting what was theirs. One elderly man cut through and then started throwing rocks at the dogs for barking. When he finally got near to us I told him he should be ashamed of himself. He asked why and I told him he had no right to attack dogs on private property upon which he was trespassing. He asked me if I owned the property. I answered in the negative and he advised me it wasn't any of my business then, was it? Arrrggghh!!! It had been threatening to rain all day so when it started we decided to head on back to the ship for lunch. A PRIVATE DINNER OK This is mostly hearsay and gossip, Isn't that fun?! The ship arranged an excursion for an exclusive private dinner with a local dance show at $199.00pp We decided not to take advantage of this but had friends who chose to go. Here is what they said. The dinner was on a table out in the open air, when it began to rain, which it did off and on all night, there was no cover of any kind. They did offer lobster and shrimp as advertised but had no sauce or butter to go with them. The food was cold and the entertainment was cut short due to the rain. All in all we were told it was a real dud for the price. There was dancing under the stars in the Lido with the roof open late tonight. It didn't work very well with all the rain. They gave it a good try though. Jim Colson, a banjoist was the entertainment for the evening.

Bora Bora Day II 1-24

CAN YOU SAY JACK SPARROW? We have a very early snorkel excursion today with Moana Adventures. It is called Snorkel Safari and it was fantastic. We arrived at the boat with several of our CC buddies in tow. Once onboard we were introduced to our crew and the Captain Jack Sparrow. They had some instruments and played and sang native songs for us. We passed a beautiful motu and Jack said that Eddie Murphy had left the day before. Apparently he rented the entire island for two weeks for a wedding. That was no doubt pricey!

Our first snorkel spot was lovely indeed. Fairly shallow water so those who don't snorkel well can have a good time. There were tons of parrot fish, clown fish, angel fish and more. Wrasses and rays, sea cucumbers and more sea urchins then I've ever seen. We stayed in this spot for about an hour and a half. IF YOU KNEW SUSHI LIKE I KNEW SUSHI. . . Our second spot of the day was like wow dude, totally amazing. We stopped in deep water and off we went into the water. Fish everywhere. The most interesting thing in this spot were the clams, thousands of them. Many of them were actually imbedded deep in the coral but the edges were visible and still alive. I never knew clams could come in so many distinctive colors. There was blue, lavender, turquoise, white, purple and even some red ones. I had no idea and was thoroughly intrigued. After swimming here for an hour or so we got out to take a breather. Several of the crew then jumped in the water and went clamming. They brought up a basketful of clams then opened and shared them. A little lemon juice and we are talking some really fresh sushi my friends. Some fresh pineapple made an appearance and we had a little feast before we returned to the ship. It was a great adventure and we would highly recommend it. We stopped in "town" and I picked up the french perfume I didn't get last time. It sure smells nice. We did a little shopping and then back on the ship. Tonights entertainment is the comedy and magic of John Ekin. We choose to go out late with the Star Lady and find the Southern Cross. Her lectures are really interesting and DH was able to pick the cross out for himself the next night. The sailaway party was nice and Darlene and the Halcats play very well. We will call it a night early as tomorrow we arrive in Papeete, Tahiti and it will be a busy day.

PAPEETE, TAHITI JAN 25

WHERE'S THE BEACH?!!?

Perhaps the strangest thing about Papeete, the territorial capital of French Polynesia, is that there are no beaches there. Really. Truly lovely beaches can be found on the many motus ( islets ) that surround Papeete. Pape = water Ete = bowl or bucket. The name was derived because the water from the surrounding mountains collects in the bowl created by the volcanoes.

THEY LOOK LIKE THEY'RE LAUGHING

We docked in Papeete about 7:30 am. We were once again escorted by dolphins. They were so lovely playing tag amongst the waves. Wonderful isn't it, the way they always look as if they are laughing and having a good time. If there is such a thing a reincarnation wouldn't it be the ultimate cool to come back as a dolphin?

HAVEN'T WE MET BEFORE?

Our snorkel tour here is an early one and we are up and out of the ship in quick time. We walked over to the dock where we picked up our tour boat for the "Tahiti Lagoon Discovery". Once on the boat we looked around and discovered an old friend. Two years ago when we were here our best excursion was the Motu Picnic on Moorea, and the same man that runs that one Terry was also running this excursion in Papeete. Small world. We informed Terry that we would be on his Motu Picnic and Ray Feeding tour in Moorea the next day also. It was pretty cool. They brought guitars and ukulele's and played music all the way out to our snorkel spot.

IF I JUST HAD A LITTLE MORE GAS . . .

The first spot was magnificent. Truly it was so gorgeous there. Once in the water we heard a lady yell "there's an airplane down here!" Of course everyone swam over to that area and sure enough there was a small Cessna type plane down about 12-15 feet under the water. The fish had turned it into a home and were quite happily swimming in and out of the windows and doors. Did I mention that the airport was less than a quarter of a mile from our snorkel spot? The sheer number and species of fish here are innumerable. There are tons of clams in the most unimaginable colors. Who knew? After an hour and a half or so we had to leave our lovely spot and head over to our second snorkel site in shallow water. This might have been a great spot with all the coral but as it was shallow as soon as more than five people got in the water it was so churned up and cloudy you couldn't see anything. It didn't matter, the first place was so spectacular.

THIS IS ONE STOP SHOPPING!

We got back to the ship and cleaned up and then headed out for Le Bon Marche'. The marketplace. It is huge, it covers one full city block and has two stories. I needed to find a particular pareo (sarong) for a friend and I found it right away. The bottom floor of the marketplace has the straw market, a wonderful florists area where one can buy beautiful arrangements for $15 to $25 USD. Huge bunches of fresh vanilla perfume the air here. The sibilant sound of French and patois drone in an undertone that is exciting. The fish, vegetables and meat are also on the ground floor. It is fascinating to watch the locals take a machete to a huge fish and just fillet it right in front of you. There was an entire table devoted to different types of bananas and yet another table for plantains. There were fruits and vegetables I have never seen before and some I never did figure out what they were for. Amazing stuff. Upstairs are the souvenirs, the tattoo parlors, the clothes and the pearls. DH found a local selling handmade coconut and brown sugar candies. They were delicious and he bought a package. We also got some fragrant vanilla beans and a carved wooden Tiki god. It was a great afternoon. We headed back to the ship for lunch. Tonight is a BBQ on deck followed by dancing under the stars in the Lido poolside. At 9pm was a local show "O Tahiti E". A wonderful performance by a local dance troupe. Tomorrow is another early day as we leave for Moorea about 5am.

MOOREA JAN 26

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SPOT IN THE WORLD

In my opinion ( which matters a great deal to me ) Moorea is the most beautiful place I have ever been. Mo'o = Yellow Rea = Lizard. Named after a lizard god of the ancients. Moorea is an extinct volcano. Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay mark the floor of the ancient crater. A reef encircles he island with a narrow and shallow lagoon. The largely impenetrable interior is covered in dense forests of mape, the gigantic chestnut trees of Polynesia. We dropped anchor about 7:30 am. Once again our snorkel tour is early in the morning. When we tendered in we went right over to the dock to meet Terry and pick up our boat. This is a hugely popular excursion with close to 200 people on the motu. Apparently the cast and much of the crew were treated to a crew party and luncheon at the same time our tour was there. On the way out our boar lost one of its outboards and we sort of straggled into the motu way behind everyone else. We were very anxious to get to " out " motu. We have been dreaming about doing this again for two years.

ONE FISH TWO FISH, RED FISH BLUE FISH

Oh yeah, it is as pristine and gorgeous as we remembered. We splashed off the boat and onto the motu with great anticipation for our upcoming day. We claimed a table in the picnic area grabbed our snorkel gear and hit the drift area. One walks a block or two up the beach then out into the water. The gentle current sweeps you down over the coral and the fish and back to your starting point. Then you get out and do it all over again. The water here is amazing, body temperature, as is the air outside. The two best things I saw here this trip was a huge school of baby angel fish and a giant moray eel. The eel had his tail between two lumps of coral and his head was leering out, swinging back and forth. It was a scary looking animal. I hung around for awhile until he started coming completely out of his hole and then I booked. No sense taking chances. I fed the sting rays and they climbed up on my lap. It was wonderful.

Later in the afternoon lunch was served. BBQ fish and chicken, rolls, salad, fresh pineapple and coconut that they cut down in front of us, poisson cru. They had sodas and beer for sale. After a delicious lunch we went back into the water for an hour or two. We talked to the boss about staying an extra hour to make up for arriving late. She called the ship and got permission and about 50 of us chose to stay the extra hour. I boarded the boat back with a broken nail, a sunburn and a few coral scrapes and as happy as I've ever been. It was truly a day in Paradise. We arrived back at the ship about 4pm. Exhausted, dirty, sand in our hair and our, well you get the picture. The entertainment for the evening was comedian juggler Marcus Raymond. I must admit I walked out of the show totally unimpressed. Of course, I was very tired and that may have colored my judgement. We have two sea days coming up and then our last port ( sob ) Nuka Hiva!

During the two sea days we had the recipe contest ( I covered that in another post ) played some slots. The black and white ball was help in the show lounge. It was a wonderful dance but I had trouble staying up until 10:15. I stayed for a few dances then left early and went to bed. The officers looked wonderful in their dress whites and the ladies so lovely in their gowns. Our entertainers for the two sea days, Karen Joy Davis, pianist and the Ryndam cast in The Hits of Broadway - The designs of Bob Mackie. They were both enjoyable.

NUKA HIVA, MARQUESAS 1-29

NUKA HIVA IS POLYNESIAN FOR ' NOTHING HERE '.

Actually the second largest of the Society Islands and the administrative and economic capital of the Marquesas. As I was still feeling a little off from too much fun in the sun we decided to stay on board in this port. An absolute first for us. And I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that we did

IS IT Choreographed DO YOU THINK ??

We were just wandering around the promenade deck about 9 in the morning and looking over the sides when we were privileged to see something so wondrous I still can't believe it. OK,  we're looking off the back of the ship and see something in the water, it comes closer , it is a giant manta ray. We ooh and ahh and suddenly it is joined by another. They join together in a stately and lovely pas de deux. We admire them and there are four wait, no six at final count there were eight of them there. They formed a circle and began the most sensuous, graceful, intricate ballet I have ever seen, turning upside down in unison to flash a flirty white belly. They spun, they flipped, they pirouetted in such quiet and graceful beauty we were spellbound. It began to rain and blow but we didn't move. I felt one with nature and the world as I watched the amazing, astounding and lyrical dance of the manta rays.

A'DIEU TO THE ISLANDS OF FRENCH POLYNESIA

Because of the rain the sail away party was held in the Crows Nest, it was well attended as everyone gathered to bid a fond farewell to the paradise we had come to love. Now we have 6 sea days back to San Diego. I love sea days.

I PRAY TO DIE AND FEAR I WON'T

Well it wasn't the sun that got to me. I caught the nasty cold that has been going around. I wish people would stay in their cabins when they are sick; or at least carry a hankie to cough into. I went to the little gift shop and they were sold out of every remedy they had except aspirin. I spent most of the week in bed. I did drag myself out for the Mariners Brunch which was very nice. That was it. DH attended a dinner party on navigation deck aft. All the regulars that sit outside every morning decided to have dinner together. After they raided the Lido a few times Antonio broke down and had the food delivered to them. They got tablecloths and candles. The wine flowed, the jokes got ribald. The wind and rain blew but no one cared they were having too much fun. I know because DH told me all about it when he came back to my sickbed that evening. I hated to miss it but I couldn't be out in the wind and cold as sick as I was.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END

We said our sad goodbyes this morning to friends new and old. Exchanged email address and sincere 'I'll call you's". We are black two and were called immediately after the express debarkations. We were off the ship and on the freeway in our rental car by 9:30 am. It was truly the cruise of a lifetime and we can not wait to do this again in September on the Statendam. I hope this little review encourages you to join us.








Publication Date: 02/21/08
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