Retirement; a WHOLE new learning experience!: Amsterdam Cruise Review by ANSalberg

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Retirement; a WHOLE new learning experience!

Sail Date: September 2013
Destination: South Pacific
Embarkation: Los Angeles
We traveled on the Amsterdam on several Grand cruises after we retired. We live in Colorado and both had full time and responsible jobs -it seems FOREVER. So when we retired we decided cruising was "The" way to see our World". And we began with slower/less LONG flights etc - but to enchanting places. We'd "done" Alaska - the Panama Canal - Islands off Florida north AND south......WHERE was our next cruise but Australia and New Zealand in 2002 on Volendam. We flew into Singapore and decided; "NEVER fly when you can cruise!" after a 27 hour travel day[s].

So here we are in 2013 on a Grand cruise itinerary into Asia. On the Amsterdam. We travel by ourselves because most people say "You WHAT? You cruise for OVERRRRRR two MONTHHHHHS?" However the people who actually DO cruise -OFTEN cruise just like we do and we have made solid friendships on these cruises. And we ALWAYS look forward to them -understanding that EVEN cruising has it's limits and we feel we've been given "A Window More of opportunity" to learn about "our" world; after careers and BEFORE death!

The Amsterdam is a favorite ship amid other favorites MOST in the Holland America fleet; the ships aren't SO huge you get lost for over 24 hours AND not SO small you can hang your feet in the water as you catch fish! Most are between 1200 and 2000+ passengers; COMFORTABLE.

Making it even MORE comfortable AND the main reason we ADORE HAL - the CREW! Some 600 PLUS people -on EACH of the ships - are crew from Indonesia and Philippines -and many know us or remember us from cruise to cruise; we sail WITH friends! There IS no better experience!

THIS particular itinerary was a World War II theme - with places LIKE Hawaii [ Pearl Harbor] Guam & Saipan, Manila, Philippines - Guadalcanal - Japan [Kobe] -China [ Shanghai and Hong Kong] ALL places involved in a war that began IN Asia around 1931 and was over in August,1945; Those are the big names and the bigger numbers -but what you also see on this KIND of cruise is the HUGE area "WAR" covered and the mileage in the South Pacific covered. It is AMAZING and to relate THAT way to TODAY'S wars [ or the sabre-rattling] is also amazing.

Holland America ships are immaculately clean, the crew ALL smile a lot and are friendly, the dining rooms are magnificent, the public areas inviting, the more private areas delightful, and we keep coming back again to Holland America and specifically THIS ship's longer cruises.

One other thing I might remark on was the subtle way the Captain [ Fred Everson] and his crew maintained OUR safety thru the Typhoon[s] in the mid pacific that devistated the Philippines but also threatened Japan's seas below the main Islands; IF anything we were in exceptionally CALM seas but headlines told us that extreme weather was less than a day away -for over a MONTH [ mid SEptember to mid October] And of course there ARE cruisers who think "I paid $$$$ I can do as I please!" well- sorry folks, you can't. There are pick-pockets out there -bad weather patterns - over 6000 people died in the Philippines; there are STILL over 1000 missing/unaccounted for -THINGS happen when you cruise! I can HONESTLY say that in 700 days on Holland American I have NEVER felt "Fearful" ; They take care of us whether we like it or not -Frankly I APPRECIATE That!

And so- another wonderful cruise where much was learned -and probably TOO much eaten [ although you may tell your waiter in the diningroom you want smaller portions AND they'll DO that to!]

The cruise experience for us is NOT the evening's theater productions -we go to bed early - it is the cruise "Experience" and that is what YOU make it for YOURSELF. In this case Dick and I read 12 books [ WWII] in preparation before the cruise -and at least a dozen more as we exchanged ideas/books with friends JUST as excited as we were!

And just as I told you - Retirement CAN be a whole NEW world of learning. Just do it on a cruise ship with wonderful experiences -and you'll NEVER forget what learning IS!

Anne Salberg, Longmont, Colorado Less

Published 12/24/13

Cabin review:

We appreciate the size and amenities of the Neptune Suites and have never been disappointed. They are large and lovely with huge balconies. The last 10 or 15 in the stern area have showers only [ the size of bathtubs but nothing to step OVER] which we prefer! 7054 is Portside.

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