Water Spouts and Double Rainbows!!
ms Nieuw Amsterdam 28 November 2010 - 5 December 2010 Western Caribbean
We flew into Ft Lauderdale 2 days early and left the day after the cruise ended. I have to say that for the first time ... Read More
Water Spouts and Double Rainbows!!
ms Nieuw Amsterdam 28 November 2010 - 5 December 2010 Western Caribbean
We flew into Ft Lauderdale 2 days early and left the day after the cruise ended. I have to say that for the first time ever, I am still in Cruise Mode still. Normally my cruise mode ends when I have to start packing for disembarkation. This time it began as hubby locked our front door and is still ongoing.
We booked our own hotel and stayed both pre and post cruise at the Sleep Inn in Dania Beach, a great hotel and in great condition.
We boarded the Hotel Shuttle for the short 20 minute ride to Port Evverglades at 10:30 a.m. and arrived there at about 10 minutes to 11. The doors were not opened yet and the line was fairly short, approximately 25 people in line. Went and picked up my rental scooter from Special Needs at Sea located just outside the terminal door and whipped that baby into line.
Sitting there in line I started looking around, when I happened to notice the couple ahead of us. The gentleman had this tube, like you put a poster in. My mind was going crazier than normal, trying to figure out why someone would be bringing a tube onto the ship, instead of the other way around..... After about 2-3 minutes of indecision, I had to ask and said to the gentleman ahead of me, "Excuse me sir, I do not wish to be rude, but what the heck is in that tube?" He replied with, "A banner." The gentleman's wife almost immediately turned to me and said, "Joanie?" I kind of gave a really DUMB stare and said, "Yes..... And you are???" To which she replied, "Joanie, that's YOUR banner." Again I stared stupidly at her and the tube before it dawned on this old dumb blond... This has to be alacruisers!!!! Members of our Roll Call and my fellow Cruise Critic Meet & Greet Hosts
Before I could say another word, from the folks directly behind hubby we hear, "Joanie!!!" turns out to be more CC folks, benchmarklearning, Ben and Sid! And from directly behind them is another fellow CC member and his wife, ALSO M & G folks, Quiznos!!! Now just how weird is that??
So the doors to the terminal open after about 10 minutes and we are all just chatting away when we get to the doors and hubby remembers that we are Suite guests so we get the priority line, he states this to the Shore OPs and they asked who and I say, "We are all together." We all got the Priority Embarkation and were first on the ship Also helped I am sure because I am Handicapped. One of the few times I do not mind that fact.
So we then go directly to the MDR, where we were floored by the absolute beauty of the ship and the Dining Room. We were prepared to be disappointed in the decor, the colors and the noise, NONE of the previous were true for any of us. So the better half of alacruisers (love ya Cliff *Grin*), Kathleen and I went to the front Desk to verify all of our M&G details were in place and as we are there from behind us we hear, "Joanie??" LOL, another CC member, roadbeagle is there getting new key cards since they had been on the previous week and had changed staterooms.
Kat and I went back to the MDR to eat our lunch and then went to our staterooms which were available shortly after we returned to the table, so I'd guess around 12:30 or so... I did not note the time as we were having such a great time getting to know one another. As soon as the announcement was made that Staterooms were ready we made an agreement to meet in our Stateroom for a Sail Away Party. (We ended up having 3 or 4 of them)
Our Stateroom, SC 6164 was definitely the perfect choice for us!!!! We absolutely loved it!! It was extremely spacious and the Aft Wrap Around verandah was to die for!! As I put it to everyone that saw it, this was MY Penthouse!!! Side note to Lorraine, THANK YOU!!! You were so right!! I made the right choice) The King Sized bed was amazingly perfect, as always, the furniture was perfect in decor, color and layout. TONS and I mean TONS of closets, drawers and Hangers!! The safe was large enough to put hubby's Laptop, my purse and my camera in it and still had room to spare. They were number coded so you put in whatever 4 digit code you wanted and voila. The HD Flat Panel TV was located on the desk and is in a spot that makes it a hindrance to using the desk for your lap top, but hubby did manage. By The Way, IMPORTANT NOTE HERE regarding the Remote Control for the TV, THEY SUCK!!!! Hard to change channels and volume. I guess when you buy a TV from a company called Sole you have to deal with a bit of problematic..... Thw coffee table was in the lowest position possible and we could not figure out how to raise it, asked the stewards and they popped it up for us (something to do with placing weight on the ends that made it work).
The dressing room had a box type foot stool, our stewards stored the mini bar contents in it and we used the one in the main stateroom as our dirty clothes hamper. The dressing room had one 220 volt and one 110 volt outlet between the vanity top and the mirror on the right hand side. There was also the regular HAL lighted double sided make up mirror, vanity jar of cotton balls and in the top right hand drawer there was the blow dryer.
The bathroom..... You must step up about 2 to 2 & 1/2 inches to get into the bathroom. On the immediate left is the full shower stall with shower curtain, wonderful hand held shower head and the obligatory 3 Elemis Bath Products. Connected to the shower is the Jacuzzi Tub which is approximately 18 inches high both inside and out (sorry guys, had my measuring tape, but forgot to measure anything... DUH) but it was super easy to get in to and out of the tub. It also had the hand held shower head and the Elemis bath products. WORD of WARNING!!! The Bath Gel has Eucalyptus in it and gives certain body parts a real tingly sensation I used it once and said never again!! We had Double sinks with the Hot and cold faucets opposite each sink. In other words on the sink closest to the toilet the Hot Water Faucet was nearest the toilet on the sink closest to the door the Hot water faucet was nearer the mirror.
One thing we noticed to the right of the toilet is a sign that states if YOU cause the toilet to clog up you WILL be charged to fix the toilet. (I have photos, but hubby had to
leave on a business trip and will not be home until Friday)
The Verandah............. OMG!!!! OMG!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!! It was definitely so worth the slings and arrows that I took the week before I left for turning down the Penthouse!!
There was only one day that I was unable to use comfortably the side section of the verandah and that was leaving Ft Lauderdale and Half Moon Cay. The winds were hitting at 27 knots out of the front and port side (Topped with our speed of 21 knots....) They showed the diagram on the TV of the wind direction and the arrows were pointing right to the Port Penthouse. The rest of the cruise we were in total heaven!! Sat out there in our deck furniture and baked, had fun and enjoyed the views.
When we left Ft Lauderdale on 28 November the weather turned a bit ugly looking, to include a Water Spout way off our Port Side!! Ben, Benchmarklearning and hubby got photos of it. The rains came shortly after that and we all retired to our staterooms and other interests.
Half Moon Cay... I did not get off the ship there as I cannot get down to the water or even through the sand so I made other arrangements with the Entertainment Director Brock, the Cruise Director Dan and the out going Bar & Beverage Manager JJ, to gain access to public areas of the ship to get photos (to include Club HAL) So I went on my own little phot Safari while we were there. This was also our first formal night.
We had reservations in Tamarind and I was disappointed in the food, though I must admit that my horrible experience there is probably colored because I thought I was biting into an avacado slice, whcih actually turned out to be a large wasabi *Thought I was gonna die* Hubby loved the food!!
Turks & Caicos.... Just before getting to T&C we went through a small rain squall qhich left a beautiful rainbow that started off the starboard aft side (about 1000 feet out)
and ended about 100 feet of my verandah port side!! The water OMG the water was turned every color of the rainbow!!! I have photos that are gorgeous of it.
I shopped in the Port area only of T&C so cannot address anything there other than it was my cheapest port..hehehe only spent $14.00. We again had a Sail Away from our Stateroom and OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! We had 2 not one but 2 ABSOLUTELY gorgeous Double Rainbows in 10 minutes!!!!! One of them turned one high point of the island into the colors of the rainbow to the point we all thought we could almost see that Pot of Gold.
I tried to attend the show this night but had to leave quickly after about 5 minutes of hearing the beautiful voices of Cantare' due to all the perfumes and colognes that permeated the Showroom At Sea There were 2 of us that had the same problem and I have no idea how long the other lady lasted before she also had to depart early.
I did not attend any shows or bar venues because of the perfumes, so I apologize to all that want to know how the shows and muscians were. Hubby will do his review when he gets home and he can tell yopu since he went to a good portion of them.
Hubby went down to the MDR at 11:30 for the Mariner's Brunch and I went up to the Crow's Nest for our M&G. Our cake, for 60 people, was comped by the ship *Thank You
Brock and JJ!!!* and was absolutely beautiful and delicious!!! We had 2 couples celebrating 40th Wedding Anniversaries, 3 or 4 celebrating Birthdays and One Newly Wed couple so the ship did up the beautiful cake special for us. We had approximately 60 people in attendance and I think we all had a wonderful time!! My apologies to anyone wishing to use the Crow's Nest from 12 noon to 2 p.m. as the ship blocked off 90% of it for our exclusive use.
BTW, if any of you are on the Oosterdam or cruising on her before the end of April, say a Special Hello to your Bar and Beverage Manager JJ. He is a GREAT guy and is quite a fellow for taking his last day aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam and attending the CC M&G. He left us for the Oosterdam in Grand Caymen, boarding the Ryndam through (I believe) the Panama Canal where he was boarding the Oosterdam on Saturday 4 December 2010.
We had the Cruise Director Dan, Entertainment Director Brock and JJ as ship Officers in attendance at the M&G. We were supposed to have the Captain also, but there was a family emergency with one of the crew and the Captain was re-charting our navigation to Grand Cayman to get us in before we were scheduled so that he could get the crew member off the ship in time to board a flight in Grand Cayman to be with her family.
Brock and Dan were an enjoyable couple of young men (mid 20's each) and are so very personable. I felt as if they were my grand sons and they treated us all as if we were
OH BEFORE I FORGET...... I HAVE to give SPECIAL KUDOS to Roxy in the Neptune Lounge and the Carpentry Department!!! At around 11 a.m. I remembered that we had 2 CC members that are wheel chair bound... DUH, the old blond and old kicked in again... And we were having a Cabin Crawl after the M&G. No way could the wheel chair
members access the Verandah in my stateroom so... I went to Roxy and asked if it would be possible to get an HC ramp fpr them. Well, there were none of the pre made ones available so Roxy got Carpentry involved and by the time we got to our stateroom, we had a ramp!! 1 hour service for sure on Nieuw Amsterdam!!!! Can we also say a smile and great attitude will get a lot done??
Grand Cayman, Cayman Island....... WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love that island and the people there!!!! We were there with 4 or 5 other cruise ships, though we only counted 5 in
total, I'd been told by a local sales person that there were supposed to be 6. Ryndam was tendering from behind us, the other ships wer on the other side of the island.
The waters for this port were a bit rough to say the least. I would be surprised if everyone of the tenders and life boats used by both the Nieuw Amsterdam and Ryndam did NOT suffer damage!! I went to port early, around 8 a.m. and returned around 11 a.m. so was lucky enough to either not realize just how rough the waters were or they were not that rough when I was on the tenders. I went to the tender disembark area with my scooter and they send me down to B deck via elevator where I got off the scooter and with assistance from 2 crewmen walked on, took one of the fold down seats just inside and they they lifted the scooter next to me. Same for going back to the ship. I had no wait either way. Hubby came back later in the afternoon and he was hot, hungry and had a slight headache from waiting in the line for almost 90 minutes in the hot sun and once on the tender as they approched the ship the tender took a wave and smacked his head against the tender. The tender is OK. Oh Yeah, so is hubby *LOL*
We did have a fire alarm, which Krazy Kruisers mentioned, but fast response by ship personnel kept everyone safe when tender 16 took a hard hit against the ship and a flare went off and landed (I believe) on top of the tender. Cruise Critic members were aboard and will report in greater detail than I can.
I have to say this for the Captain. He had a choice to make, abandon the Port altogether and make people very unhappy or tender in and pray the waters became less angry...
Either way, he was in a no win situation. My belief is that he made the right decision.
Speaking of the Ryndam, That ship rotated slowly counter clockwise so many times that I think I have photos of every outside stateroom and verandah from every angle!! At one point I swear she could not have been more than 500 feet from us aft to aft. Captain Mercer, our Captain was able to keep us in position by using our thrusters.
We had reservations for the Pinnacle Grill this night, but canceled them because we'd received a notice that it was Le Cirque night and for an additional charge... I told hubby I'd rather eat at Canaletto instead. Went up to the Canaletto about 6 p.m. to discover you need reservations...... So made 5:30 reservations for the next night instead (none left for this night) and ate in the Lido Instead. I can only tell you my feelings of Canaletto and hope that your tastes are different than mine. I loved the taste of the food but felt that the pasta could have been saucier. I loved the Anti Pasta. Did not have dessert as I was full from dinner.
Costa Maya: My New All time Favorite Caribbean Port of Call!!!! This year Costa Maya was hit with 4 major hurricanes which devastated, heck it wiped out the area!!!! Took them 4 months to build a new port just south of the old one and it is beautiful. The vendors were lots of fun to haggle and barter with (I spent more money here than
anywwhere else combined). The ONLY drawback to Costa Maya is that when they rebuilt the port and put in the kidney pools for the free access to the cruise ship
passengers is that they did not put in wheel chair ramps........ I talked with one of the staff and he did not even realize that until he went and tried to find a ramp. BUT, he was wonderful and took my camera and went and got at least 15 photos up close of the dolphins for me. We were a little late leaving the port because one of the HAL Excursions left late and arrived back late to port. I know there are several passengers who are very upset that their excursion returned to late to do any shopping. I feel badly for them and for the vendors, but what can you do??
Overall on a scale of 1 -10 with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent and perfect, I'd have to rate this cruise as an 8.
Why only an 8 you ask?
Because there were little glitches, such as:
1. Our Stateroom Stewards, Budi and Rudi were on their 1st week without the trainer(s) and were not aware of what all of the Suite Amenities were. Once I told them, they were great!!
2. We did not know that as long as the Key Card is fully engaged it shows up on some sort of electronic board in the stewards area that you are in the stateroom and unless you remove it to the point that the electricity goes off, they will not intrude on your privacy. I asked about our stateroom not getting cleaned and after the knowledge learned I arranged for them to clean our stateroom every day at 11 a.m. even if the board showed us as still being in the room. SO remove the card from the slot or arrange at the beginning of the cruise what time to have it cleaned daily.
3. There was a huge chunk of wall that had been knocked out at the entry to our dressing room. It had been done by the previous occupant and they were waiting on the replacement panel to arrive in Ft Lauderdale to replace it.
4. Perfumes in elevators, showrooms and other areas of the ship. Nothing HAL can do about that short of banning all passengers and crew from using perfume items, and
that is an impossibility!! But PLEASE HAL talk to the Sommalier about his bathing in the Cologne!!! His was worse than anyone I smelled
5. No Oasis on this ship (reminder to self, remove the Oasis from Nieuw Amsterdam, Eurodam and Oosterdam as there is no Oasis on these 3 ships.)
6. Food is not an important thing for me when I cruise, but the quality was not up to what I've experienced on Oosterdam and Westerdam. It was good, it was hot and I liked it, but the other 2 ships I loved the food except in Pinnacle Grill. But, Food is subjective to personal taste.
So as a final note, the ship is in the final stages of all the trainers leaving Nieuw Amsterdam.
Also on the Code Red status that we have all read about from previous cruises. According to JJ, Dan and Brock, the ship has NEVER been in a full Code Red! What actually happened is that the last 10 days of the Trans Atlantic several people did become ill, and as a precaution they went into Code Orange until Ft Lauderdale. The very first Caribbean Cruise 45 people were on a bus coming back from an excursion when one gentleman became car/bus sick or reacted to something he'd eaten. They quaranteened all 45 passengers. Well, a great number of those passengers violated the quaranteen several times, so the ship had no choice but to go into Code Orange once more.
I did see security escorting one older lady from the Aft Lido Pool area on Saturday December 4. She was not noisy, rude or crude, she was being a lady. She had just come out and laid in a lounger and less than 5 minutes went by when the head of Security came out and walked to the aft railing, he then walked back top one of the Bar Stewards standing next to me and then went to the lady and as he was escorting her out of the area I overheard him gently chiding her for being out of her stateroom. I assume she had shown signs of illness.
Anyway, that is my review of my cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam and I will be back on her again SOON!!!
I promised all our Cruise Critic Members and the HAL Crew that I would also post the link to my Westerdam Cruise Review... Duh...
Here is the link guys and Gals now you can read in graphic detail my Finger incident http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1151266
Joanie Read Less