Saturday, May 28, 2011

Moving on....

This blog has just gotten way too big....  It is time to move to a new location.  This is not a new blog just a continuation of this one at a new location.  The new address is  Just click on the hotlink and it will take you there....  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Decisions, decisions......

I finally made a decision regarding my future voyages.... at least the first step.  I just cancelled my 3 weeks in Alaska, a 3 day coastal cruise and the 70 day Grand Asia.  Why?  The value just wasn't there for me.  Unless the price is a real bargain the itinerary has to sell me and this one didn't.  The first step?  I am still booked for 144 days starting December 5th...  Once the dust settles and I see what is on the table for price and amenities I may make further changes, I hope not....  This was a very, very difficult decision.  As everyone knows I love sailing with Holland America for very long voyages.  This just wasn't in the cards for me at this time.  Maybe I'll take a whole new direction and spend my time on land versus sailing all the time.  We'll see.....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where does the time go?

A week ago I was just getting ready to leave the Amsterdam after completing the World Voyage.... Hard to believe a week has gone by. It has been a very busy week indeed... taxes, unpacking 10 bags, fixing my water heater, storing a gazillion photos,creating a book, playing with my new iPad, going to the dentist, sitting in the sun. Oh well, let's just say the time has flown. It has been wonderful talking with friends and family and generally catching up. What I really don't like is having to be responsible for getting things done around here. It is so much better aboard ship where every day you just do whatever you want without any chores to do. Oh yes, I have become very spoiled with my life at sea. I have spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what my next set of travels will be and I really have struggled. First of all I really do love shipboard life but... as long as it has value for me. Two things determine that, price and itinerary. I plan on doing the World Voyage period but the part from September 2nd until the start of the World Voyage is what I struggle with. The itinerary does not close the deal for me. That is especially the case for the Grand Asia Voyage which, I believe does not have the best of itineraries, especially without Japan. So if the itinerary doesn't excite me the price has to be great and it is not. So what I'm left with is a value proposition that just doesn't light my fire. The only reason that I struggle with this decision is that I love being on the Amsterdam and would love to be there but again, at what price? I will decide soon as to my future plans but fear not, if I cancel these voyages I will not stay home... there is a big world out there with lots of photos to be had....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 111 Ft. Lauderdale

This morning was pretty much a blur... It is so hard to say goodbye to such special friends, especially when you are virtually living together for 4 months. I got off the ship pretty early and was shocked that I was at the airport by 8:30 am. Too bad I didn't have an earlier flight. Anyway, I spent time in the airport talking with friends like Margo, Harry and Charles... the time went by quickly. Two flights later and a few delays and before you knew it I was home. Feels good to be home but now I have so many errands to run, I want to go back to the ship. It was a fabulous voyage.....

Day 110 At Sea

Well…. it is the last full day aboard the ms Amsterdam finishing up the 2011 Grand World Voyage.  And Grand it was…  This was my 5th Grand World Voyage and this was perhaps the best.  What made it that way?  Many things.  It was the stellar performance of the Captain and his crew; it was the exceptional service provided by Henk Mensink and his team; it was visiting many amazing places, peoples and cultures and most of all it was my friends.  I had the privilege to sail with some of the finest people one could hope for and…. That made all the difference.  Tonight my friends and I had our last get together for this year’s voyage and we all committed to seeing each other on next year’s voyage.  Great Voyage!!!




Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 109 At Sea

This morning it was looking a bit grim weather wise but it cleared fairly quickly…  It was another spectacular day at sea.  The sun was very hot and the pool felt very refreshing.  This evening we had our last formal night.  The dinner was great and the Black & Gold Ball a lot of fun.  A number of people continued the party upstairs at the Crow’s Nest after the Ball.  It was a great day.  Tomorrow we may have a bit of rain in the forecast which is OK because I have to complete my packing.  I am all set up for my shipment of bags home thanks to Sarah Coles and Shelby and Maureen (top photo).  These ladies have worked countless hours since they arrived in Spain assuring the shipping needs of the World Voyage guests were satisfied.  Great job!!!



Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 108 At Sea

Today was the best yet…  It is hard to believe that we are crossing the Atlantic.  The weather was very hot and sunny.  Tonight we had the Mariner Cocktail party which was a lot of fun.  Also, our second headliner, Wayne Newton, performed this evening.  He is still quite the showman but unfortunately his great singing voice has completely left him.  It is really sad to think that could happen to such a great entertainer….



Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 107 At Sea

What a magnificent day!  For an Atlantic crossing it just doesn’t get any better than this…  I sat out in the sun for about 7 ½ - 8 hours and loved every minute of it.  This evening was great fun in the Crow’s Nest.  They had a party for the Suite guests there but our private little party was much more fun.  It will be so sad to say goodbye to such fabulous friends in just a few days.   Great day!!!



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 106 At Sea

Today was a real bonus day….  The sun was out most of the day and I loved it.  Packing is on hold while this nice weather exists. Hopefully, tomorrow will be another beautiful day.  Winding down an amazing voyage is bittersweet….


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 105 At Sea

Today was a big day!  Big waves, big wind and big rocking and rolling.  I never even thought about going outside.  I spent a fair amount of the day packing.  I have my shipping documents from Sarah Coles and her team of luggage specialists so I am ready to go.  I look forward to getting home now and visiting with family & friends.  Tonight I had dinner with Allan, Sandra, Ed, Becky, Robert & Bronwyn.  It was probably out last dinner together as a group on this voyage but…. there is next year.  A good time was had by all.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 104 Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Well, it’s official… we have completed our last port of call on the 2011 Grand World Voyage.  It has indeed been a Grand Voyage.  Today, Ed, Becky & I were the first guests (as usual) to leave the ship and we walked into Funchal.  We explored the town a bit until the cable car to Monte opened at 9:30.  We were the first people up the cable car (as usual) and once to the top we headed for the Botanical Gardens.  It was a cable car ride down to the Botanical Gardens and yes, we were the first ones there.  It was a great day to explore and going to the top of the mountain and to the Botanical Gardens was just perfect.  After we made our way down the mountain we split up with both of us exploring different things around the city.  It was a fantastic day….