We are home, have talked to a lot of you, seen some, enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, and now it’s time to wrap up the Cruise. I’ll give you some photos in an album above called "Last Cruise Photos".
Our last cruise day was, as usual, a full day. We finished packing (we had to start three days before), and headed off for the evening meal (Sat. Nov. 22). This is were the emotions began; saying good-by to our waiters, all the people in the tables around us, and our friends through out the dining room. In photo 1 above you see a shot of the dining room from inside. We sat at a table for two on the second floor (behind the camera shot) at the very rear of the ship with floor to ceiling windows beside us which looked out on the ocean behind the ship. The waiter staff presented us with "flaming Bake Alaska" as our goodbye desert. After dinner we strolled through the library (photo 2) and did our emails for the last time. We continued to the evening show. One of the traditions of cruising is the staff says "good-by". In the third photo you see a small portion of the cruise staff (590 crew for 1380 passengers) on the main show theater stage. It was an emotional good-by and they got a standing ovation from all of us. After the evening show (we had a different show every one of the 65 days) our last stop (because we had to get up early the next morning) was the casino. The fourth photo is our "Blackjack table". Over the cruise if you play blackjack from time to time you get a bunch of players that you enjoy playing with. This is the group and I can’t tell you how much fun we had together even when we lost (which was most of the time for me, seldom for Susy).
Sunday morning, Nov. 23rd, came early and in photo 5 as you step in the elevator you knew it was Sunday by the floor mat which was changed every day. You would laugh when you saw the mats because we had a joke that the guy who changed the mats in the elevators only had one day off in the whole cruise, that was the day we crossed the international date line coming back and had two Tuesdays. I got out on the lower promenade about 6 AM as we were going into San Diego and as you see in photo 6, I didn’t have a lot of company. I went up to the Sports Deck to take my pictures and again as you see in photo 7 you don’t see a lot of passengers. Photo 8 shows a scenic view of the city as we were moving toward our pier. The ninth photo shows the port sign on the pier terminal as we pulled in. Finally, as soon as we got to the airport, you see Susy in the 10th photo and myself in the 11th photo enjoying our American airport food, "McDonalds and California Pizza".
Well that’s it. I want to close with some facts about our cruise and the msAmsterdam; we traveled 23,863 miles, averaged a speed of about 23 miles per hour, top speed of 28 miles per hour, consuming 32,000 gallons of fuel (120 tons) a day, on a 61,000 ton ship, 780 feet long by 106 feet wide. We visited 21 ports, 11 countries, and had 37 days at sea.
Our cruise was great, probably the highlight for me was the "Grand Palace of Bangkok (the King of Siam’s Palace)". You’ll have to ask Susy what her favorite port was. There were many great ports; Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sidney, and the islands of Samoa and Maui, Hawaii. The people aboard the ship became like a small town population, almost everyone knew everyone by site, you had some close friends, and some talking acquaintances. The waiters, cabin stewards, shop attendants, etc. became your local shop keepers, taking care of your every need. The passengers were a different breed of cruiser. Our best friends aboard had 57 cruises under their belts, and one passenger went around with a T shirt that said "80+ cruises and quit counting". Most did nothing but cruise and always long cruises, nothing less than 50 days. They just loved the life, were retired, and had enough money to do it, the rich in the suites above, and the rest of us in the cheapest cabins they could book and get aboard.
For the last time, any questions, send me an email, or let’s talk. Any suggestions for the next Blog subject, let me know.
Happy Holidays, and the Best for 2009. Love you All,
Gary (alias Gagu)