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Old January 17th, 2008, 11:19 PM
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Z – A Day at Sea – Jan. 17
One of the great pleasures of a day at sea on a cruise ship is hanging out the Do Not Disturb sign. We did just that, and slept in late into the morning. I was up and out on deck enjoying my coffee by about 9:30 A.M. Mrs. Kuki took some extra time to relax in bed, and joined me an hour later.

A nice treat on Holland America is there is no one waking up at 4 A.M. to stake out their spots on loungers at the pools, and go back to bed. There’s no need to pack 87 different shoes to lay out to stake a claim for your loungers. Even at 11 A.M. there were lots of pool-side loungers to be had in prime sunny spots.

And, if there’s no existing threat that the ship is going to flounder aimlessly for eternity 200 ft. off the shores of Tortola, there doesn’t seem to be any long lines to endure at the various buffet stations. You just have to avoid the 4:30 P.M rush of Floridians, who’ve simply been pre-programmed to show up for the Early Bird Specials. Forgive them. They know not what they do.

Z Story of Z New Z
I wasn’t able to get as much intricate detail about the upcoming changes to the Zuiderdam as I’d hoped to. I guess some things are always going to be kept under wraps, so they have something to unwrap. The basic description given me was that after dry dock the ship will be very similar to the Westerdam.

They will say that there will be 35 cabins added on Decks 7 & 8, aft.
All the public rooms will go through significant upgrades, and changes to most of the lounges on the ship. Explorations Café (the ship’s Internet Café) will be removed from its current location forward on Deck 3. A new Explorations Café will be built to the starboard side of the Crow’s Nest Lounge, on Deck 10. Also on Deck 10, Club HAL, The Loft, and the Video Arcade will be redesigned.

One deck below on Lido Deck, the fitness center, spa, hydro pool, and thermal suites will all be redone, as will the Lido Pool, the Terrace Grill, and the Lido Restaurant. The aft Sea View Pool and Sea View Bar will also see significant changes. They are also going to be installing a dedicated Cinema.

Though we wouldn’t release further details to me, I’m certain the guest cabins will also be upgraded in line with all the work being done through the public rooms.

To a layman like me this sounds like a particularly ambitious to get done in the time frame of a 3 week dry dock. That’s likely the reason there are crews onboard now measuring and planning, and probably in constant discussions with home office and the shipyard to discuss any issues they may see coming.
No doubt it will be very interesting to see the finished product.

This afternoon I went into full vegetation mode, spending most of my day planted. I laid out in the sun this morning for a considerable amount of time, and then laid out in my bed for a considerable amount of time, then laid out on the balcony for a considerable amount of time. Then I realized that tonight is formal night, and I had to relive the memory of packing the wrong suit. I thought… perhaps I’ll leave the zipper in my pants down tonight then people will be so busy they won’t notice that my belt has forced my stomach up into my chest.

The four dining times tonight have been changed to only two. This is done to accommodate the traditional Baked Alaska parade. By having both early and both late diners combined they don’t have to repeat the parade 4 times.

Tonight’s dinner was the first meal we’ve had in the dining room all week that was rather mediocre from starter through entrée. The pasta appetizer was room temperature, the soups were luke warm, and the entrée I chose, the veal chop was fatty and rather tasteless. It was “lobster night? and those who chose the lobster had less than stellar things to say about the quality.

Our service team has been excellent throughout the week, along with a nightly visit from our Head Waiter to make sure all is well.

Here’s a picture of Mrs. Kuki and I tonight at dinner. You can’t see it, but my zipper is open.

After dinner entertainment included a production show in the theater featuring music from the movies. Mrs. Kuki attended and reported the costumes were fabulous, and the talent good. I spent about a half hour in the casino, and called it a night.
The casino designates two nights during the cruise as non-smoking nights in the casino. The first was the evening we were in Tortola. The second is tomorrow evening after Half Moon Cay.

It’s an early night for me tonight. Half Moon Cay is our last stop tomorrow, and in my view it’s the very best private island in the cruise industry. We have pre-booked one of the private cabanas, so we’re in for a treat. And the 10th anniversary celebration of HAL’s purchase of the island is sure to make it more enjoyable. Just have to hope when we wake up in the morning, the seas are calm enough for us to drop anchor and tender to the island. If that works out I promise plenty of pictures of the island and the ceremonies tomorrow.
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