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Old May 11th, 2010, 07:34 AM
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Default After Our First Full Day On the Veendam

I had heard that on occasion the sailing from New York City to Bermuda can offer a bit of “a ride”. There was some minor motion last night, but through the day today the seas just had a slight ripple, and though it only got into the mid 50s F, when the sun was out it felt quite warm. A surprising number of people were out pool-side in bathing suits, enjoying the sail.

The daily schedule listed quite a number of activities, from some pool-side fun, to digital photo classes, to a wine tasting ($15 per person), as well as a beer tasting (which I didn’t attend, so at the moment I don’t know the cost), to afternoon tea… where I did stop in for a little nibble.

My cabin,#817, is located on Deck 4. Make sense? I think someone had fun coming up with cabin numbers when designing the Veendam’s deck plans. It would have made so much more sense to have cabins on Deck 4, begin with the number 4; but then no doubt it wouldn’t have provided someone with such good humor doing their work. Sadly, my mind can understand the fun they likely had, and wish I’d had the assignment. If I were in charge the numbers wouldn’t even relate to the cabins next to them. I’d have the cabin right next to me numbered 1263, and #192 on the other side.

At any rate, cabin #817 is a standard outside cabin, with a window. The layout makes excellent use of the space. It’s well designed space, with more than enough drawer space, closet and shelf space. The one thing I do miss is a small refrigerator. I am a bit surprised these weren’t added in the refit last year.

The bathrooms were obviously redone, and they’re very nice, and certainly utilitarian. There is a bathtub/shower combination, and it’s equipped with a flexible, moveable shower wand, with very good water pressure.

Word is out that the Veendam will not be stopping in St. George tomorrow, as stated in the itinerary. Tendering passengers to shore is required in St. George, and the prediction is seas will be a bit to rough to easily and safely bring the ship to anchorage there. Instead we’ll be heading directly to Hamilton, and tied up pier side, directly off of Front Street. The final decision hasn’t been made, but that seems to be the plan at the moment. This is the third week of Veendam’s Bermuda itinerary, and the previous two sailings also had the same results. As the calendar moves further into “ the season” it probably becomes more likely that the ship will anchor off of St George as intended.

In the afternoon we were taken on a tour of the galley. Over the years I’ve been on several galley tours, but of late most have been on the larger ships which have been built the past few years. In comparison it was somewhat odd visiting a smaller galley today. Certainly every bit of space available is made use of, and in some areas there’s only small spaces available for the crew around the kitchen equipment needed.

During our tour we were told of one thing that I would guess is probably unique to Holland America; there are two crew galleys; one for the Filipino crew and another totally separate for the Indonesian crew. It was explained that the distinct galleys had nothing to do with any issues having to do with the relationships of the crew from different countries. Rather it was because of the dietary restrictions and needs of the two different cultures. For example, the Indonesians do not eat pork products, yet pork is very popular with Filipinos. On cruise lines with a more international mix of service staff and crew there’s likely more compromise on food preparation necessary, but because of the mostly Filipino and Indonesian crew on Holland America they are able to address their needs more specifically.

I’ve been avoiding the elevators and just taking the stairs, but earlier today I rode the elevator, and it told me today was Monday. I remember this feature; the day of the week on the carpet in the elevators, on Royal Caribbean ships, but I don’t recall seeing it before on Holland America ships. I think it’s a nice feature for cruises, because sometime between day 1 and day 7 your mind normally turns to mush.

This evening was the first of two formal nights; tonight and Friday night. The remaining nights are designated “smart casual”. As per the trend I’ve noticed over the past several years, seeing men in tuxedos on ships has become much more the exception than the rule. Perhaps 10% of those I saw around the ship tonight were wearing tuxedos, perhaps 75% were wearing suits and ties. The other 25% were wearing “other“.

Did anyone check that math? I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

During our galley tour this afternoon we’d been shown the large screen in the galley that is the meal count system. It displays the numbers of each entrée being prepared for that evening’s dinner, and as orders come in to galley through dinner, they are scanned, and the numbers ordered are shown and subtracted from the total available.

This afternoon the screen showed they expected more than 1/3 of the passengers would order “the surf & turf”, which is a combination of beef tenderloin and giant prawns.

I had noted from the screen that only 37 orders of the Mushroom Ravioli was being prepared, and since we were dining at 8 P.M. I thought I would order it, to see if they still had it available. Though it was delicious, I’m guessing I could have possibly had another 30 orders.

As is usual on formal nights, the show in the showroom was a “production number”. Tonight’s performance was entitled Bob Mackie’s Broadway. It was explained it was so named because all costumes had been designed by Bob Mackie. I have such a bad ear for music, I find it difficult to tell the difference from Les Miserable to ZZ Top, so I only stayed for a few numbers, and I’ll have to wait until I talk to some more knowledgeable folks who saw it, to share their opinions of the talent. I understand that this isn’t the best trait for someone who writes cruise reviews, but I normally rely on Mrs. Kuki’s more well tuned opinion on musical productions and concerts.

After leaving the showroom, I swung by the casino, and at least during the show, it was a bit quieter than last night. Interestingly, they have a poker table in the casino, with a live dealer, not the automated “Poker Pro” tables which have become so common on ships, and the poker table was full. I didn’t do any gambling tonight, choosing to check out some of the lounges instead. Mix, the newest combination of lounges on the ship was quite busy; particularly the piano bar portion.

Then I was off to bed, and waiting to see where the ship is when I wake up. I’m assured we’ll be somewhere in Bermuda.

I’m thinking my cabin steward may be new to the “towel animal thing”, as when I returned to the cabin tonight I found a blind frog on my bed.

We did wake up this morning achoring at St. George.

Last edited by Kuki; May 11th, 2010 at 04:38 PM.
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