Mary, I'll try again. If you go to www.cruisecritic.com
and go to the HAL message board you will find a message thread started by Bill S entitled "Greetings from the Amsterdam - Holiday Explorer. I looked a short while and it had dropped down to the second page of messages. Bill S just completed the Valparaiso to Rio Amsterdam cruise. During the cruise on every second or third day he mailed a report to the message board of exactly how the cruise was going, i.e., weather, ports, tours, etc. He's also supposed to post a final summary later this week. It should answer a lot of the questions that you have.