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Old January 3rd, 2017, 08:54 PM
rollerdonna's Avatar
rollerdonna rollerdonna is offline
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Location: Caribou River, Nova Scotia
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Default Koningsdam Cruise Part 11 Dec. 2016

Koningsdam Cruise Part 11 Dec. 2016
Disembarkation, Trip Home and Final Thoughts

It is Friday, Dec. 23 and we wake up early. It's still dark but we can see the lights of Ft. Lauderdale and we know this cruise is officially over. Unfortunately, I wake up with a nasty headache, and hoping to sleep it off, stay in bed in the dark while I send James out for breakfast. An extra half hour rest does not do the trick and I know I am in for a bad day.

Skipping my breakfast altogether, we head down to the Ocean Bar where those people who require the assistance of wheelchairs are to wait. It was a long wait, over an hour, during which time I took another painkiller and tried to doze. When our luggage tag colour was finally called, I thought there was going to be a fist fight break out over who got the first wheelchairs to arrive. (The chairs were brought out, then back in, as different groups of passengers disembarked, so there was more waiting.) James finally got his chair, and thankfully, was whisked off the ship, down the gangway, and into the luggage holding area where I quickly found our luggage, and we continued right through to the front of the line for Customs. Our "pusher" took us right to the waiting shuttle bus, and helped us onboard. More waiting on the bus while it was filled up, before we could finally depart for the airport, and of course, we were the last stop, having to wait while all the other passengers got off first and unloaded their luggage. We were really pressed for time by then.
When the bus finally arrived at our departure area, I quickly found a wheelchair and we had some help getting through the line-up and baggage check-in. Again, thank goodness for the wheelchair, because our helper was able to rush us through long line-ups, through security, and right to our gate just in time to board. Unfortunately for me, this meant I didn't have time to get something to eat, or even a cup of tea before boarding, but I thought I'd be alright once we got on the plane and we were served lunch.
That was mistake #1, boarding a plane with nothing in my stomach. Mistake #2 was that I chose to try a new product (to me) Gravol with Ginger, instead of the regular sleep-inducing Gravol I usually travel with. (Gravol is the Canadian equivilent of Dramamine or Bonine for motion sickness.) I was soon to find out that ginger just doesn't work as well as the medicinal ingredient in regular Gravol.
The flight was delayed, therefore so was lunch, and my headache was coming back worse, now accompanied by nausea, and we hadn't even taken off yet. By the time we did, and the food was being prepared, the smell set me off and I grabbed for the air-sickness bag. I spent the entire flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Montreal, some 3 1/2 hours, in the first class bathroom, very very ill. There were two wonderful flight attendants who kept checking on me, bringing me water, juice, bread, and more air sick bags. Turbulence was not my friend. It was a nightmare flight. At one point the co-pilot came to check on me and told me he was arranging for paramedics to meet the plane in Montreal, and sure enough, as soon as we landed, two paramedics boarded the plane and took me off first on a stretcher. After a thorough checking by medical professionals, including oxygen, blood test, and an E.K.G. right there in the airport terminal, they decided everything was negative, but wanted to take me to hospital anyway as a precaution. I managed to convince them that if I took a proper Gravol, I'd be fine, and able to make our final connecting flight to Halifax.

We had just enough time to grab a Tim Horton's tea and donut, and I downed another Gravol, before boarding our flight home. Food and medication did the trick and I was fine the rest of the way home, even managing to drive the 2 hours home from the airport. It seems that travel lately is an adventure with my husband and I. Either one of us gets sick, we miss a flight and therefore our cruise, or some other disaster. But it will not deter us from cruising again!

Some final thought on the Koningsdam. The disembarkation made me think back to our last Holland America cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam, where as we left the ship, there was the Cruise Director, and at least a dozen crew members dressed in international costumes, smiling and waving and wishing us a safe trip home. We really didn't want to leave! But on the Koningsdam, there was the Cruise Director and one or two other staff standing at the exit saying goodbye, no fanfair, and for us, no regrets leaving.
This much anticipated cruise was overall, a disappointment. It seemed to be lacking in so many areas; dining room service and food quality, friendly wait staff (except in the Lido where they were much friendlier), lacking in Christmas spirit and decorations, lacking in activities, lacking in consistent good entertainment, lacking in communication and information, and lacking in general atmosphere.

On the plus side, we did enjoy the specialty restaurant Pinnacle Grill, the Dive-In, and the N.Y. Deli/Pizza. We had fun at all the Name That Tune, Trivia games and Game Shows, and some of the entertainment was very good, but not all. Our room stewards were exemplary, and friendly as well. We also enjoyed our shore excursions, especially trips to the beach.
We would probably sail Holland America again, as we have had excellent cruises with them in the past, just not on the Koningsdam.

Questions? I'd love to hear your feedback!
Photos can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/donna.belan...0547804&type=3
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 09:51 PM
Manuel Manuel is offline
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Donna, I have read all of the parts of your post and I feel bad that you had such a lousy trip flying home.
Your writing is outstanding and easy to understand. But this cruise is not one that I would have enjoyed.

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Old January 4th, 2017, 07:57 AM
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rollerdonna rollerdonna is offline
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Thanks Manuel.

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Old January 5th, 2017, 10:21 AM
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Moiraine Moiraine is offline
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I hope that you and James have another cruise booked.
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Old January 5th, 2017, 06:41 PM
Aerogirl Aerogirl is offline
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Wow I'm sorry you had to go through all that on your way home.

Thanks for the review.
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