2-27-2013; 2-28; 2-29 Days 53, 54, 55 At Sea

I’m combining the three days at sea after Perth on our way to Bali.

These three days were Mariner Appreciation Days where special events are planned as a way of saying “thank you” for sailing with Holland America.  The President and CEO of Holland America, Stein Kruse,  joined our ship in Perth along with his wife and other officials from the Seattle office.   This takes place on every World Cruise, and it is a time when all the staff members work to put their best foot forward.  From their point of view, it is a stressful time with lots of “overtime” hours put in.  Passengers, especially those with lots of hours of sailing with Holland America (called 5 star mariners) have many fancy dinners and cocktail parties with the ship’s captain and officers.  For the majority of the passengers, there is a big cocktail party and free drinks with dinner.  And then one night there is a huge extravaganza on the Lido deck around the pool.  This year the theme is a Bali market place, and the staff is working around the clock to set it up.  That will happen the day we are in Bali.  More about that after it happens and can include pictures.

During these three sea days, for the first time I played duplicate bridge – found a partner who is about at my level.  It was OK – we weren’t eaten alive and the people were pretty nice – just serious.  What I realized is that I don’t want to play bridge every afternoon when we are at sea.  Too big a commitment and there are other things I want to do as well, so after Indonesia, I won’t be playing on a permanent basis. 

Went to the travel talks by our ship’s travel guide and learned a lot about Indonesia.  I can’t wait to experience it.  It is so different from any place I’ve been. 

Went to two Explorations Speaker series talks by Aileen Bridgewater, a former radio talk show host in Hong Kong (she is British.)  She was on our 2010 cruise and I really enjoyed her stories then.  She is just delightful. 

Went to the Mariner Appreciation Day cocktail party – with just my closest and best 600 friends – and then listened to Mr. CEO speak andP1070376 give awards to some of the staff.  We learned that the Cruise Director we all like so well has been promoted to a new job P1070395which will give excursions to different areas more immersion into that culture before passengers ever get off the ship.  It’s one Bruce will be good at, but he will be missed as the cruise director on the World Cruise.

It was formal night and we enjoyed the “Gala Dinner” in the dining room with our regular tablemates.  It was very good – had escargot, followed by Chateaubriand with  chocolate cake for dessert – and all the wine or champagne you wanted.  We were a happy table that night! 

We went to the ship’s entertainment – Rockapella – five guys singing without instruments except for the one “mouth drummer” who could make sounds like drums with just his mouth.  Pretty amazing.  But P1070398after two or three songs, it all sounded the same, so we left early.  Went out on deck before heading back to the cabin to check out the moon.  It was full and cast a lovely light on the ocean.

On most formal nights, there is usually a gift waiting for you on your bed after dinner.  Tonight’s was more special because it was from Mr. Kruse – we each received a Tiffany glass dish (candy size).  Unfortunately it has the HAL ship logo on it, but at least not the name of the ship – and all wrapped in a Tiffany box which was then inside a Tiffany bag.  Couldn’t miss where it was from! 

On this third day at sea, the CEO and one of the other staff from the Seattle office made a presentation, followed by a Q & A time.   Learned that HAL is going to have a new ship (a bit bigger and better) and found out what the 2015 World Cruise itinerary is going to be.  It is the one Doug and I both voted for (we were given 3 choices and had to rate them according to what we would like.)  It should be a really good trip and is somewhat tempting!  Mr. Kruse shared the stage with our Captain (on the left) and our Hotel Director (on the right.)P1070404  Doug and I particularly like the Hotel Director, Henk.  We have been able to spend some time with him (and his wife) and have enjoyed that time together.  We also like our Captain, but don’t know him as we’ve not spent time with him. 

Had dinner with friends in the Canaletto on this last night at sea before Bali and enjoyed a great Italian meal.  Getting to bed early because we have a long day tomorrow in Bali.  Can’t wait!  Want to be up to see us sail in to what I hope is a beautiful island!



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