Things are winding down and we are in the middle of many “lasts.” This morning I went to my last Good Morning Amsterdam. It was kinda sad because it will be the last one Bruce, the cruise director, does on this ship. He has served on 18 Grand World Voyages, 9 as Music Director (he is so talented) and 9 as Cruise Director (the best I’ve ever seen.) In addition, he and Barbara (travel guide) have spent many years working together on this ship, so this will be a “last” for them as well. Bruce has accepted another position with Holland America to establish a new enrichment program for the ships in Asia where the local culture will be much more a part of all the activities on the ship. He is the perfect person for this job, but everyone on the Amsterdam will miss him greatly. So, this morning Bruce and Barb’s last Good Morning Amsterdam was a time for sharing wonderful travel memories. Big hugs all around at the end.
Today the Executive Chef (Ed Sayomac) had his Grand Show Buffet for lunch. This culinary team went above and beyond in what they prepared. It was so grand, we had an hour before lunch began to take pictures of this extravaganza. Here are pictures – the only way to describe this event!
Many of the main centerpieces were more the highlight than the actual food. And this is only a small, small sample of what was offered. I took many pictures. However, having seen it all, Doug and I skipped this buffet. Besides the long lines, it was just more food than we could even consider – and knew we’d be tempted by all those desserts if we went. So, we had a simple Panini (Doug’s favorite lunch on the ship!) – our “last” one.
We finished all the packing today because tomorrow (last full day) will have lots of activities we need to attend. We have two more suitcases (the ones HAL gave us on a formal night) plus we bought two large boxes and one small one . . all that in addition to what we brought with us. We hadn’t appreciated all the things we bought on this trip until we tried to pack them!
Tonight was the last formal night. And the theme tonight was an all-American Welcome Home – with everything in red, white, and blue. It was really nice. And besides being the last formal night, it was the last night Barb and Charlie, and Doug and I would eat in the dining room. We each have different last night plans in the Pinnacle Grill. So, we thought it would be our table’s last night with our other tablemates – Arlene and John. However, they did not come to dinner, so it was just the four of us – which was a very nice way to end the voyage as well. And it was our last night with Benny and Fiddy, our wonderful table stewards who were so kind and great to us. As is tradition on this voyage, tonight’s dinner ended with the Baked Alaska with all the wait staff parading in and singing. During this parade throughout the dining room, the guests all wave their napkins. It is very festive. Here is Benny serving the Baked Alaska to Charlie. And another “last” . . Doug and Barbara in one of their “discussions!” As we left, there were big hugs with Benny and Fiddy. Benny was excited because he will be leaving when we do in Ft. Lauderdale. He has been away from home for almost a year and is looking forward to seeing his wife and young son. Fiddy has a little more to go, but is excited because his wife is pregnant and this will be their first child (He was so proud to tell us that this baby was conceived during the time we were in Bali when he met his wife there for the day/evening.) We were lucky to have both these fine young men serving us dinner every night and we will miss them.
Back in our cabin, we put away the last of our formal wear (I must admit, I’m looking forward to dinner in my shorts, t-shirts and flip flops when I get home!) It was another good sea day.