Good Morning Amsterdam was canceled this morning due to a crew drill. This gave me time to check out one of the morning exercise/dance classes led by one of the passengers, Linda, who has also been our tablemate and friend for the past 4 months.
Her class was held in the Crow’s nest at 9:00 am and was also listed today in the On Location Guide. About 25 ladies turned out which was pretty amazing considering that the deck was still moving a little, plus it was getting toward the end of the cruise and many people were in their cabins starting to pack. Linda is a professional dancer and choreographer and led the group thru a high tempo workout, including warm up and cool down. Her routines consisted of familiar dance steps but linked together in an interesting way and all the while she provides her motivational commentary. This was my first time watching the class, but she has maintained a loyal following all cruise.
The Grand Show Buffet was today – which was like the Sunday Buffet on steroids. Planning and preparation took over 5 days and we were allowed to walk around and take pictures from 11-Noon and then they would be open for diners from Noon to 1PM. Executive Chef Petr Nozicka was the chief architect of the Grand Show Buffet. This was not a brunch, as I originally thought as there weren’t any egg stations or breakfast items.
The displays were amazing, particularly the Leaning Tower of Pisa made from bread. Normally you can sneak into Deck 5 and take pictures of the buffet below thru the opening, but today they had that entrance guarded so everyone had to stay on Deck 4.
We came back at 12:15 and had to wait about 10 minutes to get inside as the Buffet had attracted quite a crowd when it came time to eat. Picture time was less crowded and there wasn’t any waiting for that from 11 to noon.
There was plenty of delicious seafood to choose from and we filled our plates with the shrimp, mussels, and a very interesting lobster chunk on a stick wrapped in bacon. A few slices of tenderloin and horseradish completed out selections and we found a table with Zulie and Karl who we had met earlier on the train to Borobudur. (A special Shout Out to their son, Mark, who reads this blog.) They are both avid Bridge players and we enjoyed hearing about the ins and outs of life in the cruise ship Bridge Room. One person has earned 17 masters points so far this cruise, which I will leave to others to decide if that is a big number for a cruise of over 100 days.
Judy was off to Crafts in the afternoon while I went to the casino for the Texas Hold’em game. For crafts today they decorated a note card with a Get Well theme that included band-aids and little squiggly eyes.
During the last Texas Hold’em game tablemate Rick and I were eliminated in the first hand as 3 of us went “all in” and neither of us prevailed. The winner bet big on a flush draw, that never materialized, but he managed to draw 2 pair on the turn and the river which beat my pair of Queens. Today was different and Rick and I maneuvered thru the first hour of poker to end up facing each other as the last 2 people in the game. On the final hand, I had a K 8 in the pocket and went all in. Rick called with his 7 3, the flop gave me a pair of Kings, but the Turn and the River were both 3’s giving Rick the winning hand – 3 of a kind.
Tonight featured the Mariners Appreciation receptions – and since we were on second seating, ours started at 6:45. As we entered the Queens Lounge we chatted briefly with Capt Mercer, Henk and Gene and all three offered to shake hands despite the notice on the invitation that hand shaking was suspended.
We met our tablemates at some tables near the stage while waiting for the festivities to begin. Most everyone was wearing their Holland America medallions of various colors. We were looking for some folks to be wearing all of the various colors like an Olympic Champion, but we didn’t see anyone wearing more than one. Waiters were wandering about with all sorts of appetizers and trays of drinks, but they would cheerfully take an order for anything you would like, so don’t think you are limited to what drink is on the tray.
They started by recognizing Dolly, who has been on every World Cruise since the Amsterdam first sailed – Wow! They didn’t announce her total number, but we learned that she has been cruising since she was a teenager when she stowed away on a cruise ship to Hawaii!
After Dolly, they called up all the Presidents Club members and worked their way down to those folks with over 300 days. The rest of us were recognized as a group and we were all able to come forward for individual pictures with the Captain and Henk.
It was now pushing 8PM so we were off to the dining room for our last Gala Dinner. This menu and every dinner menu for the cruise is on the blog at www.theinsidecabin.com. I had the Caviar and Escargots, the Wild Mushroom Soup followed by the Filet Mignon and the Lobster Tail with Macadamia Nut ice cream for dessert. As expected, the food was all delicious and served perfectly.
The wait staff was wearing Sailor costumes with Holland America logos
We had some special guests this evening: Julie, the HR Manager, Sarah Coles – FEDEX shipping specialist from Vancouver Office and Rebecca from Shore Excursions. They all shared their very interesting backgrounds and we had a wonderful time.
Tonight was also our final themed event: The Masked Ball. We were all provided masks during dinner to wear to the ball that would start at 9:30 in the Queens Lounge. Judy and I brought our own masks that we bought in San Diego before the trip. Note to future cruisers. You will received a booklet with lists all the special nights and themed parties so you can shop for these events before you leave.
These theme parties are one of the many special features of a Grand Voyage and especially a Grand World Voyage. Where else could you participate in a masked ball anymore? Toga Party? Mardi Gras etc.. All these events are loads of fun and the high participation we had from all the new cruisers made these events extra special. It’s not much fun having a masked ball if only 20 people show up.
The HAL band played dance music and the center of the Queens Lounge was cleared for dancing along with most of the stage. Everyone was dressed in tuxedos or suits and most people were wearing a mask and were fully engaged. The party was moved to the Crow’s nest at 10:30 where it continued in full swing.
Back in the room we discovered our Final Pillow Gift: A Royal Goedewaagen Grand World Voyage Plate. A list of all the Pillow Gifts, along with photos, is on the blog under World Cruise Reference.
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