Today is our last of 4 consecutive sea days prior to arriving in Waitangi, Bay of Islands, New Zealand and marks the end of long stretches at Sea until we leave Indonesia almost a month from now and head to Hong Kong – The next 30 days will be some of the most concentrated series of port days of our cruise. Our weather remains remarkably mild and quite pleasant. Persistent swells keep the ship in constant motion, not very much, but enough maintain the sensation of being at sea. The Captain reminded us during his talk today that we passed thru a rain shower early in the morning, but we missed it and there was no evidence remaining.
Adam and Lisa Press joined Gene for the traditional Good Morning Amsterdam Interview the morning after their performance. They revealed that this was their last performance as a couple as she would be returning to work as an accountant in England and establish more stability in their lives as they planned to start a family. Adam is working on updating his solo show and plans to continue to earn his living in show business.
While tidying up in the cabin, mainly tossing out old flyers, I came across some Holland America Post cards that were designed specifically for this Grand Voyage – another nice touch that reminds you that this cruise is special – aside from its lengths – and Holland America treats it as such.
Our location guide, Barbara, presented her talk on Auckland and Picton, the final 2 New Zealand ports. While most ports restrict passengers bringing food off the ship, New Zealand is particularly strict and she said that the only sure product would be commercially sealed bottles of water. Even our sports bottles filled with water are prohibited. She said that you could show your item, maybe hard candy, to the inspectors and they may allow it to come ashore, but if you guessed wrong, you would be forced to toss it out or return to your cabin. Auckland is a huge city and we will be pier side right downtown in the center of the action which will be very convenient. While we will be docked in Picton as well, we will be in a commercial shipping area, full of trucks and forklifts, that prohibits foot traffic so we will have to take a short shuttle bus to get to the city.
Time for a haircut today and I made an appointment and received a very nice hair cut ($25 USD plus tip) that took about 30 minutes. Note to future world cruisers: They were offering a haircut package for $45 for 3 cuts if you purchased them in advance and $60 once on board. A better deal than buying them individually but I will still have time to take advantage of the deal now to some extent.
My second time at Texas Hold’em resulted in a third place finish. A good start to my Texas Hold’em career.
The Maori On Location team presented an entertaining show that demonstrated all of the popular Maori dances and songs that they have been teaching some of the passengers over the last few days. One of the highlights was when they called the 7 children to the stage who performed songs and dances they learned in Club HAL the previous day. It was interesting to see all of the children at the same time on stage – they were immediately cute and won the hearts of the audience.
Today’s movie was “A Walk in the Woods” with Robert Redford. I enjoyed Bill Bryson’s book by the same name and the movie was entertaining – screened before a full house in the Wajang Theater. They brought out at least 100 bags of popcorn on a large tray a few minutes before ShowTime. You could almost sense the swirling water as the guests descended on this popcorn like hungry sharks feeding on fresh bait. The tray was empty in 3 minutes. Fortunately, they set down the tray right as I entered the theatre, so I could grab a bag and flee to the safety of my seat.
The impact of the damaged tender was explained today during the Captains noon update. We normally use 4 tenders for a port, but now have only 3, reducing our capacity by 25%. They tried to secure a commercial ferry to add additional capacity, but apparently this was not possible as they didn’t mention it again after briefly talking about it a couple days back. Captain Mercer announced that we would arrive in Waitangi an hour earlier – 7AM – to allow more time to get people ashore. The ship has adopted an effective tendering policy by having open tendering before 8am to accommodate the early birds, followed by tender tickets at 8am to get off the shore excursions (50% of the tender space is reserved for priority people) and then, usually within 30 minutes to an hour – they are back to open tenders. We plan to catch a tender around 9am tomorrow after the early rush.
Judy spent a little time by the Seaview pool and captured this nice shot of the Seaview Pool Sofa and a well-equipped lounger for the serious sunbather. Note: 95% of the pictures on this blog were taken by Judy.
Around noon today, the Captain announced we were sailing thru some dolphins. We were up in the Lido at the time, and there were quite a few on our side of the ship, but they were too far away and we were up too high to get any decent pictures.
The tender is scheduled to be offloaded today and taken to Auckland where they will complete repairs before we leave Auckland the following day. Apparently one of the propeller shafts was bent and the ship didn’t have a spare shaft or the wherewithal to replace.
The dinner tonight was fantastic again – I had the poached cod and it was among the best cod I have had anywhere. We are still waiting for a bad meal which I doubt we will ever see.
Simeon Wood provided the entertainment tonight with a masterful performance of music performed on a variety of flutes. He play one song on a bass flute, an instrument I had never heard of previously. He also played a Pan Flute, piccolos and the normal flutes more commonly seen. He began playing one ‘flute’ in the dark and when the lights came up, we were surprised to see he was playing a walking cane that had the appropriate holes drilled into it.This entry was posted in Uncategorized