We left Vernon for Kelowna at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 26, 2015 with our neighbours, Mark and Eva who drove us to the airport for our flight to Seattle via Vancouver to begin our 50 Day Tales Of The South Pacific Cruise the following day.  Vernon had sunny skies and the same in Kelowna with a temperature of 11 C [52 F] in both cities at that time.  We passed through Customs at the Vancouver Airport and it was 18 C [65 F] upon arrival in Seattle.  By 3 p.m. we had checked into our hotel.  Later after dinner and drinks we had a relatively early bedtime.

This South Pacific Cruise we had booked with Holland America was not our first cruise to the South Pacific as in 2010 we enjoyed a shorter 33 Day Cruise during January and February on board the Rotterdam .

We enjoyed just fantastic weather on our 50 day cruise, many days were clear and sunny with highs ranging from 28 C [83 F] to 30 C [86 F] and holding true even on the few days when we encountered cloudy skies.

The Web Sites I have provided are here to provide more background for you … enjoy!

Sunday, September 27

We awoke and were greeted with clear skies and sunshine.  At 11 a.m. we began the embarkation process and by 11:35 a.m. were in our Stateroom.  By 12:30 p.m. we were all unpacked and on the outer decks we encountered sunshine and a temperature of 18 C [64 F] prior to us having a quick lunch in the Lido followed afterwards with a stroll to acquaint ourselves with where places were to be found on the ship.  We attended the mandatory Passenger Safety Emergency Drill prior to our first sail away.  Next came our first visit to the Ocean Bar.  Our early fixed dining had us at a table for 6 but we were joined by only 2 others this first night. Rich and Kersti from Arroyo Grande, CA.  The four of us assumed that we would be joined by the remaining 2 table mates in San Francisco or San Diego.  That evening there was no live show in the Queen’s Lounge.  Instead, a Welcome Aboard due was held in the Crow’s Nest.  We chose not to attend and prior to bed time listened to Adagio, a violin and piano duo who performed sophisticated classical music which we found to be soothing and relaxing.

We later learned that only 480 guests embarked in Seattle so we knew the reason for the expedited embarkation we had earlier experienced.  Of the guest count, 277 were from the United State, 89 from Canada and 14 from the United Kingdom.

Our ship, the Amsterdam, 780 feet in length, carries 1,380 passengers plus a crew of 615 and has a maximum speed of 22.5 knots.  She has ten decks, served by 12 elevators.  Onboard facilities include 2 pools and hot tubs, 6 bars, casino, gymnasium, medical centre, photo gallery and retail stores.  Entertainment is offered nightly in the Queen’s Lounge and the Wajang Theatre offers daily movies.  Onboard dining is in the La Fontaine Dining Room, while buffet meals are proved in the Lido Restaurant.  The Pinnacle Grill offers an elegant, sophisticated dining experience featuring premium Sterling Silver beef, inspired seafood dishes and many select wines.

Monday, September 28

We awoke to clear skies and sunshine and the first of many sea days to come.  That afternoon we enjoyed our first Happy Hour in the Ocean Bar.  Following dinner we enjoyed the comedy of Kevin Jordan before retiring.

Tuesday, September 29

Our second sea day and we awoke to early morning cloud and overcast skies.  Singer, Bobbie Eakes provided the evening live show following which we spent time listening to Adagio.

Wednesday, September 30

In port at San Francisco, CA.  Cloudy skies greeted us upon waking.  More guests joined us here making 595 the new passenger count.  On board now, 372 from the United States, 90 from Canada and 41 from Germany … the top 3 Nations.  Time ashore was brief as a rain shower happened at the same time.  The day was cool and cloudy.  At dinner that evening we met our other 2 table mates, 2 single ladies from San Francisco.  We watched the movie, “Paul Blart Mall Cop 2” in the Wajang Theatre and then visited the Explorer’s Lounge to listen to Adagio before bed time.

Mornings we have available to us the Times Digest, eight pages of headline news from the pages of The New York Times and The Canadian, headline news more meaningful to us.  For guests from the UK and Australia other publications were also available.  Richard arranged to have The Canadian delivered to the stateroom daily.

Our routine, as on past cruises, sees us attend in the Ocean Bar for pre-dinner drinks during Happy Hour at 4 p.m. where one buys one drink at regular price and receives a second for just one dollar.  Servers in the Ocean Bar treat regulars like us with just superb service.  Once they know your drink preference you never have to tell them a second time unless you want to change.  Richard was most pleased that Molson Canadian beer was available throughout the 50 day voyage.  Others from the U.S. who became regulars at our table also drank Molson Canadian from time to time.

Thursday, October 1

A sea day en route to San Diego and morning skies were partly cloudy before turning sunny and warm for the remainder of the day.  Following a fine dinner in the Dining Room we watched the movie, “A Royal Night Out” in the theatre before calling it a day.

.As was our custom on previous cruises, Richard spent time on the outer decks doing his daily walk on the Promenade Deck then enjoying the sunshine until lunch.  The afternoons he spent time reading outdoors in the shade.  Anita chose to read in the Library and even though she had her crafts with her she did none on this cruise, choosing to read instead.

Friday, October 2

In port at San Diego where the remainder of the passengers booked on our cruise joined us on board.  Morning skies were clear and sunny.  While at dinner that evening there was an emergency medical call to a particular stateroom.  Then at 9:15 p.m. en route to Hawaii, the Captain announced to all guests that we were returning to San Diego to discharge the guest who was the subject of the earlier medical emergency.  We were informed that this delay would not affect our sailing schedule.  Watched yet another movie in the theatre this evening, “50 to 1” where a misfit group of New Mexico cowboys find themselves on the journey of a lifetime when their crooked-footed racehorse qualifies for the Kentucky Derby.

 

Saturday, October 3

The first of 5 sea days as we cross the Pacific Ocean for Hawaii.  Morning skies were cloudy and the sea calm.  Later sea swells caused some excess ship movement and slight ‘rock & roll’ motion was experienced for the remainder of the day and throughout the night.  Richard obtained the guest passenger count from the Front Office.  In the Queen’s Lounge this evening, Jim Curry sang a tribute to John Denver.  We had seen Jim Curry before and his performance tonight was just as good as his first.  Clocks were set back 1 hour tonight.

Web Sites of Interest

Jim Curry                                             http://www.jimcurrymusic.com/

Hereunder is the Guest Manifest Nationality Breakdown after leaving San Diego.

Nationality

Total Count

 

 

Austria

4

Australia

16

Belgium

5

Canada

135

Switzerland

43

China

2

Costa Rica

1

Germany

67

France

4

United Kingdom

26

Greece

2

Croatia

3

Italy

6

Mexico

3

Malaysia

1

Netherlands

19

Norway

1

New Zealand

3

Portugal

1

Romania

3

Russian Federation

7

Sweden

2

Singapore

1

United States

859

 

 

Total:

1,214

 

Of all guests on this cruise there was only 1 child, a 4 year old girl travelling with her grandparents.

 

 

Sunday, October 4

Second day at sea and more cloudy skies in the early morning.  Seas became calm as the day progressed.  Satellite problems have left the ship with no internet connection and word was that this might continue through to Hawaii.  We listened to the fine sounds of Adagio in the Explorer’s Lounge before bed time.  Clocks were set back 1 hour tonight.

Monday, October 5

Partly cloudy skies in the early morning and the start of another sea day.  Today was the first day one could comfortably sit out and enjoy the outer decks as warmer temperatures were now the norm.  Tonight in the Queen’s Lounge the evening entertainment came in two parts, the first a gameshow “Call My Bluff” followed by master ventriloquist, Don Bryan.  We thoroughly enjoyed both.  Clocks were set back 1 hour tonight.

Tuesday, October 6

A sea day and early morning brought us partly cloudy skies.  Dress code is Formal tonight, the first of five such nights on this cruise.  Cloudy skies in the afternoon and a light rain was falling by mid-afternoon.  Along with the rain, sea swells increased and by late afternoon we experienced some slight rock & roll which lasted overnight.  A group of three young Australian men calling themselves La Forza sang onstage in the Queen’s Lounge later that evening.  They were good!

Web Sites of Interest

La Forza                      http://www.laforza.com.au/

Wednesday, October 7

More cloudy skies greeted us upon waking as we began another sea day sailing towards Hilo, Hawaii.  Calm seas had returned by morning as did the sunshine after breakfast.  Instrumentalist Amy Lee performed for us in the Queen’s Lounge tonight.

Thursday, October 8

In port at Hilo, Hawaii.  Skies were mainly cloudy in the early morning but soon gave way to sunshine by the end of the morning meal.  The Princess ship, “Ruby Princess” docked shortly after we did.  Richard went ashore but the port offered very little, only container operations.  He walked around for some 45 minutes, took 2 photos and was then told “no photos” by security on the grounds.  Richard returned to the ship and for the first time sat outside sun tanning for a few hours.  Cloudy skies returned as the afternoon progressed.  After dinner we enjoyed the ship’s singers and dancers performing “Bravo” in the Queen’s Lounge before retiring. 

Having done this cruise once before in 2010 when it was shorter in length we chose not to engage in or purchase any shore excursions having done all that before.  We did notice a sharp increase in pricing for those excursions offered on board by Holland America and especially with the value of the Canadian dollar.  Richard did go ashore in most ports for photo ops and to enjoy a good walk off the ship.

Web Sites of Interest

Hilo, Hawaii                 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilo,_Hawaii

Friday, October 9

At anchor off Lahaina, Hawaii.  Clear skies in the early morning and Richard went ashore on the tender for a look around and to take photos.  He visited an AB Store to purchase some bottled water.  The day was very warm.  Comedian Gabe Abelson provided us with many laughs with his performance later that evening in the Queen’s Lounge.

On this cruise Anita and Richard enjoyed their status as 4 star mariners with the Holland America line for the first time.  A 4 start mariner is one who has sailed 200 days or more with the company.  This provided two major benefits.  The first, free laundry and the second no need to obtain tender tickets and wait to be called for a tender boat to take you ashore.  For the free laundry, we recorded the items being sent out, packed them in a bag and some 24 hours later they were returned to our stateroom clean and folded.  One’s ship card was all that was needed to be shown to ride a tender boat at any time … no waiting.

 

Web Sites of Interest

Lahaina, Hawaii                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahaina,_Hawaii

Saturday, October 10

In port at Nawiliwili, Hawaii on the island of Kauai.  Early morning clear skies brought the promise of yet another warm and sunny day.  Richard went ashore for just a short time as again security personnel informed him walking on the surrounding dock area was not allowed, again for security reasons.  He returned to the ship and did his usual walk on the Promenade Deck.  The “Ruby Princess” was once again in port with us.  Elika Santos, Hawaiian vocalist, performed onstage for us that evening.

Web Sites of Interest

Nawiliwili, Hawaii                    http://cruiseportwiki.com/Nawiliwili

Elika Santos                             http://www.elikasantos.com/home.html

Sunday, October 11

In port at Honolulu, Hawaii for an overnight stay.  Partly cloudy skies in the early morning.  Richard went ashore and engaged a taxi going first to the War Memorial then, at the driver’s suggestion along a narrow winding road up to a viewpoint overlooking Diamond Head and most of Honolulu below.  Spectacular views and hopefully good photos.  The taxi ride and sightseeing took some 1.5 hours.  That evening, after dinner, we listened to Adagio prior to bed time.

Web Sites of Interest

Honolulu, Hawaii                     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honolulu

Monday, October 12

A cloudy early morning as we awoke to our second day in Honolulu and very little sunshine was offered us that day  Having been to Honolulu many times before we chose to remain on board the ship today.  Both dining rooms were decorated in red and white to acknowledge Thanksgiving Day in Canada.  Turkey was one of the menu items at dinner that evening.  We watched a movie on TV in our stateroom before bed time.

Tuesday, October 13

At anchor off Kona, Hawaii and the early morning provided clear skies and sunshine.  Chose not to go ashore as we’d been here previously a few times.  This was our last visit with Hawaii and we enjoyed a warm and sunny day on the ship.  The Alley Cats, a quartet of men, performed hits of the 50s and 60s in the Queen’s Lounge for the evening show.

Web Sites of Interest

Kona, Hawaii

http://www.gohawaii.com/en/big-island/regions-neighborhoods/kona/#customOrder:random^newCustomSearch:false

Alley Cats                                http://www.thealleycats.com/alley-cats.iml

Wednesday, Octo 14

Upon waking the early morning skies were partly cloudy as we began a sea day.  Dress code is Formal for tonight’s dining.  We enjoyed the ship’s singers and dancers presentation of “The Midnight Hour” featuring classic songs we know and love.  As usual they performed live onstage in the Queen’s Lounge after dinner.

Friday, October 16

Crossing the International Date Line we lost Thursday, October 15 entirely.  Another sea day sailing towards Fanning Island and sunny skies upon waking.  At Happy Hour in the Ocean Bar we’ve come to sit with 2 other couples each day making us 6 at our table.  During our talks it turns out that the one couple from Jefferson City, Missouri near Kansas City had also done the 33 Day Circle Hawaii, Tahiti & Marquesas Cruise in 2010 on board the Rotterdam as had Anita and I.  That cruise was a ‘miniature’ cruise of our current one.  Small world!  We did not enjoy tonight’s entertainer, comedian Don McEnery.

Saturday, October 17

At anchor off Tabuaeran, Fanning Island.  Upon waking, cloudy skies which had cleared by the time we finished our morning showers.  Our second visit here and after breakfast Richard went ashore on the tender for a short visit and to take photos.  In the Queen’s Lounge that evening we enjoyed listening to Livewire as they presented Celtic music on the violin and guitar.

Web Sites of Interest

Tabuaeran, Fanning Island                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabuaeran

Livewire                                                          http://www.livewirecd.com/index.html

Saturday, October 17

Our second Saturday as we again crossed the International Date Line and a sea day as we sail towards Pago Pago.  This morning broken overcast skies with little hints of sunshine that again later changed to provide us with more sun and yet another fine day.  Received notice of a Temporary Change In Command from October 22 until November 4 as Captain Fred Eversen and Hotel Director Henk Mensink travel to Seattle, WA to represent the Holland America Line in a pending legal matter.  Our temporary Captain will be Arjen van der Loo.  Singer Heather Sullivan appeared onstage in the Queen’s Lounge tonight.  Clocks were set back 1 hour tonight.

Sunday, October 18

Our second day at sea and calm seas the order of the day.  It was clear and sunny in the early morning as we made our way to breakfast.  In the Queen’s Lounge the gameshow, “Call My Bluff” preceded a wonderful performance of “Nations” by the ship’s singers and dancers.

Monday, October 19

Cloudy skies in the early morning as we began our third day at sea before arrival at our next port.  Today is the Federal Election back home in Canada.  Today at 8:30 p.m. there was a third medical emergency call on board since leaving San Diego, this time in the Pinnacle Grill.  A second appearance by the Alley Cats tonight with a new show and they didn’t disappoint us!

Tuesday, October 20

In port at Pago Pago, Samoa and our first visit here.  Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa.  Early morning provided us with mainly cloudy skies and we learned that the Liberals had won the Election back home with a sound majority so we will soon have a new Government and new Prime Minister.  Both of us went ashore and hired a taxi for a 2 hour tour of Pago Pago.  After dinner we relaxed back in our stateroom and watched TV before bed time.  Clocks were set ahead 1 hour tonight.

Web Sites of Interest

Pago Pago, Samoa                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pago_Pago

Thursday, October 22

Crossing the International Date Line we lost Wednesday, October 21 and we are in port at Apia, Samoa.  We had been here previously in the Fall of 2013 as part of our South Pacific & New Zealand Cruise on board the Oosterdam .  Richard went ashore for a leisurely walk and to take some photos then enjoyed lounging about on the outer decks with a mix of sun and cloud overhead.  As requested, our Passports were turned into the Front Office today.  We watched the movie “Love & Mercy” before retiring.  Clocks were set ahead 1 hour tonight.

Web Sites of Interest

Apia, Samoa                                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apia

Friday, October 23

A sea day as we sailed towards Suva, Fiji.  The early morning brought us a mixture of sun and cloud and calm seas.  Formal Dress for dinner tonight.  At our Happy Hour table Richard and Sally from Grover Beach, CA sat with us.  Richard frequented the Casino and played poker most nights.  Each afternoon we queried him whether he was a winner or not.  The ship’s singers and dancers performed “Mundo Latino” for us in the Queen’s Lounge.  Clocks were set back 1 hour tonight.

Saturday, October 24

In port at Suva, Fiji this morning under partly cloudy skies and not our first time here.  Suva is the capital and second most populated municipality of Fiji.  We both went ashore for a long walk along the seawall.  Anita browsed the many shop stands along the way and made a purchase at one of them.  That evening in the Wajang Theatre we watched the movie, “The Dove” which was a true story.

Web Sites of Interest

Suva, Fiji                                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suva

Sunday, October 25

At anchor off Dravuni, Fiji a volcanic island with few people living there.  As with Suva it was not our first time here.  We enjoyed clear skies and sunshine today.  Chose not to go ashore but instead enjoyed time spent on the outer decks.  A most entertaining comedian, Dick Hardwick was on stage in the Queen’s Lounge this evening.

Web Sites of Interest

Dravuni, Fiji                                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dravuni

Monday, October 26

A day at sea and early morning brought partly cloudy skies as we sailed towards our next port.  At Happy Hour today our table mates, Rich and Kersti advised us that they had secured alternate dining arrangement and would not be sitting with us at dinner any more.  They went on to say it was not because of us but Charlene, one of the 2 ladies from San Francisco.  No previous mention has been made of her antics at previous seatings so an explanation is in order.  She uses a scooter due to some mobility issues and that did not concern us.  Charlene is totally within herself, conversations MUST be about her and only her … no one else counts according to her.  She had not appeared for dinner on one or two previous occasions and when asked why afterwards told us she had talked to God that day and was told she should not eat that day so stayed alone in her stateroom!  On a previous occasion when Rich and Kersti had other commitments and were not at our table Charlene took it upon herself to invite 2 of her friends to sit with us and did not have the courtesy of asking the 3  remaining table mates if this was acceptable.  Then she did it again tonight when she learned Rich and Kersti had left.  That was the final straw for Richard and he requested that he and Anita be moved to another table.  His request was okayed and so on Tuesday we’ll dine at a new table.  Ukebox, a Liverpool ukulele band, performed numerous Beatles songs for us on stage in the Queen’s Lounge.

Tuesday, October 27

In port at Nuku’alofa, Tonga and our first visit.  This is the capital of the Kingdom of Tonga.  The day began under mainly cloudy skies.  Anita was suffering with a head cold so chose not to go ashore with Richard.  She and others who remained on board had the good fortune to see and enjoy the antics of a whale and her calf along the port side of the ship while in dock.  On shore, Richard joined a couple from Salt Lake City and engaged a taxi for a 2 hour tour of part of the island.  Numerous churches and grave yards were viewed on the drive.  Visited the point where the explorer Able Tasman first landed, the Blowhole, Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple, Burial Tombs and the Royal Palace.  Met our new table mates at dinner tonight for the first time, a couple from Seattle, WA.  We were warmly welcomed by them as they had previously endured ‘random’ guests joining them, no one permanent as we would be.    Later a most enjoyable presentation of “Talk Of The Town” by the ship’s singers and dancers brought our day to a close.

Web Sites of Interest

Nuku’alofa, Tonga                               https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuku%27alofa

Wednesday, October 28

At anchor off Neiafu vava’u, Tonga and again our first time on this island.  It is the second largest town in Tonga.  Under partly cloudy skies Richard went ashore for a brief visit.  Later the tides had an adverse effect for the tenders making it difficult for passengers to board and exit the tender boats.  This caused us to be late 1 hour in departing that afternoon.  To make amends the Captain announced champagne would be served that evening with dessert as a good will gesture on behalf of Holland America.  Comedian/magician Adrian Dean was a total bust in the Queen’s Lounge as numerous guests left during his performance on stage.

Web Sites of Interest

Neiafu vava’u, Tonga                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neiafu_(Vava%27u)

Wednesday, October 28

Crossing the International Date Line we have Wednesday for a second time.  Guests received Crossing the International Dateline Certificates applicable to this cruise.  Today we’re at anchor off Alofi, Niue which is located within the Realm of New Zealand for our first visit.  Early morning skies were clear and Richard went ashore briefly and took photos of the surroundings.  Most interesting the number of guests who have stopped us to ask about our change in dining preferences, many being ‘neighbours’ to our old table and agreeing with the change we made.  Tonight just a wonderful performance on stage by singer Lou Gazzara.  Clocks were set forward 1 hour tonight.

Web Sites of Interest

Alofi, Niue                                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alofi,_Niue

Thursday, October 29

A day at sea sailing towards the Cook Islands.  The early morning skies were partly cloudy and the seas remained calm.  Clarissa Spata, a talented soprano, performed on stage tonight.

Friday, October 30

At anchor off Rarotonga the most populous island of the Cook Islands arriving under partly cloudy skies.  The Cook Islands!  Five years ago we were here but due to high seas did not get to go ashore and explore but today we made it.  Both of us went ashore on the tender and for Anita this was her first tender ride of the cruise.  On shore we hired a taxi for a 2 hour tour of this beautiful island and were not disappointed – so glad to have not missed it a second time.  We enjoyed a sunny and warm day and our taxi driver said the past 2 days it had rained so we were most fortunate to have the good weather during our visit.  A presentation of “Jazz Blues & Rock ‘n’ Roll” by the ship’s singers and dancers that evening brought this special day to a close.

Web Sites of Interest

Rarotonga                                           https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rarotonga

Saturday, October 31

It’s Halloween, a sea day sailing towards Bora Bora.  Clear skies and sunshine greeted us upon waking and both dining rooms as well as selected areas of the ship were decked out in the Halloween theme.  Formal Dress tonight or one could wear a costume instead and at dinner there was a mixture of both.  On stage in the Queen’s Lounge was a repeat visit from Ukebox back with an all new show that was most delightful.  Afterwards we listened to the fine music of Adagio before retiring.

Sunday, November 1

At anchor off Bora Bora, French Polynesia for an overnight stay … our second visit here.  Skies were partly cloudy when Richard went ashore to secure a 4 hour Circle The Island & Snorkel Tour with a local vendor,  He was one of 11 on the tour and enjoyed 4 good swim/snorkel sessions during the first 3 hours.  As on the first visit he was in the water swimming with sting rays and black and yellow sharks.  Later on the group was most fortunate to see a manta ray as well.  Lunch of fresh fruits and cakes was included as part of the tour and Richard also purchased a local beer at lunch.  Richard observed that the vacation villas and other structures were in disrepair and not as pleasing to the eye as they were 5 years ago.  As such he took very few photos.  That evening at dinner our table mates advised us they had won first prize for their king and queen costumes the previous evening.  Watched the movie, “The Forger” on the big screen in the Queen’s Lounge that evening.

Web Sites of Interest

Bora Bora                                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bora_Bora

Monday, November 2

This was our second day in beautiful Bora Bora and today cloudy skies and little sun.  Richard was pleased he had his swim/snorkel time yesterday with better weather as later on there were light rain showers.  Chose not to go ashore today and instead spent a relaxing day on the ship.  That evening we listened to the smooth sounds of Adagio after dinner before bed time.

Tuesday, November 3

In port at Uturoa, Raiatea today and early morning skies were partly cloudy.  We had been here 5 years ago.  Both of us went ashore but the clouds persisted and onshore were told to expect 60 % chance of rain showers.  All other guests we talked to onshore opted not to participate in any swim/snorkel expeditions due to the lack of sunshine.  Anita returned to the ship and Richard walked the area for about 1 hour taking photos of this most enjoyable port.  That night in our stateroom we watched a DVD movie from the ship’s free collection.

Web Sites of Interest

Uturoa, Raiatea                                   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uturoa

 

Wednesday, November 4

In port at Papeete [Tahiti], French Polynesia and our second time here.  Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, an overseas country of France in the Pacific Ocean. We awoke to cloudy skies.  Our Passports were returned to us by the Front Office.  Richard went ashore for a walkabout and more photo taking.  Prior to bed time we watched a DVD movies from the ship’s free collection.

Web Sites of Interest

Papeete [Tahiti], French Polynesia      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papeete

Thursday, November 5

At anchor off Opunohu Bay, Moorea and we encountered cloudy skies upon waking.  Room service was used for breakfast today to allow Richard to ride an early tender ashore.  He purchased a 3 hour swim/snorkel tour from a local vendor along with 12 others as part of the group.  Skies were a mixture of sun and cloud on the water making it a great time in the water.  Once more an opportunity to swim and snorkel with the sharks and sting rays.  Richard obtained a revised Passenger Count from the Front Office as there was some shuffling of guests here.  Total passenger count is now 1,209 with Canada now at 127, Germany still at 67, Switzerland  with 44 and861 for the United States.  After dinner “Encore”, a concert style show was performed on stage by the ship’s singers and dancers and again was most enjoyable.

Web Sites of Interest

Opunohu Bay, Moorea                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opunohu_Bay

Friday, November 6

At anchor off Avatoru,Rangiroa and a light rain was falling first thing this morning – a first on this cruise.  As with Bora Bora and Moorea we’d been here 5 years ago.  The rain had stopped when Richard entered the tender boat to go ashore but began again once the tender was loaded and began its journey ashore and at the dock it was both raining heavily and windy.  Onshore Richard stepped off briefly to snap a photo of the Welcome sign proving he had been there and then returned to the ship on the same tender.  The rain showers prevailed off and on all day.  We enjoyed comedian Frank King in the Queen’s Lounge after dinner and before bed time.  Clocks were set ahead 30 minutes tonight … first time we’d be part of a time change less than one hour on any cruise.

Web Sites of Interest

Avatoru,Rangiroa                                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rangiroa

Saturday, November 7

A sea day and again cloudy skies and light rain showers greeted us as we walked to breakfast.  We do continue to enjoy calm seas.  Today was not a day to spend time on the outer decks as walkways and lounges were wet.  In our stateroom that evening we watched a DVD movie from the ship’s free collection.

 

Sunday, November 8

At anchor off Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia, our last port on this cruise and our second time here.  Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands, an overseas country of France in the Pacific Ocean.  The early morning provided partly cloudy skies.  Richard went ashore and by that time it was sunny once more, actually hot and humid!  The port was very clean and scenic, good for many photos.  Tonight’s presentation of the Huber Marionettes with Phillip Huber was a first for us and most artistic.  Clocks were set ahead 30 minutes tonight.

Web Sites of Interest

Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuku_Hiva

Monday, November 9

The first of seven consecutive sea days as we sail towards San Diego.  Early morning skies were partly sunny.  The Mariner’s Brunch was scheduled for today and 11 a.m. was our appointed time.  Formal Dress code for dinner tonight.  It was a great day on the outer decks as sunny skies prevailed after breakfast.  The production of “Made In England” on stage by the ship’s singers and dancers singing the songs of Elton John was yet another great performance by the group.

Tuesday, November 10

The early morning gave us partly cloudy skies on this our second sea day.  Crossing the Equator today for the last time and of course the King Neptune Ceremony was held at 10 a.m. at the Lido Pool.  All passengers received their Crossing The Equator Certificate for this cruise.  Also that afternoon, a matinee for the Indonesian Crew Show.  On previous sailings this was usually a late night event.  We enjoyed Happy Hour with our former table mates, Rich and Kersti, in their Neptune Suite on Deck 7.  This was our first time in such a suite and it was huge as was their balcony.  Had our first taste of Tim Tams as well.  James Cielen with a variety of magic appeared on stage in the Queen’s Lounge.

Web Sites of Interest

King Neptune Ceremony                     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line-crossing_ceremony

Tim Tams                                             https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Tam

Wednesday, November 11

Remembrance Day and our first time experiencing this at sea.  Early morning skies were cloudy.  The ceremony was held in the Queen’s Lounge at 10:45 a.m. with the sounding of the ship’s bells and whistle at 11:11 a.m. followed by two minutes of silence then a second sounding of the ship’s bells and whistle when the two minutes of silence had ended.  Jese Kazemek’s Tribute to the Beatles tonight in the Queen’s Lounge was most enjoyable.  Clocks were set ahead 1 hour tonight.

Thursday, November 12

A sea day, our fourth, and we continue to be blessed with calm seas.  The early morning started out with cloudy skies.  This afternoon, a matinee for the Filipino Crew Show.  On previous sailings this was usually a late night event.  Virtuoso Pianist Hyperion Knight dazzled us with classical and other fine tunes this evening.

Web Sites of Interest

Hyperion Knight                                   http://hyperionknight.com/

Friday, November 13

Early morning cloudy skies as we continue sailing towards San Diego.  Hyperion Knight played in the Explorer’s Lounge for some 3 hours this afternoon and Richard, along with many others, enjoyed listening while reading.  That evening we chose to watch a DVD movie in our stateroom from the ship’s free collection.

Saturday, November 14

Another sea day, calm seas and early morning cloudy skies.  Temperatures have cooled off so now sitting on the outer decks is no longer comfortable.  The ship’s singers and dancers were great with their production of “Rock at the Opera” tonight.

Sunday, November 15

This is our last full day of our cruise as we continue our journey back to San Diego.  Under partly cloudy skies it was Richard’s last day to wear short pants.  Packing up was done after lunch.  At Happy Hour, Richard the poker player presented us with ball caps he had “won” at the Casino and informed us that they were “$300. Hats”!  It appeared to us he was not a winner over all.  We chose not to attend the last live production from the ship’s singer and dancer that evening and instead listened one last time to the classical music of Adagio.  We received the Cruise Log in our stateroom tonight.  Our last night on board was one with major “rock & roll” and bumping … the most severe we’ve experienced on any cruise to date.

 

Please see the next page for the Cruise Log …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruise Log:   Sunday, September 27, 2015

                        Depart Seattle, 3:55 p.m.

                        Monday, November 16, 2015

                        Arrive San Diego, 6:00 a.m.

 

Ports

Mileage   

Average

Speed

 

 

 

Seattle – San Francisco

826 nm

13.4 kts

San Francisco – San Diego

475 nm

13.4 kts

San Diego – Hilo

2,198 nm

17.1 kts

Hilo – Lahina

126 nm

11.7 kts

Lahina -- Nawilwil

178 nm

13.7 kts

Nawilwil – Honolulu

97 nm

7.7 kts

Honolulu – Kona

145 nm

12.3 kts

Kona -- Tabuaeran

971 nm

15.7 kts

Tabuaeran – Pago Pago

1,298 nm

14.4 kts

Pago Pago –Apia

82 nm

7.1 kts

Apia – Suva

657 nm

16.7 kts

Suva – Dravuni Island

34 nm

4.7 kts

Dravuni Island – Nuku’alofa

406 nm

11.2 kts

Nuku’alofa -- Neiafu

163 nm

12.5 kts

Neiafu – Alofi

242 nm

15.6 kts

Alofi – Avatiu

598 nm

16.0 kts

Avatiu – Vaitape

533 nm

14.5 kts

Vaitape – Uturoa

50 nm

7.0 kts

Uturoa – Papeete

112 nm

8.3 kts

Papeete – Oponohu

15 nm

10 kts

Oponohu – Avatoru

208 nm

15.7 kts

Avatoru – Taiohae

567 nm

15.4 kts

Taiohae – San Diego

2,823 nm

15.8 kts

 

 

 

Total Distance

12,804 nm

 

 

1 Nautical Mile  =  1.155 Statute miles  =  1.85 Kilometer

                       

Monday, November 16

Early breakfast [6:30 a.m.] this morning in port at San Diego.  Passport Control personnel were on board to process all non-US folks prior to disembarkation.  Of course, some chose not to comply until called down at least 3 times by the Cruise Director on the ship’s public address system.  This delayed everyone’s departure by 1 hour as a first 12 individuals refused to go through the process.  Later it was down to 2 before off-loading commenced.  San Diego, once we were on shore, was basking in morning sunshine with a temperature of 17 C [62 F] and it was windy.  Took a taxi to our Holiday Inn Hotel where at 10:10 a.m. our room was ready for us.  Richard then went online, first time since leaving Vernon, to send a brief message to family and selected friends.  Enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and evening with dinner and drinks then an early bed time and rest before catching an early morning flight on Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 17

San Diego at 5 a.m. was 10 C [51 F] with clear skies, later sunny skies.  Our flight left on time at 8 a.m. and arriving in Seattle at 11:30 a.m. it was 7 C [44 F] raining heavily and windy.  While waiting at our departure gate in Seattle for our flight to Kelowna we heard an announcement for a departing flight to Victoria saying that due to high winds in Victoria the plane may not land and could return to Seattle.  Our flight to Kelowna was somewhat bumpy and we were met at the Kelowna airport by our neighbours, Mark and Eva and our good friend, Marjorie.  Kelowna had the same temperature as Seattle and rain as well.  Back in Vernon we had dinner at Boston Pizza with Mark and Eva.  Later that evening when Richard unpacked his suitcase he found a card inside advising that his baggage had been inspected by the Transportation Security Administration somewhere between San Diego and Kelowna!

Conclusions

This was our longest ever cruise with Holland America.  We were extremely pleased with our ship, the ms Amsterdam and all that was available to us during our 50 day cruise.  While we found some short comings with service in the dining room compared to previous cruises, this, by no means caused the two of us any major concerns.  Food on board was excellent!  The crew on board were polite and most accommodating to our needs.

We enjoyed great weather on this cruise and found certain areas of the ship were always cooler than others and this point was noted by other guests as well.

We enjoyed the benefits afforded us cruising as 4 star mariners for the first time.

Would we take another cruise on one of these Dam Ships … most definitely!