t2.bmp (300054 bytes)  Mashed Potatoes

 

March 1 - 15, 2020

 

Cruise #31:

Cruise ITINERARY
Ship : Holland America ms Nieuw Statendam

Day Date Itinerary Arrival Departure
SUN 01MAR20 Sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US 5:00pm
MON 02MAR20 Half Moon Cay, Bahamas 1,2 8:00am 4:00pm
6:00 pm Tamarind Restaurant -
TUE 03MAR20 Sea Day
WED 04MAR20 Ocho Rios, Jamaica 8:00am 5:00pm
Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort
THU 05MAR20 Georgetown, Cayman Islands 1,2 8:00am 4:00pm
FRI 06MAR20 Cozumel, Mexico 11:00am 11:00pm
SAT 07MAR20 Sea Day
SUN 08MAR20 Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US 7:00am 5:00pm
MON 09MAR20 Half Moon Cay, Bahamas 1,2 8:00am 5:00pm
6:00 pm ami Sushi -
TUE 10MAR20 Sea Day
WED 11MAR20 Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos 8:00am 5:00pm
Margaritaville, walking, beach, snorkeling.
THU 12MAR20 Amber Cove, Dominican Republic 8:00am 5:00pm
Not much here. Just went for a walk and saw not much.
FRI 13MAR20 Sea Day
SAT 14MAR20 Key West, Florida, US 8:00am 5:00pm
Hemingway's house, walking, shopping, ice cream, etc.
SUN 15MAR20 Debark Ship Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US 7:00am
 

Thoughts regarding this cruise.

We have returned safely from our 2 week cruise around the Caribbean aboard Holland America Nieuw Statendam. We visited Cozumel, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Key West, and Fort Lauderdale. We tried a different cruise line this time just to branch out. We found that Holland America has more sales oriented events than any other cruise line we have been on. There were no events during the day that didn't try to sell something. The night time music was very good including an excellent blues band. But again, very little to do at night that was not sales oriented. A very boring cruise line.

Holland America does cater to seniors so we asked some folks we met on board why they prefer Holland America. Basically they like the attention the crew provides to seniors and they like the pampering. We asked some Floridians why they like this cruise line when they live in the tropics, have a pool, hot tub, access to beaches, and access to fabulous restaurants. Basically they like the suites and the pampering. I'd rather stay home when you consider the cost. Needless to say, we will not cruise Holland America again.

As for the topic of the month, Holland America did handle the Coronavirus very well. We found antibacterial stations and soap all over the ship. You couldn't go 30 yards without finding one. They were located at the entrance to the ship, exits, all entrances to food areas, casino, lounges, etc. They posted crew members at all restaurant entrence to ensure everyone used the disinfectants. All food were served by a member of the crew wearing gloves. The ship was cleaned every night. We felt safe on the ship - indeed safer than what were seeing on land. As a result, we had ZERO cases of the virus onboard.

There was one issue Sunday as we were about to disembark the ship. Keep in mind that 25 to 30 million people cruise every year. As such, on average, there are about 200 deaths onboard per year. Also people get hurt in a variety of ways just like they do on land. Hence most cruise ships have a very good medical center. During our visit to Grand Turk, we noticed an ambulance headed towards the ship. We have seen medical personnel entering or exiting a cruise ship many times so we didn't think anything of it. Fast forward now to Sunday 3/15. Disembarkation started at 7 am per usual. We were going to walk off and drive home so we decided to stay on until about 9:30 am to avoid the crowds. Just as we got in line to exit the ship, an announcement was made notifying us that disembarkation had been suspended. So we went back to our cabin to await further notice. We found out a couple hours later that there had been a death on the ship and so the Fort Lauderdale sheriff had asked the governor of Florida to suspend disembarkation until that individual could be tested for Coronavirus. Keep in mind by the time the officials decided to test the individual, 65% of the passengers (about 1,800) had left the ship! The remaining 800 of us were left waiting until 4 pm. We were eventually told about the deceased passenger, testing for the virus, and that we would be informed as to the results later in the day. Finally at 4 pm we got the word that the test came back negative and we could leave the ship.

While we waited for the test results, we did have free food and free BOOZE!

We are now home and plan to lay low for 2 weeks. And yes, we have plenty of TP;-)

On Tuesday March 24 - 9 days after the cruise - we did receive email from Holland America informing us that in deed one passenger who boarded the ship on March 8 eventually was diagnosed with the Corona virus. We were instructed to stay home for 14 days. We were doing this anyway so no hardship.
 

Carol eating her first stone crabs ever in the Orange Cafe on the ship

Grand Turk and Caicos as seen from the ship

The ship as seen from Turk and Caicos

We enjoyed lunch at Margaritaville

Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West

Hemingway's house is known for its 6-toed cats

Our tour guide

Hemingway's pool

downtown Key West

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