Day / Date
|Got up pretty dang early - 4:20
am. Got picked up by Capital City Sedan right on time at 5:30
am. Got to the airport quickly around 6 am. Karen and I used the
self-service kiosk to check our baggage. We then proceeded
through security where Lou of course set off the metal detectors
with his bionic hips. After getting the pat-down, we proceeded
to the gate to wait for our flight to Fort Lauderdale. The
flight was less than 2 hours.
We got to Fort Lauderdale, got our luggage immediately, hopped
on the first cab and were at the Holland America check in
terminal by 10:20 am. Patsy and Omer were waiting at the hotel.
For some unexplainable reason, they were going to wait until 1
pm before leaving the hotel and going down to the Holland
America terminal. We called them from the baggage claim area to
tell them we had arrived and were on our way to the terminal.
Once we got to HAL and checked in and found no security delay, we
called Pat and Omer to tell them to get down here.
We got on the ship around 11:30 am. It was so early that our
cabin wasn't ready yet. We were told they wouldn't be ready
until 1:30 pm. So we went to the Lido and got our first meal. We
explored the ship for a while. Finally we heard the announcement
that the cabins were ready. We went to our cabin and it was
Lou had the cabin number mixed up. We were in 5145, but we put
5148 on our luggage tags. So we had to go to the front desk to
tell them about it. They don't worry that they always match up
the name on the tag with the cabin guest.
We got our luggage around 4 pm. Lou's suitcase apparently had
the zipper broken. So the HAL crew tied it together. It seemed
like all was fine, but hours later, at the evening show, Lou realized that
his toiletry bag was missing. So we ran down to main desk again
this time to tell them about the damaged luggage and missing
toiletry bag. They said they will look for it and get back to us
in the morning. They gave Lou a standard toiletry bag to use
over night. In the morning at 9:50 am we got a call from the
front desk to tell us they found the bag. We went down and sure
enough, it was there with Lou's new electric shaver.
to our 8:30 dinner and met our table mates. It turned out there
was a mom and dad traveling with their son and daughter in-law.
John and Gail live in FL and their son Andy and wife Kim live in
MN where they board horses. They were a lot of fun. We
were looking forward to seeing them again. We told them we would
night see them on Sunday and Monday night because Sunday night
is a formal night and we don't get dressed up and we would have
dinner in the Lido. Monday we had reservations at 7:30 in the
Pinnacle Grill which specialized in Pacific
Northwest (!) cuisine. How could we resist that?!
After dinner we walked around outside. We went to bed around
midnight after getting up at 4:20 am. We were tired.
|Boy did it feel good to sleep in this morning.
Karen and I were very tired. We had some recent days where we
both had trouble sleeping. As usual though, sleeping on the ship
is wonderful. We got up at 8:30 am and went to the sit down for
We met Pete. His wife Rose wasn't feeling well so she was still
in the cabin. Pete was great. He was really funny and talkative.
We are glad we met him. Pat and Omer had breakfast in the
We went to the 10:45 St. Thomas shopping talk. Lou and Omer were
bored, although Lou got 2 cigars. Pat and Karen were thrilled
with all the talk about diamonds and gems.
Lou and Karen had Indian food for lunch. It was fine. We sat
next to a table of New Yorkers. They got up and went into the
buffet to get food so they left all there stuff on the chairs
around the table by the pool. They were gone a long time.
Eventually this lady came over and stood by their chairs
watching for a while. Eventually she swiped 2 chairs. We never
saw the NY guys come back.
Lou and Karen went to the sports bar around 1:30. One side had
the actual bar with 4 TVs all showing the same game.
Unfortunately it was smokey. So we went to the other side that
we thought was full but we wanted to check out anyway. Amazingly
enough we got seats right in front of the big plasma TV. Karen
hung out for a while and then went to another gem lecture. Lou
stayed to watch the game and drink Margaritas. Eventually Omer
showed up and watch the Jaguars beat the Steelers 29-22.
This was a huge day because Lou saw the Dolphins beat the Ravens
in OT 22-16. His much beloved Dolphins will not finish the
Since it was formal night, and we did not
want to get dressed up, we planned to have dinner in the
Lido at 8 pm. This ship or cruise line
is really strange: they close the Lido (buffet) at 7:30.
Who has ever heard of a cruise ship/line closing the buffet at
7:30 pm!? The
only food available was at the Italian section. You got to
pick exactly which veggies you wanted to have stir fried with
your pasta, but that also means it takes forever to get served.
We were able to get some pasta with meat sauce. It was
ok. You go on a cruise and you do not expect to eat cheap
So far, we haven't been to thrilled with this ship/line. Here's
a list of stuff we've noticed just on day 2:
-- A lot of the public area bathrooms do not have soap or towels.
-- Although this ship, the Zuiderdam,
is suppose to target a younger crowd, we haven't really noticed.
Who would close the buffet at 7:30?
-- The Pinnacle Grill (additional service charge restaurant) requires
formal dress on formal nights. We had figured we could go there
on formal nights like we had on other ships.
-- Lou's suitcase was damaged by the staff either on the ship or at
-- Our cabin steward did not clean out cabin until the afternoon
when Karen called the front desk.
-- Pat and Omer's cabin steward offered to let Karen into there
room when he saw Karen knocking at the door when P&O were not
-- The singers/dancers are just awful.
-- The food hasn't been anything to write about so I won't other
than to say it isn't great. The food variety is minimal.
Pizza is sub par.
-- Cabins are over crowded with furniture.
-- Cabins are noisy so you can hear you next door neighbors.
-- Internet is outrageously expensive. You pay 75 cents per
minutes. Or you have to buy one of the packages like 100 minutes
for $55 or 250 minutes for $100.
-- The ship was built in 2002, but it looks beaten up. The
furniture is starting to fall apart.
-- The way HA does mustering is just awful. No other cruise line
does it like this. You put on your life preserver in your cabin.
You then walk up to where you life boat is. You line up with men
in the back and women and children in front. You then wait for
the attendance to be taken. You then listen to the talk from the
captain. All this in the Caribbean heat wearing a life
There are some good things about the ship.
-- It has an outside elevator which is pretty cool. You can look
out as you ride the elevator.
-- There are some nice art work throughout the ship.
After our lovely college food, we pretty much all went back to
our cabins to relax and get ready for the next day. We had to
meet ashore at 7:50 am for snorkeling.
Patsy got a gold chain from one of the stores.
Luckily Omer and Pat
brought a disposable underwater
camera. Lou and Karen never got the chance to buy one.
met in the Lido for an afternoon snack around 4:30. We ran into
Pete, who Lou and Karen had breakfast with, and we met Pete's
wife Rose who was ill earlier. We all sat together and had a
wonderful time laughing and talking. What a nice couple.
|We woke up around 6:15 am when we got a knock
at our door. Room service arrived with breakfast. Omelets,
coffee, cereal, and croissants. It was ok, nothing great. Lou
wouldn't get it again.
We went to P&O's cabin at 7:15 am to see the docking. Our cabin
had a great view of the ocean. We headed down to the pier and
hung out waiting for our excursion. The boat was fine. It was
covered so we didn't bake in the Caribbean sun. We went to 2
snorkeling spots. The first one Lou had some trouble with his
mask and one of the guides fixed it. The snorkeling was ok.
The sun was behind some clouds so it wasn't very bright in the
water. Also there had been a storm a week earlier so it seemed
like the reef was disturbed. The second spot was much clearer.
We saw lots more fish including a 4 foot barracuda that was fed
by one of the tour guides. Karen freaked out a bit when the
barracuda decided to come right up to us to say hello
with a big grin filled with needle-like teeth. Pat and
Omer enjoyed there snorkeling as well. We met a lady on the boat
named Vivian. She had done lots of snorkeling including down in
Australia. She was real nice and helped us out a bit with our
masks. Apparently we were a bit rusty since we had not gone
snorkeling since 2003.
The tour guides were great. Very professional, polite,
courteous, and helpful.
We went back to the ship to have hang out and then eat lunch. We
wanted to eat in the sit down, but once again, we had a food
issue. We thought they opened at noon, but they opened at 12:30.
So we ate in the buffet. It was ok.
Lou realized there was a Margaritaville ashore he wanted to get
a picture of. Of course Karen wanted to go shopping. We had one
hour left before we had to be back on the ship as all aboard was
at 1:30 for the 2 pm departure. So we ran down, got the camera,
got money, and hit the gangplank. We booked it over to
Margaritaville. We bought some cool stuff including a Hawaiian
shirt, mug, magnet, and 2 hats. We went outside and took some
great pictures. We then walked around back and found a pool,
tiki bar, umbrellas tables, the bar, and cabanas. Awesome. Took
more pictures. We walked in to either get a shot or a marg. Lou
asked the bartender if he could have a Margarita
To Go. The
bartender said of course. So Lou got a Margaritaville frozen
Margarita in a to go cup and drank it on the way back to the
ship. Totally cool!
Got back to the ship and went to the pool out back and hung out
for about an hour. The steel drum band was playing good music
and Margaritas were being serviced. Lou had one but it was no
where as good as the one from Margaritaville.
Karen is now taking a nap after getting Lou a latte so he could
do all this email.
|Got up at 9:25 when Lou heard
Cruise Director Parker say "It is
We had breakfast in the Windstar Cafe. We had lattes and
We hung out by the pool aft waiting for the
descriptive narrative to begin
at noon. Karen read her book while Lou searched for the best
photo spot. This ship blows! You can't get to the bow for an
unobstructed view of the front. So Lou found this little area in
the back of deck 10 where you could take some pictures. After
Lunch we came up and took pictures for about an hour. The
narrative started during lunch. Again, lunch kind of ok -
burgers. The narrative was ok.
We looked for P&O but were unable to find them. Karen banged on
their door at around 1 pm and the neighbor next door came out in
her bathrobe with her hair sticking out wondering what was going
We went swimming after taking pictures cuz we were hot. That's
what happens in the Caribbean.
we had a drink at the bar and Karen made me taste this
disgusting "Cool as a Cucumber" low octane drink
to make sure that there was no alcohol in it before she would
take a sip. YUCK!!!!
We went on our excursion at 2:25 pm. We got into a Land Rover
that held 6 to 8 passengers in the back. Our driver was "Karen",
no, not my wife. This other local dude who we could not
understand through the microphone.
This British guy kept commenting about one of
the other driver's gold tooth.
I wanted to smack him and tell him to shut up.
We went up and down these hills and stopped many times to watch
the view. We saw goats, cows, a pony, chickens, sheep, and we
saw the free hotel known as the prison. We also went to an
awesome beach. The sand "Josiah's on the Bay" was smooth and no
rocks. The water was cool and lots of waves and under current.
We had a drink at the bar.
We came back to the ship around 6 pm. Still no sign of P&O. We
headed to BBQ by the pool where we had good food on the ship for
what seemed the first time. We then went to the Lido to look for
P&O and no luck. We stopped and called them and found them.
Karen got coffee for all and we went to P&O's cabin so they
could give Lou his birthday present (Meatloaf 3).
We went to the sitdown dinner. This time the other 2 couples
did not show up. I guess they stayed in town or wanted to teach
us a lesson for not showing up the past 2 nights.
Dinner was fine.
Went for a walk. Did 3 laps. Going to bed now. Later.
Ran into an older couple we chatted with in
the embarkation lounge and the guy told us a
dirty joke about doggy style sex. That is a different web site.
|Got up early to meet P&O for breakfast and then
go to immigration because we were back in the US at St Thomas.
Off by 8 AM and then stood around waiting for tour, talked to
two ladies going SHOPPING all day long. Funny.
himself into conversation by telling them that they ought to
loosen up (when they were obviously pretty loose already w/o
Excellent snorkeling on Barefoot Castaway Girl III.
Federal bird sanctuary. Both Karen and Patsy
commented that the guide named Chris looked like Mark
guide in water showed up sunken ship, drug runners, coast guard
was going to raid them but someone called to warn them so they
set it on fire and sank boat. One hurricane dumped wreck on
beach (ugly) and luckily another hurricane moved it into
Shipwreck Cove. Guided snorkel tour, guy dove and grabbed a
spiny starfish from under a rock for people to hold. Karen
freaked, Lou did not get to hold it because it got passed away.
It broke off a leg, guy dropped it and leg, another fish ate
leg. Later guy had white sea urchin, Lou held it squirmy spiny,
suctioning on your hand. Karen held it too but got kind of
Rum punch handed out by pretty Jaime, who would not
switch jobs with Lou. Catamaran. Good music. Easy ladder back
in! No trouble with mark or snorkel thank God
Back to ship, shower, lunch -- tried sit down but it was closed!
-- so Lido. Then off to shop.
We were thrilled to be parked next to the Emerald Princess, so
big and beautiful, probably have food 24 hours a day. Could see
big screen TV and some type of stadium seating.
Went shopping, 4$ each bus to downtown, Diamonds International, Karen
bargained alone with saleslady Lilly.
We had to hang out for 1.5 hr to get stone set.
Lou drank rum drinks. Very crowded
with 5 cruise ships in town. Buses slowed down and
yelled "ready to go back to your ship?"
as we walked down the street. Karen found a cool Christmas
for Cindy and regrets not buying a bunch more
for other ladies. Also picked up Del Sol T shirts that change color for boys.
back at ship 30 min before departure, more pizza, went up to
watch emerald princess leave, very cool, sunset, music, we
pictures with camera on railing.
Saw table mates and yelled hello
went to early magician show. talked to Northern VA lady who
daughter got engaged formal night.
Karen talked to Asian couple from Toronto who got 21 inches
of snow day
after they flew out, neighbor is feeding fish and shoveling snow
Lou suggested no sit down dinner. Instead internet, newlywed,
late adult comedy, so more desserts and caffeine and here we
lobster on bed
|Lou brought Karen a latte in bed around 8:45 am
in order to get her up and running. What a
We went to the
Mariner's brunch at 11:30. We had good food and good
conversation with our table mates. At 1 pm we went to a presentation by the magician. I forget his
first name, but his last name is
Ceiling. He was awesome. He had his family on the cruise. We met
his wife Elizabeth and a 2 year
old and a 10 month old. He pretty much lives on the ship 40
weeks a year. Lou bought the magic
We went to the Lido to play dominoes for an hour.
Went to the sit down wearing long pants even thought it was a
formal night. We walked in and one of the waiters gave Omer a bit of a hassle but we just ignored
him and kept going. Had steak and
lobster and watched the Baked Alaska show.
Lou and Karen went to the Oak Nest to listen to music before
heading back to the cabin around
|Gorgeous beach. White sand beach with crystal
clear water. Via the excursion web site, we
had rented a clamshell
shade to stay out of the
sun. Kind of like a huge umbrella staked to the ground. Had
pretty good food at the BBQ. Lou got
a huge frozen Pina Colada and Karen got a virgin daiquiri.
We swam a lot. P&O were freezing the Caribbean waters. Go
Came back to the ship around 2:30 pm. Showered and got lattes
and are hanging out. Time to pack
and say good bye.
One of our table mates at dinner is an extremely picky eater.
Andy for some reason eats odd
stuff. Can you believe a grown man doesn't like steak? What's up