Cruise Report Two – Sept 24, 2007

At Sea, Gulf of Alaska

The sea state continues to challenges our bodies. At times we all look like a bunch of “drunken sailors” heading back to the ship after a night of merry making in port.

Last evening we were all dressed up in our finest. Most men wore their “Penguin Suits”, as this was the first of 21 formal evenings of the voyage; of course the ladies all looked smashing as well. Dinner was preceded by pictures with the Captain and Hotel Director, followed by the Captain’s cocktail hour in the Queens Lounge. Captain Dirk van den Berg, hosted the event, and introduced us to the ships department heads. I think most cruise ship captains have a little bit of standup comedian in them and Captain Berg was no exception. He delights in a prolonged “trill” of the RRRRR when pronouncing the name of his ship; Amsterrrrrrrdam. After an elegant dinner, Barbara had the Duck, I had the veal we attended the evening’s musical performance of Larry “Link” Linkin who is an accomplished clarinetist, with a little standup comedy between numbers.

Returning to our stateroom, we were welcomed by “Ellie” our Elephant towel animal. She replaced the towel animal of the previous evening “Crabbie”, the Alaskan King Crab. On our cabin desk was the second “gift” from Holland America – a very nice battery operated, two time zone, travel alarm clock. Our first gift was two compact day planners. We had heard that HAL does give gifts on their extended voyages, but we were not quite sure if all passengers would be so “blessed”, especially those in “economy”.

I guess our unexpected experience with a cabin as far forward as ours, would be the sound of a metal barn door slamming as the ship plowed through heavy seas and the bow wave assaulted the side of the ship as it attempted to return to its previous location on the water. An experience not shared with the cabins aft of ours. We had heard that, being so close to the anchor chain locker, we would be made well aware of our arrival in the ports where we were required to anchor in the harbor, when the anchor was let go.

The crew members we come in contact with daily, such as our room steward and dinning room staff, all remember our names, and cater to our every need. It is a very happy crew, as we are heading to the majority’s homeland of Indonesia.

We are still sailing through the Pacific Gyre, apparently the various winds and currents in the Northern Pacific create a gigantic “garbage pool”, where flotsam and jetsam from passing ships ends up, and is then distributed to shores along the Pacific Rim countries. Several years ago it included some 80,000 pairs of jogging shoes, spilled from a passing freighter. One of our cruise critic members was a Ships Master for the American President Line, sailing cargo container ships through this area for many years. He told us at lunch yesterday that this rough weather we are experiencing is typical. However when we reach Dutch Harbor (passing through the Aleutians) the weather should be smoother when we enter the Bering Sea. That will be around noon on the 25th. Our track should take us west, north of the Aleutian Chain as we approach Petropavolsk (SP), Russia; our first port of call.
More later……

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