Treasures of Scandinavia & Russia

Sailing the Baltic Sea

Wednesday July 23, 2008
From the Navigator

The bridge of the ms Rotterdam is manned 24 hours a day. During the day one navigation officer, assisted by two quartermasters, will be conning the vessel. During the night there will be two Navigation Officers and two Quartermasters per watch on duty. One Quartermaster is the designated “Lookout”, while the second Quartermaster serves as a backup and as a helmsman at times when the automatic steering pilot is not in use. All Navigation Officers are Dutch or English and have studied at the Marine Academy in the Netherlands or in England.

Our Day at Sea

This is a very “port intensive” cruise with only three sea days out of the twelve. One would think that there would be nothing to do on a sea day; however Holland America makes sure you have plenty of opportunities “to stay active”. Every day each cabin is presented with a Daily Program with an hour by hour listing of the days “opportunities”. Barbara usually goes over this schedule marking activities that we might be interested in. Normally we would attend the Interdenominational Worship Service at 9:00 AM, however on this day I just kicked back and relaxed while Barbara investigated what bargains were available at the “50% Off Baltic Deck Sale in the Lido on Deck 8. At 9:30 am, I attended the “Veterans Get Together” in the Ambassador Lounge, most veterans were from the WW II and Korean era, so I just sat and listened to their interesting war experiences.

It seems like every department on the ship has something to offer during the day, some of which are held to “encourage” passengers to spend money. However most were designed to educate about periods in history or lectures centered on upcoming ports. Today’s lecture was about our next port; Warnemunde, Germany.

On July 22nd we had received the following invitation:

CAPTAIN OLAV VANDER WAARD &
HOTEL MANAGER CESS TESSELAAR

CORDUALLY INVITE YOU TO THE MARINER SOCIETY BRUNCH

ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2008

AS AN HONORED MARINER OF HOLLAND AMERICANN LINE,
PLEASE JOIN US FOR A RECEPTION WITH THE CAPTAIN
AT 10:30 AM IN GTHE EXPLOYER’S LOUNGE
ON THE UPPER PROMENADE DECK 5


Well, what we did not know was we were to be presented with “our 100 days of sailing with HAL copper medallion”, and be invited to join the Captain at his table in the La Fontaine Dining Room. Barbara was seated to the right of the Captain feeling very special. Our table mates also included our Travel Agent; Alan Schiller and his able assistant; Greg Martin. We were then served a very special luncheon prepared especially for the occasion.

Today at 4 pm I will host our second Cruise Critic Roll Call meeting in the Hudson room. Today we have a special guest; the Beverage Manager; Wilfredo “Willie” Tubog. One of Willies many responsibilities is the responsibility for coordinating all meeting spaces, and providing the amenities the quests have requested. This meeting is usually attended by friends we have made online and we have been chatting with for several weeks prior to our cruise. Today I have invited our dinner table mates from Maple Valley, WA: Lorin and Bonny Burke. At these meetings we usually discuss what we did in our previous ports and what we intend to do in the next ports. This is an excellent way to get to know our fellow cruisers.

At 5:45 PM we head to the dining room for an evenings dining pleasure provided by the Culinary Operations Manager, Peter Carew, Executive Chief, Bernie Ruis, and served by the immaculately groomed and competent dining room staff, overseen by the Dining Room Manager, Arie Niewedorp. There we were joined by our table mates, Don and Betty, Ken and Mary and Lorin and Bonnie.

At 7:00 PM SHOWTIME in the Queens Lounge begins with the first of two nightly performances featuring either the Cast of the Rotterdam Singers and Dancers or individual entertainment acts that have been contracted by HAL for one or two performances per cruise.

Entertainment opportunities continue through the evening at the various bars and lounges throughout the ship.

Each night, on our return to our stateroom, we were greeted by a spick and span room with the bed made up for sleeping and chocolates on our bed. Under the chocolates was a card with the following message: “The ship’s captain and crew wish you a restful sleep tonight as we look to tomorrow’s horizons“.

All of the varied amenities we receive have solidified our loyalty to the Holland America Cruise Line. When your are treated as we have been on all three cruises, why would you want to cruise on any other cruise line?

Tomorrow…….Warnemunde, Germany, a port city formally a part of East Germany

One thought on “Treasures of Scandinavia & Russia

  1. Just loved the photo of you both with the Captain, what a lovely finish to your cruise to have dinner with the Captain and his guests.
    Enjoyed every moment of your trip.
    Thank you for sharing it with me.
    Shirley

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