Arrival Buenos Aires, Argentina – Monday 2 February 2009
We arrived in Buenos Aires at 11:30 AM, after a very delightful flight. Our cabin crew were the happiest I have ever seen, and obviously enjoyed working together. Flight attendant Dee was one of the most graceful attendants we have met in a long time. We had chosen seats in the very rear of the plane and for us it was an excellent choice, as it turned out it was near Dee’s station. The standard 767 seat in economy class it was fairly comfortable, and cozy. Barbara had the window and I had the isle. I must say the two meals we had onboard were very good and the serviced was excellent. Dee chatted us up several times; she obviously loved her job – 40 years worth. The whole experience from the time we checked, went through security, boarded in Seattle, transferred in Houston, and arrived in Buenos Aires, was one of the smoothest we have ever experienced. I would fly Continental Airlines anytime.
After retrieving our luggage, which took some time, cleared customs, we hauled our luggage to a waiting tour bus for transfer directly to our stateroom onboard the ms Prinsendam. This process took some time but was also very smooth. It was nice to be in warmer weather again. Since the ship had contracted with a tour company South American Tours (SAT), and we had the good fortune to have a guide, Maria, who obviously loved her job and her country, give us a short tour of the city. It took about 45 minutes to get to the port terminal and that went smoothly as well (passports please!) Once we were officially “logged out” of Argentina we boarded the free shuttle service for a three minute ride to the ship. This was necessary because this is a cargo terminal and we were not permitted to walk the distance. It would have been easy enough to do, as all we had was our carry on, but it was nice to have the ride. Our check in at the front office was, once again, very smooth. I hate to keep repeating myself, but this has been a wonderful experience.
After settling into our room (more about the stateroom later) we headed for the Lido restaurant and a light meal. We were joined by Cy and Evelyn Degryse, two Canadians who had been with us on our 64 day adventure in 2007 on the Amsterdam. We were starting to experience that “welcome home” feeling. Or as Barbara so mildly put it; I am going to enjoy this! Lifeboat drills are mandatory your first day on board and that went very well. We now had just enough time for a quick stroll and then dress for dinner. The Prinsendam has so far met the expectations that we had so often heard about from past cruisers. It has the feel of what cruising used to be all about. Lots of wooden surfaces, brass railings, wide passageways and an intimacy one does not feel on the large modern day cruise ships. Our stateroom is just right, and we love the large ocean view picture window. We also had a visit by our Cruise Specialiasts Hosts with our gifts; a very nice windbreaker jacket, umbrella and monogrammed tote bag.
At dinner we met our two dining stewards; Victor and Ari, as well as our wine steward; Oliver. The dining room manager; Sharif and his assistant Meike, also came by for introductions. As before on HAL ships, the meal was excellent; Barbara had the Lamb Chops and I the Yankee Pot roast beef and the service was extraordinary. Our three table mates, so far and Mary and Fred, from Ohio and Hico, who hails from Hamburg, Germany and is on holiday from his job as ships pilot. He is very interesting and open to talk with. Here again things have gotten off to a superb start. During dinner, another person, Mr. Nash, we had met on the Amsterdam came by to say hello. I’ll remember his full name later.
After the “show”, a comedian we have enjoyed before, we toddled off to our stateroom to finish packing and “fall” into bed. Oh by the way, someone told us at the lifeboat drill that the average of the passengers onboard is 72, and it is quite obvious. That’s it for our first day. JWC
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Is Meike a blonde female? If so we had her on the Amazon cruise in Nov. She would always stop by our table and she was absolutely charming,