Our Antarctic/South American Adventure – Part XXV

Sat, Feb 28th – Callao, (Lima) Peru – Farewell Prinsendam

Saying our Goodbyes

A successful vacation, whether it be a road trip, a fly-away, or a cruise depends on so many things coming together that we have absolutely no control over. I am sure we have all experienced unexpected events that either “made” or “broke” the adventure. This Grand Voyage was no exception. We were blessed to have our lives touched by so many loving, caring individuals. As I near the end of this tale, I wish to acknowledge those individuals.

It started almost a year ago when we seriously began conversations with our travel agent Debra Dickerson of Cruise Specialists. Once we made our commitment, there was no question that we had that Debra could not answer, either directly or by one of her many contacts. Her responses were measured in hours not days, and for us that was a crucial key to success.

Our flights from Seattle to Houston to Buenos Aires were worry free and very comfortable thanks to the caring of Continental Airline’s ground and flight crews. (They would be our first choice for future flights, except for their 1 bag limit)

Though our transit through the terminal at Buenos Aires was a bit trying, that experience was overwritten by the delightful young lady, Maria Soledad, who was in charge of getting us and our luggage to the ship.

Once on board Prinsendam, we were quickly processed by the “Front Office Staff”, which as the cruise progressed were always extremely cheerful and always offered a greeting and smile.

Shortly after arriving at our wonderful stateroom (490) and as we were investigating all the HAL gifts that were there, Hank and Lucia Barnhoorn, our Cruise Specialists Hosts arrived to welcome us and hand us more gifts. The also stuck a colorful parrot on our door, to identify us to others traveling in our group. I have spoken often of these two fine folks in my previous posts.

The first familiar faces we were to encounter was later when we got something to eat in the Lido Restaurant; Cy and Eleven Degryse. We had sailed with them in 2007 onboard the Amsterdam. Though their lives were busy during the cruise, we always found time for interesting and frequent conversations.

At our dinner (early seating) that first evening we would meet our table mates Fred and Mary Klag from Sheffield Village, Ohio, and Heiko Roffs from Hamburg, Germany. These different personalities and backgrounds made for an exciting and interesting table. While we were dining that evening Mike and Jan Nash whom we met on the 2007 Amsterdam voyage stopped by to say hello.

Our dining room stewards, Victor and Ari, treated us like royalty, seeming to anticipate our every dining need. Since we had purchased a wine card, our wine steward, Oliver, always had our wine at our table as soon as we were seated. We tried to treat all our stewards as individuals – not servants – and I think they really appreciated being treated with respect. Their supervisors, dining room managers, Shariff and Mieke always had a genuine greeting and smile.

Although our room was always taken care of properly, it wasn’t until a couple of days later that we met our room stewards, Wayan and Johnie. These two young men were so efficient; they quickly learned our habits and hardly ever disturbed us. We could have not asked for better service.

Early on in the cruise I met a gentleman from Naples, Florida, Ken Hossfield, who was on this grand voyage by himself.  Each morning we would get together in the Lido for early breakfast and coffee. Those two hours meant a lot to me – thanks Ken.

Twice we were privileged to share the table of Hotel Manager Francois Birada, once for a scrumptious Valentine Dinner and again at the Mariners Luncheon in the Pinnacle Grill.

Another couple that we cruised with in 2007 on the Amsterdam was Rabbi Marvin & Marian Rubin. Our paths crossed so many times and the conversations that ensued were interesting and stimulating as they shared with us interesting episodes in their long and successful lives. We treasure those times together, especially the long hours in the Crow’s Nest.

Our Cruise Director, Thom Faulkner, was especially delightful and entertaining and quite adept in juggling all the “hats” he wore. His efforts in bringing about a “back of the house” tour were greatly appreciated. I am also thankful to Thom for giving me an opportunity to share my DVD on Old Palmer Station. His sound and stage technicians Jurgen and Mack were most helpful.

Shore Excursion Manager, Maureen Ricker, made sure I got the right beer at a pub in Stanley and I found out that she was from Baltimore. We formed a friendship then that would carry through the entire cruise. Her staff were always so responsive and helpful, especially Kathy.

We had also cruised on the Amsterdam in 2007 with Port Lecturer, Frank Buchingham, so when we found out he was on this cruise; we looked forward to more of his “Frank Talk” and stimulating lectures – we were not disappointed. We were enlightened and educated by two OAEs; Bob Hoffman and John Spletstosser, both of whom had spent multiple summers on the Antarctic Continent, and many in the Palmer area.

Toward the end of our 26 days on this lovely and comfortable ship, I felt that the responsiveness of all departments was so positive that I filled out and submitted a “We Care” form. I was amazed and honored when Guest Relations Manager Gary Manghas took the opportunity to thank me personally and in writing for my positive input.

Our Cruise Critic meetings were a bit of a disappointment to me personally, as they were held in the smoking section of the Crow’s Nest, so I was unable to attend. We especially appreciated the friendships of Rob & Teddy McGregor, Denise & Walter Groman, Carole & Bill Leaverton, Sue & Ben Houle and Sue & Norm Kroner.

On our sea days, Cruise Specialists Hosts Hank and Lucia would hold a two hour “meet & greet” in the Explorers Lounge. It was at these gatherings we especially enjoyed visiting with; John & Hildegard Primmer, Terry & John, Jim & Marnie, and Tessa & Henry.

During their visit to the ship when we visited the area of Palmer Station we were able to meet face to face with two people we had been communicating with online; Zee Evans and Raydene Wilbur. Our meeting had the feeling of a family reunion. What great ladies they are!

Capt-Gundersen And last, but by no means the least; Captain Halle Gundersen. He and his crack bridge crew gave us gifts of inestimable value as they navigated the dangerous waterways from the Falkland Islands to our exit from the inland waterways of Chile. The memories of those experiences can never be duplicated

And I would be remis by not including the most important person, my wife, Barbara.  One day on the cruise, while Barbara was occupied doing her hair, I had to spend a couple of morning hours by myself.  That gave me a tase of what our single cruisers were going through. Not a good feeling.….Next … The Trip Home… JWC

2 thoughts on “Our Antarctic/South American Adventure – Part XXV

  1. What a lovely bittersweet goodbye. I enjoyed traveling to Antarctica with both you and Barbara. Some of the names of the crew bring back our memories of sailing on the Prinsendam in Nov. 2008.

    Godspeed stay safe

  2. Barbara and Jack,

    So enjoyed your comments, about the wonderful people who made your trip so memourable. Enjoyed so much people you mentioned, who we had also met on the Amsterdam. Nice to know they are still cruising and appreciating our wonderful world.


    Shirley and Herb

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s