During the 2008 Grand South American Antarctic Cruise, the Prinsendam presented their guests with beautiful Lavender parkas. Now while these parkas look smashing on some guests, it would not be my personal choice for “Polar Wear”, so I was relieved that the gifts for the 2009 SA/A cruise were dark blue with zip off sleeves. They looked and felt great when worn with a nice windproof outer shell. For the past two years it has been Barbara’s quest to get her hands on one of those 2008 parkas. Now those who know Barbara understand how persistent she can be when she makes up her mind. Well, today that doggedness paid off as the Captain called her name at our first Cruise Critic meeting to let her know that “Your parka is hanging on the door of your stateroom!”.
Here is a photograph of Sarah Harding’s autograph presented to Barbara yesterday. Yesterday in the photograph I included, she is the beautiful blond woman standing at the bar, facing the camera.
At 10:00 AM, Sunday the 25th, fifty-five Cruise Critic members and four guests met for our official Meet and Greet. The ships cruise director, Thom Faulkner opened the meeting with very kind remarks about the mission of our group and explained that we were more “cruise lovers” than cruise critics, which we all felt was a more descriptive title. Thom graciously acknowledged the outstanding work the Beverage/Bar Manager, Roger Flauta, and his staff had done in preparing the Crow’s Nest for our meeting. Following that, a brief welcoming statement was made by the Hotel Manager, Firmin Van Walle, emphasizing how important it is to his department that any problems we encounter during our cruise be brought to their attention immediately. Next in his greeting our Captain, Albert Schoonderbeck, took a few minutes to explain his and corporate decisions surrounding the difficulties in docking at Greenwich, UK, near London, and why Tilbury was more acceptable for the safety of his passengers. After acknowledging his wife Tina, “ship’s the Future Cruise Consultant”, Thom thanked our committee in organizing these meetings. He also let us know, that to avoid a conflict with time scheduling, the Catholic Priest had consented to start his daily mass in the Wajang Theater at 7:45 Am and end at 8:15 AM.
The meeting continued with members in our group getting to know each other better and those who had arranged their own shore excursions, finalizing the details. I felt that the hour successfully accomplished everything the committee had planned. As I predicted, we have a great group of “cruisin’ folks”.
Next, as promised: Edinburg and Edinburg Castle with lunch.