Goodbye Amsterdam – Welcome to the USA

Our last evening in Amsterdam, Alan had scheduled a wonderful dinner cruise on the canals.   Since there were around 80 of us, Alan had reserved two boats for the occasion.  He would also pay for all the beer and wine we wanted.  Once he got a seating problem sorted out on the first boat, we were on our way, with two young women as our “dining room stewards/servers” served dinner to us from insulated chests.

As we sat down we were  given a “Kir” cocktail  then came the bread and butter and a seafood appetizer (Herring). Then we had a clear dark soup with mushrooms.  Our main course was salmon and a jellied potato mixture.  (not my favorite).  Dessert was a molded pudding affair followed by coffee and candy. This was a well organized operation as they had to be able to serve around 40 passengers a four course meal during the cruise, all the while keeping our glasses filled.  Well I am not particularly fond of fish, but I did enjoy the bread, soup and dessert.  Even with the beer to chase them I could not get the two fish courses down. I was amazed that we were not given a choice of meat or fish.  However, I was not going to starve to death, not after 22 days of Prinsendam cuisine.

All that aside, we did get to finally share a table with Larry and Anita Lee, with our new friends, Linda, Janet and Wanda at a table across the isle.  We did an awful lot of laughing, no doubt because of the wine and great company.  I  noticed that when we were on the ship during the cruise, folks tended to prefer the same  table for morning breakfast in the Lido.  Larry, Anita and Linda always sat on the port side at one of the two round tables by the window.  Most mornings I would join them and occasionally others would drop by.  It was great, of course Anita or Barbara were usually the last ones to arrive, as they enjoyed their mornings in bed.   Such memorable times with great friends.

On the morning of our departure, I made sure that I settled my bill for the drinks the first night, with the main desk.  I knew the bill should be about 10 euros, but to my surprise it had somehow grown to 23 euros.  When I objected and asked for an explanation, the desk clerk explained that I had obviously used something from the mini-bar in our room.  When I told him that I had not, the desk clerk gracefully deleted the charges from our bill.  When I asked Alan about this later, he explained that this happens a lot and it is usually when people check out of a room and settle their bill, they sometimes go back and take items from the mini-bar, knowing that they will not be charged and it will be added to the room charges for the next person using the room.  How very sad!

Hotel porters picked up our luggage at 9:45 Am and at 10:45 AM  we gathered in the lobby in preparation for boarding our buses for the short drive to Schiphol Airport.  At the airport Alan asked us to stay in our seats while he and our driver, Yulan,  unloaded all our bags.  Alan got Barbara a cart while I gathered up our luggage.   We loaded our luggage on the cart and  maneuvered it to the end of the long line to get our boarding passes and check in our four bags.  This time our bags were all weighed at the same time and even though one was overweight nothing was said, and there seemed to be no concern with the weight of my large carry-on.  What a contrast to what we went through at  SeaTac before our stateside departure.

Our flight to Reykjavik was a short one, and our trip through customs consisted on just having our passports stamped, no security inspections, no loss of our water bottles – nothing.  Much different than what we  had to go through when we entered Iceland after leaving the states.  We were all confused.

After an uneventful flight of seven and a half hours we arrived home.  As we entered the Customs and Immigration area at SeaTac, we were greeted with a sign than never ceases to make me proud – “WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.  Now I really felt at home..

Once again we had safely returned from a most memorable experience, made new friends and felt the hospitality of  our favorite ship and  five marvelous countries.

Thanks for coming with us.

5 thoughts on “Goodbye Amsterdam – Welcome to the USA

  1. Thanks for bringing us all along, Jack!

    I have enjoyed every word you wrote along the way. I’ve again learned so much from you. And your sense of humor is priceless!

    I hope you and your bride feel as terrific as you both look!

    Here’s to another successful mission flown/cruised….and to more to come!

    Warm Regards,


    1. Thanks Sue, I ‘m glad you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it, Hope can cruise with you again somewhere down the line.

  2. Jack, I really enjoyed reading about Barbara and your cruises. I think that is the only way I will see the world. I once told Marcia, I wanted to see the United States before I venture to a foreign country. Looking forward to your next cruise.

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