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Oceans and Seas » Caribbean » Gulf of Mexico
March 22nd 2018
Published: March 29th 2018
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A strong breeze has been with us all night and remains this morning, kicking up white caps on the normally calm blue-green sea. It's still warm compared to back home at 72F but a full 12 degrees cooler than yesterday in Mexico as we make our way north toward The Keys. Tomorrow will be our last full day aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. It's 9am when we awake and we have a busy day ahead if we're to partake in the activities Holland America has in store for us. First it's breakfast on our own and we create little excitement here as cereal, oatmeal, coffee and some fruit complete that task. We sit out by the pool to enjoy a little environmental change compared to the Lido. The pool is busy before 10 am with some adults and every kid on the ship trying out their fins, masks and tubes in the central pool. Keep in mind that "every kid on the ship" is about 10 little kids so it's really not so bad. The rolling glass roof has been closed about half way to diminish the effects of the 30 knot winds to the bathers below, keeping the decks quite comfortable. They can't keep customers at the bar if the weather chases them away.

While it's enjoyable to sit sipping our coffee and people watch, it's time to return to our room for a costume change. We have been invited to meet the navigational team including Captain Jeroen van Donselaar for free drinks at a reception followed by lunch in the main dining room. We really need to assemble our dirty clothes for the laundry as today will be our last opportunity on this ship. Unfortunately we have no time and I jettison my shorts and sandals to don some smart casual wear. Karen does the same and off we go to meet the Captain.

We are greeted with a variety of drinks: wine, fruit juice, Bloody Marys, Mamosas or champagne. They're accompanied by assorted snacks. While Karen and I don't receive any awards ourselves, we witness a few people being honored as members of the "Presidential Club" having spent over 700 days on Holland America ships. One lady has accumulated over 1700 days on various HAL ships over the years. That's like five years!

With that out of the way, it's down to the dining room for lunch. I think every walker, scooter and wheelchair onboard is now pushing and shoving their way down the hallway. One guy has a high powered wheelchair with big tires and double batteries. The old lady in the walker is no match and quickly goes down but the younger guy on the scooter holds his own until we reach the atrium when the bully in the four wheel drive rig forces the scooter off into the art display. It's apparent that size does matter. The lunch is nice and the Captain once again addresses our group asking, "How's my driving so far?"

We're not that hungry but we pick at our food, although the coconut cream pie is good. We acknowledge a few of our new friends at this luncheon and then return once again to our stateroom. Karen fills two bags of laundry and BangBang takes it away. It should be returned by tomorrow. Now I must take the time to write of today's adventure as tonight is Karen's favorite dinner, the "Surf and Turf", the name signifying filet mignon and lobster. It's a gala evening so we'll have to dress up again and be ready by 5:15pm.

We're down in the dining room right on time and sit with two couples, a new couple from Colorado and a returning couple we met earlier from Arkansas. In addition, there was a single lady originally from India but now from Toronto, Canada. She is wrapping up 3 months of cruising here at the end of March. We decided to call for our bottle of wine tonight, finally finishing it off. Not bad. We got 3 dinners out of that bottle. Everyone orders shrimp cocktail and the Surf & Turf. I had the roasted parsnip soup while Karen had chicken and orzo, something she didn't like. Deserts varied through tour group. Mom has flourless chocolate cake and I have passion fruit cheesecake. Mmmm.

Tonight's entertainment is a repeat combination of two comedians. It was just ok. As usual, we leave right after and head to the BB King Lounge for some blues music. That lasts another 45 minutes and here we are again at 9:30pm. We discuss the possibilities for the balance of the evening and agree we should return to our room and organize our stuff. This concludes another day on this ship.


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