Veendam Journey Begins

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December 26th 2009
Published: December 26th 2009
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We've arrived at the port of Rio. There are four ships docked. We've been advised of a computer malfunction of Holland America and embarkation will be delayed. It's noon and none of the passengers on the ship have disembarked. It looks like we're in for a considerable wait. Of course that is not going over well with some. Out of our control, we choose to just relax and fight the boredom. Hopefully we will be on the ship by 3.
More stories have surfaced as to why we are unable to board and why at 4 pm several passengers from the previous repositioning are still onboard. As it turns out, the Brazil authorities have chosen the Veendam for a health inspection which has taken several hours and started late. In addition, they have two customs officers processing disembarking passengers. Holland America has done what they could in this difficult time, but many people have little understanding and several are acting badly.
By five we are on board, settled in and exploring the ship which includes a snack from the welcome bbq. Being a smaller ship, we quickly acquaint ourselves with the location of our cabin and all public areas. We are pleasantly surprised at the spaciousness of both the ship and our room and a Christmas gift of an onboard credit from best friends Doug and Deb. The Veendam's daily planner boasts a wide variety of activities of which many appeal to us including culinary demonstrations in the newly outfitted culinary theatre which also doubles for the movie theatre. In just two days we have dined on superb seafood, sushi and freshly prepared Asian dishes, rack of lamb with mustard rub on a bed of asparagus risotto and other delightful creations. We have indulged ourselves in the thermal aromotherapy suite and pool, made fools of ourselves at karaoke, played in a Wii tennis tournament, enjoyed two talented broadway singers fill the theatre with their incredible voices, learned how to make martinis in mixology class, had Spanish lessons, learned how to make Paella salad and Spanish tapas, toured the galley, attended a champagne cruise critic party, met great people and have managed to relax and enjoy ourselves immensely.
Today Keith received a letter from party planner Amber that his chili recipe was voted by the chefs to be in the top three. He will square off with the other two contestants during the next sea day. We are also finalists in the upcoming Karaoke Superstar contest. I think they make this offer to everyone who participates. Ha.
Tomorrow we dock in Buenos Aires and will be meeting Couchsurfers Eduardo and his wife who will be showing us their fine city. Unfortunately we will be arriving over 3 hours late due to the delay in Rio. The Captain has made every effort to make up time including pulling in the stabilizers which has made for considerable motion on the ship as we travel over the choppy Atlantic waters. We have not had any ill effects despite having the most forward cabin on the ship. Many others have not fared as well.


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