On board the Osterdam


Starting the morning with a terror attack in Europe when we are on the way there isn’t a happy thing. So far, we aren’t hearing anything from the ship about any changes in our itinerary or plans, but, of course, we are a good deal to the south of where the current troubles are located. It has been a major topic of discussion around the ship, naturally, but, as is always also true, life goes on, too.

Our day was much more ordinary – yoga for me and treadmill for Dennis, the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet – well attended and the hotel manager and food and beverage manager both came by.

We have been enjoying catching up with our friends who we haven’t seen in several years, and I joined them in yesterday’s trivia – won a pair of sunglasses, which was good, as I lost mine on one of the planes.

We’re getting accustomed to the ship, slowly, as the layout is quite different from the Holland ships we have sailed on most recently, and there are a number of differences in the layout. I am doing the morning yoga class every day, and we have been keeping up with our step counts doing laps around the deck and time on the treadmills. It is the only way we can keep things under control with the constantly available food. So far, the food quality has been excellent, too.

Long days at sea, so there’s not much to tell at this point. We are looking forward to Funchal in Madeira and our first sight of land.

The Oosterdam

The Oosterdam is a Vista class ship, carrying, right now,  1,916 passengers and 817 crew.  She will go into an extensive dry dock right after we arrive in Italy and will have 25 new cabins added, as well as some changes in the public spaces and upgrades to the furnishings and soft goods in all the existing cabins as part of a major fleet upgrade that Holland has been making over the last few years

She was launched in 2003, and was the second in the Vista class ships.  Her sister ships are the Zuiderdam, Westerdam and Noordam – all named for compass points.

We will start with a long string of sea days – 7 of our 13 days on board – and our first port of call will be Funchal in Maderia, Portugal.  We have a private tour booked there with a Tours by Locals guide and will be getting out and about on the island of Maderia.

LONG day

We left home around 11:30 yesterday, Hawaiian to Honolulu, then an afternoon flight from Honolulu to Atlanta on Delta – our first time in their ‘lie-flat’ business/first product. It was pretty comfortable, although I found the seat/bed a little hard and the cabin lighting pretty bright through the night flight. On the positive side, the food is better than United domestic business/first and the herringbone design gives everyone aisle access. The flight was packed and left late but caught a good tail wind and was only around seven and a half hours. I was never able to get to sleep soundly, so am a little punchy now. We had a couple of hours layover in Atlanta, then a two hour ‘domestic first’ flight to Fort Lauderdale – pretty pedestrian and I wouldn’t bother with the added expense just for a short domestic flight like that.

Probably will be awake at 3 AM and am trying to stay up as long as I can, but I’m fading fast! At least we have a long string of sea days to get over our jet lag and get adjusted slowly to the time zones in Europe!

Tomorrow we board the Oosterdam for the first part of our multi-part trip and are looking forward to getting to see our good friends who will be making the crossing with us.

The Kahilu Theater

We have quite a nice small theater in Waimea, courtesy of the last individual owner of the fabled Parker Ranch, Richard Smart.  Smart was  raised in California and was in show business, appearing on Broadway and achieving some success as a singer and cabaret performer.  When he took up permanent residence in Hawaii, he missed the theater, and so,  in 1980, at the cost of about 1.5 million, he commissioned and built the Kahilu – at the time, a state of the art small theater – and strongly supported (and performed in) amateur community theater productions there throughout his lifetime.

After his death in 1992, the theater fell on somewhat hard times and it was shuttered for a time in 2012, but has been revived under a community board and we will be going up there tonight for a concert by an Irish instrumental group Lunasa.  We’ve seen them here before and they’re really good, but the significant thing is that, thanks to Richard Smart and, now, to a committed community board, right here in our rural back yard, and without having to get on an airplane, the Kahilu affords us access to quality entertainment from all over the world.  Admittedly, if we want to see a full on Broadway style production, we DO have to fly to Honolulu, but tonight we get to hear a really acclaimed group from Ireland, and we only have to drive up the hill.  So, from us to Mr. Smart and his successors on the theater board, a big Mahalo!

For more information on the shows and the history of the theater and Richard Smart, check out http://kahilutheatre.org/About-Us


Been a while

I haven’t been posting very regularly lately – think I’m running out of things to say! But that will all change in a few more days, as we are off again on our travels. This is a rather complicated trip, with a transatlantic voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Civitavecchia, stops in Funchal, Maderia; Malaga, Spain, Cartagena, Spain, and then arriving in Civitavecchia where we will embark on a train trip to La Spezia and a few days spent exploring the Cinque Terre. After that we will take the train to Lyon (via Milan and Geneva) and spend a couple of nights in the gastronomic capital of France. From there, we take the train across most of the mid-south of France to Nantes where we will embark on a newly built paddlewheel river boat for a river cruise on the Loire. This will be only the second year for the operation of this cruise, by CrosiEurope and it is the only river ship on the Loire which will be quite a change from our last river cruise with Viking on the Rhine. You could almost walk across the river going boat to boat in places there.

So, watch this space. The travelogue will begin in 14 days!