Friday, July 23, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sailing Away

The water was so smooth this morning it was as if we weren’t sailing at all. Well, we weren’t; we were still docked at Tilbury awaiting a 5:00 p.m. departure. After breakfast this morning, we all piled onto the Tilbury Shuttle [no, not the Teaberry Shuffle] and went to the superstore. It was a lot like Walmart except it was clean and the employees went out of their way to be helpful. D bought some flat batteries in hopes of getting a reading light to work but could find only two when he really needed three. Still, it was a start. Naturally, they didn’t make the situation any better but he discovered that if he squeezed the light’s housing it would work. He will try it tonight or tomorrow to see if using it is feasible.

Back in the room, we spoke to Made [MAH-day] our cabin steward about stowing the luggage and about putting MA’s gel brace in a freezer for future use. No problem. By the time we met up with Made and his partner, also named Made, they had made up the room, brought the apples we requested and taken care of the laundry. [BTW, Made means second son indicating their place in the birth order].

We ate lunch in the MDR with Marvin & Barbara [meatloaf sandwiches and apple crisp for both] before meeting with a representative from Ship’s Services about a possible upgrade for the second segment of the cruise. The morning we flew out of Miami, Ted our travel agent called to say the HAL had offered a full refund, a free 2 week cruise next year and $500 in shipboard credit if we would disembark in Amsterdam instead of Tilbury. He and we assume they oversold the ship or at least our category. If we had not made plans to visit friends in London in August and if we did not have non-refundable tickets and if we had looked so forward to the Baltic, we would have jumped at the chance. Today, we suggested to Richard from the Front Office that we would be willing to take an upgrade [not an upsell] to a better cabin [with the right of refusal if we didn’t like it] if they really needed our cabin. We also let him know that we would be willing to vacate if the offer were sweetened; since we have already booked a cruise for next year, we thought HAL might give that one to us instead of the 2-week offer. It never hurts to ask. D told Ed & Roxanne about the conversation and suggested they should talk to Richard as well. We reassured them that we would not abandon them and the Prinsendam. Richard seemed less than thrilled to hear from a second couple but said he would let us know when he heard from the main office in Seattle. With an eight hour time difference, we don’t expect to hear before tomorrow morning our time.

And then it was time for the first Team Trivia [TT] of the cruise. We weren’t even close to winning but had a good time [What product used the slogan “Hello, boys?” What color is the black box on an airplane?] Following TT, there was a boat drill, a standard procedure on cruise ships. This time, however, passengers were told not to wear their life jackets to the life boat stations. Naturally, some did anyway. We theorized that HAL was trying to minimize injuries caused when passengers untie their vests; drag the ties on the floor and steps; and thereby trip others. The drill itself was orderly and efficient unlike some of the social events we have witnessed in the past. Shortly after the drill, the Prinsendam began its journey down the Thames.

Nap time. Drink time. Dinner [vegetarian/beef]. Done at 10, MA went to the cabin to go to bed while D went to finish the journal.

Tomorrow – The first sea day and Cruise Critic Meet-and-Greet.

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