Antarctic Cruise - 2012



Day 1 - Friday, January 6th - Holland America made our travel arrangements and we were a little surprised that the flight was scheduled to leave at 9:15 AM and arrive in Ft. Lauderdale at 2:00 PM - only three hours before the ship was scheduled to depart.  When we make our own arrangements, we like to travel a day early in case we run in to bad weather or problems with the flight.  Fortunately the weather was perfect and the plane left the gate 5 minutes early.  A few minutes later, the pilot pulled off the taxiway and stopped.  He told us there was a warning indicator on the hydraulic system and we had to return to the gate.  As the minutes ticked by, we got more anxious.  Barbara called Holland America to explain our situation and they started looking at options to get us to Dominica or Barbados if the ship sailed without us.  The plane finally took off at noon and we arrived at 4:15 (eastern time), met with the Holland America people and got our luggage at 4:45.  A 10 minute bus ride got us to the ship at 4:55 - 5 minutes to spare! On the positive side, check-in was a snap.  Actually the ship didn't depart until 6:45 because of refueling problems.

Day 2 - Saturday, January 7th - Sea Day: We booked our shore excursions today and found our way around the ship.  We've been on the Amsterdam before so it didn't take long to find out where everything is.  We're already getting tired of some of our tablemates at dinner.  We're at a table for ten and only four were there last night and five tonight.  Lillian is on oxygen, rides a scooter, is traveling alone and talks non-stop about previous cruises.  Paul is a retired physicist and is an interesting guy.  Leona is a non-denominational minister who sat with her arms crossed and a frown on her face most of the time.  Hope things improve! We're happy to have a quiet cabin.

Day 3 - Sunday, January 8th - Sea Day: A very lazy day.  Tonight was the first formal night and lobster tail was on the menu.  An officer (the purser) sat at our table so we all had plenty of wine (this after the captain's champagne reception).  Good news! Marilyn and Ivan from Melbourne have joined our table and are promising dinner companions.  Melissa Manchester entertained us tonight.  

Day 4 - Monday, January 9th - Roseau, Dominica: This is our first time in this country, named by Columbus in 1493 (Dominica means Sunday).  Dominica is the youngest of the Caribbean islands at about 26 million years old.  We did a shore excursion and visited the Morne Trois Pitons National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Park).  We saw Trafalgar Falls and the Emerald Pool.  Mountains on this island are more than 4,000 feet high, but there are very few beaches.

Day 5 - Tuesday, January 10th - Barbados: Barbara had some stomach troubles today, so Jay went by himself on a shore excursion to the Barbados Wildlife Preserve.  At the monkey sanctuary, he learned that the green monkey is not aptly named.  The animals are not in cages but wandering around.  The two sisters from Hibbing that we met at breakfast yesterday were on the tour, and Jay learned a little more about them.  Another sister who remains in Edina used to date Rudy Perpich, and the family liked him.

Day 6 - Wednesday, January 11th - Sea Day: We both played trivia at noon and didn't do well--Jay played again at 3:00 and our team won! It's a tough crowd, but we really like Bruce, the cruise director.  His questions are unambiguous and well thought out.  One of our team members is a French woman who doesn't speak much English, so we are always playing one person short.  She's with her traveling companion Francine, who is French-Canadian, and they are fun and speak to each other and Claire in French.  Claire and Richard, from Indianapolis, are an interesting couple--he really knows his geography and she's been coming up with some correct answers lately.  We've moved our clocks ahead twice since leaving FL, so are now three hours later than CST.

ms Amsterdam Atrium

Melissa Manchester at piano, daughter Hannah singing

Roseau, Dominica

Dominica - Trafalgar Falls

Dominica - Emerald Pool

Bathsheba, Barbados

Barbados Wildlife Reserve