Coda, I think this really is my final post on this cruise.

In an early blog post on this cruise, I wrote about how many of our boarding cruise mates thought of this as a “long cruise,” 22 days.  We thought of it as a short cruise, 22 days.

At the end of the cruise, 22 days still seems short.  It took us halfway through to get into the rhythm of the cruise and just as it was happening, we got the notice in our room about choosing our exit times, picking up our baggage tags and filling out Canadian Customs forms.

We only met one other cruiser who we knew from past cruises, but we met a lot of other familiar faces.  At the Canaletto Italian restaurant the waiter Fiazal, greeted us with “Welcome Home.”

We had last seen Faizal on Amsterdam in March 2020 as we were all being kicked off Amsterdam and kicked out of Australia as well.  This was the Pandemic cruise.  After we were off the ship, Faizal traveled with the ship from Fremantle, Australia to Durban, South Africa, to Singapore, to Indonesia trying to get home.  As Amsterdam was anchored off of Java, he and his companions started a letter writing campaign to the Indonesian President “Let us off! We want to go home.”  Finally, they prevailed.

Tawi is a waitress at the Lido.  When we appeared the second morning she brightened, “Miss Suzi, Mister Rich.”  When we met her in 2020, she was shy.  She was from Thailand, an outlier among a service crew of mainly Indonesians and Filipinos.  We spent a good deal of time talking with her.  Now she is brimming with confidence.  Her ordeal getting home was longer than Faizal’s.  After waiting off Java she was stuck on the ship for more than a month anchored in Manilla Harbor waiting to get home to Thailand. 

When she got home, she started her own business making specialty coffees, delivered via Uber.  She liked having her own business and it was successful.  But as the pandemic subsided, she realized her business model wouldn’t continue to work without the space for a proper café where people could gather.   She went back to sea.  She’s excited about getting to Alaska and seeing glaciers. She took the time to talk more about her family and her business during the pandemic and of course she knew exactly how I liked my tea.

Araya, another waitress, is excited about getting back to Alaska.  Her favorite stop is Sitka where she does her shopping at our thrift stores.  We have two, the White Elephant and the Little Store.  She finds used things she can afford, some fashion items for herself and gifts for family, especially toys.  This November she’s taking her parents on a cruise.  Holland America has a program where their staff can take a cruise at sharply reduced rates.  She is looking forward to showing her parents what she does for a living, AND being on the other side of the process, being served.

Glen-Michael was the destination guide on the 2020 world cruise, a position dropped by HAL.  Now he is the entertainment coordinator.  He arranged for the transportation for many of the cruisers back to the US when the Seattle home office dropped the ball in March 2020.  We reminisced about “Miss Dolly.”  Dolly was in her 90s and lived on Amsterdam.  She was sort of the ship’s mascot.  She got back to family in Oregon and passed during the lull in cruising.  Glen Michael arranged a reunion of some of the people who were on the 2020 cruise on one of the voyages right after cruising resumed and held a remembrance of Miss Dolly.  We talked about Dolly but also reminisced about an excursion where the catamaran lost an engine in rough seas on the way out to the Australian Great Barrier Reef.

Kianoa takes the mic.

Kainoa is a Hawaiian lecturer.  We have talked on several cruises.  I last saw him in Tahiti in 2020.  This was before the pandemic really took off.  He was excited about being assigned to Alaska cruises the summer of 2020.  He wanted to learn about Tlingit attempts to revitalize the language and compare them to what had happened in Hawaii.  He didn’t get to Alaska in 2020 but did in later years and incorporated some of what he learned about Alaska in his Hawaiian lectures on this cruise.  The last time we met we talked about a problem we both had, obesity.  He was planning on taking that problem on and he has, successfully.  He does not look like the same man, but as soon as he spoke, I recognized his distinctive voice.  Back in 2018 he told me I could not get an Aloha shirt my size in Tahiti.  I proved him wrong and got several.  He thought you could only get them in Honolulu.  And this time in Honolulu I did, to add to my collection.   We continued our discussion on the Tlingit Renaissance in Alaska and the Native Hawaiian Renaissance in his own state.

Me with my new Aloha shirts.

That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy our cruise mates.  I love dinners where we get to meet new people by sitting at a big round table.  I find it easier to meet people this way than at the parties and games that the ship offers. And there are a lot of events where less shy people can meet cruise mates.

The Orange Party is a feature on every cruise.  Being in the lido with the dome closed it became too loud and reverberant for us to stay too long.  But a lot of people had a lot of fun. I have a slight fear that generations of ancestors (from one side of my family) will rise from their graves and conk me with shillelaghs if I celebrate the House of Orange too much.

Wine tastings are a better venue to meet people and to learn more about wines.  The one on this cruise was particularly informative as the cellar master gave us good tips on evaluating wines and pairing them with different dishes. 

We did make some new friendships on this cruise, Sony and David are from Edmonton.  We shared dinner in the dining room and at the Pinnacle Grill. 

Sony, David, Suzi and me.

One thing I like about the longer cruises is that we get acquainted long before the cruise starts in online rollcalls and social media groups, and we keep in touch long afterward through social media groups.  On June 12 a group of our cruise friends from past voyages will be in Sitka on the longer Alaska voyage and I spent part of this morning arranging an outing with them.

Unfortunately, Koningsdam is not stopping in Sitka this summer so we cannot show Tawi, Araya, Faizal and others around our town as we have crew members from our World Voyages on Amsterdam.  But it was nice seeing them again on this cruise and, I am sure, on future HAL journeys.

7 thoughts on “Coda, I think this really is my final post on this cruise.

  1. How nice that you’re arranging an outing for friends on the upcoming Alaska cruise on June 12. I’m on the cruise too and am excited to see some of our 2020 world cruise passengers. I saw a few last year on the 2023 world as well. It’s always nice to be able to reconnect.

  2. Great blog with wonderful updates on 2020 crew. Enjoy following along with your travels. If we see you in Sitka we will give you a shout out. Stay safe!

  3. Your new Hawaiian shirts are just right! I want to wear mine all over the world but they wouldn’t fit in too well in Norway! We saw Kainoa a few years back when we went to Alaska. He looked so good and healthy! I love the idea of get-togethers for our extended cruise family. Why don’t we start a FaceBook group by some name and invite all of the 2020 Pandemic cruise family to join. We can widen the group. We could post upcoming cruises we’ll be on and hopefully some will be able to make it.

  4. Truly grateful for all of you! We can get rich together by counting our BLESSINGS

  5. There is a facebook group from both the 2020 and 2023 cruises.. 2023 has expanded to discussion of long cruises.

  6. Enjoyed this post so much. The crew on Holland America is what makes it so special. I don’t remember the names of servers and others but I remember how well they took care of me and how pleasant and personable they always are. I do remember Glen Michael! He took over as Cruise Director in the middle of a B2B cruise I did in 2019 on the old Rotterdam. His port talks were excellent. The first leg of the cruise was to the British Isles and we kept missing ports and being rerouted due to weather. His sense of humor and knowledge of the ports kept most of us happy. I then ran into him again in the fall of 2022 on the Zaandam. He was again delightful and remembered “the mystery cruise” as he called the 2019 adventure. I hope to run into him again.

  7. We really enjoyed your entire blog for this cruise. My husband and I remember seeing you around the ship- just sorry that you were never our seat mates at dinner!
    Debbie & Jon, Anacortes WA

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