Mike and Denise Feeney
Ft. Lauderdale, New York and the End of the Ride
After a really relaxing and quiet day in St. Barts, our job on the ship got so busy that we didn’t have time to lift our head from the desk, except to lay it on the pillow after a very long day — two days, in fact. It really was amazing that there were people who had been sailing for as much as 125 or 126 days who waited until the last day or two to decide that they were going to take Holland America’s Grand World Voyage in 2010. In fact we had two guests appear at the very last hour of the last day that our desk was open to book their 2010 Grand World Voyage. They were, needless to say, most welcome!
On the two days prior to arriving at Fort Lauderdale, the ship was quieter than we remembered it being at any other time along the way. We were surprised to learn that many, if not most of the guests, were busy packing up for that infamous final trip home.
We found that there was an unscheduled and unsanctioned event that kind of swelled up over the past five or six days. This little event eventually evolved into an all-out scavenger hunt. The object of the hunt was boxes, cardboard boxes, to accommodate the accumulation of mementos, gifts, finds, and TnT (trinkets and trash) that guests had amassed along this very long journey.
It was Monday morning, two full days prior to landing at Fort Lauderdale, that we noticed the first suitcases appear outside of doors, ready for pick-up.
By Tuesday evening the halls were empty. A Deck — the deck where the luggage goes to be put into the steel containers used to offload luggage to the terminal — was full. It looked like a herd of 6-foot-tall wooden giraffes had found new grazing lands.
The ride from Fort Lauderdale to New York City was quiet, relaxed and low-key although several guests decided that, indeed, they would prefer to spend their time next winter sailing the coast of South America, South Africa, the islands of the Indian Ocean, and having spring during cherry blossom season in Japan, than scraping ice off their windshield, plowing their driveway or loading cord wood off their porch and into their wood stove.
For us, it’s an easy choice. We’re going to forgo another iffy, icy and blustery winter in northern New England and sail. Currently, our next contract — standard language in cruise ship employees parlance for assignment — has us going to rejoin our last ship before the Rotterdam, the newly refurbished ms Veendam. We’ll join her Sept. 20 for her last trip of 2009 up to Alaska and then we’ll sail south to San Diego. We’ll spend about one month in Mexico and then then we head to South America.
The ship is scheduled to depart San Diego Oct. 31 and arrive at Valparaiso Nov. 20, 2009. We then will be sailing southward along the coast of Chile, turning on Cape Horn north to Argentina and Brazil. We will do three cruises of 16 days like that and one, the December 21 sailing, extends south for an extra four days to Antarctica.
After that, we are looking forward to an assignment on the ms Eurodam, which starts out with a series of four seven-day cruises in the Caribbean, followed by a trans-Atlantic crossing to the Mediterranean. Currently we’re looking forward to a series of spring Mediterranean sailings followed by several Baltic cruises.
Looking forward, fall 2009 looks very exciting and exotic and the summer of 2010 will be taking us to places we’ve always wanted to go and are now anxious to research, read about and look forward to.
For those who’ve visited the Holland America Blog, we hope that you’ve enjoyed our entries over the past few months. We’ve enjoyed our Grand World Voyage more than we can express in words. If you ever have the opportunity to do one, by all means seize it. If not, we hope that we’ve given you some sense of what it was like to be out there and maybe we can travel together again on another journey. Thanks for reading and enjoy life.
Mike and Denise
Future Cruise Consultants — now on vacation!