Day 99, April 14:
We had been to Ajaccio, Corsica, a lovely island that is a part of France, a few years ago during a Mediterranean cruise, so at a call there during our 112-day Grand World Voyage on the Amsterdam, Humberto, Duffy (our bear that went around the world) and I decided to do something we sometimes do when we have already visited a port: enjoy having the ship practically all to ourselves! We got off the ship briefly to walk around and get to a great outdoor market a few blocks from the cruise terminal, and to buy some souvenirs, including the wonderful Corsican olive oil that has a controlled appellation like fine wines do.
When we returned to the ship, most passengers were on half-day and longer tours of the island (we had done a full-day tour on our previous visit including the sites associated with Napoleon Bonaparte who was from Ajaccio, such as the house where he was born and the baptismal font in the Cathedral where he was baptized). So, voila, we had the ship just about to ourselves. Now, the Amsterdam, being a mid-sized ship with a passenger capacity of about 1,000, rarely, if ever, feels crowded. So, on a day when almost everyone is ashore, it feels like you just won the lotto and were able to acquire a huuuuge, fully staffed yacht that you are sharing with just a handful of friends! What a wonderful day we had.
There were just a couple of passengers at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon’s thermal suite, and no one was about at the expansive Lido Pool and its two hot tubs, and there were rows and rows of empty deck chairs, both at the Amsterdam’s Lido and aft pools and the wrap-around Lower Promenade Deck. We chatted leisurely with our servers at the Lido buffet-style restaurant and, of course, had our pick of tables.
There was no line when Humberto went to the Front Desk to exchange dollars for euros. All the Internet workstations were free at the Explorations Café (and the Internet connection was really fast!).
Humberto also had his pick of treadmills at the fitness center for his afternoon workout. It was easier to win at the 3 p.m. trivia contest at the Ocean Bar as instead of 100-plus participants as is the norm at this popular onboard event, there were just 18 split into four teams (our team finished second, good enough for Humberto and me to win six “grand dollars” we’ll be able to exchange for prizes later on).
And we watched the 6 p.m. movie at the Wajang Theater with just a dozen other persons – so no 6-foot-plus, tall passenger sat in front of me – and that is very good since I am petite! As the afternoon waned our fellow passengers were returning to the ship and it was great to have them back. But it also had been wonderful to have the Amsterdam all to ourselves!
Freelance travel writer Georgina Cruz and her husband Humberto are currently sailing on Amsterdam’s 112-day Grand World Voyage and will be sending in cruise diaries throughout their time on board. She has logged 174 voyages to all seven continents and visited more than 100 countries.