Let me start with the fact that I did not expect to be on this cruise. Laid off work, no benefits, drama, drama, drama. That being said, I made sure to relish the experience to its fullest potential. There may not be another with me on it!
After a long day of flights, I rented a car, and met up with my friend Chris, from Wellington, New Zealand in the lobby of our hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. We made plans to meet up with friends for Seafood the evening before the cruise.
After a tasty seafood meal, we went back to the hotel to rest for 7 nights of fun!
My status on Holland America said that I could board the ship for an early lunch in the main dining room from noon to 1:30p. When we arrived to the port at 12:30 p.m. there was a long line to check in. Once we got through the line, we were given a number….31, and told to sit and wait in the waiting area. They were calling 12. Not good. I hadn’t eaten all morning, thinking that I could enjoy lunch by 1p. We saw our friends from Germany and Austria in the waiting area, so I ran over to them. They made waiting seem so relaxed….
I noticed Jimmie and her husband Cotton in the waiting area, and ran over to introduce myself. They were as warm and wonderful as I had imagined.
Christian got on first, then Sascha and Markus tried to go on, too. Markus snuck through, no dice for Sascha! He’s a big Dude, there’s no sneaking past! He waited with us until his number was finally called. Then, the man calling the numbers switched our number to a lower one, so we were right behind Sascha! Surprise! We took a Welcome aboard photo together.
We raced up to get lunch, and headed toward the Muster Station after quickly checking out our cabin. We came down the elevator with Chance Howard; Patches Stewart was in our Lifeboat station, the Musicians were all around. After the Drill, it was time for Sailaway Party. Why, oh why, did I decide to join a Soul Train Line?? I was trying to think of some silly dance to do as I sauntered down the line. I did. Not “The Penguin”, but “The Funky Penguin”. Little did I know that I would end up on the Cruise Video highlights! I would have “Vogued” down the line, had I known!! Here are some shots of Sailaway from my friend Christian:
Peter White and Candy Dulfer were the first performers on the first night. Somehow, I was on the early show, late dinner. Something that I have never had before. Don’t want it again. Eating dinner at 8:30 p.m. doesn’t work for me. Chris and I got ready to see our favorite guy Peter. Since we didn’t get in line, we ended up back a few rows. Let me get my gripes outta the way now.
- No photos or video allowed. Yes, I know that many people like this, but the views that I got of Peter and Boney together, something we don’t see often, were fantastic. I can only hope that the photographer got it right. And I can only wait until I can see them…unfortunately not in time for this blog.
- Reserved front row seating for Frequent Guests. I understand and appreciate this–you’ve been on 10 cruises, you should have privileges. But when I attend shows, and an older gentleman is asleep in his front row seat, I get pissed. Dude, that could be MY seat! Go up to your cabin and sleep!! I don’t think I can get over that one. There has GOT to be a happy medium there.
- Mindi Abair not in the Mainstage Show Lounge for the entire cruise. Huh?! As I was walking into Peter’s show, Mindi’s fan club president told me that this was true. Totally ridiculous.
- Having Mindi play on deck during the t-shirt day. I love Mindi, and know and love all of her songs. I was rocking! The majority of the ship may not know all of her songs, however. Typically, DW3 does the t-shirt day concert, with old school, R&B, and no one is seated. Here was the scene:
Someone suggested that they may have set out too many seats. That could be. I just think more familiar songs could have been a better fit. I, however was up dancing, my friends were dancing, and later, we pranced around the pool in a conga line. I finally did the conga around the pool. YOLO!
- A much more reserved/sedate crowd than I’ve seen on past cruises. Once again, I’m sure many of you like this. But Sheila E should not have to beg folks to join her onstage to dance. I should have known the crowd was changing a few years back, when people didn’t like Chaka Khan’s show because she was screaming. She’s Chaka, that’s what she does in her songs. Where have YOU been? It was as if everyone was scared to react. But you know me. I jumped up in the aisle to groove, anyway!
Okay, that’s it for the rant!! See? That wasn’t so bad!
Anyway, the combination of Peter White and Boney James on a couple of songs the first night was fabulous! After the show, we decided to skip the late dinner, and check out Brian Simpson show at 11:15 p.m. in the Ocean Bar. That show was Hot! Here’s a snippet:
Of course, as is true on all the Jazz Cruises, there’s so much to do, and so little time. At the same time as Brian Simpson’s show, there was a Keb Mo Show, a welcome party with Biz Markie and a late night Singles Social! As it had been a long day, it was Brian Simpson, then a quick hello to Peter White, and off to slumber, to prepare for the next day at Sea and T-shirt party.