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Monday, March 23, 2009

Assessing the Cruise

There are many angles from which to judge a cruise. One can discuss the ship and its accommodations, or the ports of call, or the passengers met along the way. Trying to be fair with an overall assessment is difficult. Scoring from 1 to 10, I think this trip should receive an overall ComDAK Rating of 6.

ms Ryndam, one of the smaller vessels we've experienced, is a comfortable ship. Layout is convenient; staterooms are a little more spacious than many; personnel are very friendly,
always cheerful and abundantly courteous and helpful. We have especially enjoyed the combined library / internet cafe area. Oh - let's not forget the food. Now that I've made that connection, forget it.

For the most part, entertainment and scheduled activities have been weak. One exception: Cheryl Sinclair, a young songstress from the U.K., dazzled us Saturday evening. I occasioned a meeting with Ms Sinclair this afternoon, and she sparkles equally in person. She has a CD in the works - one I'll be anticipating for sure.

A busy musical group - Lisa and the Hellcats - performed
most afternoons on the Lido Deck as passengers wound down from their day's events.

This particular cruise, visiting Mexico's Sea of Cortez, is an excellent example of careful planning on the part of Holland America Lines to provide maximum port calls while minimizing fuel costs. The question, though, is whether the public will find the ports of great enough interest to return another day. Those with no particular interest in ports may return one day. Travelers who enjoy land tours and onshore places of interest should probably look to other venues.

Cabo Away

The last port call is ended. Cabo San Lucas disappears behind us once again and our present bearing should deliver us to San Diego by Wednesday morning.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 8 - Pichilingue

Ryndam zig-zagged back and forth in Sea of Cortez throughout the night - simply because the sail to Pichilingue from Loreto isn't very far at all. Pichilingue is the port access to the town of La Paz. A steady stream of passengers line up for the shuttle to La Paz, a ride of about 30 minutes. It's time we have opted not to expend.

After lunch, though, we did leave the ship just to say we did - where Dan found a full-blast margarita to his liking.
After about twenty minutes we reboarded Ryndam. Dan's spending the afternoon with an exciting book from the ship's library while I am happy with a snooze on the shady side of the ship.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lunch in Loreto

This little town clusters its curios amid several 'old Mexico' streets within sight of its Misión - said to be the oldest church in all of Mexico. We wandered around many shops before lunching in a quaint, family operated restaurante. For a day that promised to be fairly hot, we were happy to find abundant shade.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't Bother

We docked today at Topolobampo. Needless to remember because there's nothing here to remember - just a port settlement where the only employment is loading produce onto outgoing export ships.

A shuttle delivered us 15 miles inland at Los Mochis. This village would have been an altogether forgetful place except for, perhaps, the 'deer dancer' in the park (note his headdress) and a couple English language students. A young duo team approached us as we prepared to return to the ship. The boy had some writing on a sheet of school paper. The girl, a little older, appeared to be a little more fluent and there to help him.  They asked if we would answer a few questions into a hand-held recorder. As I was responding to the questions, I marveled that these kids appeared so happy and healthy in this seeming out-of-the-way place.

Two hours off the ship made it glorious for us to return and have a late lunch. Shortly we leave for Loreto, tomorrow's surprise port.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Adiós, Mazatlán

Leaving Mazatlán in the distance, we are heading North, North-West into the Sea of Cortez.

Tomorrow will be our first step on shore since the cruise began - and at a port we have never before visited. Doing so may cramp Dan's style, however, as he's trying to break the ship's bank. Why not? He's well on the way to paying for his trip.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hiding Away

Ryndam arrived early and nestled in to dock. When we first had an opportunity, we took our coffee out on deck to have a looksee. We're sharing this little inlet with NCL's Star and Carnival's Pride. Horrors! We are quite alone at the moment -- only about a dozen passengers still on board. Going ashore, though, risks too much that we may have to rub elbows with those low-life neighbors from the adjacent berths.

The weather is terrific. This city is as inviting as ever, but remaining with Ryndam promises a quiet and restful day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patty's

The green is in full loom today. No matter their origin or their tongue, today we're a ship-load of Irish.

During breakfast we spied a whale or two breaching close by. Some say they were dolphins, but I doubt dolphins REACH that large or breach in that manner. As Ryndam nears Cabo, our sky is clear and the air is warmer. Perfect setting.

Having become a dotterer, earlier days have come to mind:

The bright eye caught
The lithe young thing
From distance once.
With shy smile, or one coy wink,
Our moment shared desire.

Clouded vision now,
There's no mistaking how
We both have changed.
Still the smile, then a glance
At memory's shared embrace. dc.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Still Winter

Hometown weather clings to Ryndam today. Everyone is hopeful tomorrow will bring some temperature increase. Still, the day at sea has been enjoyable, even though our Trivia team was beaten badly.

We began with breakfast in the main dining room. So so. Lunch and dinner in the buffet were a vast improvement. Unlike other lines, HAL buffet fare is very close to fine restaurant quality. Most hot dishes are prepared 'on the fly'. That is not to say it's akin to short order diners. All looks appetizing and rests well on the palate.

Interesting to happen into conversation this afternoon with a gentleman who graduated from my Michigan high school. (Er -- nineteen years after I was there.)

There are no photos for today. The camera was left in our cabin throughout the day. Makes for a more restful first full day at sea.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another Day in Paradise - ALMOST!

Another trip is underway, this time onboard HAL's Ryndam. At first taken with the small size of the ship, it's probably going to turn out a real 'blessing', as it's not so far to walk from one point to another.

Once settled in, we went out on deck to watch as Ryndam pulled away from her berth, leaving behind Celebrity's Mercury and Carnival's Elation. We found our way to the Sail Away party to enjoy the music and opportunity to meet some new people.

A fine buffet awaited for dinner -- so, we dined. (What else?)

A clear reminder that we're on a shipload of duffers, each day - carpeting in all elevators indicate the day of the week for us. Pretty handy.