A Hint of Christmas on the Amsterdam

Day 75, Grand Asia 2018

Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, At Sea:

We are expecting the Amsterdam’s Christmas decorations to arrive on board in Honolulu tomorrow. But meanwhile, the pastry chefs have put their gingerbread village together around the base of the Atrium Clock. I expect we may see more decorations on these buildings, but this is a great start.


Meanwhile, we’re rocking and rolling, and we’ve been at it for three days now. I would estimate the swells at six to 10 feet at times. My deck 6 balcony is wet with salt spray. It is usually a gentle rocking, but at times the ship jerks in one way or the other.

Today most doors to the Deck 3 Lower Promenade, the walk-around deck, have been blocked with caution tape, although through the windows I’ve seen a brave soul or two walking the deck.


Shortly after I shot this video, the crew closed the Lido pool.

When the swells started on Tuesday, the captain warned us to be careful moving around the ship and on the stairs. In fact, he said he would not be wearing his high heels to dinner.

At times we have grabbed our stemmed wineglasses while eating, but I haven’t heard any trays of dishes crash to the floor. The dining room stewards may lurch at times, but they recover nicely.

I don’t hear complaints of seasickness, but I assume any passengers suffering are staying in their cabins.

My favorite place to ride out the swells is in the Crow’s Nest, where you really feel the surfing up and down. I don’t think the conditions have stopped the usual happy hour crowd there.

This cruise is ending much as it began – at sea. We started out with five sea days before arriving in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Then five more to Japan, broken by one day in Petropavlovsk, Russia.

When we left American Samoa four days ago, we had 10 sea days until Los Angeles, broken by two days in Hawaii.

As usual we can stay as busy as we want. The Hawaiian cultural ambassadors taught teach the ukulele and hula in preparation for a performance yesterday. Our speakers are talking about Polynesia, migration and exploration.


In one presentation, Captain Fred Eversen described the activity on the bridge. Years ago you could take a tour of the bridge, but security rules have ended that. Now the captain explains the navigational and ship management equipment using a slide show. Passengers packed the large Main Stage theater for his presentation, which was pretty much the same as I described last year.

I only have six pages left in my sketching journal, which I am saving for our Hawaii ports. So during watercolor class I’m using some scrap paper from our instructor to paint bookmarks.

I finally finished an appliqué quilt block, proving that if you stitch an hour a day for about 40 sea days, you do eventually make progress. Technically, I haven’t finished, as it is missing one leaf. I’ll need to dig out the fabric at home to make a replacement.


Tuesday was our second to last gala night, with a tropical paradise theme. The hanging palm trees danced in the movement of the ship.

When I returned to my cabin, I had another gala gift – a locking luggage strap and two luggage tags. I am guessing our last gift will be the traditional grand cruise plate printed with a map of our route. Personally, I prefer the practical gifts, but I’m sure some people collect the plates.

As the swells continue, we are laying bets about whether we will stop in Lahaina, Maui, on Saturday. We anchor and tender in Maui, and last year’s Maui stop was cancelled due to swells. Instead we stayed overnight in Honolulu. As of late afternoon, the hotel manager told me they are keeping an eye on the marine conditions, and he thinks we will be able to make the Maui stop.

I refuse to start packing until after we leave Hawaii. But I must admit my thoughts are turning to home and my plans post-cruise.