Some of This and That on the Amsterdam

Day 81, Grand Asia 2018

Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, At Sea:

Someone was at MY table at happy hour today! After 80 days, many of which I spent at the same table during happy hour in the Crow’s Nest, a man I don’t remember ever seeing before was eating popcorn in MY chair, without even a drink.

Oh well, I had fallen into some ruts, and change is good – right? The lounge wasn’t packed, so friends who usually stop by would find me. I moved closer to the windows, the better to watch the ocean pass by. It has turned steel gray, with only an occasional spot of blue showing through the clouds above. The temperature outside is in the 60s. I don’t remember the Hawaii-to-California leg being cooler last year.

With only one day left, everyone’s thoughts are turning to home. That is, everyone who is getting off Friday in Los Angeles. Some passengers will stay on for the 15-day Hawaiian holiday cruise, the following Panama Canal cruise and even the 100+-day world cruise. They won’t disembark until early May.

I’ve packed two bags to ship to my Texas home and will pack two more to take to Chicago for Christmas. My fingers are crossed that everything will fit. I am making notes on my packing list about what I used, what I missed and what to leave at home next time. I’ll write about that after I’m home.

The Alley Cats are one of the more popular entertainment groups, and the Mainstage was packed for their early show last night. You couldn’t miss them – they had hilarious Christmas suits that went right along with their humor. Their doo-wop sound was a good match for the crowd.

I’ve noticed some changes on the Amsterdam this year following dry dock last spring. Many of the orange upholstery fabrics are replaced with blues, bringing the look up to date. It’s not that the orange is gone, such as the orange carpet running down the hall along the Explorer’s Lounge. What I can’t remember from last year is the printed selvage in the middle of the long carpet strip. Did no one notice it while laying the carpet?

The hallways have new carpet in a pattern that seems designed to minimize any fading from traffic. It starts out fading from one side to the other. And best of all is the carpet at the elevator lobbies that indicates which way is forward. Even after 80 days it is easy to get turned around sometimes.

The library is much improved, with comfortable seating groups instead of multiple computer kiosks. There are still public computers in one section, but these days most people have their own laptops, tablets or smartphones, so there were too many computers before. The Amsterdam still has an extensive library, which is much appreciated on these longer cruises.

Last year I wrote about the stairway carpet changes, which feature a strip of cream carpet at each landing in the front and middle stairways. But in the aft stairway, the cream strip is one step before each landing, and it led to a friend’s tumble then. It still hasn’t been fixed, and I have caught myself at the last minute a couple of times.

The atrium clock is working and chimes on the hour. It is truly beautiful.