We’re at sea for the next 6 days.
We had 2 May 11th’s as we crossed the international date line. But first we had to go forward 2 hours, first night; then 1 hour forward for each of the next 5 nights in addition to going back and doing May 11th all over again. You can’t begin to imagine what that’s done to our internal clocks. We’re up at noon, small lunch (no breakfast), then back to bed for a 3 hour nap, small dinner, then back to bed around midnight. It’s been really weird. I think also the sea air is making us tired. But there’s no end to stuff to do on days at sea.
During the 6 day passage, there were some rough seas. We were so glad that we were on the lowest deck, not a coincidence. The main pool had to be drained, and the baggies were out at each elevator 🙂 A lot fewer people out and about for a few of the 6 days.
This post we’ll describe some of the entertainment put on by Holland America for it’s passengers.
New York Vagabonds, a wonderful all male (4) act singing in harmony. These guys are magnificent and sang to a standing room only theatre. The eldest of these guys is around 50 and has the most remarkable bass voice I’ve heard in a very long time. The other 3 guys, in their 30’s also have wonderful voices but the bass takes all the applause.
Dorothy Bishop, an American in her 40’s has had many leading roles in Broadway and off Broadway shows. She has quite a soprano voice, unfortunately, we got tired of listening to her and left the show early.
Sally Jones, a Brit living in Toronto was marvellous. She has had many leading roles in Chicago, Les Miserables, Guys and Dolls, Evita, Cats, etc. She’s very passionate about Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber productions and gave an afternoon performance devoted to their music. She gave a wonderful performance one evening as well, again standing room only.
Mickey Manners, a New Yorker comic/actor who was encouraged by Milton Berle to continue in his comedic profession. He’s got quite a long list of acting credits and was a panelist on “Stump The Stars” (16 years), “Get Smart”, “The Lucy Show” and many more. We couldn’t attend that evening as we had something else on, but we heard he was good.
There’s also the HAL singers and dancers (HAL = Holland America Line) of the Volendam. They perform about twice a week, depending on the other acts on board. The performance are exceptionally good, unfortunately after you’ve seen the same 5 or 6 performances it wears thin :-).
There’s also Randall Powell. He sings and plays piano in the Piano Lounge. He has a very loyal following and it’s always busy. He does contests for many of the ships older passengers.
Crossing the International Dateline: On May 11th we set our clocks back 24 hours and did May 11th again. The international date line is located at longitude 180 W and 180 East. It’s an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth opposite the Prime Meridian which offsets the date as one travels east or west across it. In order to keep from crossing nations internally, the line deviates to pass around the far east of Russia and various island groups in the Pacific. On our trip going North the date lines swings to the east through the Bering Strait and then west past the Aleutian Islands in order to keep Alaska (USA) and Russia, which are due north and south of each other in that region on opposite sides of the line and in agreement with the date of the rest of those countries. The date line passes equidistant between the two Diomede Islands, Little Diomede Island (US) and Big Diomede Island (Russia) at a distance of 1.5 kilometres from each island.
Some trivia on Holland America Line. In 1871 HAL began its history as the Nederlandsche – Amerikaansche Stroomvaart Maatschappij. Because it was headquartered in Rotterdam and provided serve to the Americas, it became known as Holland America Line.
The line was a principal carrier of immigrants from Europe to the US carrying some 850,000 to new lives in the new world. In 1895, the company offered its first vacation cruise from New York and in 1910 its leisure cruise from New York to the Holy Land. In the 1970’s HAL suspended its transatlantic service and sold off its cargo shipping division. Vacations have become the full time focus. It became a wholly owned subdivision of Carnival Corporation, who also own Seabourn, Costa Cruises, Cunard and P&O. It’s become the leading cruise company in the world.
Like any luxury floating hotel this ship offers just about everything. There’s a casino on board, several bars, the Frans HALS theatre, there’s even a medical centre for treatment of small ailments. There’s been several major illnesses on board and for that the doctor and nurses can make the patient comfortable until they get to the next port of call. But I understand there’s a small operating theatre to manage stitches, set broken arms etc.
The ship is kept immaculately clean. Stewards of all levels keep the ship, cabins, stairs, hallways etc in tip top order. Clean towels and toiletries are kept well stocked in every cabin. We have fresh fruit delivered every couple of days. There’s pop and water available for use and its stock is replenished every day.