Feel free to include as much or as little as you want…below is the product of my wandering mind’s thoughts on your prompt questions!
1) What was your first cruise on HAL? (ship, destination/itinerary, when)
My first cruise was at age 3, hence my CC name “Cruisin’ since 3”. You can probably tell from the “bad plaids” in the attached photo, that this was in the ‘70’s; July of 1977 to be more specific. From what I am told by my mother, our original plan was to go on a small ship on a New England cruise, but that ship had caught fire, so my grandmother, mother, brother and I ended up booked the SS Rotterdam to Nassau. Nice upgrade if you ask me! That Rotterdam is still my favorite ship, the last time I sailed her was for 17 (or 18?) days from Vancouver to NYC when I was 15 years old, but I can still picture in my mind so many of the interior spaces…the grand staircase leading to the Queen’s lounge, “the place”, which is what the kid’s area used to be called, the dining rooms… Obviously most of my recollections of my early cruises are from what I have been told and from on-board pictures; but I do have true memories of the giant straw dolls and bags from Nassau, as well as the wonderful crew who showered me with attention…they created a life-long HAL cruiser!!! One of the funniest memories that my brother and I often recall was HAL’s attempt at pleasing us with “chocolate” milk. I will share the recipe: one glass milk, 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder…nice try, but it tasted AWFUL! I think the picture of me as “captain” was taken when I was 4…back when bridge tours were regular events. I really treasure the photos that I have of my family in the dining room, shaking the captain’s hand, and of my brother and I participating in the costume parades. He was always a mummy, wrapped in toilet paper, and I was always a dutch-girl with my little white hat.
2) What was your most recent cruise on HAL? (ship, destination/itinerary, when)
I received my 100 day medal on my first cruise as an adult, at 23 years old. I’m sure I’m not the youngest ever, but it seemed pretty impressive at the mariner’s party. I have managed to fit in a few cruises since, (see the photo of my husband and I on our most recent cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Maasdam in 2003, as well as a photo of the sunset in St. Croix during a Maasdam cruise in 1999) but life, work, and children have altered my priorities right now. The yearning for cruise days does need to be fulfilled though, so my husband, and two sons (2 and 4 years old) are currently booked and anxiously looking forward to embarking on the Veendam on May 9, 2010 in NYC to head for Bermuda. Now that will be the best Mother’s Day present ever!!!
3) Favorite thing about HAL currently available on the ships?
I have to agree with many others, that it is the crew. I have cruised on other lines, and nothing compares to the genuine warmth that you feel from the crew. Along the same lines is the crew show…can’t get enough of the bamboo instruments and singing in the Indonesian show!!!
4) Favorite port of call anywhere on earth you’ve seen because of a HAL cruise, and why?
The Panama Canal, not really a port, but so impressive. I remember being amazed while looking out a porthole at rock walls just inches from the side of the ship as I was going through the locks.
5) Your dream itinerary, regardless of fuel/logistics?
I would be simple to please…a tour of the Hawaiian islands, embarking in New London, CT
Absolutely fantastic photos! Thank you so much for filling the readers in on a bit of HAL history with the details of the ss Rotterdam V, as well as how our chocolate milk has improved over the years! 🙂