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Cruise Day #2 — At Sea

We awoke (me early, Libby later) to cloudless skies and a sunny day. I spent some time (literally) listening to them rearrange the deck chairs (our cabin is right below the Lido Pool area.) And, then I was off to my 8am haircut appointment.

Our breakfast was delivered to our cabin around 8:45am. As usual, HAL’s room service did not disappoint. We enjoyed our meal and morning coffee on the balcony.

At 10am, we went to a presentation and Q&A session with the President & CEO of HAL, Stein Kruse. The ship has a lot of HAL’s top brass aboard for the inaugural cruise. In fact, we had the culinary head of the line, Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, at the table next to us last night at dinner. Sadly, the Q&A featured a lot of minor complaints–mostly from HAL’s ‘mature’ clients (who clearly have lost their perspective on real ‘problems’ in life)–about trivial issues (e.g. too large of meal portion sizes, too cool of air conditioning, etc. and so forth). Two interesting data points from the talk: 1) HAL will continue to sail to Antarctica despite having to comply with new regulations, and 2) HAL will likely build future ships that are larger than the current PanaMax standards (and thus, by definition, larger than anything in the current fleet).

At 11am, we attended a cooking demonstration with the guest chef, Lars Kronmark of the CIA in Napa. He presented a series of Greek small plate dishes — all of which should be fairly easy to prepare at home.

This afternoon we listened to the port lecture, which was modestly informative. We’ll have five days of ports in a row. We then return to Venice and fly directly home.

We then went to sign “The Wall” which is, well, a wall that the guests and crew of the Nieuw Amsterdam are signing during this inaugural cruise. It will be etched, protected, or otherwise made to last and then installed near the atrium on the main deck of the ship. That means Libby and I will be memorialized on this installation of HAL-sanctioned nautical graffiti. I wonder how much this eats up of my 15 minutes of fame?

We had a late lunch in the Lido buffet. It’s just like Veendam: better quality but a seemingly more limited selection than others cruise lines. The limited amount of “self-serve” opportunity also makes it a less enjoyable experience, as the PITA factor is higher.

Not sure what’s on the docket for tonight. It’s ‘formal night,’ which we will be skipping. It might be little more than room service, al fresco dining, and maybe a movie for us.

Anyway, I’m now writing this post on our balcony while (trying to) enjoy an adult beverage. Sadly, HAL is no Stub and Herb’s (a reference my MN peps will get) and only offers a rather pedestrian selection of crappy to minimally acceptable beers. The weather is perfect on this beautiful day on the Adriatic. I’ll leave you with this photo of my view…

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