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Old January 14th, 2008, 12:03 AM
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Z – Day 2 – Jan. 13- At Sea

The Stinkys (used to be The Kukis) slept late this morning. By the time I crawled into bed it last night it was this morning- 2:30 A.M. I was shocked when I looked at my watch. I’m on a Holland America ship! What is going on?

The Zuiederdam, when built, was given over to a quite different interior design flare than her sister ships in the Holland America fleet. The intent was to give her a more bold interior décor to broaden her appeal, to attract a bit of a new breed of passenger; more of the non- traditional Holland America passenger. Certainly on this sailing the broader mix in the passenger base is apparent. During this cruise, the diapers you see by the pool are worn by babies. (Please Note: that is a joke! Kuki HUMOR! Feel free to dismiss me, but PLEASE do not bombard me with hate mail )
To get back on topic… with regard to the interior design of the Z… she has a major dry dock scheduled for her in the spring; 3 weeks in fact. This is quite an extended period for a dry dock, so we can be certain quite a lot of change is going to occur. As the cruise goes on perhaps I can dig deep for some interesting tidbits and details to share with you. The pending changes almost certainly have something to do with some areas and maintenance issues which would ordinarily would have been addressed already. Those cruising her in the next few months will see a ship apparently in some need of some TLC , but at least to this point, we haven’t seen anything that would be a cause for concern as a passenger.

The issues are mostly aesthetic in nature, such as the faux wicker furnishings on both the balconies, and used for al fresco dining areas by both pools. In many cases the “plastic wicker? is unraveling, or damaged. It also seems they haven’t been replacing or repairing them. The supply has obviously been depleted through time, and for the time being they seem to be using plastic folding chairs in their place.

Tacky? Yes, but hardly earth shattering enough to ruin a cruise.

When my eyes opened this morning, and it became clear I was gaining consciousness, I noted it was already 10:30 A.M. That was the end of my plan to go watch Chef Rajeev prepare appetizers in the Show Kitchen, in the Queen’s Lounge. Getting a gallon of coffee into me seemed the more urgent task. I proceeded to the aft pool area, out back of the Lido Buffet, to complete the process, while Mrs. Kuki slept a bit longer yet.
Mrs. Kuki is a vociferous reader, particularly while cruising. She did swing by the ship’s library last night, but noted the shelves are locked, and it has limited hours where there’s an attendant present for borrowing books. Some other lines have their libraries open 24/7 and use the honor system for borrowing and returning books. This makes much better sense. I can’t imagine the shrinkage for a ship’s library would be a serious problem. Would passengers really abscond with books to pack away and sell on E Bay when they get home?

However, just prior to departing for this cruise, Mrs.Kuki has moved into the realm of “reading? via the use of modern technology. In today’s modern world there’s a new term used for reading. It’s called listening.

I had purchase a new IPod Nano for her at Costco (for $149), and with the help of Kuki Jr. training her, she learned how to download audio books. The technology is quite enthralling, as in some cases the books are read aloud by their original authors. So, after her late morning arrival on deck, she relaxed and began “reading? one of her downloaded books. She loved it, because she was able to combine this form of reading with her second favorite thing to do on a ship -which is not tending to my every desire- but is people watching.

By 2 P.M. the sunny skies began to fade, as we sailed into some cloudy and cooler weather. It was about the same time the ballroom dancing lessons were going to begin in the Crow’s Nest Lounge, and having met one of the instructors last night, we knew they were going to be teaching the Cha Cha today. I had to keep the promise I’d made last night to the instructor, so I didn’t go to the class. If any of you had seen Wayne Newton perform in the T.V. series Dancing With the Stars, he would have knocked me out of the contest in the first round.
I spent a “guy afternoon?, most of it spent watching the NFL playoff games, missing 3 P.M Dutch High Tea in the Vista Dining Room in the process, replacing it in the classical North American tradition with Nachos and Hot Dogs.

Tonight was formal night, and most guests seemed to attempt to follow the suggested dress guidelines. At times tonight I did reminisce a bit. After seeing a couple of older gentleman I wished I too had kept the nice sear-sucker suits I used to have.

The show in the Vista Lounge showroom tonight was the production number Under the Boardwalk. Once again, since I have a terrible ear for music, I rely on Mrs. Kuki’s judgment when it comes to all things musical, and she reports that the show was fantastic. I stopped in the casino to see if I could repeat the early luck I’ve been having, but alas my winning streak came to a halt, so I strolled the ship to visit some of the lounges I haven’t visited yet. By 11 P.M tonight things were pretty quiet around the ship, but then tomorrow is a port day, in Grand Turk. And it’s a very short port day at that – 7A.M to 2 P.M. As I saw more of the ship tonight, the general wear and tear throughout has become more obvious. As always, the crew is always busy cleaning, therefore the ship is clean, but most of the public areas do look tired and worn.
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