Friday, April 27, 2012

21 to 28April Sea days - Parties and Entertainment

It seems everyone gasped with sigh when the ship left our very last port of 36 during this world cruise.

I have to say that every single port we have visited is charming and wonderful.

Belief of leaving this wonderful floating home for the last 4 months must be denied by every passenger.

Leaving our last port Funchal, we only had about a week of sea days before returning to Fort Lauderdale where we started 4 months ago.

That will be for preparation of disembarkation emotionally with lots of hugs and good bye kisses.

Needless to say about more Champaign and parties.

From left, Alan, Renee, me, Sandra, Rene and Jeff were having a party in our cabin

Audience participation for Paula's show, Shirley Bassey, the big spender!!!

 Greg and I still have a lot of bottles of wine left from our dinner wine package.

I was not able to consume any alcohol when I was sick for 10 days with bad flu.

It seems that the awful virus lives on every corner of the ship.

But, thank goodness!

Some of our table mates who already finished their wine package will be sharing ours.

We organized few private get together in our cabin with close friends and table mates for few times.

John and Diane also organized Champaign and fancy Belgium beer party at the public veranda Aft deck 6 one evening.

Our balcony cabin space only allows up to 5 invitees for total of 7.

It has been intimate and cozy that everyone enjoyed so much.

Good that we have enough of bottles of wine.

Last Saturday night entertainer was Paula Randell from Manchester, UK.

She and her companion Neil were also invited to our cabin for private get together party along with our table mates few days ago.

She is full of personality and immaculately presented herself.

We soon got along with her very well as we are theatre lovers.

She was fantastic with her numbers which impersonating Dame Shirley Bassey during her first show.

She finished her show with encore song ‘I am what I am’.

Before she started the song, she was asking audiences where Greg and I were sitting.

Then, she said she will sing that song especially for us.

How special was that!

She made our day!

We were also very happy that she was over the moon when she positively interacted with audiences that night.

 Greg with Paula and his idol New York singer Michael Feinstein.

Few nights ago, the entertainment starred Michael Feinstein.

At the piano, he sang beautiful songs from Gershwin to Porter.

 Holland America Line Mariner's Society Award party
From left, me, Greg, Donna, Paula, Neil, Eloise, Susie and Woody

 Jim from Vancouver, Greg with his gold medal for more than 700 days on HAL ship, Renee, Rene, Julie the HR lady and me beofre the Mariner's Society Recognition

 Donna from Chicago, me, Joe and Sylvia from California and Ellen from Florida

 Lovely Widi, waitress of the Pinnacle Grill

 Our very last dinner at the Pinnacle Grill

 Dessert extravaganza! The tradition of World Cruise!

 Greg flanked by Ernie and Jim from Vancouver.
Lesley, the best dresser on board and Jelena, wife of Rabbi on board are front row

 Lovely singer Paula Randell from Manchester, UK

 Moment of Truth for Greg with the ship's captain Jonathan Mercer and Henk the hotel manager to recognise for Greg's loyalty of the HAL.

 On Paula's second performance night with Tina Turner look-alike.
Renee, Greg, Paula, Ernie, Lesley and Rene...Some of them has great legs!

 La Fontain restaurant for the very last formal night

 Parade of Bomb Alaska!

 Tonight's theme is Black and Gold masks.
Our table mates in disguise!
Renee, Paula and Jeniffer from the front office joined us tonight.

 Fabulous cast for the Black and Gold Ball

Greg with two young ladies from the ship's Spa, Ping and Nao.

20April Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Madeira is Portuguese island but its remote location shares
with same latitude of Moroccan city of Casablanca.

It is nearly 500 years old since Portuguese seamen have first arrived.

With flowers around town and white houses with red roof built on slopes of the hillside overlooking the ocean and harbor, it is one the prettiest ports in Europe.

A view of port Funchal.

 We took a cable car to the mountain Monte on our last visit 18 months ago.

There is a chapel dedicated to the last Austrian emperor Carlos I who sought refuge and died in the island during WWI.

And fun basket-sleigh is sliding down the hill for 10 minutes from the same point.

We took a tour offered from our travel agency this time. “Scenic Madeira and lunch at Reid’s hotel”.

It was excellent tour included viewing from the second highest cliff top in the world and driving on winding zig-zag road built on steep mountain side.

We were driving up all the way to the mountain as high as 1,000 meters.

It was so scary that it makes the cliff road on Amalfi coast, Italy look like a child play.

But the amazing views from the various mountain tops were priceless.

The tallest cliff in Europe

 Funchal is a Portuguese word for fennel that used to grow around the island

This rugged Portuguese island is made of beautiful valleys and tall cliffs

Cabo Giro is the second highest cliff in the world with 580 meter. (the tallest one in the world is in Taiwan)

Vertigo from the top of the tallest cliff in Europe, Cabo Girao


Lovely local arts and crafts for souvenir!


A church on top of the hill in Funchal, San Martinho

This point is Eira do Serrado with 1,053 meter height and the cliff view with looking down the villages in the bottom of valley

Hotel Reid’s, Funchal

Beautiful view of Funchal from Hotel Reid’s

The great view of the hotel building on the cliff from the separate building of the hotel restaurant Villa Cipriani

Old town of Funchal


Flower carpets are lined up on crowed street of town center for the flower festival


Folk dancers with traditional costume on the street are part of the Spring flower festival

 Only thing that is not made of flowers in this picture is….?

You guessed it. Me. ^^


A lady selling flowers in front of market ‘Mercado dos Lavradores’.


Historic building in Funchal, Palacio do sao Lourenco.

18April Seville tour, Spain


What a wonderful city!

I would have been so mad if I just stayed on port of Cadiz and not taking a tour to Sevilla.

I mean Cadiz is charming itself with lot to see and walked about to take many photos, too.

We have booked a ship’s tour to Sevilla here in Cadiz.

We got up unusually early at 7am to prepare for 8 o’clock departure.

Good news is that the ship is not leaving Cadiz until 11pm tonight.

That means we could have enough time for Cadiz after we come back from Sevilla tour.

I did not expect much of Sevilla even though there have been a lot of people describing it as an amazing place.

EXPO was held here in 1992.

Plaza de America

Plaza de America

This amazing place was built for the 1992 EXPO.

Old Jewish quarter, Santa Cruz.

Our tour guide instantly joined flamenco dance with a restaurant owner’s castanets music when we were on a small court yard in Santa Cruz

The Cathedral St. Mary of the See where Columbus’s remain is buried.

Beautiful palace Alcazar built on 11th century where the Spanish Royal still uses for accommodation whenever Davis Cup Tennis match is held on Sevilla

The palace is not only unique in architect but also has nicely maintained garden


A peacock flew down from nowhere and posed for us like magic

 Lunch was not included in our tour today but 7 of us managed to find a restaurant in town with the best location.

It has the view of beautiful Cathedral and the Palace Alcazar.

Having more Tapas at the plaza where the Cathedral is located

Flamenco dance dresses on a shop

The entrance of the Cathedral

The Palace of Alcazar

Beautiful hotel building Alfonso III
A field of olive trees on the way to Sevilla from Cadiz