This morning we boarded a bus at 10:00am for a thirty-minute ride from the Westin hotel at LAX to the port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, where we boarded Holland America’s Amsterdam. This would be our home for the next 82 nights as we visit ports of call in Asia and across the Pacific.
By 11:30am we had boarded the ship and began settling in to our cabin. Several weeks prior, we had received a notice from Holland America stating that we could upgrade our standard outside cabin for a veranda cabin with a balcony for a fee. Having never traveled in a cabin with a balcony we decided to upgrade our cabin to a higher floor with a balcony. The cabin is very pleasant with a large sofa and coffee table, a desk with nine dresser drawers for storage and a decent sized balcony with two chairs, two ottomans and a small side table. Waiting for us in our cabin were several gifts from our travel agent including a plate of chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of champagne and a $50 shipboard credit. The ship was in dry dock earlier this year and so most of the carpeting, drapes and upholstery had been recently replaced or refreshed. The entire ship looked fresh, clean and inviting.
Along our travels of checking in and having lunch we ran into several friends from previous cruises who were sailing on the ship. We saw Bryan, Jim and Gayle, Elaine, Heidi and Andres and some whose names we didn’t know, but recognized their faces. Always fun to catch up with old friends and get reacquainted.
From 1:30pm to 2:30pm most of the ship’s guests enjoyed complimentary welcome aboard drinks and snacks poolside. After the mandatory lifeboat drill we attended the sail away party poolside. At the sail-away party they served up unlimited drinks and endless passed trays of appetizers like lamb chops, samosa’s, empanada’s and hummus. A live band performed cover songs from years gone by.
We enjoyed a nice dinner in the dining room with a Dee and Ken from Alabama. After dinner there was a variety show on the main stage where they gave us a sampling of the entertainment available onboard like the pianist from the piano bar and the trio that plays dance music in the Ocean Bar. The cast of singers and dancers performed as did the Amsterdam band. Jorge from San Antonio, Texas, is our cruise director for the voyage. The cruise director mentioned that the ship has onboard about 870 guests from 19 countries which we found of interest.