December 9, 2018 – Sea Day

The weather was still very warm and humid.  Although there were scattered clouds in the skies we avoided rain showers.

The morning included a virtual bridge/engine tour by our Captain, Fred Eversen. Captain Eversen is from the Netherlands and has quite a sense of humor. He has been one of the captains of the Amsterdam since 1980 so he is very knowledgeable about the operations of the ship.

Mark attended a cooking show with guest chef Felix Tai in America’s Test Kitchen. Felix, who is from Hawaii, prepared three types of Poke or raw fish cut into small squares.

For the special Sunday brunch sampler, we met up with Jim and Gail Fugate from Corpus Christie, TX. We have sailed with them on the 2013 World Cruise as well as the 2016 Far East Cruise.

In the afternoon Professor David Horner lectured on Douglass MacArthur and his life of service in the military, particularly in the Pacific with many years of service in the Philippines. He was quite a mama’s boy, taking his mother with him all over the world wherever he worked. He was married to socialites a couple of times but neither marriage lasted long.

Next, was a lecture by Joe Kess who spoke on the Voyages of Captain Cook. Captain Cook is considered the greatest explorer of the Pacific Ocean with many years of exploration and mapping of the Pacific from the northwest passage to Antarctica and from Australia to Cape Horn.

For dinner we met up with Chris and Andrea who are from Canada and have spent the last year traveling the world. We met them the first night they were on the ship in Sydney, although we had not seen much of them onboard. We seem to go in different directions at different times.

The evening’s entertainment was an Australian vocalist and recording artist by the name of Alana Conway. In addition to singing beautifully, she plays the harp. She has a soft speaking voice but she can sure belt out the songs.

December 8, 2018 – Pago Pago, American Samoa


Portside Hillside


Shipside Shopping

In the night we crossed the international dateline. This imaginary line on the earth separates two consecutive calendar days. The date line can be anywhere in the world but it is most convenient to be 180 degrees away from the defining meridian that goes through Greenwich, England. It is also fortunate that this area is covered mainly by empty ocean. Today the date line falls between Samoa and American Samoa keeping American Samoa on the same day as the rest of America.

American Samoa is located about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand and is made up of five volcanic islands and two atolls covering an area of 76 square miles. American Samoa is a tropical paradise with 90% of the islands covered in untouched tropical rainforests. The climate averages 82-83 degrees Fahrenheit year-round with the surrounding ocean waters averaging 82-86 degrees.

Pago Pago (Pronounced Pan-go-Pan-go) is the capital of American Samoa and located on the island of Tutuila. It is home to a deep-water harbor protected from wind and rough seas giving it a natural advantage for bring fish to shore for processing. Tourism, entertainment, food and tuna caning are its main industries. In 1993 two of the largest tuna companies, Chicken of the Sea and Star-Kist exported $445 million in canned tuna to the US Mainland. American Samoa has a population of about 70,000 inhabitants.

The tour we had scheduled for the day was cancelled due to a lack of people signing up for it. We instead just walked from the port around part of the harbor to explore on our own. The harbor is surrounded by steep hillsides covered in dense vegetation with most of the civilization located along the water’s edge. The main road that winds along the water’s edge has curbs and sidewalks making it an easy walk. The architecture includes many colonial style buildings and simply constructed wooden homes with corrugated steel roofs.

We visited a local market where they were selling many local fruits and vegetables like bananas, coconuts and taro root. There is a National Park located here and we stopped in at the visitor’s center where we saw a couple of interesting films about the locals. The first film we saw was about the process they use to make wall hangings from mulberry tree bark, that is then painted with natural dyes. The second film we saw was about the natural colored floor mats they weave from local plant leaves. Both of these handicrafts are very time consuming and are slowly disappearing as machines can now manufacture similar types of items much cheaper.

Mark has been staying away from the puzzle table as one of the ladies who likes to work on the puzzles is very controlling and not very nice to be around. She has been told many times that not everyone wants to work on the puzzle the same way that she does but she hasn’t learned her lesson yet. She had another fight with someone at the puzzle table and it was not pretty.

We had dinner with our young friend, Stewart, as he will disembark in Hawaii so he can return home to spend the holidays with his family. The evening’s entertainment was another BBC Planet Earth II nature film accompanied with live music by the Amsterdam Show Band, the onboard Violinist and pianist group called Adagio. The photography is beautiful.

December 8, 2018 – Apia, Upolo, Samoa

Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral


Apia is located on the island of Upolo and is the largest city in Samoa (not to be confused with American Samoa) with a population of about 40,000. The harbor here was the site of an infamous standoff on March 15, 1889 between seven German, US and British ships. The ships refused to leave the port while a typhoon was approaching in fear of losing face. By the end of the day all of the ships were sunk except one British cruiser which barely managed to leave the port to ride out the storm. Nearly 200 American and German lives were lost as well as six ships sunk or damaged beyond repair.

Samoa, once ruled by the Germans and New Zealand became independent in 1962. It was known as Western Samoa until July 4, 1997 when it officially became the Independent State of Samoa and is now a unitary parliamentary democracy with eleven administrative divisions. There are two main islands called Savai’i and Upolu with four smaller islands. The local people called Lapita discovered and settled the islands about 3,500 years ago.

The weather had scattered clouds with signs of rain showers over the hillsides and the seas were fairly rough. We docked about 8:00am along the pier where a local group of warriors danced alongside the ship. By 8:30am guests began to go ashore on tours or independently. Kent and I were scheduled on a tour around town including the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum but it was not meant to be. By the time that we made our way to the gang way the captain decided that the swells were too great and it was unsafe for us to stay docked at the pier. He said that we had snapped three of the lines holding the ship to the dock already. He cancelled our port call and ordered all guests back on the ship. Most of the folks going on tours were taken off of the buses and brought back onboard. Unfortunately, about 50 guests had already headed out and about. The captain moved away from the pier and into the middle of the harbor where we stayed anchored for hours waiting for those guests who had made it ashore to come back to the ship by tender.  By about noon all of the guests had been located ashore and we began sailing for American Samoa.

A revised schedule of activities similar to a typical sea day rather than a port day was created and distributed. We attended a cooking class with Spencer in America’s Test Kitchen where we learned to make a pasta with garlic, chili flakes and olive oil. We also learned about a simple vinaigrette salad dressing and an olive, ricotta and basil bruschetta recipe.

Later, Professor David Horner lectured on Mutiny on the Bounty of 1789. There have been many movies and books that have told this story about the sailing with Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian. The vessel had left England in 1787 on a mission to collect and transport breadfruit plants from Tahiti to West Indies. After a five-month layover in Tahiti, during which time many of the men lived ashore and had formed relationships with the local women, they were forced to continue on their journey. After Bligh began handing our harsh punishments and criticism, Christian and other sailors forced Bligh and other of his followers from the ship.

Next, was a documentary film with Hawaiian Cultural Ambassador Kainoa called Reflecting Spirit. This film showed how the Hawaiian people were living peacefully on their own before the US took over their land and forced them out of the land to grow sugar cane and other crops to make money.  In many other situations with natives in a variety of countries, the same story occurred.

The evening’s entertainment was a Las Vegas style show by Robbie Howard. He is from Las Vegas and performs in many shows impersonating a variety of famous musical artists like the Rat Pack, Elvis and Randy Travis. He has an excellent voice as well as a sense of humor with his comedy.