Today we sailed down the St Lawrence River and via the Laurentian channel into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The weather forecast had predicted very windy weather and that prediction came true. The wind blew all day long. First with us, so on deck it was quite pleasant as the relative wind over the deck became a pleasant breeze but later it swung to the East. As the ship was going South East we had for the afternoon and evening the wind almost full on the bow; creating a good gale which whistled around the ship.
The organizational issue of this cruise is, is that there is only one sea day. Thatâ€™s today. For the rest we have a port everyday until arrival in New York. Now we face on board the contradiction that a lot of guests complain about the lack of sea days, while at the same time they book this cruise because they see so many ports in one cruise. The maximum port group on board is happy and the maximum sea day proponents huff and puff. With only one sea day, the Hotel manager faces the problem of how to schedule all the standard HAL activities that we are supposed to do during a cruise on this one day, while we normally have two or three days to accomplish this. As you will understand it does not work. There are only 16 available hours in the day and we need at least 32.
So we decided to free up some time by doing the captains welcome on board in a different way. The company is already in transition with this as well. Captain intros are going to be reduced to a brief staff introduction, a champagne toast and the popping of confetti just before the show starts. So no more captainsâ€™s receiving line and picture taking with the captain. Here on the Veendam we have not implemented that yet as we are waiting for the props. Namely a confetti popping thing which I have been told is some sort of gun in the form of a champagne bottle. Only the ships staff, the cruise consultant and the employee of the month will then be introduced. It all takes about 5 minutes and ends with a champagne toast and a few positive words about the following show.
Thus as the HM needed the time, I thought letâ€™s do it in a similar way but then from the balcony in the dining room. The guests get their free drinks while entering the dining room, same way as when entering the lounge and I do a little speech, between appetizer and main course. It took a lot less time and as far as I have heard the guests thought it was oke.
I personally do not mind doing captainâ€™s introduction at all. I find it a pleasant challenge to deliver a welcome on board speech that keeps the audience entertained and brings a positive atmosphere to the whole ship. A harder gig is the picture taking in the receiving line. Again I do not mind doing the photoâ€™s, although getting 600 people through the line in 40 minutes, during each sitting, takes a bit of doing; I just do not like it when people are not dressed up.
It is fine with me whatever dress code is but if the dress code says formal, then it should be adhered to. It is part of the Holland America product, which people buy, to have two or more formal nights during a cruise. They select a cruise on that basis and then they walk around in shorts and T shirts on a formal, or change after dinner. It boggles my mind. Unfortunately there is no law of the sea that gives me the right to enforce a dress codeâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦If you do not dress up, you walk the plankâ€¦â€¦â€¦ or something like that and I will have to live with it. Because of that I wonâ€™t mind not doing the receiving line anymore. But, I can still dictate the dress code at the captainâ€™s table and that is what I will continue to do.
Tomorrow we are in Charlotte town Prince Edward Island. Last cruise we cancelled the call due to bad weather and for tomorrow it again does not look good.