Wednesday, October 10 – Happy Birthday to me in Cartagena, Spain

Many thanks for thinking of me.  Makes me feel good to know I have so many friends who care.  Lord knows when I’ll pick my electronic cards or get to Facebook.  I am saving my Internet at Sea for plain email, sending my blog, and booking cruises.

In the morning, I called Giawa about the oversold Cellar Master’s Dinner.  He wasn’t in.  I updated my manifest and picture file, while I waited for his call back.  I fielded some calls, and did a bunch of paperwork, updating the manifest and starting a letter that I would have to get out tomorrow about the Cellar Master’s dinner.  Then I went to the gym for an hour.  I didn’t get out in Cartagena, until after four o’clock, and had to be back aboard at 5:30pm.

The guy I spoke to yesterday called back to make an appointment before dinner, with me and the Dining Room Manager.  We met in the Tamarind Bar, before my dinner appointment.  The Cellar Master came, too.  There was no way we could have another date, because the venue was booked every night, and they were almost sold out for Cellar Masters.  I was having trouble believing that part.  It felt like they were holding out to get full price for the dinner.  I explained once again, how much face both I and Holland America were losing.  They said they would take it higher up and we would meet again at 9:00 am tomorrow in the Dining Room.

I joined the Fairchilds and Marins for a Tamarind dinner to celebrate my birthday.  It’s an Asian restaurant, serving sushi, alongside dim sum, Peking Duck, Pad Thai, etc., pretty decent quality.  It’s not Hong Kong, but it’s good.  I got the sparkler in the little cake and the “Panjang Amurnia”, too.  Kristian Grey, an Irish Magician/Comedian was on the World Stage at 10:00pm, and he was no good at all, at all.

Thursday, October 11, we were in Ceuta, Spanish Morocco.  My 9:00am meeting with Tan was disappointing, to say the least.  He offered me 10 spots at full price, for the Cellar Master’s Dinner, and said I could come myself and bring one more person for half-price.  I got that up to 4 at half price and 12 total.  Then we dickered around some more and I ended up with a grudging 12 in the Pinnacle at half price and 10 in Tamarind for 25% off.  I had just taken 5 people for 50% off last night, so I was underwhelmed, but my arguments fell on deaf ears.  I gave up, finished my two-page, somewhat embarrassing, but very clear, newsletter, and delivered to all cabins.

Soon after I got back, I got a call from Richard Dixon, to book the Cellar Master’s dinner as a 4-star Mariner.  That gave us 6 at half-price.  I called it in to Tan and got these two seats added, for a total of 14.  I did get to the gym, and I managed to get out in Ceuta for an hour, where I bought some pretty sexy pantyhose. Tan’s intransigence had cost me another day, when I could have been enjoying a nice port.  This was one of the better ones, as the shuttle was short, and free.

Angela Corso called back to ask me to just return the money, so I did.  Karlan Zahorka and the ladies in 8032 confirmed the Shore excursion.  Lawrence Wilkinson booked the Tamarind dinner.  We could have had dinner on shore but, thanks to the Cellar Master’s Dinner kerfuffle, I didn’t have time to do the research., Hence, the Dining Room.  It’s good and the price is right.

On Friday, October 12, we were docked in Cadiz, Spain.  Charles Miller called to confirm that we would be going to Florence from Livorno together, taking a taxi to the train and on to Florence.  We can decide on the time later.  There will be 5 of us, with the Zahorkas.  Sheila Mason called to book Fairchilds and Martins for Tamarind.  Page Fairchild called that in, too.

Around 10:00am, I went out with the Fairchilds and Martins.  Our plan was to take the brand new Hop On Hop Off bus, and I couldn’t wait to have Churros again.  Well, I just gained some good local knowledge.  There were three ships in port, and City Sightseeing couldn’t jam the port gate, so, they just sold you the ticket at stop Number 1, and made you walk to Stop 2 to get the bus.  That way, you didn’t notice how long the line was until you were in it.  We waited almost an hour to get on the bus.  The better strategy would have been to walk across town and get on at Stop 7.  It wasn’t more than a ten-minute walk, and walking is easier than standing.

Sheila got out at Stop 5, to go to the beach, so it wasn’t a dead loss, at least for her. She got a nice swim, while Bob had a beer, and Andrea, Page and I rode the HOHO around its full circuit.  Sure enough, by the time we got back to Stop 5, Sheila and Bob were getting back on.  We got off at Stop 7 and stopped for a beer at a side walk café.


Then we ambled around some more, looking for my churros.  When we found the place, we also found out they didn’t serve them until 5:00pm and we had to be back on the boat by 4:30pm.  The gelato we found up a side street was a pretty nice consolation prize, though.

There were no more calls re the Cellar Master’s dinner.  I might have as many as 13 if 6 people, plus me, are willing to pay full price. So far, no takers, but I called the 13 in to Tan, for now, along with 9 for the Pinnacle and 5 for Tamarind, me and my own clients.  If I don’t get more for Tamarind tomorrow, I’ll cancel it and take my people, on my 5 stars.


We went to dinner in the Dining Room at 6:30pm, and to the Production Show, 1000 Steps, at 8:30.  It was good, but I’ m not up on my modern music, and not sure I care to be.  Good dancers, though.


For those of you who have been asking where I go next, that’s Buenos Aires to San Antonio, on Celebrity, December 23, with add-ons in BA and the Chilean Wine country.

If you want Asia, I don’t have one booked yet, but I have four exceptionally nice ladies from L.A. who are going, Shanghai to Singapore, also on Celebrity, in February.  I have been working with these gals for a few months, and they are all lovely.  They like to travel well, and they don’t quibble.  I have some pretty nice stuff lined up for them.  Read my own Asia blog from last February, to get the flavor.  They’d be happy to have a couple more people along to share private tours, etc.

Email me about either of these, or anything else you want.  I do work from at sea.  I just booked a cruise for clients today.