I joined the “Amsterdam” again, yesterday, yet another World cruise beckons, a circumnavigation of the globe; 32,500 nautical miles, 38 ports of call and 113 days.
Many guests will do the entire cruise, whilst others will do ‘segments’; parts of the voyage which appeal to them, for example, Port Everglades, Florida to Sydney, Australia or Sydney to Hong Kong. In other words, one has choices.
The World cruise Captain does not change, so I will be doing the entire circumnavigation, a long time when one considers the work and the hours involved, however it is the epitome of the Navigator’s art, one uses all the experience gained over the years and then some; isolated islands and bustling ports always provide challenges.
We Captains do all our own ship-handling, probably the most rewarding of my many responsibilities and certainly the most enjoyable. Imparting knowledge to up-and-coming officers is always a satisfying experience. I have on occasion seen an officer handle a ship and realised that they are going to be a ‘natural’, they have a feel for the ship and how it will behave in varying conditions.
Port Everglades, Florida is where our cruise began yesterday. Most guests from the repositioning cruise, (west coast U.S.} to Florida disembark, however a handful continue with us for the World.
The weather in the northern states has affected flights, delaying those who did not have the foresight or time to arrive in Florida early and they join in a steady flow instead of en masse. We have stores and baggage to load, vast amounts of both. Fortunately, our sailing time was set for 11 p.m., which theoretically gave us plenty of time to achieve the tasks. Even so, at sailing time, I was informed that guests were still en route and close enough to make the ship, were I to wait. The thought of a guest having to watch from the pier as the ship sailed is always at the back of my mind, particularly after such grueling travel conditions and the last couple make the ship at 11:30; the gangway is brought in, lines let go and we’re on our way.
I write as we make our way towards Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, where we are scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. We are making a leisurely16 knots, (about 18 mph, or 29kph). Over on our starboard side are the southerly keys of Florida and ahead of us, the western tip of Cuba.
All being well, when I have posted this, my geo-tag plug-in should show you our position. Working with the WordPress ‘front end’ of a blog has been a learning experience and I am still discovering new tricks; hopefully it will improve as time (and experience goes by).