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WCB

Stow Away with Bill & Mary Ann for 181 days on Amsterdam's So. Pacific & 2020 WC

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Greetings to our wonderful readers!

 

We are currently in a hotel near the Perth airport, planning on flying out this evening at 11pm.   As long as nothing gets cancelled, we should be OK.

Working on reports, which will follow soon.  Stay tuned.....

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Good to hear that you are in a hotel where you can rest until it is time for you to go to the airport for your flights.

 

Hope all goes well.

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Glad to hear that your journey home has begun. Hope you get well rested in the hotel and have a relaxing day.  Look forward to reading of your successful (ultimately, despite any "hiccups" which are now common) travels home.

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7 hours ago, WCB said:

Greetings to our wonderful readers!

 

We are currently in a hotel near the Perth airport, planning on flying out this evening at 11pm.   As long as nothing gets cancelled, we should be OK.

Working on reports, which will follow soon.  Stay tuned.....

 

Bill & Mary Ann

Well done & safe travels home folks.

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God bless and watch over you both!  

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15 hours ago, WCB said:

Greetings to our wonderful readers!

 

We are currently in a hotel near the Perth airport, planning on flying out this evening at 11pm.   As long as nothing gets cancelled, we should be OK.

Working on reports, which will follow soon.  Stay tuned.....

 

Bill & Mary Ann

Thanks for keeping in touch as you wait for your flight from Perth.  Good idea to stay at an airport hotel.  Hope none of your flights en route home get cancelled.  Looking forward to your next report, which should help pass the time. 

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Report #136    Kicked off.....   March 22, 2020   Sunday   Fremantle, Western Territory, Australia   Partly sunny & 83 degrees     Part #1 Of 1    51  Pictures

 

The final morning of this world cruise was not a happy one.  But joining our breakfast buddies was uplifting.  This hour or so every morning has turned into a great meeting place where we share everything we know.  First session was with Rich and Peg who made hotel and flight bookings ,only to have them be cancelled.  When he checked on re-booking, the flight  had gone up a lot.  Same with the hotel in Fremantle, which is really bad.  Dave and Linda, Mike and Nancy, and Leon and Sue had made their own bookings as well, except for one couple, who had purchased their air through HAL.  They stressed over the slowness that it took the company to complete their exit plans, but eventually they would get off in Fremantle, spend a night, then fly the following day.

 

As the morning advanced, the rumors were all over the place concerning changing conditions that the Australian government was imposing on foreign travelers, like all of us, to get home wherever that might be.  One such story was that if we took the ship’s $59 shuttle bus to the airport, we could be trapped there until our flights left.  This was not true.  Some folks actually cancelled hotels on that  rumor that restrictions were mandated that we could be made to stay inside our hotel rooms in any city.  That could mean that we were not allowed to leave our room, and we would have to order room service meals.  Again, not true, at least not yet.

 

Our fear, due to another false story, was that if we were trapped at the airport, we would have to spend two days there.  More rumors flew that there were no taxis at the airport to take us too our hotel.  So with all this uncertainty, we made the final decision to take the chance, with the advice of Jay at the front desk, to keep our bus transfer to the airport, and ignore the stories.

 

The window to debark today was from 8 to 11am, however, our purple tags were called around 9am, and we were the last group to leave for the day.  Announcements followed up to proceed immediately to the gangway.  The underlying feeling was that the situation could change at any moment, and our exit strategy would be for nothing.

 

By 9:30am, we were completely packed with our hand carry bags, and lined up with so many unhappy folks, that it was depressing.  Captain Mercer, many officers, and crew members were standing in a line on deck three as we all filed off on the gangway.  There was even music and crew cheering as we left the ship.  Truthfully, it seemed to make matters worse.

 

Since we only had hand bags, and did not need to retrieve luggage, we left the terminal with only handing off our Australian landing cards to an official.  Since we had cleared the country in Sydney, and never strayed into international waters, we did not have to go through customs again. 

 

Once outside, we were torn as to should we go on the bus, or take a taxi?  There were four coaches waiting, and only one taxi I sight.  No-brainer for us, we took the bus, and glad we did.  Friends Mike and Pauline were going on that coach, so it was nice to join them for the 50 minute ride.  Pauline joked that this was going to be our “safari” ride to the hotel instead of the real ones we had planned in Africa.  One of the biggest complaints we were hearing today was the charge for this coach.  Undoubtedly, we will all add this to the expense list for re-imbursement that they promised…maybe. 

 

We got to the Perth Airport at 10:40am, where everyone got off the bus.  Some had a whole lot of luggage…like everything they had brought with them.  And there were no trolleys anywhere to be found.  More friends, Don and Jenny, arrived on the next bus.  They had a late flight and will roam the airport all day.  They have also decided to quit sailing on long cruises.  In fact, never again.  Believe us, after the stress of this experience, many long time HAL travelers will call it quits. 

 

After sharing final hugs and handshakes, and yeah, a few tears, we went outside and located a long line of taxi drivers.  The first indication we had that the coronavirus has plagued this part of Australia, was when the friendly driver opened the back hatch of his car, and informed us that he was not allowed to touch our bags, and we had to put them in the car ourselves.  Then he said we had to ride in the back seats, which we do anyway.  Before he took off, he pulled out a can of Australia’s version of Lysol, spraying every vent in the car.  He apologized, but we understand completely. He did not wear a mask and gloves.

 

We knew the hotel was located within 10 minutes of the airport, but we could not help but notice our driver proceeded with extreme caution, going 20 mph tops.  Worried he was going to charge us way too much, it ended up being the equivalent of $20.  Believe us, it was worth every penny, although we were subjected to his ramblings on politics and why this is all happening. 

 

This hotel was located in a suburb called Belmont, and not like being in downtown Perth.  Frankly, we were in no mood for a Ritz Carlton, and we found this hotel much to our liking.  At least we found out that we were not restricted to being locked up in the room, and we were free to walk outside. 

 

At the front desk, our reservation was in their system, but we also had to give them our credit card.  To our surprise, the agent asked for us to read her the numbers, because she was not allowed to touch the card.  Wow, her associate used a Purell tissue to take the card and copy the numbers.  They did ask where e have traveled in the last 14 days, which was in Australia.  Then we were shown our room on the upper level, complete with a balcony facing the pool.  We also added our names to their free shuttle to the airport tomorrow.

 

The room was perfect, and even had a kitchenette with a refrigerator, freezer, microwave, toaster, and an invected set of burners.  There was also a sink and cooking utensils.  The only thing missing was a safe.  There was internet here, of course, but we had one huge problem.  We had failed to bring the adapter, having transferred it to the shipped luggage in order to lighten our load.  Certainly the hotel concierge would have a loner, but they did not.  They did try to give us ones that worked with phones, but not for the computer.  They suggested that we might locate one across the road, so that was a good plan.

 

We noticed that there were a few strip malls that included gas stations, casual restaurants, and some small businesses.  There were two good choices like a 7-11 and a mini shop at the gas station.  But when we looked for the adapter, there were none.  Guess we will have to use the computer sparingly, and hope the battery will hold up.  The most important thing was being able to track our flight  and send a few short emails. 

 

There were many cafes and eateries here like Hungry Jacks, Dominos Pizza, and McDonalds.  A few of them had customer dining inside, but most of the rest had take-out only.   We did pick up some water, sodas, and snacks.  The best treat was a package of Tim Tams.

 

Relaxing at the pool, we took the time to write this report, wishing we had room to have packed our swimsuits.  The lounges were so comfortable, we did not want to move.  It was a hot day, but in the shade, it was OK.  Getting a second surge of energy, we decided to take another walk across the street to another mini shop.  Still having no luck with the adapter, we bought a few more snacks, and discovered the vendor did not take coins.  Gosh, we are beginning to feel like pariahs.  Honestly, we are not ill, but these days no one trusts that.

 

It was time for dinner, and guess what?  We did not have to dress up.  We stayed at the hotel and dined in their Firehouse Restaurant.  There were signs showing that we had to be spaced apart, not sitting close together.  After we enjoyed a shared salad and two cheeseburgers with fries, we wandered outside for a walk around the pool area.  That’s when we spotted a couple from the ship that we remembered from the 1012 world cruise.  We chatted with them for a while before retiring for the evening.  They had some more stories to share, which we will go into tomorrow.  It was a long day, and we expect the same tomorrow.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

 

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Report #137   Day Two in Perth, Australia   March 23, 2020   Monday   Sunny and 90 degrees      Part#1 Of 1      63  Pictures

 

Up at the crack of dawn, we went to breakfast at the hotel’s café around 8am.  Posted on the door was the new norm called social-distancing, showing a picture of two people standing at arm’s length of 6 feet apart.  The same applied to the tables, where we were seating far away from the few guests that were already there.  They had a nice buffet set-up, but we decided against it, only because we did not know how many other hands had been in the food.  Actually, that has been a concern of ours for years, especially on the ships.  Lidos are fine, but only if they do not have self-service.

 

Their meals were ample.  One of us ordered the French toast with bacon, and the other had a breakfast sandwich.  Orange juice and coffee was self-served.  It took a minute to figure out their fancy coffee brewer, and one of us ended up with a cappucchino.  That could easily become a bad habit.  We also ran into Jeff and his wife once again.  They will be flying out on the 24th, but really wished they could get out sooner.  We all agreed it was nice to have this country hotel to relax at before we headed into the ant’s nest of big airports and crowds.

 

The friendly waitress informed us that the inside seating of their restaurant would be closed for the remainder of the day, and indefinitely.  We would be able to get meals through room service and dine in our rooms or at their outdoor patio area.  We could see the disappointment on her face, as she will soon be out of a job.

 

We needed some exercise, so we did what we do best   -   walk.  Crossing the highway, we walked on the side of the street where most of the trees were.  We discovered that a tributary of the Swan River had been hidden behind the grove of trees, and there was even a walkway around the shoreline.  Of course, we headed down there to discover many birds.  Gosh, this was right up our alley, and you know what?   Even for the short time we were here, it took our minds off of this terribly unbelievable situation worldwide. 

 

Getting away from the busy highway, we found a series of park benches under the canopy of sycamores, acacias, and their ever-so-famous eucalyptus trees.  It turned out to be a very sunny day here, but sitting in the shade of the trees was pleasant.  Many locals were here strolling with their dogs or kids.  And we did see birds like moorhens, magpie larks, pied crows, doves, an ibis, and one cormorant.  Last but not least, we saw an Australian pelican giving us a pose for a great photo.  

 

Making our way to the end of the walkway, we found a small boat marina and multi-storied apartments and condos.  We had back-tracked almost all the way back to the hotel.  Even though this hotel was not the Ritz,  it was a perfect fit for us.  Relaxing at the pool with our feet in the water, we realized that we should change our shuttle ride from 8pm to 7pm, just in case the airport was busy.

 

The “masked” shuttle driver was waiting by 7pm, transporting six of us.  It was exactly a 10 minute ride.  We had enough time at the airport to locate an adapter to buy, so now we could charge the computer while waiting.  And we also had time to find something to eat, since we did not feel like a big meal at the hotel.  None of the eat-in restaurants at the airport were open for diners.  Only fast food style places were doing business as usual.  Only one outlet offered pizza, so naturally we ordered a Margherita to go.  Sure tasted good too.  We needed to spend the rest of our coins, and they did accept them at the pharmacy for some snacks. 

 

Our flight from Perth to Sydney was scheduled to depart at 11pm.  But due to delays, we did not board until close to midnight.  At least we had booked business class seats, which is something we rarely do.  This flight was 4 hours and 10 minutes, but not so painful in the “cave-like” seats that made into a real bed.  We were served beverages and a light snack before the lights were turned off.  There was a three hour time change by the time we arrived to Sydney, so right before the plane landed, we were served a breakfast.  With a good TV, we tended to watch movies, instead of sleeping.  Cat-napping was as good as it got.  There is more, but we will save the rest for tomorrow’s report.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

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It sounds like you are making the best of a very difficult situation, and something no one could have ever expected when you set out.  

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Thank you for continuing to share your trip. Hopefully you get home safely!

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WCB said

It was time for dinner, and guess what?  We did not have to dress up.  We stayed at the hotel and dined in their Firehouse Restaurant.  There were signs showing that we had to be spaced apart, not sitting close together.  After we enjoyed a shared salad and two cheeseburgers with fries, we wandered outside for a walk around the pool area.  That’s when we spotted a couple from the ship that we remembered from the 1012 world cruise.  We chatted with them for a while before retiring for the evening.  They had some more stories to share, which we will go into tomorrow.  It was a long day, and we expect the same tomorrow.

 

I know Hal has an older demographic but 1012 wow. Was it on a greecian trireeme. Did you have to man an oar. Safe journey home.

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Hoping that Bill & Mary Ann made it home safely and are just catching up on laundry and other house chores, rather than being stuck in Sydney airport where their story last left off. Feel like this is a "cliff-hanger"! Eagerly awaiting the next installment--of course, when you are recovered from jet lag, etc.

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Hey guys. Hope you got back safe and sound. Peg and I just got in last night after Perth to Sydney, Sydney to Dallas, Dallas to Tampa and then collapsing at home. Very weird trip with airports being empty except for stressed out folks trying to get home.

 

Don't know if I ever had your email and not sure how to give you ours over this public site. If you know of a way let us know otherwise, it was great seeing you again this year and hopefully we'll meet again.

 

Rich and Peg.

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I'll take a shot at this.  If you go to their blog:

 

https://cruisingwithbillandmaryann.blogspot.com/

 

Go to the bottom of the latest post and you will see something about x comments.  Click on that and send them a comment.  I'm pretty sure if you put a comment there Bill and Mary Ann will get your email address.  You could also subscribe to their blog, that should work as well.

 

Roy

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40 minutes ago, Fred321 said:

Hey guys. Hope you got back safe and sound. Peg and I just got in last night after Perth to Sydney, Sydney to Dallas, Dallas to Tampa and then collapsing at home. Very weird trip with airports being empty except for stressed out folks trying to get home.

 

Don't know if I ever had your email and not sure how to give you ours over this public site. If you know of a way let us know otherwise, it was great seeing you again this year and hopefully we'll meet again.

 

Rich and Peg.

They posted on Tuesday about 1pm from LAX as they were awaiting their flight to SFO. It’s post #47 on the returning Amsterdam passenger topic, sorry I cannot post the link from my iPad. Hope you connect with them through their blog.

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Posted (edited)

Bill and Mary Ann arrived home last night. 
 

Cheers, Denise 

Edited by dchip

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Greeting fellow readers.....

 

We arrived home after 6pm on Tuesday, after an 8 hour lay over in LAX.  Just what we needed, right?  At least we had use of the American Admiral's Club, which was very nice.  We had good food and fast internet while waiting. 

Working on the next report when we are "un-jet-lagged".    Stay tuned.....

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

PS  Yes, it was not 1012, but 2012.  That's what happens when one is beyond tired.

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Glad you are safely home. Staying tuned for the next report when you have had time to to relax and get on California time.

 

Mary

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, WCB said:

Greeting fellow readers.....

 

We arrived home after 6pm on Tuesday, after an 8 hour lay over in LAX.  Just what we needed, right?  At least we had use of the American Admiral's Club, which was very nice.  We had good food and fast internet while waiting. 

Working on the next report when we are "un-jet-lagged".    Stay tuned.....

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

PS  Yes, it was not 1012, but 2012.  That's what happens when one is beyond tired.

 

Just happy to see you are home safe. That you had the energy to post is appreciated

 

Mike

Edited by old mike

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2 hours ago, WCB said:

Greeting fellow readers.....

 

We arrived home after 6pm on Tuesday, after an 8 hour lay over in LAX.  Just what we needed, right?  At least we had use of the American Admiral's Club, which was very nice.  We had good food and fast internet while waiting. 

Working on the next report when we are "un-jet-lagged".    Stay tuned.....

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

PS  Yes, it was not 1012, but 2012.  That's what happens when one is beyond tired.

Bravo! What a relief, except sorry to say you returned to a nightmare.

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4 hours ago, WCB said:

Greeting fellow readers.....

 

We arrived home after 6pm on Tuesday, after an 8 hour lay over in LAX.  Just what we needed, right?  At least we had use of the American Admiral's Club, which was very nice.  We had good food and fast internet while waiting. 

Working on the next report when we are "un-jet-lagged".    Stay tuned.....

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

PS  Yes, it was not 1012, but 2012.  That's what happens when one is beyond tired.

Welcome Home, Bill and Mary Ann, 

WOW 8hour layover in LAX - good that you had use of Lounge.  I think on long haul flights with long layovers, use of the lounge is almost as good as the business class flight.  (I had 11 hour layover in Helsinki once.  It was wonderful.  They even had sleeping pods, but that was a step too far for me.)  

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