Day 37, Tuesday, April 1, Board MS Amsterdam, Cape Town

The Crystal Symphony is in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Walvis Bay to Luanda, Angola.

I dug out my alarm clock and set it for 5AM. At that time it was very dark and a bit of a chill. Packing and repacking seems to be a neverending affair, but I was pretty well set when game drive time came at 6:30. Coffee was served before the drive and extra blankets were on hand to fight the morning chill.

Our safari vehicle was still pretty full but a couple less people than yesterday. Aquila apparently has no leopards running free, and Yanney started things off by taking us across the highway to the rehab pens. One leopard was near the front, walking around as if on the prowl. A second was in a more restricted cage a bit further back and with a shelter. He was on the roof of the shelter with about a 2-pound chunk of animal in his mouth, but retreated into the shelter when we approached.

As we left the rehab center for the open range the sun was starting to come out behind us leaving a pretty reddish glow to the hills in front of us. Our game drive was shorter and less productive today, but we saw more antelope and buffalo and a wildebeest for the first time. The lions were less active than yesterday, and seemed to be longingly eyeing an animal roaming on slopes in the adjacent range. We returned to the lodge and breakfast about 8AM.

Checkout time was at 10 but our transportation back to Cape Town was “between 12 and 1”. I checked email for a while and was glad I had left my Kindle in my carryon. As 1PM drew close our ride was not yet here but one of the couples returning to Cape Town reported they had no trouble getting lunch. The remaining 3 of us headed off to the restaurant. The restaurant was quite busy as a group on a HAL shore excursion had just arrived. I was just starting desert when the report came that our driver was here.

We left Aquila a little after 1. I was booked to return to the V&A Hotel, but my driver kindly agreed to drop me at the port. With a comfort stop and dropping the 2 couples off at their hotels, I arrived at the dock about 3:40. I’m not sure how it was handled for most people, but by the time I arrived there was no checkin in the terminal. I showed my passport and ticket at the gangway and was directed to the showroom at sea. I was on the way to my cabin by 3:50.

There were a couple of hiccups, one of my own doing. There was no “On Location” in the room, and perhaps I’m a bit too Crystallized but I was expecting a card with my dining assignment. A visit to the front desk got me the daily bulletin and the staff reminded me that my dining data is on my keycard. My waitlisted request for early seating was confirmed.

It would probably have been safe to do some walking at Aquila, but I didn’t do it. I headed for the Lower Promenade deck and found that a section was roped off as one of the tender/lifeboats (mine, actually) was partially lowered. I made 3 round trips between the roped off areas, about a 1.5-mile walk. By the time the walk was over it was after 5 and time to prepare for my 5:30 dinner. My suitcases were still mostly packed. On the way to the dining room I ran into my room steward Rifqi (along with Heri). The room is set as a queen bed and I requested that it be reconfigured as twins to make it easier to see out the window. With all my luggage still on the bed we agreed it could be done tomorrow.

Table 129 is a 6-top, near center aft, with a big picture window that today looks out on a group of scrungy cargo sheds. My dining steward, Fremin indicated that the others were on a late tour so it was just me. The citrus salad, chilled soup, and chicken marsala were all excellent, and it was a quick 1-hour meal.

I organize most of my packing using cubes and after dinner I just put the cubes in the closet unopened. I have a lot more unpacking to do tomorrow. The room suits me quite well; I enjoy having the full bath.
I think many people have late tours today and the presentation in the show lounge was a movie.

As today’s parting shot, it almost escaped me that today is April Fools Day. I hope all the pranks you encountered were good and kind ones.


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