HOLLAND AMERICA CRASS AGAIN! On Tuesday 11th April The Daily Navigator stated on the front cover “Happy Passover”. That evening they had a Passover Dinner. The Cantor did his thing. Our Jewish friends were all very complimentary about it. After dinner that evening I sat outside and listened to their chat. There were cigars and…


On Tuesday 11th April The Daily Navigator stated on the front cover “Happy Passover”. That evening they had a Passover Dinner. The Cantor did his thing. Our Jewish friends were all very complimentary about it.
After dinner that evening I sat outside and listened to their chat. There were cigars and laughter all around. The cuisine was apparently excellent.
Today, Friday 14th April, Good Friday, the cover of The Daily Navigator was little more than simply crass. “Friday April 14th 2017. Good Friday. AT SEA. Tonights dress. Gala attire”
Gala attire? This is the day our Christ was crucified. There was no mention in the Daily Navigator for those of the passengers who were Roman Catholic. They have mass EVERY Sunday. There was no other mention of any other service for our Catholic friends.
Nor was there any mention of any kind of service for our interdenominational friends. (Which includes ourselves.)
This, in spite of the statement in the WELCOME brochure that “An Interdenominational service is conducted each Sunday and on appropriate religious holidays.”
What did we get? We got “Tonights Dress, Gala Attire”.
There was mention of some kind of ‘Bible Study’ at 2.30pm. Not a single mention of any kind of service to commemorate the crucifixion of Our Lord.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m personally a Buddhist, but there are many many quite aged people on this ship who are not. They deserve better.
I took it upon myself to go to the front desk to issue a complaint on behalf of the many on this ship who commemorate Good Friday in contemplation and prayer. Could the company not have suggested instead of “Gala Dress” which is entirely offensive, “Formal Dress”. Crass is company policy on this shipping line.
I have to say that the young Filipino gentleman on the front desk, as I made my complaint made no attempt to hide his own shock and singular offense at this utterly crass attitude. He was a young Catholic, and fully understood my quiet ire at the company.
The Zaandam had a Rabbi/Cantor on board. A Volunteer and unpaid. There is a Chaplain. (Volunteers.) What is the problem? Can’t they even begin to understand that many many of the older people on board this ship commemorate the crucifixion or Our Lord?
It will be interesting to see what happens on Easter Sunday, when He was resurrected!
I will keep you posted.

This afternoon we sat and watched the lines of traditional C of E and ‘other’ traditionalists trying to find something to eat. There were some rather floppy fish fillets that looked entirely unappetizing. There were few takers. Most settled for an egg and lettuce sandwich and a bowl of fruit salad.
And so…. Bible studies at 2.30 in the Wajang Theatre on deck 4. Our Chaplains, Nathan and Cindy were nice people. Dedicated, but evangelical. Not the traditionalists we had hoped for. We stayed around and listened to a very interesting talk from Nathan, followed by prayers. It wasn’t what we needed, and there was a sense of emptiness even after talking for a good twenty minutes with Nathan. Cindy helped. Oh! Look! They were nice people. Very nice people, and completely dedicated. But tradition was not a part of their way. They were very Texan. Very American. Very evangelical.
We made our point. They apologized, but honestly there was really nothing they could do. Holland America has cut their staff numbers. There is no longer a traditional Chaplain on board to hold services.  Holland America has cut more than these simple services. The crew have been cut to the bone, and there is no longer any cohesion. Cindy and Nathan too, were shocked to hear that the C of E, Methodist, and Calathumpians were trotting from one side of the servery to the other in a constant line dance, looking for some worthy sustenance.
The problem now with Holland America is that crew are deserting a ‘sinking ship,’ pun intended, and going to the better quality cruise lines like Crystal etc. (Thirty six days on the Zaandam became Hell itself after day fourteen.)  It makes sense to them. They don’t have to work so hard because they are short-handed. (Some work a full seven days, though this would not be admitted officially.) The ships are smaller and this makes for smaller gratuities. Many of the other lines do not charge gratuities extra, but include them in the price of the cruise. Holland America charge for beverages, alcohol (expensive) and don’t forget the twelve dollars a day per person gratuities. (You can opt out and pay the people you want to later.) They charge a service charge for your wine in the restaurant. But that’s another blog!
On the whole, Good Friday was a dreadful disappointment. We looked forward to a few rousing choruses of “Immortal Invisible God Only Wise” and “He Who Would Valiant Be.” Finishing with a swaying “For Those In Peril On The Sea.” That, after a quiet sermon from Mark 23. (Look it up! Stop asking me to give you chapter and verse!)
Oh well, let’s just see what Easter Sunday brings.

Good Friday April 14th 2017 Graham Whittaker.

Author: grahamwhittaker
What do I call myself? A novelist? A journalist? Writer on demand? Copywriter? Ghostwriter? Poet? Is there a single word to describe all these things? if anyone knows one please tell me. I started out life as a journalist after my service time in the RN. I was 22. My love then was music writing, contributing articles to most of the pop/rock magazines of the time. As time went by I ghostwrote biographies for celebs, wrote novels, and made a general living from writing everything from love letters to translating menus in China to acceptable English. I have written greetings cards, manuals, How to books on so many subjects I forget. My living has been as a writer on demand. So, my blog is an eclectic collection of HOW MY BRAIN WORKS. Recently I started writing blogs for company blogs. In my retirement I find myself writing more, about more subjects than I ever covered as a roving journalist. I ask myself why having reached the age of leisure why I am now busier than ever before! If you have a blog, or a job to offer, I'm an obsessive researcher and turnaround time is fast. Yes, I know, I'm a HACK. A writer for money. A gun for hire. But hey... we all have our failings. Thanks for calling in. Feel free to chat and comment. I'll even get back to you with a thank you note!

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