The last day aboard the Veendam

ABOARD the MS VEENDAM — Decisions are difficult on the last day of a cruise – perhaps especially so on just a week-long experience. With all that packing for the airplane to do, should we also take another shore excursion? There are new friends to say goodbye to, remember. Do we go to the final performance in the showroom? What are we going to wear tomorrow? And that ever-present dilemma: If we accidentally pack the wrong thing – …

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Thursday aboard the Veendam

ABOARD the MS VEERDAM — Our ship has arrived in Halifax as scheduled, on Thursday, and for the first time on this short cruise, Sara and I decided not to go ashore. We have been to Halifax before, on a Crystal cruise from Europe and Iceland-Greenland. And on Wednesday evening we related some of our Nova Scotia experiences for the benefit for a few of our shipmates. Nevertheless, taking a cruise is not all shore excursions. The …

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Tuesday and Wednesday aboard the Veendam

ABOARD the MS VEERDAM —  Here we are on Wednesday evening, looking back on two shore excursions in as many days — one exciting and one a little less so. Yesterday, Tuesday, first found us at the dock in Charlottetown, the gateway to Prince Edward Island, also known apparently as “Potatoland.” This we decided to explore on a guided tour and learned, among other things, that there are dozens of kinds of potatoes and that the best …

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Monday aboard the Veendam

ABOARD the MS VEERDAM —  It’s Monday. June 9, and back home the world is probably beginning just another work week. Cruisers aboard our floating playground are enjoying a single “sea day” on the Gulf of St. Lawrence on their way toward exploring Canada’s Maritime Provinces. On Saturday, we boarded the ship in Quebec City, a lively center of Canada’s French-speaking population. Unlike larger and more well-known Montreal, this storybook town seems to have dedicated itself to …

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Friday in Quebec

QUEBEC  CITY,  Quebec I flew into this French Canadian City this morning – a place I ‘ve never been before — and ran into an old friend: Holland-America’s 18-year-old cruise ship, the Veendam. Of course this veteran vessel has been upgraded a lot over the years. In 2012, I enjoyed virtually every minute of a two-week South America cruise aboard the same ship  I can see it now as I write from my high-floor room at the …

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Anticipation – it’s the same in French!

For me, at least, an essential element of a cruise vacation is simply the anticipation of the adventure. I’ve been experiencing this thrill again in advance of my June cruise which begins in Quebec City, Canada. My wife and I will be on board an old friend, Holland-America’s good ship Veendam. In 2012, I took the same vessel on a two-week cruise around the southern tip of South America, from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina, covering …

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Buenos Aires-Where I live, in northern California, it’s almost winter. The trees are ablaze with fall colors, and there’s a cool snap in the air. But here in B.A, of course, it’s almost summer, and amid all the green, the jacaranda trees color both the branches and ground below them with bright purple blossoms. The mediodia temperatures are in the 80s. Walking the streets, we feel the occasional drop of water on our head and shoulders. That’s …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: Montevideo by Geezer Bus

ABOARD THE ms VEENDAM–Yesterday, Sunday, was a sea day, always a experience in individual self-discovery. Everyone made themselves busy with ship activities or their own projects as we sailed from Puerto Madryn toward Montevideo, Uruguay. I for one discovered that I was not in good enough physical condition for the shore excursion I had booked for today: “Montevideo Architecture & Old Town” had a graphic symbol with three hikers alongside the description – triple difficulty – yikes, …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: Puerto Madryn, my hero

I have to admit that I never heard of Puerto Madryn before this cruise. But it will be forever remembered now as the place where I got my smile back. Harking back to the day we were traversing the Chilean fjords, you may recall that a large cap on my front tooth suddenly decided dislodge itself in my stateroom when I was doing nothing more vigorous than typing on my laptop. For one reason or another, I …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: Ushuaia and Cape Horn

ABOARD THE MS VEENDAM– Okay, I have to admit it. I missed Cape Horn, both visibly and audibly this morning. I was tired from yesterday’s excursion at Ushuaia, and still sound asleep at around 7 a.m. when they tell me captain blew the ship’s horn when we were at Cape Horn. This also marked the southernmost point on the cruise. (So I am including here a photo of Cape Horn which I took a few years ago …

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