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 …

Read moreThursday aboard the Veendam

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 …

Read moreTuesday and Wednesday aboard the Veendam

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 …

Read moreMonday aboard the Veendam

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 …

Read moreFriday in Quebec

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 …

Read moreAnticipation – it’s the same in French!

An Epic Production

AT SEA IN THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN: I’m writing this after an exhaustive search for an afternoon quiet zone aboard NCL’s super-ship called the Epic. Sometimes a sanctuary can be found in, of all places, a disco named Bliss, which saves its major frenzy for the hours immediately before and after midnight. During the day, however, it can be a peaceful haven for a minority of book readers. That is, unless the disco’s two-lane bowling alley is in …

Read moreAn Epic Production

Rounding the Horn of South America on the MS Veendam

In the 19th and early 20th centuries the safest way to get from the U.S. East Coast to the West Coast was to sail around the tip of South America. “Rounding the Horn,” they called it, referring to the often rough and dangerous passage for sailing ships via the island promontory called Cape Horn. Prospectors from the east chose clipper ships to make it to the California Gold Rush. Commercial shipping, too, continued to use the difficult …

Read moreRounding the Horn of South America on the MS Veendam

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 …

Read moreHappy Thanksgiving!

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, …

Read moreAboard the ms Veendam: Montevideo by Geezer Bus

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 …

Read moreAboard the ms Veendam: Puerto Madryn, my hero

CLOSE
CLOSE