They are kicking us off the ship….I am not ready to go home

August 16, 2014  Boston, Massachusetts

Well this fantastic trip has come to an end.  We are not slated to leave until 9:30 am so we headed to breakfast about 7:30 or so.  One last omelet and raison roll to be eaten through the tears!  Can’t believe we have to get off today.  Our poor room stewards want our room, so about 9:00 we went to sit out on the couches by the gangway.  Interesting spot.  Two cattle call lines forming into one to get off the ship.  Some are in a hurry, others are not so some tempers flare.

Interesting side note…When you get to a day or two before the trip ends, all civility goes out the window.  Couples are arguing, people are line cutting and many pleasantries are gone.  Kind of funny to watch the metamorphosis. 

We were in no hurry as our flight did not leave Boston until 5:25 pm.  Once the line ended, we made our way kicking and screaming to the gangway.  Bruce, our Cruise Director, was there telling everyone goodbye and giving us all a Holland America Line hat/lapel pin.  It was a nice surprise.

Since we went through Border check prior to Bar Harbor you only had to hand a custom form to a man at the bottom of the gang way.  No passports required.  It was really fast.  Then grab your luggage and go.

They taxi line was extremely long.  Last time the city offered a free bus and they did again this time and only about 14 of us were on it.  If there is a big yellow bus opposite the taxi line check it out.  The driver puts your luggage underneath and gets it out for you.  It is a free bus service and all you have to do it tip him.

Thank goodness Logan airport has free internet.  We finally checked in at 1:25pm.  Headed through security and this security gave me a free pass again.  Stamped it as expedited and I went right through.  No shoes off, nothing.  They did snag both of our backpacks since we had the big things of cheese in them.

Flights were uneventful (thank goodness) and we got home about 9:00pm.  It was a long day.  Now it is back to reality.  The worst part is now having to know what day it is and what time it is.  I tend to lose my days on a ship.  It is more port or sea day not Monday or Tuesday.

Overall, this was a fantastic cruise.  The weather and ports were amazing.  The seas were calm; at times you did not even know you were on a ship.  The ship’s crew were as sweet as ever and I will miss them, especially Peter, our dining steward.  We have never had a dining steward like him before.  He spoiled us all.  We had the best Captain (Eric van der wal) and the best crew.  They were definitely a positive reflection of the Captain.

With that, I say thanks for coming along with us.  We totally enjoyed and if you have the opportunity to go on the Voyage of the Vikings, take it!!!

Bahrrrr Harbor, Maine ( a wonderful food day)

August 15, 2014  Bar Harbor, Maine

Partly cloudy, about 65 degrees

Bar Harbor is in the Down East region of Maine.  It is a premier summer resort town.  We will be sharing it today with the MS Maasdam.  That means this little town will be packed.  We all have to go through customs on the ship prior to grabbing a tender.  I am sure this will be a mess for while.  We don’t plan to get off til 11:00am or so.

The Customs process went quickly.  We headed off of the ship about 11ish.  Boy had Bar Harbor grown up in 3 years.  It has really changed.  I think I liked the sleepy little town it was before.  We are here at the height of vacation season and people are here from all over.

We walked all over and bought some maple syrup (which I will regret buying when I am trying to pack it.)  We went to the West St Café and had lunch.  We had one of the specials of cup of clam chowder, lobster roll, fries, slaw and blueberry pie, with an additional bowl of clam chowder and an order of fish and fries with slaw.  The clam chowder was some of the best that I have ever had.  The fish and lobster roll were yummy and the blueberry pie was fantastic.  It was heated with a scoop of ice cream.

We rolled out of there and wandered around town a little more before heading back.  It was time to tackle packing and it is done.  Nothing looks good on the menu tonight, I may have a PBJ!  Peter had the chef make me a cheeseburger.  It was so good.

We will hit the casino after dinner and call it an early night.  Southwest changed our flight so we do not leave until 5:30pm tomorrow.  Hope they have free internet at Boston Logan airport.

For one final teary time I bid you a good night from the beautiful and elegant MS Veendam.

Bar Harbor houses

Bar Harbor houses

The Maasdam is behind the island

The Maasdam is behind the island

More of Bar Harbor

More of Bar Harbor

Tender area

Tender area

lobster boat and pots

lobster boat and pots

Another bar harbor view

Another bar harbor view

Beautiful area

Beautiful area

Downtown

Downtown

Dads beer

Dads beer

Lobsters

Lobsters

Lobster roll

Lobster roll

fish and chips

fish and chips

The best clam chowder

The best clam chowder

Wonderful blueberry pie

Wonderful blueberry pie

Mom and Ari

Mom and Ari

Dad and Peter

Dad and Peter

Dad and his boys (Peter and Ari)

Dad and his boys (Peter and Ari)

 

 

 

Sea Day ( our last one!)

August 14, 2014  Sea Day

Partly Cloudy, sunrise 5:17am  sunset 7:52 pm

Last night we got a half hour back so now we just need one more hour before Boston.  We were up about 8:00am.  This morning was the Fiddlin Flapjack Breakfast.  The entertainers from last night were out by the pool with their fiddles and guitars playing while everyone was eating pancakes.  We went inside for an omelet and fresh hot of the griddle French toast.  Yum, I am going to miss that. 

At 9:00, it was Good Morning Veendam.  This morning it was Q&A with the Sr Staff.  It was the Captain, Hotel Mgr, Staff Captain, Chief Engineer and the Environmental Officer.  We had been advised in Norway that there was some chatter of terrorist attacks.  We found out today that they had put one of the loud sonic boom blasters out at the back of the ship just in case it was needed. It was very interesting and good questions were asked.

The rest of the day was spent reading, pre packing and just plain old being lazy.  Mom and I finished our books and returned them.  We hit happy hour to finish off our drink cards.

Dinner was formal which meant lobster for dad and rack of pork for mom and I.

Our show was Encore and of course was great.  This is one of the best shows Holland has.

We are rocking and rolling tonight on the MS Veendam.

St Johns, Newfoundland

August 13, 2014   St Johns, Newfoundland

Overcast, chance of showers, 60 degrees, sunrise 5:53am  sunset 8:16pm

St. John’s is the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador and the province’s largest city.  It is situated on the Avalon Peninsula and is the easternmost city in North America.  It is known as the place where the sun rises first.

We docked at St. Johns about 8:00am.  The big police horses and the huge Newfie was waiting for the guests.  We headed out after breakfast and headed over to Water Street.  If you want free internet, go to Starbucks, no password needed.  It is in the Water Street Center or Atlantic Center. 

After the internet fix, we headed down Water Street, past Tim Hortons to Nonia’s. It is a yarn and cross stitch store.  Mom bought a cross stitch kit.  From there we wandered around St. John’s and of course stopped at Tim Hortons.  Today was a bagel of day toasted with butter, 10 timbits, and a cinnamon roll.  Yes, we are all starting the 12 step program next week.  

We got back to ship about 1:15pm, all aboard was 2:30pm.  We went to the lido and hit up the Poutine Bar.  This a traditional Quebec dish made with French fried, brown gravy and  cheese curds.  (There are Poutine stands all over St. Johns.  Some are set up like food trucks that they call chip wagons.)  Our Poutine bar had traditional gravy, mushroom gravy, spicy meat gravy, shredded beef gravy and hamburger gravy.  They did not have cheese curds, just two types of shredded and bleu cheese.  They were served in baskets with paper or on plates, if you prefer.  I had mine with cheese and traditional poutine gravy.  It was good.

The Captain came on prior to leaving to let us know that as we left through the narrows (very narrow) the muskets would be shot off from Signal Hill.  This is where Cabot tower lies.  You could hear the muskets and see the flash.

After this we headed to the Culinary Center to see Barry form Boston (piano man) against Guitar soloist Bill in an episode of Chopped.  They both had a great time.  Bill was very laid back and Barry played to the crowd.  No one tasted what they cooked, but we all had fun.

We caught the end of happy hour.  We still have money on the drink cards we were given so we will need to hit it one more time.

Dinner was good.  We had parm crusted chicken and hot fudge sundaes.  The show tonight was a duo of girls from Nova Scotia doing Celtic music on the fiddle and piano.  One of them also played guitar.  We made it through 2 songs which sounded a lot alike.  They were long songs.

Hit the casino, won a little a then to bed.  Good night from the barely feels like we are moving MS Veedam.

Mom and the mounted police to greet us

Mom and the mounted police to greet us

Colorful house

Colorful house

up the street

up the street

St johns bay

St johns bay

Harbor

Harbor

Beautiful houses

Beautiful houses

The church in the background

The church in the background

They shot off the muskets as we left

They shot off the muskets as we left

Sunset as we leave

Sunset as we leave

 

St Anthony Newfoundland

August 12, 2014 St Anthony, Newfoundland

Partly Cloudy, 60 degrees  sunrise 5:53 sunset 8:40

Well we are back in North America.  No more sunset dinners.  Today we tendered into ST. Anthony. What a difference this trip.  This is called iceberg alley and in 2011 was filled with them.  Not a one here today.  We did pass some giant ones on our sail out.  The Captain kept his distance.

There is not much here and we have been here before.  Today we decided to venture into town and use the internet.  At the dock, the young man gave us a map told us it was a ten minute walk.  When you convert that to US time it is about 30-40 minutes.  So we hoofed it and finally made it.  Lots of gravel here and the roads are really dusty.

We passed the public library and headed on to Tim Horton’s.  We had our morning treat (and some helpful energy to get us back to the ship) but the internet was slow.  We headed back to the library for internet.  It did not open til 1:30 but we could access interest from the stairway and lobby downstairs.  I used it til my battery ran out.

We hoofed it back to the ship and got back about 1:15 pm.  We had some lunch and then hit the dessert tea at 2:30pm.  It was packed.  We grabbed some goodies and met dad in the lido.  I had a scone and cream and he had the rest.

Mom and I went to the cast chat with the singers and dancers.  They were very nice.  We only saw them in 4 production numbers and Encore (a tenor and soprano) twice.  This trip is like a paid vacation for them.  On a 7 day they do 3 production shows, Encore, Dancing with the Stars and a small number in the opening show.  They took us through the back stage area.  It is tight.

Dinner was interesting.  We had asked Peter for pepperoni pizza.  He said he forgot to place the order so we ordered off the menu.  Prime Rib for me and chicken for mom.  Peter brought that and then brought us Pizza and French fries.  Our table looked like a buffet.  Oh, dad had the liver.  I ate my prime rib and a piece of pepperoni pizza.  It was very good.  It was macadamia nut ice cream with chocolate sauce and extra macadamia nuts.

The Filipino Crew Show was at 9:30 pm.  It was good.  Leo our wine server was a featured singer and has a great voice.  Sunshine, our omelet maker and egg cooker was the dancer in bamboo sticks.  They were all so good.

Well, all the fresh air and walking tuckered us out.  We hit the hay about 10:15 pm.  Good night from the peaceful MS Veendam.

Stairs to top of lookout

Stairs to top of lookout

Tendering into St Anthonys

Tendering into St Anthonys

Waterfall on way to Tim Hortons

Waterfall on way to Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons donuts

Tim Hortons donuts

Bay in St Anthonys.

Bay in St Anthonys.

Dessert Tea treats

Dessert Tea treats

Sea Day

August 11, 2014 Sea Day

Partly cloudy, 54 degrees  sunrise 5:05am  sunset 8:40 pm

We turned the clocks back one half hour last night since we are heading to Newfoundland.  It was a lazy day.  Mom and I shared an omelet and fresh French toast hot off the grill for breakfast and she had her raisin bran and granola.  I spent the morning downloading pictures and editing them.

They had another tour to the provisions area and laundry today.  We did not go since we went last time.  There were quite a few people waiting to be taken down.

This afternoon there was a passenger talent show.  They were all very good.  Two women sang songs, one man did a song from Fiddler, a couple danced the cha-cha, an 11 yr old boy played the piano, an 11 year old girl sang an Adele song and an 11 year old girl did some Irish dancing.  The sign up was at 10am and the show was at 3pm.

Mac and cheese is on the menu for dinner along with corn soup.  Some interesting options.

Our show tonight is Forbidden Broadway again.  This is the other half of their show with different parodies than before.

We have a slight roll going on so we should sleep well.  Good night from the slightly rolling, MS Veedam.

Qaqortoq, Greenland

August 10, 2014  Qaqortoq, Greenland

Partly Cloudy, 43 degrees, sunrise 5:02  sunset 9:14pm

I don’t know who figures out our weather and sun rise and set times but boy are they off.  I was up at 4:00am and decided to see what was going on outside.  I threw a sweatshirt on over my sleep shorts and put on some sneakers and went out on deck.  The starboard side was a beautiful sunrise with icebergs in the area.  The port side still had the biggest full moon in the sky.  The pictures do not do it justice.

Finally got up about 8:00am and headed for breakfast.  I had an omelet and raisin toast.  Sunshine was working the grill and singing and he wanted to make me some fresh hot blueberry pancakes so I let him.  So what did mom have for breakfast you ask…..Part of my omelet, some of the blueberry pancake, a piece of raisin toast and a box of raisin bran with half a box a granola with 2% milk with apple juice.  She was a hungry bear this morning.

We had a tender day in Qaqortoq, Greenland.  It was a beautiful day.  It was a sunny day and sweatshirts were soon lost.  We have been here before.  Today was Sunday so many of the regular shops were closed.  They did have a souvenir shop, museum, bakery and grocery store open.

We wandered through town and down to be marina area.  There were some men and kids heading out fishing.  We headed over to the church.  From here it was across the bridge and to the new grocery store.  New to us as they were building it last time we were here.  They had about everything and a wonderful bakery area.  Of course, we could not pass it up.  We got a cinnamon roll which measured at least 10 inches across and at  least 2 inches high if not more.  It converted to $3.75 US.  They took US dollars.  I had some Euro coins left and they took them so I got dad 2 beers.  Since it is Sunday they can only sell light beer.  A light beer in Greenland means it is 2.2% alcohol.  It is a Danish beer since everything they get comes from Denmark.

Once we made it back to the ship we sat out on deck on read and napped out in the fresh air.

Tonights dinner is mac and cheese and blackened fish.  Peter brings me the menu each night for the next to see if there is anything else we would like.  Since the fish looked good I had him place an order for a couple of dishes of mac and cheese to go with it.  Yes we are spoiled.

Our show tonight is Rich Purpura a mind reader.  We will see.

Good night from the rocking MS Veendam.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Morning picture 4 am

Morning picture 4 am

What a sight

What a sight

Moon on the opposite side of the sunrise

Moon on the opposite side of the sunrise

Iceberg in harbor with us

Iceberg in harbor with us

Fishing boat

Fishing boat

Musk oxen pelts

Musk oxen pelts

Giant cinnamon roll

Giant cinnamon roll