VOV: Pre-Cruise Thoughts

Map of Holland America Voyage of Vikings cruise route.

So excited for our upcoming cruise! It is another bucket-list trip that has been postponed since 2020. We were fortunate earlier this year to take another one of our postponed cruises – Hawaii & South Pacific Islands and had a wonderful time. If this one is even half as good as that one was, it will be a great cruise.

We are heading north this time on the Holland America (HAL) Zaandam. Holland America calls this itinerary the Voyage of the Vikings (VOV) cruise, and I have wanted to take this cruise ever since I stumbled across the itinerary many years ago. What makes it so special to me? I don’t really know.

I am not a Viking historian or fanatic, nor have I ever seen any of the popular Vikings TV series. But I do like the Viking character on the TV show “Ghosts” so there’s that. I am also not a huge fan of cold weather but some of my favorite places that we have visited (Alaska; Scotland-Ireland) have been very chilly. So, once again, I am packing the rain gear, layering up, and slipping feet warmers into my tennis shoes – ready to travel.

Maybe it’s the chance to see Puffins again. I love those funny-looking birds. I tried to get a photo of them in both Alaska and in Scotland. They would be floating so perfectly on the water and as soon as I got ready to snap – splash – they dove into the water. I never got a photo of them – just photos of blurry black blobs. On this trip, there are a number of excursions that include bird watching and have specifically mentioned Puffins. I have a good feeling about my chances for success this time.

But, whatever the reason, I am really looking forward to visiting Maine, the east coast of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and Norway for the first time. I think the scenery will be amazing. I’m also excited to be able to re-visit Boston, the Netherlands, Dublin, Ireland and Scrabster, Scotland. I do hope we have more dry days than rainy days but according to the long-range forecast I may be out of luck.

We have cruised on the Zaandam twice before – both times to Alaska. Holland America designates it as an R-class ship, and it can hold approximately 1400 guests. The R-class ships are now the smallest in HAL’s fleet. The cruise line sold all of its S-class ships which held 1200 guests and the Prinsendam which held 900.

Holland America ship Zaandam docked in Alaska
Zaandam in Alaska

I like the small size of the ship as it is very easy to go from one spot on the ship to another. I wonder what types of music venues it will have. I only remember the Ocean Bar band. I don’t know if in the last two years they were able to add the BB King Lounge or not. I hope so. What is kind of disappointing is that I know they won’t have the Rolling Stone Rock & Roll Room that the Rotterdam IV has. It is definitely my favorite music venue on the HAL ships.

We still have COVID protocols that will have to be followed. I have the Verifly app and the ArrivCanada app loaded on my phone so I can enter the required information when it’s time to do so. I will pack masks and hand sanitizers. And, worst-case scenario, I will also bring entertainment items just in case one or both of us gets quarantined. I had the same items with us in Hawaii and thankfully never needed them.

Photo of coloring book, crossword book, and playing cards for use in quarantine if needed.

Packing is my Waterloo. I guess I will do what I did the last time. Pack everything I want to take and then weigh my suitcase. I will then start culling items until my suitcase is under 50 pounds.

A change this trip is that there will be no snorkeling excursions, so I don’t have to dedicate my carry-on to snorkel equipment. I can use it for packing clothes and shoes, if needed. (Who am I kidding, of course they will be needed). Add the backpack for electronics and other essentials and this pack mule is ready to travel.

Boston – ready or not, here we come!

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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