VOV: Disembarkation & Traveling Home

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Below are photos of some of our favorite crew members. We hope we can sail with them again. They made our cruise very special. We will be sure to mention them specifically in the HAL survey that we will get once we get home.

We decided to go to the main dining room for dinner. We shared a table with two other couples who we’ve dined with before. Like us, they talked about how great this cruise has been and future ones that have been booked. I chose the lamb shank for my main course.

The main stage show was one of the BBC nature movies with the Ocean Bar band providing the backdrop music. Since we had seen the movie before, we went back to the Ocean bar and listened to the Ocean Bar leader singer perform with the Ocean Bar pianist.

It was soon time to call it a night and put our luggage into the hallway.

I had a very restless night. I finally just got up at 5:30 as we were pulling into the port. We were completely docked by 6:00. I was glad the Captain had been correct that we would still make it to Boston on time.

We went to the Lido at 6:30. It was very crowded which I expected. People did have the option to eat in the main dining room but unless you had the latest immigration / disembarkation time, you might not get to finish your meal if the service ended up being slow.

The Cruise Director started calling the different groups to the Immigration/Customs station at 7:15. US Citizens had to go to the main stage area on the 4th floor. Everyone else had to report to the dining room area on the 5th floor.

Our group was called at 7:45. The line to the main stage area snaked all the way down the hallway on the 4th floor. Guest Services staff had to keep people from breaking the line and directing them to the end. I was glad that they were there. I have been on a couple of cruises, (different cruise line), where the disembarkation process just got out of hand and nobody from the cruise line took control.

We brought our room key and our passport as instructed. We presented them to the US Customs official. He looked at them, looked at us, and said “Welcome Back.” A Guest Services person punched a hole in the corner of our room key to show that we had met with Customs. All done.

We went back to the room to gather our carry-on bags and our backpacks. Knowing the room stewards wanted to get in and start deep cleaning our room for the next guests, we took our bags to the 4th floor and found some seats near the elevators.

Our group was called at 8:15 to disembark. We went to the third floor and got in that long line to make our final exit from the ship. Once we made it out of the ship, the next challenge was to find our checked bags in the sea of baggage.

The baggage handlers do put the bags in the area that matches your group number but when the bags are all together, with people grabbing bags right and left, it is hard to distinguish your bag from others. I have some bright handle wraps on our luggage to try to help but the search is still stressful. I stayed with our carry-ons while Chuck waded into the mess to hunt for our luggage.

Once he found our bags, we had to get in line to get into the correct HAL bus to the airport. Once we made it to the front of the line, we told the person in charge that we were on Delta, and she pointed to our tour bus. I fully expected the ride to the airport to take an hour because of the tunnel closings for construction. After all, we had been warned numerous times about the potential problems and delays. The ride took 10 minutes. 🙄

We were also told that we would be dropped off at the individual airlines. Nope. We were dropped off at the departure bus area for one terminal. All the luggage was taken off the bus and we were directed to take our luggage up to the 2nd level of the terminal to find our airline. Not great.

Once we got to the 2nd level, we found the Delta area. The lines were long inside. Chuck watched the bags as I went outside to see if there was a curb-side Delta bag check area. There was one and it had no line, so we took our bags out there. One of the bags was 52 pounds and one was 49 pounds. I thought I was going to have to put on the sweatshirts I had bought. Luckily, the attendant let it go. I guess I need to bring my portable luggage scale next time.

We tried to get organized before going to security. Got my laptop and e-readers out of the backpacks. Chuck got his belt off and emptied his pockets into his backpack. We found the CLEAR line and moved through quickly. We had no issues through security and none of our bags had to go through a second inspection. Been a while since that has happened with our bags.

Our Gate was just right around the corner from security. The time was 9:35. One hour and 20 minutes from the time our number was called on the ship to being at the Gate. Not bad.

Our flight was on time. When we boarded, I was disappointed to see I was in a middle seat. When I booked the flight, I looked at the seat chart and thought I booked an aisle seat for Chuck and one for me across from each other. Either I messed up royally or they changed planes on me, and I forgot to check the seats closer to the flight date.

Oh well, it was only a 3-hour flight. I watched Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and that took up the majority of the flight time. We got in earlier than expected which meant that we could get on an earlier shuttle if it had room. Yay! It did.

Typically, our shuttle ride takes about 2 hours – a little longer if it has to make some drop-off stops along the way. Unfortunately, today there was a lot of traffic and construction and somehow our driver missed the exit, and we ended up having to turn-around. Also, at one of the drop-off stops, he decided to get something to eat and take a smoke break. When we finally pulled in at our stop, the shuttle we had originally booked pulled in about 5 minutes later. We saved no time at all. Not the best performance for this company.

We were happy that there was no issue with the car after being parked outside for all of those days. The ride home was uneventful with just a stop for some Krystals to take home since we knew there was very little food in the house.

I was happy to see that the lawn had been freshly mowed and we had no trees or big limbs down from the reported storms. Once inside, we were greeted with a stack of mail and a loud, unhappy cat. I could tell he had been well cared for as always, but he let us know that he wanted to go out and he wanted to go out NOW.

The unpacking and organizing, bill paying, grocery shopping, etc. could wait until tomorrow. We were tired from this long day of travel.

However, we thoroughly enjoyed our Voyage of the Vikings cruise on Holland America. We saw beautiful sites, had new experiences, met nice people, and made some wonderful memories – all that we love about travel.

Until next time –

Let the sea breeze blow your hair, let the sunset bring tranquility to your heart, let the distant places you travel allow you to explore yourself.” – Somya Kedia

VOV: Sea Day #13

Friday, August 12, 2022

We listened to the piano player/singer in the Ocean Bar until it was time for our dinner in the Canaletto. The dinner was a surprise reservation courtesy of the Casino. They also provided a very nice bottle of Chianti.

I had the spaghetti with shrimp and clams and Chuck had the beef tips and gnocchi. We also split a piece of the veal Florentine at the server’s insistence. She was right – it was delicious. For dessert, we again had the gelato sampler – chocolate, rum raisin, and pistachio.

I would have gladly gone back to the room and collapsed into a food coma, but Chuck reminded me that we would be putting the clock back an hour and it was our last chance for a late night out. I persevered and we had a fun night at the Ocean Bar.

I woke up at 5:00 and thought about getting up but common sense prevailed, and I went back to sleep until 6:30. We were in the middle of another foggy sea day.

The Captain came on the loudspeaker at 9:00 to let us know that we didn’t leave Halifax until after 11:00 because the Princess ship that had left before us had to turn around and come back to port because of a medical emergency. Halifax only had one pilot boat available, so it had to be dispersed to help the Princess ship and we had to wait. He assured us that we would still arrive in Boston tomorrow at the assigned time.

After a nice breakfast in the main dining room, I started the packing process. Since we would be going directly to the airport from the ship, I had to be sure that we had the correct items in our carry-ons and that the checked baggage wasn’t too heavy. Chuck had selected the clothes he wanted to wear tomorrow but just knows it’s best to let me organize the suitcases.

I took a break for a Lido lunch and then helped one of my fellow passengers get checked into her Southwest flight out of Boston for tomorrow by using my laptop.

While we were logging into the laptop, the Captain came on the loudspeaker and said we were turning back toward Nova Scotia for a medical emergency. We had to reach a point that a medivac could meet us and airlift the passenger. I felt so sorry for the unnamed passenger and the family.

After she was able to complete the check-in process, I went back to the room to finish the packing. Just as I was finishing up, I heard a helicopter approaching. I went out on the balcony and finally saw it emerge out of the fog. It had to make 4 circles around the ship, each approach getting closer and closer to the ship, before it finally descended in front of the ship when we were completely stopped. The medical center is on deck A in the very front so I assume the patient was coming out that forward gangway. All I could see was the water churning around the front of the ocean.

As the helicopter lifted off and disappeared back into the fog, I said a prayer that the passenger would make it to the hospital and recover completely. I don’t know if any family is allowed into the helicopter or not, but I have been told “not” so that poor family (if there was any – we had a number of solo passengers) would have to make their way back to Nova Scotia once they arrived in Boston. HAL does have a Care Team that assists families with emergencies, but it still has to be so scary.

Hard to believe that this was the 2nd helicopter rescue this trip plus we have had at least three ports where people were picked up by ambulances. To me, travel insurance with medical evacuation is a must.

The Captain came on the loudspeaker and said we would be turning back to Boston. He said that he expected to still reach Boston on time but would have to sail faster than planned. We still had the fog but at least the sea was calm.

It was soon time to find Chuck for our last evening on the ship.

VOV: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Went to the Ocean Bar to listen to the piano player and then made our way to the main dining room. It was more crowded than I had seen all trip and I knew it was because of tonight’s menu.

To expedite getting a table, we agreed to share a table for six. It was definitely a Gala menu tonight – lobster tail and filet mignon. I noticed that the filet was smaller than I have seen before, but I didn’t have a problem with the size. Both were delicious and I did not feel stuffed at the end of the meal. If you feel like you can eat more, you are always welcome to order more than one plate.

After dinner, we made our way to the Piano Bar. The piano bar singer was still quarantined with Covid, so the Cruise Director Glen had been persuaded to perform in her absence. There was already a big crowd waiting for him, even bigger than any she has drawn.

Cruise Director Glen introducing an act on the main stage
Cruise Director Glen at the piano

He even distributed lyrics to the songs he was going to play so we could sing along. He was very good and got several rousing rounds of applause.

We ended the night listening to the last set of the Ocean Bar band. When we got back, we had another towel animal.

I was up at 5:00 and breakfast was delivered at 6:00. We had a private tour today from 8:30 – 3:00 with two other couples. The name of the company was Halifax Tour Guys, and the name of the tour was Tour #5Grand Pre, Minas Basin, Valley Look Off, and Halls Harbor. The tour description –

This tour is a 6-7 hour tour of the Minas Basin and the Bay of Fundy. Please remember that this is your tour, and you can stop when and where you wish. We endeavor to show you as much as possible in the time allowed, but due to Cruise Ship departure times you may not see everything listed in the following. Our Company policy is to have our guests back at your pier one hour before you ship leaves. The drive to this area of our Province takes about one hour from your cruise ship and about one hour and twenty minutes to return to your cruise ship.

We include in this tour Grand Pre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where in 1755 the Acadians were expelled from the Province by the British. Visit the Deportation Cross site where the ships waited for the Acadians, many of those deported would never return to their homes. From the View Park on Old Post Road you can gaze over the 1,300 hectares of farm fields, marshes and dyke lands that comprise the landscape of Grand Pre. Tour the Grand Pre Interpretation Center, see and learn the history, beginning with a state-of-the-art cinematic display in the hull of a Deportation Ship.

Throughout the modern building l’Acadie is illuminated with intricate models, regional artwork, interpretive displays and unearthed artifacts. See some of the earliest examples of the use of European technology in Nova Scotia and discover what became of these extraordinary people, who built dykes that turned salt marshes into rich farmland. Enter the picturesque garden grounds, see the French Willows, Old Well, Victorian Gardens, Blacksmith Shop. and Herbin Cross. Then visit the legendary Statue of Evangeline made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem. Finish your visit with the Memorial Church, where famous paintings from Claude Picard and a stained-glass masterpiece by Terry Smith-Lamothe celebrates the culture and courage of the Acadians.

Before we leave the area, a shore drive away is Evangeline Beach with a stunning view of Blomidon Ridge. Take a walk at low tide or go for a swim at high tide. Watch the highest tide in the world, up to fifty-four feet, and see amazing birds like plovers and eagles. After the beach we can stop for lunch at the Evangeline CafĂ©, or at Grand Pre Winery for some wine tasting, a possible tour of the vineyards depending on timing and/or lunch at their restaurant.

We travel through the Town of Wolfville, which is situated in the Northwestern portion of Nova Scotia, along the shores of the Minas Basin which is part of the Bay of Fundy and is the home of Acadia University. The Town is separated from the Minas Basin by agricultural dykes which were built by Acadians in the 17th century. Wolfville experiences the Bay of Fundy’s record setting tides each day as water fills and drains from the Wolfville Harbour, which is the world’s smallest harbor.

From Wolfville we make our way along the Minas Basin, stopping if you wish at Fox Hill Farm, a sixth-generation family farm nestled in the lush fields of Port Williams Nova Scotia, is home to Fox Hill Cheese House. They plant the seed, grow the grass, milk their Holstein and Jersey cows, and use the finest, freshest quality milk in their own processing facility. Fox Hill Cheese House produces many varieties of savory cheese, natural yogurt, luscious gelato, and pasteurized non-homogenized milk in glass bottles.

We travel across the Wellington Dyke to Kingsport Beach, which is across the Minas Basin from Evangeline Beach. Then we travel up the North Mountain to enjoy the view from the Look Off where you can see for a hundred miles on a clear day. From the Look Off we travel to Halls Harbor for a closer look at Bay of Fundy, home to the highest tides in the world. Here you can enjoy a fresh lobster lunch on the wharf next to the Bay of Fundy. All tours have full narrative and many stops for any photographs you wish to take, plus any additional requests you might have if time allows.

Chuck and I had never been to Halifax, but the other two couples had. They were not interested in a city tour, but we all agreed that we would like to see the Bay of Fundy, so it was arranged. We didn’t really have to worry about getting back to the ship since all aboard was not until 10:30.

However, one of the couples only wanted the tour to be six hours and not seven so we knew we would not be able to see everything that the tour described.

We all walked off the ship together at 8:30. The tour operator met us at the exit point and introduced us to our driver for the day. We were in a passenger van. One couple was in the very back seat, three of us were in the middle, and Chuck rode up front with the driver.

I had an inkling that the narration part was not going to be great because he had no speaker and, with the noise of the highway driving, the couple in the back could not hear him well. He had to repeat himself quite often.

I thought the countryside scenery was lovely. The towns we traveled through were very quaint. I did learn some things about the Acadians that I did not know. We were not able to time the Bay of Fundy to see any tidal action, but it was a nice view. However, there seemed to be more driving time than stopping time.

First stop – Birthplace of Hockey

Pond was an oval shape
Ducks are replaced by skaters in the Winter

Second stop – Acadian Deportation Site

Next – Evangeline Beach

Next – The Look Off -Minas Basin

Next – Halls Harbor

Bonus – Bald Eagles

First there was two
Then there was one

We did not stop for a full lunch but did stop at a diner recommended by the driver for a piece of pie. Most of us ordered the apple pie but one person ordered a piece of chocolate pie, and one ordered a piece of lemon meringue. We all agreed that the pie was as good as he described.

Even though we did not stop at the Interpretive Center or the Farm, the sites we saw were very nice but, as I said, there was a lot of driving between the sites. If we ever find ourselves in Halifax again, I think we will just take the HOHO bus around the city.

We got back to the ship at 3:00. Chuck and I considered walking along the pier area. Instead, since the fog was long gone and the sun was out, we decided to enjoy drinks on the balcony and watch the boats and jet skis. I had hoped to see the seal that Chuck saw this morning, but I guess with all the boating activity, the seal made itself scarce.

The time passed pleasantly, and it was soon time to get ready for the evening.


Travel Trivia

Halifax, Nova Scotia

The first permanent European settlement in the region was on the Halifax Peninsula. The establishment of the Town of Halifax, named after the 2nd Earl of Halifax.

December 1917 saw one of the greatest disasters in Canadian history, when the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship carrying munitions, collided with the Belgian Relief vessel SS Imo in “The Narrows” between upper Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin. The resulting explosion, the Halifax Explosion, devastated the Richmond District of Halifax, killing approximately 2,000 people and injuring nearly 9,000 others. The blast was the largest artificial explosion before the development of nuclear weapons.

According to National Geographic, the world’s largest recorded lobster was a 44-pounder caught off the coast in 1977. It was believed by scientists to be at least 100 years old.

The Old Town Clock, a famous landmark, has been keeping time since 1803.

Halifax is closer to Dublin, Ireland than it is to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

The Fairview Lawn Cemetery has the world’s largest collective group of graves from the Titanic tragedy.

Location of the first official rules for ice hockey

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Holland America documents

VOV: Sea Day #12

Wednesday, July 10, 2022

We invited another couple to have dinner with us at the Canaletto. Chuck had received a free Canaletto dinner from the Casino, and we had a lot of onboard credit, so we treated the couple to their dinner.

We had a lively conversation. We got sharing plates and everyone got to taste the main dishes – beef, veal scallopini, lasagna, and an antipasto plate. We had such a good time that I forgot to take photos.

The ship left at 7:30 and as soon as we got to the open ocean, the wave action got much worse and a lot of ship movement.

The four of us went to the show – Jukebox Rogues: Masters of Musicals. It was warm in the stage area and the motion was very noticeable. Chuck got too hot and left the show early. The rest of us stayed until the end and got to hear a very good rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Met Chuck in the Ocean Bar to listen to the band’s last set. The ship was too rocky to do any dancing although we tried. Once the set was over, we called it a night.

The clocks were set back another half-hour. I woke up at 7:00. The ship still had a lot of movement.

After breakfast, I met up with the organizer of our upcoming Halifax tour. She wanted to let us know of some changes in the itinerary.

I spent time in the shops and spent all but three dollars of our onboard credit. We liked the t-shirts and sweat shirts that we found.

When I came back to the room, HAL had delivered our Mariner Delft tiles. We did not have an appreciation luncheon this cruise which is when we usually get the tiles. We typically use them as coasters. I have heard others use them in art projects.

After lunch at the Lido, I went to the disembarkation talk in the main stage. I typically don’t go and just watch it on the TV. However, we have never taken a HAL transfer to the airport before and some of the instructions we received were confusing.

In addition, everyone would be meeting with US Customs on the ship before any disembarkation so that just adds another level of confusion.

I am glad that I went because my questions got clarified during the presentation and there were other topics brought up that I hadn’t thought of. However, the Q/A was frustrating because there were several incidents of people asking the same question that had already been answered either in the presentation or in the paperwork we had received.

Once the presentation and Q/A was over, it was time to get ready for our last Gala evening of the cruise.

VOV: St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

When I was putting up the laundry, Chuck realized that his gray t-shirt was not in the basket. I either forgot to list it on the form and the laundry people didn’t know where it belonged, or it may have gotten stuck in the washer or dryer and overlooked.

On some past cruises, we have gotten laundry items that weren’t ours and our items have been missing. What to do? A quick trip to Guest Services and a form to complete. If the shirt went to someone else’s room, I hope they return it to Guest Services.

We went to the Lido for dinner. I had the swordfish and some vegetables. It was so good, I forgot to take a photo.

We were going to see the pian bar player but found out she came down with COVID. We decided to go see Kenny Martin. He specializes in the clarinet but played other instruments as well. He was excellent.

We played some slots and then called it a night. When we got back to the room, we were happy to see that the gray t-shirt was on a hanger and hanging on a hook in the room. I sent an electronic thank you to Guest Services and the Laundry in the app.

I know some people find the Navigator app frustrating, but I really like the feature where you can send comments/praise/concerns in it. They do read them and pass the feedback on to whatever department is responsible. I know this because we sent a compliment about our room stewards a couple of different times and they thanked us for doing so.

Woke up at 5:00 but easily drifted back to sleep and finally got up at 7:30.

Our plan was to do a walking tour around the city using the provided map. However, it was raining so we decided to get on the HOP-ON/HOP-OFF (HOHO) bus. I had read some reviews and what caught my eye was that the buses were small and if you hopped off, it might be quite a while before you could hop back on as they stayed full.

Since we didn’t want to be caught out in the cold and rain, we just opted for the two-hour ride. Turns out, so did all the other riders. The reviews were correct. As we pulled up to the stops, there were several upset people who had been waiting quite a while for the next available HOHO bus. I think they needed to call a cab or start walking. A ride didn’t look promising.

The guide provided some very interesting narration at each of the stops. It was hard to get some photos because of the rainy/foggy windows. The time passed quickly and soon we were back at Stop 1. We looked around at some of the shops and then made our way back to the ship.

War Memorial
War Memorial
Signal Hill – Cabot Tower
Jelly Bean house
Cape Spear

Since we were having another Canaletto dinner tonight, we just had a snack when we got back to the ship. The rain had eased up, so we spent a relaxing time on the balcony doing some people watching until it was time to get ready for dinner.


Travel Trivia

St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Existing on maps as early as 1519, it is one of the oldest cities in North America.

Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal in St. John’s.

St. John’s is home to North America’s oldest annual sporting event, the Royal St. John’s Regatta, which dates back to at least 1816. The event is important enough in the life of the city that the day of the Regatta (the first Wednesday in August, weather permitting) is a civic holiday – one of the few weather-dependent holidays in the world.

The St. John’s area is subject to freezing rain events (called “silver thaws”), the worst of which paralyzed the city in April 1984 and April 2017.

Often compared to San Francisco due to the hilly terrain and steep maze of residential streets, housing in St. John’s is typically painted in bright colors, earning its downtown the nickname Jelly Bean Row.

VOV: St. Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada

Monday, August 8, 2022

Dinner was in the main dining room tonight. We each had the pork chops. They were good but just too big.

Tonight’s show as another performance by Colleen Williamson who was going to sing more show tunes backed up by the Ocean Bar band. Since Chuck didn’t care for her and I was ambivalent, we just spent some time in the Casino before calling it a night.

Today was a tender port. Our HAL tour today was not going to meet in the main stage area today. We were supposed to meet on the pier at 12:15 for our tour that started at 12:30. We decided that if we got on a tender around 11:00, we would have plenty of time to look around the pier area before the tour started.

The Captain came on the loudspeaker around 9:00 and said the wind and waves had picked up so the tender process was slowing down. We should give ourselves extra time to get ashore.

Since we had priority tendering, we went to the meeting area at 10:30 to wait for our tender number to be called. Even with priority tendering, our tender number was not called until 11:30. It took 30 minutes to load the tender and get us to the pier. We ended up having only enough time to use the restroom at the Visitor Center and then find our tour guide. Not a great start.

Our HAL tour today was called “L’Anse aux Meadows: A Viking Experience.” The tour description:

Travel back in time 1,000 years to the first European settlement in the New World located at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also a National Historic Site operated by Parks Canada.

Here you will visit the park’s interpretative center and see firsthand how this site was discovered. View 3-D displays depicting how the Vikings lived. Travel through the site and see the small smithy, where nails and rivets were made from bog ore. A large sod hut will show you how these tough people lived, ate and rested when not at sea.

Next you will visit Norsted, a real Viking port of trade located about a mile from L’Anse aux Meadows. Your guide will take you to the Chieftain’s Hall as you journey through this rough and ready site in the footsteps of fierce Viking warriors of the past.

Notes: Walking is over sloped boardwalks and packed gravel walkways. Transportation is by school bus.

Because the transportation for this tour was a school bus, the guide did not have a sound system. She had to stand about in the middle of the bus and talk very loudly for everyone to hear. I know it must have put a strain on her voice.

It also didn’t help that there was a fellow cruiser who couldn’t stop talking to his seatmate while the tour guide was speaking. So rude. Finally, one exasperated person in the back yelled at the talker to stop talking. He did for a while.

Our first stop was the Viking archeological site – L’Anse aux Meadows – the only authenticated Viking site in North America and the earliest evidence of Europeans in North America.

In the interpretive center, we watched a movie about how the site may have been started and then how it was discovered. Afterwards, we were able to walk the path through the site. There were park officials at each major stop to describe what we were seeing and to answer questions. We had an hour to wander through this site.

Largest hall – built for someone of high social status
Large Hall with small hut probably for servants
Reconstructed sod home

Our next stop was a Norse trading post/village. We went in and out of the different buildings. Had a lot of interesting artifacts and the reenactors were very skillful in interacting with all the visitors. Chuck got to be a Norse Chieftain. We had an hour and a half at this site.

Peat logs
Black Smith- very smokey in here
Descendent of Erik the Red? – “Chuck the Gray”

During the bus drive back, the tour guide ended up in the back of the bus as someone took her middle seat. I guess she was too polite to ask the person to move. She did not give very much information on the way back because she kept having to answer questions from a couple of people in the back. Made the trip back to the pier somewhat boring. However, I guess the talker was happy because he was able to keep up a steady stream of commentary to his seatmate without being scolded.

We got back to the pier at 4:15 and got on the second to the last tender back to the ship. The wind and waves had died down so it was a faster process of loading and getting to the ship.

There was another tour group behind us going to the same stops. For some reason, they got a later start and had their times at each site cut short. I heard more than one person in that group say they were making a trip to the Shore Excursions desk to complain and ask for a partial refund. They were on the very last tender to the ship.

I liked the excursion despite the tender ride and the boring bus ride back. But it had been a long day and I was ready for some dinner.


Baked Apple berry – Said to be edible (didn’t try it)

Travel Trivia

St. Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada

Named in 1534 by French explorer Jacques Cartier it held a strategic location to rich fishing grounds and a haven to fishing fleets.

In 1892 a British doctor named Wilfred Grenfell arrived in St. Anthony and built a medical system that has grown to serve the entire region of Northern Newfoundland and Labrador.

The area of St. Anthony hosts the highest concentration of moose in the world.

St. Anthony appears as a playable area in the 2014 videogame Assassin’s Creed Rogue.

The earliest recorded name for L’Anse aux Meadows appears on an 1862 French chart as Anse a la Medee (Medee’s Cove). The name is probably from Medea, the heroine of Greek tragedy, after whom many 17th and 18th Century ships were named. Settlements and shore stations were often named after ships. After the English settled in the area the name was anglicized to its present form. The bay in front of the village is still called Medee Bay.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Holland America documents

VOV: Sea Day #11

Sunday, August 7, 2022

When I got back to the room there was a message from Guest Services. Because I had purchased more than $60.00 worth of stuff since leaving Canada, I had to meet with a Canadian Customs official tomorrow morning at 7:45 in one of the conference rooms.

I was told to bring my receipts. I wasn’t even sure I had all of my receipts. I bet there were going to be a lot of people who are meeting with them. It’s not that hard to spend $60. They should consider upping the allowable limit.

Played some Blackjack – only my second time this trip. I actually doubled my buy-in which is highly unusual for me. I typically lose it or win a few dollars.

It was soon time for our Canaletto dinner. This reservation was the one that I had made but thought never got recorded. But when it showed up on the calendar, I was glad.

Our food was just as delicious as the last time. I had the grilled shrimp and Chuck had the steak. We were so full we were ready to call it a night.

When we got back to the room, there was a card on the bed letting us know that the clocks would be turned back one-half hour. So weird.

My alarm went off at 6:00. Then I noticed that the Navigator app still said 6:30. My Fitbit hasn’t been correct since Iceland. So, I really didn’t know what time it was. However, I knew I had the Customs appointment, so I had to start getting ready. Guest Services called me at 7:30 and said Customs was ready to start seeing people.

Went to the Hudson room with all the receipts I could find. I also brought my passport even though I was not told to do so. I was right. They wanted to see it. They asked where Chuck was. I said he was in the room because I was told I only needed to come because I was the one that bought all the stuff.

They then asked me if we would be disembarking in Canada or Boston. I said Boston. They told me to have a nice day. They didn’t ask for my receipts. Not sure what that visit really accomplished but I was glad to finally be able to get some coffee.

Chuck and I had discussed that we didn’t know if we had seen the Captain around the ship. We had seen officers but were just not sure if any of them had been the Captain. We had not gone to the Captain’s toast at the beginning of the cruise. We decided that we would go to the “Ask the Captain” session.

Cruise Director (left) – Captain (right)

I admire that the Captains will hold this session on the ships. They sometimes show a video or some slides of the ship’s bridge and then take questions from the audience. Sometimes, like today, they talk a little about the voyage and then take questions. He was very personable and answered each question politely, even the ones that made me roll my eyes.

After lunch in the Lido, Chuck went to the pool, and I went to the port talk with the Cruise Director. He discussed the three upcoming Canadian ports – St. Anthony, St. John’s, and Halifax.

After the port talk, I went to find Chuck so we could get ready for the evening.

VOV: Nanortalik, Greenland

Saturday, August 6, 2022

I had been thinking about participating in the Polar Bear plunge ever since I saw it advertised. Chuck reminded me that I hate cold water so much that I even wear a neoprene shirt in the Caribbean Sea to be able to swim in those warm waters. I was on the fence about it until I heard they were not going to drain the heated Sea View pool and fill it with cold sea water; but instead, they were just going to pour some ice in it. So, it was going to be a faux-Polar Bear plunge. Okay, I was going for it.

I put on my swimsuit, jacket, wool cap, and my bathrobe and Chuck and I headed up to the Sea View pool area. There was already a crowd gathered – participants and onlookers. One of the entertainment staff was asking anyone who wanted to participate to sign a sheet so we could receive our certificates later.

A little after 4:00, the participants lined up around the pool. The wind was so cold and fierce. The entertainment director gave the spiel about how the Polar Bear plunge was a time-honored tradition and those of us who completed the plunge would be esteemed members of the Royal Dutch Society of Polar Bears. Once she was finished, her helpers dumped tubs and tubs of ice – everything from small cubes to giant chunks – a whole lot more than I anticipated. They were floating all over the top of the pool. We would have to jump through the floating ice to reach the warmer water.

One by one, she called our names and everyone made the leap until all names were called. The last person to jump in was our Cruise Director Glen. It was a shock to go through the ice but the water was fine. We stayed in for a few minutes laughing and splashing. However, the dreaded time had come to get out of the pool. The cold wind hit me so hard my teeth were chattering out of my mouth before I completely pulled myself out of the water. Chuck was right there with two pool towels helping me dry off. Got my robe back on and headed down to the room for a hot shower. The hot shower was heavenly.

My jump
Cruise Director coming to jump

Was it fun? Yes. I am glad I did something out of my comfort zone. Would I do it again on a future cruise? Highly doubtful.

We had dinner later on that night in the main dining with a couple we first met in Quaqatok, Greenland. We have been on several of the same excursions. She had also participated in the Polar Bear plunge. Three of us had the baked snapper but I was the only one who liked it. We really enjoyed our conversation with them – so much so that I forgot to take a photo of the food.

Chuck and I went to listen to the first set of the Ocean Bar band. After the set ended, we went to the main show – Jeff Wayne, comedian. He had a few good jokes but mostly he was corny. We then listened to the last set of the band and called it a night. The fog never lifted, and I wondered if the ship’s foghorn would blow all night.

I heard the ship’s foghorn all night even with my earplugs. I got up at 6:00 to check to see if it was still foggy but was greeted with clear skies and a number of icebergs. We had no big plans for today but the time ashore was short – 7:00 to 1:30 – and it was a tender port, so I knew we had to get moving.

After coffee and a breakfast in the main dining room, we boarded the 9:00 tender for the short ride over to the town. We walked up the main road to the Old Timber Church which was built in 1916.

We then bought admission into the outdoor Nanortalik Museum comprised of nine separate historic buildings. We enjoyed walking through them and admiring the displays from Old Norse to Inuit to Danish colonists.




There were street performers, a craft market, and people just going about their day. Our last stop was the local grocery store to see what types of items were available. Again, I had to restrain myself from buying a bag of huge raisin buns.

She was singing native songs

While I was making a restroom stop in the Visitor Center, Chuck made some friends. The little girl toddled up to him, followed by her brother, both under the watchful eye of their mother. Seems like every trip, either children or animals or both find their way to Chuck. They recognize a good soul.

We took the 11:30 tender back to the ship and spent a relaxing afternoon watching the icebergs go by. Wasn’t long before it was time to get ready for our Canaletto dinner.


Travel Trivia

Nanortalik, Greenland

Pronunciation: NAN-or-TAH-lick

The name Nanortalik means “Place of Polar Bears” or “Place Where the Polar Bears Go” -because polar bears are occasionally seen hunting on the drift ice outside of town.

One that got too close to town

Nanortalik is the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island also called Nanortalik, at the mouth of Tasermiut Fjord. The settlement dates back to the late 18th centruy with Norsemen first setting foot on the land. It wasn’t until later when the far north Inuit arrived on the scene and a trading depot was erected.

The main industries are crab fishing, seal hunting, fishing, and gold mining in the Kirkespir Valley.

Greenland’s only natural forest is 25 miles northwest of Nanortalik.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Holland America documents

VOV: Prins Christian Sund

Friday, August 5, 2022

Got all dressed up. Went to Ocean Bar to listen to the piano player. Soon, it was time for dinner in the main dining room. Like the other Gala night, it was not a Gala menu. I ended up eating beer battered haddock with fries. Just didn’t seem right. And one of the pieces tasted weird so I didn’t eat it. I hoped I wouldn’t be sick. Disappointing.

The show tonight was Jukebox Rogues present “Frankie Valley Guys.” Chuck was not a fan and although I liked it well enough, not well enough to see it again.

Instead, we stayed for all three sets of the Ocean Bar band and had a good time.

When we got back to the room, we had a towel animal. I know they are silly, but I like them.

We did receive our Arctic Circle crossing certificate.

We also get to set the clocks back another hour.

Went to the Coffee Bar at 6:45. Guests were lined up and they had 4 people working behind the counter filling the orders as fast as they could. I wish people would save their complicated coffees for a time when the Bar is not so crowded.

Wasn’t sure how our scenic cruise back through Prins Christian Sund (Prince Christian Sound) was going to go as the fog was so thick, I couldn’t see the ocean. The ship’s foghorn was blasting every few minutes.

We decided to have breakfast in the dining room. Sat with a couple that we had shared a table with earlier in the cruise. Pleasant conversation.

At 8:45, we entered the Sund and miraculously the fog lifted, and it was gorgeous scenery again. Today, we were going from west to east Greenland so we would see views from the balcony that we did not see during the first transit. The Cruise Director gave the commentary during this passage. The Captain also opened the bow but I thought it was too windy, so we stayed on the balcony. It stopped the wind somewhat.

The scenery did not disappoint. We passed only one ship this time – a Viking cruise ship.

We reached the end of the Sund at 3:00. It was time to get ready for the polar bear plunge at the Sea View pool. And the fog was back.

VOV: Sea Day #10

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Before dinner, we had time to play some slots and then go listen to the Piano Bar singer. She draws quite a crowd.

We went to the main dining room for dinner. We both had the beef brisket in red wine sauce. Very tender.

We hadn’t long finished dinner when it was time for tonight’s show – Colleen Williamson. She sang a variety of show tunes backed up by the Ocean Bar band. She was a high soprano, so her pitch didn’t sit well with Chuck. He didn’t make it through the whole show.

Little more casino time and we called it a night.

Woke up at 7:00 but since the clocks had rolled back another hour last night, it was 6:00. Time to start an extended sea day with coffee from the Coffee Bar. I was glad to have a sea day after three active port days in a row.

Ate breakfast in the Lido and I spotted a pod of several dolphins matching their pace with the ship. They stayed with us for a while and then headed in a different direction.

Spent most of the day either culling or processing my photos from all the port days. I took way too many photos. Why do Puffins have to be so stinking cute? Did take some time to enjoy the balcony and a couple of caramel lattes. Chuck got in some pool and hot tub time.

Finally pulled myself away to get dressed up for the evening’s Gala night.

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