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Vancouver to Maui – day 5

Oct 13, 2022 – Day 4 at sea aboard Koningsdam

2022 Hawai’i cruise

I have a look at the Main Dining Room for breakfast around 9AM, but the line up puts me off, so I have a Cappuccino, blueberry muffin an a fruit/yogurt parfait in the Royal Dutch Cafe, which is not busy. I have a chicken burger, fries and a Dos Equis XX beer for lunch, eating at the Lido Bar, since there is no other nearby seating.

I booked this cruise partly to try out Holland America’s Pinnacle class ships, which Koningsdam is the first built, with capacity for 2,600 passengers. I’m finding this ship is significantly more crowded, with line-ups or no seats left at most popular venues. Even though Holland America’s smaller ships have fewer venues, I never encountered these problems on past voyages. Perhaps some of the crowding is due to inexperienced staff still learning how to be efficient when serving passengers, but I think they were generally doing a great job under the circumstances.

Turtle and coral in Olowalu Bay, Maui
Turtle and coral in Olowalu Bay, Maui

Guide to Hawaiian Reefs – Naturalist John gives another comprehensive talk, this time about reefs to be found in Hawai’i

  • Coral polyps are the living part of coral
  • 7,000 species in NW Hawaiian reefs
  • Fringe Reef
    • Lanidai, Oahu – pristine
  • Barrier Reef
    • Kanaohe Bay, Oahu – manmade harm
  • Atoll
    • Kure Atoll, NW Hawaiian Island
  • Hard Corals
  • Soft Corals – look like plants, no stoney skeletons
  • Species (Hawaiian names)
    • Trigger fish
    • Long-nosed Butterfly fish
    • Urchins (wana)
    • Surgeon fishes
      • Yellow tang
      • Convict tang
    • Parrot
    • Butterfly
    • Wrasse – 600 species
    • Morris Idol – looks like an angelfish
    • Trumpet fish
    • Lionfish – Dragonfly fish
    • Squirrel fish
    • Octopus (He’e)
    • Sharks (mano)
      • Black-tipped
    • Manta Ray (hahalua)
    • Jellyfish (olea)
      • Man-O-War
      • Nudibranch
    • Green Sea Turtle (Honu)
    • Monk seal
Joe with his 70th birthday cake in the Tamarind restaurant
Joe with his 70th birthday cake in the Tamarind restaurant

Today is my 70th birthday, the reason I’m on this cruise. I have a reservation at the Tamarind Asian Fusion restaurant for dinner, so I get dressed up before heading up to the Tamarind bar for a Tanqueray 10 Martini to start things off. Once seated, I have a glass of Proscecco sparkling Italian wine with my starter: Chinese Five Spice Baby Back Ribs with masago, pineapple, red chili, scallions. My main course: Mongolian Barbeque Lamb Chops with baby bok choy, toasted sesame seeds, mirin plum sauce with Oyster Sauce, Dungeness Crab Fried Rice. As usual, the staff are right on top of things, bringing me a chocolate happy birthday cake with some lychee sorbet.

When I return to my stateroom to freshen up, my room steward brings me a chocolate cupcake with birthday wishes from the captain. I end the evening in the Crow’s Nest lounge, where I meet some friends for drinks. What a wonderful birthday, celebrated on my terms aboard this beautiful ship!

Celebrating Joe's 70th birthday in the Crow's Nest lounge with Marilyn and Lyle aboard Koningsdam, sailing the North Pacific Ocean
Celebrating Joe’s 70th birthday in the Crow’s Nest lounge with Marilyn and Lyle aboard Koningsdam, sailing the North Pacific Ocean
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Vancouver to Maui – day 4

Oct 12, 2022 – Day 4 at sea aboard Koningsdam

2022 Hawai’i cruise

Apple and bacon pannenkoek - lunch at the Grand Dutch Cafe
Apple and bacon pannenkoek – lunch at the Grand Dutch Cafe

We are in rain and rough seas this morning, so the Promenade Deck is closed on both sides to passengers. A rainbow appears to the south of us this morning (see banner image above). I have a continental breakfast in my stateroom this morning, adding a cappuccino from the Explorations Cafe. Today’s lunch is an Apple and bacon pannenkoek (pancake) from the Grand Dutch Cafe – delicious!

Hawaiian Connectivity – Naturalist John shares a study of the Hawaiian islands and reefs found northwest of Kaua’i, which he participated in.

  • Active volcanoes are only on Maui and Big Island (youngest)
  • New island forming off the Big Island
  • Birds first to arrive to newly-formed islands
  • Nene goose (from Canada Goose)
  • Introduced species
    • Introduced birds have largely replaced native Hawaiian birds
    • Mongoose to control rats, ended up decimating native birds
    • Feral goats
    • Green gecko
  • Papahanaumoku Wakea – Marine protected area – Northwestern Hawaiian Islands – NW of Kaua’i
    • Ko Hawai’i Pae ‘Aina
    • Small islands and reefs
  • Species protected and population restoring
    • Yellow Tang 
    • False Killer Whale
    • Acropora – hard coral
    • Tiger shark
    • Red Snapper & Yellow fin tuna (Ahi)
  • Climate change will cause a 1 meter increase in sea level in Hawai’i by 2100

Captain’s report

  • 689 nm NE of Kahalui
  • 1,709 nm from Vancouver sailing at an average speed of 18.3 kts

I track the ship’s position and speed independently using the MarineTraffic app on my iPhone.

Made in New York – Lincoln Center Stage quartet play selections from:

  • Dave Brubeck’s Take Five
  • Billy Joel
  • Alicia Keys
  • Other New York artists
Pork ribs, french fries and broccoli in the Lido
Pork ribs, french fries and broccoli in the Lido

I go to the Crow’s Nest for a Martini, and then go to the Lido for a quick dinner of delicious pork ribs, fries and veggies before going to the early show: Step One Dance Company Presents: In Tandem – a fusion of latin dance, blues singer – a full house!

I have a Benedictine liqueur as I watch this very energetic show. I then spend a couple of hours up at the Crow’s Nest working on my photos and videos, and sipping on my second Martini of the day. Such a decadent life…

Step One Dance Company presents: In Tandem - full house in World Stage
Step One Dance Company presents: In Tandem – full house in World Stage
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Vancouver to Maui – day 3

Oct 11, 2022 – Day 3 at sea aboard Koningsdam

2022 Hawai’i cruise

The ship changed time zones last night to Hawai’i time – back another hour.

Lox, cream cheese and bagel for breakfast
Lox, cream cheese and bagel for breakfast

I couldn’t face the lines to have breakfast in the Lido or the Main Dining Room, so I ordered breakfast last night to have in my stateroom. So this morning I enjoy my favourite bagel, lox and cream cheese, fruit, yogurt and pastries. I ordered breakfast for 9AM, so I have time to pick up a cappuccino from the Explorations Cafe ahead of time. I also get a Perrier sparkling water to take back to my stateroom to put in the fridge for later. So decadent!

I go for a walk on the Upper Promenade Deck after breakfast. It is 21ºC and 82% humidity outside this morning at 10AM as I walk around the ship twice, which gives me 19 minutes of my 30 minute daily target for exercise. The view of the wake from the stern tells me we are getting closer to tropical waters, since the colour is now a lovely blue colour (see banner image above).

The shops are having a 75% off sale today and I need a pair of shorts, but I don’t see any on sale. I talk myself out of going to a free massage sampler in the spa, instead going up to the Explorations Cafe for a second cappuccino. I find a spot in the Captain’s Lounge, which is is a bit quieter, since it’s partitioned from the activities going on in the Crow’s Nest lounge.

Captain’s Noon Report: It is 1,100 nm to Kahalui, and we have sailed 1,200 nm from Vancouver. We need to average 17.3 kts to arrive in Kahalui on time at 4AM on October 14th. 

Dutch pea soup and Beenham sandwich - Royal Dutch Cafe
Dutch pea soup and Beenham sandwich – Royal Dutch Cafe

I very much enjoy the Dutch pea soup and Beenham sandwich (ham and mustard on a crusty corn role) for lunch in the Royal Dutch Cafe. This cafe is quickly becoming my favourite for a quick meal or snack, and they are open from 7AM to 8PM, so it’s very convenient when other food venues are busy.

I attend a complementary James Suckling Wine Tasting offered this afternoon in the Main Dining Room for 4 & 5 star Mariners. I’m not a wine connoisseur, however I find the  five wines presented to us interesting, and some I even like, despite the high prices (up to US$78) for a bottle. The sommelier relates interesting history for each vintner, gives us the strong points offered by each wine, and what foods go best with each.

James Suckling Wine Tasting
James Suckling Wine Tasting
  • Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut NV, Columbia Valley, Washington State – nice bubbly, but too dry for me
  • Los Vascos Chardonnay 2019, Domains Barons de Rothschild, Colchagua Valley, Chile – not for me
  • Domaine Ott Rose 2019, Clos Mireille, Cotes de Provence, France – beautiful earthy undertone over dried fruit, but light-tasting. The best of the five wines for me.
  • Craggy Range Pinot Noir 2015, Martinborough, New Zealand – OK, but not a wine I would buy
  • Ruffino Modus 2015, Super Tuscan Blend, Tuscany, Italy – a very good, full-bodied red
Hamachi, salmon and scallop ceviche in Nami Sushi/Tamarind
Hamachi, salmon and scallop ceviche in Nami Sushi/Tamarind

I go to Nami Sushi for dinner this evening, which is part of my favourite Tamarind restaurant, but it is priced a la cart. I have a Tanqueray 10 Martini in the bar, and then I’m seated at the sushi bar. I have Hamachi, salmon and scallop ceviche to start, and Penang chicken curry and Jasmine rice for the main. Both are delicious, and very much worth the US$24 charge to have a civilized dinner instead of doing battle with the crowds at the Lido, or coping with the long lineup at the Main Dining Room.

Seven Worlds One Planet in Concert – 7:30pm – World Stage, 2 & 3 – Breathtaking footage from BBC Earth’s Seven Worlds One Planet with live orchestration performed by the Koningsdam Lincoln Center musicians.

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Vancouver to Maui – day 2

Oct 10, 2022 – Day 2 at sea aboard Koningsdam

2022 Hawai’i cruise

Breakfast at the Grand Dutch Cafe
Breakfast at the Grand Dutch Cafe

We changed time zones last night to Alaska time – back 1 hour. I go down to the Grand Dutch Cafe for breakfast: cappuccino, blueberry muffin and a fruit & yogurt parfait.

Seabirds of the North Pacific – Naturalist John basically takes us through his biology thesis during his 45 minute presentation in World Stage. No doubt it was too deep for most of the audience, but he certainly knows his oceanic species, as my notes reveal.

  • Cold to warm water – San Francisco to Hawaii
  • Diving birds close to the North American coastline
    • Shearwaters – surface and swim underwater
    • Brant’s Cormorant – diver
    • Tufted Puffin – skimmers
    • Common Murre 
    • Pigeon Guillemot – red feet, divers
    • Brown Pelican – plunge divers very close to shore
    • Western Gull – eats anything
  • Subsurface Predators near Hawai’i
    • Humpback whale
    • Spotted, Striped & Bottle-nosed dolphin
    • Elephant seal
  • Hawaiian ocean birds
    • Black-footed Albatross- dynamic soaring
    • Layson Albatross – 7-8′ wingspan
    • Leechy
    • Hawaiian Petrel
    • Wedge-tailed Shearwater – sensitive to artificial lights – collisions
  • Hawaiian shore birds
    • Red-footed, Brown, Masked Booby – diving, plunging
    • Frigatebird – stealing food, don’t have webbed feet so they drown if they land on the water
    • White, Red-tailed Tropicbird – long tail feathers
    • Brown & Black Noddy – plunge divers
    • Sooty Tern – most abundant
    • White Tern – urban nesters

I attend the Kahului, Maui Port Talk, but I don’t pick up any useful information that I don’t already know. Since there are no lines at 1PM, I have lunch in the Main Dining Room. I’m seated by myself between two server stations, so it’s very noisy. I have a Heineken beer and a rather uninspiring Croque Monsieur.

On Music Walk: La Musica Latina - Lincoln Center Stage quartet
On Music Walk: La Musica Latina – Lincoln Center Stage quartet

On Music Walk: La Musica Latina – the art of the Tango. This performance by the Lincoln Center quartet reminds me of my visit to Argentina and Uruguay in 2020.

Later in the afternoon, I return to the Crow’s Nest to enjoy the Aloha Sunset Music Hour again. I have some good conversation with my fellow Canadians while enjoying two very nicely made Tanqueray 10 Martinis.

I have to wait for over an hour to be seated in the Main Dining Room for dinner, since it is Canadian Thanksgiving today. I find the turkey, stuffing and vegetables are nothing special, but I appreciate the effort by the chefs and enjoy the company of my fellow Canadians while seated at a large table for dinner.

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Vancouver to Maui – day 1

Oct 9, 2022 – Day 1 at sea aboard Koningsdam

2022 Hawai’i cruise

I attend a meet-and-greet for the Facebook group for this cruise this morning. There is a good crowd, but of course there are a lot of old folks like me, and mainly Canadians! It’s held in the Captain’s Lounge, a private function area in the Crow’s Nest.

High Dive Beyond Meat burger with fries

I have lunch on the Lido Pool deck, having a Dive In (Impossible) burger and fries, along with a Heineken beer. The burger tastes very good and the fries are nice and crispy. Since I purchased the Have-It-All (HIA) package, I’m having beer, wine and cocktails at every opportunity, since they are included.

I see a World View Films: Where the Crawdads Sing – a 2-hour love story movie with murder involved. I almost get up and leave the World Stage a couple of times due to disturbing scenes, but manage to sit through the whole movie – a first for me for many years.

Kalehua, Kimo, Lani & Braddah J in the Crow’s Nest Lounge. Aboard Koningsdam, North Pacific Ocean

There are a group of four Hawaiians aboard for our Vancouver to Hawai’i segment. They entertain everyone during Happy Hour in the Crow’s Nest with their Aloha Sunset Music Hour, a combination of Hawaiian music and hula dance.  

It is Dressy Night aboard ship, so after having drinks and conversation with a couple from the mid-west and another couple from Kelowna, B.C., we decide to have dinner together in the Main Dining room. I stop in my stateroom to put on dressier clothes before meeting them downstairs.

The ship’s Step One Dance Company performs: Humanity in the Main Stage this evening, a great performance with a South Beach vibe which I enjoyed while sipping a Benedictine & Brandy liqueur.

Step One Dance Company performs: Humanity
Step One Dance Company performs: Humanity
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Departure from Vancouver

Oct 8, 2022 – Departing Vancouver aboard the Koningsdam – heading for Hawai’i

2022 Hawai’i cruise

I have a coffee in my hotel room this morning before I repack my big bag and check out of the Metropolitan Hotel, walking 10 minutes downhill to the nearby Canada Place cruise ship terminal, arriving at 10:30AM. I pre-clear US Customs and Immigration, and then wind my way through the various Holland America check-in procedures. This is the first time I’ve used Priority Boarding, since I’m now a 4-star Mariner, but we end up waiting in the terminal for almost an hour before boarding commences. I must have missed the bag drop earlier, so I wheel my big bag up the gangway, all the way onto the ship and to my stateroom, arriving at Noon.

After a quick lunch in the Lido, I wander around the various venues, since the Koningsdam is my first Pinnacle-class ship. I have a martini in the Crow’s Nest Lounge, hanging out there for awhile admiring the view of beautiful Vancouver harbour on a sunny afternoon. Later this afternoon, I meet some friends on the Sun Deck 11 as we watch our departure from Vancouver. I have my GoPro action camera fastened to my verandah rail shooting a time lapse video of the ship’s beautiful evening departure, while I’m elsewhere on the ship observing and photographing our departure using my Canon R5 mirrorless camera. 

Grilled prawns in the Canaletto
Grilled prawns in the Canaletto

Once we are clear of Vancouver, heading south through Georgia Strait, I finish unpacking and get dressed for dinner. I head for the Main Dining Room by 6:15PM, but is very busy on this first evening of the cruise, with huge lines of people waiting. I decide to have dinner at Canaletto (an Italian specialty restaurant), where I drop-in since there’s hardly anyone up there this evening. I’m fine with paying the US$12.92  charge (discounted from the regular $18 since I’m a 4* Mariner) in order to have a quiet place to eat with excellent service. The food is very tasty: Canaletto salad to start (green salad with candied pecans and vinaigrette), Grilled prawns with rice pilaf as the main, and I have an Affogado for desert and a cappuccino to finish.

BC Pilot leaving the Koningsdam offshore from Victoria
BC Pilot leaving the Koningsdam offshore from Victoria

I attend this evening’s presentation in the Main Stage – The Origin Story: Holland America Line. Jayme the Cruise Director tells the 300-year story of Holland America Line, which is quite interesting and a well-done multimedia presentation. He even mentions more recent history, where in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, Holland America worked hard to get their guests home, and to later repatriate all their crew to their home countries.

The Koningsdam is offshore from my home town of Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island around 9:30PM, where the BC pilot leaves the ship. My stateroom is right above where he transfers to the boat to take him ashore, so I get a great view of the action.

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Victoria to Vancouver

Oct 7, 2022 – Fly from Victoria to Vancouver & stay overnight

2022 Hawai’i cruise

Skytrain bridge over the Fraser River
Skytrain bridge over the Fraser River

After lunch at home, we drive to Victoria airport, where I take a Pacific Coastal Airways flight to Vancouver South Terminal (YVR), flying over the Strait of Georgia looking SE on a smokey afternoon. I take the shuttle from the South Terminal to the main terminal, and get off at the first stop (International and USA departures), walk across to the Skytrain terminal, and take the Canada Line to City Centre Station at Pacific Centre – about a half hour trip costing CA$9. The Skytrain is quite scenic as it crosses the Fraser River.

I’m staying at the Metropolitan Hotel (a Marriott), which is a half block walk from the Skytrain station. For nostalgia’s sake, I walk back to the intersection of Georgia and Granville Streets to take a few photos, and then do some last minute shopping at the London Drugs store on the corner where Birk’s Jewellers used to be when I lived here in the 1970s. The Birk’s clock is still there, but is now buried in the high-rises. After returning to the hotel, I have dinner at the hotel’s Gala bar and restaurant – a chicken clubhouse & Granville Island Pale Ale, before retiring for the night. I board the ship tomorrow.

Panorama of Georgia at Granville – Hudson’s Bay, London Drugs, Pacific Centre