Honolulu to Vancouver – day 5 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 23, 2023 – Day 5 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

This is our last full day at sea before arriving in Vancouver tomorrow morning at 7AM. I have a cappuccino, blueberry muffin and fruit parfait in the Grand Dutch Cafe, a light breakfast. I spend the morning in the Crow’s Nest Lounge browsing online and I have a second cappuccino.

Noon Captain’s Report

  • 2,138nm from Honolulu, 158nm to Vancouver
  • Winds: 30-35kts – force 8 gale
  • 8′ NW swells
  • Winds: 25-30 kts overnight
  • The ship should pass under Lion’s Gate Bridge at 6:30AM tomorrow
  • Gangways should be in place by 7:30AM at Canada Place

As I am having lunch, an announcement is made that there is a fire in engine 3. Shortly after, the captain announces there is no fire, however they have shut down engine 3 to investigate further. He assures us our arrival time in Vancouver should not be delayed.

I go to the Main Dining Room for dinner. I’m seated at a table for two with a view out the stern windows, so I have a table to myself. I have a Boston lettuce salad with green beans, walnuts, dried cherries and feta cheese to start, and a Macademia Crusted Opakapaka Fillet, kalbi sauce, sweet potatoes for my main. I finish with a cappuccino…a lovely last dinner aboard Koningsdam.

The last day of a cruise is often a melancholy time for passengers, but the serving staff do their best to cheer us. They parade through the main dining room at dinnertime – a huge number of staff!

A large parade of serving staff in the Main Dining Room

I go to see a singer Sonia Selbie’s show “Drops of Jupiter” at 8:00pm on the World Stage. “Back with a brand new show! Her personality and voice will spill past the doors!” Her fine singing voice must cover at least 4 octaves, but her show wasn’t one of my favourites. We are now less than 100 miles offshore from Vancouver.


Honolulu to Vancouver – day 4 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 22, 2023 – Day 4 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

This morning I attend A City on the Sea on the World Stage, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at life on board Holland America ships. We have some glimpses into how the ship operates, with vignettes from the crew. Stephanie our Cruise Director states that we have 2,024 passengers and 850 crew aboard on this sailing. The crew finish with a “Thank You For Sailing With Us” performance on the Main Stage afterwards.

Thank You For Sailing With Us - from the crew

Noon Captain’s Report

  • We are 1,696 nm from Hawaii, with 591 nm to Vancouver
  • Currently we have 8′ swells, which will build to 9-12′ swells as we approach the coast tomorrow. Waves will calm once we enter Juan de Fuca Strait.
  • 30 kt northerly winds will continue

I go to the Pinnacle Grill this evening for dinner, which is covered by my Have-It-All package. This is classic French cooking with an emphasis on surf and turf, so lots of rich sauces and desserts are featured. My choices:

  • Crab cakes – not much crab, but filled with salmon?
  • Filet Mignon with sautéed mushrooms and loaded baked potato
  • Not-So-Classic Baked Alaska – with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream inside, baked meringue, and cherries on the side
My 3-course dinner in the Pinnacle Grill
My 3-course dinner in the Pinnacle Grill

Later this evening, I go to the Crow’s Nest Lounge to have my usual Tanqueray 10 Classic Gin Martini. The room is empty when I arrive, and it remains sparse. Since the ship lurching through heavy seas, perhaps people are staying in their staterooms, or everyone could be attending the Orange Party being staged in the BB Kings Blues Club.


Honolulu to Vancouver – day 3 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 21, 2023 – Day 3 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

The ship’s clocks moved forward another hour at 2AM this morning. We have one more shift forward in a couple of days, and we will be on Pacific Daylight Time. It is noticeably cooler on the outside decks this morning, and some rain showers are wetting the Promenade Deck as I walk around the ship after breakfast.

Poached Lobster, Pressed Red Beet

I attend the Mariners’ Lunch in the Main Dining Room at 11AM this morning. There are some ship’s officers and crew greeting everyone as we enter, however there are no speeches, presentations or even a toast, despite the sparkling wine in glasses on every table. I start with Poached Lobster and have Seared Seabass in a lovely Saffron Butter Sauce for lunch. Pretty well the whole lower floor of the dining room is filled – a lot of passengers are 3, 4, or 5 star Mariners on this sailing! A Mariners collector Delft tile is waiting for me back in my stateroom.

Holland America Line Delft tile-Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam & Rotterdam

I have dinner in the Main Dining Room with a couple from Sun City, Arizona who are gamblers. They were given a stateroom for only $300 each and upgraded to a balcony room. She has won $7,000 and he has won $3,000 so far. I then go to see a magician in the Main Stage, but his show is pretty lame so I slip out early. I find the BB King Blues Club to be much more entertaining. We have a great collection of talent on board!


Honolulu to Vancouver – day 2 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 20, 2023 – Day 2 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

I wake up at 6:30AM to a beautiful sunrise over a much calmer ocean as I get ready for the day (see banner image above). I have a cappuccino, blueberry muffin and fruit parfait in the Grand Dutch Cafe this morning, which is not busy at 7:30AM.

Noon Captain’s Report

  • 765nm from Hawaii
  • 1,517nm to Vancouver
  • 2-3m swells

I spot some small flying fish from my balcony late this morning. There is also a fair amount of small debris floating in the water, which may be from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch since we are on a more southerly course than normal to avoid two low pressure storms either side of us.

It is Dressy Night, so I put on a dress shirt, tie and jacket and go to the Main Dining Room for the Gala Dinner: escargot, beef tenderloin, and chocolate lava cake with a glass of Pinot Grigio. My table has three Canadian couples from Truro, Nova Scotia, Sidney, BC, and the Fraser Valley. One man is a former Canadian Air Force pilot who worked for Air Canada before retiring, and another volunteers at the Oshkosh Airshow, so many stories are told and discussion ensued.

After dinner, I once again enjoy the great-sounding music in the Rolling Stones Rock Room and the BB King Blues Club. The ship’s clocks continue to be adjusted every night or two as we sail east back to Vancouver.

An elephant towel art announces a ship's clock time change, along with two chocolates

Honolulu to Vancouver – day 1 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 19, 2023 – Day 1 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

It’s quite rough as we sail northeast to today, and it appears these conditions will continue the whole way. I go for breakfast in the Main Dining Room, having a Passion Fruit Yogurt and a Frittata for breakfast along with the essential cappuccino. I dine alone since it’s pretty sparse in the dining room this morning. I’m not sure if it’s the time change from last night or the rough weather keeping people away.

Captain’s Noon Report

  • 304 km, 149nm covered so far
  • 23kt NE near gale force
  • 3m (10′) swells from the north, should subside a bit by tomorrow

I skip lunch and sign up for the Rijsttafel dinner in Tamarind this evening, which is a wonderful experience. The food and flavours are exceptional, the service is excellent, and my martini is made well. I thank all the staff, especially my server, and leave positive comments on the Navigator app.

Rijsttafel Dinner in Tamarind


URAP – Indonesian mixed vegetables with coconut
SOTO AYAM “MADURA” – Madura chicken soup with fresh vegetables and Quail egg
ENTRÉES – Sarundeng, Nasi Goreng, Pork Sate, Sambal Goreng Udang, Ayam Goreng Serundeng Jawa, Pepes Ikan, Beef Sumatra, Sambal Goreng Kentang & Buncis
SARUNDENG – peanuts and spicy roasted coconut
NASI GORENG – fried rice
PORK SATÉ – barbeque marinated pork with peanut sauce
SAMBAL GORENG UDANG – sautéed shrimp in spicy sauce
AYAM GORENG SERUNDENG JAWA – fried Java spiced chicken, crispy coconut, sweet soy
PEPES IKAN – steamed fish, turmeric marinated, banana leaves
BEEF SUMATRA – braised beef with coconut and spices
SAMBAL GORENG KENTANG – stir-fried sweet and spicy potato cubes
SAMBAL GORENG BUNCIS – green beans flavored with sambal
KOPI OR TEH – coffee or tea
PUDDING NASI AND PISANG GORENG – coconut rice pudding and banana fritter

I enjoy both the Rolling Stones Rock Room and BB King’s Blues Club on Music Walk this evening after dinner. It has been a lovely day at sea.

BB King's Blues Club

Rainforest Hike – Manoa Valley

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 18, 2023 – Day 2 in Honolulu – Rainforest Hike in the Manoa Valley

I have breakfast in the Main Dining Room this morning: cappuccino, Passion fruit parfait, and a smoked salmon omelet. Afterward, I grab my notebook computer and go to the Crow’s Nest to hang out there. At 9:30AM the Pacific Collector, a US Navy Auxiliary ship is pushed into an adjacent dock by two tugs. It doesn’t appear to be under power, and has two large white domes on the main cargo deck.

Pacific Collector being towed into the harbour and docked

I go on an excursion today: Tropical Rain Forest Nature Walk. It is leaves at 11:45AM, including a 45 minute hike through the Lyon Arboretum rain forest in the Valley of the Rainbows at the head of the beautiful Manoa Valley. I take lots of photos of the many plants, flowers and birds found in the rain forest. Our guide then drives us to the Pu’u Uala’kaa — the hill of the rolling sweet potatoes above the city at an elevation of 1,048 feet. We have great views of Diamond Head, Waikiki, Honolulu, and the harbour and airport, and our ship is visible from here. We also drive through Punchbowl Crater, which is a memorial graveyard for the US Armed Services.

We return to the ship just after 3PM, well before the 4:30 All Aboard time. After getting cleaned up, I decide to wear my new Aloha shirt from our port call in Kaua’i.

4:30PM Captain’s Report – We will sail between two low pressure systems on the return voyage to Vancouver. Waves are expected to be 10′ most of the way, as both systems are generating significant wave action. Koningsdam was scheduled to depart Honolulu at 5PM, but it looks like we will be delayed by an hour due to a medical disembarkation and some late-arriving passengers from an excursion.

Our delayed departure actually works out really well, since the ship sails out of the harbour entrance at sunset, giving us beautiful views along the coastline with some dramatic clouds, ships in the distance on the horizon, all making for some good photos. After looking closer at my sunset photos, I realize there are five mirages of ships and the city floating above the ocean!


Bishop Museum – Honolulu

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 17, 2023 – Day 1 in Honolulu – Bishop Museum

After having breakfast in the Main Dining Room aboard the ship, I take a taxi to the Bishop Museum. I saw this museum back in the 1980s, so it is time to see this repository of Hawaiian natural and cultural history again. There are some exquisite artifacts and artwork, but it is mostly the same as before.

Pacific Hall features Polynesian culture as it is found across huge regions of the Pacific Ocean. I’m pleased to see the Lapita People are featured as the origins of more recent oceanic people. The Lapitas migrated across the South Pacific from Taiwan and East Asia during the Neolithic era (1600 to 500 BCE). All the resulting Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian cultures from this migration are featured in displays in this hall, as well as ocean-going sailing canoes.

Hawaiian Hall is a beautiful 3-level exhibit hall with big models in the centre and display cases on the side walls. See banner image above.

A big Tlingit House Post (totem pole) stands in the foyer between the two main exhibit halls, which I thought was a bit odd until I read the inscription: “This Tlingit House Post is a gift from the Sealaska Corp to the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Hawaiian people to commemorate the strong ties of friendship generated by the Hawai’iloa voyaging canoe and her crew.”

There is also a Picture Gallery between the two main exhibit halls, which features paintings, photos and household artifacts from the Hawaiian royalty. They also have a good collection of stereograms and a couple of working viewers, which brings back memories to me of using a View-Master to look at stereoscopic images of cartoon characters and scenery during my childhood

I take a quick wander through the Science Adventure Center, which is mainly setup for kids with lasers, flashing lights, and interactive displays. There is a cleverly designed Make A Telescope display, which appeals to me as an amateur astronomer. The optics are configurable, so when played with, the effect of moving optic elements or using different ones becomes apparent.

After a couple of hours, I’m ready to return to the ship, so call another taxi. The museum is quite a distance from downtown, costing about US$25 each way. As always, it’s great to return to the ship. I have some lunch and relax for the afternoon.

I go to the 6PM show of Drums of Polynesia: Featuring Kauvaka a performance of a local entertainment troupe that looked promising, however I end up walking out after 10 minutes since the talent is amateurish, and not even close to portraying authentic Polynesian or Hawaiian culture.

I give my two room stewards envelopes with US$ as an early tip this evening, so if they get some time off tomorrow, perhaps they can do some shopping in Honolulu.


Kailua-Kona, Big Island of Hawai’i

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 16, 2023 – a day in Kailua and the Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawai’i, USA

I am up at 7AM and have my usual light breakfast in the Grand Dutch Cafe: fruit parfait, blueberry muffin and a cappuccino. The ship anchors in the bay, drops some tenders into the water, and is soon ready to transfer passengers to shore after the ship is cleared by the port authorities.

I wait until just after 9AM to go down to Deck 1, where we are immediately loaded onto a tender. I have VIP service with my 4-Star Mariner status, so I don’t have to get a tender ticket or wait around to be called. Once I’m ashore, I walk the short distance to the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and wait in the lobby for my friend to pick me up. She is running late, so I hang out in the hotel to stay out of the heat and away from the noise. There are many artifacts on display in the hotel, including the impressive Mahoe, Kai Opua Canoe Club’s 40-foot koa canoe. The Ironman competitors are also leaving the hotel this Monday morning after competing over the weekend, so the people watching is great.

My friend arrives, and we are off to Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park (Place of Refuge). It is great to retreat from the crazy tourist strip, driving through the Captain Cook coffee farms to soak in the good mana at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau, which is probably my favourite place in the world. In past visits, when I stayed at B&Bs in the Captain Cook area of the Big Island, I would come down here to just hang out for hours. There is a Hawaiian man weaving baskets in the Canoe Hālau A-frame, and there is a beautifully made wooden Kōnane Papamū under the palms for playing kōnane (Hawaiian checkers). A Green Sea turtle (honu) blesses us as it swims in Keonae’ele Cove just before we leave. The bonus today is that admission is waived!

We stop at a mall at Keauhou to have some fish tacos at Tropics Taphouse, which is a sports bar in the mall. My friend drops me off at the hotel, and I walk back to the tender dock, where I board the next tender with no waiting. I’m back in my cool stateroom by 3PM, freshen up and then take my notebook down to the Grand Dutch Cafe to have a cappuccino and big chocolate chip cookie, which revives me nicely.

I watch the crew hoist the tender boats aboard from the Promenade Deck, and then return to my stateroom to dress for dinner in the main dining room. I have corn and crab fritters to start, spaghetti aioli entree, and a banana crisp for dessert. I don’t go for my usual martini nightcap this evening and skip the magician show, preferring to work on my photos and journal stay in my stateroom.

Starting tomorrow, we will be docked in Honolulu for two days with an overnight at the dock. I go online to buy a ticket to the Bishop Museum for tomorrow, since it was back in the 1980s when I last saw the museum exhibits.


Hilo, Big Island of Hawai’i

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 15, 2023 – a day in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai’i, USA

I’m up at 6:30AM to enjoy the beautiful approach to Hilo harbour, with Maunakea lit by the morning sunlight and the observatories clearly visible on top. My stateroom balcony gives me a great view of the shoreline as the ship sails into Hilo Bay and docks at 10AM. I’m ready to go, so leave the ship by 10:30AM – my destination is Reeds Bay, Banyan Drive, Coconut Island and Queen Lili’uokalani Gardens.

Map of my walk along Hilo Bay from Koningsdam - Apple Fitness iOS app.
Map of my walk along Hilo Bay from Koningsdam – Apple Fitness iOS app.

It’s already hot, and it takes 20 minutes to walk along Kalaniana’ole Street to my first stop, Kuhio Kalaniana’ole Park. I need to cool off a bit before walking further to Reeds Bay, walk along Banyan Drive and find a mini-market where I buy a chilled Coca-cola. This revives me nicely as I continue my walk along Banyan Drive to Coconut Island. It is Sunday, so lots of local families are enjoying playing in the shallow water, having picnics, and just hanging out in the shade.

I spot a Common Myna and some Saffron Finches foraging in the grass, and a Pacific Golden Plover perched on a stone pagoda in a pond.

I continue to wander through the beautiful Queen Lili’uokalani Gardens and then walk back to the ship and the welcome air conditioning. My Apple Watch tells me I’ve covered 6.4 kms (4 mi) and taken about 10,000 steps, so it was quite the workout for me today in the tropical heat! Although I walk every day around the Promenade Deck while we’re at sea, land walks provide more meaningful exercise.

A Cannonball Impossible burger with fries and a Heineken beer for lunch after my walk

It’s nice to sit in the shade aboard ship and enjoy my late lunch of a Cannonball Impossible burger with fries and a Heineken beer.

I make use of my Jethro Mobile USA mobile plan to call my friend as the ship is leaving port, to confirm our rendezvous for tomorrow’s port call in Kailua-Kona on the other side of the Big Island. Later in the Main Dining Room, my choices for dinner: Kaua’i Poke appetizer, Mahi mahi for main course (excellent sauce and moist fish), and Cherry crisp for dessert. I have a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai with dinner – a nice drink, but too sweet for me.

I have my usual Tanqueray 10 Gin Martini before the Crow’s Nest Lounge closes at 9PM. My favourite server knows me well, so my nightcap is always made just how I like it. It’s lovely to be spoiled!


Nawiliwili, Kaua’i

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 14, 2023 – a day in Nawiliwili, Kaua’i, Hawai’i, USA

Nawiliwili is the first port of call for Koningsdam, spending 5 days sailing across the North Pacific Ocean to Hawai’i. The ship is delayed a bit by another ship leaving the harbour this morning, but once we are tied up passengers are soon ashore and off on their excursions, despite some having to be cancelled due to our later arrival. I have nothing planned, so I have a leisurely breakfast aboard ship at the Grand Dutch Cafe: muffin, fruit parfait, cappuccino.

Joe wearing his new Aloha shirt featuring Frangipangi flowers on a dark red background.
Joe wearing his new Aloha shirt featuring Frangipangi flowers on a dark red background.

I then go ashore, walking 10 minutes to the two resorts and shops on the nearby shores of Nawiliwili Bay. I find a shop selling 100% cotton Aloha shirts, so I buy a nice-looking one with Frangipani flowers on a deep red background. I think it looks quite classy, and I think it will match the Ultra Red on my new Tesla Model S! After taking a few photos along the beautiful beach, I walk back to the ship, and have a Tribeca pizza and Heineken beer for lunch outside.

Le Boreal, a Ponant premium cruise ship docks in the harbour midday. It is quite small with a 264 passenger capacity, and a very sleek design.

After our departure from Nawiliwili Harbour around 4PM there is a spectacular sunset as the ship sails overnight to dock in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai’i tomorrow. I have dinner in the Main Dining Room, but order a light entree, since the pizza at lunch filled me up.