I was exceedingly tired last night from the excursion, and later the big meal at Canaletto. I wake up this morning well rested and feeling much better. Since it’s only 7am, I go up to the Explorations Cafe for a cappuccino and a bottle of Perrier. Around 8:30am I go to the Main Dining room for breakfast – they have blitzes, which are quite good along with a second cappuccino.
There is nothing on the daily program that interests me until this evening, when the Boy Band Evolution are performing again, so I just chill out for most of the day. I pick up a new book from the library – Julia Child’s My Time in France, which is short enough for me to finish before we arrive in Vancouver. The crew have put a huge number of towel art animals around the Lido Pool this morning, so I have a look at the display and take some photos, posting to Facebook. See banner image above.
I preorder a Dive In Impossible Burger with fries, and go back up to the Lido Pool to have my lunch with a Dos Equis beer – one of my favourite meals. Although the Lido Pool area can be noisy like today when they are playing canned music, eating in the Lido Market is even more stressful since there are so many people in there. When I return to my stateroom, a Delft tile from Holland America Line commemorating sailing 150 years is waiting for me.
My room steward lets me know that he is flying home tomorrow from San Diego, so I give him an additional gratuity for his excellent service. His partner is staying with the ship, so I will give him some cash later.
The Boy Band Evolution performance this evening is just as good as their last time in Main Stage. A group that is a real crowd pleaser!
This is my first day of not wearing a mask. Previously, I wore a mask when walking the hallways and venues, using elevators, and especially when I expected crowds like at performances at Main Stage or B.B. Kings. I wouldn’t wear a mask in my stateroom or when outside. I’ve decided to accept the risk and go maskless everywhere for the rest of the voyage.
It’s great to have another sea day, where I don’t have to get up early for an excursion, so I sleep in until 8am. I go down to the Main Dining Room around 8:30am for breakfast at a shared table with two couples, one from Nanaimo and the other from the Napa Valley in California who I have had breakfast with before. Spinner dolphins appear off the stern of the ship, so I jump up to take some mediocre video through the windows with my iPhone.
After returning to my stateroom, my laundry is delivered – such a luxury! I spend the next hour out on my verandah spotting more Spinner dolphins and Sea turtles, so I’m using my 100-500 zoom lens to take some pretty good photos on this trip!
I go for a swim in the Sea View pool , and then return to my stateroom to keep checking for more turtles, but they seem to be behind us now. I wait until 1:30pm before going to the Lido Market for lunch. The beef sliders speak to me, so I have two along with some coleslaw and two kinds of sharp white cheese, finishing off with a slice of chocolate caramel cake for dessert.
After not spotting any turtles from my verandah, I go up to the Explorations Cafe for a cappuccino and find a quiet spot in the Crow’s Nest to work on my photos and journal, while I enjoy my cappuccino. At dinner this evening in the Main Dining Room, I learn from someone at the table that the ship has 1,899 total passengers aboard, with 894 Canadians and 839 Americans.
I attend the late show of Boy Band Evolution in Main Stage, which I enjoy a lot. The four young singers all have their harmonies perfected, and the nostalgia factor of their songs is appreciated by this mainly Baby Boomer audience. Before returning to my stateroom, I go to the Ocean Bar for a nightcap martini, where the server always makes a point of charging me $2 extra for the Tanqueray 10 premium gin I always specify. The surcharge never appears on my bill.
I go to the Explorations Cafe in the Crow’s Nest to pick up a cappuccino and a small bottle of Perrier sparkling water this morning, which I take back to my stateroom. Later, I have breakfast in the Main Dining Room sharing a table with all Canadians this morning, who are from: Victoria, Sunshine Coast, and Ontario.
I attend the Ask the Captain event in the Main Stage at 10am this morning hosted by Cruise Director Kimberly. Thankfully, no stupid or embarrassing questions are asked of Captain Jeroen van Donselaar. I always find these sessions interesting, since the Captains almost always reveal little snippets of behind-the-scenes information on how the ship works and the issues they deal with.
I see flying fish this morning and Nazca Boobys are swooping down into the water near the bow of the ship catching them. I take more photos, despite already having many of the similar Caribbean Booby Gulls from past sightings on the Atlantic side and Brown Boobys on this coast. There is one mostly white Booby and another with mottled white, brown and black plumage among the rest.
I have a Martini in the Tamarind bar this evening before going into the Tamarind restaurant for dinner. I start with lobster and shrimp potstickers served with smoked shoyu and pickled ginger. My main course is Barramundi Red Curry with Crab rice and bok choy – all very tasty. I finish the meal with a selection of House-made Sorbets: lemon-basil, yuzu, and lychee.
People watching – Two young male crew members (Indian and Eastern European) are seated next to me with two old American biddies. It’s a pretty awkward “date” for the young men, but the two women lap it up and carry the conversation. A young couple in their twenties are seated next to my table on the other side. They really stick out since they don’t fit the demographic for this cruise, and don’t seem to socialize with other passengers. However, they seem to be enjoying themselves, so perhaps it’s an opportunity for them to get away…
Trumpeter Nathan Samuelson gives an energetic performance in Main Stage at 9pm this evening, however 45 minutes of solo trumpet playing is a bit much. The house band is backing him up, which improves the experience greatly. He has a very good singing voice in the Michael Buble style, which I would have liked to hear more of. Nathan Samuelson Music
The ship is sailing from Aruba to Cartagena today in some choppy seas, so this area is living up to its reputation as one of the rougher areas of the Caribbean weather-wise. I see Flying fish off the bow of the ship late this morning while walking the Promenade Deck, so I return to my stateroom and use my 100-500 zoom on my Canon R5 to capture some mediocre photo and video. It’s exceedingly hard to capture the brief moments when flying fish are in the air!
There is another spectacular sunset this evening as we sail along the Colombian coast, with just a hint of Green Flash visible as the Sun descends through some cloud layers (see banner image above). These conditions enlarge and distort the solar disk but the Green Flash is not nearly as apparent as on April 11th.
I enjoy Jerk Pork Ribs for dinner in the Main Dining room this evening. Since I always share a table with others, I converse with lots of my fellow Canadians most evenings in the various venues aboard ship.
Pianist John Bressler performs again on Main Stage this evening. He gives another wonderful performance, but doesn’t do as much funny banter this time, since he wants to give us more piano playing accompanied by his raspy singing voice! John Bressler | Facebook
I enjoy sea days where I can relax, enjoy the warm breezes from my balcony and the outside decks, and take in the onboard activities and entertainment.
About a dozen Brown Boobys fly beside the ship this morning, so I take some photographs of them from my balcony. It is hard to identify the Brown Booby from the Caribbean Bobby Gull, since their markings vary so much. I also notice lots of Caribbean Sargassum seaweed (see banner image above) in Mona Passage as we sail south between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, bound for Aruba tomorrow.
I go to a Cocktails with Kimberly event featuring pianist John Bressler this afternoon. He shares that it is his 69th birthday today, and happily answers lots of questions from the audience as well as from Kimberly.
I have dinner this evening in the Main Dining Room, where I walk in with three couples as we are seated at a big table. I have the curried lamb, which is very tasty. Two of my dinner companions from Kelowna recommend the Galapagos Legend ship to explore the Galapagos Islands – less expensive than other excursion ships, and just as good.
Vocalist Maria Campos is the Main Stage performer this evening, singing Broadway songs that became Hollywood movie classics in film. She has a powerful voice, and performs an impressive one-woman show.
Apparently there are 1,617 Canadians and 608 Americans aboard, which illustrates how appealing a return sailing out of Vancouver is to Canadians. It’s also appealing to many dedicated cruisers who are weary of cancelled sailings, and waiting over two years for pandemic travel restrictions to ease sufficiently so they can enjoy themselves.
The Wizard of Wireless – Marconi– an EXC Talk delivered by Cruise Director Jayme
1901 first signal from England to Newfoundland
1903 first signal from England to Boston
Marconi radios aboard the Titanic – new technology at the time
18.1 kts average
19 kts needed to arrive on time in Vancouver
I talk with a man in the Crow’s Nest who’s wife has COVID-19 and is in isolation in a separate stateroom, as well as a woman seated beside us who’s husband is on oxygen with pneumonia. The man who’s wife has COVID-19 tested negative, but he will be tested again tomorrow. I walk the upper decks this afternoon, taking some photos of the ship’s sports facilities: pickle ball (see banner image above), jogging, swimming. I’m impressed by the size of the bow waves from the big swells we are currently sailing through.
I have dinner in the Main Dining Room this evening with a couple from Kelowna I met earlier. The Grilled Blue Marlin main course is very good, accompanied with a couple of glasses of white wine. Marlin can be dry when grilled, but this is done to perfection, so it’s quite moist.
BBC Earth Presents: Planet Earth II in Concert – accompanied by the ship’s musicians. It’s a good documentary, but I walk out after the first two scenes since this is the same production I saw aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam earlier this year while on my Alaska cruise.
Our first day at sea out of Hawaii is pretty rough. Although the outside decks are not closed, everyone is weaving a bit when walking. Most passengers are wearing masks today – a good thing! I have breakfast in the Grand Dutch Cafe: cappuccino, blueberry muffin and a fruit and yogurt parfait.
Captain Cook – The often-surprising tale of a well-traveled explorer – an EXC Talk delivered by Cruise Director Jayme.
At noon, the captain reports we are averaging just over 16 knots but need to average 18 knots to arrive in Vancouver at the scheduled time. The 20 knot NE wind we are currently bucking is predicted to switch to a southerly later this afternoon, so that should help increase the ship’s speed. The captain also mentions there are cases of the virus onboard, “so be careful out there, wear a mask, and wash your hands often.”
This evening I listen to the two piano players playing pop tunes in the Billboard Onboard lounge while enjoying a Tanqueray 10 gin martini (see banner photo above), and then briefly listen to the adjacent Rolling Stones Rock Room musicians playing a good rendition of House of the Rising Sun while all us old folks get in the groove! I catch the late show of Shades of Buble performing on Main Stage – a 3-man tribute to Michael Buble’s music. They sound great, and put on a good show backed by the ship’s musicians.
Before retiring to my stateroom, I take another walk around the Promenade Deck, finding a White-chinned Petrel resting on the deck. I report it to the Customer Service desk, asking them to consult with the on-board naturalist to deal with the situation. White-chinned Petrels are known to follow ships out to sea, so this isn’t entirely unexpected.
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 birds have largely replaced native Hawaiian birds
Mongoose to control rats, ended up decimating native birds
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
False Killer Whale
Acropora – hard coral
Red Snapper & Yellow fin tuna (Ahi)
Climate change will cause a 1 meter increase in sea level in Hawai’i by 2100
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
Other New York artists
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…
The ship changed time zones last night to Hawai’i time – back another hour.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Pigeon Guillemot – red feet, divers
Brown Pelican – plunge divers very close to shore
Western Gull – eats anything
Subsurface Predators near Hawai’i
Spotted, Striped & Bottle-nosed dolphin
Hawaiian ocean birds
Black-footed Albatross- dynamic soaring
Layson Albatross – 7-8′ wingspan
Wedge-tailed Shearwater – sensitive to artificial lights – collisions
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– 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.