Amsterdam’s 2016 Grand World Voyage set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jan. 5. on a 115-day adventure with some of our favorite guest bloggers onboard. Jeff Farschman, President’s Club member and World Adventure blogger, is back for his 10th Grand World Voyage, and he’s joined by familiar names like Jan and Dick Yetke and Gary and Jeanne Frink. Captain Mercer also is charting his way around the world on his own blog!
The ship will take a western route from the United States to the South Pacific, then on to Indonesia, the Far East, around India, through the Suez Canal and across the Mediterranean before taking a transatlantic journey back to Fort Lauderdale.
Here are just a few of the highlights and ports along the first part of this amazing voyage. If you want to see every port visited to-date and more gorgeous photos, check out Jeff’s blog at World Adventure and Captain Mercer’s blog at www.captainjonathan.com.
One of the major highlights of the Grand World Voyage is a transit of the Panama Canal. Taking the ship from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean without having to go around the tip of South America, guests are able to experience this man-made wonder with a fantastic view. Journey through the canal with Captain Mercer and Jeff.
What a perfect day for transiting the canal. It was pretty hot, but I like it that way. It was nice to follow another Holland America Line ship, the ms Zuiderdam through the Gatun Locks. It is kind of like traveling with another family member. The transit was one of the better ones, great sights and wonderful weather. — Jeff
It is not a straight ‘shot’ across, we weave our way through the many islands, many of which have ‘steering’ marks for the ships, these are cut out of the jungle to make them visible at distance. — Captain Mercer
The South Pacific is a chain of some of the most picturesque and memorable islands in the world. With brilliant turquoise waters, sun-kissed skies, golden beaches and the scent of vanilla lingering in the air, some of the most talked-about ports of call are in this part of the world. All of the guests went ashore and came back with some stunning images.
We had one of the best days yet! … We did a full island tour stopping at some very interesting scenic spots, including some hikes up to some fabulous viewpoints and the beautiful Muri Lagoon. We also had some different but very interesting stops like a top notch ukulele maker, a place where they do shell carvings and a place where virgin coconut oil is extracted and made into various products. I bought some virgin coconut oil with hot chilies. Want some? — Jeff
Hearing that it was a divers’ paradise, we signed up for a scuba dive excursion for certified divers, which we are. It was wonderful! The coral on the reef was so pristine, and the reef fish were beautiful and plentiful and colorful! We also saw a few sharks – black tip and a hammerhead. We saw a gorgeous, huge spotted eagle ray swimming along so peacefully! And we saw a couple turtles that we watched and played with for a while. It was a fabulous place for a dive!!! (The underwater photos are from a friend.) — Jan
After the South Pacific the ship began an Australia and New Zealand exploration. The ship had an early-morning arrival at Melbourne, Australia, and Holland America Line fan and frequent guest Noel Bell shot this drone footage as the ship came into port. He remained a safe distance away from the ship while still capturing some fabulous images.
Jeff had a great time ashore:
What a day! A fabulous visit to Melbourne, Australia and the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl. It just couldn’t get much better! I took the tram into town right after clearing Australian Immigration and began my walk about. I pretty much wandered about the city in a haphazard manner for a couple of hours, catching a garden here and some street art there, just finding what I could that seemed interesting as I went … Then I decided to go up the Eureka building to their floor 88 observation deck, a great spot to see the city from above. After that I wandered back to the central part of town and hopped a tram back to the ship. All throughout the day I stayed in touch with the big game and was just ecstatic that Denver prevailed. What a grand day! — Jeff
While at Melbourne, Karen Mercer went to check out wine country.
The ship’s Environmental Officer Jonathan Bailey captured the wild side of Melbourne.
The ship currently is continuing to explore Australia, heading on to the Great Barrier Reef. Check back on our blog for the next “lookbook” from the Grand World Voyage, or get even more photos and updates from Cruise Specialists’ blog.