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Countdown to an Oosterdam Cruise

Guest Blogger Gary Frink sailed aboard Amsterdam this past spring and posted a cruise diary on the Holland America Blog, and he’s getting ready to sail again.

“I can’t wait,” my I-can’t-get-my-fill-of-Holland America wife said this morning. She is looking forward to what we call a “shorty” cruise, aboard the ms Oosterdam leaving San Diego October 16, for seven days along the Mexican west coast with stops at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

This spring we spent 38 glorious days aboard the ms Amsterdam, cruising through Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Japan, S. Korea and even did a fascinating few hours in Petropavlovsk, a chilly fishing city on the tip of the Siberian Kamchatka Peninsula.

Are 38 days of luxury a year in the warm arms of Mother Holland America enough for my shipboard casino-loving, nickel-slot-stroking bride? Absolutely not. The Oosterdam voyage will take us to two new Mexican cities and a memory-filled stop in Puerta Vallarta, where we often visited resident friends in the 1990s.

The Oosterdam will be a new ship for us, but perhaps with a Captain we very much enjoy. Captain Arjen van der Loo hosted us for dinner aboard the Maasdam in 2005. I published a story of that cruise on 6/17/05 in the “Ashland Daily Tidings,” which began with a quote from the energetic young captain: “The first couple of weeks after I get home, I seldom leave the house.” If Captain van der Loo hasn’t rotated off the Oosterdam after it finishes its Alaskan runs in September, it would be a great pleasure for Jeanne and me to renew our acquaintance.

The Oosterdam cruise will be a family affair: Jeanne’s brother, Jim and his wife Jill, will join us. They will break away from their tiny hamlet near Lincoln, Ne., to join us in San Diego. Their daughter and son-in-law will venture south from Santa Monica for a mini-family reunion. Then the four members of the older generation will climb aboard the Oosterdam for seven days of fun and sun in our Upper Verandah cabins. As I write this, I am also overcome with the I-can’t-wait-for-our-return-to-Holland America syndrome. My mind’s eye takes me to the stern formal dining room, and sumptuous five course (if you include salad and soup) dinners, served by cheerful, efficient Indonesian staff. That is, indeed, my idea of Holland America luxury. — Gary R. Frink

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