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Cruise Diary from a Collectors’ Voyage: Following the Footsteps of the Vikings

Holland America Line Mariners and frequent cruisers Jan and Dick Yetke set sail July 25 on Veendam’s “Voyage of the Vikings” Collectors’ Voyage that cruises from Boston, Massachusetts, to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and back. Collectors’ Voyages combine back-to-back itineraries into one, longer cruise, and this is one of our most popular.

Come along with Jan and Dick on their grand sojourn as they visit Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and more! See the beautiful scenery and memorable sights, like this cute seal at Prince Christian Sound.

SealCollage

CORNER BROOK, NEWFOUNDLAND:
After two wonderful days at sea (calm), we docked in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada. Weather was lovely – comfortable temperature and partly cloudy! We took the shuttle into town, not knowing exactly what we were going to do, and low and behold we discovered a bike rental shop! So, of course, we rented a couple bikes (and they were electric assist) and off we went. We had a lovely ride along the trail out along the waterfront and back. It was a great treat that we did not expect to find.

Biking around Corner Brook.

Biking around Corner Brook.

RED BAY, LABRADOR:
The next day we anchored off Red Bay, Labrador, Canada, at about 8:00 am. This is a very small community now of only about 300 people. Had a very nice walk down the road and then up the hill to the church. Next door was a historical museum which was very interesting. As we were getting ready to go back down the hill and back to the ship, the fog was rolling in and the ship was “sinking” down into the fog! We enjoyed the stop here.

Veendam in the fog.

Veendam in the fog.

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QAQORTOQ, GREENLAND:
This was a beautiful day visiting a small village here on the southwest corner of Greenland – very remote! At just over 3,000 inhabitants Qaqortoq is the largest town in Southern Greenland. We walked past the museum, saw the fountain which was built in 1927 and is the oldest fountain in Greenland, and up the hill to the Church of Our Savior, a beautiful wooden church built in 1832. We really enjoyed all the beautiful Norwegian-influenced colorful homes which dotted the hillsides.

QaqortoqCollage

PRINCE CHRISTIAN SOUND:
What an absolutely glorious, beautiful day we had cruising the Prince Christian Sound and other passages thru lower southeastern Greenland! The weather could not have been more perfect for doing this – sunny, blue skies, just a few clouds, no wind, very calm waters, brisk chill! We just stood outside on a high forward deck (outside the gym) for a couple hours enjoying the beauty and marveling at what a great job they were going making our way thru all the ice!

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At dinner we celebrated our anniversary with a delicious chocolate cake they made and had a huge group of waiters gather around to sing for us! Great fun!

AnniversaryCollage

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND:
We had two glorious days in Reykjavik, Iceland, situated on the western shores of Iceland. We purchased a ticket for the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus and went by the Perlan (where they have five large storage tanks for the hot water that comes up from the ground and is used for heat), the Hallgrimskirkja (main church), National Museum, Whales of Iceland Museum, Harpa (large, glass concert hall and convention center), and several other places. The little white house in the photo is where Pres. Regan and Gorbechev from Russia met for a meeting but nothing was decided. The second day we took the bus back into town and walked up the main street to the Cathedral. It is beautiful inside! This is a Lutheran Parish church and is the largest church in Iceland. Outside is a statue of Leif Erikson, who they say discovered America before Columbus.

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GEIRANGERFJORD, NORWAY:
On the tender, Dick and I got to sit up in the lookout seats by the driver. One of the most famous and beautiful sights are the Seven Sisters Waterfalls, so I got a wonderful photo of them. Upon arrival at the town we took the City Sightseeing Bus, which in most towns is the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus, but here your ticket just allowed you one trip around the circuit, 1 hour and 20 minutes, with two stops at fabulous viewpoints high up on the mountains – Flydalsjuvet (overlooked the city and harbour) and Eagle Road (which overlooked the Seven Sisters Waterfalls and all surrounding mountains).

GeirangerCollage

After calls at Alesund and Bergen, Norway, the ship ended the first half of the voyage at Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS:
We got off the ship and picked up our rental car. Then headed north and east for two-and-a-half-hours to a town called Papenburg, Germany. When Dick saw the announcement a month or so ago by Carnival Corp. about their new mega-ship they were ordering, he saw that it would be built at the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. He went to the shipyard website and found out that they offered tours. We signed up for a 2 p.m. tour that day. The tour was about 2 hours in length and was extremely interesting!

They had two wet/dry dock buildings, but as the ships have gotten bigger, they had to turn one into a totally dry dock where they make parts and pieces of the ship, and the other one where they assemble the parts and pieces. They are bound by a width of 42 metres and they are bound by a height depending on where the ship is going – i.e. bridges it has to get under, and the building it is built in.

ShipCollage

DUBLIN, IRELAND:
Dublin is a great city. We got on the City Sightseeing Hop-On-Hop-Off bus, red route. The River Liffey runs thru the city and there is a Canal circling the perimeter of the city. The bus went out to the zoo, past many beautiful parks, churches, shops, and many different neighborhoods. After riding the whole circuit (about 1 hour 20 minutes), we picked a stop to get off at which was next to St. Stephens Green – another beautiful park. However, this was also an area of restaurants and shops! We walked down Dawson Street and found a nice little restaurant – 37 Dawson.

Dublin Collage

SEYDISFJORDUR, ICELAND:
What a beautiful, peaceful little village this was! This town was way up a fjord so we had some scenic cruising getting in and out. We got off the ship and headed up and to the left to hike up the path along the waterfall. As you see in a photo, I stopped where the path got muddy. Dick kept going. So, how does one communicate with each other when in this situation? Text to each other on your cell phone, of course! I said “Where are you?” He said “Turn around and look up and to the right of the waterfall.” Well, as you can see, I eventually found him looking thru some bushes.

Iceland2Collage

AKUREYRI, ICELAND:
This was another very nice small town where we just got off the ship and walked into and thru the town main street, up the hill next to the church, continued on up the hill to see the Community Center with pools and work out rooms. In front of the Community Center was a geese refuge since they were contained in this area of two ponds. It was a beautiful day and we had a great walk around town!

Iceland3Collage

The ship also made two more calls in Iceland and Greenland, as well as explored Prince Christian Sound again. The voyage ends this Saturday following calls at Canada and Maine.

If your not as adventurous as Jan and Dick or simply prefer to take a Holland America Line shore excursion to many of these sights, the shore excursions in these ports can be pre-booked so you to get the tour of your choice.

If you’re interested in other itineraries that include these incredible ports, check out the 32-Day Fjords, Highlands & Vikings Collectors’ Voyage aboard Rotterdam departing June 18, 2016; the shorter 14-day Fjords & Highlands segment also departing June 18; Zuiderdam’s 12-Day Northern Isles departing July 16; and Prinsendam’s 34-day North Cape & Celtic Explorer Collectors’ Voyage departing Aug. 3.

Even more exciting is that some of Koningsdam’s maiden season itineraries include several of these ports, so you can visit them on our newest ship! Come aboard the 21-Day Norse Legends & Northern Isles Collectors’ Voyage departing Aug. 7, 2016, or the 12-Day Norse Legends cruise departing Aug. 14.

December 2015 UPDATE: Take Advantage of View & Verandah
We want to make your dream cruise even dreamier with our new View & Verandah promotion. We’re offering stateroom upgrades, up to 10 percent off shore excursions and up to 25 percent off Collectors’ Voyages on 2016-2017 sailings when booked by Feb. 29, 2016. Check out the offer to see if your dream cruise is included and book now!

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