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Cruise Diary: Home Again, Home Again…

HAL blogger Gary Frink recently sailed on board Oosterdam’s Mexican West Coast Voyage and sent in cruise diaries throughout his time on board. Here is his final entry.

Jewell Hollow, Page County, Virginia

We have had pristine autumn weather in Jewell Hollow since our return from a week of luxury aboard the Oosterdam off the Pacific coast of Mexico. Enough forest leaves remain to yet provide us with a splash of hard wood yellow and red splendor.

I always have withdrawal pains from the five course meals, entertainment and cabin service Holland America provides us, seemingly so effortlessly. This time it has been worse.

During my interview with Capt. Sybe DeBoer, aboard the Zaandam during our spring 2009 San Diego-Hawaii-Vancouver voyage, he learned that I have spent considerable time voyaging on cargo ships. “I have a Dutch friend who operates a website devoted to nautical commerce. If you wish, I’ll have him put you on his email list.” And so it happened.

A few days ago I opened up a copy of clippingnews@maasmondmaritime.com and the lead piece was a long picture spread of the Amsterdam in Singapore during the ship’s current Holland America 69-day 2010 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage. Oh my, I was bowled over by an acute attack of nostalgia.

This spring, Jeanne and I flew San Francisco to Singapore; there, to board the Amsterdam for 38 days aboard as we were indulged with multi-port calls in Vietnam, China, Japan, and shorter stays in Cambodia and South Korea; we were even treated to a morning in Petropavlovsk, Siberia, a fishing city on the eastern tip of Russia. Jeanne and I were lucky enough to have joined one of the last legs of Holland America’s annual Grand World Voyage.

The Grand World Voyage captivated us. The lectures and other enrichment programs were grander and more exciting than anything we had ever encountered afloat. The hand-picked crew was incomparable, the arrangements ashore were the best. The rotating entertainers were very, very good. As I wrote at the time: “If you ever get a chance to join a Holland America Grand Voyage, run, don’t walk, to the opportunity.”

I am in a double fit of nostalgia, one for the short cruise we just completed and a huge one for the wonderful 38 days we spent aboard the Amsterdam. We had so much fun on the Amsterdam, particularly with Joy, the hostess and Brock, he of the cruise department. To top it all off, Bruce Scudder, the cruise director was a fellow native Michigander and a graduate of the University of Michigan Music School, where I earned my law degree.

I hope it won’t be long before I am again aboard a Holland America Grand Voyage, enjoying myself as Jeanne and I lap up HAL luxury, encounter new friends, nations and cultures; when it happens, I promise to write about it all and publish my encounters and experiences every day or two on the Holland America Blog.

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