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Cruise Diary: Travel Writer Embarks on South America & Antarctica Voyage

Carsten Korch, Chief Editor and Founder of Living in Peru, is currently sailing aboard Veendam’s 21-Day South America and Antarctica Holiday Voyage with his family. While aboard the ship he will chronicle his cruising experience for us on the blog. Enjoy!

December 20-23, 2012:

This is my first three-week cruise on Holland America Line and with the ms Veendam. Traveling with me is my wonderful wife Virginia and our two boys, Nicolas (12 years old) and Anton (6 years old). To check in with another 1,100 passengers can be a bit overwhelming, but 15-20 minutes later our passports, boarding and credit card have all been turned in, our ID cards for the following three weeks have been issued and we are excited to get on board. We quickly found our cabins 612 and 618 on deck 5 and our luggage had already arrived when we entered the rooms. Excellent! We unpacked quickly and it was time to explore the restaurant options for the evening, as it was getting late. We decide to go for the 4-course dinner in the Rotterdam Dinning Room, which doesn’t disappoint us. Anton was not too happy as he was tired and just wanted something simple like nuggets and French fries.

After a quick breakfast the following morning we decided to visit the white Christ at Corcovado from where we had the best view of Rio de Janeiro and the little chapel below the statue itself. On our way back, we picked up a few souvenirs and four pairs of Havaianas sandals to use on board. Then it was time to return and to get to know the ship.

The ms Veendam is a big ship but not like the huge ones sailing around to the more popular designations in the Caribbean, like the ones that can hold up to 5,000 passengers. That would be too much for me. This ship is just perfect for me and after leaving the port of Rio de Janeiro and one day at sea, we got both of our kids signed up for ClubHAL. Our son Anton did not want to miss any activities. He is happy there and is planning his day around what time ClubHAL opens. There are lots of activities to choose from so while my wife participates in the more cultural and spiritual activities, my son Nicolas and I joined the cooking classes.

This morning I visited the fitness room and watched some news on CNN while walking for about 40 minutes before taking my Pilates class. I’m completely out of shape, so in an effort to not gain too many kilos on this trip with all the options of food available, I better do some exercise in between excursions, playing with kids, taking a nap and reading my five books which I downloaded to my Kindle just before we left Rio de Janeiro.

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