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Where’s ms Amsterdam? The Grand Adventure Continues for a HAL Cruiser

Each year, Holland America Line carefully crafts Grand Voyages that offer extended journeys to some of the most incredible places in the world. The longer itineraries allow for in-depth explorations and immersive experiences that very few cruise lines offer.

Holland America Line has been sailing Grand Voyages for years, and no other cruise line offers as many or as exceptional options. In 2015, guests can choose from several Grand Voyages, including the 114-day Grand World Voyage, 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage and the 55-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage, not to mention other extended cruises like the 90-day Passage to the Far East sailing and the 45-day Far East and North Pacific Crossing.

Gerald Bernhoft, our director Mariner Society, recently joined ms Amsterdam October 23 in Hong Kong during the ship’s 78-day South Pacific and Far East Voyage to host several special Mariner events. While onboard, he met up with Jeff Farschman, President’s Club member, “World Adventure” blogger and Holland America Blog contributor. A Grand Voyage can be the best cruise you ever take, and Jeff confirmed this with his thoughts:

“Gerald, this is one of the best Grand Voyages I have ever been on. Every tiny little detail has not gone unnoticed. We are all having a great time.” — Jeff Farschman

Coming from Jeff, who has sailed on 13 Holland America Line Grand Voyages, that is saying a lot! To see what makes a Grand Voyage so special, read on to see more photos from Jeff that capture his journey through beautiful images. Since we last heard from him, he’s visited South Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Jakarta, Bali, Komodo Island and now he’s exploring Australia. It’s true that images often speak louder than words. Enjoy!

In South Korea, the ship called at Jeju where Jeff went to Hallim Park and captured all of the flora and fauna.

Hallim Park at Jeju, South Korea.

Enjoying Hallim Park at Jeju, South Korea.

The ship then called at Incheon, the port for Seoul. On the first day Jeff went to the Naryangjin Fish Market and Jogye Temple before heading off to see other sites like the Insa-dong Street market, Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Blue House, South Korea’s version of the White House in the U.S. On day two he visited a Korean Folk Village in Suwon.

The next location was a biggie! We went to Gyeongbokgung Palace for the changing of the guard and a tour of the Palace. What a magnificent place! I just loved it… The changing of the guard was fantastic, full of tradition. It was a fabulous part of the day! — Jeff

The sites and sounds of Seoul, South Korea.

The sites and sounds of Seoul, South Korea.

China is one of the most popular countries to visit. From bustling cities to quaint villages, it’s the dream destination of a lifetime for many travelers. On Jeff’s journey, he visited Beijing, Quindgao, Shanghai and Hong Kong. This is just a very small selection of his more-than 100 photos, so be sure to visit his blog to see them all.

ChinaAlone

With four ports in China, three of them overnight calls, Jeff had a lot to see and do.

With four ports in China, three of them overnight calls, Jeff had a lot to see and do.

ChinaAlone2

Jeff had this to say about Hong Kong:

We had a wonderful sail into one of the world’s greatest ports this morning. It was … off to Lantau Island to visit the Tai O fishing village and the Po Lin Monastery and the big Buddha. We had a major highlight at the monastery when a huge number of Monks seem to gather while our backs were turned, just magnificent! After that we headed back to Kowloon, did some internet updates and went to the Temple Street Night Market. The evening was capped off with the Hong Kong laser light show. Great day!

Vietnam was a juxtaposition of images, from bustling Ho Chi Minh City to rural Phu My.

Vietnam.

Vietnam.

In Singapore, Jeff snapped 900 photos, Yes, 900! According to Jeff, he was the “first one off the ship and didn’t stop until 12-and-a-half hours later!”

Singapore.

Singapore.

When visiting Komodo Island, most guests go in search of the rare Komodo dragon. Jeff joined in on the adventure.

It was an extraordinarily hot day to go out and track down Komodo Dragons but that is exactly what we did. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a little bit of excitement during our trek — last time four dragons came after me. They must have lost their taste for my tender flesh. Anyway, we saw dragons so it was a successful day. It is always special when you can find a juvenile up in a tree where they spent their first three years so the adults don’t eat them. Great day capped off with an Indonesian Dinner in the Pinnacle Grill.

KomoCollage

An evening in the Pinnacle Grill wrapped up the day at Komodo.

An evening in the Pinnacle Grill wrapped up the day at Komodo.

The ship then sailed along to Darwin and Port Douglas, Australia. Since Jeff has been to Darwin before, he chose to go to explore the Botanical Gardens this time.

Darwin_alone

DarwinCollage

In the evening, the ship held an “On Location” event that brings local culture, entertainment and experiences onboard. Guests enjoyed an Australian barbecue on deck accompanied by a didgeridoo musician.

"On Location" events bring the local flavor onboard.

“On Location” events bring the local flavor onboard.

“Wonderful evening!!! Now we have three days at sea as we make our way to Port Douglas, Australia. Loving this voyage…” — Jeff

After Darwin, the ship called at Port Douglas where Jeff and his tablemates headed to Mossman Gorge. They hiked down to the Mossman River on elevated walkways and across the Rex Creek Suspension Bridge. After their walk they met a guide and went on an Aboriginal Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk where they learned about the Aboriginal culture and how they lived off the land.

Mossman Gorge at Port Douglas.

Mossman Gorge at Port Douglas.

Next they headed to the Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas where they saw a variety of native animals in a rainbow of colors.

Wild_alone

WildCollage

And now it’s on to Sydney for Amsterdam and Jeff. With an overnight call, he’s sure to take in all of the sights of the city. Stay tuned to the blog for an update on Jeff’s journey as he heads to the South Pacific after leaving Australia.

Which port on Jeff’s journey looks the most interesting to you? Tell us below!

9 Comments
  • Robert Thoms

    Great photos !!
    Some day (soon I hope) I’ll be able to get away long enough to take a longer cruise.

  • Bradley Elliott

    I have had the opportunity to travel with Jeff many times. I have the highest regard for his contributions (Via Blogging) to this wonderful cruise line we all often call home.

  • Allan and Sandra

    Jeff you have an amazing eye for beauty. When we look at your photographs we are jealous that even being in the same ports we do not see what you capture with your camera. THANKS

  • Schuyler Goodrich

    I was fortunate to meet Jeff on his first World voyage and have since been on 4 more with him. Jeff’s pictures capture the heart and soul of the countries he visits. I am now able to relive many fond memories through his pictures. Being a part of the Holland America family on these long journeys is a wonderful experience.

  • Ann Scott

    We were lucky enough to travel with Jeff on a number of excursions on the last world cruise and saw first hand his uncanny ability to capture the most unique and beautiful pictures of people, places and things! Jeff’s dedication to taking pictures and blogging is to be applauded, we can see the world through his eyes and he is very generous with sharing his experiences through his blog. HAL you are very lucky to have him as a passenger……

    Hard to pick a favourite, but Japan was wonderful……

  • Sandra Lehto

    Love seeing your adventures. I am living vicariously through your sails and blog.
    I became aware of your blog from Gloria Frank we worked together many moons ago.
    Keep the story going for us land locked folks.

  • james

    2/13/2015 when will hal post the excursions for the trails of Tahiti, oct2, 2015, 45 days ? i’m trying to figure out what to do. thank you

  • Julie

    James, please contact HAL_reservations@hollandamerica.com. They will have more info for you.

  • joko

    Komodo is amazing island, I visit those island on 1991 before join HAL. and don’t forget there is other island with a lot komodo on few miles from komodo island, we call it ” Rinca Island and between those islands. There are ” Bat Island’ you can see thousand and thousand bats bat flew out mostly before sun set. enjoy

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