Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hawaii Dec. 20-Jan 4,2008

Holland American "Zaandam"

The Zaandam and home for 15 days.

December 20/07 -Jan. 4/08

HI Everyone and Happy New Year!
Back from our Hawaii cruise and just want to fill you in on our adventure.
Dec. 20th, we arrived in San Diego to hot welcomed weather. Our trip there went well and Holland America meets everyone going aboard the ship, at the airport and we get on a bus for a short ride to the ship terminal. We leave Vancouver and see the last of our luggage until we see it again in our stateroom, so it's all very easy. We were VERY tired though. We had to stay up the night before to catch the shuttle to the airport at 2:20am. We were both too afraid to fall asleep, in case the brand new alarm clock we had just bought, malfunctioned! We were both pretty excited anyway! We were greeted on ship with a flower lei. Not a real flower one though, just a fake dollar store one!! We had an upgrade in our room and ended up with a window instead of an inside cabin. We had booked our trip so late with only a few spots left on the cruise that we didn't know where our cabin was until we boarded the ship. There is ship drill, where everyone has to be out on the deck in the correct lifeboat station for instructions on what to do in an emergency. We were so exausted, we could hardly stand through the whole drill. Meanwhile the ship's photographer is snapping pictures of everyone! We sure weren't in a smiling mood just then! There was a Holiday Sail-Away party, but we skipped everything the ship had to offer that night and went right to bed. We woke around 10pm and ordered a sandwich from the dining room delivered to the room.

Dec. 21, First of four days at sea! The sea was very rough and thought I may be feeling a little queasy as I un- packed 3 suitcases. Tom was still sleeping, so I ordered room service again and took a couple of motion sickness pills in case it hit me. Well, it just made me very tired and had to go back to bed before I fell over!! The motion of the ship didn't make me sick, just lulled me to sleep. I woke up around 2, wide awake, also raring to holiday with gusto!! We toured the ship, but it's almost the same as the Volandam ship we took in May through the Panama Canal, so we felt right at home and found our way around easily. Out by the pool, the water was sloshing right out of the pool as the ship rocked back and forth. Someone thought we had a wave machine! We went and had a late lunch and looked over the day’s program of events. We had just had lunch so missed the Christmas High Tea and the team trivia, which we enjoyed last cruise. We went to the library and found some good books to read during the cruise and just sort of relaxed before our dinner at 8:30 in the Rotterdam Dining room, which is the fancy one where everyone is served in style!! What a treat!! We had booked a table for 4, but because of the rocking ship and high waves, our dinner partners didn't show up, so we dined alone. There we're many empty tables that night!

Dec. 22. Clocks are turned back one hour, seas are calm now and by this afternoon, we have hot sunshine out on the deck, where we soaked it all up. Man oh man, is this one huge ocean!! With all the freighters we see leaving Vancouver and all the other ports along the way, you would think we'd spot a ship or two, but not a thing!!! Just this vast sea everywhere! Lots of people were walking the deck and enjoying the weather. Lots of events going on, but we were just content to sit and enjoy the sea and sunshine. There were talks going on about the ports we would see and things like how to make a blood Mary...who doesn't?? There were things going on in the casino, bingo, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, a chocolate lovers meet, bridge, craft class, meet your fellow veterans, fitness class, royal Dutch Tea, trivia challenge, fitness, and lots more. Being Christmas, the ships officers are allowed to bring their families on board also, so along with families with children, there were many activities that were kid related, which unlike our last cruise, which was mostly old fogies like ourselves, the events were geared to adult things then. Our dinner partners never showed up that night either nor any other evening the entire cruise!! The ship was so full that they turned the Lido, which is the cafeteria style dining into a more upscale dining room with table clothes and served the same food as the Rotterdam which is suppose to be fine dining! You just had to stand in line and pick what you wanted instead of from a menu. Lot's of people preferred that to getting dressed up for dinner too. Sleeping is wonderful on the most comfortable beds!! The rocking of the motion of the ocean just lulls one to sleep, and we slept so wonderful.
The Lido (cafeteria style and everything to eat you can imagine!)

Dec. 23 Up and walked around the deck a few times before breakfast in the Rotterdam (as if we aren't spoiled enough, we could eat any meal up there instead of the cafeteria. Any time but dinner, you are seated with anyone else there, so you get to meet lots of different people from all over and hear many great stories and meet some great people. We sat with Jeff and Joanne this day. Forget where they were from. Then we walked the deck again, sat in the Library and read. I went shopping on board and bought two nice necklace sets. Again, more events to keep you busy. I think I went to a History of Hawaii talk and a Hawaiian hot spot talk. Then to the Lido for lunch and checked out the movie on board and then we went to the Explorer Lounge and listened to a group called "The Fantasy Strings!”. Ohhh, we're they great!!! Beautiful music with a violinist, a cello and a piano and they played all this classical, but not high- brow stuff. The type you just close your eyes and marvel at the beautiful sounds. They played every night from 7 to 11 and we spent many hours listenin
My picture of them didn't turn out!!!!! Boooo Hoo

Dec. 24th. Each day gets warmer and deck sitting is my favorite thing to do. I listen to my ipod and just stare at the sea going by and ponder at all the life below us. That and many other things!!! Tom is enjoying it too and he nods off. Again the motion just rocks you to sleep! There were large swells, but with great stabilizers on the ship they were hard to feel, but fun to watch. We met this couple that we really enjoyed talking to. He was 85 and called himself "a dead man walking!" He had such a sense of humor yet was so depressed about life, it was hard to wonder at him being two moods at once, but he was a delight to talk to and made us laugh many times. His wife was 20 years younger and just so devoted to him. She was Hungarian and a strong accent and a really nice person. We sat and chatted many times. It's Christmas Eve and there is lots going on. A live Broadway musical, Sing Along in the Piano bar, holiday champagne dancing and an international Christmas Eve Celebration which was put on by the crew. It was fantastic. I even stayed up and went to midnight mass!!! Gosh, I haven't been to Catholic Mass since it was in Latin and it's sure isn't the same as I remembered it. I went to communion and even that was different where other people then the priest handed the host out. Gosh it was to be untouched at one time!! At the end of the service they dumped the left over hosts back into a bowl and asked if anyone else would like another host as there were extra's!! What!!!!!
I nearly fell off my chair in the change as I remember it!! Tom skipped this and went off to bed! By the way, the ship was decorated in the holiday spirit with lots of beautiful decorated trees everywhere.. The Zaandam is decorated with art valued at over $2 million and an amazing collection.
Tom and I beside one of the MANY beautifully decorated trees on board.

This gold clock from another century was spectacular. Too bad the details didn't turn out better.

This is the TOP of a beautiful organ that ran from through the middle of the ship from the 5th floor to the 3rd floor where the bottom was. It had beautiful carvings and it worked! Played 3 times a day. It had different scenes as you walked around it.

Linda at the bottom of Organ

Tom standing at the bottom of the Organ!

Dec. 25th and Aloha! We are in Hilo, Hawaii. The 4th largest city in the state of Hawaii. We arrive at 8am and set sail again at 4pm. It's raining, it’s Pouring!!! We took the shuttle to Hilo Hattie, which was the ONLY store open on Christmas day. It's all Hawaiian clothing and souvenirs and expensive. We looked around and then went back on the ship. Even the fog from the rain obscured the view of the hills. Some people had excursions booked that ended up cancelled. Christmas is Christmas everywhere and nobody wanted to work or cared a cruise ship and spenders had arrived!!

Not very exciting on our first day which was Christmas, but it was lovely and warm! This is Hilo, Hawaii, before we turned into port.

The youngest child to the oldest, right up to all the seniors sat on Santa's knee and told him what they wanted for next Christmas! We told him we were a good boy and girl!!!

Santa arrived at 4pm and it was really fun watching the little kids sitting on Santa's knees. We all had eggnog and goodies and presents for the kids, then after the kids sat on Santa's knees, they asked anyone else who believed in the old fellow to come up and tell him what you wanted for Christmas next year and get your picture taken. Well, the whole room went up for pictures and again it was fun to watch and hear the comments. Our picture turned out great!!! I just asked for continued happiness for everyone and safety and health for everyone!! Aren't I angelic?? Must of been the host I took the night before!!

Dec. 26 Now in Nawiliwili, Kauai! Try and say that!!! I finally got it down pat, after many tries! It's the "Garden Island" Very pretty. This is where Elvis wiggled his hips amongst the swaying palms in the movie "Blue Hawaii". Jurassic Park was also filmed here. Beautiful hills and valley’s and very pretty. Arrived at 8 and sail at 4:30, Shopped at the store's along the coast. Lots of beaches but not safe to go alone, without knowing the beach and the rip tides. I stuck to the pool on board! Lots of the same stuff in the stores, but I found WAL-MART!!!! Same stuff, much cheaper and more variety! Showtime tonight was Marty Brill and a Variety show. The events on ship are much the same each day and not much variety and more geared to kids then us old folk's, which Holland America is noted for passengers. Not like Carnival where it's a family and kids ship. Each day, we meet more people and are on first name basis as we greet each other around the ship and fall in love with our fun crew. Our supper stewards are the best and have us in stitches all the time with their antics.

Roy and Tono! What a pair that kept us in stitches, and gave terrific, friendly service!

We invited another couple sitting alone to join us for dinner. They are from the deep south, black and he's a doctor. Very nice, but he talks so low, that Tom has a hard time hearing him and he's sort of mumbles. Reminds me of James Earl Grey. We are to join them at dinner the next night at their table. Again, more tours have been cancelled. Christmas is just too busy with all the holiday people and the places can't accommodate them all. Many people were disappointed, but we didn't have any tours planned anyway.

Aloha Towers, minutes from the ship and many beautiful stores. We discovered this, "after" our 4 hour city bus ride for $2. We had sore bums from that ride, but it was worth seeing what we could through dirty windows. We were up at the top of Honolulu at Turtle Cove golf course, we saw the Polynesia Center, Chinatown, people surfing, large waves and talked to many nice people, but had a very cranky bus driver.

Dec. 27th....Honolulu, Oahu. Everything was within walking distance and 4 blocks from the beach. It's raining!! We are docked at Aloha Tower’s, which has beautiful shopping. We decided to take a $2.00 tour around the while Island, called the Circle Tour. Us and another couple fell for it!!! It was a city bus tour, stopping here and there to pick up passengers. It ended up being 4 long hours where our bums felt numb at the end when we got off!! We went right around the island and at the top of the island was the end of the first part of the tour. We ended up at a beautiful golf course called Turtle Island, or Turtle Cove or something like that. The other couple was a real hoot and we all had to pee the whole way and could hardly wait to find a washroom. It was a bumpy ride, as the roads aren't too good!! I talked to a wonderful young lad about 20 who was on a scholarship and had to take this trip every single day. He told me much about island life and was a great surfer. He said the next part of the trip was along the beach with the big surf. We thought another bus was never going to pick us up and this Charlene, had me in stitches with her complaining and how we were stranded so far from the ship and in a hurricane!! It was a little windy, but certainly not a hurricane in my eyes, but she made it sound like one. On the other half of the trip it poured rain and the bus would hit a mud filled rut in the road and so much mud flew up on the windows of the bus, we couldn't see a darn thing!!! We did catch a few glimpses of the surf and surfers out and went through a place something like a Surfer Village, with what we used to hear called Surfer Shacks. Everyone carries a surf- board. I have to mention too, that all these islands have chickens and roosters walking all over the place. Apparently a hurricane back in the 70's hit the Islands and blew all the coups everywhere, setting the chickens free. They just walk here and there. Also’ many feral cats. I didn't see them, but everyone was amazed at how many of them there were. One woman said there is never a shortage of meat on the islands, just catch a chicken and put in a slow cooker and they are delicious. Another person said they are not good to eat because they drink dirty water and eat and pick dirty things. They are called the Road Warriors!

Turtle Cove, where we were sort of stranded, not knowing when the next bus was coming along. It was warm and windy and we just missed the rain that fell as soon as we got finally got on the next bus that came along about 1/2 hour later. Then it rained! We had some good laughs with Charlene and Mel, who were the only other fools that fell for the cheap ride.

It's a lovely place though, but reminds me somewhat of Vancouver with the mountains, although not as big as Vancouver's, but very green and lush. Tom and Charlene's husband, Mel, went back to the ship, Charlene and I went and looked at all the stores, until we had to be back on for dinner. Gosh.....we can't miss a meal!!!!! Again many of the tours were canceled. But we did see the outside of many places on the bus ride!!. Events on ship, much the same old stuff. We missed the entertainment also. Tired and went to bed.
I'm in the Tender(small boat, but safe) taking us back to our ship. We we're in port at Lahaina until late at night, so Tom got tired of shopping and went back to the boat and I hadn't had my fill shopping yet, so into the Tender and "land ahoy!"

Dec. 28th Today in Lahaina, Maui. Love it here. We have to take a Tender to shore. It's the lifeboats they lower, but they aren't like those old lifeboats of yesterday. Lots of room and covered. A nice ride to shore. Beautiful shopping places and just a nice place to be. A small beach by the dock but someone said it was kind of cool, so I gave up the idea of a swim. We are here until 10:30 pm. Tonight we had a show of Hawaiian culture, called Drums of Polynesia, with a BBQ in the pool area. (There are two pools, one outside on top of the ship and another inside. They had the hula dancers and music and it was really good. I took lots of pictures, but may have had the camera on the wrong setting, so will have to wait until we get them off the camera to find out.
Food was great and again we met lots of nice people. It's a whole community on board in the festive spirit with everyone wearing bright Hawaiian shirts and dresses, and Tom and I have ours on too!! Complete with a flower in my hair!!


Everything is so colorful! This is where the whales migrate to from Alaska to lay their pods. We didn't see any though. I've heard of a Banyan Tree, which is a huge big tree that has these vines hanging from it and when it touches the ground, it makes another tree grow. Hard to explain, but look up the tree on the net. It was beautiful there and I was quite taken by it.

Tom sat while I looked at the stores and he ended sitting with this fellow off the cruise who was missing his dog, that was left at the vets, so he called his vet and got the vet assistant and she just said , "well the dog's sleeping now" he can't come to the phone! Tom had a chuckle over that, then the guy phoned back so he could talk to the vet and told him to take the dog home with him and let him sleep on his bed, because the dog was very sociable. We chuckled over that!!! Lots of pearls here. You can open shells and find pearls..for a price of course! They sure are beautiful, but I passed on them....not that I wouldn't have liked one!! We couldn't see any volcanoes because of the haze. But what we did see was great. Often we would go to the top of the ship for cocktail hour before supper as the ship sailed out of the port. That's where we discovered Apple Cocktails....mmmm good!!!
This was taken on a evening as the sun was going down and we were leaving Lahina and on our way to Kona. We were out on the very front of the ship,as far as you can get. It was windy and a sudden shower soaked us and sent us running for cover. The Crow's Nest, where we had our Social Hour was up where the windows are. It looks much higher if looking at the whole ship.

Off to Kona

Dec. 29th.Kona, favourite port.
One side of the islands, where we visited first get the rains, this time of year. The other side, where we are in Kona, is warm and sunny and loved it. It's a friendly and charming small town with a centrally located pier and within easy walking distance of shops and tourist attractions. Also, the retirement residence of King Kamehameha and the palace for Hawaiian royalty. Kona is coffee country! I really liked this place! Tom's leg was bothering him and it was hot, so we went back to the ship by Tender and I returned to shore and went to WAL-MART, where the bargains are! There are shuttles to these stores. If I was going back to Hawaii, I'd want to go to Kona. Entertainment that night was great, a comedian, who played the violin and was quite the act. His name is Dave Levesque and he put on this fabulous act and then during the day would give talks about the trade winds and all about the Hawaiian Islands. He's a teacher and is amazing his two different personalities. We really enjoyed him.

There's our Zaandam through the palms, looking over Kona. I was in a Wal-Mart shopping center lot.

The next four days were at sea, and it was relaxing, warm and wonderful, and we enjoyed it immensely!!
New Years Eve they had a big party with dancing, falling balloons and great entertainment. Lots of food and just a great time.

Happy New Year!!


We met another fireman from Vancouver area and we seem to become included with their group and we'd all meet in one spot for drinks in the afternoon, up until dinner time, which was 8:30 for them as well. Along with them, was Beryl and Joan from San Diego and another couple from near here. They were all such a hoot and we had a great time with them.
We all loved our crew and had our favourites and fun with them all.

So, our last day was returning library books, packing and saying our last goodbyes to the friends we had met. The entertainment that night was again Dave Levesque and another girl called Annie Francis from Australia, that we REALLY enjoyed. She was a beautiful singer! Plus another singer/musician and comedian rolled into one called Chris Pendleton, who had been on A&E and live at the Improv, and other comic shows. Then the whole crew from every part of the ship gave a show and it was really wonderful and touching. Also another day, we had a fellow called Bill Harris who gave all the scoop on the stars on all the tv shows like Oprah to Regis and Kathie Lee to Larry King. He seemed to know all the stars and what they are like. Tom enjoyed him. I didn't know half the people he was talking about the first part of his talk. Faye Ray and people like that, then he moved up to Tom Hanks and people I did know, but by that time, I was falling asleep in the theater and missed the good part.
Dinner was also a sad goodbye to the crew who make the trip so special and fun. Lots' of pictures taken by everyone and many memories made. Lots of email addresse's exchanged and promises to stay in touch. Cruising is so much fun!!! We love it!!

Mary and Al, Freda and Bill

Up the next morning in San Diego, our suitcases were set out in the hall the night before and we never saw them again until Vancouver. It's so wonderfully organized. We had breakfast, and shuttled to the nearby airport. We were there at 9am and had to wait until 1:10pm. Our plane was late getting in and so it made us late for getting into our connection from Seattle. Man, is that a big airport!!! We had 10 minutes to catch the flight to Vancouver, and we had to run halfway through the terminal, catch a subway train to another part of the terminal, catch another train, and up and down many escalators on the way. I hadn't peed since that morning and I tend to get into a panic when we may be late! Tom was cool and collected and at one point just disappeared into a washroom!! Anyway, we were the last to board and were on a very small plane that we had to walk on the taramack to get on. It was only about 1/2 hour from Vancouver trip.

Tom’s son Martin and wife Joan picked us up and we went for dinner and home very tired! Batman was so glad to see us. TJ we don't pick up until tomorrow and Batman is walking around looking for him, wondering where he is and meowing for him......who'd a thought!!!!!!

We woke to a touch of chest colds this morning and stayed in pj's all day. I emptied suitcases, did laundry and wondered why nobody was there to serve us supper!! Damn....I have to cook!!!! What a let down!!!

Anyway, folks, that's our trip. We leave behind the good food, good service, wonderful experiences, good entertainment, good friends, and bring home with us all those memories, plus MANY calories!!! It's good to go away but great to get home!!! Tom goes to have a cataract removed on Tues, so that's our focus now.

Happy New Years again.
Love Tom and Linda

PS....this letter is not proof read....I'm too tired after writing so much, so please excuse mistakes!!

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West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment! In love with a wonderful husband!! A Capreol Girl from 1959-1975, Belleville 1975-1985


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