UPDATE#26 08/16 thru 08/19/07

Howdy Everybody,

The period 01/19/07 thru 08/15/07 has been covered in Updates 1 through 25.  We continue with UPDATE 2007 # 26.


 UPDATE 2007 #26   08/16/07 through 08/19/07.


     Welcome back to the new Adventures of the trawler AMARSE.  At last update, we were getting ready for our upcoming trip to Alaska.




     We awoke with great excitement and anticipation toward our new adventure that commences this morning.  Before departing the marina at about noontime, we had AMARSE settled for our absence.  The folks at Sheltair, a corporate aircraft service facility at the Jacksonville airport, kindly allowed us to leave our car with them.  Unfortunately, the car was misbehaving again and will need more attention when we get back.  I certainly hope it will be something small as we have endured enough automobile expense already this month to last years.

     Although our flight was scheduled for 4:05pm, we checked in at 1:45pm.  They told us that the flight was running a little late and should depart 15 minutes late.  After a while, we checked the status board only to find out that the flight was not going to leave until 5:30pm.  This, of course, meant that we would miss the connection in Dallas-Ft. Worth.  The American Airlines supervisor re-arranged our flights resulting in an overnight stay in Dallas and continuing early the next morning on Frontier Airlines connecting through Denver.

     Once again, commercial air travel proved to be a challenge to our personal sanity.  A family with three young kids set the stage of continuous pandemonium in the seats behind us.  Do you think Judy enjoyed the vibrating seat as one kid kept kicking incessantly at her seat back?  One of the other kids spilled a drink on the mother and she proceeded to take off her wrap-around skirt to dry.  What a zoo!   

     After arriving in Dallas, we were issued vouchers for the Ramada Inn and meal tickets from American with instructions to report to Frontier Airlines two hours prior to the 6:50 am scheduled departure.  A shuttle bus dropped us at the hotel and we walked across the road to Denney’s for a quick meal.

     When we opened our bag to get the toiletries kit, Judy found that her shampoo bottle had cracked open and leaked all over the inside pouch of the suitcase.  What a mess!  It was only a little luck that kept the gooey mess out of the other compartments.  It took us just under an hour to clean up the persistent mess. 





      At 4:15am, the raspy sounds of the alarm clock blasted reality into our dream world.  Thirty minutes later, we were in the shuttle to Terminal E for the Frontier Airlines flight.  The check-in agent showed our reservation but insisted that we would need paper tickets from American Airlines.  Those of you that have been to DFW airport know how immense it is with so many distant terminals.  While Judy watched the bags, I scurried aboard the inter-terminal shuttle for Terminal C.  The first line was huge and the service agent recommended that I hustle down to another area of ticket counters.  Now, already pooped out, I waited in a shorter line before being issued the required documentation.  I buzzed out to the shuttle and slipped the driver a few bucks to run me directly over to Terminal E.  I called Judy on the cell phone and she got in the line again to check in to Frontier.  Just as the agent was tagging our bags, the handlers cut-off any more luggage checks.  Whew!

     With boarding passes in hand, we joined the line for security.  Slowly, ever so slowly, the TSA processed each passenger.  Since we were just recently ticketed, we were selected for additional security procedures.  This took us another 15 minutes to accomplish.  Half running, half speed walking, we rushed to the far away gate.  At our gate, they had already boarded most of the passengers.  The good news is that we had made it and we could take our assigned seats immediately.  Talk about a squeaker, it took a little while to catch our breaths after all the anxiety.

     At Denver, we had a couple of hours to enjoy a nice breakfast at the Mesa Verde Café.  Judy had French Toast made with Indian-style Flatbread.  It was an interesting concept and quite tasty.



     Upon our arrival at the Vancouver airport, we joined the enormous line awaiting Immigrations and Customs clearances.  We were amazed at the number of international carriers from all over the world that were converging on this western Canadian metropolis.



     Moments after retrieving our luggage at Customs, we were greeted by representatives of the Holland America Cruise Lines.  For a fee of $17 each, they would provide baggage service direct to our room and bus transportation directly to the ship.  By 2:30pm, we were in the short line for express check-in.  Having accomplished the main body of paperwork online, it only required a few signatures and a check of our ID’s to receive our boarding cards.  Our large room and comfortable surroundings immediately impressed us.  A cursory orientation of the ship’s layout and a lift to the Lido Deck #8 found us at the luncheon buffet.



     Someway, somehow, Judy popped a small blood vessel near her right eye.  Perhaps with her reading glasses or possibly from rubbing her eyes, it left her with a black eye shiner.  Fortunately, it did not impair her vision and it was painless.  The only downside was a bit of embarrassment. Oh well, as far as I’m concerned, she is still very beautiful and I love to look at her.



     The Canada Place Pier is located right downtown in Vancouver.  The view from the ship’s upper deck is quite impressive.



     The inner harbor was a bustle of activity with the constant buzzing of arriving and departing seaplanes.



     International maritime regulations require that all passengers participate in an evacuation and lifeboat drill prior to sailing.  Everyone dons their life jacket and proceeds to their assigned muster station.  This training will be vital in case of an emergency at sea.



     At the 5pm departure, the docking terminal shows quite impressively against the backdrop of the Vancouver skyline.



     And the party begins with music and cocktails on the aft section of the Lido Deck.  Bon Voyage!



     We join the Inside Passage that will carry us north along the British Columbia coast leading to the 49th State of Alaska.



     With a bit of time before our late-seating dinner reservations, we enjoyed some wonderful music by Gerard and Friends in the Oceans Bar Lounge.



     The setting sun provided an inspiring view of the beauty of this northwest area.



     Seated at Table 132 of the Rotterdam Dining Room, we shared the evening repast with fellow guests aboard ship.  Mel and Millie, from Silver City, New Mexico on one side of the table and Molly and Penny Osborne, a mother and daughter from Vancouver, BC on the other side, we each introduced ourselves soon to become friends.



     After enjoying some of the best French Onion Soup that we’ve ever had and a savory Caesar salad, Judy selected the Salmon Almandine.  I ordered an entrée of Ling Cod baked in a crust of sour cream and panko crumbs.  It was delicious.



     After desert, we entered the Showroom theatre in the forward of the ship for tonight’s entertainment.  A show featured comedienne Diana Jordan.  The VOLENDAM dancer/singer team from the ship belted out some rousing numbers that brought huge applause from the guests.



     With the night still young, we stopped by the Oceans Bar Lounge to enjoy some more of Gerard and Friends.  This Filipino band has a great sound and their repertoire is much to my liking.

    It has been a very tiring day that started very early in Dallas.  Although we would have loved to stay longer, our aging eyelids were insisting otherwise.




     At 8:30am, we joined Pat and John Boyle, from Randolph, Massachusetts, for breakfast in the dining room. 

     As many of you know, I enjoy cooking and learning about the culinary arts.  The Volendam has devoted an area as the Culinary Arts Theatre and it is co-sponsored by Food and Wine Magazine.  This wonderful facility is fully equipped and even has special cameras that focus on the inside of the dishes being prepared. 



     Today, Chef Sheldon demonstrated the preparation of Black Cod in a Cream Chardonnay reduction.



    His second creation consisted of Quenelles of Buffalo Mozzarella on garlic crusty croutons, topped with roasted beets.  Yes, of course, we had the opportunity to taste a bit of each.



    Our luncheon in the main Dining Room consisted of my selection of Wiener Schnitzel and Judy’s choice of a Steak Sandwich.  The views of the water, woods, and mountains were absolutely spectacular.





     Tonight, we dressed for the first Formal Dinner event.



     It is always such an honor for me to be able to accompany this wonderful and beautiful woman.  I am so very fortunate to be sharing my life with her.



     After delicious appetizers and a creamy, chilled leek soup, who could resist the selection of Beef Wellington?  Would it be too much to ask for a few Alaskan King Crab legs to go along with the tender beef?



     Molly and her daughter, Penny, are such a joy to be with.  They are interesting, intelligent, and wonderful conversationalists.  They both lead active and interesting lives that are so much fun to hear about.  Molly has traveled to more that 60 countries and Penny is a practicing anesthesiologist doctor in Vancouver.



     Suko, an architect from Phoenix, Arizona, was traveling solo on this cruise.  He frequently takes cruise trips to enable him a quiet location to do his work.  He finds it more productive because he is not interrupted or distracted.  For him, the ship is like his condo.  His meals are well prepared and he doesn’t have to clean up like he would in a condo.  We never saw him anywhere outside of the dinner room.



     Tonight’s entertainment show, entitled “Gold”, featured the fantastic singers and dancers of the Volendam troupe.  Every moment was thoroughly enjoyable.

     Lest you think the fun ends here, wrong!  At the upper deck lounge, the dance floor buzzed with the sounds of a 50’s and 60’s Sock Hop Party.


08/19/07   SUNDAY     KETCHIKAN, AK


     When we awoke, we found ourselves safely docked in Ketchikan.  During the night, we had also switched to Alaskan Time by turning the clocks back another hour.  It is now 4 hours earlier than Eastern Daylight time.  The weather was a typical, low overcast with a damp, 60-degree temperature.  This city is well known for its high annual rainfall.  I guess that would explain why everything is so green.

     The Volendam is a comparatively small, but very attractive, ship in the Holland America fleet.




     After breakfast on the Lido Deck #8, we strolled leisurely around the historic town.  Of course, the multitude of shops caters to the crowds of cruising tourists that swell the population each and every summer day.  It is not unusual for 4 or 5 ships to frequent this destination every day, each vessel carrying thousands of eager customers in the spending mode.  Imagine the possibilities.

     A particularly interesting section is Creek Street.  In the early days around the turn of the century and prior to statehood, this area boasted both bars and brothels that were sought out by, not only the miners, loggers, and trappers, but also by the local inhabitants.  The roadway was even nicknamed “Married Man Way” which boldly hinds of some of their best clientele.  It has been said that… “Creek Street is where both salmon and men come to spawn.”



     The small boat harbor is cram packed with both fishing vessels and pleasure craft.



     This enterprising fellow uses the tidal range to work on his boat bottom.  While the tide is out, he patches and paints quickly in hopes of beating the twice-daily tide cycle that will re-float his little sailboat.  Note that he has to wear boots to splash around in the water between the fixed rails.





     While in town, we visited the National Parks Service Interpretive Center.  They have arranged a comprehensive exhibit to educate about the history and features of this wonderful wilderness area.  We also enjoyed watching hundreds and hundreds of Salmon swimming and loitering against the swift current of the Creek waiting their time to proceed further upstream and spawn

     As VOLENDAM headed northbound, the ship’s naturalist attempted to educate interested passengers eager to learn more about the wildlife and fauna of the region.  Unfortunately, we found that either his method of explanation or his level of expertise did not satisfy our depth of interest. We had hoped for, and had personal expectations for, a much more stimulating educational experience.

     The vessel below is the M/V MALPENSA, a ferry engaged by the Alaska State Marine Highway.  Numerous vessels of this class and size move passengers, cars, trucks, and cargo throughout the various islands and areas of coastal Alaska.



     The Showtime entertainment featured a magnificent banjo player.  Morry was billed as the “World’s Fastest Banjo Player”.  During his show, he fascinated and mesmerized the audience with a repertoire of well-known tunes strummed skillfully and rapidly.  The crowd loved him and he received a rousing round of applause and a standing ovation.



     Once again, Judy looked lovely for the dining experience in the Rotterdam Dining room.



     Tonight, the program was entitled “Master Chef’s Dinner”.  The guests were asked to don these chef hats to enhance the overall effect of the theme.



     Mel and Millie had a fun time and looked so spiffy in their tall, white chapeaus.  The folks back home in Silver City, New Mexico will never believe this.



     Everywhere you look in this great state, you see the beauty of nature surrounding you. 



     The Master Chef’s special dinner included performances by the wait staff that included parades and juggling acts.



     Synchronized dancing, Indonesian style?  Well, it’s close.



     The dinner specialties included oxtail soup, lobster bisque, and tenderloin of beef.  Of course, there were enough other choices to fit almost everyone’s taste.

     The Master Chef, Rudi Sodermin, designed this signature desert of a mousse filled, white chocolate molding of a chef’s hat garnished with red raspberry sauce.



     The comedienne, Diana Jordan, entertained in the theatre with her version of Late Night Comedy for adults only at 11:15pm.  She had some funny lines, however, much of her material was a bit dated and not very original, as we had previously heard a lot of it from other comedians.





     Due to the large number of pictures taken during this cruise trip, I have divided each week into two update sections.  The cruise aboard Holland America Lines VOLENDAM will continue in UPDATE #27. Comments made in this update and website are merely personal opinions and observations about our personal experiences.


      "AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".


  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law