Sydney Harbour, Australia…I watched my home of 3 weeks sail-away without me tonight!
I bid the passengers and crew of the m/s Volendam a heartfelt “Bon Voyage” and a big thank you for a great trip!
At sea…my last day aboard the m/s Volendam as my 21 day journey comes to an end and I will return to life on land!
In the early 20th Century, travel by ocean liner was a privilege of the wealthy. It was a luxurious experience in which the rich were catered to with elegant and elaborate parties hosted by a regal ship’s captain.
Obviously, times have changed…today this type of travel is available to anyone who has the luxury of time! Most people today, though, want the quickest nonstop in getting to their destination; most travelers don’t have the spare time for a long and leisurely cross ocean voyage! But this voyage cost much less than a business class transpacific flight but so much richer in experiences!
It’s hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia as my time on the m/s Volendam winds down and my experience in this decadent old school style of ocean going comes to an end…Slowly navigating the immense seas and getting to see these remote places has been truly special…
I have cruised a lot as part of my many adventures, yet I think this voyage will be remain a highlight. This medium sized ship doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the newest mega ships, but it has a “heart” and “soul” to it that is hard to put my finger on! It’s size neither feels too small and confining, nor does it feel overwhelming and overrun.
After 3 weeks on board, this Holland America Line ship feels like home..certain things have become habit forming, creating my own special moments:
1. Sail-away on the bow or very front of the ship. It’s like my own special “Titanic” moment!
2. A mid-day nap on one of the 4 hammocks on the secluded Oasis area of the top deck!
3. A decadent formal dinner served in my cabin as I lounge in my robe with a good film in the DVD player!
4. Relaxing in a recliner in the traditional New York Times sponsored library studying a travel guide of our next port!
5. A deep night’s sleep cradled to the gentle ocean roll of the ship!
6. Floating in the salt water “seaview pool” at the ship’s aft! The high salt content in this pool allows you to easily float!
7. A long session of cardio in the top deck fitness center over looking the open seas and witnessing dolphins playing alongside the ship!
8. An early morning one mile walk on the grand outdoor promenade, watching the ship pull into the day’s port!
9. A late evening film in the movie theatre indulging in delicious popcorn!
10. People watching: seeing my fellow passengers dress up for formal night, witness small children so excited to play dress up with mom & dad, and observing the dance floor come alive with older couples who’ve obviously been ballroom dancing together for many years!
Somewhere in the South Pacific…today is the fifth consecutive sea day in our journey, as the m/s Volendam makes it way towards Samoa. It’s been beautiful for days, if not a bit too hot…but today was a different story!
I woke up a few times throughout the night feeling the roll of the ship, but in a way that rocking just adds to the amazing amounts of deep sleep I have I had so far on board! When I finally awoke, I peered outside to gray skies above and rain drenching the open decks.
This entire day has been spent lazily do nothing as the ship pitched and rolled. I had found my sea legs but at times standing upright and walking in a straight line seemed totally elusive! The captain has slowed down a bit to lessen the impact of the rough sea. Yet this is just a minor wave compared to what has been experienced by some of the more seasoned sailors that I have spoken to on board…the decks remain open and besides not being able to use the outdoor pool all is the same as usual besides a bit of unsteady passengers!
Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean…we departed the dock in Honolulu around 11 pm last night after a great long day in Oahu’s city on the beach!
The ship will now take 5 days to navigate its way to Pago Pago in the American Samoa, somewhere in the depths of the South Pacific. These upcoming ports are spots I doubt I would ever go to if it weren’t for this Pacific crossing!
5 days at sea sounds daunting at first, but with blue skies, calm seas, and a hot tropical sun I settle into this first day easily. It is amazing to look in every direction and know its just water for thousands of miles!
Relaxing like I never truly have before…I am cut off from my iPhone due to a lack of a constant Internet signal, no hundred channel cable tv loaded with mindless programs, and no reliance on telephone chatter for hours of pointless gossip! Without sights to discover, the only thing I have to think about is when to eat next!
It is great to really shut down by soaking in the endless sea air…I think a few agenda-less days are gonna really cleanse my mind… I am also enjoying the “me-time” reminiscing back over the last three and a half months of adventures, discoveries, and pure fun I have had!
This voyage has two more weeks remaining before I get to Sydney…I think I am understanding more each day why people swear by this age old tradition of long ocean voyages over quick port intensive cruises!