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Saturday, December 10 2016 @ 06:39 AM CST

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The 2013 Alaska HAL CruiseTour, Part 3

The 19-Day Holland America Line Alaska CruiseTour, Holland America ms Statendam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Three

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July 27 (Saturday, Day 8, Motor Coach to Dawson City, Canada) -

The Bus


Our luggage had to be outside our hotel room door by 6:30 and the bus departed at 7:45. We saw a fox within the first hour of the trip and a moose, too. For the next 7 hours, though, we only saw around 10 houses and 20 RVs and cars. The bus stopped every two hours and our first stop was at Braeburn’s. This little store, with Cinnamon Roll Airstrip across the road, sold $10 cinnamon rolls the size of a paper plate and 4 inches tall. Snookums was in line to buy one but when she saw it was $10, decided not to. Our lunch stop was at Minto which consisted of a dining hall, a few cabins and a bathroom with showers and laundry facilities. Our bus driver and tour guide served us chili and soup and there was also tossed salad and coleslaw and Nanaimo bars for dessert. Two First Nations people were seen in the kitchen, but they stayed mostly behind the scenes.
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The 2013 Alaska HAL CruiseTour, Part 2

The 19-Day Holland America Line Alaska CruiseTour, Holland America ms Statendam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Two

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July 24 (Wednesday, Day 5, Vancouver, Canada) -

Stanley Park Geese


After last night’s late night, we woke up and made it to the Regency Club before breakfast stopped being served. We were just hanging out on the balcony when John and Laura showed up around 10:35. We watched a film being filmed on the top of a building down the street and then decided to walk to Stanley Park together. After they ate a quick breakfast at Tim Horton’s, we met in the lobby at 11:15 and walked to Stanley Park in order to walk along the seawall. We took a path through the park to get to the seawall and saw a raccoon. We also saw ducks, geese, swans, birds and squirrels. We saw low tide at 1:34 PM and found out that the water temperature was 67º. There were lots of people enjoying the nice beaches, the park, the walking/biking paths and the swimming pool. It looked more like a weekend than a Wednesday afternoon, but it must be the laid back West Coast culture. It was a beautiful day.
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The 2013 Alaska HAL CruiseTour

The 2013 Alaska CruiseTour, Holland America ms Statendam, July 20-August 11, 2013

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

The Itinerary

This is the table of contents for the online version of our trip journal. Here are the chapters and their publishing dates:

December 27, 2015: Part One - To Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

December 28, 2015: Part Two - Vancouver to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.

December 30, 2015: Part Three - To Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada.

December 31, 2015: Part Four - To Denali National Park, Alaska.

January 1, 2016: Part Five - At Denali National Park, Alaska.

January 2, 2016: Part Six - Denali National Park, Alaska and the train to Anchorage, Alaska.

January 3, 2016: Part Seven - The train to Seward, Alaska, and on the cruise.

January 4, 2016: Part Eight - Cruising to Seattle.

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The 2013 Alaska HAL CruiseTour, Part 1

The 19-Day Holland America Line Alaska CruiseTour, Holland America ms Statendam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part One

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July 20 (Saturday, Day 1, Fly to Vancouver, Canada) -

Our first travel day was very uneventful. We left our house at 2:25 PM and everything was smooth sailing. We had an almost two hour (scheduled) layover in Seattle which gave us plenty of time for a sit-down dinner.

Mount Rainier
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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam, September 20-December 5, 2012

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

The Itinerary

This is the table of contents for the online version of our trip journal. Here are the chapters:

Part One - Seattle to Hakodate, Japan.

Part Two - Hakodate, Japan to Yokohama, Japan.

Part Three - Yokohama, Japan to Kobe, Japan.

Part Four - Kobe, Japan to Nagasaki, Japan.

Part Five - Nagasaki, Japan to Hong Kong, China.

Part Six - Hong Kong, China to Singapore and back to sea.

Part Seven - Semarang, Java, Indonesia and back to sea.

Part Eight - Lembar, Indonesia to Komodo Island, Indonesia.

Part Nine - Darwin, Australia to Hamilton Island, Australia, and back to sea.

Part Ten - Brisbane, Australia to Eden, Australia.

Part Eleven - At sea, viewing a solar eclipse, to Auckland, New Zealand.

Part Twelve - At sea, to Fiji, Samoa, and across the Equator.

Part Thirteen - At sea, to Hawaii, to San Diego, and home.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 13

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Thirteen

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November 24 (Saturday, Day 66, At Sea) -

Snookums went to Total Body Conditioning and then had a 75-minute massage that was concentrated on her left shoulder. After the massage she signed up for two more. Filbert spent part of the morning in the library doing his research on Honolulu until it was time for Team Trivia. Since Snookums filled in on Filbert’s team yesterday, she had to fill in on Sharie’s team today. Each team member earned one Dam Dollar and neither team placed.

Immediately after trivia Snookums had her third $29 floral arranging class and made a flat, round arrangement using dried leaves that the florist has only ever seen in Fiji. We each got five orchids, three roses, five stems of baby carnations and a few stems of mums to go with the greens and the dried leaf that was woven into an abstract design. After the flower class, Snookums and Sharie hurried to crafts and made a Hawaiian door hanger. It was the lamest craft to-date, but considering Nancy’s other crafts have been really nice, that’s okay.

Floral Arrangement, Another One


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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 12

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Twelve

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November 18 (Sunday, Day 59, At Sea) -

Snookums went to Total Body Conditioning this morning and also went to “Things to See & Do in Lautoka”. Filbert played Team Trivia and he and Laura got the bonus question for the team so every team member won a Dam Dollar. (What is the largest mammal to make a nest? Gorilla.) Three teams tied for first and they got second but didn’t get any Dam Dollars for second since there were so many teams in first. Sharie’s team got first again for the second time in a row, though, and she has only played the last two times!

After lunch we looked at the art displays created by the passengers attending the watercolor classes. They are being auctioned off and HAL is going to triple the amount of money raised by the passengers and all of the money will go to the Educational Outreach Youth Program of Apia (Samoa). Snookums was really hoping to find a painting of Borobudur, but settled on being the $3 winning (and only) bidder for a “picture within a picture” of Macchu Pichu since that is on a future cruise itinerary. The talent of the artists on this cruise is outstanding.

Snookums went to crafts class and made a tapa cloth greeting card and later on went to “Fab Abs” and Laura and Sue (crafts classmate) were there, too. When she got back, she laid out on the verandah and read from 5:30 until 7:15 PM and enjoyed the bright sunshine. Filbert spent most of the afternoon writing inside although it was in the low 70s, sunny and calm. Tomorrow’s forecast at sea is for the mid-70s.

At dinner, Mr. K (our assistant dining room manager) gave us a jar of sambal. We still have the Korean chili sauce and the Vietnamese chili sauce in our room refrigerator (and have been bringing one or both of them on most nights) but now our waiter can be responsible for putting the jar of sambal on our table every night. Yum!

Dancing band, Lautoka, Fiji


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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 11

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Eleven

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November 14 (Wednesday, Day 55, At Sea) -

Look! Up in the Sky!


Filbert set the alarm for 7 AM and we got dressed and went outside to the aft pool on Deck 8 for the eclipse. It started out cloudy, but it seemed like the captain was trying to take us to the sun. Around 7:30 we were able to easily see the eclipse using Filbert’s pinhole telescopes. (The paper glasses also worked, but the pinhole telescopes were easier to use.) Around 8:05 AM the maximum coverage occurred of around 60%. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, casting a shadow over the earth. After that scintillating show, we ate breakfast in Neptune.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 10

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Ten

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November 9 (Friday, Day 50, Brisbane, Australia; 1 AUD = $1.04, $1 = 0.97 AUD) -

A Wary Brisbanite


Snookums went to the fitness class and after a fast breakfast, we left the ship. We took the shuttle from the Brisbane Cruise Terminal to the Treasury Casino which is in the heart of Brisbane’s downtown. Brisbane has a population of 2 million. It was partly sunny and a high of 80 was the forecast for the day. We walked to and through the City Botanic Gardens which was established in 1855 and saw ibis, eel and iguanas. Then we continued walking to the bohemian West End and ate gyros in front of one of the many sidewalk cafes. Filbert went in the Avid Reader bookstore while Snookums was content to sit on a bench outside and watch the world go by. Then we walked to Queen Street Mall and while Filbert was buying books in Dymock’s, Snookums bought some zip-on/zip-off pants that were on sale (and they were long enough!). After that we sat in Starbuck’s and each bought a beverage in order to have 30 minutes of free WiFi. Snookums found a receipt with the passcode on it and was able to use another free 30 minutes. We also bought two boxes of different flavors of Tim Tams (cookies that Australia is famous for) for tonight’s sail-away party.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 9

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Nine

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November 2 (Friday, Day 43, At Sea) -

Indonesian dinner


For the first time since she hurt her neck last Thursday, Snookums went to the gym for Fab Abs. After showering and breakfast, she napped on the verandah for a couple of hours until Filbert came outside announcing that rather than overnighting in Brisbane, the ship was going to drop anchor in Hamilton Island, Australia which means a Great Barrier Reef snorkel trip. (Filbert was coming back from the lecture on “The Pacific: Hotbed of Volcanoes & Earthquakes” and the announcement was in the mailbox.)

The ocean was like glass all day and we saw dolphins once and flying fish several times. Filbert spent a lot of time on the verandah listening to his shortwave and he also attended the “Darwin, Northern Territory and aboriginal Australians” lecture in the afternoon. While he was there, Snookums attended crafts and made a pretty lariat necklace out of various green glass beads that she will actually wear. Snookums also attended Total Body Conditioning at 5 PM.

We attended the $69 Indonesian Dinner in Pinnacle Grill. Snookums wore the blouse she bought in Lombok and the necklace that she just made. We ate with David, Mary and Roberta (all Deluxe Verandah Suite guests, although four of us had never seen Roberta before and that was a standing joke during dinner) and we all had a great time. Tina, one of the Pinnacle Grill waitresses, was the cook for this superb dinner. Her mother actually brought her the various Indonesian spices (like Indonesian basil that she used in the beef rendang) when the ship was docked in Semarang. Tina enjoys cooking and made her mother’s recipes for all of us to enjoy. It was definitely well worth the $69. And, every woman received a handmade 2012 Grand Voyage commemorative angklung (Indonesian musical instrument). Snookums and Filbert both really enjoyed the steamed barramundi fish marinated in lemon grass that was wrapped in a banana leaf and the dish made of sautéed tofu and bean sprouts. All of the items were delicious, but these two were the best.