Five Days at Sea: San Diego to Hawaii

Trip Start Oct 14, 2013
Trip End Apr 13, 2014

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Where I stayed
Holland America MS Veendam

Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Thursday, November 21, 2013

We have been at sea for the past five days, and the days have absolutely flown by. When Greg and I booked this cruise, I was concerned about the sea days because I have always said that the best part of being on a cruise is being off the ship. Well, I shouldn't have been concerned. There were so many activities on board, there were many times when we had to decide which activity to do.

For the past five days the Hawaiian On Location team have been familiarizing us with Hawaii’s culture, its food, language, dances, and music. It’s been an incredible experience.

On Saturday we sailed from San Diego. This portion of our cruise started with the mandatory lifeboat drill. Even though we had done this drill on the Mexico portion of our trip, we had to do this drill again. Then it was time for our first Hawaiian presentation, complete with hula dancing and singing. Our location guide for the trip is Kainoa, a very interesting and entertaining Hawaiian native. Greg and I enjoyed his presentations all week. Then we went to the Aloha Sail Away Party as the ship left the San Diego dock. We ate some delicious Hawaiian chicken skewers, sort of an appetizer before our usual four course dinner.

Every day there were several presentations. We had Kainoa talking about Hawaii’s history, geography, its culture, surfing and hula dancing, and about the ports and islands we will be visiting. We also attended lectures given by another speaker, Harry Strong, who talked about the world’s oceans, its coral reefs, and its turtles. Yet another speaker was Henry Kaleialoha Allen, who is the great, great grandson of a man that King Kamehameha brought from Germany to lead the royal band back in the 1800s. Henry is Hawaii’s most renowned musician at the present time and has revived a lot of the old music. He was also the music consultant for Elvis during the movie Blue Hawaii. Henry spoke of Hawaii’s musical traditions, its ukulele and Hawaiian steel guitar.  

Greg and I attended a few culinary demonstrations. A chef would prepare the dishes and then we got to sample them. We watched lobster salad, macadamia nut crusted opah, cabbage stir fry, poke steak and others being prepared using traditional Hawaiian ingredients and methods.

And I learned how to hula. For three days about 50 of us met for half an hour and learned the steps to My Little Grass Shack.  On Wednesday evening we performed on the showroom stage in front of a packed house. It was a lot of fun.

Greg and I also attended computer classes for Windows 8, familiarizing ourselves with the software, choosing apps, learning how to edit and organize photos, and creating movies and slideshows. These classes were loaded with information and tips.

The evenings were filled with the showroom presentations: singing, dancing, music, magic, ventriloquism. After the show we went into the lounge areas, to the piano bar or to one of the other bars and listened to the music or danced.

Greg and I and a select group of other mariners had a special Indonesian lunch, on the invitation of the captain and the hotel director. Later that same day we had cocktails with the captain and hotel director in the Crow’s Nest, on the top deck of the ship, as the sun set. It was a beautiful setting for this small party.

With all that was going on, Greg and I were able to find time to do our one mile walk around the deck every day. The temperatures are starting to get a bit warmer, reaching the mid 70s (mid 20 degrees Celsius).  We continue to meet and talk with interesting people on the ship. There are quite a few Canadians on board, though we haven’t come across anyone else from the Maritimes. (I forgot to mention that on our Mexican cruise we met someone from mid-west US who after we said we were from Nova Scotia, they immediately said that they had seen every episode of Trailer Park Boys!)

The five days were jam packed and flew by. We’ll be in Hawaii for the next five days, visiting four different islands and five ports.
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Barb Samson on

So glad that the two of you are enjoying your cruise, you are both so active, when do you get the time to relax. Keep enjoying yourselves and think of us back in the rain, wind and snow. lol

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