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Asia Explorer and Transpacific Collector's Voyage

Asia Explorer and Transpacific Collector's Voyage

View 2014 itineraries with ms Volendam

2011- 35 Day Asia Explorer and Transpacific Collector's Voyage aboard the Holland America's ms Volendam.

We embarked the Volendam on the 14th April in Singapore.  We had booked an ocean view cabin next to the cabin we had last year because we knew it to be large and very comfortable.  We looked out of the rear of the ship on main deck.

On board we liked the culinary arts centre cooking classes, trivia, the live shows and entertainment.  We even won the marriage game.
To sum it up we love the onboard ship life.

To say which was the best port we visited would be as hard as to say which was the best meal we had on board, all very good.

Thailand - at this port we did the Bangkok Highlights and River Cruise on the Klongs, seeing many Temples, the Royal Barge, and the Floating Markets, before stopping for an authentic Thai lunch at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  Next we reboarded the motor coach and went to the flower markets and the Golden Temple. On the trip back to the ship we saw many utes loaded up with people and water barrels as it was their New Year water festival.

Cambodia Sihanoukville - we went to the markets ...lots of poor people and beggars ...but not all things have to be wonderful to be good.

Vietnam - we did a half day trip visiting the Long Son Pagoda, the Giant white Budda, and the Po Nagar Towers dated before 781 AD.  We then visited the XQ silk embroidery factory and saw Vietnamese ladies performing very fine skilled work.

Hong Kong - we had 2 days ... its a fab place.  We went to Lantau Island on the Ngong Ping 360 cable car where we saw the Big Budda.  On the way back to the ship we did some essential shopping. On the second day we went to Hong Kong Island and caught the local bus to Stanley Markets for some more shopping and a walk along the waterfront, a beautiful place with a very memorable sail away.

Shanghai - also 2 days.  On day 1 we did an all day trip to Zhujiajiao Water Town.  After a scenic walk around town we rode the gondolas on the river, and had a Chinese Banquet at a silk factory.  We saw the workers weaving silk and making doonas, a very interesting trip. On day 2 we went on a tour of the Shanghai Museum and to the Yu Gardens - a highlight for me - we then shopped around the markets near the gardens. With not much time left we walked around the Bund with another memorable sail away with the ship reversing a long way down the river.

Nagasaki Japan - this port we did on our own.  We went by tram to the Ground Zero and Peace Park where the atomic bomb exploded. I did not think I would like this but I found it very moving and interesting. In the afternoon we went to Glover Gardens a large expanse of old homes, many plants and ponds.

Kobe Japan - we took a tour to the Sake Brewery and saw how the sake is made.  Then followed the interesting part - the tasting.
Then on to the very picturesque Mount Rokko Lookout and we saw our first Japanese Cherry Blossoms, and then took a finicular railway down the mountain. In the afternoon we went into the city on the shuttle bus.  A very helpful man helped us find the post office we then had a look around their China Town and street stalls.

Pusan Korea - we got the shuttle bus into town and then onto the underground where a very helpful worker assisted with purchasing our tickets...and we went to Haeundae Beach,  very clean.  We had a very nice cup of coffee, then walked along the promenade to Dalmaji Hill and on to some very interesting markets - saw lots of live fish seaweed meat and fruit and veg . It was now time to head back to the ship. A bit of a panic when we got off the train as we could not find the shuttle bus stop, but after a few minutes we saw a Holland America bag on someone's arm and found the bus stop - panic over.

Vladivostok Russia - change of pace, and very cold.  We took a tour and saw a Russian church containing lots of gold, Eagles Nest lookout, and we went souvenir shopping for Matryoshka Dolls.  We went to the market square where we saw the statue of the trumpeter, visited the Submarine Museum, and saw the Trans Siberian Rail Station.

Petropavlovsk Russia - we saw the statue of Lenin and Peter and Paul, lots of old wooden home units, a Russian church, and a small memorial park.  Extremely cold all day, but a very interesting stop.

Kodiak Alaska - we stopped at a visitors centre with stuffed bears and a whale skeleton, then we went for a very long walk to find Walmart for some shopping therapy.  On the way back a local lady felt sorry for us and took us for a trip around Kodiak in her car, the first stop was to a Feely Touch Aquarium where we were able to touch some sea creatures and a large octopus, then we saw sea lions and fishing boats.  She then drove us back to the harbour to catch the tender back to the ship.

Sitka Alaska - We walked to the National Historical Park where we saw lots of totem poles. We went to the Raptor Centre and saw Bald Eagles and other birds of prey and then on to Castle Hill state historic site, had a quick look around town then caught the tender back to the ship.

Vancouver - end of a truly wonderful trip.

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