Tag Archives: Explorer’s Scrapbook


Fall foliage season in Canada and New England is in full swing, and right now ms Maasdam, ms Eurodam and ms Veendam are there exploring the region. What better way to see the emerald, golden and ruby hues of the foliage than from the deck of a cruise ship. Reaching from New York to Gaspe, Quebec, it’s one of the most popular sailing itineraries Holland America Line offers. If you’re not snapping photos from the ship, why not go ashore and see this beautiful area up close? The best way to see all that the region has to offer is on a shore excursion, and there are plenty to choose from. From active and adventurous to relaxed and refined, there’s something for everyone.

Guest Kathy Lovin took a Canada & New England cruise this summer and sent these fabulous shots from two of her favorite shore excursions.

Here’s a shot of a great memory on our shore excursion “Ultimate Anne of Green Gables Experience” to the Anne of Green Gables home on Prince Edward Island. It’s a photo of a tree in Lover’s Lane on the property, where folks have scratched their initials over the years.


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We left off the last post when it was decided that Panama would serve as the location of the canal. Frenchman Bunau-Varilla then went to Washington, D.C. He got there before the official delegates of the new Republic of Panama arrived and negotiated a treaty between the U.S. and Panama allowing the U.S. to build a canal. The treaty provided for establishing a Panama Canal Zone, a swath across the isthmus about 10 miles wide. Within that Zone the U.S. would have authority to build a Canal and would have authority of law to govern that area.

When the official Panamanian delegation arrived in Washington, they were surprised to learn a treaty had already been negotiated, but they accepted what had been agreed upon.

Construction of the Panama Canal by the U.S. started in May 1904, just six months after the Panamanian revolution. It took three years for the U.S. to decide on what type of canal to build. Should it be at sea level or should it include locks? Even while the debate of what type of canal to build was going on, work was under way. With either concept, the excavation of Culebra Cut had to be done.

When the United States finally decided on the basic concept of their Canal, it involved building locks on each side of the isthmus and a dam across the Chagres River at Gatun. As the U.S. continued the work of cutting through the Continental Divide to create Culebra Cut, a lot of dirt and rock were generated. Much of this was used to build Gatun Dam.

The tremendous flow of the Chagres River had previously been a problem for the railroad builders as well as for the French canal builders. But with the final concept developed by the U.S., this massive flow of water became an advantage. In fact, it became a critical factor in the successful operation of the canal.

This river backed up behind Gatun Dam and created Gatun Lake. When the water level of Gatun Lake became high enough it ran into the cut that had been made through the Continental Divide. This created the waterway connecting the locks on either side of the isthmus.

Rotterdam at the Gatun Locks.

Rotterdam at the Gatun Locks.

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A transit through the Panama Canal is one of the most scenic and interesting experiences for any traveler. The sights are perfectly captured in photos and videos, which is why we asked Holland America Line Facebook fans to send in their best shots. Here are some of our favorites, including a video that takes you through the Panama Canal aboard one of our ships in under three minutes!

From guest Bill White.

Photo courtesy of Frederick W. Siegel, Jr. who was on Veendam's 31-Day Splendor of South America voyage this year.

Photo courtesy of Frederick W. Siegel, Jr. who was on Veendam’s 31-Day Splendor of South America voyage this year.

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Photo courtesy of www.pancanal.com.

Photo courtesy of www.pancanal.com.

In 2014 the Panama Canal will mark a huge milestone – the 100th Anniversary of it’s completion. To commemorate the occasion, six Holland America Line ships will sail 12 full transits of the Panama Canal during the fall 2013 through spring 2014 season. Ranging in length from 14 to 22 days, the extensive itinerary options provide guests with more ways to experience the Panama Canal than any other cruise line.

From this month through April 2014, ms Amsterdam, ms Statendam, ms Veendam, ms Westerdam, ms Zaandam and ms Zuiderdam will transit the canal from six departure cities — including Veendam’s new departure from Boston, Mass. — going between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean.

Sailing through the Panama Canal with Holland America Line is more than moving through the locks and lakes that make up this man-made marvel. The itineraries feature ports with attractions such as walking along the ramparts of a colonial Spanish castle, exploring ancient Mayan ruins or going on a “skywalk” in the Costa Rican rainforest.

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With so much to see and do, a trip to Australia and New Zealand is made all the more exciting by taking part in one — or several — of our exciting shore excursions. Each tour is carefully crafted to offer the most fulfilling experience possible, and our reputable tour operators ensure that our guests are well taken care of while in their care. It’s a seamless experience, from the moment you join your group in the Queen’s Lounge until you get back onboard, which is why taking a Holland America Line tour is a safe and secure way to explore each port.

You already know in Sydney you want to visit the famed Opera House and in Auckland a tour to the Sky Tower is a must, but what about the other ports, or off-the-beaten-path attractions in the cities like Sydney? Whether you like a simple city tour, an adventurous experience or something with an historic element, leave the planning to us because we’ve got something for everyone.

If you’re looking for ideas of what to see and do, here are our top 10 tours in Australia and New Zealand:


Milford Sound, New Zealand: Milford Sound to Dunedin Overland
Travel from Milford Sound to Dunedin on the Overland Tour, taking in breathtaking scenery and enjoying a unique glimpse at the New Zealand way of life. In Queenstown, take a breathtaking gondola ride up to Bob’s Peak for spectacular views across Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, then in the early evening board the 1913 historic steamship TSS Earnslaw for a cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Sheep Station. On day two, visit Arrowtown — a beautifully preserved gold mining village retaining much of its 19th-century character — before going through the picturesque Kawarau Gorge on the way to Dunedin.

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Is there a country with more variety than Chile? Well, there probably are a few, but it’s hard to beat a place where you never run out of things to do. In a matter of days we’ve hit the beach at La Serena, shopped for souvenirs in picturesque villages, sipped wine at an estate in the gorgeous Casablanca Valley and gawked at thrilling Andean mountain scenery.

We bring it all to you in the current Fall 2013 issue of Mariner Magazine! And if you don’t receive Mariner Magazine, be sure to check the Holland America Line website so you can read this article online.

Chile’s Elqui Valley is famed for clear-sky stargazing and production of the brandy-like national alcohol known as pisco, a product whose origins are also claimed by Peru in a robust dispute. In the lovely main plaza of Vicuña, there’s good artisan souvenir shopping.


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The upcoming issue of Mariner Magazine is featuring an article entitled “10 Quintessential Alaska & The Yukon Experiences” that gives insight into the must-do activities in Alaska.

Here are some of the photos that illustrate the 10 experiences. If you want to see more photos from this article, visit us on Facebook.

And if you don’t receive Mariner Magazine, be sure to check the Holland America Line website soon so you can read this article online.


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Aug 2013

When you cruise to Alaska, there are a lot of fun opportunities to become immersed in the Alaska culture beyond glacier trekking and flightseeing. For guests who really want to see what it’s like to be an Alaskan, Holland America Line offers a diverse selection of active and interesting shore excursions that include adventures such as going to a musher’s camp, panning for gold and seeing what it’s like to be a lumberjack.

On a recent call at Ketchikan, guests got to watch a special version of The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show tour where several of Zaandam’s crew got to participate with the world’s best lumberjacks, after training with them several weeks in advance, to go head-to-head in more than a dozen exciting events such as chopping, sawing, relay races, axe throwing, log rolling and a 50-foot speed climb.

What would you like to do in Alaska that would give you the feeling of being a local?


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