Travel With Bradley

Disney – Zaandam Cruise – Victoria, B.C

Our day at Disney was wonderful. I am always amazed when I visit Disney as it truly is the, “Happiest Place on Earth”.

A wonderful thing is this amusement park just isn’t for kids. Adults love it just as much. I had to chuckle seeing macho guys walking around wearing Mickey’s Ears.

Of course, the staff at Disney is so well trained. Their training program is so admired that business owners throughout North America send their employees here to be trained by Disney’s staff.

The park is spotless and the flower beds beautiful.

Of course visiting Disney comes at a price. Admission, souvenirs and food costs are high but most visitors realize this before they walk through the gates.

Every child dreams about visiting Disney – the experience never disappoints.

When I was a little guy we would visit my parents friends in Fergus, ON. They were big fans of Disney and once they gave me a Disney brochure. I read that brochure so many times – it eventually fell apart. That brochure started me dreaming about travel.

We were ushered to the coach parking area and then passed through security before boarding trams that took us to the entrances of the two theme parks – Disney and California Adventure. I then picked a spot for us to gather at 3pm and I then assisted everyone through the main entrances. I made sure everyone knew where the park exit was too. My passengers had no issues – they maneuvered around the park like pros and all met me on-time at 3pm.

I rode the rides that were my childhood favourites and they were all just as wonderful as I remembered – “It’s A Small World”, “Jungle Cruise”, “Pirates of the Caribbean” and finally, “The Haunted Mansion”.

Many of my passengers were much more adventurous as they rode, “Space Mountain” and some of the new “Star Wars” thrilling rides. Waits for these rides averaged about an hour but you could grab a complimentary timed ticket to return later.

I provided everyone with $25.00 so they could enjoy lunch anywhere in the park. I selected a Mexican restaurant located at Downtown Disney – nacho chips and an amazing tasting salsa were complimentary – I ordered Chicken Fajitas and they were very good. Service was excellent and the atmosphere pleasant.

Being a shopper, I found the stores at Downtown Disney a little disappointing – I didn’t end up buying a thing – but maybe that was good!

It was a warm day with temperatures reaching 90F but there was a nice breeze so it was quite pleasant.

Traffic was easy to navigate on our way back to Long Beach.

The staff at Bubba Gumps Shrimp Company was able to accommodate us earlier than scheduled. My passengers could select from a number of delicious entrees. I enjoyed the Coconut Crusted Jumbo Shrimp.

Everyone was happy to arrive back at the Queen Mary early so they could tour around the vessel. Some joined a Historical Tour, some shopped while others headed to the impressive lounge.

I took “Uber” transportation to a small shopping complex about 20 minutes from the Queen Mary. I’ve used Uber a few times and can only rave about each experience. I found a few bargains and then headed back to the ship.

They were setting up for a large Music Festival in the Queen Mary parking lot and entertainer, “Stevie B” was doing a sound-check when I re-boarded the Queen Mary. I enjoyed hearing the music but wasn’t as happy when they conducted more sound checks later in the evening – they didn’t finish until 11:30pm.

The Queen Mary’s Manager explained to me that they were having major disagreements with the Show Promoter and the sound-checks had been scheduled to finish much earlier but some of the entertainers arrived late – of course I can tell you many similar stories about entertainers…

After a scrumptious breakfast on the Queen Mary we boarded our coach and headed to, beautiful San Diego where the Holland America Zaandam was waiting for us. She looked very stately sitting in the harbour.

Our coach driver, Carolyn did a fantastic job providing us commentary along the way. In fact she gave me some tour ideas for future journeys!

The flower fields of Carlsbad were in full bloom – a rainbow of colour – just spectacular.

Its customary that we make a Walmart Stop while traveling in the States so we stopped at one for our rest break – many of my passengers bought snacks and wine for the cruise.

When we arrived in San Diego we spent some time in Old Town which has a festive Mexican atmosphere. The tortillas that are freshly prepared in front of the Coyote Cafe are the best I have ever tasted – 2 for $1 and there is a choice of melted butter or salsa to top them with.

We then headed to the port area and came across a massive protest and parade – thousands of people lined the streets – they were protesting against Trumps, budget cuts to Science. It’s Earth Day.

I made a decision that we should finish our tour early and head directly to the ship instead of fighting the protest crowds. My passengers were so pleased that I made that decision as they soon learned that there were 30,000 more people protesting in the area we were planning on visiting!

It was so easy getting on the ship. There were no crowds – we pretty much walked on board and as an added bonus our staterooms were already for us – there was no waiting!

The Zaandam is an older cruise ship but its in fantastic shape. Its obvious that Holland America Line has invested mega-bucks to keep her looking brand new. I congratulate them.

We are all staying in large, Vista-Suites. These staterooms are beautiful but I think their best feature is the oversize bathrooms and balconies. Most of my passengers appreciate the whirlpool tub/shower combo.

Even though this is a smaller ship there are plenty elegantly decorated, public spaces throughout – similar to a larger ship but the sizes of these lounges etc are smaller and more intimate.

I am always very impressed with the all the fresh flower arrangements that decorate Holland America ships. This certainly is their trademark – unique in the cruise industry.

I enjoy cruising a ship this size. There are no crowds anywhere. It’s a personable experience.

The crew is mainly Indonesian. Some have been with the line for decades – that is admirable.

A number of the passengers onboard have been sailing for over 3 weeks – they started in Buenos Aires – some are continuing to Hawaii after we get off in Vancouver and they will return back again to Vancouver and then cruise to Alaska before they fly to their homes around the World.

My passengers and I have enjoyed meeting a number of fellow passengers  – I’ve made friends with a lovely couple from Singapore and have had intriguing conversations with a young dentist from Mexico.

We bounced around for a day and a half as there were gale force winds coming across the ocean. This weather system had the potential for causing some mega-storms in the central USA. The rocking didn’t stop almost all all of my passengers from attending the ships activities and my nightly hosted cocktail party at the Ocean Bar. The bartenders were happy to see us – we had a great time.

Later in the afternoon on Day 2 the seas started to smooth out and the sun started to shine – just in time for the Formal Night Dinner where the Surf and Turf entree was the big hit.

An entertaining Production Show followed in the Main Theatre.

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By 1030am we were surrounded by beautiful Canadian scenery. Later today we dock in Victoria, B.C..

At 11am my group gathered for a private Galley Tour. I always find the Galley Tours fascinating. Every ship’s galley is different.  The Executive Chef was our host.

We celebrated Mr. And Mrs Lorentz 50th Anniversary with a surprise group luncheon in the Speciality Restaurant on board the Zaandam – The Pinnacle Grill. This fine dining establishment’s staff did a superb job looking after us and the food tasted heavenly.

At 4pm we are scheduled to dock.

Tonight is another special occasion as we’ll dine at one of Canada’s famous landmark hotels – the Empress. My passengers are really looking forward to this event.

How wonderful to be sailing in Canadian waters!

We are getting close to Victoria so I am heading out on my balcony to enjoy the sail-in.

    One Response

  1. The Zaandam was our first ever cruise to Alaska – that of course is before we discovered BWJ We love the smaller ships

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