Volendam Trip - Hong Kong to Vancouver
Overall map of Ships Route
you can zoom "in" or "out" and change between "map view" and "satellite view"
Alicante to LGW depart 17 Apr at 09.50, arrive at 11.20
Bus LGW to LHR - depart 17 Apr at 13.25, arrive at 14.40
Flight LHR to Hong Kong, depart 17 Apr at 18.20 arrive 18 Apr at 13.10
Ship departs Hong Kong 18 Apr at 18.00
Life on board Ms Volendam Once we got aboard the Volendam, and I should say that Holland America Line's processing of us aboard was not up to the standard I expected, we were very pleased with both our "stateroom" and the ship. There were 2 days at sea to settle down before arriving at our first port, Shanghai. The linked page gives a flavour of life at sea.
Shanghai Shanghai today is the most populous city in China. Gone is the foreign concession, cone are the small houses. Today it is all skyscrapers, concrete and glass. The original Bund area has been retained, and a small "chinatown" exists, but apart from these two small areas, Shanghai is a large modern city that would not be out of place in the West.
Beijing Two days of excursions here to the Great Wall, to the Ming Tombs, to Tiananmen Square, to the Forbidden City and to the Temple of Heaven. Beijing certainly was very memorable to me, and was more "Chinese" than Shanghai. I felt more being in the capital of China here than I did being in the capital of Japan in Tokyo.
Dalian We had a day in this industrial city, whose claim to fame is that it has switched between British, Russian, Japanese, Russian and finally back to Chinese control. The Russian Street is what is left of Russian influence, which ended in 1950.
Cheju Cheju is a very large South Korean island. This was our one foray into Korea, it was brief, and Cheju was in reality not that inspiring a town., though popular with Korean tourists.
Kagoshima This was our first stop of many in Japan. A typical modern Japanese town, with the extra frisson of living in the shadow of an active Volcano, Mount Sakurajima
Kobe We had two days in Kobe. A trip up Mount Maya in a cable car, and a series of flower paintings were the highpoint of our stay here
Tokyo The city was a bit of a disappointment, in that there was little really "Japanese" in it. It seemed to be modern buildings with few parks and little open space. Few people wore what we would call traditional Japanese dress.
Hakodate We took a day ticket on the city trams and were able to cover all the attractions. Previous importance of the area can be seen with old Russian and British Consulates and special cemeteries for Russians and for foreigners, plus churches for west religions, Orthodox, Catholic and Episcopalian.
Otaru Perhaps the most interesting, certainly the best preserved, of the Japanese towns we visited. The canal has been partially preserved and the main street retains much original architecture.
Aomori Our last port in Japan. Very little to see, in fact it was a substitute for a Russian port that had rubbed Holland America Line up the wrong way last year, by taking too long to process emigration.
Kodiak The town on the island was our first port in Alaska. The people were very friendly, and my memory is of talking to the priest at the Russian Orthodox church, which is still the main religion of Kodiak.
Homer was in interesting "frontier town". Ships dock at the end of a 4.5 mile gravel spit, and the town is at the inland end of the spit. The houses were wooden and well weather beaten. It was more "end of the" road than any of the other Alaskan towns we stopped at. It did have a very good secondhand book shop.
Sitka Volendam anchored offshore, and we took the tender ashore. Sitka is the old capital of Russian Alaska, and for a period capital of US Alaska. Quite a touristy town due to number of cruise ships, but none the less has a rich history.
Ketchikan was the most "tourist" of the towns we docked at. With a population of 7000 inhabitants it gets that many tourists on top every day in summer as it is the first port of call in Alaska for virtually every cruise liner on the Inside Passage run.
Inside Passage The last stage of our voyage on the Volendam was from Alaska to Vancouver. Although we left Ketchikan in sunlight, the following day's run was cloudy and overcast, but though photography was limited, the scenery was spectacular, a the Volendam sailed close to the shoreline in many places.
Ship arrives in Vancouver 20 May at 07.00
Vancouver City May 20 & 21