Sunday, May 27, 2018

5 Days Aboard MS Zaandam

Welcome to John's Island

First things first - - -
A Tribute to Memorial Day, Monday, May 28th, 2018, from my postcard collection ...

5 Days Aboard MS Zaandam

May 1, 2018, I departed Seattle on a morning flight to San Diego where I boarded Holland America's Zaandam for a short 5-day coastal cruise up the West Coast to Vancouver BC. This is a fun way to get out on the water and take in the full cruising experience for a few days at an economical price. As usual I took a lot of pictures and have selected a few to share here on the blog. The first pic below was snapped after a very smooth boarding, dropping the bags in the stateroom, and starting a tour of the ship. The photo is looking from the Promenade Deck of the ship toward downtown San Diego. The Cruise Terminal is off to the left and, on the other side of that, another Holland ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam.
[Click on images for larger view]
Downtown San Diego and the Cruise Terminal
from the deck of the MS Zaandam

Nieuw Amsterdam departed in the afternoon,
hours before our ship.

Little U. S. Coast Guard boats provide security, and, I guess,
insure controlled access to and from cruise ships while in harbor.
Hopefully, they won't need to use the machine gun. :-)

Speaking of security ... the Zaandam has new cameras to
watch just about anything. I was impressed with the "windshield
wiper" (lens wiper?) and the mounting which allows looking in just about
any direction.

Promenade Deck provides a wonderful wide deck all the way around
the ship. Signs indicated that 3 1/2 laps = 1 mile.

Very early morning, May 2nd, on the Prom Deck.
No, it hasn't been raining, but crew washed the deck very
early in the morning before walkers got busy.

At first glance I thought these guys were looking for whales.
Nope, they are looking for rare sea birds.
If they see them, they hope to get photos to share online.

My preferred level of activity.

Main Lobby of the Zaandam

One of the Main Dining Rooms

Future Cruise Desk in foreground,
Destinations Cafe in the distance.
The cafe is sort of like a Starbucks.
The Future Cruise Desk, when open, allows travelers to make
future reservations with discounted deposits.

Wonderful model on display near the Library

Info plaque for the model
American Steam Yacht Corsair -1890
Yacht Owner:  J Pierpont Morgan

Pretty neat mural near the Library

One of many relaxing entertainment areas.
Live piano music in the afternoons and evenings.

Carpets in the elevators keep you on schedule.
This one, Thursday, May 3rd, we are scheduled for
a port stop in San Francisco.

Early in the morning we pick up a Pilot to help
the Captain guide the ship into Port.
This is one of the more elaborate pilot boats I've seen.
In the video below, join me for the passage under the Golden Gate Bridge. I fast-forwarded part of it so it won't take so long to watch. This was early in the morning and I was one of the few passengers out to watch along with several of the crew who seemed to want to get a selfie to send home.

Site of the 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition
The domed building is the Palace of Fine Arts.
More about this in the next section of this post.

A spot I visited later in the day ... Alcatraz Island.
In the video below we're getting close to the Cruise Ship Terminal and the Captain has requested a tug to provide additional control for speed and positioning of the ship. Big ships don't stop quickly and are sometimes difficult to maneuver. This particular tug was named Tractor Tug. The picture below the video shows the connection between the tug and ship.

Here is how the Tractor Tug is connected to the ship to
provide additional control and positioning.

Approaching the Port

Getting tied up at the dock.
The ropes that hold the ship to the mooring are actually quite heavy.

Out for a tour which begins with a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge.
We just happened to see the Zipper in action.
The photo above captured my first time to see a "Barrier Transfer Machine." Have you ever seen one? Known as the Zipper, it moves the roadway barrier so lanes of traffic can be configured to accomodate the differences in morning and afternoon commutes. It is pretty fascinating to see it in operation. There are 6 lanes for traffic on the bridge. In the photo 4 lanes for inbound to the city traffic are being set back to 3 lanes. Later in the afternoon the Zipper will narrow that down to 2 which allows 4 lanes of outbound traffic. Read more about it in Wikipedia.
Looking East across the Golden Gate Bridge

The Bridge is constantly being repainted ... all year, every year.

This pic and the next are from a visit in 2007.
This is a cross section of one of the cables holding
the bridge in place.

Closer look at the cable shows some of appx. 27,000 smaller wires inside.
This had to be an engineer's dream.

Next it's off to Alcatraz.
Don't expect to walk up and get these tickets.
They are often sold out far in advance.
Buy tickets online or through a travel agent.
Read about and see my photos of Alcatraz here.

Returning from Alcatraz after our tour.

Relaxing in the afternoon sun.

After two more days at sea we are headed into the
Strait of Juan de Fuca
which separates USA and Canada
Perfectly clear day provided a nice sunset from the ship.
The land on the right is British Columbia, Canada.

Next morning, May 6th, approaching Lions Gate Bridge which
defines the entrance to Vancouver Harbour, British Columbia, Canada.

Lions Gate Bridge

I have arrived at Canada Place ...
my destination for this voyage.

Another Holland America ship is tied up behind us.
It is the Noordam. Holland America carries on a Dutch tradition of
naming its ships with the suffix dam. What it boils down to is the
ship separates you from the water.

Downtown Vancouver and the Waterfront
1915 Pan Pacific Expostion

This weekend the theme at Postcards for the Weekend is "Festivals." California welcomed the World to San Francisco in 1915 for a festival known as the Pan Pacific Exposition. Here are three old postcards, from my collection, celebrating the event. Note the 2nd and 3rd cards feature the Palace of Fine Arts, which is still in existence, and shown in my photo above as we approached San Francisco.

San Francisco was home to the Pan Pacific Exposition
in 1915. 
"The Panama–Pacific International Exposition was a world's fair held in San Francisco, California, U.S., from February 20 to December 4, 1915. Its stated purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake. The fair was constructed on a 635 acre (2.6 km2) site along the northern shore, between the Presidio and Fort Mason, now known as the Marina District." Wikipedia

Beautiful Views of the Jewel City
Vintage Postcard

Palace of Fine Arts at the Pan Pacific Exposition,
San Francisco, 1915.
Modern day photo Palace of Fine Arts
from website Curbed San Francisco
Photographer unknown.
Panama Pacific Exposition San Francisco 1915
Chicago Milwaukee & St Paul Railway
Travel Brochure

Map of San Francisco in the Travel Brochure
Copyright 1913 by Poole Bros. Chicago
See Enlargement Below ...

Note:  Golden Gate near top center.
No Bridge ... It wasn't opened until 1937,
22 years after Pan Pacific Exposition
Ship Watch

As usual, a few photos of ships coming and going here in Seattle ...

I'd like to call this "Business and Pleasure"
Bulk Carrier at anchor.
Cruise ship above and sailboats below.
May 19th  4:46 AM

Container Ships Coming and Going
May 25th  6:42 AM

Tug and Barge headed to (probably) Alaska
Container Ship Arriving Seattle
May 25th  6:41 AM

NYK Line RoRo, departing from Port of Tacoma
(RoRo = Roll On, Roll Off - Vehicle Carrier)
Port of Tacoma = Major Vehicle Import Center for USA
May 25th  5:41 AM

Celebrity Solstice
Arriving in early morning sunshine.
May 25th  5:40 AM
Italia Container Ship
May 26th  5:44 AM

Matson Container Ship
May 26th  1:05 PM
Smokin' !!

M O L Container Ship
May 26  6:25 AM

Pacific Basin
Bulk Carrier - Logs
Headed to Asia
May 26th  5:47 AM
Photos below show all 3 of the cruise ships arriving in Seattle this morning. They will disembark passengers and resupply the ship with fuel and food. Later, in the afternoon, they will embark with mostly new passengers on cruises to Alaska. The whole process is a tremendous boost to the economy in the Seattle area. According to an article in the Seattle Times, the Port of Seattle projects more than 1.1 million cruise passengers this year.

May 27th  5:03 AM
Norwegian Pearl
Will dock at Pier 66

May 27th  5:15 AM
Emerald Princess
Will dock at Pier 91
May 27th  6:05 AM
Holland America Amsterdam
Will dock at Pier 91
Sky Watch

From my location the sun is nearing the northern end of its journey along the western horizon. Solstice is just a few weeks away. On May 20th, date of the photo below, daylight in Seattle was 15 hours 21 minutes. On June 21st, summer solstice, 15 hours 59 minutes. Latest sunset in Seattle, June 25th, 9:11 PM. Thereafter, sunsets are earlier and length of daylight begins to shorten.

May 20th  8:36 PM
Orange sky at night, sailor's delight?

May 27th  4:39 AM
The almost Full Moon setting in the Western Sky
To see more sky photos, check out Skywatch Friday, and thanks to Yogi for hosting!

Clipper Race Update - Extraordinary Whale Encounter

Since our post of Sunday, April 27th, perhaps you have been following the fascinating Clipper Race Around the World.. The West Coast Leg of the race is complete and the sailboats are now nearing Panama City, Panama, and will soon be transiting the Panama Canal. Just in the last few days the Race released the video below of an extraordinary whale encounter. I think this addition to the post will qualify us to link up with Eileen's excellent meme, Saturday's Critters. Check it out. Thanks, Eileen for hosting!

Thank you for stopping by John's Island.


  1. Hello, your cruise sounds like a fun and relaxing vacation. I love the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Zipper is cool. The whale video is awesome. Beautiful shots of the ships and the sky! Thanks so much for linking up your post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.

  2. I had to lookup what you celebrate on Memorial Day!
    Like the vintage style of the postcard.

  3. Cruise ships are unbelievably large. I've never found anybody who didn't like a cruise.

  4. Wow! What a fine and lengthy post today, John. Glad to see you are home safe and sound from your short cruise. Love the pictures of your floating home for those days. :-)

  5. Wow you packed a lot in this post. Wonderful collection of pictures.
    The Memorial Day post card is a winner.

  6. Loved the photograph of Canada and USA borders in the sea.

  7. John,this post was just fascinating. The cruise sounds like so much fun. I love the addition of the videos. Wonderful and informative post. Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great week.

  8. Wonderful skies! And that cruise looks relaxing.

  9. So glad you enjoyed your holiday, John. Thank you for sharing your photos and videos.

    God bless you.

  10. So many photos, much to see! I love pilot boats and coast guard boats and San Diego...and "my" Lions Gate Bridge! Very impressed with the security system complete with wipers! I somehow think we won't be cruising any more, so I'm glad I've been to so many places aboard ship...starting with the Panama Canal in the 70s, when Panama had been taken over by a military coup. I'd love to do the canal again, but it's unlikely. Meanwhile, I always love to see your do a very comprehensive job, and I appreciate it.
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  11. I had to laugh at the feet-up sea view photo. That's exactly what I would be doing!

  12. That looks like a great cruize. I also like your level of activity!! Beautiful photos, and the ship watch and sky watch photos are some of my favorites!

  13. I enjoyed your whole post; I had never heard of the Zipper, but I think it is fabulous - what a clever idea!!! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Hi John, a really enjoyable post! All very nice images and videos, so nice and interesting!
    Many greetings from Turin!

  15. What an absolutely neat post. The size of some of these ships is unreal....

  16. Hello John, thank you for sharing your Panama–Pacific International Exposition postcards. I love the thought that it was actually to showcase the recovery from a natural calamity. And as always, I love the ship watch photos. I might be coming again to Seattle in August. I wish I could meet you by then!


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