MS Veendam tied up at Hualtuco, Mexico

Holland America Line MS Veendam tied up at Huatulco, Mexico on 31 October 2015.

In early 2015 my then 84-year old Dad and I decided we'd plan a trip through the Panama Canal for later in 2015. He put me in charge of researching the possible cruises. We settled on a late-October westbound transit with Holland America Line.

We both needed to update our passports so we took care of that in the coming months. Dad was living in the Massachusettes while I lived in Arizona. We would meet up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida a couple of days before departure and drive home to Arizona after finishing up the cruise in San Diego. Dad would then fly back home to MA.

I'd never been on a long-distance cruise before but I'd been on a number of day trips aboard smaller boats. Dad had served in the US Navy back in the late 1940s. On a couple of occasions we managed to travel together on ferries off southern Massachusettes when I'd visit him. Good times.

While planning the cruise I'd read it is good advice to choose a relatively short cruise for the first time. We didn't heed that advice and in the end we didn't have any real problems over the 14 nights / 15 days of our cruise.

While planning my flight to Florida I decided I'd book through Denver and Houston on United so I could try for my first 787 Dreamliner flight. My original booking also included a 737-700 and a 737-900. I also booked to arrive a couple days ahead of Dad so I could get a rental car and do some birding and plane-watching in Southern Florida. Sometime before flight day United did an equipment swap and the 737-700 became a 737-800. No big deal as it was the Dreamliner I was most interested in. Upon check-in at PHX the agent informed me United and changed my itinerary to a more logical itinerary that excluded Denver. I explained the reason for my original itinerary (the 787 flight) and the agent was happy to correct my booking, fully understanding my rational.

All three of my flights went off without a hitch. Here is a link to my flight log page concerning these flights: Flying to Florida

As detailed on the above Flying to Florida page, I had several hours at Denver during that connection. The flight aboard the 787 to Houston was pretty nice and we arrived just before dusk. The connecting flight to Fort Lauderdale was uneventful and after arriving and collecting my bag I got the rental car. My now it was after midnight and while somewhat tired I was eager to get on with the trip. I headed for the Florida Keys and during the drive I pulled over and booked a morning boat trip departure on the Yankee Freedom III from Key West to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. Here is a link to a short YouTube video / slideshow mashup of this very satisfying day trip on the 18th of October 2015.

MS Veendam at Wikipedia


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