We never know what we might find when we approach Greenland – fog, pack ice, icebergs, growlers, wind, rain, all of these?
After a foggy, windy, and rainy day at sea, we arrived at Prince Christian Sound on a gloriously sunny, if a little cold morning. The skies were clear and we were ready for a wonderful morning of scenic cruising. The glaciers were dramatic, the waterfalls elegant and free flowing, and the cliffs steep and ominous looking.
Prince Christian Sound
We once again passed the only village in Prince Christian Sound and this time we had a welcoming party. Several small speed boats with local residents came out into the channel to wave and take a closer look at us. The children seemed to especially enjoy seeing such a big vessel.
With the only access by boat or helicopter, it is a very remote location, although we heard they do have tourists come out to stay in the village for a few days at a time. The population fluctuates between 80 and 120 residents – hard to imagine what the winter must be like.
The next day was spent in Nanortalik, a very small place with a population of around 1,300 and the third largest city in Greenland. Not much changes here from year to year, this being at least our 4th visit. There are no shore excursions here, as there is no place to go.
The locals put on a cultural show for a small fee and there is an open air museum which visitors seem to enjoy. You can also visit the church, the cemetery, the fish market, and a few local shops. The adventurous can hike up to the top of one of the peaks and walk across the ridge line and down the other side to a hidden lake.
Next stop – St Anthony, Newfoundland. But first a busy day at sea. Things were winding down as the last week is always filled with special events.
First, it was the Mariner Reception, where guests are recognized for the number of days they have sailed with Holland America. Almost everyone on board is a repeat guest, so the various receptions are being held over 3 different days.
It’s always a nice ceremony, followed by a champagne brunch. This was our first face to face meeting with the new Captain that came aboard in Rotterdam. Much to our surprise, he remembered we had sailed with him on the Veendam several years ago. We like him – he’s good at keeping the passengers informed and he is quite approachable.
St Anthony, Newfoundland
St Anthony is a small community on the northern coast of Newfoundland. We always enjoy wandering here along some beautiful trails and through the neat and friendly neighborhoods.
One popular thing to do here is the whale and wildlife cruise. They did see some whales this time, although it’s late in the season and most of them have left the area.
The other hot ticket is the excursion to L’Anse aux Meadows. It’s the first European settlement in the New World, dating back to around 1,000AD. It’s a fascinating view of Viking life – how appropriate on the Voyage of the Vikings! This excursion was sold out long before we ever boarded the ship, so guests were scrambling to arrange private tours.
St John’s, Newfoundland
St John’s, Newfoundland is always a highlight for us. There are at least 50 great things to do in this capital city.
In the afternoon we hosted a tour for our Cruise Specialists Guests visiting several of the iconic places in and around the city. First stop was at Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America and the site of the oldest surviving lighthouse. It’s a beautiful spot where you can hike the trails or just sit and admire the view back to the city. Next we had a taste of locally made port wine at Newman’s Wine Vault. One taste was hardly enough, but that’s all we got!
Then we were on to Signal Hill and Cabot Tower. Signal Hill is famous as the place where Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal in 1901. The tower sits on top of the hill and while it was once a guard tower, it now houses a nice little gift shop. You can see a sweeping view of the city, the narrow entrance to the harbor, Cape Spear in the distance, and dramatic coastline for miles. One of our favorite walks when we are not on tour is the path leading from the harbor, up the side of the cliff, ending at Signal Hill. We watched dozens of runners and walkers negotiating that path as we stood on top.
A ride by coach around the downtown completed our tour. We were reluctant to leave, so we wandered around the downtown for an hour before returning to the ship. We will always look forward to coming back here.
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