While it’s fun to see updates from friends on Facebook as they travel, there is something extra special about opening the mailbox to find real mail! A beautiful postcard thoughtfully chosen and filled with fun details of their travels.
Cruise Specialists Voyage host Tom Mullen has become a fixture on world cruises and grand voyages, helping to entertain and guide our guests. On the 2017 Holland America Line Grand World Voyage he once again shared special moments with us via old fashioned postcards and we’re thrilled.
Here are a few of our favorites and some fun notes about the excursions in those locations.
February 13, 2017
Osaka, Japan (Day 2)
“Some clients taking the tour to Kyoto. A nice castle with Nightingale floors, and the Golden Pavilion is a must see.”
Nightingale floors were designed to make a chirping sound when walked upon. These floors were used in the hallways of some temples and palaces, the most famous example being Nijo Castle, in Kyoto, Japan. The squeaking floors were used as a security device, assuring that none could sneak through the corridors undetected.
February 16, 2017
“It’s a beautiful day today. The tour has headed out to the Peace Park.” Nagasaki is situated on the island of Kyushu and the capital of Nagasaki Prefecture.
Begin your exploration of Nagasaki with a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and museum. View extensive collections in the museum and learn how the city was reconstructed after being bombed in 1945. Next, transfer to Oura Tenshudo Church. This beautiful western-style Catholic Church was built in 1864 and is considered the oldest Catholic Church in Japan. For many years, it was the only western-style building registered as a national treasure.
Afterwards, a short walk takes you to Glover Garden, which commands a stunning view of Nagasaki Harbor from its position on Minami-Yamate hill. Take some time to explore this beautiful open-air museum of traditional western-style buildings. Enjoy a traditional Japanese-style lunch before transferring to the Mt. Inasayama observation deck overlooking beautiful Nagasaki city. Transfer back to the pier.
February 22, 2017
Xingang (Beijing), China
“The Great Wall had snow today, and fresh winds from the Mongolian plains.” February 26, 2017
“The group loved the tour.” What tour you ask? We’re so glad you did, it’s a special one that involves a full day in Shanghai.
Enjoy a stroll through Shanghai’s old Chinese quarter to the lovely Yu Yuan garden, a 16th century Ming Dynasty private garden and residence. Despite Shanghai’s crowded lanes and teeming masses, the garden remains an oasis of tranquility. Its deceptive size, laid out with many corners and breezeways to give one the illusion of size, houses the essential elements of a Chinese garden – pavilions, water, vegetation, rock formations and bridges.
Next, it’s time to visit the famous Shanghai Museum, known as one of the world’s finest museums of ancient Chinese art. The current state-of-the-art building, located at People’s Square, was opened in October 1996. Its rich and exceptionally high quality collection of bronzes and ceramics are celebrated around the world. In addition, the museum also features galleries containing calligraphy, paintings, jade, stone sculptures, Chinese seals, Chinese coins, Ming and Qing Dynasty furniture, and Chinese minority nationality art.
Many of Shanghai’s most beautiful residences were created in the French Concession when Shanghai was known as the “Venice of the East” – today these exemplify Shanghai’s exotic blend of old and new, of east and west. Recall the days of old as you admire the historic houses on either side of charming tree-lined streets.
Enjoy a typical Shanghai-style dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner, it’s time to enjoy a dazzling display of spectacular agility as you attend an authentic Chinese Acrobatic Show. The contortions and balancing acts are incredible and almost superhuman. You will be at the edge of your seat through most of the show saying “don’t fall, don’t drop it!” And incredibly, they never do. After the show, return to the pier to rejoin the ship.
Thanks to Tom for giving us a peek at the fun places their visiting this year and getting us excited to start thinking about the next Grand World Voyage!