Once again our intrepid Voyage hosts Steve and Wendy are taking us along on another journey. The Voyage of the Vikings is a frequent repeat cruise for many because it’s simply unlike so many other vacations. In fact, this is their 8th time on this voyage and they’re still just as excited.
Aboard the Holland America msRotterdam, 100 Cruise Specialists guests will embark on 38 days with 21 port stops including:
- Atlantic Canada
- The Netherlands
- Great Britain
Let’s get started with their first few stops!
Sydney, Nova Scotia
With barely time to catch our breath, we arrived in the first of our three ports in Atlantic Canada: Sydney, Nova Scotia. This is the very Eastern end of Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island.
Famous for the Cabot Trail and the Bras d’Or Lakes. it’s an area of great scenic beauty. Sydney itself is the largest urban hub and apart from the well-planned waterfront with pleasant boardwalks and a craft hall filled with locally made items, it doesn’t have much charm.
The symbol of the city is the giant 55 foot tall fiddle sculpture that sits right on the dock as the ships arrive which is a symbol of their Celtic Heritage. We did have one unexpected treat as we arrived. The Bluenose II schooner was in port. It is home based in Lunenburg and as many times as we’ve been there, we have never seen it sailing. It’s a beautiful vessel and was in town to participate in a Tall Ships Festival being held the next day.
Learn about their first stop in Bar Harbor Maine >>
Our first day was occupied with a tour we hosted for our Cruise Specialist group. We’ve traveled the “Golden Circle”, which has stops unlike anything many guests have ever seen.
First stop, Thingvellir National Park. This is a large lava field, surrounded by mountains and covered with moss and flowers. It’s considered a sacred place for Icelanders, as it is the area of the world’s oldest legislative Parliament, founded in 930. Our guide described the days when thousands of people would gather at this spot to make decisions for the country. It was also a time when people were declared witches and beheaded or drowned. That was a piece of history we had never heard before! Our next stop was the magnificent waterfall known as Gullfoss or the Golden Waterfall. The Hvita river drops almost 100 feet into a spectacular display. One can walk quite close and get wet or view it from above while keeping dry.
A short distance away is the Geysir Geothermal area with its hot springs, bubbling pools, and one big geyser that erupts every 7 to 10 minutes (think Old Faithful). We stopped for lunch at the Geysir Hotel where they serve an extensive buffet of hot and cold foods and desserts. Our favorites were the herring in wine sauce and the macaroons dipped in chocolate. After lunch we stopped at a modern power plant where the geothermal energy is harnessed for distribution.
Don’t miss out on the next sailing of Voyage of the Vikings >>