My husband and I are completing the first leg of our seven-week vacation: tomorrow morning, after 11 days at sea, our Holland America cruise ship finally docks at mainland Europe. France. Cherbourg. The Nieuw Statendam, which was built in Europe and traveled to Florida for her inaugural Caribbean cruise with Oprah, will have completed her maiden eastward sail from her winter home in Florida to her summer home in Amsterdam.

We stopped at the volcanic archipelago of Portugal’s Azores about two-thirds of the way across, but haven’t been on a continent since Easter Sunday, when we were greeted by Easter baskets brimming with colored eggs, chocolates, and flowers.

Port Everglades
  • Appreciate your surroundings. Travel triggers the picture-maker in me. The first presented itself from our room’s balcony: the backside of Port Everglades was a veritable Easter parade of Sunday boaters. On the ship, the funky music-themed art is a treasure.
Adoration of the Wi- Fi [actual title]


David Selfie [that is an iPhone in his hand]


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  • Eat well. Yes you could have had a chocolate croissant topped with Nutella. Once. Then forget you know where they keep these, get yourself a hearty bowl of oatmeal loaded with fruit and nuts, and make it hard to go foraging for more more more by sitting in a corner blocked by very big people with multiple loaded plates. Dessert is encouraged on national Dutch holidays !

Dance like your cbildren aren’t watching. It’s all celebrating.

Orange is the national color of the Netherlands
  • Remove each excursion sticker before the next outing. Or you will be looking for Bus 11 when there is none, because your husband and your tour is waiting for you in Bus 13. No, they did not leave you behind.
  • Be patient and adjust your expectations When it takes hours of little finger hunting to write a few paragraphs on my iPhone, drop your post from “ten” tips to “five,” leave the duplicate pictures alone, and continue to survive.

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