Holland America cruise

Waiters in the formal dining room served delicious entrees, main courses and desserts. Su, the head waiter, entertained the group by folding paper origami animals each evening.

On a 71-day Holland America cruise, Eileen Gentrup saw incredible sights, experienced new cultures, enjoyed a long vacation, made friends with passengers and crew members and came back all the richer from it.

Gentrup’s friend, a Holland America Line employee, asked if she would like to go under his booking which would also allow her a discount on the trip. Gentrup had just two days to decide whether to accept or not. Deciding it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, Gentrup said yes. She spent the next 17 days preparing to leave.

The cruise circumnavigated Africa, departing from Fort Lauderdale October 10th, sailing through the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal, all the way around the Cape of Good Hope, up the western side of Africa and back to Fort Lauderdale, arriving on December 20th.

Gentrup said this was the first Grand Voyage that Holland America has embarked on since COVID only going on shorter cruises since they began post-COVID travel in July of 2021. The cruise line had stopped their trips in March of 2020 when COVID hit, due to port closures and travel restrictions. Holland America also scheduled a 74-day Grand South America/Antarctica and a 128-day Grand World Cruise with departures in January of 2023. Some of the travelers who just returned from the cruise around Africa were scheduled to leave in two weeks on one of the two Grand Voyages.

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