Holland America Cruise Ship Docking in Las Vegas? You Bet Your Booties.

Written by Harold McNeill on April 14th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


Photo: Holland America was the first cruise ship company to take a crack at the lucrative Las Vegas market with planned trips by the newly refurbised MS Westerdam this coming fall. This was made possible by building a giant canal from San Diego to the heart of the strip in Sin City. As with the Panama Canal this was a major undertaking that will surely become a big hit with the cruise companies.  When they complete the planned extension to Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico in 2018, it will add a whole new dimension to the world of crusing.

Hello Friends and Friends of Friends.
A short description of the various stops and photographs from this
amazing adventure are now posted below.
(Scroll to “Narrative and Photo Gallery Links” Below)

 L

Left to Right: Anne, Herb, Lynn, Esther, Garth, Patty, Doug, Ron, Sandy,
Gloria, Jim, Bjorn, Linda, Harold (Absent while on leave for a cruise
through the Canadian Rockies, Roslie and John, Lib and Larry)

For the full set of pictures of the Viva Las Vegas pre cruise party held at the McNeill’s
on September 16, 2012.  LINK HERE

Looking for a little adventure?  Thinking you might like to extend this coming summer by almost two weeks at the beginning of October?  Well, think no more.

Join these fun loving couples: Esther and Garth Dunn, Patty and Doug Cassels, Linda and Bjorn Simonsen, Ann Skelcher and Herb Craig, Sandy and Ron Hall, Gloria and Jim Arnott, Lib and Larry Lohr, Roslie and John Gold (welcome Visitors from Australia),  Lynn and Harold McNeill, as they climb aboard the recently renovated MS Westerdam for an historic cruise that will take us from Vancouver to San Diego (with a brief stop in Astoria, Oregon), then on to Las Vegas for our final 3 nights.

This 10 night package includes 4 nights cruising, hotels in San Diego (3 nights) and Las Vegas (3 nights), transfers, and flights from San Diego to Las Vegas and return to Vancouver.

Itinerary
30 September: Sail from Vancouver at 4:45 pm
1   October: Astoria, Oregon
2/3 October: At Sea
4-6 October: San Diego
7   October: Fly from San Diego to Las Vega
7-9 October: Las Vegas
10  October: Fly from Las Vegas to Vancouver

We will be staying at the Holiday Inn on the Bay in San Diego and the Excalibur ($10 more) in Las Vegas, (The Luxor and Harrahs are two alternate options you may choose from with this package for no additional charge).

Package price begins at $839.00 for an inside cabin (under $1200 with all taxes and fees) – based on double occupancy (other stateroom categories, as well as single and quad rates, are also available).

Patty and Doug have taken advantage of similar re-positioning cruises before and have found them to be of excellent value, with a great itinerary.

If you would like to join with us this fall for 11 days of fun and laughter, please contact Lynn as soon as possible. (With such a great deal, space is limited, – several other itineraries have already ‘Sold Out’.) $250 per person deposit is required to hold your space- refundable up to 90 days before departure.

Contact Lynn by phone, email or Facebook
Office:250 656-5441   Email: lynnmcneill@cruiseshipcenters.com
Harold Contact: harold@mcneillifestories.com

September 17, 2012: Special Bookings:

World Premier of the Musical “Allegiance” a new American Musical at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.

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Cathedrals, Abby’s and Castles 4/7

Written by Harold McNeill on April 13th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


Entrance to the Benedictine Abbey in Melk, Austria (hdm).

When preparing stories for the Travelogue Section, a question often arises in discussion between Lynn and me as to how much “social comment” or “opinion”, would be appropriate within the context of the story.

For example, when travelling through Steyr or Linz, Austria, our travel guide told a story about a 15,000 seat church built in a nearby city back in the 16th or 17th Century. It took 70 years of sacrifice by the 20,000 residents of the city to pay for the structure as no fund assistance was forthcoming from the Monarchy (the Hapsburgs). It seemed to me that many of the poor would have dedicated their entire life toward the building of that single structure, a structure that would sit largely empty over the centuries. 

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Making friends along the Danube 3/7

Written by Harold McNeill on April 13th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


Photo: This crew of women opened the dance floor each evening, then closed it at some point after midnight. It was a great cruise for the men, for, as the old fifties song goes, “Two Girls for Every Guy”‘

Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, England and Scotland as well as a sizable number of people from the United States and Canada, were just a few of the fifteen countries represented by guests on the River Beatrice.  Everyone we met, and we met many of the 133 guests, brought special stories of their lives which they freely shared over meals, while touring and, later, over drinks in the lounge. It was a family atmosphere, filled with good cheer and conversation, as we might expect back home during a holiday celebration with guests enjoying the freedom of sharing with family members around the dinner table.

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Life Aboard the River Beatrice 2/7

Written by Harold McNeill on April 13th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


River Beatrice Photo

Photo: Garth, Esther, Lynn and Harold relax in the dining room of the River Beatrice. While the surroundings were elegant and the service exquisite, it was not many meals into the cruise before everyone had the feeling of being among family and friends. With complimentary local wines and beer served at both lunch and dinner, the atmosphere was certainly lively.

Link to Travel Stories Index and Cruise and Vacation Specialist, Lynn McNeill
(The remainder of this travel series is linked at  the bottom of the above index.)

To receive regular notifications of new posts, link to the
McNeill Life Stories Facebook page and click Like.
LINK HERE

It would be difficult to grow up with the affluence that permeates life in North America, particularly as presented on TV and in the movies, without at least once wondering what it might be like to live aboard one of the many superyachts sprinkled throughout the harbours of our nation, a yacht upon which you could invite family and friends and where you would most certainly meet others from the four corners of the earth?

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Budapest, an Historical City in Modern Times 1/7

Written by Harold McNeill on April 11th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


Budapest Danube and Parliament

Photo (hdm):  Taken from a walkway just below the Buda Castle and overlooking the Danube toward the Parliament Buildings.

Introduction

Those new to reading posts on this blog will note many stories contain substantial social comment. This is no less true in the Travelogue Section. While the sights and sounds of a new town, city or country are extremely interesting, what really piques my interest is the fabric of the society and the history of the people.  Meeting young people is also important, as it is young people who will largely define how well a country will meet the challenges of the future.

The experience of sailing up the Danube on the River Beatrice from Budapest, Hungary to Passau, Germany with stops in Slovakia and Austria, then overland to Prague in the Czech Republic, provided plenty of material upon which to comment. My impressions of how the people have overcome the challenges experienced over the most recent century, was overwhelmingly positive. It has never ceased to amaze me how the people of Europe, as mortal enemies in one decade or series of decades, have overcome their differences and become open, friendly trading partners in the next.

While part of the story of our travels will be presented in narrative form, photographs taken by Esther Dunn and myself (using identical Panasonic camera’s that we managed to mix up more than once) will be used to tell ‘the rest of the story.’ In a few instances, photos have been plucked from the Web in order to flesh out a story line for those areas in which signs indicated “photography not allowed”. While I can normally overcome such instructions (these signs are usually posted for commercial reasons) I did manage to occassionaly restrain myself. Each of the photos will be identified by source.

Now to the stories of our travels along the Danube.

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Travel Planning (4/4)

Written by Harold McNeill on March 13th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


Above: Holland America Cruise Ship Navigates the Canale Giudecca,
the main entrance to Venice

With its hundreds of canals, waterways and narrow channels that divide the city like an intricate web, you never feel stressed, pressed or on edge, as is often the case in the core of large cities filled with cars, trucks, busses, trollies and other forms of wheeled transport. It is amazing how a city can be transformed when you take away that traditional traffic. Even when Venice is filled to capacity with people, as it was during part of our visit, you can still find elbow room, space to relax, fresh air and a quiet spot on a sidewalk cafe overlooking the water.

No wonder it is a major port of call for the dozens of cruise ships that criss-cross the Adriatic, Mediterranean and Agean Seas.  Even though Lynn and I arrived by train from France after meandering across Germany, Switzerland and Northern Italy, it is just as easy to head directly to Venice if your interests lay in the more southerly ports of call.

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Venice: Biennial Contemporary Art Exhibition (3/4)

Written by Harold McNeill on March 11th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


Note: The following four part Travelogue is from a tour Lynn and I made in 2009. It was first posted live to Facebook and is being reposted here along with more photographs taken during the trip.

A City of Art

It was not possible to spend nearly a week in Venice without being influenced by the art. It was our good fortune to land in the city right in the middle of the Biennale Contemporary Art Exhibition, an exhibition that has been staged almost continuously for over the past 100 years. The several hundred displays sprinkled throughout the city seemed to focus mostly on social issues around the world and one could barely travel a block without being drawn into an temporary or permanent exhibit.

While I am no critic and there is much I do not understand about contemporary art, during the viewing of hundreds of paintings, sketches, photos, sculptures, carvings, as well as music, dance, film and other avante guard art forms around the city, it was not possible to be anything but deeply moved by the many inequities and social injustices that have occurred, and continue to occur, in virtually every country of the world. The Canadian presentations – one that focused on skid-row of the downtown East Side of Vancouver and another involving the native community – brought into close focus inequities that exist in our own country.

I suppose tapping into deep emotions is the objective of contemporary art as the artists attempt to shock the viewer into gaining another perspective on our world. The feelings evoked in me were strong, even when filtered through the lens of the affluence to which many of us have become so accustomed in Canada, the United States and many of the countries through which we have traveled.

In order to insert some of our own experience of the contrasts, included are a few photos of the extreme affluence we noted in some European cities, one in particular being a three block section of Zurich referred to as the Bahnhofstrasse 84, where the ostentatious display of wealth was beyond my understanding.  The story of Zurich will be posted later.

Following then, are just a few samples of the art on display in Venice and while the photos do not capture the real emotion of the scenes, they do capture a bit of the emotion we felt when living in the scene.

Links to other Venice articles:

Venice: City on Water (1/4)

Venice: Festa del Redentore (2/4)

Venice: Travel Planning (4/4)

Harold

Photos Below:  

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Venice: Festa del Redentore (2/4)

Written by Harold McNeill on March 10th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


Photo: Bridge to the front steps of Chiesa del Santissimo Redent provides pedestrian access across the Canale della Giudecca. The photo was taken from San Marco Square.

Note: The following four part Travelogue is from a tour Lynn and I made in 2009. It was first posted live to Facebook and is being reposted here along with more photographs taken during the trip.

An Instant Bridge

Lynn and I woke at 5:30 and headed out to watch construction of the bridge but, surprise, the final few sections were just being added when we walked out of our hostel. Those Venetians had certainly honed their bridge building skills over the past 1000 years. The story of the Festa del Redentore is contained in the first chapter of these posts on Venice (link here).  The following photos essay captures the celebration (posted below)

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    November 19, 2018 |

    Thanks, Lynn. It appears there was a problem with the comment system. Cheers, Harold

  • lynnmcneill

    November 19, 2018 |

    Hi Harold – looks great!

  • Maurice Smook

    August 13, 2016 |

    Hi Jillian,

    I don’t know if you are still checking this site but I had to respond again. February of 2017 it will be 72 years since this battle occurred.

    What caught my attention about this incident was on the Go Deep Documentary that aired on the History Channel. First of all I never known that this battle having ever occurred.

    According to my grade 3 teacher WW2 had never occurred. That grade 3 teacher stated that the WW2 and the holocaust was all propaganda. All of my classmates they believed her. I hate to say this but all I knew was that soldiers shooting at each other.

    I almost was expelled from school. My

    Mom my Dad my brother and my Uncle would have been arrested for propaganda. I paid the price. It was ironic a grade 5 teacher told me that Smooks are all commies. Dad was Conservative.

    All the Smooks that I known are all Conservative. If I had the money I would have loved to sue those two teachers.

    As I said I never heard of this Battle. If it were not for that program I would have never had known.

    I started to do more researching to find out more about the history of this battle. The narrator of Go Deep mentioned the names of the pilots who died that battle.

    I missed 20 minutes of that program but the camera crew had the camera’s pointed towards the sign with the names of the deceits. That is how I known.

    According to the narrator There are three who are still missing. W.J. Jackson, Harry Smook and A. Duckworth. A couple of months ago the staff of Go Deep have located Harry and A. Duckworths aircraft. This is on you tube. Harry and A. Duckworth craft is approx 650 feet deep in the Fjord. The individual who is heading this expansionary mission made it known he will not rest until all three of the missing pilots
    will be retrieved. I am sure that A. Duckworth’s kin are hoping for the same.

    What really puzzles me is that I have sent emails to the Smooks. Not one ever replying. I presume its the same with you. Sad. Dad rarely spoke about his family. It appears there is a big secret of the Smooks. I too assume Harry is a kin to my Dad. Harry maybe a 4th 5th cousin to my Dad. I too would like to know. Harry and A. Duckworth served and died for our country. The other is W.j. Jackson – who is also still missing – having died for our Country.

    In conclusion I still ask myself why is this a huge secret.

    If you are still checking this site please contact me. Maybe we may be kin.

    Take care.

  • Valerie Heuman (Roddick)

    June 19, 2016 |

    Having just returned to the Okanagan Valley from a weekend in Pibroch, I am delighted to have stumbled on your blog to see the picture of the main street. My aunt and uncle Peggy & Gordon McGillvery owned and lived in the old Post Office on the North east corner of the main intersection and my brother Adrian currently lives south a bit backing on the School yard. We are Sheila’s cousins and still have a close connection to the town.

  • Sheila(Roddick) Allison

    May 19, 2016 |

    Hi. So fun to find your blog. I remember going to school with you and Louise. I loved my childhood in Pibroch which incidentally was named by my grandfather Aaron Roddick. I will never forget the night the garage burned down. Nice to see the landmark photo before the big fire!

  • George Dahl

    April 12, 2016 |

    What a great site. I’m trying to locate a woman named Sally Jennifer who was from the Cold Lake area back in the early sixties. I met her when I was stationed at Namao air base in Edmonton. I was serving with the USAF 3955 air refueling squadron from rhe fall 1963 till the spring of 64. Sally was 22 at the time I was 21. Sally was my first love. I had orders to ship out to South East Asia and we lost contact after that.
    If any of you know the where abouts of Sally I would like to get reacquainted with her. She is First Nation, Blackfoot I believe. She is Catholic and may have attended a Catholic school in Cold Lake.
    Thank You in advance, George Dahl

  • dave armit

    March 23, 2016 |

    good old fashioned police work done by good old fashioned policemen……….in regards to mr cain..i learned a few years ago that he was born on the same day in the same hospital that i was..my father was a close friend of the cain family…!!! interesting..d a

  • Joyce McMenamon

    March 1, 2016 |

    Haha, love it! We should probably eat rats and rabbits rather than beef. Also I’ve noticed that there are a lot less pests where dogs are not kept on leashes.

  • Kari

    February 27, 2016 |

    Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane Dad!!! That was an amazing trip and I am so glad that we had the opportunity to share that experience together!
    ❤️

  • Ann and Herb

    January 17, 2016 |

    Love the new music – one of my most favourite ever- and love the story. Thank you for keeping us forever young in the photo! It is such a gift to know a person who writes so joyously and respectfully of his family and friends. It fills our hearts to know that you count us among them.

    A & H