2011 APHC At Sea Boston-Montreal

Itinerary  •  Guests  •   Activities  •   Reading List  •   Notes from GK  •   FAQ •   Booking


On-Board Activities | The Royal Academy of Radio Actors
Dancing | Naturalists | Wildlife | Knitting

All onboard services for the APHC Cruise will be available for
booking on June 7th at 12 noon ET.

Shore Excursions

Shore Excursions

Holland America offers a wide variety of excursion packages. These can be the most efficient and easiest ways to experience the ports we are visiting. While run by independent operators, Holland America provides a convenient gateway to excursion operators with proven track records. You may choose to get off the ship and explore on your own, and operators offer excursions on shore. Many of the ports on this cruise are easy to explore on foot.

Holland America provides a complete excursion booking service. You will need your Holland America Booking Number to select the excursions you would like to join.

APHC Cruise shore excursions will be available for booking on Tuesday, June 7th at 12 noon ET. To select your excursions, visit the Holland America website and click the "Book Shore Excursions" link under "Shore Excursions" in the main menu.

Download a brochure listing the excursions that will be offered on the cruise [PDF]

Do keep in mind that we will schedule some activities on the ship while in port.


On-Board Activities

Our main stage performances will be the highlight of the cruise. The evening show is repeated nightly so that everyone has a chance to see it. Our passengers talk to us about how much they enjoy the opportunity to enjoy our guest performers in smaller venues throughout the ship: formal concerts, sing-alongs, bar gigs, dancing, and more. Many of you listen to our regulars on the show but rarely get to enjoy them on their own — here’s your chance.

Garrison will schedule many opportunities to join with him in story and song. These can be a passenger glee club, an informal writing workshop, coffee in the dining room, singing gospel on the aft deck, or discussions with some of his favorite performers.

We’ll be on board a cruise ship, and a fine Holland America one at that. They will offer all of the sports and leisure activities you would expect from a cruise. The spa will be packed, a chaise awaits you by the pool, there will always be an open chair in the casino, and shopping is available everywhere. Your kids will have their own haven. The Maasdam sails with two pools and two whirlpools. The Wajang Theater is the place to enjoy terrific cooking demonstrations, movies, and even special opportunities to talk with the ship’s crew. Holland America staff will always be on hand to help you enjoy any of their activities.

We would be remiss not to mention the food. It will be there. Anytime. A lot of it. Order some room service— it's included. Enjoy.

Watch this space for more activities as we add them!

Once on board, check Holland America's daily schedule for locations and times for all activities.


The Royal Academy of Radio Actors

All Star Trivia
with Tim Russell & Sue Scott

An interactive Trivia contest that's part Name that Tune, part Jeopardy and lots of showing off your intelligence. Create your own team and join hosts, Sue Scott and Tim Russell (the man of 1,000 voices!) as they take you down the Quiz highway by acting out clues from movies, great moments in history and everything in between. Come ready to show off your smarts! (Teams can be from 2 to 20 people).

"I Want Your Job"
with the Royal Academy of Radio Actors

Always wondered how the actors come up with all those voices? Curious as to how you can do that too? Tim, Fred and Sue will get you involved in the process of choosing voices, developing characters that fit the script and taking chances.

Voice Match, the play
starring Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Vern Sutton

Voice Match, the play

Jeffrey Hatcher's romantic comedy about voice-over actors, love, and Canadian beer starring Sue Scott and Tim Russell with Vern Sutton as "the Engineer".

If you saw the "works-in-progress" staged reading of VOICE MATCH on the last cruise, you'll want to see the finished product. Sue and Tim have memorized their lines and will occasionally walk and talk at the same time in this delightful 75 minute play!

Who are the faces behind the voices behind the microphones behind those wonderful commercials everyone is talking about? Greta and Charlie are voice-over actors. They've been paired in a series of radio and TV spots for a new beer campaign. But Greta and Charlie have never met. She records in one city, he records in another. They're finally going to see each other for the first time. At a voice-over convention. In a hotel. With bedrooms.

You Don't Have Earlids: The Anthropology of Sound
Fred Newman

Based on research for a book, Fred will take you on the journey of sound, from the basic physics of sound through its evolution in animals, it's impact of human social behavior and its homesteading of new and emerging media. Recommended for anyone who has a set of ears, especially sound nerds.

Growing Up Weird

Growing up Weird
Fred Newman

A very personal look at starting out as an odd kid in small-town Georgia and growing up to be odd and adult-challenged in New York City. Fred draws upon the folk art of sound making, its Southern storytelling roots (with extensive field testing behind the backs of teachers) and details the scam of actually being paid to create sounds for television, radio, stage and screen.

Tellin' Stories — Works in Progress
Fred Newman

Join Fred as he tells stories, tries out new work, and talks about the process of creating, with his own special twist (ERRINK POP!). Not for the kids.

Putting your Best Voice Forward (with a few honks & horns)
Fred Newman

Putting your Best Voice Forward

Some fascinating research on sound and voices, with practical hands-on techniques to keep your voice youthful and expressive, and, how to best use your voice for everyday living. That ... and how to honk, bark, whistle and pop.

Want to do a loon call, pterodactyl, or a tire stuck in the mud? Bring your ears and requests (and a little mirror, if possible, as a learning aid). You, too, can learn to create shame-free, eyebrow-raising, cocktail-rattling sound effects.

Once Upon Some Time
Fred Newman & Richard Kriehn

Bring your blankets and pillows outside to the aft deck, for a bedtime story, with lights out under the stars. Accompanied by the deft touch of musician Richard Kriehn, Fred tells and performs his tale of the Juggler, the Weaver, and the Star Thrower, his mash-up of Uncle Remus-like Southern story-telling and chaos theory.



On our last cruise we finally realized what we were missing from the first three: Joy and Todd! Joy Davina and Todd Paulus — co-owners of the Social Dance Studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota — always know the latest steps. They'd be the first to tell you that dance is great exercise. But better than that, it's great fun. During the cruise, Joy and Todd will expertly teach a wide variety of styles. They encourage everyone to attend their sessions — with or without a partner. No experience needed.

Check the Daily Schedule for times, and places... we'll be dancing all around the ship.

And, please, NO EXPERIENCE OR PARTNERS ARE REQUIRED, for any of our sessions. Joy and Todd are simply fabulous at getting people of all skill levels out on the floor. In fact, they welcome all new-comers!

Ballroom Bootcamp: Learn the basic steps and turns in Foxtrot and Waltz. Two left feet are welcome here. We will glide across the ship gracefully moving to the rise and fall of the ocean waves.

Swing City: Learn the basics of East Coast Swing. We will jump, jive and "whale"... well we will save the "wailing" for another day. Come swing with us and boost your energy and spirit for the entire day.

Boot Scoot N' Boogie: It's country Western line dance at its best. Exercise has never been more fun, so pull on your boots and come "tush push" with us.

Latin on the Lido deck: We may not be on the Lido deck, but we plan to rock the ship with the basics of Cha Cha and Merengue. Let's show the world that Scandinavians do have hips and we know how to use them!

Seaside Exercise: It's our own version of Latin and Swing aerobics. We take all the basic steps of the most popular social partnership dances and turn it into an energetic cardio workout. Dance is the best way to start your day!

Romancing the Stone: An adventure in learning how to slow dance! We will dance the basic steps of Rumba, and nightclub two-step to popular ballads. Come lose yourself in beautiful movement to beautiful music.

Dirty Dancing: Bump! Grind! Dip! Slide! Body Roll!: Ever ask yourself, "How do I slow dance without the structure of ballroom dancing?" We've got a solution: The Prairie Home Cruise Dirty Dancing workshop. No dance experience necessary; just show up with a partner — one with whom you feel comfortable being in close contact. Joy Davina and Todd Paulus, co-owners of a Minneapolis dance studio, will teach you a basic slow step, then move on to body rolls, hip movements, hair tosses, slides, slow turns and other tricks to heat up the dance floor.

Two to Tango: Learn the basics of Ballroom Tango and add a little drama to your vacation.


Naturalist Activities

Natalie Springuel and Rich MacDonald will return for their fifth cruise with us, and we’re all excited to see how much their lovely daughter Anouk has grown. We’ve also invited our friends Dyk Eusden, geologist, and Lytton Musselman, botanist, to join the naturalist staff.

Our naturalist crew will have a regular schedule to be on deck interpreting the sights for you. On past cruises they have assembled an astounding list of animal and bird sightings, and they welcome you to join the group.

They will select shore excursions to join, maybe even lead. See the shore excursions list for those details.

A Taste of Everything
All Naturalists
Prairie Home Companion hires on a crack team of naturalist ("people who know stuff," as Garrison likes to say) to make sure you get the most out of your cruise experience. Come meet the team for a rundown of the activities they will be offering throughout the journey, including a teaser of all of the lecture topics to be presented during the cruise. You'll meet husband and wife duo Natalie (the marine gal) and Rich (the bird guy) who have been coordinating this motley gang for all APHC cruises; Dyk (the geologist) who comes back for cruise number 2 after Norway in 2007; Lytton (the botanist) who might secretly have stories about Garrison, but really he is on board to talk plants; and Dan (the maritime historian) our resident Canadian who will keep us all straight, eh? Also, Dyk's wife Lydia has some great activities up her sleeve for any cruising kids!

Whales! The Magnificent Giants that Cruise our Route
Natalie Springuel
Our cruise route takes us right through some of the North Atlantic's most prolific whale grounds, so keep your eyes on the horizon (except of course when you attend this talk to learn some neat facts about the whales you might see)! In the open ocean from Boston to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, look for Humpbacks (the charismatic one), Rights, Finbacks, Minkes, Orcas, and Pilot Whales. There are more but perhaps the most exciting is the chance to see a Blue Whale, the world's largest creature, cruising throughout the Gulf of St. Lawrence. And certainly the most unique would be the resident population of Beluga, the white whales, cavorting in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Finally, let's not forget the smallest of the whales, the porpoises and dolphins, several species of which summer in these waters. Hope you brought your binoculars!

Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Aftershocks, and Tsunamis: What You Need to Know
Dyk Eusden
Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and Japan! What is going on and is it all connected? This has been quite a year for cataclysmic geologic events and maybe the end is near after all! Come learn what geologists think about these catastrophic eruptions and temblors across the globe. There's even a seismically active region in the St Lawrence Seaway to talk about. Don't worry folks; we're very safe on the ship!

Outlaws at Sea: Pirates and Smugglers
Dan Conlin
The Gulf of Maine, the North Atlantic and the Saint Lawrence were home to a variety of murderous pirates and wily smugglers who have left a surprising history and even deeper myths in their wake. Join Dan Conlin, recent author of "Pirates of the Atlantic: Robbery, Murder and Mayhem on Canada's East Coast", for a richly illustrated talk looking at the real pirates behind the powerful myths.

The Strangest Plant in the World!
Lytton John Musselman
Imagine a plant without chlorophyll, lacking leaves, and spending its life underground. Then visualize a flower changing sex after opening to attract insects which it traps then releases. Add the intriguing setting of the Karoo vegetation of southern Africa where these fugitives from typical plant life grow in one of the most arid regions on earth. Plants so weird they were first described as fungi! Not surprisingly Hydnora has no English common name. See firsthand the secrets of the underground agents of the Karoo.

The Newfoundland Cod: Collapse and Requiem
Natalie Springuel
In 1497, John Cabot returned from the New World to Europe claiming he had discovered a sea of plenty where fish could be scooped up with wicker baskets thrown overboard; where you could practically walk from ship to shore on the backs of fish. The rush for Newfoundland cod was on. For the next 500 years, Newfoundland cod effectively fed the western world. On "The Rock" itself (as Newfoundlanders call their home), settlement patterns, cultural norms, traditions, linguistic lineages, mercantile trade, and people's whole way of life revolved around one thing, and one thing only: Cod. All that changed in 1992 when the Canadian government announced a moratorium on cod fishing, and Newfoundlander's entire raison d'être came to a grinding halt.

Golden Age of Sail
Dan Conlin
The North East Coast of North America produced some of the fastest, largest and most beautiful wooden ships that have ever graced the oceans. From the development of the schooner to the rise of the clipper ship and the long struggle with steamships, shipyards from Massachusetts to Quebec built an amazing variety of ships whose canvas wings took them from backwoods coves to distant seas. Dan Conlin will explore the rise and fall of these ships in design, work and art.

Turres, Timberdoodles, and Mother Carey's Chickens: The Birds of the Northwestern Atlantic
Rich MacDonald
Everyone likes birds. Whether you fashion yourself a bird-watcher or not, chances are chickadees, robins, gulls, eagles, and hummingbirds are no strangers. Birds are more than pretty additions to the landscape, they eat pesky insects and rodents, they pollinate flowers and disperse seeds, and yes, they are even pretty additions to the landscape, fueling the ecotourism economy. With a setting both locally historic and culturally significant, this slideshow introduces birds common and curious, extant and extinct, charismatic and confounding, found across the Gulf of Maine and the Maritime provinces.

Plates Crash to Make the Northern Appalachians, then Pangea Goes Schizo as the Atlantic and Bay of Fundy Open
Dyk Eusden
Come learn about the 400 million year old plate tectonic story of three New Zealand-sized continental plates called Ganderia (now New Hampshire and Maine), Avalonia (the rocks of New Brunswick and SE Newfoundland), and Meguma (all of Nova Scotia) that collided to build the Appalachian Mountains and form Pangea. After this, about 180 million years ago, this great supercontinent split apart and the Atlantic Ocean and Bay of Fundy opened.

Beirut to Borneo—In Search of Plants of the Bible
Lytton John Musselman
There is a charm and familiarity with many Bible plants masking problems in identifying what they really are. One example is being flustered by mustard—what is this plant? To sort out the true identity of plants in the Scriptures required living and working in numerous Bible lands and extensive field work to study the Cedar of Lebanon near Beirut to the misunderstood Aloeswood of Borneo—and the deserts, plains, and steppes in between. Find out why mustard is not mustard and why aloes are not in the Bible.

Glaciers Come and Go, Sea Level Rises, Falls, and Rises Again, and the Climate Changes
Dyk Eusden
A mere 20,000 years ago climate cooled and Quaternary ice sheets pushed their way out into the Gulf of Maine covering the land with a mile or more of ice. As the climate warmed, the ice retreated and sea level came rushing inland covering much of New England and the Canadian Maritimes. Once the land that was pushed down by the ice rebounded, sea level dropped and wooly mammoths cruised around Georges Bank. Now, sea level is rising again, this time in response to anthropogenic climate change.

Of Baby Seals and Brigitte Bardot: the Human Ecology of the Canadian Seal Hunt
Natalie Springuel
The people of Atlantic Canada — be they native or of European decent — have been hunting seals since the beginning of their time in this land. Cute, cuddly, puppydog-esque baby seals bludgeoned to death by barbaric Neanderthals on ice. That is one version of the hunt. Other versions might highlight the need for survival in a desperately harsh environment; a right of passage crucial for young men; or the culling of an abundant mammal population that preys voraciously on cod, a fishery central to the economic well being of the region. Our ship travels right through the heart of this story in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Shag: The Bird We Love to Hate
Rich MacDonald
Shag is an Old World name for cormorant that followed it to Maine and the Maritimes. A name is not the only thing to follow cormorants across the ocean: so have Western attitudes. Milton compared the shag to Satan. The book of Leviticus includes cormorants among birds unfit to eat. Captain John Smith described killing cormorants in the 1600s. Nearly 1,000 were illegally slaughtered on Lake Ontario in 1998. This presentation uses the Double-crested Cormorant as a case-study for an investigation into the history of human/wildlife conflict.

Edible Plants of New England—Finding Food Fast
Lytton John Musselman
Wild food foraging often highlights luscious berries or nutritious nuts, easily collected, easily prepared but available only for a short time and often limited in nutrition. What edible plants are available in different seasons, high in energy, and easy to prepare? We will consider these staples along with condiments, sweeteners, and greens. Some mushrooms are included. No discussion of foraging can neglect toxic look-alikes, deadly decoys, and other wicked plants. These will be reviewed as well.

Women at Sea in the Age of Sail
Dan Conlin
We often think of sailing ships as an all-male environments where everyone knows it is bad luck to have a woman aboard. However in the Age of Sail the wives of countless captains regularly spent years at sea with their husbands often raising families aboard. Explore their unique window on the Age of Sail through the photographs they took and the diaries they wrote.

The Gulf of Maine by kayak
Rich MacDonald
In 2002, cruise naturalists Rich MacDonald and Natalie Springuel spent five months paddling sea kayaks around the perimeter of the Gulf of Maine. Their mission: to boldly explore this vast, international watershed; raising awareness about the natural world, the people, and the issues they face in their local communities. This slideshow will present observations of exploring at a slow pace.

Kids Activities!
Lydia Eusden, wife of Naturalist Dyk Eusden and a naturalist and educator herself, will be leading several really cool activities for cruising kids, based at Club Hal. They include:

Felting Sea Creatures
Calling all kids on board! Come discover the ancient craft of making felt from wool. If you have never tried to make felt before, you are in for a delightful, magical time. What is felt? Felt is made from sheep wool. The wool is clipped off the sheep. We will be making felted ocean creatures in different colors. Come join us to make a sea urchin, octopus or starfish to take home with you!
7/14 — 10:00 - 11:15am for 13 - 20 year old kids
7/15 — 2:30 - 3:45pm for 3 - 12 year old kids

Deep Blue Sea Underwater Murals
Hey kids! Did you know that the color of the water in the sea depends on the light that shines in it? When light enters the sea, the water reflects some of it and absorbs some of it. Water hardly absorbs any blue-green light, but reflects it more than any other color of light. We will be making underwater murals with tissue papers, wax resist pencils and pop up sea creatures found in the depths of the ocean beneath us. Have fun at kids activity time learning about the seaworld beneath the ship. Come join us to make a mural to take home with you!
7/13 — 10:00 - 11:15am for 3 - 12 year old kids, 2:30 - 3:45pm for 13 - 20 year old kids



Wildlife brochure

Seems having something to look forward to makes life pretty dang sweet. So what's on your list of "Things To Which I Look Forward On the Prairie Home Cruise"? Scenery? A nap on the deck? Buffet lines? Mingling? How 'bout the wildlife? There's a long list of possible wild encounters waiting on any one of the many activities the naturalists have planned for you. Download a brochure that includes a tide table, sunrise and sunset information and a checklist presenting some of the more commonly observed wildlife from across the Gulf of Maine, northwest Atlantic Ocean, and associated watersheds.

Download brochure (PDF)



In addition to sunning, sailing, and singing, you can add knitting to your APHC Cruise activities!
Daily knitting classes with Kim Christensen.

Does a cruise up the Maine Coast and on to the Maritimes put you in mind of handcrafted woolens? Why not spend some afternoons in the company of like-minded, creative folks?

Kim Christensen is a knitter, a spinner, and — as luck would have it — a teacher. During the Prairie Home Cruise, you can join her in the Explorer's Lounge every day between 3:00-5:00 p.m. as she gets the knitting needles clicking.

Kim has great patterns — summer shawls and warm socks — something just right for the beginner or the more advanced. Learn new techniques or bring along your favorite project and just enjoy the company.

There are three levels, so choose whatever suits you.

EASY CRUISE: If you know how to knit and purl, or want to learn, try these.

Seaweed Scarf
100 grams DK weight Luxury yarn (e.g., Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, Louisa Harding Mulberry Silk)
#7 straight and 24-32-inch circular needle

Easy Socks
200 yards worsted-weight wool (e.g., Raggi by Jarbo Garn)
#4 or #5 double-pointed needles — set of 5

LIDO DECK: Intermediate knitting.

Aurora Borealis Shawl (aka Revontuli Shawl)
180 grams fingering-weight yarn with long color changes (e.g., 2 balls Noro Silk Garden Sock or Taiyo Sock yarn)
#8 straight and 24-32-inch circular needles

Traveler's Stockings
150 grams Sock Yarn (approx. 500 yards) gauge: 7-8 sts=1"
#1 or #2 double-pointed needles — set of 5

THE VERANDA: Knitters who know their way around a pattern. Strut your stuff here.

Summer Flies Shawl
400 yards worsted- or DK-weight variegated yarn (e.g., Manos del Uruguay Maxima single ply)
#8 or #9 straight and 24-32-inch circular needles

Tie Up Socks
400 yards firmly plied sock yarn (e.g., Koigu, Sockotta, Aslan Trends Sock)
#1 double-pointed needles — set of 5 and #1 16" circular

All of this information and more is available online at ravelry.com — a free knitting/crocheting network. They ask you to set up a user name and password, which is very easy. Then go to the group tab and search for the PHC Cruise group. You'll be able to see pictures, link to the proposed projects, and download patterns.

Cruise Bulletin

We had a wonderful time on the cruise, and we hope you did too. We've posted a journal of daily updates — notes, photos, and videos — that captured our time at sea and on stage. You can also visit the archive to hear the best of the cruise performances on the July 23, 2011 show.

Cruise episode»
Daily cruise journal»

A Prairie Home Companion Cruise is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media. Ship's registry: The Netherlands.
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