2012 APHC At Sea Amsterdam-Barcelona

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On-Board Activities | Education Activities
Wildlife | Dance | Our Acting Company | Knitting

Download the cruise event schedule [PDF]

(The schedule will change. You will receive a Daily Schedule in your cabin: always refer to it for final information.)

All onboard services for the APHC Cruise will be available for
booking on June 26th 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 way 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, of course, choose to get off the ship and explore on your own. Operators may offer excursions on shore.

Holland America provides a complete excursion booking service. They have added unique excursions not available on other cruises. View our custom brochure [PDF]

You may begin booking excursions on Tuesday, June 26th, at noon ET. You do this through the "Book Shore Excursions" section of hollandamerica.com. You will need your Holland America booking number to do this, which you will receive by email on or before June 20th.

Do keep in mind that we will schedule a few activities on the ship while in port, but we will not schedule major appearances by our performers.


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. Some evenings will be patterned on Garrison's "Prairie Home" broadcasts; others will have more specific themes or highlight particular performers. Your room key card will be colored to indicate which seating of the show you may attend each night.

Our passengers often comment that they appreciate 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 see them on their own — here's your chance. Look through our schedule and you'll find many opportunities to enjoy smaller musical performances throughout the ship.

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.

And of course, we've invited a roster of guest performers — some friends, some new to us. You'll have plenty of opportunity to experience their offerings on stages large and small.

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 on the Promenade. Your kids will have their own haven called Club HAL. The Ryndam sails with two pools and two whirlpools. The Wajang Theatre 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. Any time. A lot of it. Order some room service — it's included. Enjoy.

We will have a detailed schedule of events for you in your cabin when you board. Please be sure to look through the Daily Schedule delivered to your cabin in detail. This will have last-minute updates and will always be the most accurate information.


Education Activities

APHC cruise naturalists Natalie Springuel (ocean gal) and Rich MacDonald (bird guy) will return for their sixth cruise with us, along with their now five-year-old daughter, Anouk. They are once again leading our education staff, which includes a wide variety of experts. We have invited Jeannie Perales to help us explore the Iberian Peninsula. Jeannie fell in love with Spain (and Daniel) in 1993 and never left. She will use an entertaining technique to explore how you "move, learn, and eat" in each culture we will visit. Husband Daniel Perales brings a wealth of photographic experience to share with our passengers, young and experienced alike. We've engaged an expert on the language and history of the Peninsula: Leland Guyer. He offers a good grounding in the history and literature of the area, and might even get you speaking with the locals. Our friend Lytton Musselman from Old Dominion University in Norfolk returns once again as our resident botanist. And finally, we've happened upon Jon Wiant, whose particular focus on the Art of Spying, especially the classic World War II brand of intelligence work, has surprisingly strong ties to the area. Jon will present his topic in a number of entertaining ways.

Lectures in the Wajang Theatre will be the centerpiece of our education staff's presentations for you. Check our schedule for times.

Our experts will conduct a series of informal sessions to give you a chance to have casual back-and-forth discussion with them. Some, called "Commentaries," will be inspired by the views from the ship and the activities of the day, with maybe a local story to start the discussion. Others, called "Conversation Cafés," will have more specific topics to guide the exchange.

Our naturalist crew will schedule opportunities 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 also select shore excursions to lend their experience to. See the shore excursions list for those details.


Sunrise Naturalist on Deck:
What better way to start your day than to search for wildlife at the crack of dawn! Rich, Lytton, or Natalie, your cruise naturalists, will be on hand to help you identify what lurks out there. Dolphins and seabirds are quite likely, but keep your eyes peeled for whales and a few avian rarities. We'll even provide some coffee/tea to help clear the cobwebs after your night of dancing in the Crows Nest! Bring your binoculars and camera.

We'll meet all the way forward at the bow on the Promenade Deck (walk all the way forward on the Lower Promenade Deck, look for the glass stairwell, go up one deck and out through the steel bulkhead). As an extra bonus, our cruise photography instructor will join us on some mornings to help you capture fantastic images of the sea (and maybe your groggy travel partners).

Daytime Naturalist on Deck (focus on marine mammals and birds):
Sunrise a little too brutal an hour to arise but still want to watch wildlife? You are in luck! A naturalist will be on the bow of the Promenade Deck for an hour mid-morning and mid-afternoon on each of our three at sea days. We may see both marine mammals and seabirds anytime we are at sea. Naturalist Natalie has a knack for finding whales; Birdman Rich is sure to help you identify more bird species than you expected!

The afternoon Coastal and Cultural Commentary is a half-hour program conducted on the ship's Lido (aft) deck by the pool. These are informal conversations where the education team shares highlights of the day gone by or day to come, tells a local story, a cultural anecdote, a bit of history, an endemic wildlife tip, and more. It is also a great opportunity for you to ask questions about what occurred during the day and hear in-depth responses.

This is your chance to come learn about a topic in more depth. Each lecture will be an hour long, including the question-and-answer period. We have compiled a fantastic list of topics covering history, politics, culture, travel, nature, and more. Detailed lecture descriptions can be found below.

If you find lectures a bit too focused, then the Conversation Café is for you! Our team has proposed a number of topics to explore in a less formal conversation or workshop style. See below for descriptions.

We have our very own photography instructor on this cruise: Daniel Perales! These hands-on workshops are designed to help participants convey the experiences of their travels and contain helpful tips on capturing the essence of place. Please note: There is a maximum of 20 participants per workshop; you must sign up for each workshop separately. These workshops require basic digital camera skills. Bring your camera! For informal tips from Daniel, find him at some of the Naturalists on Deck events (see above) or catch him on a shore excursion! He's even cooking up a photo workshop for kids!

Traveling with your kids? Why not send them off to a special program or two with the education team (parents welcome with younger kids). Whales, birds, photography, and local culture are all topics that make for great kids' activities. We'll meet at Club HAL and go from there! Please note that Club HAL has a whole roster of other activities for your kids too.


A Taste of Everything: An Introduction to the Lectures and Programs of the Education Team, presented by the entire team (Natalie, Rich, Lytton, Jeannie, Daniel, Leland and Jon)
A Prairie Home Companion hires on a crack team of educators 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 ocean gal) and Rich (the bird guy), who have been coordinating this diverse gang for all of the APHC cruises; Lytton (the botany guy); another husband-and-wife duo, Jeannie (our ports expert) and Daniel (our cruise photography instructor); and Leland (our Iberian Peninsula language and history expert); and Jon (look for intriguing spy stories from this guy!).

There She Blows (but What Was She?), lecture by Natalie Springuel
Our cruise route takes us along a wide diversity of ocean environments. Sure, there are some great cities to see, but think of our route from the perspective of the whales, dolphins, porpoise, and seals that make these waters home! Starting in the North Sea, we'll traverse the English Channel, cross the Bay of Biscay, follow the western shores of the Iberian Peninsula, enter the Strait of Gibraltar, and end our magnificent ocean voyage in the western Mediterranean Sea. Our route crosses between multiple oceanographic zones, putting us right smack in the middle of many species' home turf. Come learn a little bit about what you might see, where you might see it, and how to recognize what it is.

Fisheries Heritage, Then and Now, lecture by Natalie Springuel
The world's appetite for seafood is on the rise and Western Europe has always been an important player in the international market for fresh fish. Many historians describe the fishermen in our cruise region as having played the starring role for centuries. Basque fishermen, in particular, are often claimed to have discovered the New World's cod fishing grounds before European powers even knew the New World existed! This lecture will trace the influence of Spain, Portugal, and France and bring us to the present in a whirlwind overview of fisheries issues today. We'll also take a look at fisheries headlines from Morocco and the western Mediterranean, noting how some of our favorite fish come from this region, and not without controversy!

An Introduction to the birds of the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco, lecture by Rich MacDonald
Birding — or twitching, as it is known in much of Europe — is one of the most popular outdoor activities. And the Iberian Peninsula is a crossroads of the avian world. More than 500 species of birds have been documented in Europe, with almost all of Europe's migratory birds passing through the Iberian Peninsula. This lecture will introduce us to the more common birds (and a few uncommon ones too) we are likely to encounter during our travels.

Divers, Shags, and Pratincoles: Life at Sea in the Lower 40s, lecture by Rich MacDonald
That would be the lower 40s and upper 30s of north latitude in Europe and northern Africa. In terms of seabirds, this is a marine world very different from the two Prairie Home Companion cruises in the northwest Atlantic (2005 and 2011) and Norway (2007). What they lose in terms of puffins and their cousins they more than make up for with the variety of shearwaters, petrels, cormorants, gulls, and shorebirds. With this lecture, we will look in depth at what it means to live in this challenging environment, some of the physiological adaptations, and the role of small populations.

Holy Botany — Plants of the Bible, lecture by Lytton Musselman
No apple in the Garden of Eden? No mustard as an example of faith? To many Bible readers, omitting these plants smacks of heterodoxy. But the writing of the Bible is embedded in a Mediterranean agro-ecosystem, so it is important to understand that system to properly determine which plants are actually included in Holy Writ, not only those native to the region, as well as plants and plant products from distant ports that were widely traded in ancient times. This includes things like aloe — despite its widespread beneficial use, it is not a Bible plant.

Plants Eating Other Plants — Mistletoes and Similar Plant Cannibals, lecture by Lytton Musselman
Most people know of mistletoe and its putative influence at the winter solstice. But how does this shrub manage to make a living in the boughs of its host trees? Druids and others worshipped mistletoe because it could mysteriously remain green in the dead of winter. Other parasites are even weirder, totally lacking any green parts. And some are so strange that an early Swedish botanist wrote that it was to be doubted that such plants exist on earth! Learn about these, including the strangest plant in the world. Be prepared to have your concepts of plants challenged!

Heavenly Reflections — Quranic gardens in Andalucía, lecture by Lytton Musselman
The Quran mentions about 15 different plants, including those indicated in Paradise, where the gardens are the repose of the Blessed. Water is associated with these, as is shade, where its inhabitants are satisfied for eternity. On the other hand is the dreaded tree of Hell, zaqqum, for the damned. Soon after the Islamic invasion of Spain, extensive gardens were built to reflect the heavenly gardens, places for quiet and reflection. Throughout the Islamic world, there remain outstanding examples in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, though the best-known gardens to the Western world are in Andalucía. These gardens will be discussed in light of the Quranic texts, especially those constructed in the Omayyid Dynasty.

Biodiversity Hot Spot, Fire Ecology, and Culinary Herbs — Why the Herbs We Value Are Designed to Burn, lecture by Lytton Musselman
"Wildfires rage" is a common news item from the California chaparral, a Mediterranean plant community. That's because many Mediterranean plant communities have evolved to burn. The adaptations to fire include, among mechanisms to be presented, branches to the base of the tree, high concentrations of oils and resins, and plant structures that release their seeds only when burned. Many of the best-known kitchen herbs — bay leaf, thyme, oregano, among others — evolved in a fire-maintained ecosystem. This is reflected in their ecology and chemical composition.

Vigo and Lisbon: Move, Learn, Eat, lecture by Jeannie Perales
As the world's largest fishing port, Vigo enjoys a mild climate and beautiful beaches. Filled with gardens, pinewoods, and year-round wild flowers, Vigo is a nature-lover's city. A musical lilt, an occasional redhead, and the wailing of bagpipes celebrate the inhabitants' Celtic roots and serve as a reminder that Galicia is Spain's only province not to have been conquered by Muslims. A sampling of seafood and a hearty bowl of caldo gallego are a must.

Many consider Portugal today to be similar to Spain 25 years ago: quaint, charming, inexpensive, and a sensory feast. Majestic 16th-century buildings harken back to Portugal's success in the Golden Age of Discovery. Get lost in the cobbled streets of Baixa, the old heart of Lisbon, sample bacalhau (salted cod), and chill out to the sweet and melancholic sounds of fado.

Andalucía: Move, Learn, Eat, lecture by Jeannie Perales
Cádiz, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Iberian Peninsula, is an elegant port filled with beautiful monuments and vistas. From the Phoenicians to the Greeks, Romans to the Moors, the city has been ruled by a number of great civilizations. For us, it's the gateway to Seville — gorgeous and charming and the capital of Andalucía — a wonderful destination for those interested in visual arts and Baroque architecture. Don't miss the Alcazar, the Jewish quarter, flamenco, and the Cathedral. Feast on fried fish, olive oil, and gazpacho.

Málaga, birthplace of Picasso, is another city with a rich history. From prehistoric caves to Phoenician walls to the Moorish Alcazaba and finally, the Picasso Museum, this Costa del Sol city is a delight. A sweet wine of the same name, "Málaga," is delicious paired with fried fish, said to be the best in Spain. A trip to Granada would not be complete without a visit to the Alhambra, the viewing of flamenco in a cave, and the consumption of sangria. Home to author Federico García Lorca, Granada is one of Spain's most beloved cities.

Tangier: Move, Learn, Eat, lecture by Jeannie Perales
It is here that Europe meets Africa, Christians meet Muslims, Arabian souks meet French tea shops; where modernity mingles with ritual, Spanish and French with Arabic and Berber. Incredibly, perched atop Africa's tip, Tangier looks toward Spain and Europe against Morocco's exotic backdrop. Tangier is a city of duality: It is of two continents, two seas, two religions, and two cultures. A visit to "The White City" is a day filled with color in the Medina, the Kasbah, the markets, and the street. Sip on sweet mint tea as you marvel at weird and wonderful Tangier and enjoy the sounds of exotic Morocco.

Valencia and Barcelona: Move, Learn, Eat, lecture by Jeannie Perales
From the Costa Blanca north to the Costa Brava, this stretch of Spanish coastline is home to Valencia, Spain's third-largest city and part of the Orange Blossom Coast. Enjoy a pan of paella, a dish that originated in Valencia and of which they are quite proud. The City of Arts and Sciences, designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, is a marvelous complex in the city center.

Set within the region of Catalonia, and home to the likes of Antoni Gaudí and Salvador Dalí, Barcelona is at once a stunning, cosmopolitan city and a bohemian paradise. Stroll Las Ramblas, grab a coffee at Picasso's favorite haunt, The Four Cats, marvel at the Gothic Quarter's winding streets, or visit the Miró and Picasso museums. For architecture buffs, Gaudí's Sagrada Familia and Park Guell are must-sees. Barcelona is Spain's second-largest city.

The Iberian Peninsula: Dictatorships, Democracies, and Demographics in the 20th Century, lecture by Leland Guyer
Most people with even a casual acquaintance with Spain have heard of Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain with an iron hand from the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 until his death in 1975. However, many are surprised to know that in neighboring Portugal, António de Oliveira Salazar, for essentially the same period, established an equally dictatorial regime that began in 1932 and ended only in 1974 with the "Revolution of the Carnations." Democracies followed both of these regimes, but for years their trajectories were often fraught with false starts, detours, and uncertainties. Both nations simultaneously fought to join the European Community and as they have modernized their nations, both wrestled with issues surrounding birth rates, immigration, political pluralism, social mores, and frothy economies. This lecture seeks to give a brief overview of these two 40-year dictatorships, with greater emphasis on the changes and challenges that have followed.

Pleasures and Perils of Literary Translation, lecture by Leland Guyer
Leland's career as a professor of Spanish and Portuguese led him ultimately to a specialization in literary translation. In this talk, he will demonstrate the importance of translation as both an art form and a scholarly activity. He will briefly describe some of the funny, as well as the not-so-funny, results of his and others' efforts to translate, and he will more fully develop an account of his own most significant translation of 50 years of Brazilian Ferreira Gullar's poetry.

Gullar is arguably the most important living Latin American poet and has been a nominee for the Nobel Prize in literature. He is also one of the most admired and recognizable figures in his country for his courage during difficult political times, for his appeal to both the young and the old and the rich and the poor, and especially for his powerful, moving, and evocative writing. The talk will conclude by reading a few selections of Gullar's poetry in Portuguese and English.

The Paradox of Two Nations on the Iberian Peninsula, lecture by Leland Guyer
Glance at the Iberian Peninsula on a map and the odd chunk that appears to be missing from the southwest corner of Spain can seem a little disconcerting. A relatively large land mass bounded on the north by the Pyrenees Mountains and on the other sides by water would seem to describe the outline of a single country, not two. Instead, Portugal occupies that place, in seeming mute defiance of its larger, more powerful neighbor. This lecture will provide a brief overview of the historical origins of these countries, and will address some of the linguistic and other cultural schisms that ultimately led to fractious divisions among the various "nations" within. Finally, the lecture will outline some of the solutions the countries have found to achieve greater national harmony.

A Translation Workshop in Two Parts, lecture by Leland Guyer
What foreign language student among us didn't dread doing translation exercises? After all, the exercises generally involved dry and complex sentences designed to make a grammatical point or two, and we usually fell into most of the traps that the teacher had deviously inserted. Right? Well, there's another kind of translation — literary translation into our native language. While we conduct this activity with all due respect to the source text and voice, the experience is a pleasant one for most people with a modicum of knowledge of a foreign language and an interest in writing. The joy and success of the act depends on one of the things we do best, which is to write and speak in our own language. This "lecture" has two parts: a brief introduction to the practice of literary translation and subsequent audience participation in translation and discussion of a short text from Spanish or Portuguese to English.

The Art of Spying in World War II, lecture by Jon Wiant
Join Jon Wiant in an introduction to the secret world of intelligence in World War II. Both Allies and Axis forces sought all means of spying, from espionage to intercepting others' communications to developing great sophistication in aerial reconnaissance. This primer on spying provides a foundation for us to understand the intelligence wars in neutral Portugal and Spain and the plotting for invasion in Tangier.

Lisbon and Madrid — Spy Centers of Europe, lecture by Jon Wiant
When Rick says goodbye to Ilsa and Lazlo at the end of Casablanca, the plane they board is bound for Lisbon. Portuguese neutrality turns the oldest capital in Europe into a city of spies and intrigue. Spain also asserts its neutrality but leans toward the Nazis. This lecture discusses how these cities provided a sub-rosa stage where allied and German intelligence services played against each other. Spanish and Portuguese and both Allied and Axis diplomats sort of refereed how much heavy play was allowed. At the same time, Portugal offered many refugees a demimonde in which to sit the war out.

Operation Mincemeat — The Man Who Never Was, lecture by Jon Wiant
After a brief discussion on the strategic and operational uses of "deception," the lecture will explore Operation Mincemeat, this classic World War II deception operation staged off the Iberian coast with the objective of convincing the German High Command that the Allies were not going to attack Sicily. This story was first told in the critically acclaimed 1956 film The Man Who Never Was. Ben Macintyre's 2010 best-seller, Operation Mincemeat, is essential background to understanding this extraordinary deception operation that became a model for the "bodyguard of lies" that surrounded preparation of D-Day and the invasion of Europe.

The Golden Age of Sepharad: Jews in Medieval Spain, lecture by Shosh Dworsky
Jews have lived in Sepharad (or Sefarad, Hebrew for Spain) for millennia. But the Sephardi Jewish culture that flourished under Muslim rule, particularly from the eighth century to the 12th, is looked back on as truly sparkling. The study of science, philosophy, language, and literature blossomed; trade was booming. "Peoples of the Book" (Muslims, Christians, Jews) who were immersed in their respective religious traditions also lived and worked together and shared ideas. Rabbis — scholars of Jewish law and lore — were writing biblical commentary and synagogue poetry and simultaneously writing poetry about gardens, wine parties, earthly love, and the pursuit of knowledge; one famously served as vizier to the king and wrote of the glories of battle! We'll explore this period together, including reading a few poems.


Conversation Café: Wildlife Watchers Meet!
Join Rich and Natalie, two of your most seasoned APHC naturalists, in a conversation about one of our favorite topics: wildlife! We'll talk about your specific wildlife-watching goals for this cruise and help you strategize achieving those goals during the course of our journey together. For example, are you dying to see the endemic seabirds that nest only on Madeira? Or want some tips on what dolphins or whales you might see, and why? Meet fellow nature lovers and perhaps make your own plans for exploring the natural world!

Conversation Café: The Columbian Exchange, with Lytton Musselman and Jeannie Perales
"In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue" is a ditty we all learned as children, but what about the ensuing years? The effect of Columbus and those who followed forever changed the world. In 1492, Columbus' Italian countrymen ate pasta without tomatoes, and the French had no pommes de terre to fry. This was not a one-way exchange: Things moved from east to west as well, including a new suite of diseases. The English introduced malaria to North America and the European bane of smallpox killed more Native Americans than all the U.S. Calvary combined. North America became the leading producer of a foreign grain, wheat. World economies were affected — unimagined amounts of silver came to Spain and China bought vast amounts of silver for their currency.

All this and more is included in the concept of the Columbian Exchange — the movement of materials and ideas that helped shape the modern age. The discussion will be guided by Charles Mann's book 1493. Please read the book and be ready for an exciting discussion with Jeannie and Lytton.

Conversation Café: Conversation i-Café, with Daniel Perales
Participants are invited to bring their technology to share, compare, reflect, and collectively critique images taken. This salon-style critique will greatly enhance photographic skills by comparing individual points of view, styles, and impressions of "place."

Conversation Café: Conversation in Spanish and/or Portuguese, Focus on Language Skills, with Leland Guyer
Leland will discuss Portuguese and Spanish linguistics and language, with a few tricks for speaking with the locals, whether you are in "survival" mode or are an advanced speaker.

Conversation Café: Conversation in Spanish and/or Portuguese, Focus on Topics, with Leland Guyer
The topics will adapt to needs and interests, but some conversations might include shipboard living, what we learn from the naturalists and coastal commentary, what we expect to see, hear, and do on excursions, discussing customs of our host nations, current events, leveraging one's Spanish to communicate in Portuguese, and so on.

Conversation Café: Spy Fiction, Spy Reality, with Jon Wiant
Join this romp through a hundred years of spy fiction as we discuss what makes a good spy story and why we find spy novels such engaging company. Jon ranges over his favorites while welcoming a spirited discussion with others over their choices in spy literature. Among the themes to be touched upon are how spy fiction has shaped our realities and how it has given us a window on what might be real and what may be the artifice of fiction. Perhaps we will wend our way into some exchanges of film favorites.


Picturing Place: The Art of Travel Photography, with Daniel Perales

Workshop 1: Picturing People
Workshop 2: Picturing Places
Workshop 3: Picturing Things

Focusing on the people, places, and things of any given destination helps travelers successfully tell stories. Each 45-minute hands-on session is designed to help participants convey experiences from their travels and contains helpful tips on visually capturing the essence of place. Tips of the trade, such as the compositional rule of thirds, the decisive moment, and learning to maximize digital camera functions will greatly enhance your album. By learning the selective process of editing and choosing few but strong images, even your 15-year-old nephew will enjoy viewing your homecoming slide show or album. The workshops' guiding philosophy will be that it's often not what is photographed but how it's photographed that creates striking and memorable images.

Please note: A maximum of 20 participants per workshop. You must sign up for each workshop separately. These workshops require basic digital camera skills. Please bring your camera!

Naturalist on Deck — Photographer Accompaniment, with Daniel Perales
Early sunlight presents a magical time for photography. The rising sun over the water is downright ethereal; this is an opportunity to capture the sublime light of the sea and all its creatures. Subjects include the naturalists' sightings, other passengers, the horizon, and other ship details. We'll employ exercises in light and shadow.


Kids' Naturalist on Deck, with Natalie Springuel and Rich MacDonald
The sea is a big open empty space, right? Wrong! The sea is home to thousands of animals, many of which make their home right here, in and above the waters where our cruise ship is traveling. Meet Rich and Natalie (and Anouk, their five-year-old junior naturalist) for a fun-filled nature quest! Prepare to be surprised by how much you can see at sea, once you learn how to see it! Meet at Club HAL, bring binoculars if you have them, and be prepared to go outside on deck. Kids of any age are welcome! (Parents must be accompanied by kids.)

Do Whales Sleep? with Natalie Springuel
Ever wonder if a dolphin is the same thing as a porpoise? Or how big a whale really is compared to something you know, such as a school bus? And how do they talk to each other anyway? Did you know that whales sing? We'll start by learning which marine mammals (whales, dolphins, porpoises, and seals) we might see from the deck of our ship and then explore all sorts of interesting facts about these giants of the deep.

Duck, Duck, Mystery Bird: Crafts and Games, with Rich MacDonald
Most everyone knows how to play Duck, Duck, Goose. In this game, kids listen for the bird name that is not "duck" before giving chase. We will play this game and others, all with a bird theme. As time allows, there will be a variety of crafts, such as creating "bird ring" finger puppets.

Point and Shoot for Kids, with Daniel Perales
In this workshop, kids will learn the basics of taking good photos. Playful picture-taking techniques will be used to teach the basics in camera controls, composition, timing, and instructing subjects. Meet at Club HAL. Bring a camera if you have one!

Planting the Alhambra: Tile by Tile, with Jeannie Perales
Do you like to play board games? If so, you'll love "The Gardens of Alhambra." Choose a plant that represents you and move your tiles around the board to earn the most points. In doing so, you'll experience the palatial gardens of Granada's Alhambra. Two to eight players, ages 11–17. 



Wildlife brochure

Seems having something to look forward to makes life pretty dang sweet. So what's on your list of "Things I Look Forward To On The Prairie Home Cruise"? Scenery? A nap on the deck? Most excellent food? 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 the many bodies of water we will traverse on this cruise.

Download brochure [PDF]



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. We've invited them back for their third cruise with us because they are truly gifted in working with all talent levels.

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 the dance sessions. Joy and Todd are simply fabulous at getting people of all skill levels out on the floor. In fact, they welcome all newcomers! Here are the classes they plan to teach:

Classic Country Two-step: Kick up your heels and learn the basics of progressive two-step.

Rock Around the Clock: Jump, Jive an' Wail to big band music. Learn the basics of East Coast Swing.

Two to Tango: It's as easy as T-A-N-G-O. Come steam up the floor with Todd and Joy.

Ballroom Basics: Dance the basic steps of waltz and foxtrot. Todd and Joy will have you floating around the floor.

Line Dancing: It's the best exercise around and it's lots of fun too!

Dirty Dancing Havana Nights: Dirty dancing with a Latin flavor — for this technique a partner is required so bring your favorite loved one or friend as your dance date.

Latin on the Lido: Learn the basics of cha-cha, merengue, salsa, and bachata.

West Coast Swing on the High Seas: We will move and groove with the waves of the sea. Come dance to the blues and learn the coolest swing around.

Strictly Salsa: Learn the hot basics of salsa in cool combinations.


Our Acting Company

In between their APHC performances, our acting company will show what they can do without one of Garrison's scripts in their hands. They are preparing events highlighting their various areas of expertise.

Classic Radio Theatre: "Gracie for President"

Starring Tim Russell and Sue Scott as George & Gracie.
with radio crooner Vern Sutton and pianist Butch Thompson

In 1940 Gracie Allen, from the comedy team of George Burns and Gracie Allen, was a candidate for President. Really! Many of the Burns and Allen radio shows that year focused on her hilarious Presidential run. Tim and Sue have taken these radio episodes and given them a new spin with the help of a cavalcade of characters past and present. How will Gracie fare in a debate with FDR, Richard Nixon and Mitt Romney? Come see for yourself!

Actor's Workshop

with Sue Scott, Tim Russell, Fred Newman and accordionist Dan Newton

Join us as we explore how we bring a radio script to life. We've chosen one of our favorite scripts from the past season, one with lots of drama and excitement and sound effects, and plenty of characters to choose from. Participate in bringing the script to the stage, and experience firsthand the fun, joy, skills, and challenge involved in acting for the radio!

APHC Trivia:

with Sue Scott and Tim Russell

Test your knowledge of all things A Prairie Home Companion! Armed with your own Lake Wobegon map, your goal will be to advance through the town by answering multiple-choice questions correctly. More than one person could easily win. Fabulous prizes, priceless knowledge, and maybe even the answer to that burning question you've always wanted to ask!

Earlids illustration

You Don't Have Earlids:

The Anthropology of Sound
Fred Newman

Fred will take you on the journey of sound, from the basic physics of sound through its evolution in animals, its profound impact on human interaction and social behavior, and it's homesteading of new and emerging media. You are guaranteed more than a few gee-whiz moments.

Growing Up Weird

Growing up Weird

Fred Newman

A very personal look at starting out as an odd child in small-town Georgia and growing up to be an equally odd adult in New York City. Drawing upon the folk art of sound making (field tested behind the backs of teachers), Fred explores his Southern storytelling roots and lays bare the scam of actually becoming a Sound Man — being paid to create voices, sound and music for television, radio, stage and screen and, most recently, the symphony hall.

Fred Newman

Putting your Best Voice Forward

(with a few honks & horns)
Fred Newman

Sharing some fascinating research on sound and the social voices of men and women, Fred will give you practical, hands-on techniques that actors and singers use to keep their voices youthful and expressive. You'll learn 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) and personally learn from the man who wrote the book on sound making. You, too, can learn to create shame-free, eyebrow-raising, cocktail-rattling sound effects.

Fred Newman

Tellin' Stories — Works in Progress

Fred Newman

Join Fred as he tells stories, tries out new work, and tells tales of the surprising journey to create his new symphony "The Golden Gate Opus," a full choral/symphonic work having its debut this spring with the 180 member orchestra and chorus of the Marin Symphony — all with his own special twist...KAAA--BOOM...

Fred Newman

Once Upon Some Time

Fred Newman with Rich Dworsky

Bring your blankets and pillows outside to the aft deck, for a bedtime story, with lights out under the stars, told with Rich Dworsky improvising underscore. Fred tells and performs his tale of the Juggler, the Weaver, and the Star Thrower, his mash-up of Uncle Remus-like Southern storytelling and chaos theory.


Knitting Club

Kim Christensen returns to guide our loyal knitters in their quiet, productive activities. Watch this space for more details.

Cruise Bulletin

Visit our journal of daily updates to see the highlights from this year's cruise — including videos, photos and notes — or relive your time aboard the ms Ryndam

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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