Fun Entertainment Lined Up for Holland America

When ms Amsterdam departs on its 75-day Grand Pacific and Far East Voyage Sept. 20, 2013, it’s going to feature a whole lot more than beautiful ports, tantalizing cuisine and award-winning service. Holland America Line has added four guest chefs, eight guest speakers and local entertainment in several ports as part of the line’s new On Location activity program. Shorter voyage segments of 21 – 43 days are still available.

The Culinary Arts Center — presented by Food & Wine magazine — will host four chefs on different segments of the voyage who will whip up their favorite dishes with a local flair reflecting the region where they are sailing. Guests will enjoy cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, question-and-answer sessions and hands-on cooking classes with the chefs in the ship’s full show kitchen. Scheduled to join the voyage are:

·Joseph Caputo (Sept. 20-29), culinary educator, author and chef/owner at Zuppa del Giorno and Catering by Joseph in Scranton, Pa.

·George Geary (Oct. 10-23), former pastry chef at Disney Corp., culinary journalist, author and educator

·Paulette Mitchell (Nov. 3-23), ethnic cuisine instructor and food markets of the world specialist

·Naomi Kakiuchi (Oct. 24-Nov. 2), sushi expert, Asian cuisine specialist and president of NuCulinary

Guests wanting to enrich their minds and expand their knowledge can attend lectures by eight guest speakers who will give presentations throughout the voyage:

·Dr. John Palmisano (Sept. 20-29) holds a Ph.D. in marine biology and has studied sea otter ecology in Alaska and the decline of wild Pacific salmon.

·David Smith (Sept. 20-29) is a professional photographer and travel writer who has published the “Digital and Travel Photography Tutorial” CD and “Travel Photography — Tips and Techniques” DVD.

·Joseph Kess (Sept. 29-Oct. 14) is the retired emeritus chair in Japan and Asia-Pacific Relations of the Center for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at Canada’s University of Victoria. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was inducted into the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government.

·Architectural historian Sandra Millikin (Sept. 29-Oct. 23) was assistant curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects Drawings Collection, which is now housed in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. She also was a lecturer at Open University.

·Professor Roberta Sloan (Oct. 14-Nov. 17) has produced, directed and acted in more than 200 productions. She has taught at Marymount College, Huntingdon College, University of Oklahoma and University of Central Oklahoma, and received a Kennedy Center Medal.

·Stephen Sloan (Oct. 14-Nov. 17) is professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma. He is a pioneer in research and teaching on terrorism, and his book “Simulating Terrorism” has been used to conduct exercises internationally. Sloan is the author of 13 books and consults for the U.S. government and internationally.

·Melvyn Foster (Oct. 23-Nov. 17) has lectured extensively as a destination, wildlife and maritime speaker. He has an interest in maritime history and commerce, particularly the Atlantic and Pacific liners, and has personally logged more than 75 Atlantic and Pacific crossings.

·Elizabeth Foggin (Nov. 17-Dec. 4) holds a Ph.D. in Applied Social Sciences from Université de Montréal. Her research and thesis explored the experience of leisure and tourism of people with reduced physical abilities. She is co-author of a study and report commissioned by United Nations’ Asia Pacific office concerning “Barrier-Free Tourism in the Asia Pacific Region.”

As part of the On Location program, Amsterdam guests can participate in activities such as lei making, ukulele lessons, hula classes and Hawaiian language classes. In Honolulu, Hawaii; Kobe (Osaka), Japan; Shanghai and Hong Kong, China, and Papeete, Tahiti, local performers will entertain guests during special evening performances in the ship’s main show lounge. The itinerary sets the theme for guests to indulge in localized experiences that make time onboard as enriching as visiting the ports of call.

Guests also can fill their time onboard with other activities or simply relax and catch up on personal time with amenities such as the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, Explorations Café powered by the New York Times or Digital Workshop powered by Windows®.

Amsterdam embarks on its 75-day Grand Pacific and Far East Voyage from Vancouver, B.C., or Los Angeles, Calif., on Sept. 20 or 23, 2013, respectively, and returns to Los Angeles. The itinerary features an in-depth exploration of Hawaii, Micronesia, China, Japan, the Philippines and French Polynesia, as well as maiden calls at the exotic ports of Majuro, Marshall Islands, and Pohnpei, Micronesia. With overnights at Hong Kong and Shanghai; Kobe (Osaka), Japan, and Singapore, guests have more time to experience the culture and atmosphere of the region.

Rates start at $9,999 per person, double occupancy, for Amsterdam’s 75-day Grand Pacific & Far East Voyage departing Sept. 20. Segments ranging from 21- to 43-day sailings also are available starting at $2,499 per person, double occupancy.

For more information, contact your travel agent or visit www.hollandamerica.com.

A More Extensive List of Ships with Special Needs Accessibility is Coming Soon

Special Needs Group (SNG) is adding all accessible ships in the fleets of three Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. family members (Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises) to its Web portal/accessibility content resource. This includes accessibility information for Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, scheduled to begin sailing from Cape Liberty, N.J. in November 2014.

The one-stop portal is available to both travel professionals and consumers. It consist of an extensive list of ships’ accessibility features available in the cruise industry. It provides helpful information including:

Number of accessible staterooms
Accessible stateroom features
Food & Beverage venues accessibility
Recreational facilities accessibility
Much more

SNG will launch Royal Caribbean International on the portal on Monday, July 15; Celebrity Cruises on Monday, July 22 and Azamara Club Cruises on Monday, July 29. On Monday, Aug. 5, SNG will launch Holland America Line® on the portal. It will continue to add one cruise line per month through the end of 2013, and until all ships with accessible features utilized by the North American market have been included.

All ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line® fleet were launched on the portal in April 2013.

SNG President and CEO Andrew Garnett said, “By continuing to add ships/cruise lines to our accessibility content resource, we’re reinforcing our corporate responsibility to help educate travel professionals, as well as the traveling public, that individuals with special needs have the ability to travel now more than ever before. The content that we create and provide is mainly informational as opposed to commercially-driven, allowing individuals with special needs to choose the most appropriate ship/cruise for them.”

Earlier in 2013, SNG also introduced three collateral assets – Ship Accessibility Checklist™, Mobility Scooter/Power Chair Etiquette™, and Scooter/Power Chair Do’s and Don’ts™ – to better assist professional travel agents to serve Americans with disabilities and special needs. Special Needs Group is the only mobility and oxygen equipment supplier that is approved to deliver to all major cruise lines.

For more information about the SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate program, SNG Travel Agent Affiliate Program and the SNG Resource Center, please call 1-800-513-4515 or visit www.specialneedsgroup.com/agents.

Fleet wide improvements for the Carnival Corporation

Carnival Cruise Lines is conducting a fleet wide $300 million plan to significantly enhance emergency power capabilities, introducing a new fire safety technology system and improving the level of operating redundancies.

The improvement plan is the result of a comprehensive operational review, overseen by parent company Carnival Corporation & plc, initiated immediately after the Carnival Triumph fire in February 2013.

“All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships operate safely today. Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “However, by applying lessons learned through our fleet-wide operational review after the Carnival Triumph fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations. These initiatives reflect our commitment to safe and reliable operations and an enjoyable cruising experience for the nearly 4.5 million guests who sail with Carnival Cruise Lines each year.”

The work is already underway and will not affect scheduled itineraries. Upon completion of the initial phase, the line will install a second permanent back-up power system on each ship to provide an even greater level of hotel and guest services if main power is lost. These additional services will include expanded cooking facilities and cold food storage, as well as internet and telephone communications.

The company has also announced the formation of a Safety & Reliability Review Board that will include experts with significant expertise in marine and occupational safety, reliability and maintenance, marine regulatory compliance and quality control/assurance.

The parent company Carnival Corporation & plc previously announced a corporate-wide operational review of all 10 of its brands and 101 ships. The review process will include learnings from the recent incidents that can be applied across the corporation’s fleet. Carnival Corporation & plc has confirmed that, based on the results of the ongoing review, the latest versions of technologies and enhancements will also be implemented on the remainder of the fleet where they are not already present. The overall program of enhancements across the corporation’s 101-ship fleet, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn in North America; P&O Cruises and Cunard in the United Kingdom; AIDA Cruises in Germany; Costa Cruises in Southern Europe; Iberocruceros in Spain; and P&O Cruises in Australia , is expected to cost between $600 and $700 million.

“Our fleet already operates at a high standard of reliability. The investments announced today for Carnival Cruise Lines, and those we will continue to make, will reinforce our ability to consistently deliver the customer experience that 10 million people every year have come to expect from us across our fleet of 101 ships. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety and comfort of our guests and crew, and we will use the full resources of our company to meet that commitment,” said Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

Initial implementation of the upgrades to the Carnival Corporation & plc fleet will take place during the next several months. Each class of ship is different and often systems differ on ships within a class, so the enhancements will be tailored to each vessel.

These fleet wide improvements will most likely help the cruise consumers regain their faith in Carnival Lines after the recent unfortunate events.

Holland America’s ms Amsterdam played host to composer Marvin Hamlisch and the Seattle Symphony

Marvin Hamlisch, seated, aboard ms Amsterdam at the Amstel Cafe piano bar. Pictured with him are John Delaney, senior vice president, Seabourn (far left); Stein Kruse, president and CEO, Holland America Line (left of Hamlisch); and Ashley Brown, vocalist and broadway performer (far right).

Holland America Line welcomed the Seattle Symphony and special guest, acclaimed composer Marvin Hamlisch, on board ms Amsterdam last Friday, June 1, 2012, in Seattle for the organization’s annual spring recital. This is the second time the line has hosted this event. Continue reading “Holland America’s ms Amsterdam played host to composer Marvin Hamlisch and the Seattle Symphony”

Holland America returns to Australia and South Pacific

The ms Oosterdam, along with the ms Volendam, will sail a series of Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific cruises, visiting more than 50 ports. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line.
Starting in winter 2012 and spring 2013 two Holland America Line ships ——ms Oosterdam and ms Volendam —— will sail a series of Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific cruises, visiting more than 50 ports where guests can indulge in the cosmopolitan cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, and explore the exotic landscapes of Vanuatu and Fiji in the South Pacific. The series of sailings ranges from 10 to 58 days and features one of the line’s larger Vista-class ships, ms Oosterdam.

“Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands are among the top travel destinations in the world and we’ve developed our itineraries to showcase the best of what they offer from secluded ports to popular favorites,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, for Holland America Line. “Holland America Line’s cruises highlight the region’s incredible wildlife on land and sea, including the legendary Outback, world-famous Great Barrier Reef and the opportunity of a lifetime to witness a solar eclipse while at sea.”

Guests can choose from a variety of departures ranging from 10 to 14 days sailing roundtrip from Sydney or Auckland, between October 2012 and March 2013. New Zealand itineraries give guests a chance to experience some of the most breathtaking scenery, including the beautiful and dramatic Fiordland National Park and Bay of Plenty, known for its beaches. These itineraries also visit the North and South Islands of New Zealand with calls at popular ports of Wellington, Napier and Tauranga.

Volendam and Oosterdam sail a total of five 14-day Australia and New Zealand cruises. Four 14-day New Zealand Discovery voyages sail roundtrip from Sydney on Oosterdam Oct. 24, Nov. 21 and Dec. 19, 2012 (holiday cruise) and Jan. 12, 2013. One 14-day Solar Eclipse voyage departs Nov. 7, and includes port calls at Brisbane, Hamilton Island and Townsville, Australia; Ile des Pins and Noumea, New Caledonia, and a total of six days in the Tasman and Coral Sea.

Four additional sailings to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific include the 10-, 11- and 13-day Pacific Treasures cruises roundtrip from Sydney and feature more exotic and lesser-known tropical ports in Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji. Cruise fares begin at $1,299 per person.

The Holland America Line offers several unique longer itineraries throughout the season, including Volendam’s 34-day Australia Circumnavigation. That voyage sails roundtrip from Sydney Oct. 21, 2012 and boasts 18 ports of call and scenic cruising in the remote Ribbon Reef and Far North Regions, which include: Brisbane, Hamilton Island, Perth, Melbourne and Cairns, Australia; Hobart, Tasmania; Komodo Island, Indonesia; sunrise at Lizard Island and sunset at Booby Island, to name a few. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, is also included. Cruise fares begin at $5,499 per person.

The 1,380-passenger ms Amsterdam sails a 75-day Grand Asia and Australia Voyage, departing Seattle, Wash., Sept. 21, 2012. Ports of call during this extended voyage include Darwin, Brisbane and Sydney, Australia; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Waitangi (Bay of Islands) and Auckland, New Zealand; Lautoka, Fiji, and Apia, Samoa Islands. Disembarking takes place in San Diego, Calif. Cruise fares begin at $10,999 per person.

South Pacific repositioning cruises provide an opportunity to visit regions with desired ports of call and more relaxing days at sea. Oosterdam’s 22- or 23-day trans-Pacific Crossing departs Seattle, Wash., or Vancouver, B.C., for Sydney Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2012. Oosterdam returns on a 22- or 23-day South Pacific Crossing from Sydney to Seattle or Vancouver departing April 13, 2013. Cruise fares for the South Pacific and trans-Pacific sailings begin at $2,399 per person.

Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Collectors’ Voyages on Oosterdam and Volendam range from 25- to 58-days. Combining two back-to-back itineraries. During the Australia cruise season, Holland America Line sails a total of 11 Collectors’ Voyages. Cruise fares begin at $3,049 per person.
For more information on Holland America Line’s cruises and cruisetours, consult a professional travel seller or visit hollandamerica.com.

– Jackie Roseboom is a regular contributor to Cruise Guide, “Orlando Attractions Magazine” and CruiseNewsWeekly.com.

Enjoy culinary arts classes with celebrity chefs on Holland America

The Culinary Arts Center on Holland America ships offers cooking and beverage demos and hands on classes in the state-of-the-art show kitchens. For many sailings, celebrity chefs lead the demonstrations. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line.

By Jackie Roseboom

Michelle Bernstein, award-winning chef, restaurateur and culinary author, is scheduled to participate in the guest-enrichment program on the June 3, Mediterranean Romance Voyage aboard Holland America’s newest ship, ms Nieuw Amsterdam.

Bernstein sails on the 12-day voyage departing from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship will call at Catania, Naples, Civitavecchia (Rome) and Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kerkira (Corfu), Argostoli and Thira (Santorini), Greece. The voyage also features scenic cruising through the Strait of Messina, a narrow passage between the eastern tip of Sicily and the southern tip of Calabria, Italy.

During the cruise, Chef Bernstein will perform cooking demonstrations for guests in the ship’s state-of-the-art show kitchen and participate in question and answer sessions.

The Culinary Arts Center and guest enrichment program are part of Holland America Line’s innovative and leading culinary initiatives, which also include a partnership with “Food & Wine” magazine, Le Cirque to present “An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill” and a Culinary Council, comprised of renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Marcus Samuelsson, Jacques Torres, Charlie Trotter and the line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin. For a full list of guest chefs and more information about Holland America’s Culinary Arts Center program visit hollandamerica.com 

Chef Bernstein, a Miami native, was professional ballerina before realizing her true passion for cooking after taking a class on nutrition. She later enrolled in Johnson and Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts. After graduating, Bernstein trained under iconic French Chef Jean-Louis Palladin and began working with renowned chefs at several premier restaurants including Red Fish Grill, The Strand and Tantra in Miami Beach. Bernstein later served as lead chef at Azul, the Mandarin Oriental’s signature restaurant in Miami, where she became a force in the city’s burgeoning culinary movement. She later became a household name after serving as a judge on Bravo’s acclaimed “Top Chef” series. She also hosted the PBS series, “Check, Please!”

Bernstein co-hosted The Food Network’s “Melting Pot,” a show that presented the traditions, stories and recipes of her Latin background. She also was a competitor and winner on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” series. She has been featured in both “The New York Times” and “Bon Appétit” magazine for one of the “50 Best Dishes in the World” and in “Gourmet” and “Food & Wine” magazines, for one of the best hotel restaurants in the country. Her restaurant ventures include Michy’s and Sra. Martinez in Miami, MB in Cancun, Mexico, and Michelle Bernstein at The Omphoy in Palm Beach, Fla.

Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center is featured on each of the line’s 15 ships. Each facility features a theater-style venue with two large plasma video screens and a large cooking display counter. For cruises that do not have a celebrity chef on board, classes and demonstrations are conducted by Holland America Line’s own expert chefs.

Note: Be sure to follow your Cruise Guide columnists as we report live from Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Magic, from May 1 to 10 in Europe. We’ll be reporting on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Visit CruiseNewsWeekly.com for links.

– Jackie Roseboom is a regular contributor to Cruise Guide, “Orlando Attractions Magazine” and CruiseNewsWeekly.com.

Special deals offered for ‘World’s Largest Cruise Night’

Most cruise lines are offering some sort of special deal for the World's Largest Cruise Night on Oct. 13. Some offers are only good for deals booked that day and some last a bit longer. Pick your ship, see what sort of deal you can get and plan your next getaway. Photo by Matt Roseboom

By Jackie Roseboom

The Cruise Lines International Association is holding a special World’s Largest Cruise Night this Oct. 13. Travel agents across North America will be hosting a special events in partnership with several cruise lines. Some amazing deals are being offered. As the event gets closer, more deals will be offered. Here are the ones already showing up:

Carnival is enticing vacationers with cruise upgrades on virtually all “Fun Ship” departures through December 2011. To sweeten the deal, Carnival will offer up to a $200 onboard credit per stateroom for all Carnival Magic Europe voyages booked on Oct. 13. The Carnival Magic Europe offer includes best available upgrades and a $100 onboard credit per stateroom for seven-day Europe sailings and a $200 onboard credit per stateroom for nine- and 12-day sailings.

Celebrity is hosting a three-day sale beginning Oct. 13 for sailings departing April through December 2011 for select seven- to 14-night sailings. Look for onboard credits of $50 per stateroom for oceanview accommodations; $100 per stateroom for veranda accommodations; and $150 per stateroom for AquaClass (only on Solstice-class ships), suites, and Concierge Class.

Costa is offering a $50 onboard credit per stateroom on any sailing. The offer is valid only on Oct. 13.

Crystal Cruises is offering a $100 per person additional savings incentive on most 2010-2011 departures for new bookings made from Oct. 1 to 31.

Cunard is offering an onboard credit (per stateroom) of up to $300 for Queens & Princess Grill accommodation; up to $200 for Balcony staterooms; and up to $100 for Oceanview/Inside staterooms, depending on length of voyage. Bookings made during the Cruise Sale will receive a waiver of the deposit on the second guest.

Holland America Line is offering shipboard credits that can be combined with group amenities or cruise night offers. Plus deposits are only $100 per person for cruises of seven to 36 days.

For booking between Oct. 13 to 27, MSC will offer exclusive shipboard credits, such as $25 per passenger for inside cabin/oceanview bookings; $50 per passenger for standard balcony/superior balcony accommodations; and $100 per passenger for suites bookings.

Oceania Cruises is celebrating its maiden season in Alaska with two-for-one cruise fares, plus free round-trip air and bonus savings up to $1,000 per stateroom.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering a $100 per person ($200 per suite) shipboard credit booking incentive. This offer is valid for any new reservation on a 2010 or 2011 departure of seven nights or longer booked between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15.

Silversea Cruises is offering a $100 per guest ($200 per suite) savings on any 2010, 2011 or 2012 cruise booked during the month of October.

Windstar is offering a $100 per person shipboard credit on any Wind Spirit, Wind Star or Wind Surf sailing in the Caribbean or Costa Rica between Jan. 2 and April 2, 2011. The offer is valid for new bookings made between Oct. 13 and Nov. 15, and the credits may be combined with all nationwide offers including two-for-one offers.

On the Web: visit cruising.org for more information or check with a CLIA-member travel agent.

Cruising offers the ultimate in romance

Whether your idea of romance is a nice dinner, playing games in the casino or relaxing on a beach, a cruise offers it all. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.

By Matt Roseboom

With breakfast in bed, dining under the stars and dancing until dawn, you can’t get much more romantic than a cruise. If you haven’t already made plans for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day, surprise them with a romantic cruise.

Here’s a sampling of Valentine’s Day-inspired offers, programs and activities:

Carnival Cruise Line

In addition to a huge number of balcony staterooms on its ships, Carnival offers tables for two in the main dining rooms. Try a couples massage in the spa.

Costa Cruises

Costa makes it affordable at $75 per day, or up to 60 percent off regular fares. An authentic Italian style of service sets the perfect backdrop for a romantic cruise.

Crystal Cruises

From special dinner requests to “Crystal Private Adventures” shore excursions to renewal ceremonies, couples can arrange pretty much anything they’d like for a romance package. In penthouse accommodations, guests can request dinner for two to be served by their personal butler on the verandah.

Cunard

Where better to follow in the footsteps of such starry-eyed couples as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor or Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, than aboard a Cunard ocean liner? Luxurious couples massages, ballroom dancing and elegant dining add to the intimate appeal.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney offers romantic dining experiences specifically for adults. High atop both ships, Palo, Disney’s signature restaurant at sea, treats adults to sweeping ocean views and northern Italian specialties.

Holland America

Some of the special romance packages offered include breakfast in bed, champagne and caviar, cuddly stuffed bears proclaiming “I Love You” and the Valentine’s Red and White Ball in the Crow’s Nest.

MSC Cruises

From elegant Italian ambiance to evenings filled with dancing and live entertainment throughout the ship, MSC sets the mood. They also offer a seven-course gourmet dinner and breakfast served on your private veranda.

Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL offers several “Romance” packages such as intimate dinners for two, customized “dream dates” ashore and couples massages.

Princess Cruises

Princess will be holding its first ever Romance Summit aboard Crown Princess during the Valentine’s week cruise, Feb. 13 to 20. Passengers will be treated to romance-themed events and activities, including a renewal of vows ceremony and a gala Valentine’s Ball.

Seaborne

A Seabourn yacht cruise offers gourmet dining, whether in the ship’s elegant restaurant or at a private candlelit table on your suite balcony.

Silversea

Silversea’s intimate ultra-luxury ships provide a uniquely appealing option for those seeking a truly indulgent, romantic getaway. Couples are welcomed onboard with a glass of champagne and then escorted to their richly appointed suite.

Windstar

Windstar offers unique romantic adventures in the Caribbean this winter – seven day voyages from Barbados or Saint Maarten  and seven-day explorations of Costa Rica. A variety of romance, honeymoon and wedding vow renewal packages are also available.

Ship Review: Eurodam offers various amenities, dining choices

The 2,104-passenger Eurodam, the newest vessel in Holland America’s 14-ship fleet, offers an array of onboard events and activities and some of cruise travel’s more appealing dining options. Photo by Michael Coleman
The 2,104-passenger Eurodam, the newest vessel in Holland America’s 14-ship fleet, offers an array of onboard events and activities and some of cruise travel’s more appealing dining options. Photo by Michael Coleman

The question facing passengers during seven-night Caribbean cruises aboard Holland America’s Eurodam this winter isn’t what to do onboard but whether there’s enough time to enjoy all that’s being offered.

The 2,104-passenger, 86,000-ton ship features a host of events and activities in some 31 public rooms.

Click Here to read the full review.

Onboard: Eurodam offers palate pleasing culinary fare

An all-female Asian team of servers greets passengers in Tamarind, Holland America’s superb Pan-Asian themed restaurant aboard the 2,104-passenger Eurodam.
An all-female Asian team of servers greets passengers in Tamarind, Holland America’s superb Pan-Asian themed restaurant aboard the 2,104-passenger Eurodam.

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard Holland America’s Eurodam as she sails an Eastern Caribbean itinerary this week. Here’s his latest dispatch:

HALF MOON CAY, Bahamas, Dec. 4, 2009 — Here on this sun-drenched oasis where Carib Indians used to smoke meat over open flames centuries ago, cruise ship passengers aboard Holland America’s Eurodam ponder their evening’s gourmet culinary choices.

The ship features a two-level main dining room (Rembrandt); there’s a casual eatery to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner (Lido); a pool grill (Terrace); and of course a pizza venue aptly named Slice.

But, as guests splash in these turquoise waters, thoughts move to Eurodam’s superb, reservations-only specialty restaurants where Pan Asian, Pacific Northwest and Italian offerings abound.

Tamarind, with seating for just 144 patrons, features Asian-inspired entrees from sea bass with a hoisin-lime glaze to steamed shrimp and scallops with garlic, ginger and chili. The wasabi soy-crusted beef tenderloin is not to be missed. The all-female Asian team of servers may also offer Rijsttafel, a Dutch adaptation of the traditional Indonesia dinner of rice accompanied by more than a dozen, often spicy, side dishes. Meals are just $15 per person. The venue is open for complimentary lunch – look for dim sum, an assortment of classic Asian dumplings, and accompanying fusion sauces for dipping.

Excellent fare and service with a smile are Pinnacle Grill staples.
Excellent fare and service with a smile are Pinnacle Grill staples.
Pinnacle Grill is without question one of cruise travel’s most beautifully-appointed alternative dining venues. Featuring Pacific Northwest specialties (Holland America’s ancestry dates back to Rotterdam in 1873 but corporate headquarters are now in Seattle) look for select cuts of Sterling Silver beef plus seafood appetizers and entrees. Select wines from the Pacific Northwest are a nice accompaniment. Distinctive Bvlgari china, Frette linens and elegant Riedel stemware add to the experience. Meals are $20 per person.

Canaletto, meanwhile, comes to life for dinner when a section of the Lido restaurant is transformed each evening into an Italian venue. It’s casual and walk-ups are accepted although reservations for the 72-seat locale are encouraged. The family-style menu features traditional Italian favorites daily with entrees rotating nightly.

In the main dining venue, Rembrandt, Eurodam features what Holland America dubs “As You Wish Dining’’. Passengers may choose either traditional pre-set seating and dining times, they can make specific reservations daily, or they may simply walk into the venue anytime during dining hours.

Rembrandt features regional favorites, vegetarian and healthy lifestyle options plus a daily alternatives menu which includes fish, chicken or sirloin steak. Look for Rosenthal china, starched linens, silver service and fresh flowers in the venue, daily.

Rounding out Eurodam’s culinary journey is a late-night feast in Lido, evenings, after 11. Complimentary room service is available 24/7.

Sushi is prepared fresh daily by chefs in Tamarind, a 144-seat venue.
Sushi is prepared fresh daily by chefs in Tamarind, a 144-seat venue.

Photos by Michael Coleman