We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have sailed with them countless times, including many trans-Atlantic crossings as a youth (other lines too, but I will keep returning to Holland-America). Very professional, serious, and attentive but unintrusive staff; excellent tours and guides and, most importantly, you meet wonderful, pleasant and interesting folks on board from all over the world.
More info and shipboard photos below, including one of your famous but elusive Editor at dinner -
Fact is, Holland-America ships aren't party boats. They are for grown-ups and for people who want to act like grown-ups - and very accommodating for young kids too. There are more expensive lines (and plenty less expensive), but they are my favorite. I love ships, and they manage to maintain a nautical, ship-board feeling instead of feeling like you are in a mobile hotel.
Just a sample of the fine folks we met and connected with on board and during tours (there were a few obvious honeymooners too, who didn't really talk to anybody):
- A 30-something Aussie contractor who takes his elderly Mom on a cruise every year - A retired State Dept fellow from NYC and his wife who have been stationed all around the world, but who still do a Holland-America trip every year - An Egyptian importer who lives in California and in Alexandria (Egypt, not VA), who likes to read books and smoke while his wife naps every afternoon - A Texas oil guy I spilled water on in the dining room - A charming young Aussie Mom who trades trips with her husband while the other watches their three small kids at home. They are history buffs. - the family of Scot entrepreneurs (!) I mentioned earlier - A ship- and travel-loving couple from San Diego (he an accountant) who had the same tour interests we had - and the same sense of humor - A young couple from Madrid who could not give up their ship addiction despite having their first newborn, who was with them (babysitters on board)
(I omitted some other good folks for confidentiality purposes)
I often prefer a white dinner jacket in the summertime. Or at least to alternate the white with the black. But my hair is natural:
Promenade deck. Three circuits is a mile - or is it four? A long walk, but who can complain?
Lifeboat drill. They take attendance:
One of the theaters on board. The ship has 13 bars (some that you can smoke a cigar in), four dining rooms at least, from casual to formal to very special, and three swimming pools. Large choice of live music every night including string quartet.
The casual breakfast room. If you ate everything that looked good, you could gain 100 lbs -
Yes, our ship was the new Noordam. We had travelled on the previous Noordam a few years ago, but she was wearing out and down at the heels a bit although the trip was superb -
There she is, from our launch returning to board off Monte Carlo:
Ok, I have had two on Holland America. Last November, it was Zeiderdam from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. The only problem was it was "Noro Ship" (we didn't get it, but many 100's of our fellow passengers did). Next week it is the Ruby Princess from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. Doing TransAtlantic crossings avoids flying both ways, but it leaves out the Eastern Med.
i want the small one in front of the picture. ah it will be of no use since hopey changey will get all my extra cash. i took the Volendam to Alaska; best trip I ever took and the salmon fishing was a treat.
As a small aside, that actually is a picture of Bird Dog up above. I know, because he sent it to me and asked, "Do you think I should disguise myself?" I told him, "Don't be silly! In today's culture, you blend right in!"
Personally, I think he looks very handsome in a mustache. I have one, too, but I just can't get the ends to curl up like that!