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Holland America! There's nothing cruising-as-usual

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Holland America has earned "highest rated premium cruise line" status from readers of Cond'ast Traveller and Travel & Leisure (a very sophisticated, cruise savvy audience), every year for well over a decade! They have also garnered a multitude of prestigious awards for quality, food service, entertainment, best onboard service, and best private island from such respected publications as the World Ocean and Cruise Liner Society, Porthole Cruise Magazine and Onboard Services Magazine. There is no question that Holland America lives up to its reputation as
the best overall cruise value in the business today. Not unexpected given they have 130 years of experience catering to very discerning guests indeed.

The atmosphere

Like that of a modern, gracious home (staff included) where the scenery changes every day. Everywhere a sense of style and elegance pervades. Brass railings, sweeping staircases, grand floral displays. Spaciousness, serenity and comfort all around.
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The Service

Did you know that Holland America sails with more crewmembers per guest than any other cruise line in their class' Simply ask and it shall be done - perfectly and promptly by award-winning indonesian stewards, many of who are graduates of Holland America's exclusive school in Jakarta. When you think about it, outstanding service is the sum of many small actions. From the steward who folds your child's napkin into a bunny or surprises you by rinsing your flippers, to the waiter who graciously serves you at dinner and brings you a snifter of armagnac to sip at the rail, you feel (and are) completely and utterly cared for.

The Dining

Fantastic cuisine. Diverse restaurants. Where to dine tonight' A delicious five-course dinner in the beautiful main dining room' An intimate table for two in the reservations-only restaurant' And in the morning, made to order or buffet breakfasts feature freshly squeezed orange juice, eggs made to order, fresh fruit, Belgian waffles, cheeses, hot and cold cereals, gourmet coffee and teas. Oops! You slept in. No matter, room service is on call 24 hours a day.

Buon appetito! Fettuccine, linguine, pizza rustica, osso bucco. The cuisine of central Italy is prepared to perfection in the intimate Marco Polo Bistro on ms Volendam and ms Zaandam and in the Odyssey Restaurant on ms Zuiderdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam, ms Amsterdam and ms Rotterdam. On all ships except ms Noordam, a new alternative restaurant have been introduced - The Pinnacle Grill - where menus feature fine wines and specialties inspired by the Pacific Northwest. (And speaking of wines, Holland America uncorks a selection that The Wine spectator rates "excellent"). Another highlight for those of you sailing a tropical itinerary is the beach barbecue on Half Moon Cay, Holland's private island in the Bahamas. Juicy burgers on the grill, chilled salads, ripe fruit, and cool drinks - ice cream too. A cover charge applies when meals are taken in alternative restaurants.

Every afternoon traditional Dutch high tea is presented on deck with delicate china and petit fours (accompanied by a string quartet of course). Complimentary espresso and hand-dipped chocolates are served in the evening in the
Explorer's Lounge, or adjourn to the Lido for cognac and hand-rolled "cigars under the stars." With pre-dinner cocktails you get hot hors d'oeuvres and at the pool and patio there's a bar and grill. The perfect place for deck parties and
lunches al fresco.

Suddenly have a craving for Torrefazione coffee, double Dutch chocolate cake or other dessert extravaganza' It's as far as the Windstar Caf'oes, early morning to late night. After indulging here you will appreciate even more the "In Balance" cuisine designed by celebrity chef Jeanne Jones! There are special menus in select restaurants for children, which have been masterminded to please even the most finicky eater.

Accommodations

Now this is where Holland America really shines and spacious comfort is the theme refrained throughout the fleet. On average staterooms are a generous 25% larger and there are more outside staterooms and Veranda Suites than on any other cruise line in its class. Staterooms on all HAL ships have two lower beds which may be converted to either one queen-size or one king-size dependent upon category (except ms Noordam - all staterooms have two lower beds except Cat. C and A, which have, queen and king beds respectively).

"The Suite Life"

Holland America suites are big on luxury and if you select this category of accommodation you'll enjoy a host of complimentary services and amenities that will forever spoil you for any other stateroom category.

For example, Veranda Suites include soft cotton robes, extra luxe towels, access to a no-host fully stocked mini-bar, VCR and access to a well-stocked video library plus personalized stationery.

Deluxe Veranda and Penthouse Veranda Suites have robes, complimentary laundry, pressing and dry cleaning. Complimentary in-suite high tea on silver service, complimentary in-suite pre-dinner hors d'oeuvres, fresh fruit, stocked mini-bar, special lounge for disembarkation and so much more, such as an exclusive Indonesian Rijstaffel luncheon hosted by the Captain and Hotel Manager. For suite guests on cruises 10 days and longer, the Captain and Hotel Manager host not only the lunch, but a dinner as well, including pre-dinner cocktails.

The Entertainment

Highly charged! The lights dim, the music begins and a sensational production or variety show begins. Holland America's dazzling shows have been created by a production team with more Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Oscar nominations than any other cruise line. And there you are, perfectly centered, champagne in hand. Anticipate nightclubs with great sound, cabaret presentations and lounges with every style of music - pop, disco, standards and classics. Cheer your favorite team in the sports bar, join the slot machine tournament in the casino, and sway to the saucy rhythms of calypso and reggae played by the guest folkloric troupes on board in select ports. How about a round of snowball jackpot bingo, play a game of backgammon, a hand of bridge, or popcorn at a recently released movie'
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Holland America Fleet:

Spacious yet intimate floating resorts, where the most modern advances in guest amenities and nautical design are celebrated. Holland's impressive fleet boasts 13 classically elegant five-star ships, including three new sisters. The first of four-planned ultra-spacious Vista-Class vessels: The 82,000-ton ms Oosterdam, ms Zuiderdam, and ms Westerdam. Itineraries bring a kaleidoscope of colorful cultures and somehow, when viewed from the deck of a Holland America ship, the grand harbors and elegant Riviera of Europe seem more sophisticated, the Caribbean appears sunnier, warmer, and Alaska shines brighter than Klondike gold.

The difference is in the details! Upon embarkation, a string ensemble plays; a white-gloved steward escorts you to your stateroom, musical chimes summon you to dinner. More spacious staterooms, the rapt attention of award-winning Indonesian stewards, un-crowded public rooms, a profusion of flowers, rich museum quality art collections, a teak promenade deck encircling the ship - all give you an expansive sense of comfort. You can expect a soul-soothing,attitude adjusting, simply marvelous experience, and there's nothing cruising-as-usual about it!

About the Author


About the author: William Lezubski (Accredited Cruise Counsellor (ACC), and Certified Travel Counsellor(CTC) - William is a professional in the Travel Industry and the author of 'Discount Caribbean Vacations Web Site' available at http://www.discount-caribbean-vacations.com/index.htm

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