Thursday, November 16, 2006

Where Are You Now Safwan?

Andrew and I didn’t know what to expect onboard the M.S. Veendam. Three star? Five star? I knew Holland America was a nice line but what could I expect for service, surroundings and food? Well, for all of you in the same boat (ha, not literally) here's my list of thirteen luxurious things about the ship:

1. The rooms—or cabins—are small unless you opt for an upper-deck-complete-with-verandah state room. And even those luxury staterooms are smaller than hotel rooms. Think RV and you’ll be closer to the truth. However, the rooms are comfortable you don’t feel cheated as you would in a hotel. On a ship small means quaint and romantic rather than uncomfortable and cheap. Here's a clip of our cabin.

2. The Caribbean air was warm and sweet so we preferred to sit on the teak deck in vintage deck chairs or in the reading lounges in overstuffed chairs overlooking the ocean. One morning a dolphin leaped from the water off port and another we traveled with a school of flying fish. You can’t get that at your downtown Hilton no matter how big the rooms are.

3. The bath tub was extra deep. I'd soak in the evenings, gently swaying with the ship and it went beyond your typical Calgon moment.

4. The first morning on the ship I walked into the elevator and happened to glance at my feet. The carpeting said “Sunday." It took a minute to register but before I got to the 11th floor it dawned on me that someone had changed the carpet to fit the day of the week. Somewhere on that ship is a guy whose job it is to switch out eight elevator carpets at midnight every day. Andrew was impressed but said he’d be more impressed if the carpets also had the days of the month. There's always someone who’ll find something to complain about.

5. When we came into port each time (except in Belize where we anchored off-shore) there was a crew that brought out the ramp, red carpet, canopy and palm trees. Our bird's-eye pictures from the top as we waited to disembark tell the tale.

6. There were fancy sculptured door handles at the Ruben's Lounge. Seductive enough to make Andrew nervous of actually putting his hand on it. Awkward. Where to push?

7. In fact there was artwork in every corridor. Samurai armor, Dutch landscapes, silver goblets and ewers, you couldn't help feeling like you were in a museum. Only one with LOTS and LOTS of food.

8. Which brings me to number eight. There were five restaurants on board to choose from or 24-hour complimentary room service. In fact all but the fanciest restaurant were free, as in eat-all-you-can-they-aren't-going-to-make-money-off-of-me-free. We had an assigned table in the Rotterdam dining room, #74, on the upper level and the same waiter served us each night if we chose to eat there.

9. I could order anything I wanted and because the portions were dainty and lighter, just as you see in nicer restaurants. I would usually order two or three appetizers just to try something I’d never have the guts to try back home. I ate oysters Rockefeller, gravalax, Bahamanian conch soup, mahi mahi, tuna all because I’m not a big seafood fan and would never order seafood in a restaurant where I would paying for something I might not like. But when I can get just a taste and not worry about paying for it, it’s a treat that I couldn’t pass up. Sometimes they had themed nights where we were given Dutch hats to wear (no, I didn’t, thanks anyway, but saved it for the kids) and another where we were given chef hats and dinner entertainment. Who can argue with good food and a sunset?

10. I developed a strong affection for the Omelet Man. The man who each morning made my omelets with whatever I chose to clog my arteries with that day. He could flip them in the pan like they were pancakes and always asked if I wanted cheese at just the right moment.

11. And that goes for the Ice Cream Man. Standing there at his counter just waiting to fulfill my deepest dairy desires. He made me so happy and provided so many tasty treats I’ll never forget him. Never.

12. Where else will I find a place that constantly asks, "Do you want more pizza ma'am?"

13. The staff was from Indonesia and the Phillipines and couldn't have been more attentive. Safwan, our cabin steward, was an on-the-ball crack-up who left his origami towel creations on our bed every night with his turn-down service. Nothing says luxury like a piece of chocolate and a terry-lobster. Now that I'm home the only thing I'm finding on the bed is dirty laundry and half-melted M&Ms--but that can't take away my memories.

More about the Thursday Thirteen meme.

33 comments:

Melissa said...

This is a great list! Sounds like you had a fun vacation. I'm jealous!

My TT is up too!

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like a ton of fun! Happy TT!

Heth said...

Oh that lobster is too cute. Ice cream? Pizza? Sigh me up!

Colleen Gleason said...

I am sooooo jealous. I've never been on a cruise, but now I really want to go, even more than I did.

Sounds like you had a fabulous time!

My TT's up: Reasons I loved Trixie Belden more than I loved Nancy Drew...

Le laquet said...

Oh wow! Sounds like a fab holiday! Loving the lobster :o)

Domestic Slackstress said...

I'm so jealous of your wordly travels. I miss the freedom before kids of taking off in exotic directions.

Carmen said...

carpet for every day of the week? Why, in case you forget? ;)

Darla said...

Oh, that sounds so wonderful! Glad you had such a good time. I love the lobster towel.

Anonymous said...

sounds great! But what is a Dutch hat?
Happy T13!

Anonymous said...

Oh, you are making me so excited for our Alaskan cruise next summer!!!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. That sound like so much funnnn!

Jane said...

What fun. I'm glad you had a good trip. Wonderful memories.
Thanks for stopping by my T13.

Sanni said...

Nicely done! Want to go on vacation immediately... :)

Happy TT form Germany,

S.

J said...

Wow...that sounds FABULOUS! A dieter's nightmare...I guess if you're going on a cruise, just accept it and enjoy, huh? :) Sounds like you had a lovely time.

Anonymous said...

I'm insanely jealous!

Sparky Duck said...

What a great list. I hate boats, but your helping to sell me on a cruise someday sooner rather than later.

sunshine scribe said...

Great list! I have never been on a cruise but that oragami towel has me tempted now!

Waya said...

Ok, I just gained 15 pounds just reading about all the food there were. I'd do the same too, I'd try something that I wouldn't normally pay for in a restaurant.

This brings bk memories of when I took a cruise with my sister and her hubbie (yes, I was the third wheel). We sat at this table with 2 other couples and one lady was seasick the whole trip. Poor girl, she couldn't eat anything while we were having 2nd and third of everything.

Brian (cruise lover) said...

Yeah the service is wonderful, but don't you just hate it when you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and return to your bed only to find that your steward has made your bed. :)

Steve said...

You sure know how to make someone want to take a cruise.

Haley-O said...

My hubby and I cruised on the Veendam. It was our first holiday together. it was great, 'cept for the average age of the passengers, if you know what I mean! LOVE that dolphins surfaced for you. So beautiful!

~**Dawn**~ said...

i have yet to take a cruise...

happy TT! i played too. =)

Anonymous said...

Your description of sitting on the teak deck sold me. I must go on a cruise now...

MommyBa said...

I'm glad you had a wonderful vacation!

Happy Thursday!

Julie said...

You were so smart to take pictures of the towel and the handle and the mat. See I would have laughed and said "how funny" but then kicked myself when I got home for not taking the shot. I think blogs are good for prompting us to record the sillier moments.

Ali said...

love #13!!!

Damselfly said...

Is it possible to drool and sob at the same time? Looks lovely! =:+[]

sweatpantsmom said...

Love those origami towel creations. Did you figure out how to make them? Not that I would ever do that for any of our house guests - I get cranky just even having to fold them.

Your descriptions of the food made me remember why I like cruises so much.

Jenn said...

Oh I want to go on a cruise! We did a Windjammer cruise for our honeymoon but I want to do the bigger boat with fancy stuff thing!

Mrs. Chicky said...

Wow! Those were some doorhandles.

Just what kind of boat were you on, anyway? :)

Anonymous said...

I need to hire someone to put those day-of-the-week mats outside my front door each day.

Sudiegirl said...

I'm jealous too, but hubby had the right idea with days of the month too...more job security for the carpet layers.

Now I'm hungry...damnit.

Tug said...

Wow. I, too, am insanely jealous!! Yea for you...