Monday, October 21, 2013

It's a Dam Good Life

On the highest deck of the M.S. Volendam
We are cruising on the Holland America Lines this time, and for those of you who do not know a lot about that line, all their cruise ships have “dam” in the names (Volendam, Amsterdam, Rotterdam etc.).  We loved this phrase.  It is used regularly by the Holland Cruise folks and is printed on many souvenirs in their gift shop.  It really is a dam good life here on the Volendam; it’s a pampered lifestyle you can become accustomed to very easily.
Dinner in the lovely Pinnacle Grill dining room
For breakfast, we prefer room service.  We just mark the menu card each evening with what we want to eat in the morning, and it arrives at the chosen time.  On previous cruises, we had a set dinner time at a table with the same people every evening.  Worked out fine, but this time, we chose “Anytime Dining”. 
As the name suggests, we could eat whenever we wanted between 5:00PM and 9:00PM, and we sat with a different group of people every night.  As you can imagine, we had some memorable meals and met some fun people.
Thanks to our travel agent Paulette, we had two special meals at The Pinnacle Grill, one of the ship’s fine dining restaurants.  Great meals with fabulous service in an intimate space decorated with Murano glass made in Italy.
Of course to offset the wonderful food, we have been walking the promenade on a regular basis.  Anne even attended a couple early morning stretch classes.
Towel animals every night
The Daily Schedule offered all kinds of fun activities every day including brainteasers like the Daily Quiz and trivia games and programs covering everything from beer tasting to astronomy.  We particularly enjoyed a series of programs by an astronomer named Alan Wright.  He certainly made everyone consider many different possibilities, especially about the Big Bang theory and whether our currently expanding universe might one day begin to contract until another Big Bang occurs and the process begins all over again.  Rather like the theory of reincarnation for the universe!
Every evening, the ship provided a different type of entertainment.   We got to see some very talented performers including a pianist, a flutist, and Frank’s favorite, a crowd-pleasing Latino singer named Elvy Rose.  Anne was quite smitten with a fabulous opera singer named Joshua La Force who did all the great tenors proud with his renditions of “Nessun Dorma”, and “Con Te Partiro”.
With so much to do and every need taken care of, this cruise reminds us of summer camp for the over-55 crowd! 
Sunset over the South Pacific

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