We’re cruising again, and this time we’re going to be exploring Holland America’s MS Westerdam. Now this is a very important ship because in 2017 it went through a big refit to introduce many new attractions and features to the Holland America Line. It was kind of the flagship for introducing some new and exciting things. The most important new feature is Explorations Central which is up in the Crow’s Nest. So the whole Crow’s Nest area on board the ship has been converted into a space dedicated to exploring ports and destinations.
You also have the casino, like sg live casino includes: live dealer roulette, craps, blackjack, poker. There are lots of things to do around the ship. So let’s talk about outdoor activities and fitness. Well there are a number of pools on board, with the central pool being the Lido Pool which is a great pool because when the weather’s not so great the roof can actually come over and that pool can be used all year round. Also at the back is the Sea View pool which, as the name would, suggest has views onto the sea. Now the Greenhouse Spa is large and has lots to offer.
And some of the features include this whole area with iPads, which has news and you can access various resources with more information. There’s also a coffee shop which is open during the day and into the evening, serves drinks and has these rather tasty treats. There’s also a library of travel books and destination guides, which is a great resource. One of the most exciting things of all are these interactive tables. Now these tables, the top of which are actually devices where you can engage with upcoming destinations. So for example, if there’s a port coming up on the cruise you can visit this table and through touching various spots on the table it will give you various suggestions and tips on different things you can see, themed around arts or culture or food.
Also linked to that is a Smartphone app which is free to use on board the ships. You basically download it and not only does it give you destination resources but also you can do things like book excursions or reservations for dining venues. There’s also this great big interactive wall which has a map of the world, and each day there’s a different question asked and guests are encouraged to go and input their answers and it can track and build all sorts information about actual fellow guests, and where they live. A really popular feature is this virtual bridge.
So here it gives lots information about the ship: how fast it’s traveling, what’s being engaged. The shore excursions desk has also being moved up into this space. So the EXC Center has completely changed the whole Crow’s Nest area. It’s real focus is on promoting and giving you information about forthcoming destinations and places that the ship is visiting.
Another really important innovation is the Rijksmuseum at sea. Now the Rijksmuseum is a very famous Museum in Amsterdam and it has many beautiful artworks, and the Rijksmuseum at Sea has reproductions of some of the key artworks, has books from the Rijksmuseum and has various experts who can talk to about the art that the Rijksmuseum has. It is located right in a hub of the ship just near to the Guest Services desk. nNw another big feature is what’s known as the Music Walk.
Now the Music Walk consists of a number of venues, some of which have a different role during the day and some of them which are always there. So during the day, for example, this venue here which is America’s Test Kitchen and has various cooking demonstrations talks and classes. At night it converts into BB King Blues Club and has really great blues playing in the evening.
Further along from that is the Billboard On Board bar. This is a great bar, very popular. At night they have two pianists singing songs and taking requests. Great venue right in the hub of the ship. Also part of the Music Walk and part of these other great music venues is the Lincoln Center Stage. This relatively cozy place hosts classical concerts and performances.
Also close by is another great bar, the Gallery Bar. It really hosts and focuses on serving great cocktails. It used to be the nightclub and has been converted into this really quirky and unusual bar. So the Music Walk and these various venues are a real heart of the evening entertainment and activities on the ship. Now of course there are other opportunities and things to do in terms of entertainment. So for example the Main Stage, which is the very large theatre which hosts guest performances and of course the production shows.
You have the hydro pool which is a great place to hang out and there’s also some relaxation areas linked to that. Then of course you have the usual spa treatment areas and spa rooms and then you have the fitness center which is a large well-equipped fitness centre. So let’s talk about dining options. Well obviously the most important dining venue of all is the main dining room. This is on two levels and has both fixed seated dining at set times a day where you have your set table and the same waiting staff, but there’s also Anytime Dining as well.
The Lido is another very popular venue. Much less formal dining and of course is open pretty much all day and into the night and has a much more relaxed environment and more casual food and eating. In terms of speciality dining the most important of these is the Pinnacle Grill. This is a very upmarket restaurant which is normally a more steakhouse restaurant but there are occasionally pop-up restaurants which are themed and run based on menus by the different celebrity chefs that Holland America partner with. So there you have it, that’s a look at Holland America and how its evolving and changing based on the Westerdam, which is the first ship to have many of these new features introduced to the line.