Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dam Ships

Mirrors: Mirror image taken in the UV-coated glass that was the rear wall of our stateroom aboard Noordam. The Varrazano Narrows Bridge is in the background. Click to embiggen.

Okay, this is my last vacation-related post (well, until I take you to Germany this Christmas to meet my family).

There is a reason my wife and I prefer to travel aboard the ships of Holland America Line more than any other, and do so whenever possible. Their motto "Signature of Excellence" is not just a horseshit marketing idea, it is part of their culture (over 100 years' worth).

From the time you board a Holland America ship, the crew bends over backward to assure your trip will be an enjoyable one. From the officers to the crew, every person aboard has one thing in mind, your comfort. We've sailed with a number of cruise lines, from Carnival to Cunard, and, while our trans-Atlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 was extraordinary, we still prefer the ambiance of the HAL ships.

From the food and the on board activities to the shore excursions and excellent destinations, each Holland America cruise we've taken has been memorable (as opposed to the 11 cruises we've taken aboard Carnival ships which all seem to bleed into one). The ships themselves have a distinct personality, from the tiny Prinsendam to our old friend Noordam, each has its own cachet (even ships of the same class have differences that make them unique). The HAL ships are more a family than a fleet.

I believe another point that makes Holland America so appealing is their Mariner Society; Holland's way of recognizing cruisers who are loyal to the line. A little something to say thank you on behalf of the cruise line.

While a cruise aboard a Holland America ship is a bit more expensive than most, we believe it is worth the extra for a truly enjoyable experience and recommend it highly if you're considering your first cruise or your 50th. The 'Dam Ships' of Holland America are truly something to experience.

A little disclaimer here. Mrs. F and I are shareholders in Carnival Corporation who owns most of the cruise lines out there, Carnival and Cunard included, and benefit from their good fortune, though I give a shit if you ever go on a cruise and I certainly don't want you to take a cruise for our benefit, though I thank you for your patronage if you do. We work hard and when we take a vacation, we want it to be enjoyable and relaxing. Holland America gives us what we think is the best value per dollar.