Taking a cruise is something entirely new for me, and I found a lot about it to take in when we went. Some gentle readers probably experienced the scene already; but for me, everything was different. Let's face it, it wasn't riding the Algiers ferry! So here's my take on the experience:
1. The ship, the Westerdam, was beautifully decorated, with artwork in the public places and stairwells. Nautical paintings were common.
2. The bars were nice; mostly noisy but we found a quiet one called the Crow's Nest high in the front. They had entertainment there in the form of a guitarist. And, amazingly enough, I was not carded once! We could charge drinks on our room card.
3. The main dining room had good food; some tarted up and ascribed to big-name chefs, at least according to the menu. When our dinner came, we thought, like, "You got to be kidding!" The size of the steak was humongous. And looking at nearby tables, some people went in for two appetizers or two or more entrées! I don't know about the other Six Deadlies, but Gluttony was in full force!
4. While the demographics of the passengers were more heavily 50+, there were some 20's that gravitated together. And gathered in the bar.
5. I tried Alaska Amber beer, and it was delightful!
6. When the vessel was cruising, away from the ports, the casino was very busy! No, I didn't play.
7. The crew was largely Indonesian and Filipino; but the ship's officers were Dutch.
8. I brought my swimsuit along; but my friend and I found the swimming pool to be too cool and out of doors. Temps were in the 50's or 60's in Ketchikan and Juneau; but jacket, hat, and long johns were needed at Glacier Bay.
9. There were several pricy shops selling overpriced merchandise in the public areas on the lower decks; apparently shopping is a bona fide cruising activity.
10. Holland America had games; but they were more sedate. No wet t-shirt contests like some have. They had a stage show at night, but it was not our taste.
11. I was amazed that the emphasis that some people put on drinking: imagine full-fledged older adults drinking like college freshmen!
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