Holland America Le Cirque menu: We may be the first to publish it!

By Tim O’Keefe Holland America Lines has one-upped its rivals by bringing the Le Cirque dining experience to The Pinnacle, its fine dining room. As mentioned in an earlier blog, Le Cirque debuted aboard the Maasdam several weeks ago.  It still is not yet available on board all Holland America ships but is expected to be by the end of December. The search for the menu is one of the hotter topics in cruising, and here the …

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Unwelcome in St. Thomas: Maasdam exiled from Charlotte Amalie, which is nowhere in sight

By Tim O’Keefe What does the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA), which owns and operates all public seaports in the Virgin Islands, have against Holland America? Or the West Indian Company Dock, which owns the cruise dock at Havensight, St. Thomas’s best cruise port? Here in St. Thomas, we are marooned at a new cruise dock far from Charlotte Amalie and all its attractions. Some might call it Hell but its real name is the Crown Bay …

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Half Moon Cay, Final phase: Just when it is starting to feel like our own backyard

By Tim O’Keefe Our third and final visit to Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s private island, is also the first stop on our third and final leg of our 35-day voyage. When we left Half Moon Cay on Sunday, it was a warm, beautiful day with winds strong in the morning decreasing throughout the day. What a shock to arrive the next morning in Ft. Lauderdale where it is 50 degrees at 7 a.m. and winds are …

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Holland America’s Half Moon Cay: Part Two

By Tim OKeefe Thanks to HAL’s Digital Workshop, I can show it to you now. I also provide much more detail about where and what HAL’s Half Moon Cay is. The real name of the 2,400-acre is Little San Salvador, which Holland America purchased in 1997 and shares with some Carnival Cruises. This was an uninhabited island, 17 from the nearest landfall. With nine miles of beach, the island is little developed except in a 45-acre section …

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A Maasdam day at sea: From acupuncture to a casino slots tournament

By Linda O’Keefe Today was exciting and informative. Holland America offers everyone the chance to turn their cruise into a learning experience by offering demonstrations, classes, and seminars in four diverse areas. The subjects are Explore Our World (travel talks), Food & Entertainment, Technology (digital workshops) and Wellbeing. Our daily newsletter, called Explorer, lists each day’s topics. Fortunately, the same 60-minute sessions are repeated several times during a cruise since many classes are held simultaneously. Since I …

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What is your favorite waffle topping? Peanut butter and banana is another possibility

By Tim O’Keefe Since the Eggs Benedict Dilemma post is such a hit, here are some more breakfast ideas from the Maasdam breakfast buffet we’re taking home. This time it’s from the Waffle Bar. Waffle with blueberries Personally, I’ll take a waffle over a pancake or French toast anytime. Not only do waffles sit a lot lighter in the belly, you can actually taste the waffle toppings because they’re not overpowered by the batter, as in a …

Read moreWhat is your favorite waffle topping? Peanut butter and banana is another possibility

The Eggs Benedict dilemma: How many different kinds can you name?

By Tim O’Keefe Eggs Benedict normally are reserved for or served only on special occasions. Not on the Maasdam. They are an everyday offering at the buffet breakfast in The Lido Restaurant. This morning a woman standing next to me said aloud the same thing I wondered the first time I discovered the Lido’s Eggs Benedict station. “I thought there was only one kind of Eggs Benedict, “ she says seeing the seven different types on display. …

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Curacao shopping: A few stores actually carry some interesting items

By Linda O’Keefe Bon Bini (warm welcome) to Curacao, largest in both size and population of the ABC islands of the Dutch Caribbean. Curacao boasts an amazing array of colorful Dutch architecture that blends well with the natural beauty of the dry, rugged island. The floating market where locals gather to buy their fresh fruit and vegetables is a work of art in itself. Oddly enough, this line of floating produce platforms is only a short walk …

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Holland America’s free digital workshops: Thank them for the increased use of photos in recent blogs

By Tim O’Keefe While many cruise lines offer computer classes, Holland America operates at a higher level. By partnering with Microsoft Windows, HAL is the first to offer a free digital program at sea. Other cruise lines usually charge $20 a session, and their classrooms and instructors are of varying quality. The workshops are available on all HAL ships. On the Maasdam, which is a typical setup, our PC lab is connected to a wireless network and …

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The man who made Bonaire famous: Call him either ‘Capt’n’ or ‘Sir’ Don Stewart

Don and Janet at Habitat, on our cruise lunch stop on Bonaire. By Tim O’Keefe For days a number of people on the Maasdam have talked of nothing but Bonaire and the chance to snorkel or dive the island’s famous close-to-shore reefs. Linda and I won’t get wet with the others. Instead, we are having lunch with Capt. Don Stewart, the dive pioneer who made Bonaire’s underwater world internationally famous. More than that, he took the first …

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