There are programs for everyone, all day long, on the Nieuw Amsterdam

Marcia Levin is currently sailing on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam.

I didn’t blog yesterday. Instead of sitting here in my cabin at my trusty laptop, I took an early water aerobics class, then sat in on a cooking class where passengers learned to make flowers out of a watermelon, and finally took a five-hour tour to El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico which I enjoyed tremendously.

El Yunque rain forest

Today the ship is in St. Martin and before I go ashore, I will share some more thoughts on this amazing vessel. Let me be perfectly clear. Nieuw Amsterdam is a magnificent ship. Not only is she new and sparkly, she is amazingly clean with crews constantly at work polishing, washing and picking up. The backdrop Nieuw Amsterdam provides for a sea-going vacation is spectacular.

Nieuw Amsterdam, like all other Holland America vessels, offers many opportunities for the brain and body to be stimulated and the passengers’ sense of well-being improved.

Today’s opportunities include:

EXPLORE OUR WORLD – Three sessions with Ian the Travel Guy who provides answers and historical background for each port of call while giving interesting cultural tips

EXPLORE FOOD & ENTERTAINING – Three more courses, one in healthy habits for party planning, another called “Have You Ever Tried?” featuring cooking with unusual ingredients, and at 5 p.m., pre-dinner “Crunchy Chicken Nuggets” will be prepared. Cellar Master Saurabh’s wine selection of the day will be sold at $4 a glass.

EXPLORE TECHNOLOGY – Four tech classes in the Digital Workshop

EXPLORE WELL BEING – Everything from a sunrise stretch to sunset tai chi, with cycling, ping pong and tennis serve improvement offered throughout the day.

The whole Explorations program is extremely popular. I had dinner with a couple from Walnut Creek, California, last night. Sally and Jack Kennedy took a Holland America cruise roundtrip from San Diego to Hawaii a year ago. Sally, who had never taken formal art lessons of any kind before, took about eight watercolor classes and more when she returned home. Framed work, albeit with an Hawaiian theme, hang in the couples’ home. Jack, like me, opted for the Digital Workshop classes last year and he’s back again this time around.

Holland America’s Culinary Center, presented by Food & Wine magazine, is a magnet for foodies and for other passengers who may not necessarily want to replicate the recipe at home but enjoy the tastings. Often is often standing room only at the food presentations.

Then there are trivia games, bridge, bingo and a very active casino. Two pools and a sports deck.

Ships today have that proverbial something for everyone and Nieuw Amsterdam takes it to a 21st century standard.

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