COVID Protocols on Our Holland America Rotterdam Cruise

How were the pandemic protocols on our November 5th Holland American Line Rotterdam cruise? Spoiler alert. They were fine. Here’s the lowdown. Before you board. We received advance notice from HAL everyone needs to have a negative result from the COVID PCR test before boarding the ship. That’s the more accurate one that delivers results in 24-48 hours. I was concerned about the timing, because HAL stipulated the test couldn’t be administered any earlier than the Wednesday …

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Take Extended Cruises or Own a Vacation Home?

There are plenty of good reasons why many people choose to spend large amounts of their retired lives exploring the world by cruise ship. You’ve done well for yourself. Perhaps you’ve taken early retirement. You are in good health. Should you buy a vacation home or take extended cruises and plenty of vacations? There’s a case to be made for each option. The Pros and Cons of the Extended Cruise Vacation Taking a world cruise is a …

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How a Private Island Won Me Over

It’s confession time. The concept of a private island hadn’t won me over. Until now. Why wasn’t I a fan, you ask? We like ports with shops and supermarkets. Local restaurants serving fresh fish. You find this on lots of islands that are port stops in the Caribbean. Then came COVID. Many islands were closed to tourists or ships weren’t sailing. I recently traveled on a press trip aboard the Holland America Line (HAL) flagship Rotterdam. The …

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Day 5 Aboard Holland America Rotterdam – The Private Cabana

On this voyage we made two visits to Half Moon Cay, the private island. Jane and I chose to stay onboard the second day. We had other plans. We started with our usual in room breakfast followed by coffee at the Lido Market. About 9:30 we headed to The Retreat on Deck 12. The Retreat is a private area consisting of about 20 tented cabanas, a hot tub, plush loungers and dining areas. At $45 per person …

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Day 4 Aboard Holland America Rotterdam – Half Moon Cay, Private Island

You know our routine by now. 7:00 AM knock on the door as rolls and coffee arrive. We shower and head up to the Lido Market. More food. We sit in the sun. The focus of today will be Half Moon Cay, the private island owned by Holland America Line since 1996. It’s a significant sized island, looking long and narrow. While on a tour we heard the company invested $ 60 million, including about $40 million …

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Day 3 Aboard Holland America Rotterdam – Our Sea Day Was a Busy Day

We awoke with the knock on the cabin door announcing the arrival of breakfast. Jane opted for the continental breakfast assortment instead of us picking and choosing. It included yogurt, fruit and rolls. We added juice and hot chocolate.   Next, we headed up to the Lido Market on deck 9 to continue breakfast. We aren’t going overboard on food, but they have pasties that weren’t on our breakfast tray.   Coming up to the Lido Market …

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Day 2 Aboard Holland America Rotterdam – Bimini

Aboard Holland America Line Rotterdam, Saturday, November 6th: Day Two: Our First Full Day Aboard, Plus Our Bimini Port Visit Saturday was our first full day aboard Rotterdam. It was also our port day in Bimini. The Bahamian island of Bimini is close to Florida, about 50 miles from Miami. It’s population is about 1,700. There’s a 750 acre Resorts International property and Alice Town, the main town. The ship docks at a long concrete jetty stretching away …

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Friday, November 5th – Our First Day Aboard Holland America Rotterdam 

The most important event happened during the night. The iPhone dinged and we got our negative COVID test results! We transferred to the ship late morning completing the health documentation in addition to check in. A lot has changed since before the pandemic. Check in was done days before online, so taking our photos and scanning the barcode on our boarding pass was all that was needed. Put another way, check in was a breeze. As we …

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Why Are Caribbean Islands Popular Port Stops?

Cruise ships go everywhere. You can visit the farthest ends of the earth. You can arrive in a European capital, bringing your own hotel with you. Yet the Caribbean has been an enduringly popular cruise destination. Why? It’s easy to reach from the US. Cruises in the Mediterranean are magical, but you’ve got to get to Europe first, unless you cruise across the Atlantic for several days. Since cruises depart from port cities, there may be a …

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Rainy Day at Sea? 20 Things You Can Do

We want sunny days. When we go on vacation, we want perfect weather. It doesn’t always work out that way. You get days when it rains, even though the captain tries to steer around storms. What can you do? Here’s what not to do: Sit in your cabin and be miserable. Don’t take it out on your spouse or traveling companion either. Unlike renting a house on the Jersey shore, you are sailing in a multi-story resort! …

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