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On board, Pride of America has eight restaurants, over 660 balcony staterooms, three pools and extensive children's facilities. Since this ship entered service, the grumbling of disgruntled diners has abated but not disappeared, but it is largely delegated to the Aloha Cafe Lido buffet area where busboys can be agonizingly slow. Service on the NCL-America ships may have been scandalously bad in the beginning, but it has improved. The 24 new suites on Deck 13 are 566-square-foot suites sleep up to four people each and feature a large bedroom, separate living area and deluxe bathroom decorated in custom mosaic tiles.
These suites also have expansive balconies, ranging from 150 square feet for Penthouse Suites up to 1,200 square feet for the Owner's Suites, giving Pride of America suite passengers the largest balconies in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. Suite passengers also get dedicated butlers and a concierge, plus amenities such as Tranquility mattresses from the Bliss Collection by Norwegian, Lavazza espresso makers, Elemis bath products, private dining for breakfast and lunch, and more. Pride of America has 1069 cabins, 660 of them balcony staterooms, many of them are family-friendly connecting staterooms including a new category of family suites. The standard cabins tend to be small, so be prepared to tuck things away and do not bring over-sized suitcases. Inaugurated during the summer of 2005 after an incident where the ship actually sank during construction. NCL-America (original ships: Pride of Aloha, Pride of America and Pride of Hawaii) has the exclusive right to offer 7-day inter-island Hawaii cruises without leaving the state. NCL admitted that they had problems finding the right people to crew the NCL-America ships, and went to great lengths to fix things, including building a mandatory training academy in Myrtle Beach, S.C. NCL-America ships are a great cruise, but take them as a way to see Hawaii first, and as a cruise experience second, If you don't care where you sail and just want to be on a ship, go to the Caribbean. Pride of America is a tribute to the United States, with all the public rooms named and decoratively themed after something famously American from Mardi Gras to New York City. Reckoning that groups ought to be able to do anything aboard a ship that they can do at land-based resorts, NCL has made Pride of America one of the best meeting and small convention facilities at sea, with a circular auditorium and multiple conference rooms ideal for lectures and lessons.
The library, well stocked with books about the South Pacific, isn't open nearly as much or as regularly as bibliphiles would prefer. The two main restaurants, Liberty and Skyline, have open, restaurant-style dining for all three meals. There are four reservations-only restaurants with a cover charge, Jefferson Bistro is named after the famous patriot who idolized French culture, serve as ambassador in Versailles and even had his own slave trained at a French Culinary school.
If something lighter than a full menu in the dining room is more your style, there is the Aloha Cafe on the Lido deck. NCL had to change its tipping policies after Pride of Aloha became an American-flagged vessel with an all-American crew, sailing round-trip from a U.S.
More typical cruise ship fare -- dancing, cabaret, and Broadway-style production shows - is presented other nights in the main Hollywood Theatre, in which the ship's resident theatrical troupe offers two staged Broadway-style musicals per week. One of the most salubrious spots on the ship, the Mardi Gras Cabaret Lounge & Nightclub is the late night spot where the DJ spins unto the wee hours. There is an Internet cafe onboard that offers wireless service, but only in the vicinity of the cafe.
Like so many other successful cruise lines these days, Holland America is now owned by Carnival Corporation, having been acquired in 1989. Eurodam represented the finest Holland America ship to date with the beautiful decor and the best combination of features combined from all the other ships. All of the ships built for the current Holland America Fleet are fairly new, at least in style, the actual oldest being the Statendam built in 1993.
Public rooms on all the Holland America ships, the Ocean Bar and Explorers Lounge are also present and accounted for. When it came time to create something a little more upscale, the line choose to re-birth the flagship name, Rotterdam (1997), but for the most part the only difference between it and the previous S-class ships was additional lounges, and a third bank of elevators, and Holland America's first Alternative Restaurant.
Beginning with the Zuiderdam in 2002, the line quickly embarked on building a whole new fleet of vessels called the V-ships (followed by the Westerdam, Oosterdam, and Noordam). As a purely aesthetic departure from the rest of the fleet, in April 2002, Holland America acquired the 38,000-ton, 758 passenger Seabourn Sun, originally built in 1988 as the Royal Viking Sun, from sister company Seabourn Cruise Line. The Eurodam, introduced in July 2008, followed by sister ship Nieuw Amsterdam in July 2010, are the biggest and most impressive Holland America ships yet; at 86,000-tons and 2014 passengers they are 30% larger than the rest of the fleet.
Holland America ships won't have all of the bells and whistles, especially for younger cruisers, as the larger (110,000-tons) and greater capacity (3000 passengers) Carnival or Royal Caribbean ships, but considering you can cruise on Holland America for about the same price, for adult cruisers of all ages Holland America is one of the consistently best values in the cruise industry.
The surprising thing about the line, however, is how price competitive they are with even mid-priced cruise lines such as Princess and Royal Caribbean.
In the past, many passengers found Holland's cuisine to be somewhat bland, but a new generation of chefs is changing that. Holland America's warmly gracious Indonesian and Filipino crew is probably the single biggest reason that the cruise line gets so much repeat business.
In September 2008 the line also announced upgrades to the Statendam, Maasdam, Ryndam, Veendam and Rotterdam with new public rooms to add some life to these smaller, somewhat quiet ships. Much of the appeal of the line is in it's spacious cabins, welcoming and practical in every category. For a mainstream cruise line, Holland America has some of the nicest staterooms in the industry. All that said, those who like to bar-hop or shake their booties well after midnight should stick to the 7-night Caribbean cruises, or are likely to find themselves doing so mostly with the entertainment staff.
Club HAL now includes kids and teens three to 17, whereas previously you had to be at least five for them to take any notice. On Caribbean cruises, the private island Half Moon Cay is a treat for younger cruisers and sun worshippers. Holland America is a little more dressy than your average mainstream cruise line like Carnival, Norwegian cruise line or even Royal Caribbean. For years Holland America was known for its no-tipping policy, intended to make passengers believe that staff were doing it for love, rather than money. Alaska cruise tours with Holland America Line allow you to visit the spectacular coast of our state the way it was meant to be experienced. Start planning your next Holland America Alaskan cruise and vacation package with All Alaska Tours. Call today at 1-866-317-3325 to learn more about unique Alaskan family, luxury or nature adventures, pre and post cruise packages, land, sea, wilderness and rail tours, wildlife and whale watching trips, or glacier viewing and shore excursions. Standard rooms are decorated in colorful tones of turquoise, fuchsia, yellow, lime and orange. Each Pride of America standard cabin also includes a tray with an ice bucket and glasses, a minibar fridge, a safe and an Internet connection.
Standard oceanview cabins on this ship are 144 square feet and feature picture windows, some with obstructed views.


Deluxe Family Penthouses, 607 to 650 square feet, offer everything the Penthouse Suites do (see below) and then some. The regular Penthouse Suites, 494 to 598 square feet, each offer a king-size bed, separated from the sitting area by a privacy curtain. Add-ons at the Deluxe Penthouse Suite level, which offers a private bedroom with king-size bed, include a spacious balcony with a private outdoor Jacuzzi. The Owner's Suites on Decks 8 through 12 take it up a notch, at 766 to 875 square feet, with Hawaii-themed private bedrooms, king beds, private verandahs, Jacuzzis, outdoor dining and lounge chairs.
Passengers at the Deluxe Family, Deluxe Penthouse and Owner's levels also have a dedicated butler and concierge, as well as an array of complimentary amenities that includes Lavazza Espresso-makers, a pillow menu, Champagne and bottled water on arrival (plus soda and three bottles of wine for Owner's Suite passengers) and private complimentary dining in Cagney's for breakfast and lunch. On the other end of the spectrum, Pride of America has four studio cabins; at 107 square feet, they are designed for single occupancy. Firsts for NCL include an indoor live flower and plant garden called the Conservatory, a new category of family suites, a tennis court and an art gallery.
The food is not bad, there is a meat carverie and a fresh fruit carverie offering papaya, honeydew and mango. Blame the fact that Americans are rather less inclined than Indonesian or Croatians to work 12-hour days for not much money. The remaining suites are Penthouse Suites, including two Deluxe Penthouse Suites with Large Balconies ranging from 363 to 459 square feet and can sleep up to five people.
If you are planning to take your family and can afford one, take some time to investigate the various suite offerings, as they are all different and interesting in their floorplans. The penthouses and owner's suites, located fore and aft, are larger with teak decks and private hot tubs on the decks.
As the only ship left sailing under the NCL-America banner as of March, 2008, it is important to put Pride of America into the proper perspective, a discussion that merits hours, but we will shorten it.
This required an act of Congress passed to circumvent two ancient (19th century) federal laws regulating passenger vessels. But experienced cruisers who already know that cruise line levels of service are the best in the world, are often disappointed. On the other hand, if you want to visit Hawaii, I can't think of a better way to do it. This American-flagged, -staffed, and -themed ship is certainly doing its darnedest to encourage Him, filling every nook and cranny with Americana. But the excellent Internet center charges quite reasonably (as low as 50 cents per minute) for both wireless (using your own laptop) and on-site connectivity. Skyline features decor inspired by one of New York City's most memorable landmarks, the Chrysler Building.
The food is French-inspired with delicate sauces; scrumptious and with huge portions to boot. Indeed, the Tihati Polynesian Show, featuring very talented locals doing folkloric dances in eye opening costumes, scheduled when the ship overnights in Kauai, is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Diamond Head Auditorium, high atop deck 13 and all the way forward, offers a panoramic ocean view. Ever since, for over 130 years now, the company has had one of the most recognizable names for quality in running ocean liners in the world.
It is important to note that of the two large megalithic cruise corporations with several brand names under their respective umbrella, Carnival Corp. Meanwhile, with the help of Carnival financing, the fleet has grown dramatically in the past decade-plus to 14 ships now, including Rotterdam VI (the company uses the same names over and over as it retires and builds new ships).
The fact that this is the largest ship in size and passenger capacity says everything you need to know about Holland America. Great prices can be found on these ships, and if you are looking for quiet elegance on a longer itinerary, it is hard to beat Holland America for a combination of elegant, kid-free cruising at very affordable rates.
The line actually operates schools in each of these respective countries to train their future crewpeople. The Explorations Cafe is a combination New York Times-powered library, Internet center, music listening area and sidewalk cafe. The company purchased a controlling interest in Alaska tour company Westours in the early 1970's and hence moved their headquarters to Seattle, Washington in 1983.
Such new features as Internet cafes with wireless access, special computer classes sponsored by Microsoft employees and boutique alternative restaurants help, as well as the expansion of the Club HAL program with kids and teens centers. Bedtime on longer cruises still tends to be before midnight amd youngsters are few and far between. Dedicated youth coordinators run full days of events for each age group on Maasdam, Ryndam and the Vista-class ships, (Zuiderdam, Oosterdam Westerdam). Activities offered; horseback riding including a horseback swim in the ocean, bicycle tours, parasailing, rental of snorkel and scuba-diving gear, deep sea fishing, and an excellent alternative to Grand Cayman for swimming with stingrays. Limited to only 10 people, the special meal comes with eight courses all paired with a wine, apertif or special cocktail.
This does not mean they are stuffy along the lines of Crystal,But it is usually an good taste to wear slacks and collared shirts on sea days as opposed to jean shorts and flip-flops. What the cheerfully decorated cabins lack in space, though, they more than make up for in convenience and efficiency.
One nice touch is Norwegian's signature -- not to mention much-appreciated and well-used -- coffeemaker with complimentary coffee, cream and two heavy ceramic mugs. Select inside and oceanview cabins each have two beds that can be pulled down from the wall to form upper bunks to sleep third or fourth passengers.
The addition of private verandahs extends the "living space" to the outdoors, and because nearly 63 percent of all cabin categories have balconies, even the smallest spaces expand into the Hawaiian atmosphere. Standard Family Suites, at 360 square feet, feature living rooms, separate dens and private bedrooms, each with two single beds that can be converted to a queen. Extra features include Jacuzzi baths and separate second bedrooms with their own bathrooms.
They also have expansive living areas, bathrooms and walk-in closets like the other suites. The cabins sport a mod look, done all in white with padded headboards, color-changing mood lighting, a porthole window with shades that looks out into the corridor, a small desk area with flat-screen TV above and clever storage solutions. Four of these are equipped for hearing-impaired passengers; 40 additional staterooms have equipment for hearing-impaired travelers, too. The best course is to resign yourself to any small shortcomings, and speak up when that is not enough.
The two Owner's Suites have connecting doors to the adjacent Penthouse Suites, sleeping up to 10 people when combined. Forward on the Pool Deck, the Body Waves fitness center has one room filled (too filled, in fact!) with up-to-date equipment, and a view, and another for aerobics classes. Also note that the service fees in the Spa include a space for an additional tip, but that does not go to your therapist (it is pooled) so if you want to tip your therapist, take cash.


Things have improved greatly, but you still won't get top-notch Caribbean cruise-style service here, but if all you want is to lay on deck instead seeing glorious Hawaii (this ship is in port every day), you should go to the Caribbean.
The glitzy Mardis Gras Nightclub and the Gold Rush Saloon are both enjoyable venues for tippling. Hula line dancing classes are almost always packed, as are the coconut husking classes, shell jewelry, and lei-making.
The next Nieuw Amsterdam will debut on July 4, 2010, almost exactly two years to the day since the last ship, Eurodam, entered service.
With wonderful art collections, abundant polished marble, and sumptuous fabrics, the nearly identical 1,258-passenger S-class ships (Statendam, Maasdam, Ryndam and Veendam) have continued the company's tradition of evoking the grand old liners of yesterday. Spacious accommodations are 85 percent ocean view, with 80 percent of those having verandahs. The Volendam (1999) and Zaandam (2000) are sister ships at 63,000-tons and 1440 passengers. Some ships in the world of cruising are classic models, too well-loved to be forgotten, and this ship (forever known to old-timers as the Royal Viking Sun, though she has changed names often) is one of them.
Smaller ships, spacious comfortable cabins, and fewer passengers means you get great service in a quiet, professional atmosphere.
Passengers are still summoned to dinner by the genteel ringing of a chime and then dine to the accompaniment of a string quartet or pianist.
The line did suffer somewhat during the rapid expansion days of 1998-2002, and keeping up with staffing so many ships was a bit of a challenge. Staterooms now offer the best mattresses and duvets sold in Europe, and suites offer flat screen TVs and DVD players on most ships.
Of the newest Vista-class ships, the Westerdam and the Noordam were delivered with the newest features, including the Pinnacle Grill Bar and the improved Explorations Cafe, both located high up in the Crow's Nest. The beds are soft and comfortable and the large screen televisions are well located for watching movies and other entertainment in your cabin. New teen areas The Loft lounge and The Oasis have sundecks with their own waterfalls, hammocks and covered snack areas. Instead of a 90 minute jaunt by bus and boat to the middle of bay packed with tourists, you can walk down a set of steps and right into the welcoming fins of the sleek creatures. The staterooms have so many drawers, cubbyholes, shelves and closets that you'll have no problem arranging everything, and you'll still find room for more.
The cabins each have two single beds that can be converted to "queen"; the singles are actually larger than standard twins, so when pushed together they're somewhere between the size of a queen and a king. Some have doors at one end of the cabin, while others have doors opening into the middle of the stateroom, with the bed on one side and closets and bathroom on the other. Each balcony cabin features a floor-to-ceiling glass door that opens to a balcony, furnished with a small table and a couple of chairs. Most also offer bathtubs in addition to showers; the exceptions are the standard family suites. Each living room has a double sofa bed and entertainment center, and the den houses a single sofa bed. Deck 13 Owner's Suites are only 570 square feet, but they can sleep four and have truly enormous 410-square-foot balconies.
The cabins do have Norwegian Epic's much-reviled split bathroom system with the sink in the main cabin and a shower and a toilet behind separate doors (meaning you step out of the shower into the main cabin).
America Library features memorabilia and artifacts from the historic ship now owned by NCL. She is unique in design and will serve the Hawaiian Islands year around offering a 7-day, 4-island itinerary. Finding young Americans willing to work 7-days a week, sharing tiny rooms with one or two other people, for near minimum wages proved to be a challenge.
Strap on a smile and treat your room-steward like he is your nephew and you will get along just fine. Lazy J's takes its theme from the Hawaiian cattle ranchers known as paniolos at the Parker Ranch on the island of Hawaii.
Rotten service has embarrassed NCL into canceling pre-paid tipping entirely on many sailings; if you find someone good, be sure to slip him or her a buck or two. Numerous dining options are offered, from elegant full-service to casual Lido Restaurant service. Three of them have a Pinnacle Grill Bar and an expanded Explorations Cafe built into the Crows Nest. There is nothing in the world like sitting on your own private verandah and watching the lava from Mt. The newer Penthouse Suites on Deck 13 are smaller, 363 to 416 square feet, but most can sleep six people and have huge, 245-square-foot balconies with lounge chairs and dining tables. The waiters work hard, busboys are a different story, but they can only work as fast as the kitchen enables them. A daily movie program is available on the TV, along with CNN and another satellite channel. Just don't expect him to beam with joy when you praise the way he polished the bathroom.
East meets West is the Pacific Rim restaurant, with a good variety of seafood selections and teriyaki meats. Other improvements include flat panel televisions and top of the line linens in every stateroom.
Select outside and all balcony cabins each feature a sitting area with a sofa bed and table. Kilauea flow into the Pacific at night or, if your cabin is on the other side of the ship, gliding past the breathtaking beauty of the Napali Coast, with its jagged outline rising directly from the sea. Cabin and balcony sizes vary, and the Deck 13 suites -- added during a 2013 refurbishment -- have the same category names as suites elsewhere on the ships but are laid out and sized differently.
Obstructed-view Family Suites have two interconnected staterooms, ranging in size from 330 to 356 square feet.
The alternative restaurants, which carry various service charges, have excellent food and huge portions.
Holland America has the good taste to keep public announcements and under the door flyers to a minimum. The larger of the two staterooms is an outside cabin with two single beds that can be combined into a queen, a sitting area with a double sofa bed and an interconnecting cabin that features two single beds and two upper berths. The Newberry Street (after the famous street in Boston) Shopping area is colorfully diverting in a cartoonesque sort of way.



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