Holland America Line cruise ship – New Zealand
After our brief stop on Tasmania, our cruise ship steamed off towards New Zealand. This took three days, so there was plenty of time to get to know the ship. There was a daily bulletin which reminded you what day it was, where you where and highlights for the day. Their slogan was “ Bringing culture, tastes and unique Holland America Line Experience to life, both on board and off”.
Our room was excellent, a stateroom which was quite spacious, with a huge bed and sofa, and had a balcony with chairs. I don’t think we got any choice of position, but it was good, being at the end of a corridor and near the lifts. We thus avoided the long corridor walk along the length of the ship, and could easily go from our room to the restaurant via a nearby lift to collect morning tea or late night snack.
There was the usual experiences of taste – with choice of self- service food, casual style; service and menu style with classic seating and ocean views; or fine cuisine (with extra cost). We tended to go for the self- service option, which was excellent for breakfast and lunch, but disappointing in the evening, with mediocre food and small portions served on huge plates. Fresh fruit and salads were good; ice cream and cookies were very temping and available all the time. The only coffee was filter, except in one coffee shop, which had latte, but you had to pay! In general, like most cruise ships, there was too much food available – I forgot what the sensation of hunger felt like.
On board Culture was taken very seriously. A handsome Maori with tattooed face, was a lecturer in some mainly establishment, and he and a group of his students came aboard to enlighten us about Maori culture. There were craft demonstrations, lectures, games and dancing to watch and take part in. This was in addition to the multiple activities available. In the evenings, there was a variety of music venues and a Showtime event in the theatre style lounge. Every taste was catered for, from the gaudy casino, to the quiet library. I particularly liked the small cinema with arm chairs and popcorn, which was very relaxing.
For those who felt they wanted activity, there was the promenade deck to walk round multiple times to work up an appetite for the next meal, or look in vain for some distant land to break the monotony of endless sea. I found I could relate to ancient mariners who ventured forth without proper maps or daily bulletins. They must have gazed out at the endless, rolling sea and felt excited to view land! On this cruise, we did have views of land and mountains as we went through Milford Sound, the Fiordland National park, where we saw a pod of dolphins and a whale.