In ten days, Tom Dwy" />

Sailing the World – Holland America Style – Mediterranean Sea

Sailing the World – Holland America Style

Mediterranean Sea

Croatia
Croatia
For one hundred and thirty-one years, Holland America Line has been sailing the oceans of the world. Year after year it has been voted the best cruise line overal – and it only keeps getting better. Last spring, I had the joy of sailing the Mediterranean aboard the ms. Westerdam with Holland America Line. In ten days, I managed to visit eight countries (Italy, Croatia, Greece, Malta, Sicily, Monaco, France and Spain) and did it in total comfort and style – and only unpacked once.

The ms. Westerdam is one of the new Vista Class ships. It carries 1,880 passengers, yet never feels crowded. From the moment I arrived to board the ship at Civitavecchia, right outside of Rome, I knew this trip was going to be a great one. The embarkation process was a breeze, and before I knew it, I was standing on deck with a complementary glass of champagne in my hand, watching the blue Mediterranean drift by.

Malta
Malta
With three excellent restaurants, a casino that rocks every night, a Broadway-style show to take in each evening, a jazz lounge and disco, not to mention the greenhouse spa and salon with its hydrotherapy pool and host of spa treatments, I found this ship truly a gem. Add to the list the complementary offerings on board – from a free ice cream parlor buffet, where adults and kids alike can create their own sundaes, to the free popcorn at the movie theatre – and we hadn’t even visited one country yet! The staterooms were spacious and immaculate — 85 percent of them have ocean views and more than half have verandas. The service on the ship was excellent and the staff could not have been friendlier.

What I really like about cruising is that one gets to travel to many different locales in a short period of time without the hassle of jumping on and off airplanes. I experienced such varied history and culture on this trip, from the fishing villages of Sicily, to Monaco on the day of The Grand Prix, to walking through the ancient streets of Dubrovnik — this city has come back from a terrible war to being vibrant once again. Holland America has created fun and educational half-day and full-day shore excursions. The prices are reasonable, and a guided tour is a great way to see a new city or country with travel mates. But of course, if you prefer to explore a city on your own, you wake up in a different country almost every morning, so simply take a stroll down the gangplank.

Our ship
Our ship
On my particular cruise, the ages ranged from baby boomers on up, but there were also young couples and families. Holland America offers a wonderful kids program – Club Hal – which is designed for youngsters ages 3-17 and has a full time director and staff. This program prides itself on bringing families together on cruises, and is always ready to baby sit when parents need some quality time away from the kids.

Cruising is truly a special way to see the world. My wife, Susan, and I visited so many amazing places on this trip, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But one that stands out for us is the picturesque town of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the Balearic Islands, off the coast of Spain. From its grand fountains, soaring cathedral and 14th century Bellver Castle, to its hip, sidewalk cafes (perfect for people watching) and quaint outdoor markets, we felt we had arrived in possibly the most perfect little town anywhere — and a year later we still talk about it. If you want to experience Europe in true style – sail the Mediterranean with Holland America – you won’t be disappointed.

Traveler Article


Leave a Comment