September 2014 - Veendam to Canada, New England, New York
For years my wife and I resisted my father's suggestions that we all take a cruise (and he was offering to pay!) We just didn't think a cruise would be much fun. This year I was reflecting on the fact that my Dad was 87, and I wanted to spend some time with him, so a cruise seemed like a good idea. We settled on a cruise along the New England coast and on to Quebec City (I live near Boston).
My wife and I had an oceanview stateroom, and across the hall Dad had a spacious interior room. We were conveniently located near to the elevators, which helped us with orientation and was handy for my wife who has some difficulty walking. The room was well organized, with ample dresser drawers and closet space. The bed was a delightful surprise: so comfortable! That resolved one of our fears, as hotel beds have tended to be way too soft for us. This was a perfect blend of firm mattress with a soft top. I guess I dwell on the bed because I had the best night's sleep I've had in years.
Both of us are "foodies" with particular interest in locally-grown, farm-to-table dining. We were apprehensive about the food on board, but we needn't have worried. I don't know how Holland-America does it, but everything was fresh and flavorful. We ate in the Rotterdam restaurant for dinners, with excellent wine pairings each night. The variety and quantity was ideal - enough to please the palate, but not overwhelming. The quantities were well chosen so that we could enjoy every course and leave the table pleasantly sated. I tended to have a quick breakfast in the Lido before heading ashore for excursions, and usually had lunch at a local spot.
Dad and I enjoyed the evening shows, while my wife preferred to relax and knit. The various lounges featured music in the evenings, and we wound down with lovely classical violin or entertaining piano-bar banter. People were friendly and obviously having a good time, which makes every event more pleasant!
By the end of our first cruise my wife and I were already planning for our next one - on to Alaska!