Jan Hinman, a travel writer based in Seattle, Wash, recently sailed on Eurodam from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and sent in cruise diaries throughout her time on board. Enjoy!
The Piano Bar was the happening place on my recent cruise on ms Eurodam. The pianist/singer Michael Sara, packed in the crowds every evening and quickly built a loyal following. Guests were arriving a half-hour or more before the singing began to secure a prime seat around the piano. Before the evenings ended, there was standing room only, and guests sang and danced to Michael’s great renditions of all-time favorites.
Michael never took a break. He played, sang and bantered with the crowd from the moment he sat down at the piano until the last song faded away. I chatted with him one afternoon and asked where he got the stamina to play and sing for so many hours. “I want to make people happy, so I just keep playing,” he said. He certainly pleased the guests on my recent cruise.
“I try to make people welcome from the first day,” he told me. By the second or third evening, Michael was getting to know the names of his regulars, where they were from and whether or not they were celebrating anything special on their cruise. He played “our song” for newlyweds and offered birthday greetings when appropriate. The guests loved it.
Each night had a theme. After warming up on some general fun songs, Michael moved on to the theme of the evening, playing songs from the ‘50s one night, Elvis songs another evening, Motown tunes a third. Whatever the theme, the lively Piano Bar crowd joined in and belted out the tunes. Michael said he spent 20 years in Vegas as a musical director for a number of entertainers before he decided he wanted to do the entertaining himself. He joined Holland America Line three years ago and has been on ms Zuiderdam and ms Rotterdam in addition to Eurodam.