Now guests can groove on to the soulful sounds of B.B. King on four more Holland America Line ships. Due to the exceptional popularity of the first B.B. King’s Blues Club on ms Eurodam, the experience will expand to five ships in 2014. The concept that debuted in March 2013 will become an integral part of the nightly entertainment experience on Eurodam, ms Noordam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam.
In addition, “Live from B.B. King’s” headlines one night on the ship’s main stage in the Show Lounge.
Enthralling guests with its musicianship and quality, the B.B. King’s Blues Club band will return to Eurodam for an open-ended run starting on March 23, 2014, following their current run through Dec. 8, 2013. The Club will be onboard Westerdam now through April 5, 2014, and Zuiderdam now through March 17. Noordam and Nieuw Amsterdam begin open-ended runs of B.B. King’s Blues Clubs, with launch dates of Dec. 16 and April 6, respectively.
This video shows the band in action. It’s hard not to dance in your chair, isn’t it?
Journalist Doug Parker of CruiseRadio recently sailed on Eurodam and wrote about his B.B. King’s Blues Club experience:
One not to miss event on the Eurodam is the B.B. King’s Blues Club. Based on the legendary blues singer B.B. King, the club takes place for about 2.5-hours in the Queens Lounge aboard the ship and is rocking non-stop. You’ll will hear music across the board, so it’s not all just rhythm and blues. They did a cover of Purple Rain and they rocked the house. It’s really interactive too because guests are up dancing and having a good time.
The music and excitement that comes direct from Beale Street in Memphis, Tenn., thrills guests five nights a week when world-class musicians from the B.B. King Blues Club Band create a dynamic sound to get the crowd energized. The eight-piece band features two vocalists backed by a drummer, bassist, guitarist, sax player, trumpeter and organist.
Each ships’ Queen’s Lounge will be trimmed with portraits of the Memphis Blues legend, illuminating the prominence of Memphis blues and its influence on everyone from Sam & Dave and Otis Redding to The Rolling Stones and Neil Diamond. A special stage will be crafted to resemble a Memphis nightclub with hanging guitars as a backdrop. Exclusive specialty cocktails from the land-based clubs also will be served, featuring the tasty, rum-based Lucille and Rock Me Baby concoctions mixed with different fruit liqueurs and juices.
Journalists Jim and Barbara Fox also sailed on Eurodam and wrote about the B.B. King’s Blues Club on their blog, Out to Sea:
“The club’s All Star Band had showgoers at two performances in the Mainstage theatre on their feet, grooving with the Memphis sounds by such artists as B.B., Sam and Dave and Otis Redding … Band leader Primo even has a legendary Hammond B-3 organ heard so often in the blues classics while Tony, who along with vocals, recreates the guitar playing of the late Jimi Hendrix.”
If you haven’t gotten enough, here’s a longer jam session in Eurodam’s B.B. King’s Blues Club:
Created and named after the reigning king of the blues and recording artist for more than four decades, the land-based B.B. King’s Blues Club is a supper club–style restaurant. B.B. King’s offers a perfect blend of some of the finest live music and a variety of the South’s most delicious comfort foods influenced by flavors from New Orleans all the way to the Mississippi Delta. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.bbkingclubs.com.
When I found I was going on a “Mediterranean Adventure” on the Nieuw Amsterdam I thought that the adventure would be the ports of call. Exciting places like Toulon, Palermo and Naples. What I had not realised was that most of the adventure actually took place on board! Thanks to Holland America’s new initiative called “On Location.”
Designed to make sure passengers get to taste, hear and feel the places we visited by creating experiences across the ship, it is something I have not seen on any cruise before. The crew seemed as excited about creating the program as we were. Every day on the front page of the daily program would be at least five activities related to where we were that day. There would be a typical regional drink, talks and advice sessions by the “Ask Your Location Guide” Tom, special shopping promotions of goods from the region, local art collections – and of course food.
While we got to try “Flavors of Europe” in The Lido in Civitavecchia, have a “Napoli Pizza Mania” on deck in the sunshine in Naples, a “Sicilian Sail Away Party” as we left Palermo and a “French Dinner” at the Seaview Pool as we pulled away from Toulon, the absolute highlight was the phenomenal “Mediterranean BBQ” that the team arranged as we left Livorono, our last stop in Italy.
This was an all-stops out extravaganza that we all spoke about for days. There was an excited buzz when it started as people struggled to decide if we should take photos or devour the spread. It looked too good to spoil. There were stations of food set out around the Lido Pool. Tables groaned with vast Italian cheeses and anti-pasta, two pigs were being cooked and carved, another table had a wide range of salads.
The highlight for me was the massive table of cakes and desserts – including chocolate covered and toffee apples.
Of all of the “On Location” activities, the Mediterranean BBQ was my highlight. It showed the passion the crew had for creating experiences to celebrate the region. Everyone appreciated the attention to detail and huge amount of work.
It made me wonder what other treats and surprises were being served up “On Location” on the other 14 ships all around the world. It made me determined to try and get on one of them in another region – and soon…
On a recent Noordam cruise, Chef Kelly English entertained guests in the Culinary Arts Center with cooking demonstrations of three of his signature dishes: Harissa “Café Au Lait,” Grilled Peach Crème Brûlée and Spicy and Sweet Peach “Situation.” The recipes are below so you can make them at home.
If you like to cook like a chef or simply enjoy watching these professionals at work, there’s still time this year to sail with a culinary expert. Several of the Caribbean itineraries this winter will feature an exceptional guests chef who will demonstrate their knowledge as part of the Culinary Arts Center program. Here are the chefs scheduled to appear, but if you’d like view the entire schedule online visit the Holland America Line website.
Giuliano Hazan will be on Zuiderdam Oct. 18 for a 10-day Panama Canal Sunfarer cruise. Hazan is an author, teacher, entrepreneur, and one of the foremost authorities on Italian cooking. He is author of the 1993 international bestseller The Classic Pasta Cookbook and received the Cooking Teacher of the Year Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals in 2007.
Colby and Megan Garrelts, executive chef and pastry chef at bluestem in Kansas City, Mo., will be on Eurodam’s Oct. 27 seven-day western Caribbean cruise. Megan Schultz graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1998, then was hired at TRU in Chicago, where she met her future husband, Colby Garrelts, a 2005 Food & Wine Top New Chef. In 2003 they opened bluestem, which showcases Colby’s progressive American cuisine and Megan’s new American desserts. The “Wall Street Journal” called it “the most sophisticated place to eat between Chicago and Aspen.”