Tag Archives: Piano Bar

Simply relaxing is a favorite cruise activity.
Simply relaxing is a favorite cruise activity.

A cruise is more about visiting beautiful and interesting places. Today, the ships are the destinations as well, with so much to do, see and learn while onboard. Whether it’s a sea day with hours of free time to spend indulging in all of the shipboard activities, or a port day when the ship is quieter, everyone has their favorite cruising activity. Holland America Line Facebook fans chimed in with their favorites, which ranged from eating (of course!) to relaxing on a cabin verandah. What are your favorite cruise activities? Do you agree with the favorites below?


Lobster and Gravlax and Baked Alaska, Oh My!
Around every corner on a Holland America Line cruise there’s the opportunity to eat. From the casual Lido buffet to the elegant Main Dining Room to the alternative Pinnacle Grill, eating ranks number-one in popular cruise activities. Perhaps it’s because guests can venture out of their comfort zone and try something new and exotic, or it’s because of all of the tempting tasty treats on every menu. Not to mention the opportunity to sample culinary creations from celebrity chefs Sirio Maccioni at An Evening at Le Cirque and Culinary Council Chef Jonnie Boer at Taste of De Librije. And for guests who don’t want to leave the comfort of their stateroom, there’s always room service.

Facebook fan Mary H. agrees dining is tops. She wrote: “I’d like to eat at the Pinnacle Grill and have the creme brulee to end the meal.”

Pampering at the spa ranks high among our guests' favorites.

Pampering at the spa ranks high among our guests’ favorites.

Pure Pampering at the Greenhouse Spa an Salon
There’s no better way to unwind and rejuvenate on a cruise than at the spa, which is why it’s ranked so popular among our Facebook fans. Holland America Line’s therapists can work their magic during a massage … the hardest decision will be Swedish or hot stone? The full menu of treatment options ranges from facials and manicures to hair stylings and the hydrotherapy pool bubbling with therapeutic sea water. For those who want to stay fit while on vacation, the gym is fully equipped with all of the latest machines, and fitness instructors offer classes like yoga, pilates and indoor cycling.

Facebook fan Jan R. said her favorite activity is: “Getting massages. I got four of them, each one different. I was relaxed that cruise.”


Exercise the Mind
On each Holland America Line cruise, the opportunity to exercise the mind presents itself in many ways. Guest lecturers and “On Location” experts impart their local knowledge, while lighthearted classes such as towel folding, party planning and crafts make time onboard enriching. Guests with a culinary bug can learn to cook like a chef during the Culinary Arts Center guest chef demonstrations and classes, while the Digital Workshop powered by Windows classes teach the finer points of computers. Facebook fans also love to play Bingo! B2 … one little duck! Anyone?

Facebook fan Lynnette M. enjoys the towel folding demonstrations, while Terry Z. is ready to do trivia and bingo.


Time to Unplug
Going on a cruise means extra time to relax and leave the stresses of normal, everyday life behind. Guests can do as much or as little as they want, and many guests choose to do nothing extra onboard. Time slows down on a cruise, and there’s nothing more important to do than decide where to eat and what to wear. What are the best activities for doing “nothing?” Try curling up in a lounge chair in the Explorations Cafe reading the book you’ve been putting off or simply resting in a steamer chair on deck watching the world sail by. There are a lot of exceptional “nothing” activities to enjoy.

Facebook fan Wendy W.said her favorite activity is “relaxing and enjoying the moment of just being on the ship.”

A memorable Dancing with the Stars at Sea performance.

A memorable Dancing with the Stars at Sea performance with Olympian Shawn Johnson, center.

Let Us Entertain You
Holland America Line ships offer the best in entertainment options, which is why Facebook fans rave about the variety of performances. The Dancing with the Stars: at Sea program is a guest favorite, with classes on every sailing and theme cruises throughout the year leading up to the Champions Cruise in January 2014. Guests who like to get up and move to the music will love B.B. King’s Blues Club on ms Eurodam, ms Westerdam, ms Zuiderdam, ms Noordam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam. The Queen’s Lounge is transformed into a vibrant blues musical experience, and guests can enjoy the eight-piece band featuring two vocalists backed by a drummer, bassist, guitarist, sax player, trumpet player and Hammond B-3 organ player. Each ship also features traditional Vegas-style shows on the main stage, a variety of bands in the lounges and bars around the ship so there are different genres to fit everyone’s dancing style.

Good luck to Facebook fan Doreen P.: “I just won Dancing with the Stars: at Sea on the Rotterdam. I hope I am fortunate to make it to the final cruise.”


Take a Dip
After sampling all the fabulous restaurants and culinary opportunities Holland America Line has to offer, guests love to take a swim in the Lido pool or relax in the whirlpools. Days at sea can be a great time to unwind poolside with a favorite book – or a favorite cocktail. While the warm Caribbean can be optimal for sunning by the pool, guests on cooler-climate cruises need not despair — many ships are equipped with retractable domes to maintain a comfortable temperature for swimming in any locale.

Facebook fan Bernadette said she loves nothing more than jumping in the pool after returning from the islands.

The Martini Bar in Mix.

The Martini Bar in Mix.

Eat, Drink and be Merry
Any time of the day is the perfect time to socialize with new friends or catch up with old ones. Guests love to mingle and sing around the Piano Bar, get together in the Silk Den lounge and check out Happy Hour in the Crow’s Nest. Mix is the ideal spot for a group with a variety of tastes with three specialty venues in one bar: Mix Champagne is great for mid-day mimosas or anytime celebrations with a bit of bubbly. Mix Martinis specializes in Grey Goose vodka cocktails and serves martini flights for those who want to taste a bit of everything. And Mix Spirit & Ales is the place to go for a good microbrew, single malt scotch, or to sit back and catch up on sports.

Guest Sharon put it succinctly when she said her favorite thing to do onboard was: “Eat, drink & be merry”


A Room With a View
Private balconies allow a bit of the scenery to make its way into your stateroom. Perhaps this is why guests rank their private balconies among the top cruise activities. A private balcony is especially valuable on scenic cruises. Imagine sitting back and watching glaciers calve, observing the jewel-toned hues of the fall foliage, taking in the massive Geriangerfjord or passing through the Panama Canal with nothing more than your camera in-hand and the view … all from the comfort of your stateroom. For the ultimate comfort and privacy, guests enjoy reserving a penthouse suite and cruising in ultimate luxury.

Facebook fan Marzi R. agrees. Her favorite activity is “Just sitting on a balcony reading or journaling! Love to cruise!”


Walking the Promenade
Breathing in the fresh sea air, or feeling the cool New England breeze while taking in the sights can be extraordinary. Guests love to stroll and power-walk around the promenade and enjoy the views of land and sea all the while walking off the fabulous crème brulee. The promenade can be a great place to grab a seat and see the sunrise and sunset, or watch the world pass by.

Facebook fan Mona said it’s great for “…sitting back and watching the water go by. So relaxing.”

Other popular activities include going to the casino, watching a movie, shopping in the gift shop and playing tennis. And yes, there are several Facebook fans who simply enjoy doing “everything” on a cruise!

Days 70-71 March 16-17:

If you are like Humberto and me, you are in the mood for some beautiful music often, particularly in the evenings. Then, if you are on the Amsterdam, as we are now on our World Cruise, you are in the right place! For more than six hours each night – starting before first-sitting dinner until the lounges close at night – we can enjoy a variety of live music onboard, including dance music by two bands, all-time favorites by a Piano Bar entertainer and light classics by a piano-violin-bass trio. That’s in addition to the nightly shows at the Queen’s Lounge, which besides a number of lavish song-and-dance production shows have featured performances by world-class vocalists, instrumentalists and ensembles, including pop singer Melissa Manchester, Canadian flute virtuoso Tara Whittaker, the brilliant Polish classical/jazz pianist Filip Wojciechowski, German saxophone virtuoso Claudia Tesorino, and Doc Severinsen and The San Miguel Five band.

Aside from the evening headliners – and the ever cheerful Debby Bacon, who entertains alone at the Piano Bar – the Amsterdam musicians labor daily in relative obscurity, known mostly if not only as part of a group. I want to recognize them for their beautiful music today and let them know how much Humberto and I enjoy making the rounds of the lounges to catch as much of their performance as we can each day. Let’s begin with the Amsterdam orchestra, which, as a veteran of 174 cruises, I can unequivocally say it’s second to none at sea. It’s easy to appreciate this fine-sounding orchestra when it has the stage to itself, most recently during the St. Patrick’s Day party last Saturday and the lumpia dinner and sate barbeque on the Lido Deck two days earlier. But also away from the limelight, the orchestra routinely “makes” the evening show, unobtrusively backing up the headline entertainer. During all of my cruises I’ve ever been on, performers routinely ask the audience to recognize the orchestra – here the request is always heart-felt and richly deserved.

  Amsterdam Orchestra entertains at the lumpia dinner and sate barbeque.

Amsterdam Orchestra entertains at the lumpia dinner and sate barbeque.

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