A Travellerspoint blog

Day 1 Embarkation Day - Tampa, FL

When & Where

sunny 80 °F

Day One on a cruise is always the most busiest and stressful. Once you get to the port terminal, you have to check in to get your key-card which is the key to your room, and is used for everything from purchasing beverages, duty-free items, to embarking/disembarking the ship.

Weather in Tampa was around 76 °F, with some afternoon showers. Once I did get on board, I immediately went to my room to drop off my luggage, unpack, and get acquainted with my room attendants.

Room was set up for two people, so I had them put the beds together for me, which was very nice of them to do. As busy as they were, they did it very fast.

Once you get settle in, it's good to take a look at the "When & Where" pamphlet they have in each room to highlight the different daily activities for each day. Everyone gets a new 'When & Where' each night for the following day. If you booked any packaged before the cruise; ie Beverage package, any pre-paid service charges, or need any beverage cards...often times, the room stewards will have these either in envelopes on your bed, or sometimes they'll attach notices to your room number outside your room.

This pamphlet gives you times for the Dining room, bars, different events happening around the ship, and where they are happening along with which floor to go to.

There are times for the Excursion office (for those who haven't booked any shore activities prior to the cruise), Windows digital workshops, Spa raffle drawing, Park West art auction, Future Cruise consultants, Port Shopping Ambassador, Trivia meet-up, Single & Solo mingle, Friends of Bill W meet-up, LGBT meet-up, Mass (for those who choose to visit), Casino times, Bingo times, Main Stage entertainment times, and the most important, the Mandatory passenger Emergency Muster Drill.

This drill is where everyone must gather on the Promenade deck with their key-card, to get checked-in, and shown where to meet in case of an in-cruise emergency. Each key-card has their designated muster drill meeting point location which coincides with a life-boat. (luckily, we didn't have to worry too much, but it's good to know the emergency stuff)

Once the Captain and Cruise Director make their required safety announcements, then it was time to do some venturing around the ship and see what the ms Rotterdam had to offer.

I was somewhat towards the front of the ship, so first thing I ventured into was the Main Stage (right). It was located on decks 4&5. As I was walking up the steps, I did pass one bar which I noticed, however some Art (left) was placed in the open area, so I didn't really take notice at first. (little did I know that this was going to be my favorite spot on the ship)

After finding where the main stage was, I then wanted to venture and see where the pools were, so I started walking up to the 8th floor where the Lido deck was, and where the Lido pool was located.

The Lido pool had two Jacuzzi's, and a pool for everyone to enjoy. As you can see in the picture to the left, it does have a glass roof, which does open later if at a port, or slightly open if there isn't too much wind from sailing (right)

It was great to see some people enjoying themselves before the clouds rolled in and started to rain upon our departure, but many people tried to enjoy as much as they could by walking around and partaking in the departure beverages on the Sea View bar/pool area on the back of the ship.

As much as I would have liked to have been back there, I kind of had a sense it was going to rain, so I remained inside and continued touring the ship to see what it had to offer. There was one stairway that had all kinds of plaques and awards for the ms Rotterdam. It was very impressive as many of them were plaques from cities the ship first docked at after it was commissioned. These awards and plaques were two floors, and I noticed that this wasn't a very frequented part of the ship as the railings were very smooth, & shiny as if they were just installed. (Some of the other railings in the major stairwells were a bit more rough)

I did enjoy seeing the very large 3-story clock that was near the concierge desk. The clocks were set with times all around the world. I never heard it chime, so not sure if there was a chime....I'm sure if it did, it was turned off as it was directly in front of the front desk.

Continuing my tour, I was able to find the main dining room, one of the elite restaurants on board, the buffet area, and the 'Crows Nest' where I frequented on the ms Eurodam quite often.

The Crows Nest is where I sat and watched our departure from port as it had begun to rain, and shortly after we departed (4pm), it was time for dinner at 5:15pm.

I can't remember what I ate the first night, however I did meet a mother and son from New York, a gentleman who called himself the "Bead-man", and an elderly woman who I later found out was 93 years old traveling by herself. She and I happened to have run into each other several times, she was a joy to talk with.

Dining was a 'smart casual' affair, however it still takes a while for all services to be completed. Since I was at an 'Open Seating', that meant I sat with others who have open seating, and we aren't given our menus until everyone sits at the table.

Once everyone has been seated, then we are given the evenings menu, then the waiters come around and ask the ladies what they would like to eat first, followed by the men. Once they leave, a Wine Steward will come over and ask everyone if they would like any wine, or other drinks, then the appetizers come, followed by soup and/or salad, then the main entrée, and of course, the dessert.

Simple conversations such as introductions, where you live, what you do, why you're on the trip etc. Over-all, dinner is done within 2.5hrs. After dinner, then everyone goes their own way.

Since this was February 4th, Super-Bowl LII was being aired on a big screen in the Main Stage. Many guests were a bit upset, however others were actually thrilled. I tried to stay away from the game, as I was recording it, but I did catch the Half-time show and watched the great finish after the half-time.

Such a busy day, getting to know the ship, meeting a few people, and wondering around takes a toll on you, so after the game, I went back to my room to rest, and see what the next day in Key West, FL was going to be like.

So with that, there is day One of my 21-day cruise.

So until next time,


Posted by Sluggoaafa 11:31 Archived in USA Tagged vacation america holland rotterdam tampa carribean hal Comments (0)

HAL Rotterdam

Looking forward to my extended Vacation

sunny 32 °F

I'm looking forward to my awesome 21-day cruise in the Caribbean.
Voyage: RT000542
Booking: WK3M3C
Stateroom: 2572

Rotterdam is a medium ship, carrying 1404 passengers and 600 crew, and sails from Rotterdam, Netherlands and Tampa, Florida.
Crew to Passenger Ratio: 2.34
Built: Dec 1997
Refurbished: 8 yrs ago
Number of Decks: 10
Total Cabins: 702
Cabin Categories: 67

Day 1 Tampa, Florida
Day 2 Key West, Florida
Day 3 At Sea
Day 4 Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Day 5 Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala
Day 6 Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico
Day 7 At Sea
Day 8 Tampa, Florida
Day 9 Key West, Florida
Day 10 At Sea
Day 11 At Sea
Day 12 San Juan, Puerto Rico
Day 13 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Day 14 St. John's, Antigua
Day 15 Cruise Soufriere Bay/Castries, St. Lucia
Day 16 At Sea
Day 17 Willemstad, Curacao
Day 18 Oranjestad, Aruba
Day 19 At Sea
Day 20 George Town, Grand Cayman
Day 21 At Sea
Day 22 Tampa, Florida

Posted by Sluggoaafa 12:16 Archived in USA Tagged vacation america holland rotterdam carribean hal Comments (0)

2018 New Year


In 2017 I was able to do some great trips with family and friends, both in Alaska and the Caribbean.

HAL Eurodam


In August, I went on a weeks cruise on Holland America's Eurodam in Alaska. Saw tons of beautiful country that I have never witnessed before. Wildlife galore, and crystal blue waters. Bears, Bald Eagles, Mountain Goats, Whales, Sea Turtles, Otters, just to name a few of the animals we were able to see, along with a couple of Glaciers.
Stops in Juneau, Glacier Bary, Sitka, Ketchikan, Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia. All great places if you've never been.

In November, did another Eurodam cruise, this time in the Caribbean visiting, Grand Turks, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay Bahamas. It was sad to see all the devastation from hurricanes that hit the Islands. Hope things get somewhat better in time for my next cruise in February.

HAL Rotterdam


Even though I'll still be visiting the Caribbean, it'll be different islands. Starting in Tampa, then to Key West, Mahogany Bay Roatan Honduras, Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala, Costa Maya, Mexico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, St. John's, Antigua, Castries, St. Lucia, Soufriere Bay, Willemstad, Curacao, Oranjestad, Aruba, George Town, Grand Cayman, and finally back to Tampa Florida. I so can't wait.

Temperatures have been bitterly cold the past month, and I'll be leaving right when people are coming up to Minneapolis, MN for the Super Bowl.

Can't think of anything else to update with. Hope all are good.

Until next time,

Posted by Sluggoaafa 09:57 Archived in USA Tagged vacation alaska america holland super bowl Comments (0)

HAL Eurodam

Caribbean Cruise - Masterchef Cruise

overcast 69 °F

I'm looking forward to my awesome 7-day cruise in the Caribbean.
Voyage: EU000401
Booking: Wj7VDC
Stateroom: 6087

Eurodam is a Signature-class cruise ship, carrying 2104 passengers and 929 crew, and sails from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) San Diego Seattle Vancouver.


Crew to Passenger Ratio: 2.4:1
Built: Feb 2007
Number of Decks: 11
Total Cabins: 1,052
Cabin Categories: 39

Day 1 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Day 2 At Sea
Day 3 Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
Day 4 San Juan, Puerto Rico
Day 5 Frederiksted, St. Criox, U.S.V.I.
Day 6 At Sea
Day 7 Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Day 8 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Posted by Sluggoaafa 13:26 Archived in USA Tagged vacation america holland carribean hal eurodam Comments (0)

Day 1 Embarkation Day - Seattle, WA

When & Where HAL Eurodam

sunny 75 °F

This was going to be an exciting trip. First time traveling with Holland America, going to Alaska, traveling with a few friends, and traveling with my older sister who I hadn't had a chance to catch up with in a long time.

The group of us all flew up a day before the cruise. This allowed us to get into Seattle before hand and ensure any delays due to weather or mechanicals. We had a hotel near the airport, and once we settled in, we settled in our rooms, and all decided it would be nice to take the light rail downtown and enjoy dinner, and a healthy walk.

The next morning, we had a nice breakfast at the hotel, then shuttled to the port. Thankfully, we had gotten to the port early enough to be processed, get our keys, and get to our room and start touring the ship. Since there were a total of 4-couples, we all had to ensure we knew of each others room numbers in case we wanted to coordinate any coffee times, tea times, meet times, and excursion times.

Once everyone was settled in, it was time to get up to the deck for the departure snacks and drinks, and to watch the ship leave the Seattle port. The ship was a true sight to behold. Holland America's distinct White and dark Navy Blue colors really make the ship stand out. I did notice that in each corridor, there was a ship in the carpet with the bow of the ship facing the actual bow of the boat. This allowed you to know which was the front or back. Also, the elevators had the day of the week 'mats' on the floor so through-out the week, you knew which day it was.

I had a balcony room, but really didn't use it as we were on an Alaskan Cruise, and it would get cooler as the week progressed. However, having an obstructed view with lifeboats just outside didn't really matter much. (if we were on a Caribbean cruise, may have thought otherwise.

Figured out where the theater was, where dining room was, where we would meet for coffee and tea, and just places to relax.

Lots more to talk about for the upcoming days.

Until Next Time,

Posted by Sluggoaafa 16:04 Archived in USA Tagged vacation alaska america holland hal eurodam Comments (0)

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