Holland America Ryndam – First Impressions

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First Impressions

It’s a small ship afterall. Really. At only 55,000 tons, Holland America’s petit Ryndam harkens back to the ships of yesteryear. Actually, yesteryear is barely twenty or so years ago when that size of ship was the norm.  I was looking forward to a non-mega ship cruise.

Holland America Ryndam inside cabinThe Ryndam sails seven night cruises out of Tampa, Florida. An easier port to cruise from would be difficult to find, except of course for my hometown port, Port Canaveral.  The Holland America parking area, all open and at ground level, is literally yards from the terminal entrance for Holland America. I thought I must be in the wrong place but no. I went from my car to the ship in less than a three minute walk.  Parking is less expensive here, too, at only $15/day. Miami is now at $20/day.  Whatta deal.

How to describe the Ryndam on first glance; sweet. She is a sweet ship. Small, very personable as demonstrated by the attentive and seemingly very caring staff that welcomes you onboard. Yes there were signs of age, but I’m very willing to overlook any telltale signs, commiserating with Father Time.

And like many of us aging entities would like to do, the Ryndam has recently undergone a “refurbishment.”  It’s what Holland America calls, the “Signature of Excellence.”  Indeed the Ryndam has gone under the knife and what you find is a stem to stern facelift. She looks fabulous, dahling.

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OK…I’ll admit it. I was running late, really late and was the second to last person to board.  The last folks to board after me had airline issues.  The four of us missed the now-mandatory muster drill. By “mandatory” I’m talking about taking attendance to note who is not there. What happens with the late arrivals is a private muster drill with one of the senior officers. We all felt quite special but I’m sure it would have been more appreciated if the other three passengers’ airplane didn’t have mechanical problems nor my getting delayed due to a typical Florida downpour that brings highway traffic to an abrupt standstill didn’t happen.

Onboard and comfortably settled into my inside cabin, I went on my usual new ship walkabout.  Inside cabin? Yes.  I wanted to see what it would be like on an older ship in an inside stateroom. So far so good.

Tomorrow would be Key West.  Totally exhausted from the “long” drive across Florida, I turned in around 11pm.  The arrival in Key West would be around noon-ish and I wanted to be well-rested to explore the southernmost city in the US.  And try to find the legendary six-toed Hemingway cats.

I”ll try to post as frequently as possible, given the speed and access of shipboard internet or wandering ports looks for the best wifi cafe.

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3 Comments

  1. suzy pope
    March 7, 2012 / 6:06 pm

    I took my mom and dad and my brother on the Ryndam last January 2ndwith stops in Key West, Belize, Roatan, and Costa Maya. We threaded the weather needle on the way down from Boston and also on the way back up. The week before the Christmas Storm left parts of the south still paralyzed. I spoke to a ship’s officer who told me that the previous week they had to cancel stops at Key West and Roatan due to weather. To quote him, “we had some pretty unhappy cruisers.”

    I am happy to report the weather was delightful every day of our cruise last January. I LOVED Key West. Walked off the boat, rented a no-gear lime-green bicycle and went all around the island. Saw the southernmost home in the US, went to the cemetery and photographed the memorial to the USS Maine (I live in Bangor), found the start of Rte 1 (which also ends in Maine) and photographed that too, and the southernmost ice hockey rink in the US. Then hooked up with my brother at a state park right on the ocean with a cold six pack of beer. There is something remarkable about swimming in (relatively) warm salt water in January when you’ve left 12 inches of snow behind up north.
    And Roatan–what can I say? The best day of my life. I hired a driver to take my brother and I out to the far side of the island where a boat took us out and anchored while my brother and I snorkeled for three hours. It was beautiful.
    In all, the best cruise of my life. My brother came unwillingly, having cruised once before on another line out of Boston and found the crowds loud and unpleasant. Not all he wants to know is when are we doing the exact same cruise on HAL again?? Thanks for your blog. I leave on the Eurodam with my parents and sister and brother in law in about a month, and reserved a cabana. I am so excited I keep pinching myself!!
    Sincerely–
    suzy

  2. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Author
    March 7, 2012 / 6:23 pm

    Hi Suzy,

    Wow! Thank you for your wonderful comment. You were very lucky to have such perfect weather. And I think your choice to reserve a cabana for your next cruise was very smart. What a perfect way to ensure a comfy/cozy outdoors area to relax and recline and have bartender service, too! Enjoy the Eurodam…I was on that ship a year ago and I gave it a 10 out of 10. Have a great time. You might want to read my article about why I like Holland America https://cruisemaven.com/2012/03/10-reasons-why-i-like-hollland-america-line/ Thanks again!

    Regards,
    Sherry

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