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.
The 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.
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.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.