May 2008, Olympia, Greece. Behind us, is the Noordam
Almost exactly 3 years ago, my husband and I decided to take the trip of a lifetime. We saved up over $8,000 to fly to Europe and take a 10-night cruise on Holland America Cruise Line. This would be our first and what we thought only time to visit Europe before having children. The week before we left for our luxury vacation, my husband was interviewed for the job in Germany. I also was unfairly punished at my job for "talking" too much. Imagine that! Funny thing was, they said I did a great job and was quick to get my work done but I needed to stay in my cube like a prisoner. Okay, I added the prisoner part. But that's how I felt, trapped. Anyway, our cruise gave us time to think about the possibilities of me looking for another job where I could socialize and do something I truly loved doing. I mean you only live once, right? Might as well spend the majority of your time doing something you enjoy and are appreciated for.
Back to the cruise. In 2008, we saved up big bucks to fly to Rome and take a Mediterranean cruise. Our ship was beautiful. We paid for an ocean view because that was all we could afford at the time. The service was outstanding. We were celebrating our 5-years of marriage a little early (our anniversary is in January) and having a great time. One joke we heard from several older couples were, "is this your honeymoon?" When we said no, they said, "haven't you heard the old saying, Holland America is for newly wed or nearly dead." We thought that was kind of funny as there were not very many younger couples. But we enjoyed the older crowd and didn't mind going to breakfast and seeing people well-dressed. It beat another cruise line we went on where people came to breakfast in a bathrobe! But the real reason I now really love Holland America is because we have been upgraded, for FREE to a Deluxe Veranda Suite! Oh yes, a HUGE room with a large balcony. Thank you so much Holland America! This time we did splurge for a balcony cabin, which they call Veranda Suite (Approximately 283 sq. ft. including verandah). However, the Deluxe is over twice as big (Approximately 575 sq. ft. including verandah). This cabin comes with a lot of perks, including special breakfast dining with other suite guests, High Tea in suite, special lounge, complimentary laundry, pressing and dry cleaning throughout your cruise, and more. I am just overwhelmed with gratitude!! God and Holland America provide.
A little more background to our situation. A week ago Holland America sent an offer to upgrade us for $349 per person. After examining our budget we decided we just couldn't do it. We already are spending more than normal to get the balcony in the first place. Although we were both very torn because of all the extras, including space you get for our little guy to play in. Today I received an email from them with this wonderful news. Oh and did I mention, I have the best travel agent, ever?! I do recommend using a cruise agent when you cruise. If you are looking for one, contact mine, her name is Cathy, click on her name and you can go to her website with her contact information. Thank you Cathy for all your help as well!!
Here are my top 10 reasons I love Holland America, in no particular order:
1. Outstanding Service
2. People are dressed up for dinner, i.e. no shorts in the dinning room
3. High Tea - everyone should experience high tea at least once
4. Clean ship
5. Fun games to play and great prizes at the end of the cruise
6. Wonderful food
7. Comfortable beds
8. Peaceful and quiet nights - many of the older cruises go to bed early so the top decks are practically empty at night
9. Conservative guests
10. They gave us a wonderful and free upgrade! This could be partly because we are past guests. Loyalty is important to companies.