Gross Tonnage: 62,000
Nationality: Dutch officers, Indonesian-Filipino crew
Overview: When the Rotterdam VI joined the Holland America fleet less than three years ago, she set new standards in ship design -- just as the Rotterdam V had done in 1958. She became one of the fastest cruise ships afloat and the line's flagship. The vessel merged more than a century of cruising experience with state-of-the-art technologies and such wonderfully contemporary amenities as a full-service spa with high-tech equipment; a concierge desk for suite guests, and an alternative restaurant open nightly and offering gourmet fare.
Holland America Line traditionally draws an older and well-educated clientele. One cruise director quotes comic David Brenner who, while appearing on the ship, said "I like Holland America -- all the passengers seem to be carrying books." Rotterdam VI is no exception.
Public Rooms: Great thought went into the design of Rotterdam's public areas. Not only does the traffic pattern on Promenade Deck (Deck 5), wind past various lounges, library, and casino, but each room offers large broad windows with magnificent views of the sea. The Explorer's Lounge with its blend of wine, beige and blue hues and a salmon hued carpet is a wonderful setting for after-dinner coffee, tea and incredible made-on-board chocolates. It is open nightly from 7:30 PM to midnight. Erasmus Library is a well-stocked brightly lighted room with a variety of comfortable chairs, and warm, cherry wood-like walls. Queen's Lounge, the two-level showroom on Decks 4 and 5, offers good sight lines with upholstery in varied wine shades, light wood trim and great Italian glass light fixtures.
The two-tiered LaFontaine dining room mixes various shades of blue with glass, brocade paneling on the walls and a magnificent ceiling of Venetian glass by Luciano Vistosi who also designed glass sculptures aboard the Maasdam and Veendam. Tables vary in size and are nicely spaced with plenty of room for waiters and busboys to move around. Lighter fare is indicated by two stars on lunch and dinner menus and many tasty items reflect the Dutch, Indonesian and Filipino influences. Dining room service is excellent.
Dinner is also served in the alternative and beautiful jewel-like Odyssey dining room, by reservation only. The menu features entrees from around the world. Breakfast and lunch, while served in LaFontaine, are also available at the Lido. Lunchtime also includes taco and sushi offerings, alternating with wraps and stir-fry, the ubiquitous hot dog and hamburger grill at the pool and an attempt at a salad bar. While coffee is brought to the table at the Lido, no one is around to carry trays. Table service with a bistro menu is offered nightly in the Lido. Room service is delivered timely and warm. Overall, the food is good -- few items are exceptional -- but service throughout the vessel is exactly that!
Other nice features include a complimentary ice cream (and yogurt) bar and 24-hour coffee and tea service in the Lido. Special menus including vegetarian, fat-free, sugar-free or salt-free must be requested at time of booking. Kosher, gluten-free or special medical diets must be pre-ordered a minimum of 30 days before sailing.
Entertainment: The two-storied Queen's Lounge is the main showroom on Rotterdam VI. Furnished in varied shades of wine and beige, with brass, chrome and glass touches, the elegant room offers excellent sight lines with only a few locations considered "poor"-- not even "bad" -- and the sound and lighting systems are among the best on today's ships. Entertainment varies from adequately done Broadway-like musicals with glittery costumes to individual performers with recognized names. Crow's Nest on Sports Deck offers nightly karaoke and on Deck 5, the Ocean Bar regularly provides music for dancing while just down the hallway piano music is on tap nightly. The Ocean Casino is an airy room with a well-spaced tables. A poker table, fairly unique on ships, is offered on Rotterdam. This isn't a big-time party ship with myriad late-night revelers. Some action is always available and those who love to dance seem to always find music.
Fitness and Recreation: Ocean Spa on the Lido Deck is a large room with space for aerobics and 13 weight machines, four exercycles, three step machines, two benches, 10 treadmills, and free weight dumbbells from one- to 50 lbs. A juice bar rounds out the room, open from 6 am until 9 PM daily and rarely crowded. The Lower Promenade Deck, Deck 3, is the walking deck where 3 1/2 laps equal one mile. Spa facilities offer ordinary beauty parlor services and massages. Spa is open daily until 8 PM. Two pools (one with a retractable ceiling) have too few lounges and towels when the ship is full. On cool days it is difficult to find lounge blankets. Easier to find are isolated areas to read or nap just about any where on this ship. A running loop of closed circuit TV features information on shore excursions and front desk staff will also offer details of doing a port on your own. Enrichment lectures generally explain the area in which the ship is sailing. Recently released movies come complete with popcorn in the Wajang Theater, bingo and trivia games, horse racing, dance lessons, Ping-Pong, poker and table tennis tourneys are scheduled daily. An art tour takes place each cruise to point out the millions of dollars worth of art on board. Internet Cafe, set between the Library and Card Room, offers 24-hour inexpensive Internet access. Some sports are available: shuffleboard, putting and basketball.
(Excerpted from the Cruise Critic Web Page)
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