Review: MS Ryndam
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
A Day Visit to Ryndam
122 people found this review helpful
Driving from London to Dover Sunday morning the sky ahead of me looked dismal with dark stormy clouds. However as I neared Dover the sky improved and by the time I was going down the hill into the town the sky had turned blue and the sun was shining. I rounded the bend and there was Ryndam moored at the Cruise Terminal bathed in sunshine and looking resplendent with her dark blue hull and white superstructure. This was a visit I had been looking forward to. Having visited Eurodam a few weeks previously I was interested to see how this 17 year old ship compared with her newer and much larger sister. Weighing in at a little over 55,000 tonnes and carrying just 1250 passengers Ryndam is one of those ships that can get into the smaller ports where others can’t.
On boarding we went immediately to the theatre which is called Showroom at Sea for a short presentation. This is situated on 2 levels with comfortable dark red velour covered seats. What was unusual was that on the lower level near to the stage were tables and chairs which gave the venue more of a nightclub feel. Certainly an area I would be happy to sit for an evening whilst being entertained.
It was then off to inspect some of the cabins. First stop was a Verandah Suite. The one I went into had a bed made into a Queen-size with sitting area and floor to ceiling windows with a door leading out to the balcony. As well as a television this grade of cabin also boasted a VCR. The bathroom had a whirlpool bath and shower together with an array of Elemis toiletries.
Next stop an Ocean-View cabin. This was very light and airy. Again it has a Queen-size bed configuration with bedside cabinets. The bed was positioned under the window. There was also a sitting area as well as a dressing table unit and a small separate table. The bathroom had a bath as well as a shower.
Finally I visited an Inside cabin. This was virtually the same as the Ocean View except that it did not have a window and also only had a shower. It must be said that all three grades of cabin were very well appointed in colours and fittings that helped to give an air of openness to the cabins. They all have televisions with DVD players, a safe, hair dryers, bath robes, Elemis toiletries in the bathroom as well as fresh fruit. One other thing that Holland America offers is a complimentary shoe shine service. Naturally the higher the grade of cabin the more amenities you get. Next stop was lunch in the main dining room. This has 2 levels with an elegant staircase at each side connecting both floors. The upper level is a balcony where there are seats for musicians to play during dinner. Although it was a set menu for our visit there was still a choice of 3 entrees. I chose the steak. The appetizer was prawns that were warm and beautifully cooked and covered in a contrasting sauce. Soup was chilled and made of 3 different berries. I have never had chilled soup before but after sampling this one I will definitely have it again. The steak was wonderful. Cooked just as I like it, medium. The knife glided through without effort and this was accompanied by grilled vegetables, mash which was light and fluffy and a surround of peppercorn sauce. The desert was a chocolate soufflé and lastly we had coffee. There was a choice of red or white wine. Being a person who drinks what he enjoys as opposed to what he is told to by the experts I had the Chardonnay which was excellent.
After lunch it was time to explore the ship. Deck 12 – The Sports Deck. Starting here I first visited the Crows Nest. This is a bar at the front of the ship with panoramic views. It has a large seating area which I can imagine is quickly filled by passengers having drinks whilst watching the setting sun. Later in the evening it is turned into a stylish discothèque. Moving rearwards there are 2 sports courts as well as a sun bathing area with ‘Steamer’ chairs. The deck is wood showing that this is a ship built in the days when passengers played games on the teak decks.
Deck 11 – Lido Deck. The forward part of this deck houses the well equipped gym together with the Greenhouse Spa and Salon where you can relax in comfort and watch the world drift by. Moving towards the stern is the Lido Pool that is surrounded by sun loungers. The swimming pool is of a good size and has 2 hot tubs at one end of it. The Terrace Grill is in one corner of this area and the Lido Bar at the other end. The bar in turn is surrounded by tables and chairs so that passengers can bring food from The Lido Restaurant or Grill and dine al fresco. The Lido Restaurant is the buffet area and has serving counters on both sides of the ship. It is noticeable that all the tables have flowers on them. It’s this sort of thing that adds the extra touch.
Deck 10 – Navigation Deck. Most of this deck is occupied by the most expensive suites and cabins. It also houses the Neptune Lounge, a dedicated lounge for suite passengers. At the stern end is the second swimming pool named the Sea View Pool. This is surrounded by some tables and chairs but mainly sun beds.
Deck 9 – Verandah Deck This houses mainly balcony cabins of different grades.
Deck 8 – Upper Promenade Deck. Starting at the forward end of the ship you find the upper level of Showroom at Sea, the ships theatre where all the main shows are performed. Making your way towards the stern is the Ocean Bar and shops where you can buy everything from everyday needs and ships souvenir items up to expensive jewellery. Moving further back you come to Explorations Café and it is here you will find the ships library and the internet area. Opposite are the Explorers Lounge and Pinnacle Grill. Pinnacle Grill is a speciality restaurant that is ideal if you want a smaller more intimate dining experience with food and service which has that little extra. Ideal for a special celebration. The tables are small and intimate with sea views. There is an additional charge of $20 per person. Behind this at the stern of the ship is the upper level of the Rotterdam Dining Room which is the main dining room. Tables here are set at varying sizes accommodating from 4 to 10 persons.
Deck 7 – Promenade Deck. Again starting at the forward end of the ship is the lower level of Showroom at Sea. Making your way towards the stern is the Front Office which is just a different name for the Pursers Desk and besides this is the excursions desk. Moving on you come to the Photo Gallery, Art Gallery, Culinary Arts Centre and the Wajang Theatre. To get to the lower level of the Rotterdam Dining Room at the stern you either have to go up a deck and enter through the upper level or go down one deck walk along and then up a deck. Yes it is a bit confusing but I am sure passengers get used to it.
The remaining decks are comprised in the main with various grades of cabins, the Medical Centre is located on deck 4. There are also areas that cater for children and teenagers which I have not covered as well as other areas that may be of interest to prospective passengers. There is however after all only so much that can be covered in a day visit and I have tried to cover what I consider the main areas of interest. As with all cruise ships this is a cashless society. You register a credit card with the ship before sailing. Your sea pass then acts as your identification and also your credit card. Every time you make a purchase, present your card and sign the bill. Your final invoice will be delivered to you at the end of the voyage. Also added to you account will be an amount of $11 per day, per passenger, to cover the gratuities of the main staff who will serve you.
Conclusion. The question is would I want to travel as a passenger on this ship for 7 days or more? This is a smaller ship and cannot compete with its bigger sisters for space or facilities. Although it is 17 years old Holland America have made sure that the ship is kept in pristine order. The only fault I could find were some windows that were stained where the salt water had taken its toll over the years. Apart from this I could not fault it. The brass is gleaming, the carpets and seats showed no sign of wear, the paintwork was in good condition and the wood rails sparkled with varnish. The ship had a feel to it that only smaller ships have. Like a well fitting glove everything was just right. One thing you notice almost immediately is the flowers that adorn the tables throughout the ship. Added to this there are numerous pieces of art on display that add to that quality feel. The staffs are all very friendly and immaculately turned out. Certainly in the cabin bathrooms I looked in there was no sign of the black mould that can be found in ships of this age again showing the love and care that is given to this ship by its owners. One final thing that I enjoyed was the wooden ‘Steamer’ chairs. They were substantial, in immaculate condition and with their own leg extensions. They were also covered by a fairly thick mattress for added comfort. So going back to the original question, would I sail on this ship? The answer is a resounding, YES, I would and the sooner the better. This is my kind of ship.
122 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Holland America Line