While I have taken many cruises over the years, my fondness for a Caribbean cruise on Holland America Veendam is special. In particular, Holland America’s private island (Half Moon Cay) and the superb culinary experience in their Pinnacle Grill, stand out as particularly memorable. Plus, the coffee. Seriously.
Holland America is a line with mid-size ships that are very comfortable, updated with the contemporary needs of today’s traveler. The pricing is very advantageous for those who like to travel frequently. The gracious and attentive service will give you the feel of a country club atmosphere. The coffee, a simple, yet very important, daily treat for most of us is really good. And I mean really good, warm cream frothed and sugar sticks make for a perfect morning wake up warm drink.
Half Moon Cay While on Holland America’s Veendam
This day spent on the private island of Holland America Line is one of my favorite memories of travel.
Half Moon Cay might best be described as the ultimate private-island sanctuary. The island is located on Little San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. (The island must remain 98% undeveloped as an international bird sanctuary.) The Cay’s 700-acre lagoon allows guests to feed stingrays and enjoy various water sports, including a children’s Aqua Park and a buoyed personal watercraft course. Other amenities include private beachside cabanas with private butler service, showers and misters, and eco-tours by glass-bottom boat.
And did I also mention…air-conditioned, open-air beach cabanas, steps from warm, blue, pristine waters? Or private butlers that magically appear (for a small fee) from nowhere to fill beverage glasses, while others prepare hot and chilled appetizers, or present cool cucumbers to soothe guests’ eyes from the tropical sun? How many other places can you go horseback riding in the surf? You may not be a millionaire, but you most certainly can live like one for a day.
One of My Favorites, The Pinnacle Grill One of Holland America’s Specialty Restaurants
While the Veendam has a number of excellent restaurants, the Pinnacle Grill is truly a culinary experience you will not want to miss.
The restaurant is an alternative dining venue with a Pacific Northwest seafood and steakhouse theme. Plan on an “unhurried” dinner of approximately 2 hours – on most days, lunch is served in the Pinnacle Grill as well.
The appeal of the restaurant is not only in the superb food, but the presentation of these sumptuous delights as well. It begins with the white tablecloth and gorgeous settings of china & crystal. Appetizers might include lobster bisque, Dungeness crab cakes and beefsteak tomato salad. Available entrees include classic cuts of meats (multiple types of steak, as well as lamb, veal and chicken) and fish (salmon, lobster, and cod), with a few crossovers (a surf-n-turf featuring filet mignon and jumbo prawns, or lobster macaroni and cheese. FYI the lobster macaroni and cheese is flagged as the “Chef’s Favorite” and received some of the best reviews from our fellow diners.) All diners get a choice of traditional steakhouse sides such as creamed spinach and potatoes.
The food is truly exceptional – my husband and I, and our guests were in unanimous agreement. What more is there to say except…Bon Appetit!
-By Guest Blogger Heidi Allison Shane
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