Sailing, Sailing

Having completed my writing assignment (more on that soon), I find I still have time to compose the post that I promised you all yesterday. Letʼs talk about the layout of the MS Oosterdam. (And by the way, for the nonDutch-speaking readers, those double vowels indicate what we anglophones call a long sound — long “o” rather than “oo” as in “who.”)

MS Oosterdam deck plan, side view

I had intended to scan my handy-dandy little pocket guide to the ship that we received along with our room keys upon check-in (and which I carefully preserved for just this purpose throughout the trip and our days in Seattle and the return flight, too — but which I cannot find as I try to type up something for this post right now on Monday afternoon). So the picture I found by googling and this link (or this better one, although our deck has evidently been reorganized and renumbered, or Holland Americaʼs own correct plans here) will have to do for visual information. Unfortunately, the images of each deck emphasize cabin locations over the public places (the exact opposite of the dandy little handout I have — I hope temporarily — misplaced). At least you can see the many decks labeled if not numbered in the black-and-white cutaway view.

I have clumsily encircled the window/balcony of what I believe is our room, aft on Deck 7

Our “stateroom” this trip was on the seventh or Rotterdam deck, almost completely to the rear end of the ship (next-to-last cabin, port side aft), as circled in the picture, I hope. One must keep oneʼs cabin number a shrouded secret in order to avoid some unscrupulous person using the number and your name together to order drinks and such illegitimately at your expense. Yet, as you can see from the picture of the corridor outside our room, you had to remember vividly both the number and location because they all look pretty much the same. The Lovely One had issues sometimes realizing whether she was facing fore or aft, probably a dizzying result of our choosing to avoid the elevators and always climb the stairs, even if we were proceeding from Deck 1 (having visited, say, the Front Office midships or the Vista Theater forward) to Deck 10+ (where the Crowʼs Nest bar and Explorations Café, the only place to get a morning latte, were both located above the bow).

Iʼll tell you someday soon, perhaps tomorrow, about our stateroom, since I shot more than enough pictures that I simply must share, naturally.

the corridor, looking forward, that we walked repeatedly every day to reach some stairs, off to the right, somewhere, so we could climb or descend to somewhere interesting

The ship is mostly a lot of corridors, long and narrow ones usually, leading to the interior and exterior cabins/staterooms. Very narrow corridors — two people have trouble passing each other in these strangulated halls, and the Indonesian crew are astonishingly adept at sidling out of the way of us (noticeably larger/bulkier) tourists, as they go about their important and arduous duties, while yet inevitably grinning at the passing (overweight and overeating) guests with a cheerful greeting. The corridors to your room are really quite boring. The ones in the public areas are significantly wider and more interesting.

a view of the entry to the dining room (note one of the omnipresent hand sanitizers, located everywhere around the public areas of the ship)

The dining room is located aft, at the very back of the ship, on decks 2 and 3 — those of us assigned to open seating for dinner (meaning we could eat at any available time but received different tables with various unexpected other passengers each night rather than the same preordained place and friends) were located on 2. The Vista Theater is the foremost space on Decks 1, 2 and 3.

Deck 3, the Promenade Deck, is the first one with an outside deck, the place to promenade (and where I did two runs on the final two days of our cruise, Friday and Saturday, one during the afternoon — pretty crowded — and the second about 8:00 AM when I had the space almost totally to myself, probably because it was pretty chilly with a huge wind and drizzle. Janet had an unfortunate encounter with one of the plentiful deck bench/storage spaces — she blames me for distracting her at the wrong time — which left her very bruised on her right thigh and provided the lowest moments of our trip. The Promenade walkway leads in a full circle right around the ship, with only the actual working area in the very bow inaccessible — one-third of a mile all the way around. Calculate for yourselves: I did four miles the first day and three and a third Saturday morning.

Promenade Deck, running fore on the starboard side

Promenade Deck, looking aft

the evil storage bench on the Promenade exterior deck

Explorations Café, from the entry, Janet at the coffee bar

Observation Deck

The decks above all have exterior passages, but the cruise company has divided these long narrow areas with metal “walls” so each cabin on the outside can boast a personal balcony (not all that private, especially when your neighbors in one direction enjoy a suite and like to have parties, and the ones on the other side smoke cigars, apparently without cessation). The tenth deck, Observation, features long walkways leading aft (for us, who usually accessed that level by a circular stairwell pretty far forward from the Lido Deck, located starboard just before the spa region, the bow portion of which was the rather nice gym, where The Lovely One did spin class on three days and where I tried to use the treadmills and lift weights on two of those mornings), with the Crows Nest/Explorations Café having excellent views ahead. One of us almost invariably ascended to the Café for a morning latte (priced much more reasonably than we had experienced years earlier on the Westerdam), and since mocha lattes and hot chocolate were available and the Crows Nest bar was just around the corner, I wondered about but did not try to have them create a Snowy Evening for me… (Instead we twice enjoyed Baileyʼs on the rocks for an evening aperitif at the theater.)

a small view of one section on one side, port, of the restaurant on Lido (where I made myself a couple of very good salads)

The Lido Deck, 9, which is discussed too much at length in parentheses above, is mostly a serve-yourself restaurant (where we enjoyed fantastic omelets made to our order on three mornings) and a pool midships forward and another aft. Both pools got used even on this Alaska excursion.

looking along the Lido pool back toward the restaurant, port side (you can see folks seated at the Lido Bar)

The main decks are 1, 2 and 3, where plentiful bars and services are located (shops and the photographers on 3, offices and shore bookings on 1). Amidships is an atrium that opens on all three of those decks.

Ocean Lounge, deck 3, outer portion, starboard

Ocean Bar on 3 around central atrium — yep, the chairs change color in this section

looking forward on Promenade toward the shops that you had to pass through to get further forward to, say, the Theater

my own shot, looking starboard from the balcony, of the Vista Theater just before the famous Crew Show, a farewell event on Saturday afternoon

the Atrium, amidships, looking down from Promenade at the Deck 1 bar — a big gold geographical globe is hanging, a chandelier, just above the shot

The crew, including the entertainers I have been told, gets to huddle on the windowless deck(s?) below 1, of which we passengers only got to know a small piece of deck A, from where we departed onto lifeboats, being used as tenders, in order to get into Sitka.

typical elevator doors and big bright doorway onto the Promenade exterior deck (with stairs, our preference, if you can call it that, barely visible on the right)

our “favorite” view, a stairwell, where we could either climb endlessly or blissfully descend

The Lovely One in the elevator lobby on our deck, relaxing blissfully after a six-deck climb

me pretending to lounge on the clearly deserted Observation Deck, from where chilly Saturday winds have driven all others, including the chair pads

And thatʼs my overview of the ship. ʼNuff said? (With all these pictures, itʼs probably more than enough, I bet.) But then thereʼs this.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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