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   Cruise Travel - Millenium Cruise

Day 1 - Wednesday, December 29, Board m/s Volendam

by Joe Koshuta, TravelPage.com

December 29, 1999 - Here's what happened today:

Well the the day we have been waiting for has finally arrived, we board the m/s Volendam in about an hour. I missed her arrival this morning so I don't have any pictures of that, but I do have another beach scene. The weather today is finally what we had hoped for - sunny and in the mid-70s.

The rest of our group arrived last night, most of them sporting some flavor of a winter cold. There are 21 people in our group including 11 adults and 10 children ranging from 2 to 17 years of age. The adults ages range from...well never mind. Anyway after a 3 hour flight for most of the group the kids were pretty wired so we abandoned all thoughts of eating out and ended up ordering two waves of room service to feed the group. It was actually a lot of fun as the kids had their TV and the adults were able to compare notes and brief the first-time cruisers among the group as to what to expect and what to do first once we boarded the ship. More about that later.

Anyway, I need to finish packing so I will resume this report later today from on board the Volendam.

Later, December 29, 1999 - well we made it on board. And if you are reading this, we successfully connected to the Internet from the ship. And what a ship it is. I make no excuses about being a fan of the more traditional ocean liners such as HAL's former Rotterdam V and being a skeptic about the newer bulkier cruise ships with little outdoor space. Well this ship may make me a convert.

She still sports the bulky exterior of almost all new cruise ships but her interiors are beautiful. From her subdued atrium to her walk around promenade and two level dining room the ship has the potential to become something special. A good word to describe her is elegant.

We had a bon-voyage party for our group in the Crows Nest lounge as we departed which gave us a great sunset and nice view of the Florida coast as we began our trip South. I haven't had a chance to explore the entire ship yet - it's 10:42 PM - because we had a bit of a medical emergency when my 5 year old son tripped and hit his head on a door jam. He's fine now but it was a bit of a scare. From a reporting perspective though, it did allow us to sample the medical facilities on board which we found to be very professional and impressive.

Here's a photo from today's lifeboat drill.

Throughout the rest of the week I will concentrate on one particular feature of the ship each day: public rooms, dining, cabins, entertainment, etc.

Check back later for updates or click here to learn more about Holland America's Fleet.

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