On Location: Mediterranean Barbecue

When I found I was going on a “Mediterranean Adventure” on the Nieuw Amsterdam I thought that the adventure would be the ports of call. Exciting places like Toulon, Palermo and Naples. What I had not realised was that most of the adventure actually took place on board! Thanks to Holland America’s new initiative called “On Location.”

Designed to make sure passengers get to taste, hear and feel the places we visited by creating experiences across the ship, it is something I have not seen on any cruise before. The crew seemed as excited about creating the program as we were. Every day on the front page of the daily program would be at least five activities related to where we were that day. There would be a typical regional drink, talks and advice sessions by the “Ask Your Location Guide” Tom, special shopping promotions of goods from the region, local art collections – and of course food.

While we got to try “Flavors of Europe” in The Lido in Civitavecchia, have a “Napoli Pizza Mania” on deck in the sunshine in Naples, a “Sicilian Sail Away Party” as we left Palermo and a “French Dinner” at the Seaview Pool as we pulled away from Toulon, the absolute highlight was the phenomenal “Mediterranean BBQ” that the team arranged as we left Livorono, our last stop in Italy.

This was an all-stops out extravaganza that we all spoke about for days. There was an excited buzz when it started as people struggled to decide if we should take photos or devour the spread. It looked too good to spoil. There were stations of food set out around the Lido Pool. Tables groaned with vast Italian cheeses and anti-pasta, two pigs were being cooked and carved, another table had a wide range of salads.



The highlight for me was the massive table of cakes and desserts – including chocolate covered and toffee apples.



Of all of the “On Location” activities, the Mediterranean BBQ was my highlight. It showed the passion the crew had for creating experiences to celebrate the region. Everyone appreciated the attention to detail and huge amount of work.

It made me wonder what other treats and surprises were being served up “On Location” on the other 14 ships all around the world. It made me determined to try and get on one of them in another region – and soon…


Join the Discussion


  1. Claire Constable October 25, 2013 at 7:49 am - Reply

    My husband & I have just returned from a 22 day cruise from Los Angeles on board the Vollendam, & despite my hesitation to ocean cruising, I have to say we had the most wonderful time & can’t wait to book another cruise, thank you Holland America, my husband says thanks also, he has been wanting to do a cruise for several years!!!!! The crew are so obliging, nothing was a problem, we were so well looked after from the cabin crew to the dining staff. Look forward to joining you all again soon.

  2. Mike Berger October 26, 2013 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    The food on HAL is always terrific. We’ve done nine cruises with HAL, five of them on the MS Amsterdam, our favorite ship – which included Iceland, around Cape Horn, and three through the Panama Canal – we are now Neptune Deck regulars. Maybe again next summer.

  3. Elaiie Miller October 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I loved the 24-day Mediterranean cruise in June-July 2013. I have great photos and memories of both the sights and the shipboard fun. The theme nights were great– complete with belly dancer and live music in Istanbul! I had fussed that time on board should be minimized, but am now re-thinking that!

  4. Barbara Dixon October 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Loved the comments made by Gary about the cruise he was on. I wish I knew what to expect on our Northern Europe Cruise. The Baltic. I have done a walk through the Eurodam and it looks like a Great Ship. Can’t wait to sail with Holland again. Did the Alaska Cruise and had a 5 star experience on the ship. Didn’t want to leave. Waiting to book our excursion, not posted as yet. We sail May 11, 2014. Could someone tell me when to expect the posting.

    Love Holland America.

  5. Karen Graves October 26, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    My husband & I have just returned from a 24-day tour of the Mediterranean on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We had a terrific time. The food was wonderful. The did “on location” barbecues and provided local entertainment with BBQ’s out by the pool on the Lido Deck. It was awesome. We thoroughly enjoyed the sites, the service and the food. Thank you Holland America!

  6. JoAnne Piterniak September 16, 2019 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    We sailed the Alaska inside passage two years ago (June, 2017) aboard the MS Noordam. A cruise is really the only way to see Alaska, and I figured it would be the only cruise I ever took – had no interest. Well, that changed!!! We’re booked this month on Nieuw Statendam to see the Mediterranean, and can’t wait to be aboard again. The service, food, music, ship – everything is amazing, and the staff is fantastic. Prepare to be spoiled! We’ll probably book at the future cruise desk for Panama Canal for the next cruise. Love HAL!!!

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