If you’ve never been on a World Cruise the question might arise about how — aside from length of journey or destinations visited — these cruises are different from others. There are many little things that in sum add up to an unforgettable experience. And then there are some big things that are just so out of the ordinary and unexpected that you are simply amazed and awestruck. One such event occurred this week on the Rotterdam and it took the form of an Asian market.
It occurred on Saturday evening when we were sailing from Hong Kong to Shanghai. Just coming up to the Lido on Saturday morning, you knew something big was about to happen. Overnight the Lido restaurant and our pool area had been transformed into a spectacular color-splashed Asian market. Coming out of teeming Hong Kong, this was no minor feat. As the day progressed, decorating continued and elements of the market continued to build.
At 5 p.m. the market opened and the evening began. Holland America’s President Stein Kruse and his wife Linda flew to the ship to host the event. Suckling pig had been prepared by the Pinnacle Grill, Peking duck was cooked by our restaurant chefs, a curry stand was set and dim sum stations were in place.
There was an authentic rickshaw for rides and photo opportunities, a huge smoke- and fire-breathing dragon that loomed over the pool, and there was even a sampan that plied the waters of our pool.
The ship’s two resident floral artists transformed our bandstand into a floral pagoda. The casino offered games of chance, the Green House Spa offered massages and our resident acupuncturist offered relief to sore muscles and other assorted aches and pains.
It was a dinner party that will likely not be forgotten by our guests or staff alike. It was one of those great take-away moments in a great long journey.