Visiting new places on a Holland America Line cruise is always exciting. You learn about new cultures, try local cuisine and enjoy adventures — all while picking up some souvenirs and making memories along the way.
What you may not know is that when there’s a sea day on your itinerary, it doesn’t need to be a break from all the action, but an opportunity for even more immersion, learning and relaxing. Make sure to check out the daily program and take part in these activities on your next day at sea.
A Variety of Classes
With guest chefs, cooking classes, wine tasting and mixology classes, the Culinary Arts Center makes it is easy to embrace your culinary passion at sea. Holland America Line has award-winning chefs scheduled to come onboard throughout the year, so check the schedule to see when your favorite is sailing.
In addition to demonstrations and classes put on by the guest chefs, guests also have the opportunity to learn from Holland America Line’s own professional staff. Classes offered cover a variety of topics from seasonal cuisine to learning how to make the impressive fruit and vegetable art displays seen during the cruise.
Cooking demonstrations feature local cuisine, so you could learn how to make jerk chicken while sailing the Caribbean and how to prepare pasta in the Mediterranean.
The onboard Beverage Team also offers classes in the Culinary Arts Center. With the Signature Cocktail program, guests learn how to prepare world-class cocktails from a ship bartender. The Cellar Master and Party Planner host wine tastings of their own, featuring two tasting levels: Navigator Wine Tasting and Premium Wine Tasting.
Cooking and mixology classes aren’t the only ones offered onboard. Guests also can attend a party planning class hosted by the onboard Lifestylist or even a towel folding class to learn how the creative towel animals that appear in the cabins come to be. Guest Sophia Burns attended a towel folding class on her cruise to Alaska and shared some pictures and comments about it on her blog.
After lunch, we went to the towel folding course by none other than Made, our wonderful room Steward. He played the audience like a pro, and it was so clever to see how the cute little animals we find in our room every night are folded! Of course we told him afterwards we wanted the book, which he was to autograph, our famous Made.
“Dancing with the Stars: At Sea”
Holland America Line’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” program is one of the most exciting activities available at sea. Guests have the opportunity to learn the art of a variety of dancing genres in classes onboard. If you’re lucky enough to be on a “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruise, your classes could be lead by two-time ABC’s DWTS Mirror Ball Trophy Winner Kym Johnson and celebrities Joey Fatone, Carson Kressley and Sabrina Bryan. But even if your cruise isn’t a theme cruise, you’ll still have the opportunity to compete for a chance to advance to the Champions Cruise that features the show’s professionals and stars, and one winner from each ship in the fleet.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your gadgets and learn new ways to use them, the Holland America Line Digital Workshops powered by Windows are perfect … and complimentary! Guests can attend classes and learn how to do almost anything with their computer — from sharing vacation photos with family to blogging about your trip. If you think you’ve already learned everything you needed to know from the techsperts on your last Holland America cruise, think again! Check out this blog post about the new classes that have been added and start thinking about which ones you hope to attend on your next cruise.
Spa & Fitness
On sea days, many guests love to head to the “Greenhouse Spa” to enjoy an incredible and relaxing experience. You might be feeling run down from all the exciting ports you’ve been visiting, making the Greenhouse Spa the perfect place to get refreshed and rejuvenated. Take advantage of the relaxing treatment rooms and indulge in a massage or facial therapy. If you want to get active, the fitness center is nearby and offers all kinds of classes including yoga, pilates, indoor cycling and cardio circuit training. Classes are offered for participants of all different levels, so no need to feel intimated. If you prefer to work out on your own you can take advantage of the state-of-the-art gyms that feature treadmills, rowing machines, weight machines and more.
Holland America’s “On Location” program is truly one of a kind. Immerse yourself further in your destinations with enriching activities featuring the local cultures and cuisine of the ports you have been visiting, all while onboard. From learning tai chi in Asia to the Tango in Argentina, you will love these hands-on classes. Guest chefs also come onboard as part of the “On Location” program like Chef Natacha Gomez who hosted classes featuring authentic dishes from her homeland of Haiti. You can read more about her visit here.
Relax and catch up on the latest news at the “Explorations Café” powered by The New York Times. This comfortable coffee house environment is perfect for browsing one of the most extensive libraries at sea with a wide array of audio and video programming. You can also read the morning paper and enjoy fresh pastries. The café features internet stations and wireless hotspots, destination-related content, jigsaw puzzle tables and the Explorations Speaker Series on longer voyages that welcomes guests lecturers. And if the “New York Times” crossword puzzle is a morning favorite, test your knowledge at the ones onboard developed exclusively for Holland America Line.
Knowledge is Power
Holland America Line has an impressive roster of experts in a variety of fields that come onboard and provide exciting and informative lectures. When traveling through the Panama Canal, this might mean an expert on this man-made marvel. In Europe, guests could learn from an architectural historian, and in Asia someone who knows extensively about the region. Lecturers discuss culture, history, entertainment and politics. On the 2014 Grand World Voyage, guests were able to attend a lecture by South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and notable names such as news anchor Sam Donaldson, writer Kitty Kelley and oceanographer Harry Strong, have been onboard in the past.
When walking around the ship, you will notice the vast amounts of art. You can learn about all the pieces with a self-guided walking “Art Tour” narrated by well-known radio hosts Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman. The tours include walking directions, interviews with artists and background music and last about 30 to 40 minutes. You can download the tours before your trip here.
You can also take advantage of the ship’s onboard gallery by attending live auctions, gallery exhibitions and educational programs. The galleries feature all kinds of pieces, from vibrant works of art by world-renowned contemporary artist Peter Max, quiet cottage scenes by Thomas Kinkade and collectable sports memorabilia from famous athletes.
If you didn’t find a painting you liked, there is still one last place to splurge onboard. A world-class shopping experience is just steps away with the “Signature Shops.” Pick out a piece from the selection of jewelry, watches or souvenirs, try a new fragrance, or indulge in some premium liquor. And if you’re looking to purchase a fine piece of jewelry, Merabella has what you’re looking for. Whatever you choose, it will make a fine reminder of your vacation.
There’s still so much more to do onboard so be sure to read the daily program. Whether you like to test your luck bingo, participate in team trivia or play bridge, there are plenty of activities throughout the day!
What activities will you look forward to doing most on your next sea day? Tell us below!