Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Eurodam, The Inaugural: Everything Is Relative

Yesterday’s dedication ceremony, which included a retrospective of Holland America Lines’ relationship with the Dutch Royal Family, reminded me of another aspect of relativity—cruise ship sizes.

In modern terms, cruise ships are loosely categorized as small, medium, and large. Over the years those terms have become even looser as “mega” ships have sailed into the scene. Here aboard Eurodam, Holland America Line executives have briefed us about the new ship and emphasized that their fleet consists of medium-sized vessels. Some of my colleagues have questioned that description because, after all, Eurodam is an 86,700 ton ship and that has generally been considered within the range of larger cruise ships. When compared to her other Holland American Line fleetmates—the S-class ships weigh in at 55,451 to 55,819 tons, R-class from 59,855 to 61,396, and Vista-class at 82,000 tons—Eurodam is larger. However, she’s far from huge. These days, it’s more relevant to compare all cruise ships afloat when thinking in terms of size. With “mega” ships at 160,000 tons and more, Eurodam is indeed a medium-size ship.

More significantly, Eurodam isn’t too large to provide the premium experience that is Holland America Line’s signature—one that includes thoughtful features like homey and comfortable accommodations, intimate spaces to share conversation and a cocktail, and sincere, natural service by an outstanding crew.

Holland America Line’s mission is “Through excellence, we create once-in-a-lifetime experiences every time.” Today was one such experience. Eurodam just sailed from Rotterdam accompanied—as when she arrived—by a fireboat, a flotilla of small water craft, and even sightseeing boats carrying hardy passengers who watched our departure beneath umbrellas. Despite a slight drizzle, the banks of the Nieuw Maas River were lined with people waving, cheering, and wishing Eurodam Godspeed.

It was a thrill to sail on the inaugural cruise and to remain onboard for the prelude cruise. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.

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