Aboard Holland America’s Ryndam (Part 1 of 3)

On our way to the Tampa cruise port we struck up a conversation with the seasoned taxi driver sharing that we typically cruise from the Miami Florida port and were curious to see how closely the picture featured on our blog would match this terminal. The taxi driver explained that there was nothing glamorous about it; it was simply a converted ware house.

He was right but it did not deter us as the service was efficient and friendly typical of most cruise embarkation processes. We were happy to hear that we had been upgraded to a Veranda class suite, not sure what that meant exactly but anytime you hear the word “suite” we knew it meant something grand.

As we completed the final verifications to board the Ryndam the ticketing agent posed a question to us that we had never been asked on any other cruise line.

“As part of your cruise vacation we offer you a choice of a red pill or a blue pill.

The red pill will keep you in the Ryndam matrix allowing you the full Holland America experience.

The blue pill allows you to view the cruise unfiltered.

Since this is a 16 day voyage you are offered one pill at the start of your journey and eight days later you are offered the other.

We find most of our customers benefit from taking the red pill especially in the beginning because of the fact that the ship is 8 days at sea. I’ll give you two a moment to make your decision while I photo copy your passports.”

Joel and I decided to take a blue pill for the sake of our journalistic integrity.

With a shout of “La Chaim!” we washed down our blue pill with champagne and headed to our stateroom.

As we entered our stateroom we wondered for a second if we had taken the right pill. The room was quite large with a very private balcony. To our delight the bathroom was extremely spacious and included a bathtub which is a rarity on cruise ships. We had ample closet and storage space too which is especially great if you are traveling with 6 months worth of clothes and personal items.

Happily we set about the task of unpacking our bags so we could change into our afternoon attire and explore the ship.

As we went deck to deck it was hard not to notice “the Ryndam” had seen better days, she is shabby chic at its best. The ship is holding on to her veneer of bygone elegance on a shoestring.

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