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Holland America, the proud purveyors of tradition, has – not surprisingly – maintained a more traditional approach to dining aboard its vessels. It’s for one very simple reason: that’s exactly the way her guests want it! Evening meals evening meals enjoyed in elegant surroundings served by a gracious wait staff who remember their patron’s preferences – it’s all part of the pleasure of a Holland America cruise vacation.

Here’s how their Traditional Dining in the Main Restaurants works:

Breakfast and Lunch: Open seating. During the appropriate meal time, arrive when and with whom you’d like and you’ll be promptly seated.

Dinner: There are two sittings; First and Main. Each is further divided into an earlier and later dining time utilizing the two levels of the beautiful Rotterdam Dining Room
  • 5:45 pm (First Upper). Guests dine in the restaurant’s upper level
  • 6:15 pm (First Lower). Guests dine in the restaurant’s lower level
  • 8:00 pm (Main Upper). Guests dine in the restaurant’s upper level
  • 8:30 pm (Main Lower). Guests dine in the restaurant’s lower level

  • Sitting times may be adjusted according to the cruise and some ships may maintain a two-sitting (6:00 pm and 8:15 pm) arrangement; Alaska cruise dining times are about 15 minutes earlier than those shown above. Guests may request any sitting time, table size and table mate(s). Sitting time may be confirmed (or waitlisted) at time of booking but specific table location and even table size may be assigned by the Maître d’ on board.

    All Holland America chefs are members of the prestigious Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs gourmet society. And it shows, the moment you take your seat in the elegant Rotterdam Dining Room. A pianist or string quartet accompanies your evening meal as you sample the Continental cuisine.

    Regional specialties are introduced according to your cruise and traditional favorites (steak, fish, chicken) are always available for the asking. Crisply starched linens, gleaming silver, elegant china and fresh flowers grace your table every night.

    “Relaxed and casual” are the operative words for the Lido Restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the buffet-style Lido Restaurant offers a broad selection of seafood, freshly carved meats, fresh-baked bread, fruits, vegetables, cereals, beverages, and delicious desserts. Regional specialties such as Asian stir-fry, and the ever-popular pizza, burgers and pastas are available here, too.

    Especially good are the fresh salads and gourmet sandwiches. Dine inside or al fresco. Evening meals provide made-to-order entrées and table service.

    Any evening meal aboard Veendam can be made even more special. Make a reservation at the Pinnacle Grill, the ship’s upscale, reservations-only restaurant. The menu is themed to the freshest from the Pacific Northwest – Alaskan king salmon; Dungeness crab cakes and Northwest clam chowder are specialties.

    Succulent steaks and savory pastas are always on the menu, too. The wine list is equally extensive. Bvlgari® china, Riedel® stemware and Frette® linens are on the table; a smile is on your face! A modest charge is added for this dining experience.

    In-stateroom or in-suite dining is available aboard Holland America. In most cases, guests may choose from the main dining room menu and as an added treat, the meal is served on the line’s signature, Rosenthal china! There is no room service charge for this service. So, put yourself in this picture: you and your companion enjoying a private, evening meal on your balcony, served on elegant china. Time to toast the sunset!

    Of course, there are plenty more opportunities to up the calorie count. The outdoor Terrace Grill serves up hamburgers, chicken burgers, hot dogs and regional specialties (Indonesian cuisine is tops on Holland America). Exploration’s Café serves pastries throughout the day; daily Afternoon Tea Service – and once each cruise they elevate the service to “Royal Dutch High Tea”; and the famous, late-night “snack,” in the form of a chocolate extravaganza!

    Oh – there’s a complimentary Ice Cream Bar, too! Additionally, guests who choose Penthouse and Deluxe Verandah Suites (Categories PS & S) have complimentary use of the private Neptune Lounge which serves complimentary beverages, breakfast pastries, afternoon snacks and evening hors d’oeuvres.

    Holland America’s innovative Culinary Arts Center warrants special attention in this “Dining” section. Included within the spacious Wajang Theater, this center is the place to be for gourmet presentations, tasting events, cooking presentations and optional cooking classes. There’s a fully-equipped kitchen up on stage and close-in cameras and large plasma screens give all in attendance a front row seat. Just across the hall from the center is a well-placed wine tasting bar and boutique wine and culinary shop.

    On selected sailings, acclaimed celebrity chefs, culinary authors and experts in wine, chocolate and cheese are featured. Holland America identifies those sailings as their “Culinary Guest” program. To access the schedule of those special sailings, click here.

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