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Holland America Line
Holland America Line features 31 CruiseTour itineraries in 2020 exploring Alaska and the Yukon Territory. More Info >>
Cruise ships are notorious for serving food in just about every corner of the ship pretty much 24 hours a day. The lament is universally that people gain weight during a cruise. I try to eat sensibly but love fine food, so trying to diet during ms Amsterdam dining can be challenging. The food is delicious! And the quality is comparable to fine gourmet restaurants. The tone is set by the Culinary Arts Center, a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen that is located next to the ship’s stunning Atrium. Once we attended a gourmet presentation and tasting here, we knew we were in for a culinary treat during our cruise in Alaska waters.
The main Holland America Amsterdam restaurants consist of the two decks of the La Fontaine dining rooms, located on the Lower Promenade and Upper Promenade. This is the dining spot for the majority of the passengers, so it is quite a large venue, but good design and the fact that it is spread over two decks keep it from seeming like two cavernous cafeterias. And the food is excellent, with extremely good service and an extensive wine list. Except for the buffets, where temptation to overload the plate is great, we found the portions to be of a sensible size, which is something not always found on cruise ships, where quantity often seems to be more important than quality. And the views are excellent from everywhere in La Fontaine—the whole point of an Alaska cruise. If we weren’t out on wildlife tours or other shore excursions, we were always looking out the windows at the incredible scenery.
There are several other Holland America Amsterdam restaurants onboard the ship, and not all of them come at an additional cost. But they are smaller, and require reservations. For a small fee (and with advance reservations), we spent one evening dining in the sophisticated and elegant Pinnacle Grill with its fine crystal and stemware, and superb gourmet cuisine. This definitely is ms Amsterdam dining at its finest. One of our favorite dining spots was the Canaletto Italian Restaurant on the Lido Deck. This is a modified corner of the larger Lido Restaurant, with great food and service. Other places to grab a bite include the Sports Bar, Amstel Café, and Explorations Café for snacks; these three sites are all on the Upper Promenade Deck. Outdoor snacks, burgers, pizza, and similar are also available at the Oasis Café on the Sky Deck and on the Terrace Grill on the Lido Deck, both by the swimming pools.
In general, the dress code for ms Amsterdam dining is quite relaxed—a good fit for guys who will not wear a suit or tie except under very rare circumstances. Dining is almost always “smart casual,” though no jeans, T-shirts, shorts, or swimsuits are allowed in most restaurants, and they're not allowed at all in public areas during the evening. So slacks and a good shirt are fine for men most of the time. Many men choose to wear a sports jacket and/or tie each evening, but this is not required except on formal nights. We learned of the dress code for the following evening each night in our cabin; we had one of the verandah rooms. There are generally two formal nights per week of cruising. Women usually wear a cocktail dress and will appreciate having their hair done and other pampering in the spa before these evenings. Formal attire for men can be a sport jacket and tie, though many men will wear a tuxedo or business suit. Men’s formal wear can be rented in advance just for the duration of the cruise. A hint for gentlemen of Scottish ancestry—a full dress kilt outfit is considered formal wear!