Holland America's MS Oosterdam

When you’re choosing a cruise ship, size does matter. At 936 feet and hosting 1,964 guests, the recently refurbished Oosterdam, from Holland America, is the perfect choice for a mid-sized ship experience. With a style described as Boho or Bohemian chic with hippie influences, it’s easy to find your happy place onboard this beautiful vessel.

Here are a few reasons to choose HAL’s MS Oosterdam for your next journey on the sea:

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Size—A manageable size, the Oosterdam is suitable for the traveler looking for a peaceful respite asea. Designers have made great use of every inch of the ship with many dining choices and entertainment venues. It is a spot-on choice to experience the Panama Canal locks as well as quaint ports that more hefty ships might not offer.

Food—Holland America is known for its many and varied dining offerings, from the snazzy Pinnacle to the Lido Market to the Main Dining Room. Throw in the Canaletto for Italian fare, and the Dive-In for burgers, dogs, fries and shakes, and everyone is satisfied. The Lido buffet is served for you by cheerful attendants, guaranteeing sanitary scenarios. And, of course, there is the option for in-cabin service if you don’t feel like mingling. So many choices, so little time.

Entertainment and Activities—America’s Test Kitchen presents classes on regional favorites with tips on spices, cooking methods and exotic ingredients. This culinary experience offers demonstrations and hands-on workshops including cake decorating and mastering homemade pasta, among others. This program will phase out at the end of the year, being replaced with a similar series called Port to Table.

HAL has partnered with O, The Oprah Magazine, to offer meaningful activities like Just Breathe, a meditation/movement class. O’s Reading Room connects you with other readers to discuss an Oprah’s Book Club selection. Select “Oprah’s Favorite Things” items are also available for purchase on board the ship.

EXC Exploration Central is an immersive experience programmed to help connect with the cultures you are visiting. Experts give detailed info about each destination and bring locals on board who provide classes, lectures and one-on-one chat sessions to offer an insiders take on the region.

America’s Test Kitchen onboard the MS Oosterdam

In partnership with Billboard, the music info destination, Billboard Onboard features a lounge with dual pianists playing sets of your favorite music. It’s a rousing show that welcomes interaction with guests and offers trivia activities between sets.

Another entertainment partnership provides the Lincoln Center Stage with offerings of chamber music, jazz and classical renditions by a talented group of musicians. Evening performances, as well as afternoon recitals, are included.

Who needs The Voice when the BB King’s Blues Club presents talent that will have you on the dance floor. This amazing group performs three sets almost every night with a repertoire of blues, rock and soul faves. It’s the perfect place for a drink after dinner.

The big daddy of venues is the Mainstage. The 2-tiered setting is the sight for Broadway type shows, comedians, ventriloquists, magicians and more. BBC Earth Expedition stages the unique Planet Earth II in Concert, with amazing nature footage paired with a live music ensemble that will take your breath away.

Lincoln Center Stage, MS Oosterdam

Ports—Oosterdam’s itinerary changes with the seasons. Currently cruising Alaska, the next route will be Pacific Coastal, then Mexican Riviera. Hawaii is in the future followed by the Panama Canal and back to Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquese. Lots of bucket list locations on that list. With plenty of time for exploration, you might choose a planned tour itinerary or just meander through town on your own, depending on the port.

Excursions—Whether you are a soft adventure kind of traveler or an intrepid adrenalin junky, there are many experiences from which to choose. Air-conditioned coach tours of mountainous coffee plantations might float your boat or hop on a seaplane for views over Alaskan glaciers. Hiking the Kauai forest or ziplining over lush landscapes, the amount of physical activity varies as you wish.

Service—Never a lack of smiles from your friendly stateroom attendants, who will strive to make your journey as seamless as possible. Cabins are spotless with little surprises upon return. If you can’t find something, they will find it; and if you have a special request, they will happily endeavor to fulfill it. The sense of pride in their occupation is obvious in the meticulous attention to detail resulting in guest contentment.

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Navigator App—iPhone and Android users can download the Navigator app to book shore excursions, view restaurant menus and make dining reservations, among other things. It is a great way to keep track of your account if you are on a budget. The app is free of charge and even enables guests to chat online with others on the ship.

Places to relax—The new Gallery Bar, with its traditional and funky art-covered walls, provides a quiet place to enjoy a drink, watch a golf match or just reflect on the day’s activities. Several decks above, the Crow’s Nest offers panoramic vista views along with Dale DeGroff crafted mixed drink offerings and popular coffee concoctions. And, of course, Holland America is known for its Greenhouse Spa and Salon for pampering to the max.

Gallery Bar onboard Holland America's MS Oosterdam

Whether a one-week Caribbean itinerary or a 20 day Panama Canal cruise, your home at sea will be peaceful, calm and rejuvenating. Join a Mah Jong group, learn to dance like a local or just sit on your balcony and read a book—the Oosterdam offers it all. Leave your stress at home and just live in the moment at sea.