Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Dutch Back - in Style

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Dutch Back - in Style

Article excerpt


DUTCH sailors were the first Europeans to set eyes on Australia. That was in 1606, when Willem Janszoon set sail in the Duyfken in search of gold and trade opportunities.

Now the Dutch have returned again in ships. The Holland America Line's flagship MS Amsterdam visited Brisbane last week as part of a 67-day Grand Pacific, Australia and New Zealand voyage.

The Amsterdam felt like home - the life I was meant to be living ... one of luxury with a relaxed, comfortable feel, as though I would never be asking too much but appreciative of everything on offer.

Its wood panelled interior highlighted by brass fittings and a collection of exquisite art and antiques gives a feeling of rich European elegance. With a passenger capacity of 1380 and 615 crew, the Amsterdam is the third ship to bear the name of the Dutch capital in Holland America Line's 137-year history. The ship stands at an impressive 238m in length with a beam of 32m.

It was built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, in 2000 and refurbished in 2005. The five-star vessel blends the latest in shipbuilding technology with the artistry, personalised touches and superior service that has made Holland America Line one of the highest-rated premium cruise lines in the world.

The Amsterdam features larger staterooms, a 24/7 internet centre and a world-class spa and fitness centre.

"We offer value for money," the ship's hotel manager Henk Mensink said.

"Others offer more but we don't want you to feel you have had the skin pulled from your nose.

"The crew is what makes the difference. They are mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines.

"Their service, approach and philosophy is very genuine. Gracious. It's second nature.

"It's their sincerity that gets me all the time. They are so disarming. And it continues in the face of personal adversity.

"We have taken up collections for the natural disasters that have occurred in Indonesia, the Philippines and in Samoa as well as Vanuatu, which is part of our itinerary.

"If it affects one of the family, it affects us all."

Mr Mensink said Australians were great participants on board ship. …

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