Archive for March, 2014

Hello from St Thomas via the Holland America Line MS Maasdam

March 31, 2014


You may remember that Marty and I enjoyed an incredible 14 day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Holland America Line MS Maasdam back in 2012.

Well, I’m back on the Maasdam for another 14 day Southern Caribbean cruise with several friends including Connie Cenac who is a 5 star Mariner (aka the Cruise Queen!)

We are having a blast with her husband Dwight, her son Rocky and two friends of ours from Texas.

The weather has been great and the food/service has been INCREDIBLE!

Stay tuned for more updates from the Maasdam!



14 day Southern Caribbean cruise on Holland America Line MS Maasdam

March 27, 2014


i just returned from a 7 day cruise on the MS Westerdam on March 22nd and now I’m about to sail on March 28th on the MS Maasdam!

Holland America Line has really perfected the cruise experience.

Traditional mid-sized ships, incredible food and service that’s second to none are the reasons why I come back to Holland America Line time after time!

Be sure to follow along on Twitter @scottlara1961 using #maasdam!


MS Westerdam thoughts

March 24, 2014

I wanted to share with you that the MS Westerdam is an incredible ship.

The artwork, the open spaces and especially the smiles of the crew continue to bring me back to Holland America Line time after time!

I was with a group of 18 of my friends and everyone was impressed by the quality of food.

The entertainment was top notch including the shows, the BB Kings Blues Club and of course the Dancing with the Stars at Sea classes and finale!

You can check out one of the Dancing with the Stars at sea videos of my friend Connie Cenac here:

If you are looking for a vacation that appeals to all age groups, I urge you to book a Holland America Line cruise with me soon.

You will love it and have memories for a lifetime!


Pictures of Le Cirque night on the MS Westerdam!

March 22, 2014

Now that I’m back home in Jacksonville, I can upload all my pics and videos!

As promised, here’s the pictures of our incredible dinner
at Le Cirque on the Holland America Line MS Westerdam:

An memorable evening at Le Cirque on the MS Westerdam

March 21, 2014


Imagine for a moment dining in one of the most famous restaurants in New York. A restaurant steeped in notoriety and history. A restaurant that has entertained the rich and famous including Jackie O and former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger.

Now imagine that restaurant being transported to the fleet of Holland America Line for one night per cruise.

Along with my friends Dwight and Connie Cenac (The Cruise Queen) who are 5 star Holland America Line Mariners, we enjoyed a memorable experience at Le Cirque.

It’s interesting to feel the anticipation of dining in Le Cirque. As you walk by the signs around the ship promoting Le Cirque, you know that you are in store for the dinner experience of a lifetime!

The first thing that we noticed when we entered the Pinnacle Grill on Le Cirque night was the manager at the podium greeting the guests. Smiling faces, sincere heartfelt greetings and a sense of elegance filled the dining room as we walked by the staff while being seated.

Moments after we were seated we were greeted by several of the staff wearing perfectly white uniforms welcoming us to this special night. They seemed genuinely happy we were there and this was just the beginning!

The menus were easy to read and gave us a great idea of what was to come! The choices were expansive and described clearly.

I’ve dined in many upscale restaurants and in some cases it seemed that the staff were anxious to get you in and out quickly. The staff of Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill gave us the time to study the menu and answer all of our questions! This was one of the highlights of the Le Cirque experience.

What was interesting as I looked around the room, all of the other guests seemed relaxed, they were smiling and really enjoying the décor, service and the ambiance of Le Cirque night!

I was pleased that our table was large and we had enough “elbow room” to really enjoy the meal.

The waiter took our order and then we started on an incredible journey that is unparalleled on any cruise ship that I’ve sailed on.

We started with Foie Gars (duck liver) including rhubarb and saffron jelly to amuse the mouth compliments of the chef!


Now it was time for the appetizer!

I enjoyed the Caesar Salad and Dwight and Connie chose the Lobster Salad ‘Le Cirque’ This included poached lobster haricots verts and citrus.




Next we moved to the soup. Dwight and Connie thoroughly enjoyed the Butternut Squash Soup with Huckleberries and sage Chantilly.



I opted for the Chilled Yogurt and Melon Soup with shrimps. The taste of the food was perfect in everyway!



All three of us chose the Chateaubriand which included horseradish flan with sweet and sour beets served table side! You don’t get to eat Chateaubriand everyday and I can say that it was prepared perfectly!




For dessert, Dwight picked the Creme Brûlée ‘Le Cirque’ while Connie and I did not hesitate to order the remarkable Chocolate Soufflé including vanilla gelato.




Each and every course looked as incredible as it tasted. The presentation of the food was clearly an art form that was appreciated by all three of us at the table.

I noticed that the timing between courses was perfect. I’ve been to so many restaurants where you are waiting for long periods of time for the dishes to be removed and the next course is served.

The staff of Le Cirque performed like precision clock work in transporting our table from course to course. Almost like a Holland America Line ship taking us from port to port!

Even days after our dinner, Dwight and Connie commented to me on more than one occasion that the highlight of the cruise was Le Cirque night in the Pinnacle Grill. We will be sailing on the MS Maasdam on March 28th and we will be enjoying Le Cirque night once again on our 14 day Southern Caribbean cruise!

Le Cirque is an experience you will remember for a lifetime at a fraction of the cost you would pay at a prestigious New York restaurant. Please reserve your table at Le Cirque on Holland America Line weeks before your ship sails!



Day 4 MS Westerdam

March 19, 2014


I’ve been to San Juan, Puerto Rico more times than I can count, but it never gets old sailing past the fort!

San Juan has so much culture and history that I can’t do it justice here.

I’m glad that Holland America Line sails to San Juan and I look forward to returning again soon.

As I have mentioned in the past, my daughter Brittany and I had the honor of sailing on the inaugural voyage of the MS Oosterdam. It was great to meet Mr. Kruse, Mr Meadows and other leaders of Holland America Line during the cruise.

The number one question I was asked over and over again from the leadership of HAL was how I liked the Vista class ship.

I replied that I was glad that the Vista class was larger without sacrificing the history, prestige and elegance of the smaller ships like my favorite, the MS Maasdam.

Many of my friends have happily commented to me that Holland America Line has opened their arms wide to families and groups. I think that this philosophy is great because the traditional HAL clientele can now bring their kids and grand kids to ships they have come to love over many years.

During this voyage, I’ve seen many multigenerational families enjoying the food, incredible service and elegance of the MS Westerdam.

Stay tuned for more…


Days 2 and 3 of MS Westerdam cruise!

March 18, 2014

Day 2

I really enjoyed the at sea day on the MS Westerdam!

Besides relaxing, there was the Dancing with the Stars at Sea dance class. Everyone who attended learned how to dance The Jive!

Holland America Line hit a homerun with this popular program.

Formal night was incredible. You can’t beat it!

Day 3 Grand Turk
I’m so glad we were able to dock in Grand Turk. I know that when the weather doesn’t cooperate, their is a chance you won’t stop here!

I loved relaxing on the beach and enjoyed talking to a gentleman who recognized me from my YouTube videos.

I enjoyed a great St Patrick’s day dinner in the Vista dining room.

Day 1 Holland America Line MS Westerdam!

March 17, 2014

Day 1 Holland America MS Westerdam

We left the Hilton Garden Inn at 10:15 am and arrived at the port terminal at 10:30 am.

Check in was a breeze.

I was given boarding pass number 6 and I was on the ship at 11:45 a.m.

Cabin 6067 (quad) was available immediately which is a great benefit of sailing on Holland America Line.

On some other lines, you can’t enter your cabin until 1:00 p.m. or after.

After dropping off my carry on bag, I made my way to the Vista Dining Room for the Mariner Luncheon. I always enjoy the Reuben sandwich! The special luncheon is just one of many benefits of being a Holland America Mariner.

Next stop was the Lido deck for some hand scooped ice cream. Another Holland America Line MUST HAVE is the bread pudding. Don’t miss it!

A little later in the day I attended the mandatory life boat drill. The Captain took the drill VERY seriously. Several announcements were made stating emphatically that if you didn’t attend the drill that you would NOT be allowed to sail! I can say that LifeBoat 7 was all present and accounted for 5 minutes after the drill announcement was made on the loud speaker. Back in the day you had to bring your lifevest to the drill with you, but no longer on Holland America Line. This prevents people from tripping over those LONG straps.

The next thing you know I was standing on the port side of the ship with my CruiseRadio banner waving to the Port Everglades webcam (two shameless plugs!) I watch the camera frequently from home when I’m not on a cruise. Be sure to check out Cruise Radio at, and the Port Everglades Webcam at

I had a great dinner later in the evening in the Vista dining room and then I headed to the Main Showroom for the welcome aboard show with cruise director Rene. Before the show started I looked across the room and saw a very familiar face!

Back in March of 2012 during our 14 day Southern Caribbean Maasdam cruise, Marty and I met Glynda. She was so sweet and Marty and I really enjoyed seeing her every night in the Ocean Bar. Fast forward to our 7 day Eurodam cruise in March of 2013. I’m walking through the Ocean Bar and I hear the words, “Mr. Scott!” Marty and I were so glad to see Glynda again!

So present day. I’m looking across the Main Showroom on the Westerdam and who do I see but Glynda!

Lots more to come! Scott

Pre-Cruise Hotel in Ft Lauderdale

March 13, 2014


Back in the day, I used to drive the 6 hour journey from my home in Jacksonville to Ft Lauderdale with my wife Marty to go on a cruise vacation.

I remember being so stressed out leaving at the crack of dawn and at all the stops we would make heading down I95 South. I was concerned that we would be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and we would miss the ship!

A few years ago, a good friend of mine told me about a great pre-cruise hotel that was very clean, the staff was friendly and they served a FULL breakfast.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the typical continental breakfast that boasts a 2oz thimble full of orange juice and a miniature bagel!

The Hilton Garden Inn located in Dania Florida serves a FULL breakfast!

The shuttle ride to the cruise port takes about 10 to 15 minutes and boom, you’re ready to check in for your cruise vacation!

If you’re looking for the best pre-cruise hotel in Ft Lauderdale, I highly recommend the Hilton Garden Inn!

Here’s the website:

Looking forward to returning to Holland America Line!

March 12, 2014



It’s been about a year since I’ve been on  Holland America Line.

I’m looking forward to sailing on the Holland America Line MS Westerdam departing on Saturday, March 15th!

Stay tuned for updates and be sure to follow along on Twitter with #westerdam!