Since our ship is being sold I have gotten asked by a lot of people what ship we will go to next and where that ship will go. The cruise industry is largely still in shut-down mode and and we haven’t (and don’t expect to) hear about where Stuart’s next assignment will be for a while still. The next time he goes back to work it’s entirely possible that there still won’t be passengers onboard and even if there is I might not be able to go with him at least for a little bit. There is also the potential that crew might not be allowed shore leave or it might be dependent on the port and what their current COVID status is.
So, we don’t know where we’re going. I asked Stuart which ship he wanted to go and he said, “wherever keeps paying me.” In this particular situation he is the realistic one. I’m going to go ahead and be the optimist and allow myself to day-dream about the places we will get to go once things get up and running again.
This is not as simple of question as “where in the world would I like to go?” When he gets assigned to a ship he typically goes back to it contract after contract for at least a few years. That leads to questions like, who is on that ship already for crew? Are they good to work with and sail with? I would entirely choose a ship with more basic itineraries but incredible crew (especially if some of my best friends and Stuart’s best friends are there.) And, truthfully, my excitement about itineraries has shifted from just thinking about incredible exotic places to places that friends and family might actually be able to come see me and/or want to/are able to go themselves. As fun as it is to say that I will have family come visit me on the other side of the world they probably aren’t going to fly to Australia to join the ship.
Read on to see what my Top 6 Picks for What Ship Is On The Top of Our Wish List?
6. m/s Oosterdam
I love New Zealand and this ship has all sorts of itineraries with New Zealand in it. A great region that is full of history, hiking, and beautiful scenery it is certainly worth the flight. However, if I’m not working for the company I would have to pay for the flight which would likely be quite expensive.
5. m/s Zuiderdam
The Zuiderdam made the list because of it’s incredibly immersive Mediterranean itineraries. I love the Mediterranean and I love when you get to explore more than only the big cities. This is an area that never gets old and still might be close enough for friends and family to come visit.
In the winter months the ship is doing Caribbean cruises, but also has some featuring the Panama Canal as a roundtrip out of Fort Lauderdale. While this isn’t a full transit it gives you a taste of going through the Panama Canal without having a long cross-country flight (for my family at least).
4. m/s Nieuw Statendam
This one is on the list because of Norway, the Baltic, and at the end of the season next year, the Mediterranean. These are regions that never get old to go to and I would love to explore some more. The winter would be spent in the Caribbean, but as it alternates between the Southern, Eastern, and Western itineraries it wouldn’t be too repetitive, and would be close to home for friends and family to come sail. This ship is also the current newest ship which could also be fun as it offers additional areas around the ship such as the Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard Onboard, and B.B. King Blues Club.
3. m/s Volendam
One of the two remaining “small ships” and home of the Grand South America and Antartica. It also does a Southern Caribbean run, pops across the Panama Canal, and then spends its summer in Alaska. While I’ve had a lot of fun sailing on Grand Voyages before they can be both a pro and a con. The itineraries are typically excellent and include more immersive onboard experiences overall than a normal voyage does. You have mostly one set of passengers for a long period of time. They can become like family – and, just like family they can be a bit difficult at times. However, I kind of love them. Add to that the Southern Caribbean run which would be a great opportunity for friends and family to come visit and I know my mom has always wanted to sail through the Panama Canal. The summer in Alaska isn’t anything exotic, but it’s comfortable and lovely and despite having been there a million times I miss Alaska and can’t wait to go back.
2. m/s Westerdam
The top of my travel bucket list is Antartica. This is apparently a challenging area to sail in from a work perspective, so Stuart would rather have me put this on a travel bucket list where he isn’t working, but he’s been there a whole bunch of times and I haven’t, so I am putting it on the list! The m/s Westerdam is currently scheduled for several Antartica trips at the beginning of 2022, which, when combined with a summer in the Mediterranean is why it is number 2 on my list.
1. m/s Zaandam.
I hate to say it as it seems like I’m chasing the Grand Voyages. There are a lot of great things about us going to this ship – the itineraries are fantastic, there is a chance that a lot of the passengers and crew from past Grand Voyages will end up there, and it’s the same class of ship as the Amsterdam which makes it a bit easier for Stuart work wise. The other voyages that it will sail is what really put it over the top for me, though. The Zaandam will play host to the Grand Africa Voyage in the fall of 2021, the Grand World Voyage in the spring of 2022, but it will also have the Voyage of the Vikings this coming summer. To make that even better is the huge added bonus for me of sailing in Canada/New England for the majority of the rest of the summer which would mean that my family could come see the ship! Now, just because the ship is doing all of those itineraries doesn’t mean that we would be there for all of them, but there’s a good possibility of sailing to some incredibly cool places while also having some close to home options for my family to come onboard, add in some work friends and passengers and we I think we have a winner.