|Sea Travel out on the deck|
Value vs Price is one way I evaluate which long term trips I will take each year.
Not having the resources of other travelers I consider all my options before I select
where I will travel on 30 day trip. My preference is to travel for long periods even if it is only one trip a year.
To be a traveler not a tourist I approach itineraries and locations differently than most other vacationers. In addition to the cost of a trip, the return I receive from visiting a new country, staying in a small town, learning a skill or meeting the locals is part of the equation.
In place of my usual 6 weeks in Italy each year I opted to explore Northern Europe, the Baltic, an area I had never visited. Traveling by ship to visit 7 countries in 3 weeks was a good use of time if not the most economically way to travel.
Holland America’s Baltic cruise from Dover, UK to Norway, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Denmark and Sweden gave me a small overview of countries I might wish to return to. But did this sailing offer Value for the Price?
Although solo travelers did not seem to be the target market for this company, I did find some surprises that my other trans Atlantic crossings did not offer. And in future posts I shall share the single feature HA has that other ships may not be able to compete with: the incredible crew and staff on the Ryndam.
There was limited information, before sailing, about what classes would be offered, so it was a pleasant surprise to find Microsoft based programs would be taught. Each day, even port days, four or more classes were taught in the Digital Workshop by Craig Lewes, the ships’ Techspert.
|Craig Louis, Techspert|
Meet Craig Louis the Techspert teaching Microsoft on the Ryndam. With a high level of energy.
Craig taught more than 70 classes during the time I was aboard.
For an hour every day he offered an ‘ask Craig’ event where passengers asked questions on cameras,
Microsoft programs or solutions to some of their computer problems.
Many of his classes were standing room only. He presented each program with a clear and concise outline. I particularly enjoyed his dry sense of humor ‘deadpan’ response to some questions.* I asked Craig if I could do a short profile on this blog and he sent me the following:
“ I started with HAL back in June 2003. So this year is my ten-year anniversary! I originally started with Club HAL doing the kids programming and then, because that job was only seasonal back then, I switched to doing administrative work for the Entertainment Department.That position was abolished and replaced with new ones shortly after. I became a Senior Assistant Cruise Director (doing a lot of stage and mic work, theme nights, bingo, supervising the Cruise Staff.That job lasted me about two and a half years before I went back to doing administrative work for the Entertainment Department on Grand Voyages, which I ended up doing for four years. I then took a hiatus from the company to finish my university degree (Bachelor is Sociology and Economics) and was asked to come back to HAL as a Techspert.”
“I started in August of 2010. I can honestly say that I think it's the best job on the entire ship!
I just get paid to travel around the world and geek out a bit every day. I find the greatest thing about this job is that everyone who walks through the Digital Workshop doors is there to learn. I think because of that, and because the workshops are complimentary, everyone is just in a good mood.
It's a different environment than other places on the ship where people may complain about one thing or another. On top of that, I really love how our older generations are getting into technology and really embracing it.
It's always great to see the faces of the guests light up when we do something like panoramic pictures of photo fusing. There are no negatives that I have found with my actual job. The only negative of the lifestyle is being away from my friends and family for extended periods of time.
Oh! My other favorite part would be all the funny questions guests ask me; granted, they're just funny to me because they'll use awkward terminology or have very irrational fears - does that make me sound mean? There are just those funny moments, like when a guest starts talking to the computer instead of using the mouse or touching the screen... “*