The Digital Workshop blog has moved

8 Jun

Thanks for visiting the ship’s website!  We haven’t shut down our blog operations, but rather we have moved all of our efforts into one main blog.  This is to ensure that the experience for you, the guest, is one that is slightly easier because of more frequent posts, fresher content, and knowing that everything is in one great place.  The URL for the new website is:

At this site you’ll find new content, great feedback from all of our Techsperts, as well as useful links like Handout Downloads, and great information from Windows.

Thank you all for your support and for following along with the Digital Workshop.




21 May

We finally finished the crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Civitavecchia! It was a surprisingly calm and smooth cruise! We had many sea days, but that really allowed more time in the Digital Workshop! Classes were packed everyday and many guests really took advantage of using the sea days for a time of learning before we got to the busy  port days that were to come. After sailing for 6  days straight, a quick stop in Portugal, and then 2 more sea days, We finally made it to the Mediterranean! 

While We were sailing across the Ocean we all had time to learn some useful tips on how to take a panoramic.  After taking the Panoramic pictures, we learned how to stitch them together using Windows Live Photo Gallery in our Best Face Forward 1 course. After a few trials ( remember the pictures have to overlap in order for them to be stitched together)  we stitched a few very good-looking panoramic pictures together!!

Tunisia Africa




As you can see the guests MASTERED the stitching technique and got a lot of use out of it as well!

Thanks for a great crossing!

Techspert Erin

Showing off the Noordam’s Talented Guests!!

21 Apr

This week on the Noordam I enjoyed watching two gentlemen express their love for photography.

They were both very good at capturing pictures at the right moment and taking some pretty fantastic photos.

They were kind even to share some of their photographs with me, so I figured I would share them with you as well!!



Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!

Techspert Erin

First week on the Noordam!

14 Apr

Last Thursday I boarded the MS Noordam for an exciting 4 months! I have currently finished a great 7 month contract on the Zaandam and am happy to make this new ship into my home.

As we sail through the Caribbean waters for the next few weeks I am happy to welcome our special guests onboard for the next few weeks. The Digital Workshop is open to all guests and many have taken advantage of this wonderful workshop offered by Microsoft and Holland America. As I continue to blog for the next 4 months, I will be using this as an opportunity to help all of us stay up to date on what is happening on the Noordam and specifically in the Digital Workshop!

My first blog is going to be a simple review on removing that AWFUL red-eye that comes through onto our photographs! While some of us might have a flash setting on our cameras that might remove the red-eye for us, it is beneficial and useful to know how to remove the red-eye through Windows Live Photo Gallery as well.

After loading your pictures into Windows Live Photo Gallery and selecting on the picture that contains the awful red-eye, continue with the steps below for a simple solution!!


Here is what Window Live Photo Gallery looks like!


Select the “Red Eye” Selection at the Top of the Screen


Click and drag a box around the first eye

As soon as you let go……


…the red-eye is removed from the photo!!

Continue these steps for each eye until all the unwanted red-eye is removed!!

Make sure you only draw a box around each eye. If you get other portions of the face included in your box, you could end up with a picture like this!!

That is all I have for you today! I will continue next week with another beneficial tip!!

– Techspert Erin  : )

Fall in the Mediterranean

15 Oct

Hi this is Jason, the Techspert on the Noordam in the Holland America Digital Workshop, powered by Windows. The weather here has been fantastic, stretching still into mid October. Evidence of this long seasonal warmth is in the photo below of a ripe figue de barbarie, or as it is known in the United States, prickly pear. Fruit of a broad-leafed cacti, it is still dangerous to touch, even though no needles are visible on it’s surface like they are on its parent leaf. This particular succulent I found in great abundance growing beside a road high up on a hill in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia, Africa.

Though it is edible, aware of its tiny barbs I elected to eat the fruit being served in the Lido onboard the Noordam instead. I chose the large dragon fruit, some figs, a passion fruit, some cape gooseberries and of course, the hairy Indonesian rambutan. I can say from an American perspective it was an extreme delight to taste these exotic fruits.

On two occasions we passed by the Stromboli Volcano, just off the northern coast of Sicily. Though there is a food dish of the same name found in North American pizzerias, this Stromboli was truly amazing to behold. Rising to just over 3000 feet (900 meters) above sea level, it is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, having been erupting almost continuously since 1932. More impressive still is the fact that it is has permanent residents.

We’re now headed back to our Mediterranean home port of Civitavecchia. I’ll write again soon.


Techspert Jason
ms Noordam


Did you miss me?

1 Oct

Hi everyone, I’m back from a short stint on the ms Zaandam. While I had a fantastic time cruising all the beautiful glaciers of coastal Alaska, traveling by float-plane into remote areas, hiking in the lush rainforests and even snorkeling in the not-so frigid waters, I am happy to be back onboard the beautiful ms Noordam. Currently we are continuing our cruises in the Mediterranean, and soon we will be heading south for warmer waters.

The weather has been fantastic and I did manage to get a sunburn in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (or España as it is officially known). One thing that has been a bit of a learning curve for me has been to listen to and pronounce the Castilian enunciation (also known as a Castilian lisp) of certain words containing the letter equivalent of American “c” or “s”, such as ciento (meaning one hundred, pronounced “thiento). One thing that has been fun has been me speaking Spanish in Italy and Tunisia with them answering me back in Italian and French, respectively, with both of us mostly understanding each other. In many cases, even though I didn’t recognize their words, I knew what they were saying. This did not hold true in Dubrovnik, Croatia, however, where the below photo was taken:

I was trying to tell the woman taking the picture to lower her fingers from partially covering the lens but my Croatian language skills weren’t up to the task (I don’t speak Croatian, though one of my sisters is learning it). Nevertheless, I was grateful to have the picture taken of me atop the city wall of Dubrovnik. The wall and fortresses, nearly 2 kilometers long, snakes their way around the entire city and old port, reminiscent of the Great Wall of China. Here is another view:


We’re exploring Greece now and then it’s back to Italy and our home port, Civitavecchia, another charming Italian city. That’s all for now.


Techspert Jason
ms Noordam

Out of Drydock and on our way to the Med

21 Jul
Hello fellow sailors!! Just wanted to update you on the progress of one of your favorite ‘Dam’ Ships, the elegant MS Noordam.  After a stay in dry dock in Germany, our ship has set sail and is currently sailing along the southern coast of Spain en route to Cadiz tomorrow and then Barcelona later this week.  We will begin regular sailing with passengers on July 26th out of Barcelona and will stay in the waters of the beautiful Mediterranean Ocean until the late summer.  Here’s a quick peek at a few of the places we’ve been lately.

Lisbon, Portugal

See everyone soon and safe travels!!

Will Stockert

Try taking photos from a different angle…

6 May

You’ve been taking photos for some time now. You’re probably pretty good at it too. But have you ever thought to yourself…”I’m at the limit of what I can take pictures of. I’ve taken beach photos, dinner photos and tour photos, and I have loads of pictures of all the Holland America ships I’ve cruised on…What can I take pictures of that is different?” Answer? Try underwater photography. Relatively inexpensive digital cameras capable of both land and underwater photos are widely available. Though, most are limited in depth range to between 10 to 50 feet, for the occasional or resort diver they are perfect.

All the rules of land photography still apply – composition, framing, light, etc., plus the added challenge of both you and your subject moving. Shooting video with these same cameras is therefore fun, as you can easily follow along with your subject, or just shoot as subjects such as schools of tiny fish swim up to greet you. And you can have the best of both worlds – changing from still to video is a snap while underwater. Try it on your next cruise – most dive shops rent cameras as well. Happy shooting!

How to Create Pop Art

13 Jan

The Idea of Pop Art is to take an ordinary picture like this one…

And put in lots of color and play around with the exposure to create a fun new image like this one…

Pop art is a really fun effect…it has lots of color and can really turn your photo into something new.  I’ve broken it down step by step so you can easily do this at home.

1. open windows live photo gallery

2. Double click on the picture you want to turn into pop art

3. Click on fix on the very top of your screen, this will bring up the menu on the right. It should look like this…

4. Click on adjust color and then go to the saturation tab and drag it all the way to the right.  To move the slider you need to put your mouse over it, click and hold, and then drag it to the right.

5. Click on Adjust exposure, this will expand the menu and show the manual controls for brightness, contrast, shadows and highlights.  Click on the brightness slider and bring it down  just a little bit by clicking and holding your click down and slide to slightly to the left.  Then slide contrast, shadows, and highlights all the

A Future Techspert

6 Jan

I know we all joke around about how much kids can do with computers and technology.  Well, it really is true and I never realized how true until I saw this.  This is Mia, she’s 2 years old and she sailed with us on the Noordam last cruise.  Mia’s mom was hard at work during techspert time so I was playing with Mia and she immediately grabbed my camera and started taking pictures like a pro.  She took some great pictures and was even able to go into the review mode and show her mom her shots.  I think we have a future techspert on our hands….