1st Time Cruiser Review
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Boarding the ship went very smoothly and we were glad we were the only cruise ship leaving that day. We cant imagine what it would be like at Port Everglades with 6-8 cruise ships at one time. We were able to go directly to our cabin and our luggage arrived shortly after we did.
Muster drill was interesting and we are glad that HA is taking it very seriously.
- Always cooked the way we ordered it in the MDR
- Service in the MDR was good as was our Wine Stewardess
- Terrace Grill burgers were always yummy as were the Sweet Potato Fries
- Canaletto food seemed to be in larger portions
- Lido always had something for everyone, Chocolate chip cookies AWESOME!!!!!
- Ate at the Pinnacle once but unless you have a special occasion to celebrate or you are into 5 star dining it isn't worth the extra cost. Food pretty much the same as in the MDR
- Room service was always within the time requested for breakfast but had to wait during the day since More
everyone else was ordering at the same time when you would get back onto the ship
- Overall food was excellent
Entertainment/On board Activities
- We didn't go to many of the late night shows but the ones that we did where good
- The team trivia was fun and hard all at the same time
- Adult pool games kept everyone laughing and entertained
- Casino is a Casino, Bingo is Bingo
- Shane the Cruise Director was always busy and has a great sense of humour
- We heard that we had over 200 kids on board but you wouldn't have know it unless you where at the Lido pool
- There was always something to see or go and do whether we were at sea or in port
- They are like Ninjas, you see them in the hallways but never in your cabin
- Cabin was always clean and taken care of
- Crew is always smiling and asking you if you need anything
- Photography crew took some of the best pictures we got on the cruise
Overall being our 1st ever cruise we can't wait until we book another one. Yes it took us a day to get our sea legs but it didn't stop us from enjoying this cruise. We will definitely book another cruise with HA in the future and it will be on one of the Vista Class ships. Less
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Cabin review: Noordam Superior Verandah Suite Verandah 6105
Very quiet mid ship cabin with lots of room.
Spacious balcony with 4 chairs, 2 tables and 2 foot rests.
Bathroom was great with jet-tub, separate shower stall and 2 sinks.
Enough closet space for 2 people to store all clothing needed for 7 days.
Port and Shore Excursions
Coming into Grand Turk Cruise Terminal was well organized and clean. We had booked through HA the Clear-Bottom Kayak excursion. We meet our guide at the terminal and proceeded to our tour vehicle to the kayaking site. After a quick intro we went on our way in our 2 person kayak. The guide showed us several different locations around the area with different wildlife. Half way through the kayaking we stopped at an area that we walked up to get some pictures and was able to try some fresh conch. After finishing the kayaking we re-boarded our tour vehicle and had a driving tour of island on the way back to the cruise terminal. It was sad to see that after several years that some areas of the island had still not been rebuilt after a hurricane had gone through. Back at the cruise port we had a nice virgin drink since it was Good Friday at Margaritaville. The beach right at the cruise terminal was very nice although we didn't spend much time there after our excursion before the ship left port.
After tendering to HMC we found that the excursion desk was quite dis-organized. We booked the Aqua Trax Adventure for this island. After a quick briefing about how to operate the Sea-Doo we were on our way. I found the excursion enjoyable and was able to get my Sea-Doo up to 36mph. However my DW having never been on a Sea-Doo did find the excursion difficult with all of the turning. After our excursion we headed to the beach. The beach at HMC was the best beach we visited on this cruise. Very clean and clear water with lots of room to move. We were at HMC with another Vista classed ship and didn't find the beach all that crowded like others have posted about. The line-up for the BBQ lunch was long but did move fairly quickly. Even though the line-up was long the BBQ lunch was very good. When we were leaving the beach if you wait to the last minute to tender back to the ship the line is even longer since we all waited to the last minute.
Coming into San Juan Port was very scenic with the Fort at the inlet to the port. The excursion area was once again very well organized at the pier. We boarded our tour bus for our excursion to El Yunque Rain Forest Drive and after getting in some traffic we arrived about an hour after we left. The rain forest was surprisingly cooler then Old San Juan. We saw several different areas and lookouts through-out the Rain Forest and had an awesome tour guide. The short stroll was very easy to walk through for all ages in our group that did decide to take the walk off of the bus. When we finished our excursion we did have to have a second piece of ID to get thru to the cruise terminal. The prices at the duty-free here was very cheap.
By far this Port was our favourite stop on this cruise!! We had booked a private tour with others that we had meet in our CC roll call with Benard's Tours. Benard's Tours took us around the entire island of St. Maarten with several stops at 2 beaches and the French Quarter. Since we had booked a private tour for the 8 of us they provided refreshments for us throughout the tour. The RUM Punch put hair on every one's chests!! On our second beach stop we were at Maho beach which is right next to the International Airport. It was great to see a 747 Air France flight landing right above our heads!! We were able to get back to the ship right on time for leaving since Benard's Tours doesn't deal with the Cruise ships excursions. Since they work off of word to mouth advertising they make sure you don't miss your ship. We will definitely book another cruise that will take us back to St. Maarten.