This was my second cruise and my husband's first. Also our first time cruising Holland America.
Check in was smooth. We arrived around 11:30-12 and did not have to wait in line very long at all. We were upgraded from the inside suite we had purchased to an oceanview. We absolutely loved our room, but it turns out that watching the moving water outside the window made us sea sick so we kept the curtains close unless in port. We would take an oceanview again, but we won't specially purchase one in the future. The robes provided in each room were very nice, and I practically lived in one while we were in the room. The staff was absolutely incredible. They were always quick to get anything we needed. I loved that our MDR servers learned our names and would speak to us when they saw us around the ship! The food in the Lido and MDR was always great. There was always a large selection to choose from and something for everyone which was great since I love seafood but my husband prefers meat and potatoes. The omelet station in the Lido was really good. The adult beverages throughout the ship were always delicious and our wine stewardess in the MDR was very sweet. Our dinner time was 8pm, so we took advantage of happy hour in the Ocean bar from 7-8 where they had 2 for 1 drinks! We enjoyed the adult only pool/hot tubs and honestly didn't ever visit the other pool area.
Could be better:
We really didn't have much to complain about. However, we pre-purchased a bucket of beer to be delivered to our room on the first sea day. We expected it to come before lunch, and after calling the desk 3 times to find out the status of the beer, they told us it had already been delivered. It obviously had not, so we asked them to cancel the order and refund our money. We bought another bucket at the bar and then came back to the room to find the beer delivered later that afternoon. Another issue was our room service for breakfast. We ordered room service on two separate days to be delivered between 6-6:30am. Both days the food arrived before 6am and was partially cold (milk warm) as if it were prepared and sitting out for a while. The photos taken on the ship were excellent quality, but outrageously over priced. They were much pricier than on my Princess cruise, which was sad because I would have bought more if they weren't so high. Final complaint- we had a shore excursion booked for St. Marteen. Our meeting time was before 8am, but after docking before 7am, they had still not made an announcement that the gangway was open at 7:30 when we felt we needed to leave to get to our meeting spot. We got off the ship because the gangway was open despite no announcement (which finally came a little after 8). Our excursion ticket indicated that we would be meeting on shore, off of the pier. After looking around the port for our meeting spot, we were finally told we were to meet ON the pier just outside the gangway. We walked back up to find a tour guide who wasn't there when we had gotten off the ship, but were glad to be in the right spot finally.
We visited Grand Turks, San Juan, St. Marteen, and Half Moon Cay. Our favorite was San Juan. We opted to walk to the Fort and Castle. We were extremely tired when we got back to the ship, but we were able to see a huge part of the city. The views from the fort were to die for. I heard the rainforest tours were also awesome, so we hope to return to PR again some day. Unfortunately, we were in port at St. Marteen on Easter Sunday. Most everything was closed down to recognize the holiday, so next time I will be careful to avoid the Caribbean around Easter. Our Rhino Rider excursion was a lot of fun though and our bus driver was very nice about sharing the island's history with us. We did the reef snorkel & Stingray excursion in Grand Turks. The snorkeling was great, very clear water. The stingrays were virtually non-existent, although we did get up close and personal with a real barracuda that happened to be in our area.
Overall, we had an amazing vacation! The crowd was largely older, but not a bother. I think we want to sample some different cruise lines before we decide to cruise with HAL again though. Thanks to the crew for a wonderful time!