We got to the pier at 10:30 AM and waited for embarkation to begin. There was little help in the terminal to direct cruisers as to where to check in. Two ships were leaving at the same time and we actually were sitting in the wrong area. it was only when I heard the other cruisers talking that I realized something was wrong. Once we found the right area check in went smoothly. Embarkation started promptly at 11:30 AM in an organized and orderly fashion.
Surprisingly, the rooms were ready upon boarding. After briefly stopping at the room we went to the Lido for lunch. Choices were plentiful and the quality of the food was good. I also respected that for the first forty-eight hours cruisers were not allowed to touch the food but were served by the staff who were very courteous and gave passengers as much as they wanted.
Luggage arrived at the cabin in mid-afternoon.
The pool area was nice and clean and the fresh water pool was sparkling clear. A pleasant surprise to have fresh water in the pool. Along side the pool was the Terrace Grill serving up hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries and sweet potato fries. They also had a taco salad bar with various items both hot and cold. You definitely won't go hungry on this cruise. The quality of the food here was average but sufficient for a quick bite.
On to dinner. We had the late seating at eight o'clock. We had wanted to be at a large table but were assigned a table for four. Unfortunately, the two other people at the table never showed. Food in the dining room was excellent with varied choices for every taste. The only negative here was service was very slow usually taking about two hours to complete. This got a little better towards the end of the cruise.
One of the nights we went to the Pinnacle Grill and had the rib eye steak. The portion was huge, about a pound, cooked perfectly and excellent quality. I strongly recommend spending the $25,00pp for this experience.
Enough about the food, now on to entertainment. The cast of five vocalists and two dancers along with the house band made for wonderful shows. The singers had great voices and the shows contained different genres of music to please the diverse audience. The only thing I would negatively comment on would be that the dancer's routines were a little cheesy to say the least. On the nights that the ship's troupe didn't entertain, one night was magician/comedian and the other night was a comedian. Both of them were wonderful entertainers. One of them performed on the last night. I would have preferred the ship's troupe on the last night.
Bermuda was wonderful. We lucked out with the weather and had sunny days for our whole stay. The people are polite and friendly. The beaches are beautiful, the water a clear blue and the sand soft like velvet. Horseshoe Bay and Tobacco Bay are wonderful and a must see. The other attraction I would rate a must see are the Crystal Caves and Fantasy Cave. Unlike the caves in the northeast these are warm and in addition to the stalagmites and stalactites have clear blue lakes fed by underwater outlets to the ocean. Docking in downtown Hamilton was great. It puts you right in the middle of everything. Unfortunately, this is the last season that Holland America will be going to Bermuda with the last cruise being August 26th.
Disembarkation went smoothly,methodically and quickly.
To sum up, the cruise was wonderful. With the exception of the slow service in the dining room I found the food the best of all the ships I've been on, the crew were friendly and accommodating, always with a smile. I found the rooms to be clean and the ship to be well maintained. I have no reservation in recommending this cruise to anyone. For now, happy sailing and I hope this review is helpful.