This was our first cruise with Holland America. Our prior three were with Carnival. All were to Mexico. This cruise included the Sea of Cortez as well as the Mexican Riviera. The immediate difference from Carnival was the age of the passengers. We are in our 50's. On Carnival we were among the older passengers while on Holland America we were among the youngest. The average age was 80. Many passengers had canes, walkers or were in wheelchairs. I admire their tenacity.
The boarding process in San Diego was timely. We boarded around noon and had lunch on board although our cabin was not available until 1:30p.m. The Ryndam is a mid sized ship which made travel within the ship convenient. The elevators take you to all the decks and each deck landing has a ships deck plan by the elevator thus you won't get lost. The largely Filipino and Indonesian staff are very attentive and quick to assist those in need. This was particularly evident in the informal Lido deck restaurant as attendants would help frail, elderly and at times confused passengers with their food trays. Being with an older crowd has advantages. There were very few smokers, drunks or rowdy characters on board. I assume that by this age most have died or been killed.
The food was excellent and the service was impeccable. Just a sideways look would command the attention of our waiter. By the second day the servers knew our drink preferences. Our cabin steward was able to have my shoes shined several times on short notice (this is a complementary service).
On the minus side the toilets did not function on one side of the ship on two occasions, once for several hours. The "A" deck corridor had a sewage smell at times.
The off board tours were informative and the guides seemed knowledgeable. We did not go on the Copper Canyon tour as it appeared that not enough time had been allotted to it. The vast majority of the passengers who took the tour were very disappointed especially since it cost almost $400 per person.
I recommend this ship and line if you do not mind a mature crowd. For the party crowd I recommend Carnival.