My 85 year old mother was willing to join us for a cruise so we selected the Ryndam for the size of the ship and the notion that the staff would be friendly to elders. We all had a great time.
We were on the 6th floor at the bow of the ship right next to a staff door. The bad news was that the pneumatic door opener was broken and when someone went through the door it made a loud "Bang". The good news is that when I complained it was promptly fixed and the next day we got a call from Christine the front desk manager as well as a lovely plate of chocolates!
Our first stop was Key West and second was Roatan. We'd booked a private tour with Dixon tours. The cost was great - $25/p. The driver was good. But...alas it rained. So, we did not get out much. Still it's a beautiful island. We have disembarked previously at Mahogany bay and love that spot for the nearby beach as well as the uncrowded shops.
Next, we went to Santa Tomas de Castillo on Guatamala. This was a new port for us. The port is not so pretty - lots of shipping containers. However, the crafts in the nearby shopping building were lovely. Entertainment included several men playing what looked like a very large xylophone. We bought a private tour (TRAVELWITHERWIN7@YAHOO.COM)down the River Dolce for $45 each to a school started by a priest in 1992 and a stop in Livingston. It was beautiful. The children work for their tuition and either go into tourism or rural development.
Lastly, we visited Costa Maya, Mexico and got some good deals on T-shirts. My husband and daughter took photos with a lion cub.
We had 5:45 dining and were done most days about 7:30. The food was artfully prepared and tasty. I have never seen Lamb offered so much. The surf and turf on Friday night was lovely and not too dry (as sometimes happens with lobster). The breakfast in Lido included variations on Eggs Benedict every day along with traditional favorites. Lunch always had Bistro with a carved meat and other options, Chinese and Italian. Somedays the coffee pot ran dry and there was a line for that. Some days a waiter came by with coffee, other days not. The Chocolate night was fun, however, not as extravagant as some other ships. We did enjoy High Tea one day with tasty treats.
Activities were a little more sparse than Carnival but adequate. Daily cooking demonstrations in a small Theater, daily Mass, crafts, classes on tech subjects, trivia and more. Bingo 2 - 3 times.
Oh, the spa was great and the prices more reasonable than other ships. The specials were great. My mother and I had a special for $139 with a hot lava rock massage, mini facial, and a brief hand/foot massage. My daughter had an acne facial for $99. The staff was just extra great. We had Carmen and Bianca.
I'd heard the shows were not so good but we were pleased. Two nights there was only one show. The dancers put on two new Las Vegas type shows, "Heat" and "Rock it Out". Both were great. Funny comedian and a guy who played numerous instruments in a folksy way.
We were off the boat and in the car by about 8:45. Full breakfast was available as well.
It was our first Holland America cruise, but i doubt it will be the last.