This was our second cruise with Holland America. We booked for the destinations and several friends also booked this trip.
No problems with getting on or off the ship in Ft. Lauderdale.
Many people find critisms with various ships, and cruise lines, however, if your expectations are that you are going to be treated like royalty because of your cabin status, you may be disappointed.
My only problem with Holland America is their smoking policy. We had a balcony cabin and could not enjoy it as we were surrounded on both sides by smokers (as early as 7:00 am they started). It would seem prudent for Holland to designate certain cabins for non-smokers away from those who smoke. As a former smoker who now has chronic bronchitis, this was not pleasant for me. There are other areas on the ship where there is smoking and if it bothers one, then you stay away from these areas.
The food was good and we had great waiters. We booked the LeCirque dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. The food was very good, but we waited for 30 minutes for our dessert. We were wondering who the 2 ships officers were that came and sat next to our table about 15 minutes after we arrived. As it turned out, several days later we saw them again, and it was the Captain and his first Mate. I found it strange that neither he nor any of the waitstaff introduced themselves to us as we did not know who he was. It would have been a nice friendly gesture. Also their service and food took presidence over ours and being ex-military, understand this.
The afternoon teas are great and I met many different people at them. I highly recommend the as there is a different theme every day.
Two of the destinations were tendered, Half Moon Cay and Samana. Coming back from Half Moon our lifeboat stopped and we had to be rescued by another one..transfer was quite an experience. I will not elaborate as it may influence future cruisers When we reached Samana the weather was so bad, they stopped the tenders, however several people, including our friends had already been taken ashore and on their return, once again, the lifeboat broke down...this is scary considering if there was an emergency at sea one can't help but wonder what the outcome could be. It is apparent these lifeboats need a lot of maintenance. One note about Samana, we really do not understand why Holland even stops there, nothing really to do, but if you go ashore, only book with the ship at this stop!
We went to one show and it was amazing! All broadway tunes and the singers were outstanding!
If we ever cruise on Holland again, we will not get a balcony due to their smoking policy. Please also note, Holland has a majority of seniors and disabled on board. Our friends had 2 children, ages 6 and 15 and they both loved Club Hal, however, the night clubs are empty.
We chose the cruise for the destinations and enjoyed them. I had the fun of dancing with a native group in Curaco on our tour, great fun. The salt fields in Bonaire are amazing as well. Purchased some great pearls from MG Bonaire as well. We love Grand Turk and if you go, be sure to visit Jack's Shack on the beach. We spent the day there.
This was our 7th cruise and only 2nd with Holland. We usually cruise with Celebrity. We love to cruise and approach each one without any grandiose expectations, except cleanliness,good food and service and we were pleased with all of this. Again, the biggest complaint is the smoking.