We wanted to try a new cruise line, and I decided on Holland. We have previously sailed on Carnival reg balcony (too blue collar!), and Princess full suite and mini suite (satisfied customers). We wanted to get a full suite on this cruise to celebrate a milestone birthday in style.
Embarkation: Was a breeze, 1st class next in line to get a gold key. Boarded the ship before the rest of the crowd. Went immediately to the Neptune lounge and met Odessa. This young lady took care of all of our extras (Specialty restaurants/cabana/spa services). The Neptune lounge was very nice, comfortable and well stocked with goodies!
Cabin: SC Suite on port transom corner. This was a far walk from the Neptune, but very quiet and private. A 55 foot long wrap around balcony is a nice thing to have! The cabin was clean and neat. Carpet was a bit worn, and the tables had a few nicks and marks, but overall satisfactory condition. The balcony was great layout, but faded cheep tables and wicker furniture was not impressive! Suit on Princess had nice real teak furnishings. The bathroom was very clean and well laid out. Towels were nice as were the robes! I liked the soap dispensers in the shower and tub. The dressing area was great for the wife to keep all of her things, with her closets in the same space. Storage was plentiful. The bed was longer than what we had on Princess which was great for me. No more feet hanging off the end of the bed! Our steward Yoga was a very nice man, and tended to all of our needs. The ships laundry was awesome! The best pressing and cleaning is found aboard cruise ships. A full size bottle of Champagne was a nice touch.
Dining: Tamarind the 1st night was the best meal on the ship! Service and food was top notch. Main dining room was hit and miss, some good meals, some so so. Portions were small, and overall not as good as Princess in my opinion. Service was just OK, except night 7 which was horrible! Pinnacle grill for breakfast was quick and good. Pinnacle grill dinner was a complaint. We were charged an extra $10 to have a beef fillet and lobster tail. Probably a deal breaker for future Holland cruises! All the other cruises we have been on offered all the lobster tails you want along with anything else on the menu in the premium restaurant.
Buffet, I only used this twice for snacks and salads (not a fan of buffets or the gluttonous people who devour them). Did find the selection very nice, and better than the other cruises I have been on. The pizza was bland and sub par. The ice cram was very nice! The burger stand was much better than the other lines we used! Turkey burgers, lamb burgers, bratwursts and quality buns! Very good stuff for a quick lunch. Canapes and sweets in the Neptune were good to great. Different stuff every day.
Drinks: Expensive, but service was OK. Captains party did have an open bar in the Crow's nest, nice touch. Champagne was pretty good and plentiful!
Retreat cabana: Did this on both sea days. Enjoyed it very much. Jerwin and Alex provided excellent service. Would do that again.
Gym and Spa: Nice gym, but no cable pull station of barbells. Hydro pool was fantastic, until it was closed down due to the plague sweeping through the ship. Really missed this, very relaxing to do the pool, steam room and stone beds. Much nicer than the Princess thermal suit.
Common areas and ship in general: Ship was clean and classy, well laid out with lots of cool hideaways to discover. Crew members were in general very friendly.
Entertainment: Shows were OK. Did enjoy the comedian Jullie's dirty jokes. Indy the magic dog was cool to see. Piano player and guitarist were excellent. A couple of bands that played rock and oldies were OK.
Clientele: Beware the old folks! We are in our late 40s and were the "kids" on this ship. Nothing against old folks, but the demographic is on the older end. A few younger than us (very few). This wasn't too bad because most of the seniors were in bed early. Of course the ship was dead by midnight. Stay away from deck 1, this is where the house all the walkers and scooters!
Disembarkation: We stayed aboard until 9:45 in our suite. Better than camping out in a lounge for hours. Carried off our own luggage, and it was very easy. Stayed a few days in Ft Lauderdale and had a great time.