We arrived in Tampa a day early and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. I can't begin to extol their virtues. They picked us up at the airport..after we settled in, we found their shuttle would take us anywhere we'd like within a certain radius and pick us back up! After the cruise, they picked us up at cruise terminal and let us hang out at the pool til time to go to plane and then they took us to the plane. Tampa was very cold the first 2 times but upon debarkation it was warm. They took us to the boat the next day as well...around 10:30 a.m.
Embarkation was smooth and easy.....I'd say no more than 15 minutes from the time we got in line til we entered our room, 625, which was ready. As usual with Holland, we had to be served at the buffet, rather than help ourselves..this goes on for the first few days of the cruise. The safety briefing was a bit tedious as room 233 never did show up.
We had late dining and the food was excellent...first couple of days it was a bit slow but once our waiters knew us, it was smooth. I found the wine steward a bit snobbish but I noted this on our departure critique. Breakfast was best in the dining room. Room service was on time and the coffee hot and juice cold. Rest of the room service food warm at best.
They had 3 shows an evening which reduced the shows to 40-45 minutes. Droom was one of the best shows I've seen. They held a meet and greet the cast one sea day and I found that quite enjoyable...we then toured back stage. Wish we could have had more of them and less of the other entertainment.
Our stops were Half Moon Cay.....beach and not much more. San Juan, free trolley took us all over town where we could visit any of the sites we wanted. St. Thomas.top of the world and banana daiquiri's.we took our own tour....not one from boat. St. Johns...again we took our own tour and saw all around the island....both these guides were native to their country and we spent a whole lot less. St. Lucia was on Sunday and we basically walked around for quite some time since most of the shops were closed...did have their Piton beer....don't drink beer and this was pretty good. Curacao was next and I can't say enough about this city. We wandered around on our own and saw so many pretty sites...don't think I bought a thing but took so many pictures. Aruba was next and we took the Submarine ride and then walked around the town. This is another great island where I couldn't stop taking pictures. Georgetown in the Cayman Islands was super we went to Rum Distillery, Tortuga Factory and a brewery'sA Taste of Cayman. It was an enjoyable tour but not quite what I thought it would be. Back to cold Tampa where we met friends who took us to Ybor City (they make Cuban Cigars there) and Apollo Beach. At Apollo Beach we saw the Manatees......really neat.....they only come out when it's Cold.
Back to the last 7 days of the cruise. We went to Key West...this is a super fun city. We took our own tour off the boat....a Conch Train where we could get off any time we wanted and catch the next one. Frozen Key Lime Pie dipped in chocolate on a stick.....you have to try it to believe it. Mahogany Bay Honduras....we just stayed around the area....wondered around.....beautiful flowers and neat shops. Santo Tomas Guatemala.....we took a boat to some Aztec ruins, hot springs and Livingston...The ruins were not what I expected the hot springs neat and Livingston was a perfect picture of poverty. The boat ride back was horrible......thought I was going to die. Rough waves and the driver could have cared less. A 3 hour tour that lasted 5 1/2 hours. We did see lots of children in boats that hitched a ride on our boat to sell us items. Then it was Costa Maya, Mexico. I love Mexico so I enjoyed the shopping.
Time at sea was not much to speak of. They don't have many activities. There was hot tubbing, swimming, computer classes, of course Art Sales, occasionally bingo, cooking classes, some movies...definitely not Carnival when it comes to things to do on the ship. they did have High Tea and tea almost every day.
Would I recommend this? Yes, one or the other.....14 or 7 but 21 days is a long time to cruise, especially on Holland.