My wife and I have made a pact to sail on the Largest Cruise Ships each Cruise Line offers. This was a most exciting cruise because in late 2012 while sailing on HAL's Veendam from Montreal to Boston, we won a 7 Day HAL cruise holiday on the ship! So it just had to be on their largest vessel to get our pact up and running :)
From the Concierge folks to our cabin stewards to the entertainers and dining staff - all were 10/10!
One word .... Delicious!
Took advantage of Mgr's Specials, Body Wraps and the Thermal Suites from day one, these folks are fantastic and truly are very attentive to your holistic experience.
Fantastic and Super Clean - much appreciated the special attention to guest's hygiene by the staff- great job folks!
The Grand Turks was our first port and incredible but you burn quickly so beware :)
We loved Holland America's little island of Paradise - got to visit it twice!
Grand Caymans was kind of a bust because of a Tender incident, but we did our best to squeeze as much fun into the short time we had there -more time in the Caymans please HAL :)
St Maartin was nice from the ship and water but the beach chair sellers were extremely pushy so we just kept on walking to the far end of the beaches
San Juan was observed from the ship as it didn't peak our interest
Costa Maya was just creepy for the most part, the town outside the port was abandoned and most of the buildings were boarded up. Along our walk we encountered military personnel with guns and rifles and a very daunting white pickup truck with a busted taillight roaming throughout the village outside the gate to the port.
Ft Lauderdale is an amazing port-the amount of Cruise Ships were incredible and we especially loved the send off by the locals, waving to us from the beaches and their condos - very cool!
Great experience for the most part
Things we learned:
More Sunscreen with Higher SPF
It's OK to say " no thank you " to pushy sales people
Buy the Thermal Suite package on Day 1 ( so you get the best value out of it )
There is no such thing as toooo much chocolate :))