On going up the gangway upon embarkation I noticed a large black trailer parked next to the beautiful dark hulled ship with a decal sporting "Miami Dive Team".I wondered back on this as we had a constant irritating vibration for the first two days that made me think something with the propulsion units was out of sync. The front desk offered no explanation. The jiggling stopped after the first 2 days.
We docked with the port side facing the towns of Philipsburg, Kingstown, Bridgetown, Basseterre and the glorious beach of HMC. Frederiksted, St. Croix we were escorted to the dock which faced town by a manned machine gun RHIB!!
In picturesque Philipsburg, St. Maarten we were dwarfed by the Allure Of The Sea, the Nieuw Amsterdam and the GEM. We were two of 15,000 passengers who swarmed the port that day.
Wifi was available at the end of the dock in Philipsburg for $4/15 min, $6/30 min., $10/60 min. wine in the duty free area was $8.00 and up. Basseterre's wifi in the duty free area was $1.00, the cost of a bottle of water. Wine was $10.00 and up. I always ask a crew member where the wifi is they always know the best spot in each port. In Kingston it costs $1.50 (a coffee) at the end of the dock. Wine was $13.00 and up. Bridgetown was free signal in the terminal building. Wine was $10.00 and up. Fort De France was uptown at the Centre Commercial Mall upstairs at the Burger Joint.(buy a coffee) downstairs is a grocery store where wine is 2.50 euros and up. Take it from me don't buy the cheap wine here.(bring euros for sure)
Room 160 was port side on deck 9. It had 13 drawers and two hanging cupboards with twenty plus hangers. Our room steward Win and Darma, who did an excellent job with us, supplied extra hangers. We had robes and got slippers on day two. The washroom was single sink and a jacuzzi tub my BH described as an over sized bread pan!! The balcony has a padded chair and chaise lounger. The table was small. The edge of the balcony was 18 inches of solid steel topped by a round bar topped by the wooden hand rail. There was a lock on that door.
We ate mostly in the lido (burp) but sat through 2 slow dinners in the MDR on formal nights.
The paying Lido passengers eat dinners on the starboard side under a basketball court while the ship's staff eat quietly on the blocked off port side!!?? Hal should be embarrassed at this faux pas as the pounding above the diners head is enough to raise eyes to the ceiling.
As this ship hosts mostly octogenarians and septuagenarians why a basketball court is present rather than a serenity area or a relaxing sport's bar is beyond me. The bean counters in Seattle, who are always trying to part you with your wallet missed out badly with this debacle.
On day 6 we awoke to brown water pouring from taps or from the commode when they were used. A pipe burst on deck C in the crew area at 3 AM. By 5 Am it was fixed but we were asked to run our taps til the water ran clear. This took 30 min. Michael Harvey our cruise Director came on the tannoy and advised the water was OK to drink even when it was brown??!!
Our hot water tap in the bathtub failed that day and a plumber showed up at 11:30 PM to fix it.
Points to Ponder
There are week day floor mats in the elevator
Lanyards are for sale in the signature shops starting at $5.95
The laundry mat on deck 9 costs 4 quarters for wash and 4 quarters for the dryer
On the final survey HAL asks for the total of your household income!!
Apparently we ate 23,000 eggs and 450 gallons of creamy ice cream
Secret door in the gym took you out to balconies in front of ship
We cruised 2970 nm
They still publish the Canadian and Times Digest daily
Maasdam is 20 years old as her keel was laid in 1993
Hairdryer supplied but it plugs in under a dark desk. Not fun
Counted 8 kids amongst 1,232 passengers
Ship off to dry dock Oct. 19 til 24
Capt. was Ane Jan Smit