This was our first transatlantic voyage, and I found it very interesting to set sail for so many days (8) without land.
We embarked in Fort Lauderdale, which is our home town, so it was very easy, and the HAL was very organized so it went very smoothly, setting a good tone.
We did choose this kind of ship to be without lots of screaming children running all over the ship. So the passengers were older, we are over 65 too, just a handful of kids and toddlers, which we did enjoy.
Holland America Line runs a really exceptional ship. All of the staff could not have been nicer or more efficient. From the housekeeping staff to the food service people all over the ship, and the entertainment, was first class. The food was so varied, there was always something for everyone. We did eat at the specialty restaurants several times, and found the Italian one very good and worth the little extra ($10.) charged, the Pinnacle Grill excellent($25.), but the 'Le Cirque' is menu very over-rated and hyped.
We stopped in the Azores, one island had to be missed due to weather. It was very pretty walking around the little quaint streets. We did not do the shored excursions as the previous reviewers did not find them helpful. In retrospect we would have hired a taxi to go around the island and see more of it.
The next 3 ports were in Spain, and again we wandered the little streets, had some over-priced lunch, but that is ok, just got a nice feeling of the port cities. Final destination was Barcelona, and again the ship personal worked like clock-work.
Great morning room service for coffee. That being said, I have no complaints about the ship. The captain was terrific, we even stopped in the middle of the Atlantic to rescue two men off a small sailboat whose rudder was lost. I would certainly book another cruise on this line.
This was our first port afer 8 days at sea, so we enjoyed walking around the quaint little town. Did not get into the countryside, which we should have done. We heard it was very pretty.