My husband and I are just back from the Veendam (12/9) Western Caribbean cruise. Because we are Floridians, we drove by car to Tampa and the port was very easy to find with nearby parking. Embarkation was fairly easy but delayed due to a late arrival of the ship because of channel blockage. Rooms were available by early afternoon. The ship was in beautiful shape with hand sanitizers everywhere to ward off the Norovirus.
Majority of the passengers were senior citizens with quite a few Floridians, of course. There was something always going on in the spa, sports deck, library, casino and movie theater. The movies changed daily and were fairly recent releases. Popcorn was served. There was a culinary class that you could take for a nominal charge and others where you could watch the chef cook and taste the results. Bingo was offered everyday as well as team trivia games,Scattergories,etc. The beautiful library was heavily used and offered games to play, puzzles to solve, large amount of reading material as well as devices to listen to music while sitting on very comfy chairs. Adjacent to the library was a coffee cafe.
Our stateroom was near the infirmary (really nice people working there) and had a very comfy kingsize bed and more storage than we needed. It was kept immaculate by the Indonesian room steward who was quiet but efficient. The food was wonderful and varied. I enjoyed the osso bucco, mussels, escargots, shrimp, sole, bread pudding, raisin rolls and surf and turf. Our wonderful, friendly waiters in the dining room were Wan1 and Wan2. We lunched in the dining room, Lido buffet and the pool cafe and enjoyed it all. We did not eat in Pinnacle Grill but did before on Noordam and felt it wasn't worth the extra money. I enjoyed the tea times that I attended.
We walked around Key West by ourselves and enjoyed the area where the Truman White House was. In Belize we took a tour to Altun Ha but the ride out to the area was quite bumpy. The tour guide was very interesting but a bus tour through the city could have been eliminated. In Santo Tomas we toured Quiriga to look at Mayan stele. Our guide here, Dario, was very energetic and interesting. You could bargain with the Guatemalans for a reduction on the prices of their crafts but I paid what they asked.It made me feel good. At Costa Maya we just walked around the area and made a few purchases and took some pics. The weather for the cruise was warm, with quite a few clouds and occasional showers.
Debarkation was easy; we didn't put our suitcases out the night before and walked off the ship early with ease. This was our 4th HAL cruise and we already have booked an Alaskan cruise in Sept.