To put things into perspective, we have cruised on over a dozen cruise lines for a total of about 800 days – almost 500 of which were logged on Holland America Line.
Most of our friends know that we enjoy longer cruises, but frankly, this one was boring. While there are probably many reasons for this, I think the major one is the large number of sequential sea days (as the ship bypasses what might be interesting ports – such as in Vietnam, the Maldives, Madagascar and so on). While my watercolor painting is improving (I’m still having difficulty using the word “art”) and trivia and bridge are entertaining, I am still not old or sedentary enough to adopt sitting on cruise ships as a life style, so I will be paying more attention next time and avoid cruises which exhibit this property (especially when charged for at a premium as a “World Cruise”). I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that the average age of the passengers on this cruise was about 77 and many had been on multiple World Cruises – and maybe that’s the reason HAL thought that more sea days was the sort of itinerary this constituency would tolerate.
Ah well, in for a penny, in for a pound, but at least forewarned is forearmed. While we will likely take long non-sequential cruises in the future (some of which may be world cruises – whether on HAL or one of their competitors), we will pay more attention to the itinerary and be more willing to link together a string of short cruises with an aggregate more interesting itinerary. With specific regards to Holland America, they seem to be penny pinching at every conceivable level and have changed the feel of this cruise, which sells at a premium, into one which has feelings of belt tightening. Despite our elite “loyalty program” status on this cruise line it is important to remain agnostic and our next scheduled cruise (is on one of their competitors – we’ll see (I have always felt that loyalty programs are to show how loyal the vendor is to the customer, rather than the other way around).
While the service is excellent, as is the food, the entertainment is mediocre and the itinerary was almost 2/3 sea days. In addition, because of a concern about stopping on the west coast of Africa, one of the segments we booked turned into a transatlantic sailing capped by a couple of stops in the Caribbean.
Until HAL makes an effort to address my desires and structures their World Cruises accordingly, they will have to do without my business on this type of cruise.