This was our first cruise on Holland America but our 14th cruise in total. We are seniors, young at heart, and enjoy cruising.
We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the day before and took a cab to the Renaissance Hotel on the 17th St. Causeway. Hotel was great. Nice room, everything clean, spent time at the pool, area very nice, water just right, had great view of the Port on Sunday morning, could see lots of the ships at dock. Had dinner across the street at Bravo's an Italian restaurant, food was excellent. Sunday morning had breakfast around the corner, a little French bakery that serves coffee, pastries and sandwiches. Very good. Didn't eat in the hotel although there was several places to eat.
Sunday morning took a cab to the pier, got there about 11am. This had to have been the fastest check in we have ever experienced. Went to Lido deck for a quick lunch, inspected the ship and at 1:30 our cabin was ready. Ship is beautiful, lots of art works, flowers everywhere, very well maintained. Didn't see any signs of wear and tear. Easy to get around and well marked. Pool area very attractive and never had a problem getting a chair on sea days. Adult pool in rear of ship but never used it. Not lots of activity around pool like other ships, just music by someone playing steel drums etc. Waiters plentiful but don't bother you unless you flag them down. Very restful, lots of snoozing going on.
Our cabin was average for a balcony, lots of closet space and no problem with storage, have learned to bring less stuff and still brought some clothes I never wore, someday I'll get it right. Our cabin steward was Suka, kept cabin clean and tidy and did great animal towels. Had room service for breakfast twice, arrived on time and hot. No complaints.
Had early dining 6:15 lower level. The food was good all through the ship, although my husband a few nights had to order chicken because he is such a fussy eater, doesn't like seafood, lamb, salmon and anything with mushrooms. Won't try anything different either. Our waiter left something to be desired though, not organized at all. Don't think I said 2 words to the asst. waiter, never saw him much. Food on Lido good and you can have as much as you want. Waffles at breakfast were excellent and omelettes were good also. Ate at the Pinnacle Grill, had a steak, everything very good, worth the extra to eat there, things done with class.
Had a small outbreak of the virus on Friday, understand about 20 people got sick, including a man at our table. His wife showed up the last nite because she had been restricted to her cabin as well. The staff does everything to keep the ship germ free, everywhere on board are dispensers with a sanitizing lotion, even in the dining rooms, near elevators, casino everywhere but your cabin, which I thought there should be some also.
Enjoyed all the shows, typical for cruises. We try not to compare one cruise from another and just enjoy where we are at the time. Every ship does something a little different, so enjoy.
The island stops have been covered before so I won't dwell on this portion. All were nice in their own way. Grand Turks we enjoyed, Tortola didn't impress me, St. Maartens been many times, nice island. Their own private island is beautiful, we rented a clam shell on line previous to going, glad we did, they had run out of them and the sun was hot but the water was to cold for me.
Disembarking was a dream, but the airport was a nightmare. Better get there at least 2 hrs. before, lines are very long.
We enjoyed our cruise with Holland America and wouldn't hesitate to travel with them again. If anyone has a questions I will be glad to answer you if possible.