We recently took a cruise on Holland America. This was our 1st with HAL but have taken many other cruises. I will probably never cruise with them again.
EMBARKATION was very slow. We have never had to wait in such long lines as this. Once onboard it was very crowded in the Lido Dining area. I had read in previous reviews many of the same things but ignored them. Another tip: When you first get onboard they try to sell everyone these cocktail cards but then one wants to take them. Probably because I don't think they get a tip on these. If you like lots of martinis or specialty drinks then do buy it but otherwise I would say stay away.
ONBOARD ACTIVITIES: I would say that probably 85% of the passengers were over 75. We always enjoy the nightlife on the ships and would go into the disco maybe to find 4 to 6 people. We are used to them being packed with people on Royal Caribbean. We also had a problem with our room. We were awakened every morning by what sounded like chairs being dragged above our room.We were on the deck below the pool deck close to midship. When we complained, we were told they could not move us because there were no other rooms available. They did send a bottle of wine and give us a small room credit but this was no compensation.
HALF MOON CAY- We were really looking forward to this. We had planned horsebacking riding and also rented beach chairs but this stop was cancelled due to bad weather. Which was a good decision because the weather was awful, very strong wind and rain.
To sum everything up I would definitely do a Southern Caribbean Cruise again but next time will do more research and find a better fit.My husband and I are in our forties and had it not been for the fun group we were with, we would have been very bored. Also, one more note of interest. In order to get the advantage of using the Neptune lounge you must book a Deluxe Suite or better. We booked a superior suite thinking this would be for all suites and paid $1000 extra. The only perk this gets you is DVD Rental and who about free DVD rental we want to have fun on the ship. We really enjoyed our time much more off on the boat.
ARUBA- Did a little more shopping and then went to the beach. Aruba has so many beautiful beaches. We plan to go back there for a much longer stay.
Curacao- I loved this place it was absolutely beautiful. We walked around, did some shopping then hired a taxi to take us to a resort for some beach time. Then later in the evening went back into town for dinner.
Dominica- Not sure why the ship stops at this island. The island needs to have better infrastructure. We did the Champagne Snorkel but next time would probably not get off the boat. I did not feel safe riding around on these roads. Although, my husband did some diving here and enjoyed it very much but he also complained about the roads.
St Thomas- We took the ferry over to St John and had a wonderful time. We hired a driver for a tour of the island, did some shopping and stopped a Woody's for some food and drinks. Great place and lots of fun. Wished we could have stayed longer.