The boarding process went smoothly. The parking was a snap with "Park n'Fly". It was prepaid online through AAA and cost about $73.50. The Holland American Line has a group of passengers wait in a waiting room similar to an airport. Your number is called and the next thing you know, you are on board. Since we resolved our dinner arrangements we went straight to the Lido for lunch. It was just prior to 1pm and our stateroom was ready on time. We have experienced friendlier stewards on the Rotterdam and the Volendam. I think our steward had 28 cabins (Veranda type). Once day I saw him way up the hallway from our room and was amazed.
We had a wonderful time with our tablemates. I think we were both surprised how much fun and laughter we experienced. Vacationing with complete strangers can be a challenge, but very rewarding. I am always amazed that planning our vacation this way would not be possible otherwise. We booked in December for a February cruise and was unable to obtain late seating same table scenario. Just a few days before our cruise agent was able to confirm a table for 2-4 people. I think ordering wine online for your table may have done the trick. Plus I had the agent write an email to the line to request our seating. The spa was very good as I had some neck and shoulder issues that a few services helped clear up. I had the floating massage with seaweed, a regular massage and acupuncture (1st time).
We have not been to St. Thomas or San Juan in over 20 years. I avoided those ports because we have been their many times before. San Juan was a surprise as we enjoyed strolling down and around the fort. St. Thomas, we were not there for shopping so took a cab ride to look over the sites by Red Hook. There was lots of traffic (4 ships in at once), so our wonderful cab driver drove us around town and got us back to the ship on time. Pity the poor couple that missed the ship as we saw them standing on the pier with an official with a radio and a van to help them. The next day was at sea and the following was at the private island. Guess they were able to meet the ship in Ft. Lauderdale-enough time to pack up and depart for the next group of passengers.
Departing was sweet sorrow, but it was the easiest ever -we have been on about 10 cruises. We took the outside elevator about 5 min. before our designated time and landed precisely at the debarkation ramp swiping our card one last time-toodle lu! Also our ride back to the car was very quick using the luggage valet was very smart as he knew the best line to go through customs and he knew exactly where the Park n' Fly van would pick us up. Just a reminder for those who book on the Navigation deck floor #8: There was a lot of moving furniture right above our cabin especially in San Juan. They were setting up a buffet on the pool deck above us. We did complain as it appeared that the towel rack was above us too. There was a lot of movement of people walking on a daily basis. The ship apologized with a plate of chocolates, just what we did not need!