Leaving Ft. Lauderdale was a foretaste of what to come, very high winds and cloudy skies. We had a balcony room which seemed more compressed than our previous balcony on the Maasdam. Room was narrower but adequate, balcony had room for 2 chairs and 1 ottoman which we used frequently. Bathroom was the same size as before, hair dryer was updated and plug in area was in the area near the lighted makeup mirror/ desk area near the sliding balcony door. The high winds were gale force at over 30 knots and this whipped up the seas. Walking on board became a challenge to try to keep from bouncing off the person next to you noticaby worse at the bow/aft ends of the ship. Particularly bad in the Rembrandt Dining Room. The front desk passed out seasickness tablets after the ship stores ran out. The Captain closed the outside Promenade Deck 3 for guests during the high winds, also the area at the forward observation Decks. I noticed the public areas seemed smaller, although the shopping area seemed larger by layout. It was well done, areas designated by type of merchandise. Jewelry very expensive, even the "sale price" of 50% off for featured items of the day. Liquor tasting for 1 evening was nice featuring flavors of rum. This "try before you buy" was a good incentive to buy aboard ship, with larger bottle volume aboard ship. We used the "As You Wish" dining option for the Rembrandt Dining Room and met different people at each meal. Once seated at a large table with an established group of family members and 1 other couple, next meal asked to be seated at a table no greater than 6 so conversation could actually take place. The larger table was so big it was difficult to hear what was said from across the table. Overall the food served in the Rembrandt was excellent. In speaking to fellow cruisers who had many cruise lines to compare, the consensus was Holland America has the best food overall. We took advantage of having lunch in the Tamarind one day and enjoyed the menu for lunch very much. My husband does not care for Chinese food, and I assured him this was Asian. He loved it. There was no lunch surcharge. The Pinnacle Grill for dinner was superb, additionally $20 per person and worth every penny! Service was attentive, prompt, and the meal memorable like all dining room experiences we had. But the menu offerings was a notch above the Rembrandt in the meat selections.
We took advantage of the movies in the Screening Room with popcorn served. Of the ship's entertainment offerings on the Mainstage, we took in only 1 show, a variety song and dance performance typical of cruise ships. We enjoyed "Name That Tune" in the Piano Bar, and listening to the Adagio Strings string Quartet play. Not drinkers of alcohol or gamblers we did not partake of the Casino or Bars activity. All in all, I will definitely book another cruise with HAL in the future, trying another of its Dam Ships.
Ports of Call: Grand Turk/Curacos was cancelled due to inability to dock because of the high winds and rough seas. All shore excursions were credited to the account and additionally the Captian provided a glass of champange to each guest over 21 at dinner, and port charges were credited to the onboard account as well. Rebooking shore excursions was accomplished by using the