The Maasdam is an older ship but is in great condition. The cabins were very clean, though obviously dated. However, they were equipped with a flat screen TV and a DVD player! The crew was pretty fantastic - we were really impressed with how diligent, friendly and organized they were. We were traveling with our twin 3 year old boys and one set of our parents - whenever we appeared for breakfast/lunch/dinner - someone would immediately get us booster seats and help us set up. The servers got to know people quickly and would often know what you would be ordering. The food was pretty average - some dishes were excellent, others mediocre - but nothing was terrible and we didn't get sick of it. There is only one restaurant that you would have to pay extra for - the extra ranges from $20 - 75 depending on the day - can't comment on the value because we didn't eat there.
Having 3 year olds on this cruise was not that easy - there wasn't a lot for them to do and because the crowd is generally older, they could easily be perceived as getting in the way (though I have to say that everyone we met was extremely friendly and went out of their way to talk to us). We were not able to use Club HAL because we were not comfortable with the fact that kids were unsupervised when using the bathroom - while our kids are potty trained, they only just turned three and still need a bit of help or at the very least someone watching them when they are around water.
The shows were excellent - actually, they were outstanding. We were surprised at the quality and professionalism. It was clear that everyone enjoyed the shows - there were standing ovations almost every evening.
The 24 hours on this cruise were really rough - we all got sea sick and ended up in bed. It seems that this is very common for this cruise route and the crew was really helpful and made every effort to get us medicine, green apples and broth (not that it helped!).
Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala We were really frustrated doing research about this port and had almost resigned ourselves to just staying in the shopping area. As soon as we got off the ship we talked to the taxis/tour buses within the gated area and were quoted about $25 per person for a day tour. We eventually decided to go out of the gated compound (which isn't as scary as some have said it is) and found a taxi driver (there are literally a dozen of them waiting outside of the gates) named Ronny who was incredible and for a much more reasonable amount of money took us everywhere in his taxi. We got an excellent feel for the island, and felt very protected by Ronny. He was very careful with our kids and made sure they were ok at all times and whenever we were being approached by people he immediately intervened. When he dropped us off, we realized that he was known by some of the crew - so I would guess that he may be at the port quite often and it may be possible to track him down just by asking for him by name (all the drivers seem to know one another). He is a wonderful man and will make sure that you have a great day.