Let me start off saying that is was my 15th cruise and my first time with Holland America. I traveled with my brother and our cousins, all of us in our late 40's and early 50's I will start my review with embarkation:
Embarkation: embarkation was swift and efficient. When it was time to take a welcome aboard picture, I notice that there was just a blank green screen..which i guess they super impose a background be behind the passenger during the developing process. Once on board we were warmly welcomed. Our rooms were not ready so we had the option to check our carry on luggage in a lounge room.We then proceeded to have lunch on lido deck. On our way there i notice the main atrium.I must say that I was disappointed with the main atrium, It was not as big and extravagant as other ships I have been on.
Cabins - Cabin size definitely on the small side. Only one person at a time can be in that narrow hallway where the bathroom and clothes closet is located. Balcony was average. My brother and I traveled with our cousins and their cabin was next door, so we were able to open the divider and share one big balcony. The location of our cabin was fantastic, we were located mid-ship right next to the elevator banks and stairwell, i was concerned about the foot traffic noise, but happy to report that there was NO Noise..easy access to elevators and stairwell, comes in handy when you are dog tired after an shore excursion or having an late evening.
Dining- The food quality was a little above average,however, personally I was disappointed that escargot was not on the menu, I look forward to that delicacy when I cruise...We had open sitting, I know most people say that this feature did not work for them having a extensive wait period,however we went down to dinner around 6:30pm and we had little to no wait. Getting back to the food it was pretty good. We found out that the Lido buffet deck pretty much served the same menu that the main dining room served. Also I like to know what was the deal of no music playing while dining in the restaurant, all you heard was the chatter of fellow diners and the rumbling sounds of the ships engine, again WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT??
Entertainment- It was ok...I've seen better and experienced better. Again this cruise line caters to an older crowd, so it's a little slow pace, However I'm 51 years old I don't want constant disco, but a little more action than a string quartet. three piece band, slow piano player. Where is the Karaoke, passenger talent shows ? Let's not under estimate the elderly, some of them want their hearts to be jumped started : ) New Years eve party reminded me of the days when I use to watch the Lawrence Welk show or Guy Lombardo..kind of sad, went straight to the room 5min after the party. I expected to at least retire 30min to 1hr after the party..Other than that other activities included Bingo, The Marriage game, different Trivia games, slot tournaments, and loads of health seminars,and culinary seminars on how to fold napkins and set tables, oh yeah there was a mixology class how to make drinks a $12.00 charge to sample the wares.
Ports: First we had to make an medical emergency stop for 3 passengers at Cabo San Lucas, we all got nervous because we thought that there was an H1N1 scare, but the Captain advised that this was not the case,these passengers had experienced cardiac arrest and internal bleeding. Once we dropped them off we continued to our first port which was Mazatlan....Mazatlan was ok 2nd port Puerta Vallarta..Fantastic,take the Puerta Vallarta discovery Tour, this takes you around town, shopping, and to a non working Tequila factory, you get to sample the tequila's.. OLE'. I would wait to get the Tequila in town,the factory is a little expensive. By the way before we pulled out, an ambulance had to come to the ship,for there was a 4th passenger that got sick..IT is what it is. : ( 3rd Port- Cabo San Lucas Great place..we took a water taxi for $10.00 pp over to "Lands End" great tour over to those big rocks and over to Lovers Beach.
Service: Great service from our cabin steward(Sam) to Dan the coffee guy who walks around the starboard side on the lido deck serving coffee..a must see, he is fabulous..so If you are having breakfast or lunch up on the lido deck, please,please check out or ask for Dan the coffee guy you won't believe your ears.
BATHROBES..here is my gripe..Holland America gives you complimentary bathrobes in your stateroom to wear while cruising...But does that mean you wear your robe all over the ship? including to the Vista Lounge at a show???,WHAT ARE THEY NUTS??? WOULD YOU WEAR A BATHROBE TO A BROADWAY SHOW??? OR WOULD ONE WEAR A BATHROBE IN THE MAIN ATRIUM? OR TO THE BUFFET??? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH SOCIETY NOW DAYS...by the way, there were two people who wore the Holland America bathrobes to an evening show, to tell you the truth I'm not sure if they had anything on under those robes, it was kind of scary. The only places those robes should be worn is at the Spa Salon, pool side and IN YOUR STATEROOM !!!. Come on guys gives us a break .
Disembarkation: Relatively Smooth.
Conclusion: A different experience for me, never experience so many passengers that needed to be escorted off due to illness. The service on the ship was well done. Food so so. Accomodation, average. Location, fantastic. Cleanliness, superb most clean ship I have been on. Would I go back on the Cruise line? probably not,maybe when I'm much older.: ) On my way to Hawaii now on the American Pride, wish me luck :)