First, our cruise specialist chose the right itinerary but the wrong cruise for us. We prefer a mixed age group but this skewed to the over 70 crowd.
We embarked quickly but in pretty austere furnishings. The employees stood behind plywood counters that appeared to be temporary which failed to instill a sense of security and faith in the cruise line. The crew watched as a woman pushed her mother up the gang plank huffing an puffing and no one offered assistance except my wife and myself. We were led to believe rooms would be clean and ready by 1PM and the actual time closed in on 2:30. The Lido deck, the spa and the front office only remained open to passengers. Even the shore excursion desk stayed close.
Kudos to the bar staff and the party planner. We thoroughly enjoyed the mixology classes because Sidney, Ramil and Edsel (like the ford) made it fun and entertaining. Likewise, the head sommelier, Fernando, led a wonderful wine tasting full of information and laughter. We found Roger in the wine bar knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. My wife attended other programs led by Sidney and enjoyed them, especially the culinary class with head chef of the Tamerind restaurant.
However, the ship lacked entertainment options. For example, on day 2 which as at sea, at 1PM to 3Pm there were 4 activities form which to choose. That means 2100 people had six entertainment spots if you include the pool and casino. Several of the available programs charged a fee just as on other cruise lines.
Deck space felt cramped even without very many people filling the chairs. We noticed more use of balconies than other ships. We used ours a lot. The chairs were comfortable and the balcony was a nice size.
My wife's knee hurt after walking the cobblestone only to find the whirlpool tub did not work. We found trash from a previous cruise that stayed until the 6th day of our cruise when we pointed it out. We had a mini suite and the room was well appointed and spacious.
I wish the steward had the time to explain how everything worked in the room. We only found out about the drawers under the bed after reading in Cruise Critic when we got home. If the steward had sown us the whirlpool, we would have found it didn't work 5 days sooner.
Overall, we enjoyed the food but we preferred the Lido Buffet to the Rembrandt dining room. We found the staff in the Lido friendly and helpful and always smiling. Early seating at 5:45 seems too early to us and 8 seems too late.
The Pinnacle dinner was lovely and the service amazing. My wife did not care for her soup and the waiter quickly offered an alternative. My steak was tender and cooked jsut the way I asked. We highly recommend trying this restaurant.
The Tamarind rules of 1 appetizer, 1 entree and 1 dessert probably sound okay. However, I wanted 3 appetizers and no entree; m wife almost never eats dessert but loves appetizers. We do not fit the Tamarind mold. We left unsatisfied and disappointed feeling that we wasted $30.
We renewed our vows while on-board. The captain and Sidney make it very
special. The captain sat and chatted with all the renewing couples. It made a special time even nicer. The package included a lively album that Sidney took the time to personalize.
Overall, Holland America's were delightful and conscientious. However, they need to check the details and tweak some points.