ROOMS - The room stewards are worth their weight in gold. We only had two towel animals, but our room was clean, there were always fresh towels and the ice bucket was always full. We had a veranda room. The rooms are small, but there is a lot of storage. My husband and I are very hot (temperature wise, LOL). We keep our home at about 68 degrees during day and down to 64 at night. We cranked up the air conditioning as soon as we got in the room. It NEVER got cold. The bathrooms need updating, they looked a little worse for wear. There was only ONE outlet in each room. I understand that this a cruise, but we have become a society that depends on their electronics. We brought the laptop so we could dump the pictures from our two cameras and video camera every few days onto the computer. There is internet access (buy it by use .75 a minute, if you buy a package and don't use the minutes they do not refund you). The one plug issue is a problem when getting ready. I use a hair dryer and a curling iron. I could not plug them in at the same time. This added to my "getting ready time" which could prove an issue with my new husband. (lol, it didn't I married a good one, but you can see ladies how it can add on to your time).
FOOD - Hot is not a priority to this cruise line. We ate in the dining room two nights in a row. We had open seating, but still had to wait to get a seat (20 minutes), and sat with other people. My husand and I realized this week that we enjoy keeping to ourselves, so please take our view with a grail of salt. We sat with a family the first night that seemed as uncomfortable to sit with us as we were with them. The second night we sat alone, but near a large family with tween-aged children that still called their mother "mommy" and called her about every 10 seconds. I feel snooty saying this, I do not have a background where I eat in gormet/high end restaurants. However, if you have eaten in ONE upscale place in your life, you would know instantly that this food is not up to par. It was cold, they could offer more vegetables, heavy in meat and starch and desserts. The Lido cafeteria (don't let them fool you, it's a cafeteria), was never open on time, though food is prepared right in front of you, still not hot. Like coffee? Don't drink it here, it is horrible. However, if you want one good meal, book all 7 of your nights in the Pinnacle Grill (20 bucks per person). The service was upscale, the food OMG just delicious!
Drinks - if you like to drink, this is the place. If you like your wallet, be prepared to kiss it goodbye. For the two of us, over the seven days, we spent about $1000 on drinks. We did buy a wine package which was wonderful. But everything, even soda, costs money on the ship. Wine tasting- 15 -40 per person and they had various ones throughout the week. There were many good wines on board, but many are ones that I could get at home.
Pool - like to swim? Don't go on this cruise. There were two pools. One was small but deep enough to jump into. As you can guess, filled with kids. The other pool, only 15 INCHES of water! Hot water! The pool was never refreshing. If you are not thrilled about your bod in a bathing suit, imagine laying down in 15 inches of water, all your stuff out for people to see as you TRY to cool off. The tiles in the pool are coming out as well. We watched a child collect all the tiles and put them on a table, it COVERED the table. then he threw them back into the pool while mom read a book and ignored her child.
New Yorker - if you are a New Yorker or from Long Island be prepared for slow. Service is a bit slow. Not to mention, there was no moment of silence at Ground Zero. Yes, it is almost 10 years now, but we should never forget. A friend of mine was on a Norwegian boat right next to ours, also going to Bermuda, she said they did not have a moment of silence either.
Language - I am not sure how to say this and to be politically correct at the same time. Holland America has a MAJORITY of staff from other countries. I can't imagine the life these people must live being on board (we talked to one personal trainer who had been on board for 10 months). English was spoken quite well, however some of the accents were hard to understand.
Honeymood/birthday - this trip was our honeymoon. USUALLY, you get a bit better treatment on a honeymoon. We didn't. We got a card, printed off a computer, congratulating us. My husband celebrated his birthday on this cruise as well, a computer generated card from the captain. Maybe I am snooty, but we should have been spoiled a bit more. We met a couple who got married two years ago, took a different cruise line, and they got a free drink once a day. It isn't much, but it shows personal care of the passenger. We got a cake our SECOND night at dinner, that said happy honeymoon and the waiters sang happy birthday to us. Language barrier? hmmmmm.
Personal treatment - on the same topic. My husband wanted a coffee at about 10 pm one night. The Cafe serves coffee until 10pm. Yes I understand we came at closing time, there was someone behind the counter. He told my husband sorry we are closed. We also wanted to order a wine package to our room one night as we were relaxing. This was also at about 10 pm. When we called, they said it was too late to order wine. I am on a cruise. I feel, however wrong I may be about this, no reasonable request should be denied of a passenger. Oh, one night my husband wanted a gilled cheese. It was not on the menu. They said they would make one...came to the room cold. The chips (we ordered room service a few times), the chips were stale each time.
Security - In this day and age, I was thrilled to see that there was some security when getting on and off the ship. You have to have your ID scanned to get off the boat. When you get back on, they scan it again and you put your bags, purse, etc through an x-ray machine. This is great, however it slows down the process to get on and off the ship.
This was my husbands first cruise, my second. I would not take Holland America again.