My husband and I are just back from our 17 day cruise from San Diego to Tampa, via the Panama Canal. We headed to San Diego from the east coast a day early to enjoy the sites and to relax. We stayed in the Holiday Inn right across the street from the port, which was very nice and had we not so much luggage, could have easily walked for embarkation. The hotel provided a free shuttle, literally across the street and maybe a half a block down. We were in no rush to check in, spent the morning touring the Midway, right next to the cruise port. Embarkation was easy, we got there around 1, with no one in line, we were on the ship in less than 10 minutes.
The Ryndam was the oldest and smallest ship that we have ever sailed and I had my concerns when booking, however, the itinerary was appealing to us so we went ahead and booked. We were not disappointed, it is very well maintained with only a few areas showing wear and tear. Our cabin, was spacious, had plenty of storage space, a rather new looking bathroom with tub which I enjoyed and a comfy bed. There is a flat screen TV and a DVD player which was nice although we did not use it. The A/C in our room worked perfectly and seemed so in the rest of the ship except areas that were close to doors that were either open all the day or got a lot of traffic. We really enjoyed the Explorations area with the cafe and a terrific library and also the area known as The Mix, I really liked how it was redone, it had a hip/cool vibe to it. The showroom was small, but it is a small ship and the upper level, unless you were in the very front was hard to see the stage.
We had open seating for dinner, which worked out well for the most part, we were seated at various tables sizes and enjoyed chatting with fellow passengers. We never waited more than 5 minutes to be seated and we usually arrived at the MDR between 6:30-7. I had only one gripe, on one formal night we were seated at a table that had not been completely reset, actually just a water glass and a bread plate, had to ask for a napkin, etc. Had it been another night, it would not have mattered as much, but we made the effort to dress up and then were seated at an almost bare table, had there not been some other people sitting there, I would have asked for another table, but did not want to make the others feel bad. On my way out, I brought it to the attention of the Matri D and it never happened again. It does seem like they are still trying to figure out how to do this dining option. The food was very good and always hot. We ate twice in the Pinnacle Grille, all I can say is "fabulous" and worth the extra charge. We also ate twice in the Caneletto, which was a nice change, not the best Italian food but a nice change on a long 17 day trip. The food in the Lido is probably better than I want to admit, it is just the process of going there, back and forth to your table, we usually just did some breakfasts there.
We did not do all of the shows, there were quite a few comedy acts, some good some not so good. We enjoyed the Beatles tribute band, the Horizons and a singer who did impersonations. There was a really bad guitarist act, not sure what anyone was thinking when they booked him, I almost felt sorry for him, or maybe it was us, we didn't get it.
The Library had a great selection of books and games and was a pleasant place to hang out. The internet is kind of a joke and I know that being at sea it is not as easy as on land. We felt compelled to buy the most expensive package as we needed to keep track of our business while we were away and I had taken my i pad to make it easier. Not only was the connection slow, which was expected, but most of the time non existent. One time I used up 30 minutes, just trying to get connected with no luck. When I would go to the internet manager to see what was up, he said we had no service, he would give me credits back. This was the norm for the cruise, finally they started posting it so people would not waste their time, but that only happened about a 1 1/2 into the trip. I never was able to use all the minutes that I paid for.
The Crew and staff were terrific, the ship was the smoothest sail of any trip we have had and we had some interesting weather along the way. I enjoyed the small size of the ship, it was easy to navigate.
Cabo San Lucas, our first time, it was boiling hot, we got there mid day so the heat felt worse, we just walked around the port, went to Cabo Wabol
Acapulco, been there done that......
Guatemala, loved it, took the excursion to Antigua, a real treat.
Costa Rica, was beautiful, a nice day, went to Sarchai, hubby went zip lining.
Passage through the Panama Canal, fascinating.
Curacao, hot, walked around, pretty port.
Aruba, excursion canceled, walked around the port, very hot.
Grand Cayman, over cast, excursion canceled due to weather but we were able to tender in and enjoyed a shopping day.
All in all a great trip and would sail the Ryndam again.