My son and I were on the 10/23 sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale to the Eastern Caribbean. This was my second cruise with Holland America, so everything felt very familiar (although the other cruise was on the Zuiderdam). We were in a "Deluxe" Verandah cabin on Deck 4 (cabin 4035). Much to our dismay, the balcony railing was solid steel, not Plexiglas as pictured on the website photos. As a result, when seated on the balcony one can only see a sliver of water above the railing. It's necessary to stand up in order to see a panoramic view. When I booked through the cruise line, I was not told that many of the cabins on Deck 4 have these steel railings; balconies on the higher decks have Plexiglas. In the brochure for future cruises, it does state that these are solid railings, so the agent should have known that and made me aware when I asked if this was a "good" room. My advice is, if you are assigned a cabin on Deck 4, ask specifically about the railings.
The food in the main dining room was quite good--we only went there for dinner, though. We chose open seating, which meant that we sometimes had a wait because we preferred a table for two, and those are scarce. That's another problem I saw--the need for reservations in the MDR, and they were hard to get. On Tuesday I tried to get a reservation for Friday, and was told that I could only reserve on the 3rd calendar day before the day I wanted, so I was too early. When I called back on Wednesday morning at 8:30, I was told there were no reservations available; they were fully booked. I wondered how that could happen. Eventually, at dinner that night, I was able to get a reservation by speaking to the maitre d'. One night we ate at the Canaletto Italian restaurant, which is complimentary, but you also have to make reservations ahead of time.
We enjoyed the nighttime entertainment (although somewhat "corny", it was fun). I also enjoyed the casino.
Sodas on the ship are $1.95 a can, plus 15% service charge. I was amazed to find that you even pay the service charge if you serve yourself from the minibar in your cabin. I purchased a beverage card for $90, which entitled you to $100 worth of beverages. House wine was $4.50 plus 15% ($5.18).
After the first few days, there are internet specials with reduced pricing, so if you can wait, do so.
Grand Turk was a blast because of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville located right at the beach. You can walk there from the ship terminal; no need to pay for taxis or tours. They have a huge pool there, a DJ, poolside games and a swim-up bar. And, of course, fabulous Margaritas. You need to take cash for that, though. We also picked up a couple of bottles of wine at the duty-free shop there. Holland America allows you to bring wine aboard and there is no fee unless you take it to the dining room with you.
In St. Thomas, I had previously booked an excursion through Godfrey's Tours. It was only $20 pp, and took us first to Charlotte Amalie for some shopping and then to Megans Bay beach for 3 hours. The cruise ship tour was about $59pp, and did the tour in the reverse, with only about 1 1/2 hours at the beach. I much preferred spending the most time at the beach; the water was beautiful, warm, all you'd expect. In town, I was amazed at all of the jewelry stores with people outside trying to steer you into their store. Quite a bit of pressure. I was looking for bangles, but most of the stores are focusing on gemstones. I did eventually find my bangle, though.
The San Juan stop was uneventful for us--since we spent a week there last year, we weren't interested in any tours, and the beach was not close by. You are close to Old San Juan, if that interests you. There is a Senor Frog's close to the ship terminal, and a Subway. We went to the nearby CVS to buy some bottled water for the cabin.
At Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, we enjoyed the beach very much, but I was disappointed with the BBQ lunch. They served undercooked baked beans and a cold bean salad made with the same beans. Also, portions are very small--I think they cut each ear of corn into about 5 or 6 pieces and serve you one!! I suppose you could ask for more if you wanted. There are complimentary iced tea dispensers outside the BBQ building, but inside the building they have sodas, beer, etc. for sale. You cannot use a beverage card there, though, so it will be charged to your cabin. Next time, I will probably return to the ship for lunch; the tenders run all day so you could easily go back to eat and then return to the beach after lunch.