Our family of four has been taking family cruises for many years. They have usually been over spring break. This cruise we went the first week of January.
We flew down one day early and stayed at the downtown Embassy Suites. This is a very nice hotel very close to the pier. We went over to see the Carnival ship and watch the Outback Bowl from the pier area. It is very nice.
We took a short taxi ride to the Ryndam about noon. There was a line but it moved rapidly. I think we hit the peak of boarding. This cruise we were all in one cabin. Something we hadn't done since our girls were little. We had some trepidation but it turned out great. The E cabins are very spacious with plenty of storage.
We had sailed on the Vista class (Zuiderdam and Westerdam) before but not on the smaller HAL ships. We really liked the size of the Ryndam. It didn't seem too small at all. It never seemed crowded although the ship was full.
We had nice weather the whole cruise and enjoyed the sun. The food was very good in the MDR and the Lido. We had room service one day. It came without the oatmeal we ordered. The waiter said it wasn't ready. He came back a few minutes later with it. That was great service on a port day when there were many room service orders.
We had fixed late seating and prefer it over the non-fixed dining. Our wait staff was excellent and friendly. The food is the same menu we have seen before on HAL and very good. The lobster tail was large and cold water.
Our cabin was always well kept. The steward was very flexible in dealing with our girls who like to sleep late.
The itinerary (Key West, Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya) is excellent for January since you go further south to more warmth. We used the hot tubs and pool. Everything in this area was very well maintained.
Entertainment was one comedian and the singers and dancers. So, the shows were a bit limited but of very good quality.
The passenger mix was all ages and made for a very friendly group. I set up a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. We had around eighteen attend. HAL was very nice serving Mimosas, coffee, tea, and cookies. The CD and Hotel Manager attended making it a very nice group.
Overall this was one of our best cruises. We liked the ship's size, crew, ports, and food. Can't beat that.