HAL provided an excellent overall cruise experience aboard the Eurodam for our
party of eight (age range 8,20,30,40,60) in three cabins which were co-located and upgraded. We were all blindsided when after making full payment to the travel agents that no-one had disclosed HAL would ask for a cash deposit/credit card hold of $60/person/day =$420 per PAX for shipboard expenses when we completed the cruise documents on line. Tamarind (Asian Specialty Restaurant) required reservations for lunch with no up-charge. This pleased everyone. We dined in groups of two fours on different days; Tamarind lunch menu was fixed; only dessert was the diner's choice. Excellent dining choices offered in Main Dining Room. Reserved late seating all together at a table for eight near the window. Twice my wife and I enjoyed full excellent breakfast on our veranda. Overall the buffet and more casual choices food were very good except for the pizza. Fine Dining, is one of the key reasons we choose to sail with HAL. We can likewise recommend Rotterdam and Prinsendam. The Dutch Officers keep their fleet in "ship shape" and the services rendered by the Indonesian crew are wonderful! The showroom entertainment, singers, dancers, comedian and magician were excellent. We enjoyed Michael at the Piano Bar and the Indonesian Crew Show. Loved the Happy Hour sunsets from the Silk Den and Crow's Nest. We did have two overcast moderately rough sea days. Then I believe, they should have granted access to the indoor pool. Charging upwards of $150 for the privilege was unconscionable. Entertaining activities and music around the Lido pools were lacking. We met teenagers who were totally bored on this ship, however our granddaughter loved Tween Club HAL and Laura her Counselor.
Our party of eight swam at Governor's Beach where locals offer beer, rent picnic tables and lounges for $5. The azure water and beaches are beautiful. Four of us walked along the beach to town. There was nothing much there to see. Hurricane Ike hit this island hard recently and only 5000 residents remain. Carnival Corporation has built infrastructure where the ships dock including Margaritaville. Grand Cayman is a much better port.
We have been to Old San Juan before, so today we rented a minivan and dropped several off to swim at Luquillo Beach as well as taste the local kiosk food. Then the rest of us hiked in the El Yunque Rain Forest to El Mina Falls which was incredibly beautiful with very slippery rocks so that getting to swim was tricky. On the way back we drove through Isla Verde for coffee at the El San Juan hotel and then back to the Eurodam for dinner.
We've also visited St. Thomas, so again we rented a minivan for Magen's Bay. It is breathtakingly gorgeous, safe and welcoming. However there were a dozen cruise ships in port so not as serene as our last visit for kayaking and snorkeling. It was also frustrating that the Eurodam and the Solstice did not dock at the main harbor with most of the other ships. There was much hustling by the taxi drivers for tours and transportation to Charlotte Amalie and since our time in port was limited interfered with enjoying shopping.
Half Moon Cay is Holland America's Private Island. This was the best port we visited. The most beautiful beach lounge chairs and a multititude of activities. Swim with the Stingrays and feed them! Jet Skiing! Horseback Riding in the waves! Waterslides! Pirate Ship Bar! Barbeque Lunch catered by the Eurodam! We dislike tendering, however HAL tried to make the best of it. Half Moon Key is comparable to Disney's Castaway Key. We've cruised the Caribbean so many times, it would be nice to just visit the cruise line private islands when your shore time is going to be limited and avoid the hassles of drugs, crime and being hustled in ports like Jamaica and Nassau.