This was a first time cruise for my husband and daughter (13). This was my first cruise on Holland America. I must say that I am now converted to Holland America!
Transfer from Miami Airport: We utilized the shuttle bus which turned out to be a tour bus. We paid $30 per person and it was well worth it. Holland and Carnival are owned by the same company and the only complaint is that it was difficult to locate the Holland rep in the Miami airport. The Carnival logo was much more prominent.
Check In: Very quick. There is a separate line for those in suites. From the time we got off the bus until we were on the ship was less than 15 minutes. It is VERY important that you read EVERYTHING in your cruise literature and also do all of your pre-boarding paperwork. Those who didn't bother to do either of these, ran into problems.
State Room: 5033, Verandah. Very spacious. Bathroom held a tub/shower (my first on a ship). Ample closet space.
The Ship: If you are looking for slides, and rock climbing walls, this ship is not for you. Classic without being too stuffy. The theater was extremely comfortable! The chairs were like leather recliners! Great entertainment. Beautiful Rembrandt dining room. Casino was nice. This ship is by far the cleanest ship I have ever been on! Even the public restrooms were spotless! Pool area and open tanning areas were nice. Great workout area! Also, the classes/programs both in the fitness and other areas were abundant!
Teen Program: EXCELLENT TEEN PROGRAM! I was actually surprised as to how much fun my daughter had! This program was well planned. The 13-17 y/o group even had their own formal dinner one night and a prom! Again, I was surprised with this. I was expecting it to be lacking since the average age for a Holland cruise is higher than your typical cruises.
Staff was superb. I think we had the best cruise director ever! (Jason) Not the cheesy type, but still personable and funny!
Utilized the unlimited laundry program. $49 for the entire week. I would recommend this to EVERYONE!
Only drawback was people who did not follow the rules of covering up to enter the food areas. We don't need to see you in your ill-fitting bikini while getting our lunch. I would like to see the staff be a little more aggressive in halting these people as they enter the area.
Departure: Smooth. Used the shuttle again back to Miami.
It took me 8 years to get my husband to cruise. He loved it so much that we put a deposit down on a future cruise! My daughter can't wait to go again!