Embarkation: Checked in at 2:30. Only 4 or 5 agents checking in guests. Had to wait in line a bit. Went smooth once we got to counter. Walked straight onto ship and into cabin. Nice size room with large bathroom (jacuzzi tub, shower, and double sink) with balcony... cat. SY. Received luggage in about an hr.
Half Moon Cay: Our first stop. GORGEOUS crystal clear water. Tendered onto island. Hubby rented kayak ($25) for hr. with my son. Beautiful white sand beach. Had bbq on island. A very nice day!!
Aruba: 2nd stop. We there from 1- 11 pm. Went over to DePalm Island. This is a man-made beach area with water park for kids... pretty cool, banana boat rides, snorkeling, basketball and sand volleyball. It was pretty windy that day so snorkeling was a bit of a problem. Don't like the fact that you have to walk down stairs over rocky area to get to snorkeling. Basketball kept going into ocean because court right above ocean on a platform... poor designing!! Water was nice but not the bluest for Aruba. This is an all-inclusive package so the all you can drink and lunch was a nice treat!! Got back to ship around 6 pm then went back into town of ARuba. Unfortunately all shops were closed except for casinos so it really defeats the purpose of staying till 11 pm.... nothing to do except going to casino. I will next time go to where all the resorts/ hotels are (about 40 min away) and go onto a natural beach than DePalm Island. My son really liked it thou., but you don't get the taste of Aruba unless you go to the West beaches.
Curacao: last stop. A very nice town. You need to take the pedestrian bridge over to shopping area. This is about a 15 min. walk. Not to many souvenir shops but lots of clothing and shoe stores. I think the locals shop here?? I thought it was a cute picturesque place!! We took cab over to Mambo Beach, which is about a 15 min drive, closest beach to ship. This is also a man-made beach. Paid $3 per person admission and $3 for a chair. This has facilities (bar, food, bathrooms, etc) for guests. Nice beach in general.... One note, did see some topless european women!!
Ship Interior: Very nice and clean!!.. blue and red hues throughout. Small atrium with Front Desk and Shore excursion desk, bar and small sitting area.... nothing impressive!
Pools: Main pool in center of ship. Water seemed cloudy. Could be because of the many small children in it?? I seemed to find a chair everytime around noonish. Live band played great music, but only til 1 pm. Would of like to hear more music around pool throughout day. No activities around pool area all day. My son played ping pong most of the day as I sat by pool. I did get some good reading in!! There is also an adult pool on the same deck but aft end. Lot's of smokers there so I never went.
Food: (1) Buffet area - Not to impressive, never really liked the taste of food!! Pizza Station - ok, Pasta Station - sauce taste like Ragu -- yuk!!, Alfredo sauce was ok!! Sandwich Station - very good!! They made sandwich for you and toasted bread.... can't really go wrong with that. Besides that was a salad bar and taco bar outside pool area. Seem like same food everyday!!
(2) Dining Room - we chose Open Dining. We went around 8:15-8:30 pm everynite. Had to wait about 10 mins before being seated even though tables were available everywhere. Servers were very nice, but SLOW!! Took about 1 1/2 to eat. Food taste bland or very, very spicy!! Did not like the selection or taste. Food definitely not to my liking, nor my husband. Ate sandwichs almost every day.
Overall, Holland America did a nice job with their service... Don't know if I would cruise them again! They definitely need to improve on their food!!