From the moment we booked this cruise, the efficiency of Holland America was fantastic. We booked the cruise with flights from the U.K. included and Hotel accomodation for one night in San Diego. As this was our first cruise we werent sure what to expect. We were met at San Diego Airport by a HAL representative and again at the Hotel. We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina which was ideal and we could see the ship at the Cruise Port in the morning when we awoke. Transfer to the ship was well organised, and embarkation was very quick and much simpler than we had expected.
Our cabin was on dolphin deck - outside, which we absolutely loved especially at night when we went to bed as we would sit and watch the flying fish. Absolutely amazing - one benefit of being lower down on the ship! The cabin was compact but plenty large enough for the two of us. It was very clean and our 2 cabin stewards looked after us very well for the 2 weeks. Only once did we arrive back at our cabin when they were there - all other times they managed to sneak in and out whilst we were having breakfast or evening meal!
We loved the layout of the ship, and thought that all facilities were great. We found all staff amazing - all went out of their way to make our holiday the best. The politeness and efficiency of the Indonesian and Phillipino Restaurant staff and Bar staff was outstanding. We dined at 8pm each evening which we found perfect as we could then go into the Explorers Lounge to watch the string quartet and then to the theatre to watch the shows at 10pm. Entertainment on board was top notch. Every show we saw was outstanding. Standard of the singers fabulous. Guest entertainers were also brilliant and one of the comedians was so funny! We would ofter finish the evening in the Ocean bar and relax with the Jazz Musicians playing - also great!
Food on board was perfect. Our Restaurant meals were all first class with a very good choice each day. The Lido restaurant food was fabulous too where you could eat a wide selection from 6am to midnight - One evening many passengers arrived back from a trip at 11pm and the poor chefs were frantically cooking - but as usual thy were still all smiling! We ate one lunch time in the Pinacle Restaurant - Perfect! Coffee in the Explorers lounge was good for anyone having withdrawal symptoms from Starbucks!
We only took 3 trips whilst we were on board but all 3 we enjoyed and felt had been worthwhile. We enjoyed the itinerary for this cruise as we one day did the zip line tour at Puerto Vallarta and another relaxed on the Beach at Huatulco. The evening trip to the Miraflores locks was really interesting as we could watch the Cargo ships entering and exiting the locks by floodlight. The transit through the Panama Canal was very interesting and very beautiful in parts. The Guide that came on board for the day was brilliant and told us lots of interesting facts. Also I must mention the travel Guide onboard was most helpful and knew anything we needed to know about the places we visited.
The disembarkation and transfer to Miami airport was smooth and trouble free. We had an amazing Cruise and would definately travel again with HAL.