We embarked on June 27, 2011. The embarkation process was very well managed and staff was helpful and courteous. The waiting areas were comfortable and facilities were available for our use.
Our accommodation was at the stern, deck 5. The cabin was what we expected, comfortable, clean and everything worked. There was more than adequate room to relax and to store our belongings.
Our cabin steward was friendly and very helpful. Our cabin was serviced without a problem and any requests we made were dealt with promptly and efficiently.
The food was generally very good. In particular, we dined twice in the Tamarind. The service and food were excellent. The dining room staff provided good service and attended to any requests quickly. Breakfast in The Rembrandt was excellent; the quality of food and service made it a pleasure. One feature that was not so good was the waiting in line for a table at dinner time. This happened quite frequently but because we were always willing to share with someone else we did not generally have to wait very long.
Wine selections were appropriate and tasteful, complementing the meals. Bar service was also good; we were not hounded to purchase drinks as has been the case on some cruises.
The entertainment was not the quality we expected. The shows in the main theatre were too similar from night to night. There were was one male singer who gave an excellent solo performance. To be fair the ship's performers were good but the shows lacked variety and something extra to make them special.
The pianist, Michael was good but his act each evening became rather stale with similar stories and 'jokes' every night. The solo guitarist, Gary, in the Crow's Nest was very good and provided good entertainment every evening. He could have performed for longer or maybe twice in the evening; his selections were appropriate and his guitar playing and voice are really good.
The on-board shops did not have a good selection or range of goods on offer. The choice of clothes was very limited and not in keeping with what we expected or have experienced on other cruises. The selection of jewellery, watches and similar was also less than expected. There was hardly any 'incidentals' available in case one had forgotten to bring something. It comprised barely a small area of two or three racks with some basic goods and medications. For a cruise of generally high quality this could be improved.
Overall the quality of the cruise was everything we expected and exceeded expectations in some cases - food, accommodation and public areas in particular. We shall certainly cruise with Holland-America again!