This was my 12th cruise of which 11 were Caribbean cruises and 1 was a Mediterranean cruise. I have sailed on Royal (2), Princess (3), Carnival (4) and HAL (3). Yet this was my first Southern Caribbean cruise. Stops were in Half Moon Cay, Aruba and Curacao. Three Sea Days. I usually return from non HAL cruises saying nice cruise but it wasn't Holland America. This still holds true after this particular cruise, although the Allure of the Seas came surprisingly close in July this year.
We stayed at the Westin Beach Resort the night before and we took a taxi to the terminal around 11AM. Embarkation was a breeze and we were on the boat by 11:40AM and were pleasantly surprised that the cabin was ready. We had one of the small suites on the Navigation Deck Cabin 8040, and it was perfect. Big balcony, Great bed, Lots of Storage Place and a big spacious bathroom. The room steward was pleasant and efficient. We had room service a few times and it was fast and accurate.
We had the late seating in the dining room on Deck 3, Table 26. It was a table for 6 and we lucked out that our dinnermates from NY and CO were very nice. As usual on HAL the food was very good to excellent and the service was the usual HAL standard. (Great for those of you who have not experienced HAL).
We did the Le Cirque special dinner one night and the Pinnacle Grill regular dinner one night. Both service and food were wonderful.
Half Moon Cay is always a great stop especially if you can secure a Cabana. Aruba and Curacao were interesting places that we would definitely visit again.
We did the Catamaran snorkeling and Beach excursion which I recommend. Then we explored the town on our own as we did on the last stop.
Sea Days are my absolute favorite. HAL does not cheat you on the drinks and they provide pretty good entertainment during those days.
We watched a few shows which were all good. There is a guitar player on the Observation Deck (10) at the Crow's Nest that is absolutely fantastic and well worth listening to. The Casino is small but fun, and the Northern Lights night club is fun if you are into late night dancing. We both love Piano Bars and on past cruises we have spend quiet a bid of time in them and contributed to the cruise lines revenues :) Unfortunately this one was disappointing. A good Piano Bar is made by the Pianist. We had great experiences on the Zuiderdam and Nieuw Amsterdam but the Westerdam's pianist did just not click with his audience. We were obviously not the only ones who thought so because half way through the cruise we noticed that every night the Piano bar was sparsely populated unlike other Piano bars we have been to.
Getting off the boat was very easy as well. We were in the last group scheduled to depart in between 9:45am and 10:00am. So we enjoyed room service breakfast in our cabin and then headed out. We claimed our luggage and then took a taxi to the FLL airport. We left the cabin at 9:50am and were at FLL at 10:30AM. Hard to beat that.
I highly recommend this cruise to anyone and hopefully this was a helpful post.