My companion and I live locally so we drove to Port Everglades, parked at Park-n-Fly and took the shuttle to the cruise dock. Being a suite guest we waited briefly to go through security and then embarked almost immediately.
We paid for a guaranteed suite and were upgraded to the highest suite (SA) other than the penthouse so that was quite nice. When we boarded our suite was ready so we dropped off our carry-on luggage and went to the lido deck for lunch and to await departure.
Before departure, as we did on a past Holland cruise we signed up for the thermal suites which was a charge of $125 per person for use of the thermal suite which included a sauna, steam rooms, thermal chairs and a therapeutic pool along with lockers, robes, access to showers, etc. Being as this was our relaxation cruise--what better way than to have use of such amenities.
All was going well until we went to use the sauna after our first work-out and found out the sauna was not producing heat (hmmm) and then we went into steam room which was not too steamy. We thought maybe it was early and the units needed to heat up but subsequent visits at different hours and on different days did not produce any better results. I couldn't get a definitive answer on the problem from anyone and will be writing a letter to Holland America to request credit for the amenities I paid for but did not receive. I would definitely recommend you checking out the temperature on the steam and sauna before purchasing any packages!!
When we returned to our room on day two we were met by our cabin steward and asked if we had an iron. We did bring an iron as the last cruise on Holland (last year) we had to wait an hour or so for an hour when we requested one and then we had to complete all ironing within an hour of receiving the iron so it could be distributed to other passengers. I have also taken a travel iron on other cruises with no problem. On this particular ship, it is apparently not allowed and our steward told us not to use it. We said okay, but questioned him on howhe found it as it was in my closet. I didn't really get an answer but decided not to push the issue. Later that evening another crew member (in a uniform-like some kind of manager)asked us for our iron and said they would give it back to us the day before we returned home. I didn't want to argue (I am on the cruise for relaxation) and gave him the iron. He told us all our ironing and laundry services were complimentary with 24 hours notice and while that was nice, I don't know what I am wearing in 5 hours much less giving 24 hours notice. Whatever--just seems strange since they allow curling irons and smoking (matches) but not irons?? So---if you take an iron---hide it well!!!!
Ports of call were nice as we went power snorkeling in Grand Turk, sightseeing on our own (you can walk around town) in San Juan, and took a short water taxi ride to shopping and lunch in St. Maarten. After a day at sea we opted to stay on the boat in Half Moon Cay and enjoy the ships deck with not many passengers since living in the area we can go to the beach most any day.
We spent most of our evenings dining casually either in the Lido restaurant or in the room and enjoyed the casino or watching football in the Sports Bar so I can't comment on the shows or other entertainment available.
The cabin was nice, however a bit outdated and showing signs of wear and tear. The Neptune lounge for the suites is a nice touch and had very nice crew members to assist with shore excursions or dinner reservations. Our cabin stewards went overboard to be nice after they obviously told someone about our iron and it was confiscated -- we found humor in the fact most folks get their liquor taken away and then there was our offense -- oh well, it makes a great story!!
Several areas on the ship are rusting and need painting and the coffee/latte machine in the Explorations Cafe didn't work properly. I was told by the crew member working the cafe, she had been told the machine would be replaced when the ship went into dry dock which she thought was April. I asked if it was going to be fixed before then and she said she didn't know that it had been like that for a while. Several areas were also a bit dirty and needed attention -- which seemed to be standard in many public rooms. I think it could be nice again---just needs some TLC and attention that comes with down time for a good "spring cleaning".
Disembarkation was quite simple and easy. We left our cabin around 9:15 a.m. had a quick cup of coffee and were in our car back at Park-n-Fly and heading home by 10:00 a.m.
All in all, the cruise accomplished our goal of relaxation, however the details of customer satisfaction that were overlooked reflect a bit negatively on the management of this ship.