We arrived in FLL 2 days before the cruise. After an uneventful flight we rented a car from Hertz where we had to wait in a long line to get the car and then drove to Total Wine and purchased a case of wine and champagne to take on the cruise. Then it was off to the Sheraton Suites in Plantation. We have stayed here before and emjoy the hotel and location. Though it is not near the ocean it is close to restaurants and shopping. On the 12th, we took the rental car back to the airport location. An employee of Hertz said he would take us to the port, which was a nice perk. He dropped us off at Holland America terminal for the Maasdam about 10:50 a.m.
The doors to the terminal opened at 11 and we were given number 4 and told to sit and wait. About 11:20 they started calling numbers, ours was called about 11:30 and after a few minutes we were on board. The cabins weren't ready so being Mariners we went to the Main Dining room for lunch. We had our carry ons with us and were told to take them with us to our table.
While we were eating the announcement was made the cabins were ready.
We went to our cabin after eating. I soon discovered I left my camera in the dining room and returned for it but it wasn't there and it was never turned in so this wasn't the best start to the cruise.
Our cabin was an interior on the Main Deck. This was the first time we had and interior cabin - we have always had a cabin with a balcony. The cabin was very large and roomy - lots of storage, more than what we needed. We did miss the balcony and will not cruise again without one. Our cabin stewarts were very good and attentive. I asked for ice because of the wine and no mini bar to put it in and they brought a larger ice bucket and ice twice a day.
We had open dining, which I would not recommend it you want a table for 2. I called to make a reservation and was told I could reserve a table for 2 for 3 nights so I agreed only to find out this wasn't possible. So every day between 7 and 7:30 I called and was told there were no tables for 2 available.
The times we ate in the main dining room, the service was slow and the food was okay, not great, just okay. We ate in the Pinnacle dining room which was very good both in services and food. We also ate in the Cannaletto and again the food and service was good. We often ate in the Lido at night since we couldn't get a table for 2 and found the food to be
better than the dining room and the service better as well.
The seas were kind of rough several days and it was difficult to walk without feeling like I was drunk...lots of motion. The ship itself was very nice and clean. It is small in size compared to other ships we have sailed on and most of the passengers were at least 60 years old. This was not a problem for us. We were always abnle to find a place to sit around one of the pools or on the promenade deck.
We have been to Half Moon Cay before so we stayed on the ship and had a nice relaxing time. My husband booked a massage the day the ship was in St.Criox and since we have been there before we just did a little shopping and went back to the ship.
In St. Vincent we took a ship sponsored tour - Garden Tour. This took us to 2 different gardens. While both gardens were nice, the trip between the 2 was long and the roads were very rough and bumpy - the bus had back up several times to let other cars pass. There was also a fair amount of walking at both gardens - up hills, and climbing stairs. We had several older people with canes who had trouble walking in the gardens. HAL needs to do a better job describing this tour.
In St. Lucia we hired a taxi driver to take us around the island - this was money well spent and we enjoyed being able to go where we wanted and have just the 2 of us in the taxi and get a lot of personal attention.
The other islands we shopped or relaxed on a beach. We had been to most of the islands so we did not feel the need to explore.
We decided to try HAL's luggage direct but for some reason they could not print my boarding pass even though they printed my husbands. Disembarkment was easy and quick. We were off the ship about 8:45 and took a taxi to the airport. There were a lot of people at the airport as there were 6 ships in port and it was close to Christmas. Our flight didn't leave until later in the day but the time seemed to go fast.
Overall, this was our least favorite cruise. There was a lot of motion and the food and service in the main dining room wasn't good. When we cruise again we will select a larger ship and even though we like HAL we will look at other cruise lines.