The port at Tampa was very efficient and embarkation was an absolute dream. From the security staff to the check-in desk, everyone was cheerful, friendly and helpful. Port Everglades could learn much from Tampa,in fact. The Ryndam crew made us feel very welcomed as we boarded on Deck 5, and as that was our cabin location, we were in our door within just a few minutes and off to lunch. HAL does a wise thing by having the buffet staff serve passengers' plates to lessen contagion at first, but they relaxed that after 2 days - a policy we approve of. We would have preferred trays for our food, however. Multiple trips to salads, drinks, desserts and such was time-consuming. Departing Tampa is very scenic,sunset coming as we moved out into the bay toward the Skyline Bridge.
Our first off-note came just after that when we went to the Rotterdam Dining Room for dinner. The line was long and we waited 26 minutes just to register and get a beeper. Then it was another 12-minute wait before we were seated. As we were waiting to be paged, we noticed quite a few empty tables. That continued to be the case during our meal, even though there were passengers still waiting in the lobby. This happened for another night or two and we wondered if the Rotterdam were short-staffed for this cruise. The room itself was splendid and wait staff were friendly and efficient. We missed the extra touches on Princess, such as napkins in the lap as we're seated and freshly ground pepper on our plate if we so chose. I like coffee with my meal, vs. only with dessert, and I detected a little resentment when I requested it, no matter the waiter. And to echo another cruiser, the coffee was genuinely awful. It was strong, but not in a good way. It needed lots of whitening to "tame" it, and they only served milk- not cream- for that purpose. Instant coffee would have been much better.
A nice surprise was the theater. The show cast only had 5 top-flight singers and 2 excellent dancers, plus a talented band. They put several nice productions together, especially the final night when the string quartet joined in for an unforgettable evening. A very funny comedian came in for one night, but that was the only outside act, which was surprising.
The big disappointment was having to skip the Key West port call because of high winds, certainly not HAL's fault, but the big positive was the onboard computer "techspert" and the excellent free classes.
Disembarkation was equally fast, and we were on our way home soon after.
Overall, we would rate our experience as "very OK". We were well-fed,comfortable and safe in a pleasant, clean environment and we had lots of fun. But we were not "wowed". We've taken several Princess ships, and the "wow factor" was in play on each cruise. But it's the little things: no bacon at the omelet station, the buffet only serving sandwiches by early afternoon, making the bars the gathering places instead of the atrium - that keep us wanting to try other cruise lines. Getting to a cruise port requires a lot of special effort. When we embark, we want to see a special effort coming back at us, and we'll keep looking until we find it. We didn't find it on Ryndam this cruise. It seemed like just another 1-week run for the most part. That was a surprise - and a disappointment.