Holland America was not nice to us as we asked for a GUAR which assigns staterooms just before sailing. We had another couple going with, and asked they be close. HAL put us on the starboard, 8th deck on the stern and our friends on the port, 6th deck on the bow. If we tried, could not get further apart.
We drove from Fort Myers, FL and left the car at Park & Fly just outside the dock area. Great place, took all the luggage from the car, put it in the bus and did the same thing at the other end. On return, we called for pickup and they were there in 10 minutes. Again did the luggage thing...WOW! Embarq was very good and had water & cookies for us. Got on at 12:30 and the room was ready. Off to lunch and tour the ship, our third time on this ship. It had not changed much. Met Cruise Critic friends at 4 P.M. with a Greet and Meet. Dinner at 6:15 with 7 of us and had no problem getting in.
Tuesday the winds came up and the seas got rough. Fun watching the waves in the pool and only a few tried to get in. Bumpy all day and all night.
Wednesday the sea calmed down a little and went to the Microsoft class, very good! Then a watch seminar in the afternoon - dumb! Show was great and the kids worked very hard.
Thursday we had reservations with STMAARTENCRUISEEXCURSIONS.COM and had the Tiki Beach & Island Tour. Damion picked us at the ship, toured St maarten and got the "ferry" to Pinal Island, included 2 chair, umbrella, drink and the BAR_B_Q for lunch. Ferry back, some shopping and back on board.
Friday we had reservations with www.stluciafrank.com for $75.00 each on an all day tour. We were picked up in Canaries and dropped off in Soufriere. The ship does not promote this practice and wants you to use their tours, but just check with the desk and let them know. No problem! The ship moves from one place to the other and we get picked up with the tenders. Frank is a clown and we saw the entire island, lunch had some "bite" but it was local food. Saw gardens, volcano, water fall, Pitons and lots more. Good value. Ship had a BAR-B-Q at night, but no place to set and eat. Show as a movie.
Saturday had a trip from Johnson's Tours on line for Caves & Critters at $87.50 each. Pricey but we did get into the Harrison Caves (Don't miss it) then Barbados Wildlife Reserve. A few turtles and deer, no monkeys as advertised. Bus took us across the street to the Forrest and plenty of monkeys. Tour guide was good and stayed with an older couple with our group. Shopping was OK, but 5 ships in port.
Sunday in Martinique which was closed. Stayed on board and saved money.
Monday was Domica, shopped at the dock and found TOOOO many taxi drivers wanting your money. Hang a sign that says "NO" on you.
Tuesday at St Thomas with Oasis of Sea (6000) passengers at the dock. $4.00 each way to get into town.
Wednesday at sea and we all ate at Camaletto Itialian Restaurant on the 9th deck (FREE) and great service and selection.
Thursday was Half Moon Bay and the rains came and it poured. Stayed on board, got another Microsoft class.
Friday we disembarked in 30 minutes, got the bus back to our cars and was on I-595 in 15 minutes. Except for the screw up by HAL for staterooms, the cruise was very good.