We took our cruise of the Caribbean beginning at Barbados on 2/22/2017 and ending in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on 3/5/2017. Overall, we had a very nice time. We were on the Holland America Rotterdam. The variety and quality of the food ... Read More
We took our cruise of the Caribbean beginning at Barbados on 2/22/2017 and ending in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on 3/5/2017. Overall, we had a very nice time. We were on the Holland America Rotterdam. The variety and quality of the food was good to excellent. The service was very good to excellent in every way. We believe that people considering Holland America cruises need to be aware that this cruise line caters to the older set. The majority (70% or more) of travelers were 65 to 80+ years old. About 20% to 25% of the travelers were in their late 40s to mid 60s. Not counting the staff and entertainers, only 2% to 5% were younger than 40 years old. We were surprised to see so many people needing canes, walkers, and wheelchairs to get around. We are in our early 60s and are very healthy and active. We found several people to hang out with in the 50-65 age group who were also in good physical condition and enjoyed energetic activities.
The older folks congregated in the bars that offered chamber music and elevator music, took naps around the pools and on the promenade deck, and attended lectures and art shows. The 5 pm dining had people packed in the hallways and on the stairs waiting for the doors to open. We selected "any time" dining and avoided the 5 pm rush.
The Rotterdam is a fairly small ship when compared to other cruises we've been on with Celebrity and Norwegian cruise lines. Most of the entertainment was mediocre although there were a couple of nights that were pretty good. Don't expect the big production numbers offered by the larger cruise ships.
One of our land excursions would have been better if we had been told to take at least $100 cash per person. We purposely selected the tour where we climbed up the Dunn's River waterfall in Jamaica. The bus taking us to that location made a stop at a roadside store and the guide encouraged everyone to buy the water shoe style that store sells. The guide even went so far as to say that we would not be allowed to climb if we did not have that type of water shoes. Many of the people on our bus had very good quality water shoes of their own and insisted that they would not purchase the ones sold at the store. Some people felt intimidated and purchased the shoes. Once at the waterfalls, you must pay at least $10 for a locker if you brought items that you don't want to carry as you climb up the slippery waterfall. You will get wet and so will your backpacks. Take a waterproof camera. There are photos taken along the hike that you can buy when you are done. After our climb, we were quoted $10 for a very good photo but we were low on cash by that time. They also offer a DVD of your group's climb up the waterfall. However, you must pay $40 cash for that. There are food stands and restroom facilities on the grounds. The departure meeting time and location seemed a bit confusing as the tour guide wasn't there at that time. The guide took us out of the park by walking us through a maze of souvenir shops with pushy sales people.
The climb up the waterfall was wonderful. The guides along that climb were very helpful. They took a lot of good pictures and made sure everyone was safe and having fun. They deserved good tips.
Our 1st cabin (stateroom 2695) was very nice. It was roomy and had a big window. The DVD player didn't work well. Our remote controls for the TV and DVD player had to be changed out as they didn't work at first. The DVDs offered were in poor shape and 3 of the 4 we borrowed didn't play well or at all. So, we stopped borrowing DVDs. There was some sort of construction going on in the stateroom next to ours almost every day. We were often exhausted after our land activities and took showers and brief naps once we got back on board. The construction prevented us from enjoying that quiet time. On our 8th day, we were asked to stay out of our room between 8 am and 5 pm because they wanted to do maintenance to our room. We were offered another room to use if we needed a shower or nap during that time period. Around 2 pm, we were asked to return to our room and pack our belongings because we needed to be moved to another room for the duration of the cruise because the repair work needed on our original room was extensive (they had to open up the walls to reach pipes). We were given an upgraded stateroom with a balcony. However, it had problems too. The problems were not awful so we tolerated them for the rest of the cruise. We were offered a free land excursion or a spa treatment for our inconvenience. We took the spa treatment and considered the offer to be good customer relations for our inconvenience.
The water had an odor. We noticed it when we bathed. That smell stayed in clothes that we rinsed out after land excursion activities. We had to put several slices of lemon in water served at our meals. We didn't get sick from the water, it just had a bad smell. All of the other people we talked with about this matter agreed that the water didn't smell good.
The Rotterdam is 20 years old and, in our opinion, needs thorough maintenance and upgrades. Read Less