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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty ... Read More
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty to choose from The ship was decked out in Christmas decorations & New years eve was a blast, with great entertainment on the Lido pool deck Fiji was not to our liking due to the locals being a little over the top. Mystery Island was a blessing however. Maybe we should have done some shore excursions as some of the other passengers did and were very pleased with their decision. Also met up with some great passengers and had a very good time. We had a great choice of food with goose for Christmas eve & the Pinnacle grill was fantastic with great food & service. To sum it up, we loved the cruise, the staff, the service and the people. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We have previously completed HAL cruises to Myanmar and Hong Kong from Singapore. This Indonesia cruise was the missing link. We have been to Singapore many, many times. Stayed at Sofitel So. The only highlights were the Telok Ayer Food ... Read More
We have previously completed HAL cruises to Myanmar and Hong Kong from Singapore. This Indonesia cruise was the missing link. We have been to Singapore many, many times. Stayed at Sofitel So. The only highlights were the Telok Ayer Food Market next door to the hotel. and the Botanic Gardens. Most ports of call were forgettable with heavy traffic. Shuttles only went to shopping malls. Lombok was the highlight. Komodo Island lizards are not much bigger than our large monitor lizards and much smaller than our crocodiles. We highly recommend Putu Supartana, a private driver in Bali (putusupartana@yahoo.com). He intimately knows the island, will recommend places to visit and can bypass the horrible traffic congestion. Overall an average cruise. HAL service is becoming less customer focussed but the ship staff were still excellent. Port information was minimal but port transfers were good. We did not do any ship excursions as they are too expensive and poor value. Other passenger statements reflected a lot of time in traffic on shore excursions. Main dining room food was good but the Pinnacle Grill needs to change its menu as it is still the same from 3 cruises ago. The lack of a cocktail of the day was a disappointment. Oceanview cabin better than other cruise lines and cabin staff excellent. Nightly entertainment was average. Two local culture shows were poor. Being a christmas/new year cruise the number of children was relatively low, unobtrusive and well behaved. A typical mid-60's HAL crowd. We would not do this cruise again as the ports of call are poor. However Indonesia is our nearest neighbour and we have been to more interesting, less tourist orientated places. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which is an accessible cabin. Cabin was spacious but found being forward was noisier that being mid ship or stern with the sound of the ropes and anchor noises. During rough weather the waves tended to go up into the anchor area and caused this to bang against the boat. This did only happen on two occasions during the trip. We ate most of our meals in the Rotterdam room and out attendants, Hendra and Juli could not be faulted, they were friendly, professional and helpful. They did everything they possibly could to please. Noel, our sommelier was friendly, knowledgeable and was always at the ready to supply our drinks. The staff in the Crows Nest and Mix Bar were exceptional. Overall the crew seemed happy and engaging. Although the entertainment is more low key than in some of the more family orientated ships like RCA, Princess or Celebrity, we found the entertainment more than enough, after all this is a place to relax as well as enjoy oneself. The trivia times were great fun, with A/Cruise Director Joep being a great compere. There was plenty to do on board if you wanted to, I had great intentions of checking out the cooking demonstrations in the culinary arts centre, but never got there. There is a well stocked library which has many board, card games and relaxing cafe and lounge in which to play them as well as trivia, movies, shows, art auctions, a casino, dance classes. I enjoyed the size of the ship, it was the friendliest ship I have ever been on, this goes for fellow passengers and crew. One of the reasons for choosing Holland America was because there was no flow rider, ice skating rink, no needless bells and whistles and therefore not too many children. Those that were on board enjoyed the Hal's Kids Club and were on the whole well behaved and well mannered. The ports were great and most of them had shuttle buses (including accessible ones) to take you to information centres in the city centres. Also many volunteers were on hand to assist. Only port I had a problem with was Tauranga due to my mobility but local port authority kindly drove us to the port entrance. Overall, I think more should be done about facilities at ports but this is not a Holland America issue. Having travelled on RCA earlier in the year and being on board with a large amount of people having to wait in line was a problem. There is also a lack of room in the public areas due to adding in paying restaurants and making these areas smaller. This is not the case on Holland America, no waiting for lifts, plenty of room in the public areas if there was an activity happening. Smaller ships have their advantages. Debarkation went smoothly. Overall we had a wonderful relaxing and enjoyable holiday and would step back on board in a heartbeat. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015

We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015.

After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so ... Read More

We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015.

After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of turbulence made the flight uncomfortable, we made it to Miami. As the ESTA system was supposed to make life easier for tourists I don’t know what went wrong there but it took us over two hours to get through immigration. If we ever go on a Caribbean cruise again it will not be through the USA.

We spent one night in the Sonesta hotel in Fort Lauderdale then boarded our ship. There was some problem at the boarding stage so it took over two hours to get through the system.

We were in an inside cabin 7105 and it was quite comfortable. The air conditioning worked reasonably well but was slow to react when changing the dial, the bed was comfortable and the shower was very good. There was only one chair so being in the cabin wasn’t that comfortable.

The first week we sailed the Eastern Caribbean to Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St Thomas and we were supposed to stop at Half Moon Cay but the weather dictated we didn’t so we had an extra day at sea. It was cold in the evening on that part of the cruise and seemed to rain every night. The second week we sailed to Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West. The weather was warmer for this week.

We paid $45 each for a trip on Grand Turk and it was money wasted. There is very little to see there. On Tuesday January 27th we booked a trip for the following day on Puerto Rico at a cost of over $100 for two. I became ill the following morning so couldn’t go on the trip and my wife didn’t want to leave me. I spent two days in my cabin, missing Puerto Rico and St Thomas, and when my wife went to see the Shore Excursions team they said that we would have to cancel the excursion on the Monday, the day before we booked it, to get a refund. That made me mad. They have no idea of customer service so that makes me think I shall never use them again. We did several other trips with the ship and in the main they were ok, especially the one in Cozumel where we went to see the ruins at San Gervasio. However, on Key West we took an elongated trolley trip but there is very little to see outside of the main town. I had been led to believe that the USA was cheap but Key West is certainly not.

The food on the ship was quite good with breakfast and lunch in the Lido being very good. However in the evening there was little on offer and I can only assume the management are of the opinion most people would eat in the main restaurants, which is not the case. We only eat in the main restaurant twice during our cruise. The first time it took two and a half hours and although the second time it only took an hour, we had a table for two, the restaurant was freezing so we were glad to get out of there.

The entertainment was pretty good with the star of the cruise being a Steel Band from Trinidad called Island Magic. The BB King Blues Band are very good.

Overall the Nieuw Amsterdam is a cold ship with air conditioning making many of the public rooms feeling inhospitable and on several occasions we had to leave an event because it was just too cold.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

The Ship: The ship is wonderful. The retrofit changed a few things, so i recommend you also try the Maasdam to get a feel for the smaller ships. The Atrium is wonderful and still all the decks and spaces are so wondrful. The artwork is ... Read More

The Ship: The ship is wonderful. The retrofit changed a few things, so i recommend you also try the Maasdam to get a feel for the smaller ships. The Atrium is wonderful and still all the decks and spaces are so wondrful. The artwork is also wonderful. They changed happy hour times, but that is okay, we still made a few of them. We danced in the crows nest late one night and had a blast. I recommend you check out the deck plans. We always to scour them before we sail.

The crew:The crew was amazing. Arthur and Gabriel of the front desk! They need a raise. Cyn of the spa, she was great. Our room stewerts were also amazing.

The Entertainment: The on location stuff by Kinoa was amazing. His knowledge , his humor, his open heart full of aloha was so refreshing. This guy is so informed, a true native that you simply cant stump him. Dont miss his presentations. I even took some of gradma's jewlery to him, and he knew all of the hawaiian origins. The show Airborn was hilarious and inspiring. the singing and costumes were really good.

The movies were all latest realeases. They show them the next day on the TV or in the Gym, so we saw alot of them. There is so much going on, dont fall prey to sitting in a lounger all day. Walk the decks, go to the cooking presentations, take the galley tour, go the library and just do it. It is nice to see Officers and the Captain enjoying a show or two some times too.

The Dining: Prior to this cruise we always booked late seating. This time, due to negative people at our table, we jumped ship and switched to open seating. We found others of like mind that love their surroundings and love cruising and are generally happy with themselves to be fun to hang out with and did what we would normally do with our tabelmates. We ate at Canaletto together, went offshore together and got time to have a bite and talk. The dining was wonderful. For an 18 night cruise food did not repeat itself and was always fabulous. The soups were killer and we got to meet the saucier or soup guy and tell him so. The dining staff on this ship is top notch and clearly they have fun at work. They laugh and joke with us and each other and one night after dinner (we usually shiut the dining room down) they were celebrating a coworkers birthday at the very end of the shift with a with a pie in the face and icewater on his head. we all laughed and clapped at this rare human moment from folks who work so very very hard.

The Gym: There is a good deck on the gym floor in which to take pics as most do, but also give the gym a try. We wend there everyday. It is free and they have good equipement. Just bring headphones so that you can also catch that movie you missed the day before , because they have screens and plug ins.

The Spa:This is limited to 20 couples on this size ship and is a must do with 12 sea days. I am expecially glad we did, as the mineral tub was so ralaxing with a sea view and the ceramic hot beds were our daily moment of zen. There are also showers, steam rooms, two of them, one cooler one hot. If you can possibly afford it, just do it, and you wont regret it.

The pools and hot tubs: THE pool (only one) was refilled with nice warm water that just got colder and colder each sea day. Very motel 6 like. The hot tubs, never hot, the jets are on day and night no option to turn the jets off. The jets are just blasts of cold air the water bubbles six inches high. On the back deck at The Retreat , the wind takes the bubbling water to be shared by all on the deck, and in your face too. The rectangular hot tubs at the Retreat , when they were filled, which wasnt all the time, were oddly the hottest pools and hotter than the hot tubs. They also had motion and jets to them, but were simply hotter. they are shallow, but wonderful. They just simply dont travel well at sea, so they are netted and empty most of the time as most of the water sloshes out across the decks. poor planning.

The Room: We booked a oceanview on the promenade deck next too an exit to our "veranda". Loved the fresh air that would blow in when doors on this deck would open and close with people going in and out. Stateroom 327, just steps away from the promanade, providing fresh air, a feeling like it was our own viranda at half the price of the lanai. close to elevators and the atrium, and the lovely atrium steps.

The Excursions: We had these stops: Oahu, Maui, Kuai ,Kona and Hilo.

On Oahu (this was our overnight stop) we got together with friends for dinner and drinks, but the next day we took the city bus to Hanauma Bay and went snrokeling. I recommend this very much. Clear warm waters and huge fish. We have been to Oahu before so, this was perfect for us.

On Hilo we got a rental car and drove to Volcanoes National Park and spent a time there walking trails. On a prior cruise we took the crater hike and it was wonderful. This time we drove to key spots and then drove also to Akaka Falls. This is a very spectacular fall on a very very short walk. Do this is you are pressed for time and want to squeeze in one more side trip. It is worth it.

on Kaui we took the Seafun Kauai Shore Snorkel excursion form the ship.

This is the best trip! You start in a van with a very short ride to suit up in a short wet suit, which keeps you warm and bouyant enough, so that you dont need a vest as on other snorkel trips. Once at the shore, the guides help you get situated, so dont let the rocky shore worry you. If you are lucky you will get the guide named Paul. We have gotten him twice now. This guy lives in the ocean and knows it like the back of his hand. He always produces a good find. Last time it was a Nerf Shark and Turtles and too many fish to describe. He will even offer to dive with your camera and get a good pic for you. This time he found an Octopus and we took turns holding it with his guidance. He also points out everything so you want to follow him, and he is good at keeping you close if you stray. We saw eels, sea cucumbers, turtles and a million dish. The Octopus was the star this time.

The Kona Sail & Snorkel was a Snorkel excursion form the ship. This was a tender port, so this wonderful sail snorkeling excurion starts with a short drive in a van to the Kaloko Honokohau Marina. Then you travel south by catamaran to a sheltered cove. This was a small and intimate catamaran. Good lunch and treats and beer if you want it. The fish were wonderful and we always see some species that we haven't seen before. This location had a beautiful view of a beach that only native hawaiians can go to, but it was also close to a nice drop off.The water is thirty feet deep where the boat ties off to an anchor point. The water is very clear visablity is 120 feet. Along the shore are blocks lava that are plentifull with marine life and unbelievable amounts of fish. This was one of the few locations that we saw schools of fish. This is not for first time snorkelers or weak swimmers. The guides are friendly and very knowledgable of this pristine spot.

West Maui Snorkel Cruise snorkel excurion from the ship:This the second time we have taken this excursion and was just as great as the first time. The crew is fun and friendly, very helpful for first time snorkelers. The water is about 20 feet deep, coral heads rise off the bottom at least 15 feet. Marine life covers the coral heads that attract the fish and turtles. The water is very clear you can see for 60-80 feet, fish are very abundant swimming around the coral heads. This spot is south of the ship tender close to Olowala state reserve on shore the water is very calm.The sail back to port is mostly by motor, the crew tries to sail but the wind has other ideas, take lots of pictures going to and from this location.

The good: We love cruising and love our surrounding both at home and on a ship. Not much can dampen our day. One sweet highlight was seeing a storm petral and an albatross on the water.

The bad: People who think that they are royalty; one day a woman stuck her pronged cane in the elevator while it was closing. It clamped down on the end and she was stuck on the outside with the rest of her cane and i was stuck on the inside with the end of it. Naturally it shut down the elevators and i had to pry open the doors. It put the elvator out of commision for a day. This might work in a city, not so much on a cruise ship.

The ugly: Buzz kill negative people who hate their surroundings should not cruise. This sucks the life out of those of us who do. If you run around and take bowls of cheese or all the almonds you are selfish. If you complain that the soup is cold when there is steam clearly rising from it, you are ignorant.

Leave cruising to those of us who know how to do it.

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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

Background

We cruise often, and usually during the holidays. We're all 3-star HAL Mariners, even our 9 year old. We're in our 40's; husband's parents in their 60's. We've also cruised Celebrity 3 times, and Princess 3 times ... Read More

Background

We cruise often, and usually during the holidays. We're all 3-star HAL Mariners, even our 9 year old. We're in our 40's; husband's parents in their 60's. We've also cruised Celebrity 3 times, and Princess 3 times (in-laws have cruised Princess 5-6 times) and RCCL a few times as well. But most of our cruising is with Holland America. We prefer mid-size/smaller ships. We booked this cruise VERY last minute, directly with HAL, therefore we were wait-listed for everything: dining, upgrades and even getting a cabin on the ship in the first place. We ended up with a Cat. B Vista Suite and my in-laws got the smaller Cat VQ Spa Verandah, both on Deck 9, Verandah Deck.

(I will be making a lot of comparisons to Princess in the review because we have cruised most recently with Princess. We were considering switching from HAL to Princess as our preferred cruise line after we had a disappointing experience with HAL, not with an actual cruise, but with how a future cruise deposit was mishandled by the corporate office. HAL eventually made us whole on the issue, and we weren't completely swept off our feet with our Princess experiences, therefore we'll cruise either line now depending on price & itinerary)

Embarkation and disembarkation in San Diego was easy, quick and efficient. We live in Los Angeles, and we drove down on the morning of embarkation, parked (pre-paid parking online) at the Wyndham (formerly a Holiday Inn) across the street from terminal for $65 for the entire week. My in-laws had flown in from Canada a day or so earlier and had stayed at that same hotel. They were very pleased with their room there. I think we were on the ship by 11am, well in time for the Mariner's Welcome Lunch in the dining room.

The Ship

This is our 2nd time on the Veendam. We did a Bermuda cruise on this ship, summer 2010. We really enjoyed that cruise, and thought the ship was in good shape then, but they've spiffed up the soft goods (carpet, upholstery, window treatments, etc.) even since that cruise. They also improved the one thing we didn't like about the ship in 2010 -- that silly "retreat" thing. Remember when HAL had that really bad, and thankfully short-lived idea to replace all of the aft pools with that retreat concept? Which was basically some loungers standing in 3 inches of water and some other poorly executed water features? I think they were trying to compete with RCCL's H20 zone, and HAL really missed the mark on that one. Anyway, it is still called "the retreat" on the Veendam but it is now two large hot-tubs and two plunge pools. We'd still prefer another pool, but this is much, much better than their first retreat concept. At first, I thought I was confusing the Veendam with another ship, but I pulled up our Bermuda cruise pix on my Flickr account, and sure enough, the Veendam aft "retreat" in summer 2010 looked entirely different, even the tiling is a different color. The outdoor teen Oasis area above the kids club appeared to be closed for the entire cruise. We have a tween, therefore this really didn't affect us, but if she were a teen, she would have been really disappointed. She has cruised HAL many times, and is really looking forward to the day she is able to use the Oasis. Our cabins were forward, but I noticed a slight sewer smell on the stateroom decks towards the rear of the ship. They placed long auxiliary dining tables perpendicular to one side of the pool on embarkation day; we've seen that before but usually it's temporary for embarkation dining or later on in the cruise for a BBQ. But they remained there for the entire cruise, and that not only displaced loungers by the ship's only real pool, but it also compromised the ambiance of the pool area. But the ship was in amazing shape, especially for an 18 year old ship!

Cabins

We had B123, which is a Vista Suite forward. Our cabin was almost perfect, except that it was rather creaky while sailing. That was the ONLY thing in the entire cruise that revealed the ship's age. The first night was really noisy and kept us awake. But then we either got used to it, or it wasn't as noisy later on in the cruise. The cabin was spotless, and the carpet and other soft goods in the room looked brand new. Our steward was very pleasant and took good care of us. Plenty of room and storage for the three of us. Although my daughter, who has slept in many cruise ship sofa beds, said this sofa bed was the most uncomfortable one. We really like the verandahs on HAL much better than Princess. HAL's teak flooring looks more upscale than the blue rubber matting on Princess. But what really makes a difference is that HAL's decks are far more private than what we have experienced on Princess. My in-laws had the smaller VQ Spa Verandah, room 106. They had a recurring problem with brown water coming out of the sink, shower and tub. This happened several times throughout the cruise, and they never seemed to get it fixed. We had smokers next to us who smoked on their verandah often, as they are allowed to do on HAL. In theory, smoking in not allowed on Princess verandahs, but they do it anyway.

Dining

The food in general was better than we have experienced on our most recent HAL cruises. We try to take as many meals as possible in the dining room, including breakfast lunch. We like set dining, late, but since we booked the cruise last minute, we got "any time" dining, which we do not like at all. At the Mariner's Welcome lunch on embarkation day, my mother-in-law asked the maitre d' about providing us with a standing reservation at the same table around 8pm, but he said he couldn't do it. Later on, I happened to stumble upon Fauzi, who was at the pool and taking dinner reservations. I really think Fauzi made this cruise for us and restored our faith and loyalty in HAL. I explained to him that we liked traditional, set dining, with the same table and waiters every night, and this was very important to our family's overall cruise experience. And he made it happen! (With the exception of one night, which was partly our fault because we were late) He was also our waiter, along with his assistant Yo and Madonna the sommelier, and those three really made this cruise for us. We enjoyed everything we ate in the dining room. It's not Michelin star-rated cuisine, but it is really good. Also, we did have a few meals in the Lido, and the pastas were the best and the sushi isn't bad for a cruise ship. We had one lunch in the Pinnacle, and it was very good. I had the crab cakes.

Children's Activities

Our 9 year old daughter went to the Kids Club every night and enjoyed it very much. She is a seasoned cruiser, and gives Princess a slight edge on Kids Club, but she really enjoyed the activities on the Veendam. This was her first HAL cruise in the tweens program. Also, HAL had no children's books in the library (Princess has a nice selection of books for young readers.) We were told that the kids books were in the Kids Club, but my daughter said it was baby books and Harry Potter and nothing else. Not a big deal; we'll just remember to bring more books for her on our next cruise. We're an interfaith family, and we appreciated that HAL had both Christmas and Hanukkah services/activities onboard. We even had a Rabbi to lead services. Santa visited the Showroom on Xmas Day. As I mentioned previously, the teen outdoor Oasis was closed for the entire cruise, but they did have their indoor Loft space.

Entertainment

Overall, very good entertainment on this ship. There were more actual vocalists in the cast than I was expecting for a ship this small. The first night was a short show that gave us a preview of all of the entertainment around the ship. Second night was the Bob Mackie Broadway tribute which we've seen on other HAL ships, but it holds up. Third night was a magician that was just OK. One night was there was a show called (I think) Encore, which primarily features just two of the vocalists and it was AMAZING. We usually had our pre-dinner cocktails in the Ocean Bar or Explorer's Lounge around 7:45pm, and it seemed that our timing was bad as the entertainers always went on dinner break shortly after we arrived. However, what we did hear in the Ocean Bar was good and the Adagio (classical violin and piano) duo on the Explorer's Lounge was exceptional.

Ports

This was our 3rd Mexican Riviera cruise, and I have been reluctant to get off the ship (except in Cabo) because of all of the reports of incidents with cruise passengers in the other Mexican ports. My husband doesn't share my feelings and always gets off the ship and usually schedules his own private surfing or diving excursions. This year, I vowed to my family that I would make an effort to get off at every port. We did our usual in Cabo: Tender into the marina, then take a water taxi over to Mendano Beach, walk down the beach past the loud party spots and post up in front of the Pueblo Bonita resort. It's just a day at the beach, and that's fine with us. Mazatlan was a delightful surprise. There's a huge ex-pat (Americans, Canadians) community there who have organized as a volunteer group with the goal of making cruisers and other tourists feel welcome, informed and safe. They greet the cruise ships passengers with maps and are available to answer questions. We walked from the ship to the town center that was very charming, and then walked out to the beach area where the cliff divers are. In Puerto Vallarta, my husband went surfing and my daughter, my in-laws and I took a taxi into town. We walked around, went into a few shops and also visited the Cathedral. We ended up at a restaurant (The Blue Shrimp) on the Playa de Los Muertos for some beers, snacks and wi-fi. I feel a lot better about ports in Mexico now, and I'm also inspired to brush up on my Spanish.

Service

I think service, in general, was better on this ship than our most recent HAL cruises. However, if you needed anything, you have to go to the front desk where there was never a line and everything was dealt with efficiently and satisfactorily. But they never, ever answered the phone extension # that is for service or questions.

Spa

I purchased the thermal chair package for my husband and me ($149) during open house on embarkation day. Because there are only 5 chairs, and the ship was completely sold out, I was skeptical about being able to actually use them. The spa manager assured me that I wouldn't have any problems with availability since they sold only 20 "passes" per cruise. Technically that may be true, but you also have to account for the people who are having spa services done at any given time as they have access to the thermal chair suite and there are other types of packages that include access. And then there are those tacky passengers who buy one pass but then let their entire family in and camp out there for hours on end. The first time I tried to use the thermal chairs, the suite was packed. A family of 4, who were very open about the fact that they were sharing just one pass between them, was reserving all of the chairs, even if one of them went into the steam room for 20 minutes or so. HAL cannot prevent this behavior, of course, but they need to better about policing it. One of the steam rooms wasn't working. And the water jets in the hot tub NEVER worked for the entire cruise. When I asked, I was told it was just a hot tub, not a Jacuzzi. So why did it have the water jets? To be fair, every time my husband went, he had no problem getting a chair and I was also able to get a chair on subsequent visits, and the steam room was eventually repaired. My husband went every day and I went 3-4 times. I got a massage that was very good. Meant to go back for the hot stone massage but never got around to it. In summary, the spa is lovely and has a lot to offer but was understaffed. They needed more than one person on the front desk, checking people in, booking appts, etc. And they need to have some one checking in on the thermal suite to make sure everyone is in compliance with the rules.

Odds/Ends

I have been on nearly 20 cruises and never gotten seasick until this cruise. The weather wasn't bad (have sailed much rougher waters) but I got a mild case of nausea on our last (at sea) day. My mother-in-law, who is prone to seasickness, was violently ill for the last 30-36 hours SOLID of the cruise. Not sure why. Our cabins were pretty far forward, and we usually try to get aft or mid-ship. Not sure if that had anything to do with it. But it was definitely seasickness, as opposed to something viral, because we all felt better when we reached San Diego. Very limited on board duty free shopping in terms of cosmetics and fragrance but costume jewelry for days! Never a line at the Explorations Cafe for coffee, but it was more expensive than Princess' International Cafe, even with my 3-star Mariner discount. BE CAREFUL when signing up for the internet package. It's easy to accidentally sign up for a $250 plan when you didn't really mean to. They took it off of our bill and said that it happens a lot since they've switched platforms. I was impressed with the depth of the cruise director's staff for such a small ship. The Veendam has a full time librarian, a future cruise consultant, a port shopping expert, a port/location expert and others. And they always seemed to be available. And make sure you don't get the ship's little blue fabric laundry bag mixed up in your things and accidentally bring it home with you because they will charge you $15 just like it says on the bag. Believe me, a used dirty laundry bag from a cruise ship was not an intentional souvenir on our part! The captain was approachable and very visible.

Summary

We cruise often and none of these minor shortcomings I mentioned here had a significant impact on our overall enjoyment of the cruise. The crew on this ship really had it together both in service and operations. Ran like a top. It was a lovely cruise, and we're definitely keeping HAL in our future cruising options.

 

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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

I was travelling solo and took what I was given for 16 days with 11 ports. At ports I went off solo and re-discovered some favorite places from the past as well as some new places, people, and adventures. (I rarely if ever do ... Read More

I was travelling solo and took what I was given for 16 days with 11 ports. At ports I went off solo and re-discovered some favorite places from the past as well as some new places, people, and adventures. (I rarely if ever do "excursions.") On Board met so many couples with fascinating stories. Ship's staff was 5-star. (I did not attend entertainment so no review there.) All in all, never a dull moment for me. Now to the negative which generated title of my commentary. Booked this Christmas/New Year cruise almost 10 months in advance. Understood price guarantee should there be a future discount. Woops!. Huge drop 7 weeks before sailing but it was secret. deal!! Secret from those who had purchased early. HAL made no offer of upgrade and/or discount to those who had already paid full price. Only when folks embarked we all discovered that well over 12% of ocean-view cabins had been sold-- 6 weeks earlier--- at far, far less than longtime passengers paid. AND low, low price for cabin also included extras free: Round-trip air from west coast of US to east coast free plus pre and post stays at Ft. Lauderdale hotel, etc. Understand person who had paid over $1,000 per day for top tier suite was livid to discover same type sold month before sailing for about 50% less per day. In my own case: Traveled solo in what I could afford which was tiniest interior cabin I have ever seen! Slept on narrow cot-- not a bed. Paid $3,000 plus 60% single supplement. Another widow (also solo) paid just a bit less than I did, only 6 weeks before sailing. What did she have? For less than my cabin cost, she had a large ocean-view cabin, mid-ship, with 2 regular single beds,plus free air from Seattle, and free pre and post-cruise in FLL. .

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

Just finished our cruise and omg, it was an amazing ship! We embarked from Port Everglades and I have never in my life been without internet access that long, but that's the point of a cruise, right? To experience it all? We did!

... Read More

Just finished our cruise and omg, it was an amazing ship! We embarked from Port Everglades and I have never in my life been without internet access that long, but that's the point of a cruise, right? To experience it all? We did!

We started our trip staying at the Quality Inn & Suites Airport/Cruise Port South. This is key: THEY HAVE A FREE AIRPORT SHUTTLE AAAAAAAAAND A FREE CRUISE SHUTTLE!

Well, at least FROM/TO the airport and TO the cruise. It's $10ea to get a shuttle back to the hotel from the cruise port, which isn't bad. The rooms were musty smelling, but overall nice-ish. The chairs had stains and the bathroom floor left much to be desired, but the curtain is curved, so at least it doesn't touch you. Wish the cruise one was curved! Also, gotta love the sign telling you to not steal the towels, they are inventoried. You get what you pay for spending $99 a night, but it's next door to the Oakwood Plaza where we got a bunch of last minute stuff. That strip mall has a LOT.

Getting on the ship early is key! I was expecting to queue for hours....we got on the shuttle from the hotel at 10:30. They ask you to tell them the night before you need a ride and they ask you what ship/day and they assign you a time. They have a huge mini bus that takes passengers to cruise port, because they attach a mini UHaul looking thing to the back to store everyone's luggage. We were at the cruise terminal 15 mins later. You can have your luggage checked from the curb and put on the ship or, if like us, your luggage is small enough to go through the airport scanner looking thing, you can bring it on the ship yourself. We only had a duffle bag each, so this is what we did.

HAL lets you bring ONE 750ml bottle of wine or champagne for EACH person (assuming 2 ppl per room), no hard liquor or beer on the first night. The Dollar Star in the plaza next door sells CHEAP wine, $4/10 that people were going crazy over because it's GOOD cheap wine, so we bought 2 bottles on board and had to sadly toss the half drank chardonnay at the scanner. You can also bring booze you buy on board and they hold it until the night before for free...or you pay an $18per bottle corkage fee. We got our alcohol back the last night.

From there you have to go through HAL front desk to get your room key, show passport etc in a terminal meets a hotel front desk. They give you a cruise group number in line to get to this and after you check-in, you sit and wait to be called to take escalator up to get on ship. Total time between getting off of shuttle and on to the ship? Maybe 20mins. Then again, we were also SUPER early. Our number was in the teens to get on. Other passengers told me their wait to just be called was like 45 mins.

Anywho, they make you scan your card and sanitize your hands to get on the ship. All of the crew were very friendly all of the time, even when you knew they wanted to smack you or the person treating them rudely. They were all genuinely nice to me, because I wasn't rude to them. Then again, like I said, even the people I wanted to harm FOR them for being so rude were treated calmly and politely on this trip.

We carried our own luggage on and the stewards meet you all along the way and at the elevators to direct you to your room on the first day. This was helpful and nice. Our room was right in the middle of the ship and close to the elevators. Score! It was an HH Obstructed View room, which just meant the lifeboar was RIGHT outside your window.

We came in and checked out our room. Plenty of space to put your items for a long or short trip. They give you a daily tri folded itinerary. This ship uses a LOT of paper. They need to automate it somehow and make it a channel,too, to save on paper! We dropped our stuff off and went exploring....ie....to get food.

O.M.G...as a first time cruiser, we decided to forgo paying for meals, so we stuck to Lido dining on 9 and once or twice the Vista Dining Room on 3 for our meals. Vista for dinner on the majority of nights was formal or semi formal. One guy declined wearing a jacket. Seriously? They give you one if you don't have it. He had a sweater and slacks and said no, so they declined him entering. You could have taken the jacket off at the table. We did Vista Dining once for lunch and once for dinner and just did Lido all other times.

Lido is come as you are all the time and is open ALL the time, so we started our journey there and spent all of our time there for the most part. They have Asian, deli, bistro, ice cream, drinks and salad bar. Each table is pretty much ocean view. One side of each station is always open, both sides are during lunch and dinner. We never made it to breakfast and never utilized the free room service. If we wanted to eat, we could go ourselves. It was useful if you were doing shore excursions and wanted to sleep in, but even then, they slipped us notices the night before port saying it would be better to just go upstairs to the dining, since so many would use room service.

We ate A LOT. Soda is not included in meals, so we stuck to water, iced tea and lemonade. It was a nice change. Other than at the salad bar, they serve the food to you and the wait wasn't really that long, even when there was a line. Why they individually heat up pasta in skillet at the salad bar is mind boggling. Do you know how much time that delays? It saves on freshness, though. So they don't waste. The variety of food reminded me of my college. Pizza, pasta, ice cream, meat, salads, sandwiches. It was 4.75/5, only because of the whole pasta delay. But yes, the food was great.

The BB King All Stars were great entertainment on the ship in the Queen's Lounge and once in the Vista Lounge/main stage. There were also Zuiderdam singers and dancers, but the BB King people made the trip SO much better.

We were never bored on the trip. We slept a lot, ate a lot and just sat on the deck a lot watching the world go by. Deck 3 has chairs everywhere and up on 10, the observation deck. We noticed that is NOT the case with the other ships we saw. Celebrity X gives everyone their own veranda with 2 chairs and you could walk between them! The deck everyone uses had like 2 sets of chairs. How un-inviting. We thought we had a big ship, until other ships like Celebrity, Norweigan and the Disney one made ours look like a tugboat. Even with 1900+ passengers, it never felt that way. It sure wasn't loud on the ship. It was peaceful the majority of the time. Like our own huge private yacht.

The staff were great. Always polite and never cross. Hamish the cruise director was a riot. I liked that he seems to like his job. Allegra was another story. The "free" jewelry she is hawking at you to get is just costume jewelry in each port. Beware.

Yes, this cruise is said to have an older crowd and sometimes it was like walking behind dinosaurs because people are so slow, but when I'm that age, would I want someone to treat me this way simply for being alive? Heck, the passengers who were older were the life of the ship! Dancing and participating in the events. I had a great time. I even had lunch one day with an older gentleman when we were docked in St. Martin/Marteen who just decided to sit at my table while I was off getting lunch, because he said he lost his wife, but we were at sea, she'd show up eventually. I came back to my table that had my bag at it and I was like "hello, how are you?" Did I expect to see him at my booth? Nope. But hey, we were at sea. Live in the moment. I was able to wave at him when I saw him on the ship on other days, same as the couples who sat at our table when we ate in the Vista Lounge. Being friendly is key on this cruise. Strangers talked to us all the time, simply because we made eye contact.

We went to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Martin/Marteen and Half Moon Cay on this holiday cruise. We were in each port just long enough to not wear out the welcome. I spent a lot of $ in ports, but it was well worth it. The ship also gives you sturdy navy and beige booksized totes with their logo and name on it. It screams I'M A TOURIST while in port. I cared before the first port, at all the following ones, at least one of us carried ours. It was raining on day 2 when we got to the first port of Grand Turk, but 20 mins later it stopped and was sunny skies ALL day.

Make SURE to call your bank to tell them you will be out of the country, so when you use your card in different ports, you won't get locked out at the first attempt. I called my bank and gave a heads up a month before the trip in case I forgot. I had to tell them every port and which days I'd be there. The front desk also lets you use their courtesy phone to call your bank or card company for free, as my family member had to do on day one. I shut off my cell's data, roaming and backround data while still in FL and put it on airplane mode JUST to be sure. The ship has it's own time that may not match your own, but you can always turn to the "where are we?" map channel that has the date, time, ship location and temperature. If you have a magnetic wallet, don't keep your room key in it. I demagnetized mine TWICE before having to keep it in the separate padded insert you get at check-in. At the end of the trip, you still have to go through customs. That was the longest line we were in the whole trip. Because we again, carried our own stuff, we got expedited disembarkation. It took us about half an hour to get off the ship and wait in the customs line. The ship was going SUPER fast home, because we were back in FL by like 6:15a and that was even including the 90 mins we moored off the coast of Half Moon Cay as they tried to locate two passengers the day before. We were at the airport by 9:30a, which sucked, because I booked a LATE AFTERNOON flight, thinking it would have taken longer. This included stopping at the post office at 8a and waiting an hour for it to open.

The ship was not rocky at all. So if that is what they were like WITHOUT the stabilizers, well gee, wonder what it is like WITH them. Don't get me wrong, you FELT the up and down, up and down, up and down when in the front of the ship in the Crows Nest, Vista Lounge or observation deck, but only there.

I definitely will cruise with HAL again. For a holiday cruise, the price was great, less than $500 and that included the upgrade to HH. I only got the room around Thanksgiving....so it was a steal.

Thumbs up!

 

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Sail Date: December 2014

We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is ... Read More

We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is tighter and services and amenities are being "redirected" to maintain profitability.

As long-time balcony-cabin cruisers our first shock came when we saw the small 4 ft x 10ft balcony in cabin V5084 with just enough room for two of us and a couple of chairs, an ottoman, and tiny 18 inch high table. Balconies on older ships were significantly more spacious. Our Upper Verandah room was just above lifeboats #8 and #6 on Port side. The balcony was private and well protected from rain by a large overhang above, the only intrusion being maintenance crews greasing the lifeboat hoist mechanisms - which they did while docked on days 2 and 6 of our cruise. The cabin was small but adequate with very comfortable bed, and an additional couch and desk area. Bathroom with shower and small tub were fine (incl shampoo & conditioner & soap dispensers), though we wish there had been a night light; instead we kept the bathroom light on with door closed at night since light switches were hard to find in the dark. 2 cozy robes were provided. Closet space was ok but poorly illuminated. Three life-vests occupied the top shelves of the 3 closets --- these would be better stowed in the difficult to open cabinets above the couch. Volume on the small TV was poor while watching movies, even at max setting. Closed-captioning was definitively a help, but did not always work for some reason. Fortunately channel 44 announcements came through loud and clear.

The morning sun was quite obvious since the curtains were not room-darkening enough. We faced away from land at Half Moon Cay and in Key West.

The next shocker was the coffee - something that was always a treat on Holland in the past. It was downright mediocre and not becoming of the Dutch tradition of a "lekker kopje koffie" (delicious cup of coffee). The Half and Half was thin and milk-like. No doubt the motivation is to economize with cheaper beans and to drive coffee aficionado's to deck 11 Explorations Cafe, which features a Starbucks type coffee-shop that charges extra! Likewise, internet access is available but slow and expensive ($55 for 100 minutes). We had an excellent signal in our room, but just signing on and getting our backlog of messages consumed several minutes each time. Wi-fi calling was impossible on my t-mobile phone since the connection was too slow.

The cabin stewards did their best, were pleasant, and were obviously being pushed to their limits: one afternoon my wife accidentally spilled some crackers in front of the couch, and while the room had been turned out nicely for bedtime, we found crumbs still all over the floor. When we asked about this the next day our cabin steward indicated they only had time to vacuum in the mornings.

The ships' staff were excellent as always, and seemed to be even friendlier than we remembered in our past travels ... plenty of "good mornings", "how are you", "have a nice day", etc. The TAMARIND restaurant in particular was a truly exceptional experience! For the $20 extra cost you are treated to an extraordinary oriental meal, and my 1-1/2 inch thick wasabi-encrusted filet mignon put any other meat served in Lido or the Rembrandt restaurant to shame - especially the 3/4 inch drab filet they served on Steak & Lobster formal night (Note: we never ate at the Pinnacle Grill, so can't compare). Food quality and selection in general was very good and we never had stomach issues. We do suggest you plan on eating outside of "normal" hours since rush hour gets really busy.

The elevators were TERRIFIC!!! Super fast and efficient with lovely waiting areas that were tastefully designed, and with roomy staircases. We loved the outside elevators with their awesome views. Other areas of the ship, in particular the main Lobby & Atrium on decks 1 & 2, seemed small and narrow, though most of the time they were not crowded. The Casino was ok but the older-type 25 cent slot machines we like to play were on the smoking side, and ventilation was inadequate to prevent drifting smoke from becoming unbearable at times. Neither of us felt compelled to attend evening performances in the Queen's lounge, and we missed the ol' days of magicians, comedians, and hypnotists.

The shops are excellent, brightly lit with plenty of selection in a wide variety of prices. There was a sidewalk sale one day on Lido but due to maintenance on the the sliding roof mechanism the trapped heat and humidity from the pool and all the passengers present was stifling as we waited in long lines to pay the cashiers.

The SPA was fantastic though expensive (as usual). We consider it a treat and don't mind the surcharge, though we did opt for shore days when rates were discounted. The facilities are lovely, and the very capable massage therapists had wonderful attitudes. The nearby Gym has plenty of room and equipment, with nice sea views. Exercisers have plenty of opportunity to walk on Promenade, the observation decks, and play tennis/soccer/basketball etc. on the very nice net-enclosed Sports deck.

The Eurodam is equipped with the latest stabilizing equipment, but I doubt those were needed during our cruise since we had such perfect weather throughout our 7 day trip. Cabin V5084 is located exactly midships and therefore already extremely stable. We hardly felt the waves and it was only the soft vibrations of the engines that reminded us we were on a ship. In fact we didn't even experience the after cruise wave sensations that normally stay with us days after a cruise ends.

So, while this new ship is technologically more advanced, for us the bottom line feeling was that of a cheapening of the cruising experience. New cruisers may have a completely different opinion, but we can't help make comparisons to our previous trips. The economic reasons are understandable, but nevertheless we will avoid the Eurodam, and its sister the Nieuwe Amsterdam, in our future travels. We hope that the older ships will maintain their stature and dignity long enough for us to enjoy a few more cruises before those too get redesigned to achieve financial efficiencies.

 

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

Cruised Western Caribbean on HAL Eurodam over Christmas/Hanukkah week December 2014. Third HAL cruise, first time Caribbean. First Eurodam experience. Previously traveled on Zuiderdam and Oosterdam. Traveled with hubby, 15-year-old son. ... Read More

Cruised Western Caribbean on HAL Eurodam over Christmas/Hanukkah week December 2014. Third HAL cruise, first time Caribbean. First Eurodam experience. Previously traveled on Zuiderdam and Oosterdam. Traveled with hubby, 15-year-old son. Sister-in-law and her family of four (hubby, two adult children, ages 21 and 24) also took this cruise.

Pre-cruise -- we flew from LAX to MIA on Saturday for a Sunday departure out of Ft. Lauderdale. Did not want to risk connecting flights flying across the country during the holiday season. Arranged for HAL transfer to Ft. Lauderdale and then ended up renting a car in Miami for the 20 minute drive to Ft. Lauderdale. HAL would not refund the transfer fee of $30 pp even with advance notice. Once you book that it is non-refundable. Learned a lesson there. Stayed at Marriott Spring Hill Suites, took their free shuttle to cruise terminal on Sunday morning. Learned that we needed to book shuttle immediately upon check in as they, too, sell out space (even though they are free)! Hotel was sold out and everyone staying there was cruising, too, not only on HAL but on many other ships that dock at Ft. Lauderdale.

Cabins -- we originally booked a Superior Verandah Suite on deck 6, midship as we have had great experience with the extra room there for teen son who is 5'11". One month before embarkation we received an email from HAL asking if we'd like to upgrade to Neptune Suite for additional (discounted) cost. We did this and moved to Suite 5186 with is a Neptune Suite aft corner balcony room on deck 5. Will try to attach photos as I could not find specific reviews for this room. Will detail that below.

Suffice to say we were extremely pleased with this room. The bathroom size is the same as the Superior Verandah suite however there is an additional small dressing area attached to the bathroom with three extra closets and a separate vanity/drawer area. This room is somewhat smaller than traditional Neptune suites apparently, due to the increased balcony size. We liked that. This room also only holds 3 people -- the sofa bed is for one. The balcony is the draw as is the aft view. We heard no extra noise due to being at the back of the ship. The only drawback from Neptune amenities was that it is located on deck 5, not 7, as the other suites of same category are. The view is tremendous and you get a nice feeling of being alone on the sea when you are outside.

Port vs. Starboard location -- our cabin had port and aft view. Port side on this trip will bring sunrise right into your room. December weather was cloudy at night so the only sunsets we saw generally were off the aft of the ship (great for our room!). Port side had view of Half Moon Cay beach, Falmouth terminal and old town, George Town from afar (tender port) and was facing away from Key West). Starboard side had awesome view of Cuba as we cruised by it from Bahamas to Jamaica. It faced away from most ports with the exception of Key West. Wind tended to be more of an issue on port side -- we rarely sat out on that side of the balcony due to the wind. I'd personally choose starboard for this cruise at this time of year.

Food, Main Dining Room -- always great. This cruise no exception. Portions seemed on the smaller side which we liked as we didn't feel overwhelmed with various courses. We chose "at will" dining and never had to wait for a table for 7. Ate there 5 nights. Food and service spectacular every time. This was the best dining of the three HAL experiences. Don't know why -- the level was just raised in our opinion. They stressed attention to any food allergies or preferences (gluten free in ours). All great.

Food, Lido Buffet -- ate here three times. Consistently great on all three cruises. Noticed special attention to water delivery around the machines as they are trying to prevent people from filling water bottles / cross contaminating I suppose. Ebola was in the news just a month earlier and special attention (we were grateful for it) was paid to keeping everything sanitary.

Food, Tamarind -- a new restaurant for us, located on 11th floor, midship elevator. Wow, the bar here is the best on the ship! Gorgeous with wrap around glass windows at the top of the ship. Beautiful Lido pool view at night. Empty when we were there. The Asian inspired dinner we had was exceptional. Innovative food combinations, gorgeous presentation and many courses. Super service -- women are the servers here vs. men in all other dining rooms. Husband had a great sake with his dinner. We love it so much we had lunch there the next day (lunch is free), but we left in the middle of the lunch because of the slow service (it took over an hour to get through soup and salad alone), plus a very sick, sniffly, coughing, sneezing woman was right behind us. Unpleasant but would recommend this location for dining.

Food, Pinnacle Grill -- again this was our best Pinnacle dining experience ever. Dinner was perfectly prepared, service exceptional. Steaks cooked exactly as requested, fun appetizers and decadent desserts. Had a lovely Oregon Pinot Noir that evening -- truly a treat. Pinnacle Grill is always a special occasion and though we never dined there for lunch, we were treated with breakfast there daily due to our Neptune suite privilege. This was a highlight of our cruise. Husband and I had a quiet time there every morning and loved every minute of it.

Entertainment -- HAL always mixes it up and we've found ourselves doing different things each cruise. This time we were treated to a super group called BB King's that played in the Queen's Lounge. The group was from Memphis and they were amazing. The singers blew everyone away -- their energy and the band's professionalism and enthusiasm brought us back night after night. They got everyone on the dance floor (holiday cruise had quite the age range) and this will be a memory forever. The other groups and shows on the ship were good -- the piano bar fellow was kind of a drag (way different from other HAL experiences). Cruise director was great and the games runner did a super job -- don't know when he slept. They had good diversity of choice for the demographic. We were never bored and our teens and young adults had a blast. Honestly, we were tired when we got off the ship because we had such a good time.

Pools -- The pools were not heated I think -- at least the aft pool wasn't, or if so, it was still really cold. This pool was stated to be for adults only though, being a holiday cruise, kids were in it (only ones to stand the temp!), not little ones however, and no one made a fuss. The deck area was hot in the sun, so we used the outdoor shower/rinse off to get wet and then lay out. We were disappointed with the layout of the Lido pool on the Eurodam -- the cabanas take away from table seating areas and therefore everything is crowded on deck. Add in the merchandise tables with T-shirts for sale every day -- too much stuff going on for relaxation. They should take away the clothing for sale tables and put back pool accessories (tables and lounge chairs). The food at the Dive grill rock, however! Order there and take away to a better, quieter location.

Fitness Center -- HAL ships are pretty much all the same -- though we were treated to an announcement of a new configuration coming soon. That being said, the fitness centers on the three ships we've traveled on are pretty much the same. I did use the elliptical trainer and the treadmill twice at 6:30-7:00 in the morning (coming from PST, no problem!). Room is clean, equipment fair to good shape. The audio/TVs attached to the machines have seen better days but they worked. Hubby and niece took a yoga class and they liked it but said it was too short. 45 minutes, not enough time to stretch and benefit. Would have preferred 1 hour. Other days I strolled deck 3 roundabout early in the morning (3 laps = 1 mile). They have outlawed jogging/running for fitness so power walking is as fast as you can go on HAL these days. Who is in a hurry anyway? :-)

Shore excursions -- our experience with cruising is that you never really get to know a country when you cruise. The cruise experience is more ship related with a time out at various locations. Holiday cruises are even more so as we hit our favorite port (George Town) on Christmas Day when most shops, restaurants, etc., are closed. Plan your trip accordingly.

Service -- HAL has exceptional service. I cannot compare it to other lines as we've not tried them, but we love the fact that they include tips in your bill and you can at will gift extra or not. We've never had a bad experience and it continues to draw us back. They do spoil you for the real world.

End of cruise -- we took a cab from cruise ship to Ft. Lauderdale airport. Cost us $20 (including tip) for the three of us and we were able to fit our four bags (two of which were large checkable suitcases) in the cab with us. Line to get cab was strangely short -- had to wait 10 minutes only. Don't know if we got lucky or if that's always the case. We felt lucky for sure!

For us now, 7 days is too short of a cruise. Would love a 10 day choice as we are planning for leaving only the day after we arrive for a week. We had an amazing time - this cruise ranked as one of our best vacations ever.

 

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