This was our first cruise ship experience, and we won't be traveling on Holland America any time soon.
At the outset I should note we've got years of travel experience internationally - from our first trip from the US to Mainland China in 1984. We're very familiar how the hospitality industry SHOULD work. HAL is the kind of organization that stinks from the head down, with policies and employee attitudes that are clearly reflective of senior management.
The first overall issue with HAL is their attitude towards "Customer Service". There is none. We had emails with HAL months before the cruise that guaranteed certain amenities to be provided. One example was the "VIP Package". An in-cabin bottle of wine, flowers, and other amenities that were never received. When we inquired with the front desk about it (including their reviewing the email we received), they refused to act on it saying only "they would need a response from their head office (which of course is closed on US weekends and holidays). I've never heard of customer service people that weren't empowered by management to take action on behalf of the customer.
Tired furniture and fixtures, poor water pressure, filthy carpeting (check your bare feet after an hour!). If this was a hotel I wouldn't return.
Great little town with plenty to see and do just by foot. Many merchants with high-quality one-of-a-kind artwork and clothing, who were friendly and non-confrontational. Had a great little meal on the oceanfront and got to watch the day go by.
Arrived at cruise starting point, Venice, two days early. Spent great day in Venice on the island, but be prepared for walking as there are no cars there.
Do Santorini on your own. No need for tour - the views are the same from both small towns. Nice place to rest and recuperate for the rest of the tour.