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.
Our 1st cabin (stateroom 2695) was very nice. It was roomy and had a big window. We often could smell fumes in the hallway. The fumes were most prevalent while we were docked and possibly occurred as the ship was fueling. 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.