Ryndam Christmas Week Cruise: Ryndam Cruise Review by contadora

Ryndam 4
Member Since 2009
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Ryndam Christmas Week Cruise

Sail Date: December 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
My two grandchildren, 11 1/2 yr old boy and 7 yr old girl, just returned from a 7 day Holland America Western Caribbean cruise. They just loved it.

The ports, Key West; Belize City; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; and Costa Maya, Mexico, were wonderful for the kids.

They enjoyed Club HAL, the kids' activities. Because of the age difference, they were in different groups, but both enjoyed the time spent with the kids' activities. The staff was wonderful. Between the port excursions and Club HAL, we spent only one full afternoon at the pool, which they also enjoyed.

I had hoped to take the kids more often to the dining room, but the service there was slow enough that they became bored, so except for the formal nights and one other, they ate dinner at the self service buffet. I ate there once or twice with them, and twice took them up there for dinner and then to Club HAL, after which I went to the dining room and joined others for dinner.

The More 11 1/2 year old went with me one evening to hear the comedian, who had been presented as family friendly, and my grandson enjoyed it. I was unhappy that the one evening we might have gone to a movie, it was R-rated. I am not sure why it was chosen for a holiday cruise, which includes many children.

The disembarkation was a snap, very smooth and easy.

We next stopped at Santo Tomas de Castillo, Guatemala, which is not even on the list provided here.

We had arranged to join an excursion organized by a CruiseCritic member, before leaving on the cruise. There were 7 of us in all, on a boat with the guide, the boat driver, and a helper. We travelled about 35 minutes along the coast and then went into Rio Dulce at the town of Livingston. We went up the river, into the rain forest, and found it very interesting and enjoyable. The only form of transportation in that area is on the river, so we saw many people in canoes and small boats with outboard motors. Our guide, Javier, told us that many communities own boats that are shared by community members.

At the beginning of our trip up the river, we stopped at the hotel owned by Javier to order our lunches, and then on the way back, we stopped for lunch. My grandson and I had a delicious seafood soup, with a crab, shrimp, and a whole small fried fish.

The whole trip was about 7 hours and we had a great time! Less

Published 12/30/09

Cabin review: L660 Large Interior Stateroom

Good location near aft elevators, so very convenient to get to dining rooms, swimming pool, library. Rm was quiet. My first time in an inside cabin, but it was not as dark at night as I had heard; some light leaked under door so you could walk in the dark in the room, but not in the bathroom. It was crowded with 3 passengers (couch opened up and was left open during the cruise), but for two would be about the same as an outside cabin across the hall. The couch opened parallel to the wall, not out into the room. When water was a little rough, I felt it less in the cabin than on higher decks. Our a/c worked very well and we adjusted it during the day: cooler at night and warmer after coming from the pool.

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Port and Shore Excursions

The next stop was Belize City. When we left the ship, we arranged for a tour to Atun Ha, nearby Mayan ruins, and were driven, along with 5 Norwegian line passengers, by a very accommodating guide to the ruins. The first part of the trip was on a fairly good road, while the last part was on a one lane road with broken shoulders. However, all of the drivers were cooperative and when we met an oncoming vehicle, both edged two wheels off the shoulder. I felt perfectly safe on the drive.

The kids loved seeing a town(Belize City) very different from where they live and climbing the pyramids.

I rate the port as high as I do because it is such a different place and because at this time it is still a place that not that many Americans have visited. The people are very friendly and speak English, though many speak a different language at home.

At Costa Maya, the three of us took a tour to Chachoben Mayan ruins. It took about an hour each way to the ruins, we had time to walk around with a guide hired there, and then we were able to spend a half hour at the beach in Mahahual, the small town near the cruise ship pier. If we had left the ship earlier than 11 am, we would have had more time at the beach.

The ruins have only been excavated recently, and not as much climbing is allowed as at Atun Ha, but there were many interesting things to see and learn there.

In the town, the beach is lined with restaurants that have tables and chairs along the beach and let you sit there as long as you buy something. We only had time for a drink, but the kids loved playing in the sand.

Our driver/guide then took us back to the ship. He was extremely accommodating and was willing to have us stay at the beach as long as we wanted.

I recommend taking the ruins tour and then leaving some time for the beach, too. As my grandson said, there are beaches many places but you can only see things like Mayan ruins at a few places.

Read 1766 Costa Maya Reviews

The weather in Key West was not good, windy, cold, and overcast, but we all enjoyed riding the Conch Train. At the recommendation of the ticket seller at the train station, we had conch chowder at the Turtle Kraals; since it was on the water front, it would have been nicer if the sun were out and it was warmer, but we enjoyed watching the pelicans from the enclosed terrace.

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Member Since 2009
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