Parking at the Tampa Port was easy, I suggest pulling up to the terminal and use Valet Parking...same price, you just need to tip. Getting on board was quick, we had all our paperwork printed, passports in hand, in 15-20 minutes we were in our cabin. Ship security will not allow any open bottles aboard..this includes water, etc. You should review what is not allowed on ships to avoid any surprises.The Ryndam is an older ship but well maintained. The ship went under a major refit in 2010. Our room was modern and clean. My only complaint with the cruise is HAL's liberal smoking policy. The hallways and some of the common areas smelled like smoke at times. I also noted the room was stuffy and warm, not sure why, we always bring a small fan with us that helped. There is only one recessed electrical outlet in the room, I suggest you bring a power strip along if you want to charge your phones, etc.The food and service was outstanding. HAL caters to the "older" members of society. Beware of scooters and walkers everywhere. This is not a great cruise for kids or teenagers. There is not a lot for them to do. No water slides, rock climbing, etc. Being a smaller ship you don't feel crowded, no line ups for anything. The elders seem to disappear around 9 pm, it felt like we had the ship to ourselves. The food was excellent, the steakhouse is a must for a $20.00 pp charge. If you are a soda pop drinker I suggest you bring some aboard to avoid the $2.50 plus tip charge. The waiter staff and cabin people were great. They have over 1000 DVDs to borrow free of charge at the front desk. All rooms come with a flat screen and DVD player. The Explorers' Cafe was a true bargain for gourmet coffees of all types for a dollar or so.If you want a relaxing cruise with very few on-ship activities, this is the ship for you. If you are looking for a floating spring break, call Carnival. We passed our time sitting in the sun and enjoying the peaceful quiet nature of the Ryndam.The ship has very few rooms that accommodate 4 people unless you want an ultra expensive suite. We had to settle for a window view, no balcony rooms seem to sleep 4.Exiting the ship on the last day was easy. Our assigned time was 9:00 am, we got off the ship and went through Customs in minutes. I suggest you get a porter to assist with your luggage...you can then use the "Porters Only" exit and avoid any lines at Customs. Valet had our car out within minutes.
Updated bathrooms with small tub. Poor ventilation in bathroom. A/C was not very cold, dial on wall did not help when moved. Stuffy and humid yet it was only 80F. Room 718 on deck 4, could hear some noise from crew below on deck 3. Room was clean except for some sand in the closet. Beds were very comfortable, sofa bed was a bit firm and hard to get comfortable. Only one electrical outlet in room, was recessed, impossible to get a phone charger plugged in. Near medical area, hallway very quiet. Cabin sleeps 4.
Not a lot of bargain shopping here but fun atmosphere. You don't get much time here so we felt hurried. Great places to eat and drink, get a Key Lime pie on a stick ! Seemed to be a lot of places claiming to be the "original" this or that. I counted at least 4 "original" Key Lime pie stores and ever more original Sloppy Joe claims. Found this place expensive. A real hippy hangout.
We hired a private cab at $15.00 pp to take us on a tour and shopping. Make sure you bargain and get a price agreed upon for everything. If you don't like pushy sales people and vendors trying anything to get you to buy something, stay on board. We felt safe but we stayed on the major streets to shop where there was a lot of other people around. Lots of bargains to be had. Beware if any Jamaican wants to help you, or give you a tour, etc...they are expecting a tip. Just say no and keep walking if you are not interested. They changed our port of call at the last minute and we docked at an industrial area. Interesting that the several James Bond films where shot in Ocho Rios.
Boring...unless you want expensive diamonds and watches. Nice just to walk around. Nothing is cheap here.
The vendors are aggressive, even more than Jamaica. Did a shore excursion to a private beach resort. All you can eat and drink, alcohol included. Bring towels from the ship to avoid steep "towel rental fees" Buffet was good. The stores seemed to sell the same merchandise, after you see about 4 stores, you have seen everything. Don't forget tips are appreciated on the shore excursions !