November 2015 - Westerdam to Caribbean - Eastern
This was one of our best cruises out of many. The service, food, activities and entertainment met or exceeded our expectations and I didn't hear anyone on board complaining much about anything. The best part of cruising for us are the ports, and this seven-day Caribbean cruise had four days ashore to keep us busy. We had a lot of fun driving the dune buggy on Grand Turk; and Half Moon Cay has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world for swimming, floating and sunning. In San Juan and St. Thomas it was easy to pick up two-hour sightseeing tours upon disembarkation with qualified guides and safe, comfortable vehicles at about half the price of the on-board shore excursions. We have learned that for short general tours this is the best way to go. You can evaluate your guide's communication skills and give a quick inspection of the tour vehicle before you select them. And they don't collect your money until the end. We paid between $20 and $25 cash each plus an optional tip. (For tours involving adventure or for those that travel a long distance from the ship, we usually book through the ship's shore excursion desk for our safety and to be sure we make it back in time for sail away.)
Our cabin 5048 was located port side near the forward elevators and stairs. We discovered that from our cabin the quickest way to access the aft dining rooms, Lido buffet or pools, and the gangway is to walk back through our corridor to the mid-ship scenic elevators. Perhaps because you have to turn your head to notice them, the scenic elevators are not used that much by the passengers so we hardly ever had to wait for a ride. A port balcony is great if Puerto Rico is on your itinerary because you sail right past the famous El Morro castle and Old San Juan while the cruise director offers live commentary on the loudspeaker.
This sailing proved to us again that November is a great time for cruising. The ship wasn't sold out, making it easy to get a table in the dining room as well as chairs around the pool or in the showroom. And, of course, the price is right!