Howdy! Married with 2 furry babies, my husband and I are native San Antonians. We took our first cruise in 2010 and are 3-star mariners with Holland America. I'm in college admissions and spend most of my free time planning our next vacation!
December 2018 - 11 Night Southern Caribbean Seafarer (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Koningsdam
Another great cruise with just a few hiccups
December 2017 - 14 Night Southern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Veendam
Fabulous cruise to the Southern Caribbean
December 2016 - 9 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Koningsdam
Different Experience but still a beautiful ship
December 2015 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam
December 2014 - 11 Night Panama Canal Sunfarer (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Zuiderdam
Wonderful time doing a partial Canal transit
December 2013 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston roundtrip) Cruise on Navigator of the Seas
December 2012 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Eurodam
December 2011 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Allure of the Seas
July 2011 - 7 Night Bermuda (New York roundtrip) Cruise on Veendam
December 2010 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam
April 2010 - 14 Night Western Caribbean Collector (Tampa roundtrip) Cruise on Ryndam
Sail Date: December 08, 2017
Sail Date: December 10, 2018
Sail Date: December 14, 2016
Rough waters--could not tender
It was great!
Holland America does a great job of getting really close to the Piton and turning around several times so that everyone on board gets a great view.
No excursions booked.
We took the water taxi ($7 pp roundtrip) to the shore and had previously made arrangements to rent an umbrella and chairs at Holland House right on the beach. For $20 we got the chairs, umbrella and six beers. Great location. Close to shopping and ship. Great way to DIY.
From experience we knew the folks outside of the cruise terminal can get very aggressive. So, we booked an excursion that was called Northern Highlights and beach escape. We were disappointed as the "highlights" was just driving around with nothing in particular to see and we had only 1 hour at the beach. At the beach, you had to pay extra for an umbrella and chair.
We docked at CrownBay which is ok. We did book a beach excursion to Magen's Bay and that was fantastic--crowded but really really nice.
One of my most favorite ports! We paid $5 pp each way for a shuttle to Harbour Lights on Carlisle Bay. I had pre-booked and paid for 2 chairs and an umbrella ($25 total) which included use of the showers and bathrooms. We had a wonderful time. Another great DIY excursion.
Wasn't sure what to expect at this port but it was great. The port itself was not so great as it was the "industrial" port but we did book an excursion to Hibiscus Falls and then to a local beach. It was quite a drive but the falls were beautiful. You do have to walk down several steep steps to get to the falls but it is amazing! The beach we went to was nice--a black sand beach--but shade is limited and if your group arrives later in the day, then you are out of luck finding shade.
This is a very pretty/scenic port and there is much to see and do if you just want to walk around in the immediate area. We booked a snorkeling excursion and that was great. Because we docked closed to the city center, we had plenty of time to do the excursion, go back to the cabin and then head out once more to explore for a bit. Would love to return.
Prime locations--like Crow's nest and the loungers on the top tier of the pool area get taken quickly.
The immediate are around the port is not much to look at. The taxi drivers that hang around the terminal are very agressive--and I mean very. We finally found someone to take us to Vigi (vee-gee) beach. It is not far from the terminal, but it is on the other side of the airport, so walking is not ideal. We paid $15 each way for the taxi (we probably should have haggled for a better price) and then paid $20 for 2 loungers in the shade. There were bathing facilities and a cafe near. The beach is very clean and the view gorgeous. Unfortunately the water that day was really rough and not ideal for swimming. The people working there were very attentive and made sure we had everything we needed. They told us that some days the water is just rough like that.
What a delightful little port! We decided to take the hop-on-hop-off trolley for $19 pp. It takes you all around the port area and makes stops at different places. Entrance to the fort is included as is entrance to the local museum. We saw some great things and took some great pics. We even visited the Grenada Chocolate factory, which was very cool.
Having visited San Juan before, we decided to just walk around the Old Town. We walked the entire length of the Paseo de la Princesa, which takes you along the perimter of El Moro fort. It also takes your right to the door of San Juan. It is very nice. The old town itself looks to be back to normal. There is some damage here and there but you can't tell if it is from the hurricane or not. Several of the business right on the water front (across from the ship's pier) are not operating.
We went to Coki beach on our own. What a great day! It was a 15-20 minute ride by taxi--about $20 each way for 2. We paid $20 for 2 loungers and am umbrella. Would definately visit here again if we visit St. Thomas.
What a beautiful island! We booked an excursion for a beach break. We drove about 30 minutes to Spice Mill beach resort. It was a gorgeous drive to the beach and the beach/bay area was beautiful. Worth the money for sure.
I wasn't sure what we would do at this port. The excursions were limited but my research also indicated that there wasn't much to do at the port area. So, we booked an excursion that took us to Pigeon island for snorkeling. The drive was about 45 minutes and went through the national park/rain forest. The drive was very nice. We went from Basseterre to the island next to it, gran terre. The beach area was apparently a preserve founded by Jacques Cousteau. Losts of family out enjoying the water. We took a boal and circled Pigeon Island several times, finally stopping to snorkel. On the way back, we stopped at Ecrevisses falls in the national park and it was beautiful. Wonderful photo stop. This was my least favorite port as I felt the excursion was over priced. But without the excursion, I am not sure what we would have done.
My favorite place in the world!
Very nice port but the ship was a distance from the terminal. The ship did have shuttles to take us back and forth. The terminal is nice and has plenty of shopping but there is a larger shopping center a short walk away. We booked a beach excursion and when to Harbor Lights beach club, about a 10 minute drive from the port. This was the best beach of all that we visited on this trip. Beautiful, clear water that was very calm. You can swim our for a bit and the water doesn't get past 6 ft. We loved this beach and would return to this beach club on our own if we visit again.
This was a busy port with lots shops right next to the terminal. We booked a snorkeling excursion that also took us to a beach. Great excursion. Water was really chopping which really freaked out some folks, but the crew of the catamaran were super nice.
This is a nice ship but it is a small ship. If you are used to sailing on Royal or Carnival, you will be shocked by the size. Even if you are used to sailing the bigger ships of HAL--like Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, etc. you will still be surprised. But after a few days we got used to the smallnees. It made it a very intimate experience and it was nice that all the crew remembered your names. We very much felt at home.
What a beautiful port! So picturesque! HAL docks in the downtown area and even passes through the "floating bridge". We enjoyed sitting on the promedade deck as we watched the bridge open and close. We hired a taxi/van driver and he took us all around the island for 3 hours--$15 each, I think. We made several stops, including one to the Curacao distillerary.
Amazing! I recommend anyone get up early to see the approach because all the good viewing spots are taken up quickly. From our balcony we could actually touch the sides of the locks. Incredible experience.
My favorite place in the world!
The port itself is not much, nor is the surrounding area. We booked an excursion to do white water river rafting and it was awesome! Probably the best exursion we've done.
The ship docks in a very "industrial" port but you do get nice views of the bay. We booked an excursion to the fort and also had a city tour. It was very nice. Lots of begging, which is hard to stomach. But still, we had a wonderful time.
We left the ship for an excursion. Rather than returning to the ship and exiting the locks, most exursions will end in Colon and the ship picks you up there.
Not much to do but wait around for the ship.
We did a DIY beach break. It was very easy as the public bus stop is righ across from where we docked. It think it cost us $2 round trip to get to the beach. The beaches are very clean and there are chairs and palapas on some of them. If you do use them, however, someone (I think from the nearest hotel/park) will collect $5 a person for their use. The water was very rough the day we went and I took a major swan dive. It scared the heck out of me!!
If your ship is small enough (like those of Holland America), it docks in downtown Willemstad--not the big mega pier. To do this it will pass through the Queen Emma bridge. This floating pontoon bridge swings open about every 30 minutes. It is a delight to watch it open and close from the ship.
Don't miss the bbq on the island!! It is delicious. Bring some baby wipes or something similar to quickly wipe off the picnic tables.
Don't miss the Curacao Liquor Distillery, where the Senor family created and now produces their world-famous Curacao blue liquor! Mini museum, taste testing, gift shop--all for free!
If you sail out of Manhattan, secure a spot on deck on the starboard side...you will pass right by the Statue of Liberty while sailing down the Hudson. Awesome photo opp!
If your ship docks by the swinging bridge, don't forget to get out on deck to see the floating bridge "open" and "close" for your ship. It is quite a sight!
A stop at the Lily Bermuda perfumery is a must! This perfume can only be purchased in Bermuda (or on their website). But if you see something you like, buy it because the stores on the island are limited and they don't always have the same fragrances as the perfumery.
For a nice splurge, go to the Lobster Shack and have lunch there. Lobster is great and they serve it with a tropical salsa and rice.
Cancelled due to rough waters
We also enjoy St. Maarten. This time we made a point of going to Marigold to try something tasty at Sarafinas. Yumm!
This may be my second favorite port because of how close the ship is to the beach. Also, Margaritaville has a huge pool in the port that cruise passengers are free to use.
I love Half Moon Cay. It's my favorite port of all time.
We enjoy San Juan very much but decided to visit the Barcardi Factory on our own. We winded up spending less than $10 a person to get there and back. Great visit.
Beautiful port! It was so clean and pretty. Did an an excursion to Virgin Gorda Baths. Great experience!
Spent the night before the cruise in the Las Olas area. Really enjoyed the area.
Don't get hung up on how things look or are arranged on their other ships. Koningsdam is nothing like the other ships--enjoy it for what it is.
Take tour (or DIY) of the the Cayman Islands Brewery and the Cayman Spirits Distillery. The distillery makes Seven Fathoms Rum, THE BEST rum I have ever had--I've had rum from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, etc. & this is by far the best. Get a behind the scenes look and samples of the rum & beer