December 2014 - Nieuw Amsterdam to Caribbean - Western
This was our second cruise on Holland America and we weren't disappointed. Even with a full ship, check-in was quick and easy and all rooms were ready when we boarded the ship just before noon and our luggage arrived at our room within an hour of our arrival. Our balcony room was spacious and well maintained. Our cabin steward always took care of our requests and needs with a smile. The ship was festive with holiday decorations and was well maintained by the crew throughout the cruise. We had Anytime Dining and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table. The food in the main dining room was varied and of excellent quality. We enjoyed breakfast in the Lido most days and found a good variety of items to choose from. We had room service breakfast a few mornings and enjoyed being able to have a leisurely breakfast in our room while getting ready for the day. We enjoyed a few of the specialty restaurants and the Dive-Inn Grill by the pool. There was a fun Mexican fiesta with food and a mariachi band by the Lido Pool the evening we stayed late in Cozumel which was great for those who arrived back to the ship after 8:30pm from shore excursions. There were several New Year's Eve parties throughout the ship, complete with hats, noise makers, bands, food, champagne and a countdown at midnight. Shore excursions were varied and easy to sign up for on kiosks located in different locations on the ship. There was a variety of entertainment in the evenings, from stage shows, a comedian, BB King band, Dancing With The Stars and piano bar. The ship also set up a big screen in one of the lounges on New Year's Day to show college bowl games. The casino was always a very busy place in the evenings. The demographics on the ship were varied, both in age and nationality, with many multi-generational family groups, probably due to the holiday. I would guess that the demographics are usually a little more toward middle age or older on regular sailings. If you are looking for all the bells and whistles some of the new large ships offer this isn't the cruise for you...no rock climbing, water slides, etc. If you are looking for a relaxing cruise with a friendly, attentive crew, good food, attractive surroundings and a variety of activities and entertainment this is a cruise to consider. We will definitely be on Holland America again!