December 2015 - Eurodam to Caribbean - Eastern
This was our first cruise and it was a very nice experience. The staff was very friendly and the food was good. We dined at night in the main dining room using the flex seating time which worked very well and we didn't have too wait long for a table although the service we received varied among the different waiters we had over the course of the week; some seemed to be a little slower than others. We were trying to get to the early (8:00 PM) show and had to rush a few times to get through. The on-board entertainment varied and some shows were better than others (comedians were better than the other shows) but all were entertaining and lasted about 40 minutes which was enough. The BB King ALL STAR band in the Queen's Lounge was great and a highlight. I thought the crew did a great job on the New Year's Eve Party with the BB King ALL STARS and seemed to be enjoyed by all ; definitely one to remember. The piano player Phil Thompson was great and entertaining and had crowds until later in the evening.
There were a few times when we would have liked to have a snack late in the evening (11:00'ish) and you always hear about the midnight buffet but that was something that wasn't available and there was nothing open in the Lido Market which was disappointing. The beer, especially around the adult pool, was more often than not luke warm and not quite a refreshing as needed. Bartenders around the pool were a little slow on the service and were busy but I noticed a lot of people waiting for drinks a lot of times.
It would have been nice to be able to buy the drink passes ($45 /day) individually rather than requiring everyone in the room to purchase the daily pass for the entire week.
Having two formal nights on board were a bit of a pain due to having to bring a lot of extra clothing. Maybe reduce to 1 formal night.
The ports of call were good but there wasn't enough time to really do much touring given the amount of time we were on shore but I guess that is the case with most cruises; it would be nice to have had more time on St. Maarten, San Juan and Half Moon Cay. Half Moon Cay was a great spot for a beach outing. Our snorkel excursion was cancelled so we opted for a glass bottom boat trip which was basically a waste of time and wish I would have just spent that time on the beach. If you like to chill on the beach don't waste time on the excursions on Half Moon and just spend the time on the beach which is a beautiful place.
We took the island bus tour on Grand Turk Island just to get an overview of the
island, not a lot to see but worth doing it one time to see what there is on the island. No need to spend a lot of time on Grand Turk.
We did not take a cruise excursion in San Juan opting just to tour Old Town on our own which worked out fine. If you can walk there is no need to schedule a tour in San Juan unless you want to get out of town on one of the scheduled excursions. The two forts in San Juan are the main tourist draws and are worth seeing for sure.
St. Maarten was very nice stop but would have like to have had more time on shore. Nice shopping along the beach promenade and on Front Street. There were some nice spots on the island I would have liked to have seen but couldn't on the bus tour excursion.
The pool deck got crowded but we were able to get chairs most of the time. Given this was the week between Christmas and New Year's the ship was pretty full but not totally overrun.
We were driving home after the cruise so we opted for an early disembarkment which the request was to be submitted mid-week and it worked very well which got us off the ship before 8:00 AM.
The staff seemed genuine, friendly and was very considerate.
Since this was our first cruise I don't have anything to compare to Holland America was very nice cruise line and I would recommend them.