January 2016 - Eurodam to Caribbean
Our accommodations were fairly good. We had a balcony near the aft of the promenade deck. It was generally quiet. Unfortunately Holland America allows smoking on the balcony so some of our neighbors took that to mean you could smoke in your room and we frequently smelled smoke in the hallway to our room. I wish Holland America would join with other cruise lines and only allow smoking in designated places. We had a shower only room which made the bathroom a bit tight. Our room attendant was excellent and we always had ice and fruit replenished through the cruise.
This was our first cruise to many of the ports of call and we did excursions at most of the ports. Unfortunately Holland America includes its private island on all its Carribean cruises and since we were on a collectors cruise we visited Half Moon Cay twice. We are not beach people so we did not disembark the 2nd time. The beach is lovely though and worth 1 visit. We thoroughly enjoyed the submarine excursion at Grand Caymon. We also like the Taste of Jamaica. The Explorer's Cruise & Grand Island Drive at Sint Maarten was also a great excursion. The Bacardi tour was disappointing and we should have done a tour of only the fort and old San Juan in Porto Rico. We enjoyed the Discover Grand Turk excursion, which included a rum tasting.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meals at the Tamarind. The food and service was excellent. The food at the Pinnacle was good and the service was excellent. Our meal at the Canelleto was disappointing. I had a great view of the bussing station, the food was mediocre and was set up so you and your partner had to order the same thing to share. It had a very casual relationship with Italian food and was rather tasteless. The bread was the worst bread we had on the ship.
Service in the main dining room was not up to the standard of our previous Holland American cruise. It was obvious that the dining room was very short staffed. The food was generally good except they are really stingy with veggies and fruit. My husband ordered a dessert which was supposed to include strawberries, He was given 2 fragments of strawberry which were less than 1/2 a strawberry.
The stage shows were a mixed bag. The Island Magic band was the best stage show I have ever seen. The magician was good, the Beatles impersonator was so so. The ships Hal Cats were amateur performers and their music was way too loud and the lights were distracting and did not add to their lackluster performance. There were 3 comedians and they were OK.
We actually preferred the string quintet at Lincoln Center Stage and The Billboard stage piano duo. Unfortunately BB King was too loud and we could not tolerate being in the theater.
Our favorite place was the Exploration Cafe and the crow nest. The View was great. We also liked the set times for card players to gather for bridge, the jig saw puzzles and the fact that there was a priest on board so we could attend Sunday masses. This was our 2nd Holland American cruise and both times a priest sailed with the ship.