It was a great cruise and beautiful ship. I will definitely cruise with Holland America again. You can put an early booking deposit down for future cruises with HAL, while on the ship. It is fully refundable within a 4 year booking window. Great perk!
5 out of 5
Easy and efficient. No problems!!
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
I thought all the food was fabulous. I have no complaints. The choices at the Lido Buffet all exceeded my expectations, and there was too much to choose from!! There are 2 sides to the buffet on each side of the ship. You can have made to order breakfast, omelets. etc or choose from pastries, fresh fruits, tradition American style foods and European style foods. All the choices for lunch were amazing too. Don't miss the Asian stir fry section at lunch and dinner at the buffet. We enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill. The food and service was excellent. Also tried Tamarind, which was also wonderful. The main dining room was always a treat too, with varied menu choices. Keep in mind, men have to wear slacks to the main dining room. I did see plenty of people in jeans, just no shorts. The New York Deli near the main pool had excellent pizza and the Dive In burgers/fries were tasty. The only thing I wish I had had time for was to experience was Afternoon Tea at 3:00 every afternoon. We had the Signature Drink Package, which allowed us 15 drinks a day, priced at $9 or less. Never got close to exceeding that level. Out of pocket alcoholic drinks can be expensive $9 and up. A large bottle of Pellegrino water would be $5. Dutch cafe coffees were great. Unless you are extremely picky, you shouldn't have any problems with the food.
5 out of 5
We were on a Pickleball cruise, so the ship's sport court was used for 2 pickleball courts at certain times of the day for our group. The main pools seemed to always be crowded and hard to find a place to sit. Early morning was the best time to snag a chair. The fitness center is state of the art. and had some free classes, but things like pilates, meditation, and health related you had to pay for. Didn't book a spa treatment, but the spa facilities were great, I heard. The dry sauna is available to all passengers, but to use the steam sauna, one must book a spa treatment. There were lots of other activities on the ship available, such as the library/game/puzzle area, card games, trivia challenges, happy hour meetups, cooking demos etc. They also had paid activities such as wine tastings, mixology classes etc. You can even take a 4 hour tour of the bridge/engine room/kitchen etc, basically the whole ship and how it functions, for $150. I think it's called "Behind the Scenes" tour.
5 out of 5
Wow! The Music Walk was fabulous. Enjoyed it all every night. The BB King Blues club was the best, great band and dancing music. The Lincoln Center Stage had performances earlier in the afternoon and early evening. The dueling piano guys were Ok at best, and the band at the Rolling Stone Rock Room rocked it too- 3 sets a night. The main theater performances were great. We saw 2 high energy dance shows, utilizing the high tech screens that went 3/4 around the theater. Also, saw one comedian, Fred Klett, who was hysterically funny, and another comedian/magician, who was enjoyable too. We missed the Blue Planet Show.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
OMG, I think the best part of this whole cruise was the staff- everyone from waiters, to stewards, to guest services, to the whole personnel...even the people, who were cleaning the stair rails at 7:00am in the morning!!!! The politeness and attentiveness were commendable!! Everyone that I came into contact with and observed were always smiling, friendly, and helpful!!! 3 people bending over backwards just to get you coffee?? Wow! Elmar, in the buffet, called me by my name every morning!! Can't say enough about this. The captain was even visible about the ship, and I had the opportunity to speak with him to compliment him on his ship and staff.
5 out of 5
The ship was extremely clean, with workers present keeping things in top notch condition at different times of the day. This new ship is beautiful!! The design and layout were easy to navigate. The artwork was varied and amazing and shouldn't be missed. I did my own early morning artwalk on all staircases, and near the elevators every deck ,and of course, through other main areas of the ship. Take some time to notice this-very interesting.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We had a verandah stateroom on the 11th deck. It had a great bathroom, shower that my husband could fit in (6'3"), a small love seat, which folds out to a small bed, and tons of storage. There was a desk with drawers, drawers in the end tables and closet area. Don't miss the 2 large drawers under the front of the bed. Many people don't realize they are there. There was a safe for valuables, hooks for hanging clothes, and even the lighting was good. Lights are activated by your key card, but I recommend taking an old credit or gift card to use, so you don't have to use your room key card all the time. They provided striped pool towels to take ashore. Pool area had plenty of colored towels. Balcony had 2 chairs with a small table. Cabin cleaned daily and nightly turn down service also.
Really notice the art and compliment the staff as much as you can. They work so hard for the guests.
Cruise ship pulls right up to dock. Didn't do an excursion. The beach and Margaritaville pool is right there. The water is beautifully clear and blue. Walk a little farther down the beach to Jack's Shack to get away from all the crowds. Be aware of the people that are trying to sell you a beach chair and umbrella when most are free.
Did not do an excursion. You walk right off the ship and into the town. We walked to the two forts, El Cristobal and El Morro and then down the main street, Fortelezza Street, where all the shopping and restaurants are. It's all easy to navigate. One admission of $7 each gets you into each fort. Your national park pass works there too. Every other store is a jewelry store down Fortelezz St. We felt safe walking all around. There is a Walgreens across the street as you leave the ship and a Starbucks with free wifi just up the street too. Also Barrichina is a popular restaurant, supposedly home of the first Pina Colada.
The dock is about a 20 minute walk to the main town or a quick cab ride. We did a catamaran snorkeling adventure- 2 stops-shipwreck and turtle cove on the Castaway Girl catamaran. It was OK. Did see turtles, manta rays, urchins, barracuda and small fish. Coral is not bright though. Snorkeling above the shipwreck was interesting. Not much else directly at the port- a few shopping buildings.
We were the only ship there. Didn't do an excursion, but you can rent jet skis, floats etc and clamshells for shade or fancier huts. The water was amazing. It was the most beautiful, blue, and clear water I've ever seen. All the beach chairs are complimentary. The lunch served was buffet style, hamburger, hot dogs, salads, ice cream. Drinks other than water, tea, lemonade were for purchase and your drink package didn't cover it for this. You were taken to the island by the tender boats, which were a quick ride to shore and they ran about every 30 minutes.
4 out of 5
We had to have the bags outside our door by midnight the night before. Disembarkation was color coded and by time. It did get backed up and ran almost 45 min. behind schedule. By no fault of the process in place, it is due to the people who line up at wrong times, don't know what they are supposed to do and congregate around the area to leave the ship. It was easy to find our luggage in the terminal and leave the port. There were taxi and uber pick up areas outside the terminal.
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