16 Days on the Rotterdam, 7 countries

Rotterdam Retired Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 56

Overall rating:

4.7 out of 5
Rotterdam Retired

16 Night Panama Canal (Ft. Lauderdale To San Diego)

Sail date: November 20, 2019

Ship: Rotterdam Retired

Cabin type: Oceanview

Cabin number: 1873

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

It was our second cruise on a Holland American ship and the trip was very predictable and no surprises. The muster was the most uncomfortable moment with the complaining and whining, glad the rest of cruise was not like that.


5 out of 5
Very smooth and no problems. Ship left port on time and as promised.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Dining was above average to excellent. Variety, quality and freshness way above average.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
Fitness center, Sports deck great.


4 out of 5
Could enhance the program with more entertainment. Musical show times, more rock. The magic act was great and the comedians was great except for one.

Children's Programs

Of the 1,300 passengers, I think there were less than 10 under the age of 16

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Everybody was service oriented with genuine good attitudes, they made it all about you the passenger. Maintenance, stewards, waiters, food servers, deck hands were was super friendly and helpful.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Layout was practical and easy to deal with. Everything was clean and in good shape. As usual the muster was the most painful moment of the trip.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Interior was clean. The outside of the window could have been cleaned on departure, it was cleaned in the next port, and following ports.

Ship tip

Its Holland America. Average age appeared to be 75? 70? Everybody we came in contact with were very alert, intelligent, friendly and happy.

Ports of call

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

5 out of 5
Great port to depart from. Did the water taxi in the intercoastal water way hop on hop off many stops in town.

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (Private Island)

5 out of 5
First time on a Fantasy Island. Hiking, swimming, snorkeling, beach (with drink service) and free run of the island. A second Holland America ship MS Zuiderdam was there same day but the island did not seem overran. Like the Capt. Morgan ship/bar and food and drink serviced by the crew of the two ships.

Oranjestad, Aruba

5 out of 5
Need more time to enjoy the island.

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
Highlight of the trip. The ship brought on a narrator who added a lot of value to the transit.

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

3 out of 5
Ok for one time visit. Docked in the container port, 30 minute bus ride to town of Caldera (buses provided by the town). Got to town and it was pouring rain for 3 hours. There was an Oceania ship in the town itself and that ship provided umbrellas for their passengers.

Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua

4 out of 5
Another container port. Nice greeting with locals bands and dance groups. Swarmed by pedicabs, vendors inside the port and once outside we were mobbed. Once we got a pedicab "Jonathan" we were off limits to the rest. The town was not in the best shape and it reminded me of Tijuana in the 1960s. Locals were indifferent and not overly friendly but okay. Prices for everything was good, best on this cruise. Overall it was a good experience.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

5 out of 5
A contrast to Puertos Caldera and Corinto-it was a Cruise ship port. Greeted with a band and a vendor market. 4 of us contracted a taxi (Taxis de Turismo Porteno) and Fredy Gudiel Martinez as our guide. Took the trip into Antigua Guatemala, 500 year old city. Sharp contrast with Nicaragua. The people were super friendly, the town very clean and prosperous. Antigua is well worth the visit. The road from the port to town about 50 miles long had 5 bridges destroyed in 2018 due to the local volcano. What is impressive the government was repairing all 5 at once.

Huatulco, Mexico

5 out of 5
Short visit (6 hours) spent most of it on a snorkeling excursion (Seven Bays). Not the best day to snorkel with the high winds, rough water and decreased visibility. And it was on a Sunday, the best dive spot was swarmed by locals. Other than bumping heads, it was a good experience. Briefly enjoyed the port village with food and drink at El HABANERO LOKO.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4 out of 5
Sick with flu, spouse didn't leave the ship. I headed to Walmart across the road from the port (?!). At the Cold and Flu section, it was mobbed by passengers from two cruise ships in port. Went to downtown by city bus ($1 rt) and spent the rest of the day at the shopping mall Chili's with fellow passengers chilling.

San Diego, California

5 out of 5
Home, enough said.


5 out of 5
We were expedited and on time. Delayed a bit due to about 10 of 500 non-US passengers getting processed but made our Coaster connection.

Traveler Photos

taking a break from swimming and snorkeling on a fantasy island Couple hundred miles of waterfront covered with unique homes and history Volcán de Fuego Greeting
Was this review helpful? 32

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Remember: Be polite and respectful. Our diverse community is home to members with different opinions and a broad range of cruise experiences.

Other reviews of this sailing