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Rotterdam Retired Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 46

Overall rating:

4.8 out of 5
Rotterdam Retired

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

Sail date: December 06, 2019

Ship: Rotterdam Retired

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 6185

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

This was by far my favorite cruise to date and my first as a solo traveler. I was not sure what to expect traveling alone, but the HAL staff made me feel like I belonged and I never once felt alone or lonely and had the time of my life. If it has not been for Christmas, I would have stayed on the ship for another go around!


5 out of 5
Quick and easy

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
All food was delicious and a truly great experience with plenty to satisfy you. The Pinnacle Grill I got to experience at Dinner, Lunch, and the Cellar Master Dinner and enjoyed all the experiences with excellent food and outstanding service. Main Dining Room staff was attentive and made us feel like royalty. I was disappointed that dress protocol was not enforced properly in the Main Dining room, especially on Gala nights. And in the Pinnacle Grill I was astonished to see a guest in jeans and a t-shirt and a ball cap. As a person who takes pride in appearance and enjoys the dressy atmosphere of special environments and nights, I would like to see this return, at least in designated spaces and nights.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
I enjoyed the Microsoft Studio and was able to utilize some of the things I learned on this cruise. The Test Kitchen was a great way to expand my cooking knowledge. Loved the Navigator App to keep track of all the activities and help plan my day. The EXC talks before the ports were very enlightening to give us background on where we would be visiting as well as many details about the history and operations of the canal itself.


5 out of 5
Entertainment is one of my favorite aspects of ship board life and my favorite on this cruise was Billboard Onboard with Joey and Emily at the Pianos. Although I did enjoy the Lincoln Center as well as the Main Stage and Ocean Bar. But so much went on at the same time and you could not be everywhere at once. But boy we sure tried!

Children's Programs

Did not have any children, solo traveler

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Our dining room staff was always on top of things and made us feel like we were their only table no matter how busy they were. They remembered the smallest details to make each meal special for us and to feel like they reallt paid attention to us. Irwan and Mafa (room stewards) took such good care of me in my cabin and I often felt like they were secretly waiting for me to leave every day just to make my room spotless once again. From keeping fresh bananas available for me daily to the small touched each evening to welcome me back "home" at the end of the day. And Play in the Billboard Onboard always new what I wanted and when I wanted it and was there to take care of my every need.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
One thing I enjoy about Holland America is the size and intimacy of the ships. I am not a mega ship person with elbow to elbow people and I enjoy the ability to enjoy a classy and stylish old school cruising environment without the feel of being old and worn out. The ship felt clean and secure and updated while retaining its style and finesse.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
As a solo traveler I had plenty of room for me and I felt comfortable and at ease. I slept great on the bed, and that is unusual for me. I have a bad back and normally when I travel, sleeping in a strange bed is the worse part of traveling. I did not have a single problem.

Ship tip

Be prepared for older guests and more peaceful environment instead of a wild and party atmosphere of some of the mega ships. But if you appreciate style and class, this is the ship for you.

Ports of call

San Diego, California Did not visit port

Arrived the night before and went to the ship the next morning without touring.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

5 out of 5
Enjoyed David, our tour guide as he told us all about the history and growth of the town as well as pointing out the growth of the homes and hotels of the area.

Huatulco, Mexico

5 out of 5
A cute port growing fast with tourism full of friendly people and gorgeous views.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

4 out of 5
Antigua and the country side getting there was beautiful and the architecture was magnificent. People did seem a little pushy and distracted from the opportunity to view the town with their constant hawking of goods and getting in your way to actually see things.

Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua

3 out of 5
Al though I did not tour this port, I did enjoy the entertainment provided dock side by the young dancers and musicians throughout our stay.

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica Did not visit port

Stayed aboard at this port. Did not have a tour available I cared to participate in. The port dock itself was an industrial shipping port, although it was clean and appeared safe.

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
This was the highlight of the cruise and what I had been waiting for for ages. The Pacific side was pleasant and sunny while the Atlantic side was rainy, so we got a taste of both weather conditions. It was amazing to see the operations of the canal up close and the ship provided excellent vantage points to be able to witness the event. I loved the provide narrative, but it would have been better if it could have been broadcast through the app so you could hear it anywhere you went through your headphones or ear plugs.

Willemstad, Curacao

5 out of 5

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida Did not visit port

Simply went to the airport at the end of the cruise to fly home.


5 out of 5
Quick and easy, found my luggage with no problem as well as help to get it to the bus.
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