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Ralph Girard

Age: 69

Occupation:retired teacher

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Amsterdam

Sailing Date: 2012-07-30

Itinerary: Mediterranean

This was our first cruise, and it was wonderful. We are a senior couple, but the ship was a mix of people of all ages. We enjoyed the company of several other couples. Our cabin (we had a veranda) was very nice. The food was excellent! The crew was very friendly and helpful. The ship itself was beautiful. I recommend this ship with no reservations.

The food was excellent. We ate mostly in the dining room, where the service was very good, The menu was great and different each evening. There were always several items to choose from for each meal, ranging from healthy to indulgent. People told us the food would great, and it was. The main dining room was at the stern of the ship, and on several occasions we had a table with a view of the water as the ship was underway; just beautiful! We also liked having the option of eating alone or with a group of two three other couples. If we were in a hurry or just wanted a snack, we would go to the cafeteria which was also very good, and the lines were not long at all. I just wish they had a greater selection of different ice cream flavors to choice from.

Our room was clean, and nicely appointed, nicer than most motels. The balcony was great. We had several lovely evenings sitting out there at dusk as the ship sailed to our next destination. It was just so quiet and peaceful. You could barely tell the ship was moving. Every day we returned from our adventures to find our room spotlessly clean and a new towel creation placed on our bed by our stewards.

We didn't participate much in directed activities aboard the ship. We would take walks around the outside promenade deck. The library was small but adequate. The two pools on board were nice but pretty crowded. The shows were fair, not quite Broadway quality. We never used the casino. I took a guided tour of the ships galley, and enjoyed it. There were a few lounges where you could sit, have a drink, and enjoy the entertainment.

We only took one excursion, and it was just fair. We preferred to just take the transport offered (at an extra cost of course) to our destination, and go our own way from there. We really got a lot of good advice from Rick Steve's book on Mediterranean cruises. I would really recommend that for anyone planning a Mediterranean cruise.

Our trip was a beautiful and romantic adventure for a couple of retired teachers. We would get off the ship early each morning, get to our destination, explore as much as we could in the time allowed, get back to the ship, crash for a short time , recover, shower, and go to dinner, and then just enjoy the evening aboard the ship. All the things we were concerned about before the trip just didn't happen, or just didn't turn out to matter. The weather was hot, but we dressed appropriately, and it was fine. We ran into a few language problems when off the ship, but they worked out OK. Yes, we would have liked to have had more time to spend at some of the ports, but we'll just save those for another trip. The cruise just left us wanting to go back and do it all over again, just a little better prepared next time.

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