Occupation:Airline Load Master
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: January 6th, 2002
Itinerary: Western Caribbean Cruise
The onboard entertainment selection was great. Always something going on somewhere. We rarely go to the movies (because of three little kids) and it was a treat to see Serendipity, Jurassic Park 3, Rock Star, and A.I. in the comfortable movie theatre on board. My wife especially loved the Java Café located just outside the theatre where she nourished her craving for cappuccinos!
The Rembrandt Lounge in the evening went from good to bad to good to bad to great. Meaning, the marquee talent, Devlin the Magician, Juggler Bob Cates and Comedian Don Sherman, were very good. But the onboard show crew was hard to listen to. We were also a little disappointed by the lack of a band on board. There were a few three-piece combo groups but nothing larger. Our NCL boat had a large band, with brass, that played for all the shows and the dances at night and we missed them greatly on this cruise. HAL would be wise to upgrade the musical talent onboard.
In Cozumel, we opted for the Tulum Ruins sightseeing tour. What an incredible archeological place to visit. The ruins were breathtaking and our guide was extremely knowledgeable about the area. Plus, the bus ride to Tulum lets you see how the real Mexico looks and it’s not all palm trees and cabana boys. At Tulum be sure to not fall into the tourist trap of paying to ride the tram to the ruins sight ($3.00 per person, round trip). The walk is less than a ¼ mile and we beat the tram. On the other hand, if you have trouble walking you might want to take the tram, for the road is unpaved and rugged. There is also a $5.00 tax Mexico charges for the right to videotape at the sight.
Grand Cayman escapes us again; sea swells were too strong to visit. One of these days I’ll see Stingray City!
This was our second visit to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and we knew from the first visit to be ready for the panhandlers. We avoided the taxis and shops and chose to ferry ourselves over to Dunn’s River Falls. What a great ride along the coast on our Cool Runnings Catamaran. The falls were a treat to sea from the ocean. We were only asked twice if we wanted to purchase some marijuana, this was a massive improvement from our first trip where we were asked constantly. Avoiding the taxis is the way to go in Ocho Rios, but beware of walking anyplace lest you’ll be run over by the taxis.
Half Moon Cay, a great little island. Plenty of surf, sand and HAL let the crew relax as well. All there is to do is just look at beautiful view of your ship sitting in a bay all day long with your dining room steward. All have a nice time.
All said our cruise was great. The food on board was excellent. The Maasdam seemed to need a little TLC. More than a few mumbles from fellow passengers about plumbing and A/C problems and the ships brass fixtures needed polishing. Many lights were out, and rust spots dotted the Lower Promenade deck. Nevertheless the ship always felt clean and the crew seemed to always be cleaning. Look forward to sailing with HAL again but I might have to give NCL another go first.