Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: November 19th, 2006
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
The last two reviews I read were pretty
straight on about the items on this ship. One thing I'd like to add is the
recommended parking lot (Lot 39)for cruisers. Please note: this lot is next to
the "projects" and is NOT SAFE! We came back to find out vehicle's window broken
out and DVD player and other items stolen. The parking lot assumes no liability
even though you pay $110 to park. I found this terrible. I didn't realize it was
next to such a terrible area or I would have parked in a parking garage down
I would have hoped the port was completed, but it wasn't. We did get on fairly quickly, but when leaving it took forever!
The ship is old and not as glamorous as other ships we've been on. There were odd smells in different places on the ship. This is typically a more mature traveler on this boat. This slower type of cruise was ok with us since we wanted rest.
Our cabin stewed was excellent! The servers were excellent as well! The culinary shows were nice and I enjoyed those. The shows were not so good however. I was disappointed and thought my local high school had the same level productions.
The hot tubs are way too hot - sounds funny but true. The pools are nice and having the cover over the pool was nice for rainy days.
The food on the Lido
deck was ok, but nothing like other ships. The food at the pool was horrible.
Rotterdam dining was nice and we enjoyed that every night. We did try Pinnacle
grill and didn't like that at all - waste of money. It is dark, not well decorated and the phone rang constantly interrupting conversation at your table.
It took over 3 hours for dinner and that is just too long. It was 1 hour before
getting even an appetizer! Self Laundry was a nice touch. Flat panel TV's were
nice, but hard to use remote while in bed since the signal wouldn't reach the TV.
You had to put your hand way up high to get the signal to change the channel.
From one bed the view is blocked. I would recommend they angle the TV for better
viewing. Closets are nice with ability to move shelving to suit your needs.
Shops were not so great - dark run down places in the $10 area, very crowded in
other shops. Any personal items are very expensive so bring them with you. No
discounts on alcohol like other ships. I didn't like all the smoke. You had to
walk through the casino to get to the dining room and it was always smoky. Rooms
and hallways were smoky.
On BBQ night they handed out drinks freely and then came back to ask for a room number. We told the lady we didn't order these drinks and the answer was "what is your room number" you must pay. We were so upset about this. 2 drinks turned out to be $30 and when we complained about this deceiving tactic on the hostess' part - they didn't care and wouldn't do anything about this. This bothered me greatly. I don't even drink and saved only the cup which I didn't even care for since it was too tall to fit in the dishwasher. Our boat was hit with a GI bug and last count 27 rooms were infected and contained to the rooms. They changed everything where you couldn't serve yourself anything including tea or water in the dining rooms - I understand these changes but it was a terrible inconvenience and slowed things down a lot. You are only able to get water/tea/coffee in the lido restaurant in tiny tiny glasses. Other boats I've been on you had plenty of locations for drinks - this needs improvement.
I have an 8 year old daughter - she enjoyed the kids club, but it was so much smaller than other boats. I understood the club was newly renovated so I thought it would be much nicer, but I was wrong. The hours were slim as well - not really a great place for kids. Again - I'd stick with other boats for a much better children's program. They did the best with what they had to work with though - I'll give them that.
Ok here is the worst part: TIPS. I really do not like how they make them share tips. You are charged $10 per person per day so for us it was $30 per day x 11 days. I requested that I modify my daughters tips (only hers) since she didn't use many services and I wanted to make sure the kids club was tipped instead. It's an act of congress to do this. If tipping is a courtesy to have on your bill, then you shouldn't have to go through so much headache to modify it as you see fit. Then if you tip anyone directly they must share this tip in a pool that is shared with everyone. What is the motivation for a single person to offer good service this way?? I didn't like how they handled this request at all - I had to fill out a form and wait for management approval. What - you must be kidding!
I can have fun anywhere and my family did, but I probably wouldn't go with this ship again. I enjoyed the southern Caribbean ports of call and would visit them again, but with a different boat.
I hope this was helpful and wish you fun on your cruise!