Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: November 30th, 2006
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
I must start out stating that every member
of the crew onboard was most gracious and helpful. The cabin steward took care
of the room perfectly, and the dining room stewards, wine stewards and bus boys
were professional and always remembered your favorite beverage or wine. Dining
at the Pinnacle Grill was a wonderful experience, with outstanding food,
prepared to order, and the presentation was excellent. As soon as everyone was
onboard, everyone was briefed about the GI illness from the prior cruise, and
the staff was continuously cleaning and disinfecting all day, and after the 3rd
day, the restrictions of salt and pepper shakers, etc, were lifted with no
problems the remainder of the cruise.
One must remember that the Maasdam is a teenager, being 17 years old, and in ship years this is not a new vessel. It is not, as some have said, old and decaying. If you want glitz and glam, opt out for a cruise on a newer boat, with a much younger crowd. There are of course, some drawbacks and negative issues with the cruise. The stateroom, especially while in port, was very warm and it took a few calls to get a portable fan delivered. The Lido pool area, when the retractable roof was closed, was at times extremely hot, which detracted from the Chocolate Extravaganza. The ice carvings and the chocolate were melting after a very short time. Smoke from cigarettes was very evident in the Piano Bar and the casino, which is no different that the same type of establishments ashore. For the one reviewer that stated she had to walk through the casino to get to the Rotterdam Dining Room, this is not exactly true. There is a passageway the goes around the casino on the opposite side of the ship past the Pinnacle Grill and a delightful lounge area with nightly classical music.
The only stop along the cruise that I did not care for was Dominica. This is a very poor island, with a very run-down capital city and few shops. A great place for eco-tourism, however on a ship with a majority of the passengers well over 50, not a great choice.
Overall, a very enjoyable cruise, with 4 days at sea to relax. I may not choose the same cruise or vessel for my next cruise; however Holland America will remain at the top of my list for now.