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T. C. Brown

Age: 51

Occupation:Navy ship superintendent

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Rotterdam

Sailing Date: November 20, 2002

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: November 20th, 2002

I chose this cruise because it was going to ports I'd never visited. The Rotterdam was a very nice, clean and elegant ship typical of Italian construction. The food was excellent and consistent in both the dining room and cafeteria. There was also an Italian Restaurant (reservation only) which was quite good too. I thought the entertainment was excellent with a very talented group of performers and guest stars.

This particular itinerary I called the "Cruise of the Living Dead". The average passenger age was around 75. Because this was a 10 day itinerary I think younger people either couldn't afford or get the time off so it was mostly retirees aboard. This has some advantages such as the gym, sun decks and excursions are not too crowded and the Rotterdam was a ghost ship after around 10 PM. Very quiet for sleeping. There are disadvantages though dodging walkers and wheel chairs and the cafeteria is somewhat of a phlegm fest at breakfast with all the wheezing geezers. This was not the ship for bikini watching!

We were supposed to go to Cartegena Columbia but that was cancelled for security reasons. I guess it is still open season on Americans in that country. I didn't think I would be impressed with the Panama Canal....and I wasn't. Like sailing through a shipyard. I enjoyed the Dutch Antilles though. The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica was poor and depressed. We did the rain forest excursion which was little more that a walk down a dirt road. We did see Monkeys, Toucans, Sloths and leaf cutter ants. My wife was happy. She wanted to see monkeys in the rainforest. The knowledgeable tour guide was the only plus in my opinion. We also took the Catamaran snorkel excursion in Aruba. This was fun but the snorkeling was mediocre as is usually the case any where they take the tourists. I didn't hear much about other excursions except the Panama Canal yacht club tour was a bust. $40 and nothing to do.

Our stateroom developed some minor problems that were corrected immediately and Holland America offered us a $150 rebate for the inconvenience. Very impressive.

Holland America has a "no tipping required" policy but the service was quite good and I don't mind tipping for this.

All things considered I was very happy with this cruise although I wish there were a few more younger people on board. We didn't have much in common with the rest of the passengers.

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