Age: 46 to 55
Number of Cruises: 3 to 5
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: March 17 , 1999
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
This was our third cruise on the HAL line, the first being the Westerdam in 1996 and the Statendam in 1997. We booked this cruise mainly for the different ports of call if offered, and the fact we'd had enjoyable experiences in the past with HAL. We were not disappointed this time. The ports of call were a little different for us - not as touristy and built up as some other Caribbean islands. Of course - there was the standard fare of St. Thomas, but as an avid shopper, I never mind a stop there. We had several days at sea which I alway enjoy for the total relaxation they offer, a long with stops at St. Kitts, Dominca, Martinique, Trinidad and Half Moon Cay - the island owned by HAL near the Bahamas.
Our cabin was spacious - and we were fortunate to be upgraded to a verandah at the last minute. This put us in a category that included a jacuzzi in our bathtub - what a nice extra to have. We thoroughly enjoyed our cabin steward - he did an outstanding job. The only thing I missed with having him 'create' something from my nightmare each evening. Some folks don't like this - but I find it entertaining.
And speaking of entertaining - we went to every evening show and enjoyed all. It was the usual fare of comedians, a singer, the shows done by the ship performers - but all done very professionally.
The food was very good - and the selections had something for everyone. We were at a table of 10, and never heard a complaint from anyone. The midnight buffets were small, less showy than some - but I have a sense that all cruiselines are beginning to cut back on this extravaganza that goes to waste so much of the time, because believe it or not, you CAN only eat so much.
Our biggest delight was our stop on Half Moon Cay - it was like stepping back in time to a pure island paradise. Hammocks everywhere, plenty of room to spread out, and as little or as much activity as one wanted to participate in. We sailed and parasailed - and were beach bums the rest of the day. I could have easily spent all day there.
Both embarkation and disembarkation were easy and uneventful. The only negative about this cruise was the captain. Very abrupt, standoffish and unfriendly. He went out of his way to avoid the passengers and I never saw him smile once. In spite of that, we had a great time and wouldn't hesitate to take this itinerary and ship again.