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Age: 18


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Ryndam

Sailing Date: 2012-01-6

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was my first time ever going on a cruise, and my family chose Holland America Line based on available dates. We had no idea what to expect. Although a little nervous at first, the cruise was AMAZING! The ms Ryndam was spotlessly clean, and staff constantly encouraged all passengers to use hand sanitizer.

The food was definitely one of the best parts of the cruise. The Ryndam offered a variety of food choices each night. My family and I chose to eat in the Rotterdam dining room every night for dinner (It is fancier and the service is great). The desserts are wonderful- there was even a "Dessert Extravaganza Night" on the Lido deck (filled with chocolate fountains and cakes and every dessert imaginable). The Lido Deck, another option for dining, is buffet style, and is also delicious. The staff is incredible. If you want something that is not on the menu they will find a way to make it for you! (My sisters and I ordered strawberries with whipped cream at every meal even though it was not on the menu). There is also an Italian restaurant on board called Canaletto's. The food is average with a limited menu. Also, reservations are required to eat there. There is another restaurant called the Pinnacle Grill... We never ate there because there is an upcharge of around $30 per person to eat there.

Although the ship seems to be "all-inclusive," anything other than coffee, water, and tea require an upcharge.

I haven't been on any other cruise besides the Ryndam, so I have no other stateroom to compare this one with. However, the room was nice, and the cleaning staff was awesome. I swear they cleaned our room at least four times a day. The beds are pretty tiny... and there is only one electrical plug per room (if you ask the staff they will give you a powerbar for free). The bathroom is also very small, and the shower is tight. Other than that the rooms were nice.

I took a cake decorating class and I loved it. I also attended a cupcake tea, where the waiters came around to each table with trays filled with mini cupcakes! Because I was on the ship over new year's eve, I attended a dance party in the Crow's nest and I had a blast. They gave free champange and everyone was wild. All ages were on the dance floor and all the girls were in sparkly dresses! Fun!

Each day passengers are given a schedule of planned events ranging from yoga in the mornings, to wine tastings at night.

I also attended shows in the Showroom at Sea (which mainly was filled with an audience of people over age 60...) The shows were a bit cheesy, but I enjoyed them.

Ok, my family decided to take a different approach to the excursions. Instead of booking excursions with the cruise line, we waited until we got off the boat to book excursions with the locals on the island. Let me tell you, this was definitely the right choice. We found that the cruise line puts an upcharge on the excursions that they sell to you. We saved a lot of money booking our excursions at the information desks when we got onto each island. For example, my sisters and I wanted to horseback ride on the beach in Jamaica... the boat was charging $100 per person to do this. When we got of the ship, we headed straight to the information desk, where we booked an excursion to horseback ride on the beach for only $70 per person. The experience was great. We swam with horses in the ocean and along the beach. It was a private beach too- we were the only ones there. It was paradise.

The same happened with the StingRay City tour we booked when we got off the ship. We had a private boat take us out into the ocean where we swam with stingrays. Meanwhile, those who had booked their stingray excursion with the Ryndam were packed onto a tiny boat with a huge group of people. Also, we payed a cheaper amout of money than they did. Overall, I say wait to book your excursions until you get off the boat.. its way cheaper and a better experience.

I was nervous about the cruise, having never been on one before. The experience was perfect. Other than the occasional rocking of the boat, I enjoyed everything. The MS Ryndam is WONDERFUL!

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