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Tony Charbonneau

Age: 31 to 40


Number of Cruises: 2nd

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Veendam

Sailing Date: 27th,

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

The ship was great! Spotless! We had a mini-suite on the Navigation Deck near the back. This was a great location as the pool (saltwater) was close by and the Lido restaurant was just up one deck. I highly recommend a cabin with a verandah. Early mornings, when the ship is leaving the dock, and at night, you can really appreciate having the ability to step outside your room onto the verandah without concern of what you are wearing (if anything). The staff was great! Communication was not a problem with the Indonesian, Phillipino crew. Food was excellent. Lobster and Beef Wellington on the second formal night. Very good presentation. I really like HAL as the ships are smaller, less flashy, less kids (I saw one teenager the entire cruise). The lounges are not crowded and after 11:00 pm you have the ship pretty much to yourself. We found that the duty free shop "Gourmet" was cheaper to buy smokes and liquor than at dockside in San Juan. Get to San Juan early and buy soday if you have the chance. It will save you from spending a fortune on Coke/7-UP etc on board. The first port of call was Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. All I can say is don't waste your time. Very dirty city, very unfriendly people. We took a carriage ride. It was putting your life on the line. It was like a NYC cab ride at 3 mph. The other guys are what you had to watch for. A carriage on a highway with no shoulders where the speed limit is 55. See what I mean! Barbados was very beautiful. We took a submarine down over a reef. Keep in mind that you take a boat out to the Sub. If you have elderly folks with you you might want to think twice as both the sub and boat are bobbing in the seas and the sub has a steep narrow ladder to get down. St Maarten, and Martinique were really beautiful as well. Nice beaches. Shopping in St Thomas is in my opinion a waste of time. Nothing is a "deal" in St Thomas. You will get a much better deal in St Maarten. In closing, if you plan on traveling the same day as the ship leaves, I would recommend that you try to get a direct flight to San Juan. It is a looong day and we left Duluth, MN at 6:30 am for Chicago then Chicago to San Juan. Chicago flight was canceled due to mechanical problem and we only made it to the ship with 30 minutes to spare (ship left at 10:00 pm ). I now recommend going a day early on any cruise. That's it. You will enjoy this cruise!

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