Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: May 21st, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was our first 7 day cruise, May 21-28, 2005. We sailed with Disney on their land sea cruise and loved it!!! This one was for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and we met 4 other couples celebrating it too. This was just for the two of us and for the most part we loved it. We had picture perfect weather all seven days, we never saw a cloud!! We would probably do another cruise with HAL, but my heart still belongs to Disney it was the very best.
Getting on the another line to get on board, cause of the person taking pictures of all the passengers.
Cabin: 8063 on the Navigation deck was wonderful, Quiet and spacious. We had a king size bed, and lots of cushy chairs and ottomans and a table and chairs for our breakfast on the veranda. It was beautiful to sit out there and watch the sea go by, very relaxing.
Shows: Pretty good, Joel Mason is the Elton John impersonator he’s just magnificent!!!! Don’t miss his show, funny and very talented. He’s a must see!!! Julie Barr is the comic, she’s good too.
Food: Pinnacle is a must, especially beef eaters, to die for!!! We went the first night when the sur-charge is half price, what a deal. The Vista dinning was fine too, we were on the lower level and it was fine, we had very nice table mates.
Ports: This was the first cruise where we had to board tenders to get to the port of call. Plus HAL has you come to one of their lounges and get a number and when your number is called you can go down and wait in line to get on one. I would prefer a ship that ports right at the docks, and they changed the times that you had to be back on board the ship and because of the tenders it was even earlier. Half MC the last tender was 3:30, it’s like being there half a day. The same with Cayman. Very disappointing.
Half Moon Cay was very pretty. (Disney’s island Castaway Cay is still the best) Not to many shops and not a huge variety of stuff to buy. We had one of those half clam shells for $9 what a bargain!!! Compared to $200 for those cabanas for about 6 hours on their island, what a rip off. They’re big and they really keep the sun out. It was blistering hot the day we were there and I’m glad we had it to take shelter from the sun. I did the snorkel trip with HAL that morning at Half Moon and it was very nice, I could of stayed out longer but it was fine.
Cayman Island: We booked on line ourselves with Captain Marvin they are easy to find on line and much cheaper then booking through HAL. The HAL Sting Ray City excursion is more money and that was the only stop they made. We paid $25 less person and we had two snorkel stops along the way before we went to String Ray City. Our Captain brought bait with him and told us to follow him to the reefs and wait with our underwater cameras ready and he dove done and found a hammer head shark and also a huge green eel . It truly was the most amazing snorkel trip I’ve ever been on and the Sting Rays were so gentle, if you are scared you can just move to avoid them they don’t come after you at all. The water is only up to your waist at the sand bar and we saw so many different sizes of them. Can’t wait to get back there someday!
Costa Maya: Our huge disappointment of our cruise. We booked a HAL excursion, we couldn’t find one on line and now we know why. They island is so underdeveloped. DON”T book the Snorkel Beach Adventure!!!! Our guide couldn’t speak English at all, we couldn’t understand him. It was a very long ride in a hot bus and the beach was VERY disappointing and a mess. They take you snorkeling from the shore and the water was so murky we couldn’t see a thing and I got cut from the coral that our guide took us right over in shallow water. Finally my husband had to help me twice when I got in trouble with the coral and we just turned around and swam back to shore and gave up on it. As did most of the people we went with. We all could not believe the price$49 PP for this. We wrote a letter to HAL requesting our money back, that’s a first for us. This was truly the worst excursion we have ever been on in all our vacations. My husband and I lost count of how many times they asked for tips from us either while we were still on the beach and on the bus ride back. HAL told us our tip was included, but if they went above and beyond we could tip more if we wanted. We usually do, but not this time.
Key West: We loved it, we were hoping that the ship would dock closer to town, but we docked at the Naval pier. Don’t book a 9am excursion, we did on line not through HAL with Furry, but you have to get all your customs stuff done for EVERYONE on the ship before you can get off the ship. There are always people who don’t have their papers filled out and the ones who just don’t come down when their deck was called. We were furious that this caused us our time to get off the boat, not mentioned in any on the HAL papers!! Cause that’s technically when you re-enter the USA. We barely made our excursion and we ran all the way after the trolley took us to Mallory Square. We also went to Fort Henry beach, not the greatest, we thought it would be much nicer.
Disembarkation: Went very smoothly, but we couldn’t check our luggage and had to lug it around in the heat till our flight at 7:40pm. Spirit Air wouldn’t take it till four hours before our flight. But when we got off the Disney ship we were met by every airline truck you could think of, and no matter what time your flight was that day you could check you luggage that morning by 8:30am when we got off the ship. So when we left the terminal (we were renting a car to go to the Kennedy Space Center) we didn’t have to lug around our 8 pieces of luggage, that was a perk we didn’t know about till it happened. Would love to cruise Disney again, they have a new one that takes you to their own island twice in the week, I can’t wait!!