Caribbean ~ April 8, 2001
Holland America Line (HAL)
by Patti Botvidson
My husband Tony and I were on the
April 8th sailing of the Maasdam, doing a Western Caribbean itinerary.
We cruised three years ago on the Veendam (Eastern Caribbean), and fell in love
with cruising and Holland America Line.
Living in Tampa, we drove to Port
Everglades, arriving at about 11:00am. The port is currently expanding
its facilities so our check-in site was a huge lower level warehouse
that was temporarily converted. The port employees were somewhat
snippy and inconvenienced by us, but the HAL employees made the best
of a bad situation. They had a long table with about eight reps checking
in passngers on laptops, some chairs were set in front of a couple of huge fans,
and some of the ship's stewards were serving ice water and ice
Since we were so early, we got
embarkation number "1" and boarded at about 1:20, after the
and the suite passengers. After a brief stop at our cabin to drop off
our carry-ons (including a case of Diet Dr Pepper, my drug of choice),
we were off to the Lido for lunch. We were just finishing as it was
starting to really get crowded.
Monday was a sea day, my favorites,
so we just relaxed and got some sun. I also took the galley tour,
which was quite impressive. That night was the first formal night, not my
favorite, being a jeans and sneakers type, but it was nice.
Tuesday was Cozumel. We decided this vacation was for R+R only, so we didn't sign up for any
shore excursions. We wandered around town for awhile, bought the
requisite T-shirts for the kids left at home, then had a great lunch
at Carlos 'N Charlie's. That was the highlight of Cozumel for
Wednesday was Grand Cayman. Again we
wandered around town a bit and as one T-shirt so eloquently put it,
"Same Sh*t, Different Island".
We didn't even get off the ship in
Ocho Rios (Thursday) and our table mates who did said they wished
they hadn't. They went to Dunns River Falls; they said the Falls were
nice but it was just too crowded. There were 4 ships in port that day
and the Sandals resort guests go to the Falls on Thursdays.
Saturday was Half Moon Cay, one of my
favorite places on earth! We were on the first tender over and got a
nice spot on the beach. It is so beautiful there. The Zaandam was also
there that day. There isn't enough beach equipment to service two
shiploads of people. We noticed the people who came ashore after 10 am
were pretty much out of luck if they needed somewhere to sit. However,
even totally crowded, this beach is just beautiful and I hope it stays
I don't need to go on about the food
and service. We all know how wonderful that is, although I was
disappointed not to see any "swan thingies" this trip. Maybe
they aren't making them anymore.
of Holland America Line
and *Maasdam in Cozumel by Patti
America Line Reviews