February 14, 2004
Eastern Caribbean Itinerary
by Rich and
We sailed on February 14 from Ft. Lauderdale. To
summarize, we were very impressed. We were first time cruisers and here are
the key points we would mention:
-- Boarding in Ft. Lauderdale was
quite smooth. Fill out the forms on-line to make it even faster. Getting off
at ports was quite smooth. Leaving the ship on Saturday took a little time,
just keep something to read while you wait to be called. All things
considered, they handle 1800 people very quickly.
-- Ports were varied in how much there was to
do. Half Moon Cay is a very nice beach. Not much for snorkeling unless you're
a beginner. St. Thomas is the most intensive shopping spot I've ever seen. We
had dinner on the top deck in port at St. Thomas as the sun set--very nice.
Tortola is very laid back, we encourage a tour while here. Nassau was nice.
Atlantis a very busy upscale hotel and casino.
-- Ship is very nice. We especially liked the
veranda which there are lots of on this ship. The veranda made a huge
difference in our trip. We had breakfast their on occasion. Coffee, wine and
cigars. Very nice. The ship is nicely appointed, very clean, fast elevators
and very friendly staff. We felt the food was quite good. If you didn't like
something you just ask for something else. And portions are of a reasonable
size so you don't have to leave stuffed unless you want to. Outside the formal
dining area is a special dessert treat each evening--very nice, but enjoyed by
only a few. Excellent entertainment--especially the magician and the juggling
comedian. We were amazed at the outstanding entertainment. Lots to do on board
or on shore. As a first time cruiser I was worried about boredom--not the
case. You could relax or do something all the time. Casino people very
friendly. The special restaurant (Odyssey) is very nice. It is simply a very
upscale restaurant set on a restaurant. Food is excellent, views are super and
decor is outstanding. We had dinner there twice. Also, we especially enjoyed
the formal dinners. Get the tux out and get dressed. We must have had 15
pictures taken of us by their photographers each night. The ladies love it.
-- Attitude is everything. We saw people who
were complaining about everything. My guess is they did so their entire life.
We found there were things that weren't perfect, but a very high % of the time
service was excellent, food was great, etc. Most importantly, during dinner or
at other times you have the opportunity to meet others. We found that a very
interesting part of cruising. Some very nice people and some that had an
attitude. We hope to have learned from all of them.
-- Previous reports had talked about sewage
issues on the Zuiderdam. The first time I flushed the toilet it didn't work
properly and the first morning I thought I smelled sewage on the balcony. But
on the second flush all was fine and I never had a hint of sewage again. I
think they got it all fixed after dry docking in December. Reports had also
spoken of serious vibration in the rear of the main dining area. We sat at the
very back table (requested because we wanted the view of the wake and to check
out this report). We heard a little engine noise but had no vibration.
-- Recommendation: We had very smooth seas
during this trip. But if you're concerned just pick up some of the bracelets
or over the counter medication for insurance. A little rocking motion while
you're going to bed is not a bad thing. We brought about 5 bottles of wine
with us and had them in our room or had them corked for us at dinner. But we
found their wine prices to be quite reasonable when we only had a glass with
dinner. We found coffee and cookies and or ice cream as an afternoon snack to
be very nice. But a couple of afternoons they had tea and another they had
special chocolate buffet in the afternoon. Wow. We gained a couple of pounds
in that week--no big deal to get it off when home. We found the spa to be nice
but not overly attractive to us.
That's about it--we'll do it again.
Photo Courtesy of Holland
America Line - Cruise Reviews