EASTERN CARRIBEAN FEB. 25 - MARCH 4, 2006 ON THE ZUIDERDAM
We are 40/39 and found a variety of ages on the ship - It was wonderful
Embarktion - be prepared to wait - depending on what time you get there. You have to fill out an additional form then wait in line to check in where you get your room card and picture taken.
We had a mid shipbalcony cabin (5084) and it was great. If you can bring along a small DVD player - do it - as there isnt much to watch on tv if you aren't feeling that great. Our cabin stewart was Gunther - he was incredible - alway cheerful and smiling and saying hello. If you forgot your room key he would let you in.
We ordered room service almost every morning - at least coffee and most times they got it right. We had an early dinner seating on 3 - Vista - we had to change the table due to the fact that the station for the waiters was right across from us. They actually went after us when we left and wanted to make it right. Very impressive. The meals were incredible - both in the Vista dining room and on the Lido resturants. The lines can be long in the Lido as you are served - it isn't a self serve type buffet.
The information for the ports presented by Nicole - The ships port and shopping ambassador was very helpful. St Thomas is the place to buy jewellery if you want to buy a gift for yourself or your significant other. I suggest going to the seminars that she offers - very informative and you also have a chance to win prizes.
I saw the Bahamas info and you were given a coupon for a free 1 carat midnight sapphire as well as a entry form to enter a drawing for a 5 carat midnight sapphire - in which you have to be present to win - GUESS WHAT.......I WON (after the first name drawn wasnt there. There is also a form to fill out for any jewelery or merchandise you purchase from the recommended stores - which gives you another chance to win on the last night of the cruise in which you must be present as well - GUESS WHAT ......I WON a pair of diamond 3-cluster earrings - after about 8 names were called and they were not there.
The entertainment was good as well. The cruise staff puts on a lot of fun activities in which you earn "DAM" dollars and on the last night of the cruise you can get a water bottle, sweatshirt, t-shirt or hat for the "DAM" $$. There is also bingo - I believe 3 times a day. Our progressive Bingo went upto $4500. There is also a draw for a free cruise. $10ea or 3/$20. Unfortunately I didn't win either.
The casino staff was great - very patient and helpful if you didnt know the game. On the last day I walked out of the casino up $75. One evening - for the bar-b-que event there was dancing and fun on the aft lido deck - great fun - do the chicken dance and macarana.
The art auction wasnt worth it - Myself being Canadian would have to pay an extra $30 for shipping and cover any duties etc in which the art auctioneer had no idea of whether there would be or if it was duty free.
Excursions - I booked directly on line with the cruise line. Unfortunately the 2 excursion we booked - 1 for the private island - which was missed due to weather and St. Thomas - due to rough water on the other side of the island was cancelled. But we received a full refund for both - which we didnt mind - or least I didnt mind as my husband bought me a diamond and sapphire ring in St. Thomas.
Disembarkment - It went better then embarkment - suggestion is to make you luggage noticeable- put neon tape on it or ribbon etc.. as it is very difficult to spot you luggage.
Overall - the cruise, our first ever, was absolutely AMAZING and I would recommend Holland America to anyone. As well as recommending getting a room with a balcony.
Can hardly wait till our next cruise - which will be definetly HOLLAND AMERICA.
5 OUT OF 5 SMILEY FACES !!!!!