We are back from our Caribbean Cruise. Although this has nothing to do with Italy or Europe, it needs to be said. Have you ever taken a cruise? Which line is your favorite? We are not Carnival travelers. We only took one cruise before on Celebrity and it was an awesome experience. The prices seem to be close across all lines. The food on Celebrity was great, the rooms (balcony) were large. We ordered a drink package which was expensive but we felt worth it. It covered all alcoholic drinks, wine, beer, soda and water. We had no limit on the number of drinks. We could order anything except top-notch brands. The wine was very good and there was a variety of it. Internet service was excellent.
Now on this trip, Celebrity was sold out so we decided to take Holland America to the Eastern Caribbean on the Westerdam. This was recommended to us by several friends. We did not know that they were purchased by Carnival! Had we know we would never have taken the cruise. This was a mistake and we will never take them again. Here is our review:
PROS: The food was very good. It was prepared correctly and was delicious. You can eat as much as you want. There is a buffet for those that don’t want to dress up or like piling their plates high. Then there was the main dinning room. This was very nice and the food was great. Again you can order whatever you want and as much as you want. There are also specialty restaurants for an additional fee.
CONS: The staff was very young and we did not get the feeling of confidence that we had on Celebrity. The ship had a very bad roll. On Celebrity we hit a tropical storm at sea and that ship did not roll as much as this one. The rooms (balcony) were nice but not as big as on Celebrity. The drink package was very expensive and horrible. It had a limit of 15 drinks a day (alcohol, soda and water). When I tried to order a Pinot Noir I was told that was not included in my package. I had a choice of Cabernet for red. It was a horrible wine that after the first sip I couldn’t finish it. It also took a half hour to get drinks. Another person on board told us that they ordered wine and water and were told they could not order two drinks on the drink package at a time. They had to drink the wine, wait 15 minutes and then order a water. Jo Anne managed to complain and we were refunded our drink package money. They then put us in the Admirals Wine package. This allowed the purchase of bottles of wine that were much better quality. The Internet service was the worst. After paying $200 for 500 minutes of service we couldn’t download anything. Surfing the net was painful! They refunded half our money. As we exited the ship in Fort Lauderdale my phone dinged with the arrival of 200 emails and 50 face book messages from days ago that I never saw on their internet.
All in all, we were somewhat relaxed but the trip was a waste. The stops are geared to selling you jewelry, drinks, etc except for Old San Juan. That was a real city and fun. Our advice is be very careful of cruises. Holland America will nickel & dime you to death.
George & Jo Anne