In October 2019, I signed up for a Seminar at Sea where a small number of travel professionals get the opportunity to obtain first hand experience with a product they promote to their clients.
Holland America hosted us travel professionals for a week-long Caribbean sailing. We sailed on Holland America’s Niuew Amsterdam ship which is has the music and arts them of New York.
We departed from Fort Lauderdale, FL to the islands of Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, and the private island of Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.
After experiencing Royal Caribbean’s embarkation process in Miami I was hoping to encounter a similar experience during this sailing but that was not that case. It took a bit of time to board the ship but once aboard, I was immediately impressed. The staff greets you with smiles, the ship is beautiful for the discerning adult, my room was ready so I was able to go directly their and drop off my carry-on bags, and the best of all was my first view of the bathroom.
If you are not familiar with cruise ship bathrooms or bathrooms that are not handicap accessible or even a grand suite in size, the bathrooms can be so small that you can touch the faucet of the sink and the shower door all while sitting on the commode. (laughing). I was so shocked at having a spacious area to shower and get ready for the day that I did a video and posted it on my YouTube channel.
I had a great time on each island with San Juan being my favorite. I signed up for the Taste of San Juan experience where the group were given the history of Old San Juan and experienced food and/or beverages at 5 eateries.
What stood out the most during my sailing with Holland America was the service and quality. Cruising is my absolute favorite type of vacation because you visit multiple countries/island on one trip but the food is usually hit or miss. Some dining venues are better than others but on this ship, I did NOT have one bad meal. I enjoyed dinner in the specialty dining restaurant, main dining room, the pool side restaurants (Dive-In and New York Pizza).
This ship is not made for those that used to the hustle and bustle you would get on Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival cruises. It’s laid back, more relaxing, with some activities. No loud music blaring on the pool deck; no belly flopping contests; no “pub” crawls, etc.
This sailing allowed (or better yet) forced me to relax. I am the hyper traveler where I want lots of activities, loud music, and a nightclub. This was not that cruise and I enjoyed it.