Last Updated: 19-MAR-2016

Cruise 2012, 11 day Caribbean cruise with Holland America

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This was a 11 day Eastern Caribbean cruise with Holland America - ms Maasdam departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Dec 10 2012.

We booked this cruise with Vacations-to-go on the web in late summer for approx. 1100 pp with $25 ship credit. This was our tenth cruise and the second time with a balcony. We were upgraded to an outside cabin that was on the promenade deck. This was a disaster, room was hot and people walking by the window all day. It was also noisy as it was below the kitchen. So we went down to the purser desk first thing in the morning after a terrible night's sleep, and were offered a balcony. This was because the people decided to end their world tour segment early. So for 375 pp we moved. This room was quiet and cooler, plus we took the fan they brought to our old cabin.

We decided to rent a car to make this drive. As usual I used Alamo as I generally get the best deals. Got a 2011 Dodge Caravan for appx. $600 for two weeks unlimited mileage. In the end we put 2400 miles on the car. And had no issues. Since four of us were going this was the best option.

We arrived at the ship at 11:30 and after parking in the terminal 21 garage which was an easy walk to the ship. The cost to park here was $165 for the cruise. It was not secure but I being on the grounds of the port I am sure that offered enhanced security.

I was amazed at the efficiency of getting on the ship. It literally took less than 15 minutes. This was our first time at this port and so far we were impressed. We also had boxed and bottled wine and no issues at all.

We headed to the Lido food area forward deck 9 and got our first lunch. Mary enjoyed the food but Ken felt that it was a bit too fancy.

We got to our room around 1:30 and we were surprised that our luggage was already at the room. So far we are impressed.

BEGIN ROOM ADVENTURE - Our room was on the lower Promenade deck room 381. Ken was immediately NOT impressed. Vacations-to-go upgraded us and I really wished that they did not. First, with people sitting right outside the room on the outdoor walkway you could not have the shades open in the evening / night. Yes, during the day people could not look in to the room but again at night it was not the case. Also, you could really not see out of the room. Mary and I enjoyed looking out in the mornings to see where we were.. And you could hear the people walking by, banging chairs and such. And being that the area outside our room was a smoking zone we could smell the smoke from time to time. This was going to be a LONG 12 days.

The first night was one of the worst we have had cruising. The KITCHEN was right above us and all night long you could hear various noises and banging of various things.. To add to the adventure the room was way too hot.. We asked for a fan and they gave us one. More on that later. Most of the cruises we go on are hot because of the demographic of the ship. The 80+ crowd likes it warm and we plan for that. But this was warm and humid with no air. So day two we started complaining (we were not alone as this entire section of the ship was hot) and asked to be moved. At first they said they had no rooms but then they told us that they had a balcony (only one) and that for $800 we could upgrade. The room was 165 and we took it immediately. They knocked $50 and we moved up to a cooler room with a view. Monika & Dave also moved down one level to a much quieter & cooler room.

This was the end of room issues on this cruise. And I will NEVER go on another cruise unless we have a balcony.

SHIP LAYOUT: The funny thing is that we were on this ship back in 2006 for 11 days and we never noticed it until we came back. It did seem to be easy to navigate and I assume that was the reason. The ship is showing its age (1994) and it actually celebrated its birthday while we were on board. We did see some broken doors and ice machines that were broken. I never had any issue finding a free place to sit. Holland like other cruises would tie up the chairs but it was easy to untie and they did not ever say anything to me for doing that. The front area on deck 13 was an excellent place to look at the stars as it was the darkest place on the ship. But, having 1,200 people on the ship it never seemed that crowded.

HOLLAND ALCOHOL POLICY: They allowed BEER / WINE to be brought on. They were not that good at checking your bags and I was able to get harder stuff on (taking home) easily. Also, if you buy the plastic bottles with a plastic cap and keep it on your person you can just walk on thru the metal detector. Soda was not an issue as we brought some on board at most ports. I think this is another demographic aspect. With the average age so high they are not worried about wild booze parties !

DRESS: We had two formal nights. The first formal night I got some looks as I would wear short sleeve shirt, NO TIE and dress type pants. The second formal night they actually chased us down and gave me a jacket that was about 10 sizes too small. I just hung it on the back of my chair.. Not my problem as I AM ON VACATION ! We did feel that we were being served faster because of our dress but that was a good thing.

CASINO: Was surprised at the penny and nickel machines. Walked up midafternoon and put a buck in a nickel machine. Won $50 and called it quits.

INTERNET: Because of pets at home we paid for one of the internet plans. Figuring on how much time that I needed was not easy but we went with the 115 minutes for $55 plan. I must say that I was very impressed with the speed. I was checking web cameras and accessing email and the speed was excellent. The ship also hand a nice computer area. I accessed the web via an android phone (wifi) and was impressed that it worked all over the ship. In fact it even worked in our room.

SECURITY: No issues in bringing on plug strips / outlet expanders that I had hid across the bags. On the cruise groups I have seen issues with these items being taken.

ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE TIME: No problems at all at any port. Like I said it was easy on. In Ft. Lauderdale I was expecting issues in getting off the ship and it was easy. A real quick look at our passports and NO questions were asked. We carried off our bags and they were never screened. Again, very easy and we were in our car on 95 within 20 minutes of leaving the room.

FOOD: Food was not consistent when the men ordered steaks. Quality of seafood dishes was pretty good. I asked where the chocolate covered strawberries were at the high tea (had them on previous HAL cruises) and there was none. The Indonesian tea was good however. The cheesecake was of lesser quality. The food was ok. And for most of the people that have never gone on a better cruise line, they would have probably not noticed.

The service was lesser quality because they cut back their staff. Our waiter had to take orders, bring orders, deliver water, bring hot water for tea. I complained since it took 2 hours to eat one evening. We sat for 1/2 hour waiting for main course and not being served anything, including water. The next night we were out of there in an hour. They did allow us to order more than appetizer etc, which was good because the serving sizes were rather small.

No reason to have big portions since you were eating every 3-4 hours. Hubby would have preferred plainer dishes, like macaroni and cheese. He is not a fancy food type but I enjoyed the variety. I like eating things I don't normally sample at home.

DEMOGRAPHICS: Interesting. The 70+ crowd ! A few kids but generally we did not see them. The usual clogging the elevator crowd.

All photos were taken with a Cannon PowerShot S90 10MP camera. Any Video was shot with a Cannon PowerShot S90 camera and converted to AVI with AWS Video Converter 6

Photos (707 photos taken on the trip)

  • Drive down and the first few days on the ship, Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Basseterre, St. Kitts, Kingstown, St. Vincent
  • Bridgetown, Barbados, Fort-de-france, Martinique, Frederiksted (st. Croix), USVI, At sea, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas and the drive home


    Day 01 - Dec 10, 2012 MON Depart from Fort Lauderdale, Florida             ----               05:00 pm
    Day 02 - Dec 11, 2012 TUE At Sea                                           ----               ----
    Day 03 - Dec 12, 2012 WED At Sea                                           ----               ----
    Day 04 - Dec 13, 2012 THU Philipsburg, St. Maarten                         08:00 am           11:00 pm
    Day 05 - Dec 14, 2012 FRI Basseterre, St. Kitts                            08:00 am           05:00 pm
    Day 06 - Dec 15, 2012 SAT Kingstown, St. Vincent                           10:00 am           07:00 pm
    Day 07 - Dec 16, 2012 SUN Bridgetown, Barbados                             08:00 am           05:00 pm
    Day 09 - Dec 17, 2012 MON Fort-de-france, Martinique                       07:00 am           02:00 pm
    Day 10 - Dec 18, 2012 TUE Frederiksted (st. Croix), USVI                   08:00 am           03:00 pm
    Day 10 - Dec 19, 2012 WED At Sea                                           ----               ----
    Day 11 - Dec 20, 2012 THU Half Moon Cay, Bahamas                           08:00 am           03:00 pm
    Day 12 - Dec 21, 2012 FRI Arrive at Fort Lauderdale, Florida               07:00 am           ---- 

    Cruise Log

    Total mileage on this voyage

    Ports                                                              Mileage
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida  to Philipsburg, St. Maarten              1,079 nm
    Philipsburg, St. Maarten to Basseterre, St. Kitts                     62 nm
    Basseterre, St. Kitts to Kingstown, St. Vincent                      265 nm
    Kingstown, St. Vincent to Bridgetown, Barbados                        98 nm
    Bridgetown, Barbados to Fort-de-france, Martinique                   131 nm
    Fort-de-france, Martinique to Frederiksted (st. Croix), USVI         293 nm
    Frederiksted (st. Croix), USVI to Half Moon Cay, Bahamas             757 nm
    Half Moon Cay, Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida                   274 nm
    TOTAL                                                              2,959 nm
    2,959 nm = 3,405 land miles = 5,480 Kilometers

    Ship Facts

    HA Maasdam - Ship Facts
    Occupancy: 1,258 double (max - 1,621)
    Tonnage: 55,575

    Length: 719 feet
    Beam: 101 ft
    Draught: 24.93

    Name: Maasdam	                      Registry: Netherlands
    Builder: Fincantieri	              Country Built In: Italy
    Ship Completed Date: 12/3/1993	      Christened By: June Allyson
    Call Letters: PFRO	              Refurbished Date: 4/8/2011
    Capacity: 1258	                      Number of Crew, Nationality: 580, International
    Gross Tonnage: 55575	              Stabilized: Yes
    Average Speed: 21 knots	              Maximum Speed: 22 knots
    Length: 719 feet	              Beam: 101 feet
    Space Ratio: 44:01:00	              Number of Passenger Decks: 10
    Number of Inside Rooms: 128	      Number of Outside Rooms: 501
    Number of Restaurants: 3	      Number of Pools: 2
    Number of Elevators: 8	              Voltage: 110/220
    Non-Smoking Dining: Yes	              Non-Smoking Ship: No

    Staterooms 629 Total in all Categories
    149 Suites w/ Balcony
    29 Oceanview w/ Balcony
    322 Oceanview, no Balcony
    129 Inside


  • 10-dec-2012-Mon-Explorer
  • 11-dec-2012-Tue-Explorer
  • 12-dec-2012-Wed-Explorer
  • 13-dec-2012-Thu-Explorer
  • 14-dec-2012-Fri-Explorer
  • 15-dec-2012-Sat-Explorer
  • 16-dec-2012-Sun-Explorer
  • 17-dec-2012-Mon-Explorer
  • 18-dec-2012-Tue-Explorer
  • 19-dec-2012-Wed-Explorer
  • 20-dec-2012-Thu-Explorer

  • Shore Excursions

  • Shore Excursions Half Moon Kay

  • St. Vincent & Grenadines Botanical Gardens

  • Jardin-De-Balata Martinique

  • Back to Ken and Mary's trips page