Wednesday, May 7, 2014

2014 April 11-22 Maasdam Southern Caribbean Cruise: Barbados; St. Maarten; St. Vincent; St. Kitt's; St. Croix; Martinique; Half Moon Cay

Hard to believe it was 1 1/2 years since our last cruise.  At that time, we made the $200 on board deposit for a future cruise to get on board credit on the future cruise.  Shortly after we got off that cruise, we got an email from HAL offering additional obc if we booked another cruise right away.  So I hit the web and checked out the itineraries and decided on this 11 night southern Caribbean cruise.  It went to 4 islands we had already been to (St. Maarten, Martinique, Barbados, and Half Moon Cay); plus it went to 3 new ones (St. Kitt's, St. Vincent, and St. Croix).   By booking a verandah suite, we were able to get $200 obc for the future cruise booking and another $200 for the welcome home booking.  Plus we got $100 obc for being a CCL stock holder.  Then in the Fall, HAL ran a promotion, Explore 4, which included 2 - $50 drink cards and 2 free Pinnacle dinners (their upcharge steak restaurant).  After a couple of calls, I was able to get that added to our reservations.  I had hoped that in 1 1/2 years our fare would go down, but it didn't.  We booked a BB guarantee and hoped for another upsell offer like we got the last 2 cruises.  This time we didn't get one.  Maybe because it was a much smaller ship and near the end of the season, but we did get un upgrade to an A suite on the same floor as all the Neptune suites.  At first I was worried about the location---very last room at the back of the ship on the 10th floor with a bar and smoking area next to our room and it was also below part of the Lido deck, so I anticipated lots of chairs being moved around overhead, but it really wasn't bad.  We heard chairs being moved around for 5 or 10 minutes in the morning.  We also liked that we were right by the elevator and stairs and only one floor down from the Lido Restaurant.  We also liked being so close to the Seaview pool.

We had never been on a ship this small and were a bit worried that lines would be long and spaces would be crowded, but it turned out to be really nice----5 minutes to walk anywhere on the ship, ran across people we met at dinner many times throughout the cruise, liked that there were fewer people, and this ship had the best food and entertainment of any ship we had been on before! Instead of 2000 passengers like on the last 3 HAL cruises we took, there were only 1265.   Instead of 86,700 tonnage, it was 55,800.  The only thing missing on this ship was the extra cabins for more people.

Our cabin was 065.  It was called a verandah suite, but was pretty much like the VD verandah we had on the Eurodam (although our actual verandah on the Maasdam verandah suite was smaller then the verandah on the VD verandah on the Eurodam).  At least we didn't have the verandahs on the Maasdam that opened up onto a shared deck.  I didn't even know they had such a configuration when I made our reservations.  The room was small but adequate.  We liked the coffee table -sturdy and easy to adjust.  The couch was a good size.  Our queen bed was comfy.  We had heard complaints that some people on board had low water pressure, but our water pressure was great.  Our room attendant was very efficient, even left us fruit and towel animals every day.
 The lounger couldn't be straightened because it was up against the verandah wall.  There was also a small round table.