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.

2014-4-11  Embarkation day:


The Maasdam:


2014-4-12  Sea Day:


2014-April 13, Sunday---another sea day:


2014-April 14, Monday---St. Maarten  (10am-9:30pm):


2014-April 15, Tuesday---St. Kitt's (8am-4:30pm):


2014-April 16, Wednesday--St. Vincent (10am-6:30pm):


2014-April 17, Barbados (8:30-4:30) :


2014-April 18, Good Friday-Martinique (7-1:30):


2014-April 19, Saturday-St. Croix (8-2:30):


2014-April 20-Easter Sunday-sea day:


2014-April 21, Monday-Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (8am-2:30pm):


2014-April 22, Monday-Debarkation Day :


 At least our vacation wasn't over yet---we spent another wonderful week with our daughter and son-in-law.  They even treated us to a gondola ride, dinner at the food trucks in a nearby park, and a couple trips to the beach.  Then they took us to the airport on the 30th for our short flight back to STL.  
What a rude awakening we got back home!  After 3 weeks of beautiful sunny 80 degrees weather, we returned to temps in the low 50s for a high!  At least that only lasted 3 days, then we were back to temps in the 80s.  Good 'ole St. Louis---no Spring or Fall, just Winter and Summer!


  1. Thank you so much for posting your pictures.

  2. Thank you for sharing! We're looking to sail on her (and first time on HAL) in July from Boston to Montreal. Can't wait!

  3. Thanks for all this hard work and sharing! Beautiful!

  4. AMAZING photos -- the kind I enjoy taking (without people) -- I loved every one of them. Thank you so much for spending the time to document and share your vacation with us -- very enjoyable!

  5. Great pics! I love that you managed to see so many different fish in all those ports.

  6. Great pics and a wonderful review.

  7. Thank you for offering your detailed presentation of the cruise! It was awesome! We are going in January!

  8. What a wonderful cruise review! And your underwater photos are amazing. Mine never come out that clear. Would you mind sharing your camera/technique? Thank you for such a lovely and exciting blog.

  9. I used an Olympus TG-830 on this cruise. I've had other P&S underwater cameras, too, and have been happy with them also. But I do a little photoshopping to most of them to "brighten" them up a bit.