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Maasdam 10 days from Norfolk Help needed


TeresaJenkins

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Hello All,

I desperately need your help. :o Hubby, and I booked this cruise tonight, and we have no clue about this ship, or what to do on 5 different ports.

 

 

We sail April 21st

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Antigua

St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles

San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

If anyone has taken this cruise and could help me with the following I would be forever thankful.

 

1. places to book excursions (off the ship)

2. Can we bring any alcohol on the ship?

3. what's the best time to plan dinner? Can the times be changed from day to day?

4 How many formal nights on a 10 day cruise

5. Anything that I may not know about from a travelbooking site that the ship has to offer.

 

Thank you a million thanks!

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Hi, I'm sure you'll get lots of feedback, the Maasdam seems to be a little contraversial right now. We are booked for 11-05-05 and looking forward to it. You can do a search here and get lots of info. You can also go to Holland America's Website. Cruiseclues has pictures, menus and reviews. Hope this helps a little. I'm just a newbie to this board, but am really enjoying all the posts, it's a great board!

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Hi, We took the 11 day cruise on the Maasdam from Norfolk 3/04. Some of the ports are different. Hope I can be of some help.

 

Half Moon Cay, we've never made it there because of rough seas on several different cruises.

St. Thomas, Great shopping, some prertty good swimming tours.

St. Maarten, from a different cruise try the 12 meter yachtsailing tour.

 

We normally use HAL for tours or just roam around.

What's the best time to plan dinner? We normally go to the late seating, gives us time to get ready after a port. But its just the 2 of us, no children.

Can the times be changed from day to day? I don't think so but you have the alternate dining in the Lido.

How many formal nights on a 10 day cruise? 3

 

Enjoy your cruise.

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We just returned from the 11 night cruise. The Maasdam is a grand ship. The stewards etc. are the best. Food was very good and plenty of it! We had 8PM dinner and attended the 10:15 show. Our room was on the Navigation deck-mini suite with veranda. We did have cool weather and rough seas down to HMC and back from San Juan. Due to the wind the tenders were not safe to take us in to half moon cay.. There was a big barbeque on the Lido instead. In the ports we just went out on our own. If you are into jewelry, you will like the shopping. There is little else to buy in St. Thomas. I had been there years ago, when the shopping was wonderful. As for dinner seating- you are assigned a table for dinner for the entire cruise.Breakfast and lunch is buffet in the Lido. Seating is anywhere you want.Lido is open for dinner.The tables will have tablecoths and lighting is quite nice.

From my experience I would bring warmer clothing for the days down and back.Sweaters are a requirement.!! Our cruise had some problems, but HAL can not be blamed for bad weather. Mechanical problems can happen. Just deal with them. You will have a wonderful cruise and it will pass far too quickly!

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We were on the Maasdam last April on the ten day cruise and are going again this April. In most of the ports we did things on our own. Last year we were late getting to HMC because of bad weather, so we just went to the beach. At St Thomas last year we went with some friends to St John's to Trunk Bay to snorkel. To get there we took a cab to Red Hook where you can get a ferry. There is also a ferry that comes right into Charlotte Amelia, but you need to find out times. If you like shopping it is good there in Charlotte Amelia. Another good place to go is Megan's Bay. At Antigua last year we did a sail and snorkel tour but it doesn't seem to be listed this year. At St Marteen we enjoyed just going over to the French side to Orient Beach, but be aware this beach is clothing optional, if you have kids. At San Juan we just walked around Old Town, but it was very hot. This year I'm thinking of doing rainforest tour. If you have your booking number you can go on HAL site and look at all their tours and book if you want to. There are 3 formal nights on 10 day and they say 2 semi-formal but last year we didn't have one of the semi-formals.

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1. I brought my own snorkel and just enjoyed the beautiful HMC Beach. Loved it!

 

2. At St. Thomas, I went to Coki beach and oooh so many little fishies! The taxi ride is 10-15 minutes and cost $21 for the three of us. On the way to the beach the taxi driver gave us mini stops to take pictures. Afterwards, we went back to town and did a little shopping. Unfortunately, for us, we only got to stay at St. Thomas from 2 - 5 p.m., due to ship engine problems but we were the lucky ones! I will go back to St. Thomas in a flash!

 

3.At San Juan, we took a took a tour for $15 a person. The tour bus driver let the kids on for free as long as they were half full. The tour bus driver was excellent and funny. I was a bit skeptical at first to join a tour off the ship but it was the best thing we did b/c we were at San Juan from 7 a.m. to 12 noon. All the shops were closed until 10 a.m. anyways. We saw all the sights and the driver didn't just drop us off. He escorted us all the way.

 

I hope this helps.:)

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We took this same cruise on 1/6. There are 3 Formal nights and 2 informal nights. We had early dinner but I think the late dinner is better for this cruise. We booked tours from the ship. We ended up canceling the one in P.R because the one in St. Maarten's was so bad. We found it was cheaper and better tours offered on shore rather then booking through the ship. We loved the cruise itself. The staff and crew were wonderful. We were in Cabin 16 and had no problems on board. We did have stormy weather on the last day and a half of the cruise but if you travel by water you have to be prepared for that. Go and enjoy!

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Thank you for all you help guys! I knew CC folk would come to our rescue. ;o)

 

We are leaving our four teenagers home, so Hubby and I will be free as a bird for 10 days. (doing the wiggle chair dance) LOL

 

~Our Evil plan~

We are going to party like we are 18 again. Rut Ro, I mean 21 again! LOL

Sleep as long as we want, and eat until we are both fat and happy. We wanna be totally selfish with our cash and buy whatever we want for "us". So selfish in fact, our loved ones will be lucky if we bring back pictures for then to envy! (Hubby says I'll never stick to it, and buy everyone something). Heehee, maybe so!

Other than snorkeling, and maybe parasailing I don't think we have any big "have to do it" land activities in mind.

 

As for any vacation or even life at home, stuff happens! My way is to smile inside, and out so at least I'm not adding to whatever stress there is afoot. Anyone expecting perfection in any situation at any given time must be one SAD SAD puppy!

 

Thanks again for all your help, and please tell me more if you think of anything.

Have a great time on your vacations too!

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Hi Teresa.. I did cruised on the same ship.. same itenerary. Here's what we did on this last trip to answer question #1

 

1 - HMC - rented a clamshell from HAL. It came in handy. Some people think they are too hot and hold in the heat (ok.. they do a bit), but still a good inexpensive choice for some shade on the beach. $9.00 for a clamshell for 2.

 

2 - St. Thomas - This time we boarded one of the open air cabs outside of the ship and headed to Coral World and Coki Beach. Coral World has some aquariums and place where you can walk down below sea level and see the creatures below - without getting wet. Coki Beach is right next door. You can bring your own snorkel gear or rent on the beach. I believe they have Scuba dives (Marc - if you are reading this you can supply the info.). If you decide this route.. there are coupons for admission on the Coral World Website. Some just go for Coki Beach. Other places to go - Megans Bay, a private tour (see CC St. Thomas board for recommendations), even SHOPPING as you mentioned spending $$;) You can also take a ferry to St. Johns to visit the US Virigin Islands National Park and beaches like Trunk Bay. This can be done on your own. However, if the ship docks in Crown Bay, allow ample transporation time.

 

3- Antigua - without a doubt.. I highly recommend Lawrence of Antigua for a private tour. He will meet you at the dock where you will board a mini van. He will take you all over the island visiting historical places with photo stops. A beach stop is also included at Turners Beach, however, if you have another one in mind, ask Lawrence to modify the route. Very reasonable for $25pp. Check the CC boards Antigua for additional recommendations.

 

4 - St. Maarten's. - There's many choices. It's a good stop to take a Catamaran tour sponsored by the cruiseline if you haven't done one. On this last trip I rented a car from best deals. We drove on both the french and dutch sides stopping at Orient Bay for swimming (they have water sports here and it's not so clothing optional as Orient Beach). We also went to Marigot, and Maho Beach to watch the planes come in (it looks like they are going to land on top of you as it's next to the landing strip). Driving is like here - right side of the road and it's pretty easy to get around. Rental, Gas, Insurance - $65.

 

5 - San Juan - the stop is only for 1/2 a day. I ordered information from the Puerto Rico Tourism board before we left. It came with a great map of Old San Juan. We docked at Pier #4 and did our own walking tour. Visited El Morro (I think it was around $6pp), the Cathedral, the Governor's house and a few other stops. It gets humid as the day goes on so bring a bottle of water if you go this route. Most stores don't open until 10:30am so we found heading out early was the way to go and stopped to shop on the way back.

 

Sorry for the long post. Hope it gives you some ideas.

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Thank you for all you help guys! I knew CC folk would come to our rescue. ;o)

 

We are leaving our four teenagers home, so Hubby and I will be free as a bird for 10 days. (doing the wiggle chair dance) LOL

 

~Our Evil plan~

We are going to party like we are 18 again. Rut Ro, I mean 21 again! LOL

Sleep as long as we want, and eat until we are both fat and happy. We wanna be totally selfish with our cash and buy whatever we want for "us". So selfish in fact, our loved ones will be lucky if we bring back pictures for then to envy! (Hubby says I'll never stick to it, and buy everyone something). Heehee, maybe so!

Other than snorkeling, and maybe parasailing I don't think we have any big "have to do it" land activities in mind.

 

As for any vacation or even life at home, stuff happens! My way is to smile inside, and out so at least I'm not adding to whatever stress there is afoot. Anyone expecting perfection in any situation at any given time must be one SAD SAD puppy!

 

Thanks again for all your help, and please tell me more if you think of anything.

Have a great time on your vacations too!

DH and I spent 11 wonderful days for our first ever cruise which was on the Maasdam this past Holiday (Southern Caribbean itinerary). First time away from adult children at Holiday time ... and I admit we had TOO MUCH fun! Spent Christmas Day in swimsuits laying on lounge chairs on the Lower Promenade deck. Doesn't get any better than that! It will be hard to go through the stress of Holiday visitors and entertaining this year! You have a great attitude and you will ENJOY! Others have covered tour info in their reply. My opinion, St. Thomas is great for shopping - IF you are into jewelry or tablecloths. Otherwise, find something neat to do and forget the stores. Time in San Juan was limited ... walking on our own thru old San Juan suited us. Your dining time should already be assigned - check your booking info. Remember that ships "rock and roll" and it might get "rough" the first day and a half heading down south, and also coming back. But it you are prepared and know it might happen, then it probably won't bother you. Read everything you can on the HollandAmerica.com web site and memorize the deck plans - don't overpack - and you'll be ready to go! HAVE A WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL TIME !!

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My husband and I (39 and 44, respectively) will be on the 4.21.05 sailing from Norfolk. CrabbyHarper and palmgirl (Cruise Critic members) are sailing as well. We are from Richmond and love the convenience of Norfolk.

 

We have never sailed HAL before and are anxious to try a new line. We prefer the late dinner seating as it gives us more time in port, doing excursions, etc.

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Bookish Angel-

Small world, Hubby and I are just south of the river from you (Brandermill).

I was wondering about the age group we would be sailing with on this ship. I think I read on CC somewhere that it attracks an older crowd. Either way is fine with us, but I didn't want a ship load of wild teens either. LOL Our ages are 38 and 40.

 

Are you guys going to drive down that day or the day before? We have not decided yet, but we have friends there that might keep our van while we cruise. Again we are not sure.

 

I went on my 1st cruise in Jan 2005 NCL Majesty. This will be my husbands 1st cruise. I got the cruise fever and just had to book one with him. We are acting like 5 year olds at Christmas time. :O)

There goes the kids college fund. LOL Just kidding

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DW and I were on the Maasdam 11/20 sailing from Norfolk and had a wonderful time. If you are half as fortunate as we were, you will be ecstatic.

 

In St Maarten we did the Americas Cup race sail, booked thru HAL. Ab Fab!! Cannot comment more favorably on this excursion. I would do it again.

In St Thomas we chartered a sailboat with some other cruisers, and had a great day sailing and snorkeling. Check my review for particulars.

In Antigua DW and I and a CC friend went to Allegro Pineapple beach resort for the day. Cost included ayce and drink and water sports. Nice beach

In San Juan DW did the Bacardi tour and bus tour of SJ as provided for by the ship. She had a great time.

You should have a blast regardless of your picks. The ship is great. 3 formal nights is correct. Dress up!

Cheers

MarkB

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Bookish Angel-

 

Are you guys going to drive down that day or the day before? We have not decided yet, but we have friends there that might keep our van while we cruise. Again we are not sure.

 

 

 

We are probably heading down the night before the cruise. We have friends who live in Hampton ( my college friend) so we'll visit with them and then they will take us to the port and let us leave our car in their condo's other parking space. We did the same thing a couple years ago and it was nice to just get dropped at the port and not pay any parking fees.

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That is what we are thinking about doing too, but I am worried about how long our friends would have to wait if she is late getting back.

It makes no difference to me if she is late or not, but I don't want my friends to have to wait around all day for us to return to port.

We are thinking about maybe a taxi to our friends house to get our car, but I'm not sure yet if that will save us money or not.

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