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chill6x6

Quick 03/31/19 Rotterdam sailing review..

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Hi!

 

I wanted to give a little, quick account of our sailing aboard the Rotterdam departing Tampa 03/31/19.  

 

We flew into Tampa then rented a small SUV at the airport Enterprise then drove to Clearwater Beach for two nights.  We stayed at Frenchy's Oasis Motel.  EXCELLENT location!  It's actually on the bayside of Clearwater Beach.  Excellent parking situation and an easy walk to many nice restaurants.  You literally would never have to move your vehicle....but we DID and drove to Honeymoon Island.  We like to hike around and do a little birdwatching and this was a fantastic place.  Sunday morning came entirely too quickly and we made the easy drive to the Enterprise on Kennedy Blvd in Tampa to drop the car off.  They had a quick and easy shuttle to the cruise terminal and the whole thing was just a breeze.

 

I have to say I can't remember getting to a cruise terminal so early as the car rental return was one of the smoothest ever!  It was probably around 945am or so we arrived at the terminal....and there was all of about ten folks in front of us.  It wasn't long before we went thru security.   I believe we were the third couple thru priority security.  We had one of the Pinnacle Suites so we were led to a back smaller waiting area with suites and those Mariners with priority boarding.  We were in the chairs one and two from the door.  About 1130AM we were escorted aboard...the first aboard other than those doing back to back cruises!  That was a first!  Once aboard we were escorted to our cabin, 7004.

 

In life one experiences only a FEW jaw-dropping moments.  Carol of course had NO idea what cabin we were going to.  When I say her jaw dropped, it's an understatement!  The look was PRICELESS!  I had seen a few pictures here and there and KINDA knew what to expect but the suite WAS better than I expected.  I have stayed in a OS on the Oasis and a CS on the Silhouette but this was beyond either of those.  The couch area(THAT COUCH!) and the WINDOWS was awesome!  The balcony had actual LOUNGERS which seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs these days.  How about two toilets?  We had it!  There was also closet and hanging space for days. The flowers and the artwork(all over the ship!) was over the top.  The fresh flowers were beautiful! Carol even got her own bouquet! 🙂  (to be continued)   

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Isn’t it wonderful to have life’s little pleasures and for Carol to be totally surprised and in awe! Great pictures will be on her next March! 

Looking forward to more pics and your reviews!

Denise😊

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So that about covers the cabin...let's move on to the rest of the ship!

 

First impression...the Rotterdam was in SUCH great condition!  EXCELLENT condition!  I could find nothing suggestive of being "old" or in poor repair.  Everywhere we looked things were just the opposite.  Second first impression....the Rotterdam was the easiest to get around of any ship I've ever been on.  Of course it IS a smallish ship.  It's the second smallest ship I've ever been on and the first was my first cruise aboard the Carnival Holiday.  Three elevator banks sure helps too.  Having a cabin on deck 7 does TOO....basically an easy walk up or down a few decks to wherever you need to be!  My previous cruise was aboard Oasis...it only has TWO elevator banks and 18 decks.  

 

As 530PM started to approach we headed to the MDR for supper.  I don't know how we could have gotten a better table....ALL the way aft to a table for two with the aft wake as our view!  This was probably the best table I've ever had!  Our attendants were Yazzir and Budi...they simply couldn't have been better!  As a rule, MDR service was among the best I've had.  Service was FAST!  As mentioned, our last cruise was on the Oasis.  There we got to eat in the suite dining area, Coastal Kitchen.  I have to say the Rotterdam dining experience trumped that!  Only Celebrity's Luminae is any better IMO.  I really can't imagine how anyone could complain about the MDR experience aboard the Rotterdam.  This trend continued throughout the cruise!  We both had citrus tomato soup(delish!), pan-fried cod(Carol), and  jerked-pork tenderloin(me) we adventured to the forward deck to watch as we went under the I-275 bridge which was a lot of fun!

 

First port was Key West....I feared we would be docking at Outer Mole....BUT we got close I could see that the Edge was actually docked there and we pulled up at the Mallory Square dock!  YES!!!  This ship is so EASY to get off at ports.   Carol had never been to Key West so I thought it natural to do the Old Town trolley.  We had just a great driver/guide, Vacation Vic!  He was great and we stayed on for the entire loop.  When we got off we headed straight to Caroline's on Duval for lunch.  If you haven't eaten here, you need to! I got their "famous" fish sandwich and Carol got the Fisherman's Fresh Catch.  This was one of the best meals we had during the whole vacation.  The fish sandwich was out of this world.  Afterwards we went to Ernest Hemingway's house and to Caprtain Tony's saloon.  Last stop was of course mile marker 0 on US 1!

 

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Great pics and especially of you and Carol!!! Love Key West! I was giving a seminar in dentistry a few years back and stayed for 2 weeks up in the doubletree.

My husband and I  saw the Rotterdam at the dock and also the following week The Zaandam. 

Thank you again!

Denise😊

 

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2 hours ago, DeeniEncinitas said:

Isn’t it wonderful to have life’s little pleasures and for Carol to be totally surprised and in awe! Great pictures will be on her next March! 

Looking forward to more pics and your reviews!

Denise😊

 

16 minutes ago, DeeniEncinitas said:

Great pics and especially of you and Carol!!! Love Key West! I was giving a seminar in dentistry a few years back and stayed for 2 weeks up in the doubletree.

My husband and I  saw the Rotterdam at the dock and also the following week The Zaandam. 

Thank you again!

Denise😊

 

Thanks Denise!  I appreciate it! 🙂

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Loving your review and photos!  And what a surprise, how did you pull that off?!!  (And I thought I was sneaky!)

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Day three was of course a SEA DAY!  Funny how when I first started cruising I couldn't STAND a SEA DAY!  Now I love 'em!  LOL!

 

I've learned over the last few cruises that your best bet for breakfast is room service when it's offered.  I cruised for years on Carnival where room service breakfast was nothing more than danish/toast/coffee.  Here lately I've been on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Holland America where a room service breakfast is the real thing!  Almost without fail all those last three cruise lines will deliver a nice, hot breakfast within a small time frame to your balcony.  Amazing how well they do it.  No lines, no waiting, and no fighting for a table.  I'm not sure how one beats that.  Holland America even goes all out with the table cloth.  That's living!

 

Today we were to get sun and do the "behind the scenes" tour courtesy of the hotel manager and concierge.  I promised I wouldn't post pictures so I'm not.  We got to tour basically every department on the ship.  Laundry, room service, kitchen, engineering room, etc.  It was very interesting and fascinating.  Afterwards we headed to the "Retreat" area to get a couple of loungers and some sun.  All the loungers were taken but turnover was quick.  We found two together within about ten minutes.  We also got a bucket of Corona and some pizza which was VERY good!  I will have to say I would have enjoyed a little more music in this area.  

 

 

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I am enjoying your review and pictures.

 

Our first Pinnacle Suite on this ship was also 7004.  I see that the furniture has all been replaced.

 

Hope you tried breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill.

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The Rotterdam is one of my favourite ship. Thanks for your review and photos!

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We are glad you had a great time.  You got an amazing cabin.  Thanks also for the Tampa area hotel suggestion and another good place to eat in Key West.  We also photographed the Celebrity Edge in port - it is more money per day and missing a  promenade deck and library with gasp- books.  

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Good morning Chuck!

First off I love reading cruise reports from our CC members!

I have Jacqui’s blog I’m reading while she is on the Prinsendam doing her 24 day Med Riviera Cruise, and while I have my coffee I sit back and enjoy! Loved your pics and being able to enjoy relaxation on your balcony with a great breakfast is the best! Looking for more! Keep them coming!

Have a great day!

Denise😊

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Day 4 Santo Tomas de Castillo....

 

I booked this cruise based on getting to go here.  This is basically one of the few remaining ports in the Caribbean I have yet to visit.  In fact, I had Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas booked for the same week.  I had planned on the Rotterdam itinerary for Spring 2020 but when I found out that HA was leaving Tampa and not offering this itinerary again in the foreseeable future I cancelled the Rhapsody cruise and booked this one.  As mention several times, this is an industrial port for the most part.  It's no Willemstad but it's really no different than many other cruise ports including Freeport and Bridgetown.  You really have to GO somewhere which we always DO so it was no issue for us.  

 

 There's not a lot of info on this port.  We went back and forth on excursions and what to do.  We finally decided to do the Quirigua Mayan ruins thru HA.  We enjoyed this excursion.  The guide was VERY knowledgeable about the area.  It was a little rushed and not a lot of time to do your own thing.  I wanted to have a little more time to look at area birds but really didn't have time.  I would rate this Maya ruin site as #3 out of three with Lamanai in Belize #1 and Tulum #2.  One of the neat things about this excursion was we drove basically thru a banana plantation.  Very interesting how they are grown, harvested, and make it to the store.  I'll give the excursion a 4 out of 5.

 

The one snafu we had was room service after the 8PM show.  We went to the Lido after our excursion since we had had nothing to eat after about 7AM and weren't hungry at our dining time of 530PM.  We went to see Matt Disero at 8PM at the Main Stage which lasted about 45 minutes.  We were surprised to see the Lido closed from 8PM to 1030PM and decided to just try room service.  We weren't that crazy about the offerings.  We ordered a cheese quesadilla, BBQ pulled pork sub, and chocolate chip cookies at about 855PM.  Our order arrived at 1005PM and this was the only food we had the whole cruise that was sub-par.  Moving on....    

 

Overall...we enjoyed this port of call!  If we ever get the chance to visit here again we will probably pick the San Felipe Fort excursion...

 

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Appreciate you taking the time and effort to write a report! Thanks for the pics! :classic_smile:

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Hi Chuck!

It is too bad HAL won’t be in Tampa.

Loved your pics! Roy one of our CCers

who travels extensively takes beautiful 

sunrise and sunset pics on board and 

your pic is a great 👍 one.

Been to Tulum but for us sorry my spelling will be off Chizanecza don’t LOL🙄 was for us the best! 11 hr. Drive round trip 

but we were able to climb to the top which was spectacular! That was probably close to when they decided to not allow anymore climbing to the top!!

Now I am  surprised with your in dining menu.We order from the Pinnacle Grill

which is limited to steak and adding lobster tail for a fee but with 50% discount

it is great!  Did that on HALs other ships and our last one The Maasdam. I’m trying to remember maybe your order has to be before a certain time for stateroom delivery! But being in the Pinnacle Suite I am surprised they would not accommodate you!! Your delivery time unacceptable to me. Who knows maybe they had a lot of passengers on extensive excursions too and had a overload!

Thankyou again!

Denise😊

 

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Moving on to day 5, Isla Roatan Honduras...

 

This is my fifth time here.  I normally head out to West End or West Bay but when I saw the Allure all ready had a head start on us AND was docked at Coxen Hole which was closer than we were I decided to just book a cabana at Mahogany Bay.  Booking a cabana is a little pricey I suppose BUT it includes a lot of amenities as you shall later see.  This am we actually hit up Pinnacle Grill for breakfast.  I'm an omelet man and to be honest while the PG omelet was good I liked the room service omelet better.  So after breakfast we headed towards the Magical Carpet Ride chairlift to our cabana.

 

The Magical Carpet Ride was fun!  You get a great view of the area.  We walked over to the cabana area and were then escorted to the cabana area and we were the first ones there and had our choice of any of them.  We picked the Papaya cabin at the far end.  The cabana's are NICE!  Much nicer than I expected.  I've gotten a cabana at HMC, Labadee, and Princess Cay and this one was by far the nicest once.  It featured a VERY nice couch, air conditioner, chair, coffee table, two loungers, a shower, a lounger for two in the sun, hammock, floats, and included wi-fi..  We enjoyed it and stayed here most of our time in Mahogany Bay.  We had a great time here.

 

Oh, and by the way.  Have you ever lost your cruise card while in port?  Well I did here for the first time!  I had my passport with me and re-entry to the ship was painless and took an extra three minutes.  Once aboard the concierge reprinted the card in all of two minutes.       

 

 

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Thank you so much for this review and pics!  I am loving it.  It looks like a fantastic time!

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Good morning Chuck!

Great pics of Roatan!! We were here several years ago and enjoyed a wonderful day ! Your cabana is wonderful and IMO much nicer than HMC.

Thank you for taking the time to put your blog together so we can enjoy!

Denise😊

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Good morning!

 

Day 6, Costa Maya, Mexico...

 

This has always been one of my favorite ports.  This was only the third time I've been here which for me is on the low side!  This port has grown the most of any Caribbean port I've been to lately.  It's gotten really big and congested.  Back when I booked this cruise I had originally planned for us to take a cab to the Malecon at Mahahual and probably reserve some chairs at The Tropicante.  But as I normally do I researched to see how many and what ships were going to be in port.  My timing for this port wasn't the best as the Breakaway AND Allure were going to be here with us at the same and only dock and an hour earlier than us.  I believe the port load was just shy of 12,000 which was the most for ANY day in April 2019.  So I changed my mind from the public area of the Malecon to the private serenity of Maya Chan.  I believe it was a good call.

 

Have any of you ever been to Maya Chan?  Carol said it was her favorite place we went to this whole cruse.  It was the ONLY place she said she wanted to come back to.  I've been here once before in 2010 I believe when aboard the NCL Spirit which was the ONLY ship at the pier.  It's one of those all inclusive beach day outfits.  It's about a 20 minutes ride from the port and they only allow about 80 guests.  You probably better reserve at least three months out.  There were some from the roll call that were denied a reservation in January.  To GET there you have to walk to the back of the port area and exit it and a little walk down the road that heads toward Mahahual.  They pick you up and transport you to Maya Chan.  From that point on, everything is included.  I'll have to give Maya Chan high marks all the way around.  It's apparent they value your business AND give attentive service all the way around.  So two lounger-type chair, a beach "bed," umbrella, food, drinks, kayaks, floating chairs, etc all included.  It was nice and relaxing as can be!!! 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

So tonight was also PINNACLE GRILL night!

 

Reservation was at 630PM and we showed up promptly!  Service was really good but no better than the MDR.  We had the new menu.  Carol got lobster bisque which was excellent.  I got crab cakes which I always do when offered and they were very good!  Carol got the 12oz NY strip and I got the 18oz bone-in ribeye at the waiters recommendation.  Even though Carol gets her steaks well done and myself medium, her steak was so much better than mine both more tender and tasty.  I should have gone with my gut instinct and just got the 10oz filet mignon. 🙄  For dessert Carol got Cheesecake pops(sic) and I got the Not so classic Baked Alaska which was GREAT!  They need to work on their sides IMO.  I'm from Alabama...I'd be MORE than HAPPY to shock them how to make mashed potatoes! LOL!

 

 

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Edited by chill6x6

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Chuck, great pictures of your time and of you and Carol! HAPPY COUPLE.

Loved the food porn at PG. Since they changed their meat produce from sterling I believe to another vendor people on CC have said the meat seemed not up to PG standards. I never noticed the difference.

Thankyou again

Denise😊

 

 

 

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Thanks for the continuation.  I have to admit, when I read you had the ribeye I cringed a little.  Lol

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