Vacay has to begin with a mint mojito in hand!
Over the December break the husband and I went on our first ever cruise together to the Eastern Caribbean. We sailed with Holland America’s ship Nieuw Amsterdam, and traveled to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay ports over 7 day’s. The cruising experience was quite relaxing and worry-free for us that we felt our vacation was well-spent. We would definitely love to sail to other ports in the future and try out other ships.
Oh & a pina colada too!
Walking around the pool area while listening to live steel-drum music
Lunching at the buffet-style dining “The Lido” while enjoying the sunny ocean view
Here are some snaps from our “cruise day’s” which included two formal nights, shows, and special decor since the cruise took place during the Holiday’s. Our first night on the cruise was spent trying to figure out how to navigate around the ship, figure out the dining areas, showroom, pools, etc. It is quite amazing how much there is to do indoors that we almost had to make an effort to go out on the ship’s deck to enjoy the sunshine/pool areas.
Enjoying afternoon tea with the husband. It became a tradition for us to enjoy tea everyday at 3pm. So fancy!
Captain’s welcome toast and first formal night
My dashing husband getting ready to eat some yummy food!
Carefully deciding between all the entree options
The happy couple! We ate at the Manhattan Dining Room for our formal dinner’s
We decided to sail with Holland America mainly due to the fact that it fit our dates of travel, ports we were interested in, fit our budget and lastly was geared more towards adults/couple/mature cruisers rather than families/kids/college crowd. The Nieuw Amsterdam ship is well-kept, constantly cleaned/maintained, is one of the newer/renovated ships, and what we truly appreciated about the ship was that majority of the staff on the ship was Muslim! It was so nice to arrive to our cabin on the first day to be greeted with “as salam u alaikum” by our room steward, and then throughout our days on the ship to be greeted in the same manner by several workers several times a day. In addition, whenever we wanted recommendations on what items were “halal” they always gave great suggestions.
NY themed atrium and holiday decor that was not over-the-top-in-your-face
The carpet in the elevator changed everyday so we made it a habit to take a picture with it everyday
Our room was cleaned several times a day, all our important papers/itineraries would be set out during the turn-down service, we never had to complain about getting extra towels/toiletries, nor did we have much trouble with our order during dining regardless if we went to the buffet or sit-down dining rooms. At times at the buffet if we arrived late some of the items would not be available but there were always other choices for us to try. As far as the food goes, it was decent American food, with huge salad bar, sandwich station, burger’s, entrees, desserts, to so much more that there were stations that we never even got a chance to try.
A towel animal was left every night during turn-down service along with the itinerary for next day
Waiting in the Blues lounge for the live music to start. This became our go-to place after dinner every night. It was one of our favorites on the cruise.
One of the live performer’s at the Blues lounge who was amazing along with the band!
Recycled Percussion was a great interactive show that was performed live one of the nights
Umair was called up on stage during the show to “monkey” around
They had a few paid dining rooms, which we didn’t opt for trying out because we felt satisfied with the “non-paid” options, however one of the paid restaurants, Tamarind, had complementary lunch everyday so we did try that out one day it definitely was a nicer experience with a modern fixed menu. The items on that menu were not items you could have gotten at the non-paid dining.
2nd formal night photo-op
Photo-op session before lunch at Tamarind’s bar area
Fancy salad for lunch at Tamarind
One of the port days we had early morning arrival, thus requested room-service for our breakfast. We had filled out the menu the night before, and then selected the time slot we wanted delivery and our food arrived in the morning during that time. We did hear of complaints from a few cruisers that they were not happy with the room service because it was quite delayed, and the items that they requested didn’t arrive, however that was not the case for us. Room service is my jam!
Ocean breeze and the endless sea
We booked a window cabin that had a partially obstructed view, and while it was obstructed the window was a floor to ceiling window that allowed plenty of natural light to come through and gave us enough of a view to know when we were arriving land. Our cabin was quite spacious with a king size bed, plenty of closet space, sitting space with small sofa, chair + table, and even the bathroom was decent size with vanity space for our toiletries. Our cabin was located mid-ship on deck 4, where I felt would be the most comfortable to not feel motion or lots of noise. While I did take motion sickness tablets the first day I didn’t feel the need to continue taking them throughout the cruise.
Our room for the week
Opposite view of the room with closet, vanity + sitting area
Today’s review was mostly about the ship and overall experience. In later posts I will share snaps of our time in Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. In addition, talk about our excursions and what we thought of each island.
The last night of our cruise was “international cuisine” night so Umair ordered the veggie + tofu curry – not bad!
Last year for our December break we visited Colorado, and despite the cold we had a great time with all it’s picturesque beauty at Rocky Mountain National park, Loveland skiing, and Vail for New Year’s eve. Check out our gallery here until you wait for part 2 of our cruise snaps.
Thank you so much for visiting and do let me know places you have cruised to or if you are planning to take a cruise soon in the comments below! I read each and every comment.
Last night on the cruise in the Manhattan Dining Room