I am one cruise away from 5-star mariner status, so I consider myself an experienced Holland America 'expert' level passenger, lol. Starting with the convenience of sailing in and out of Fort Lauderdale (I live in Florida) the entire cruise was a real treat. The embark was a breeze, going by HAL shuttle bus from airport to cruise terminal, then right through security and right onto the ship.
I was in a Signature Suite, which was spacious beyond necessity and had many lighting options, good temperature control, two-sink vanity, two desk areas, full sofa, big flat-screen, lots of places to plug things in. Midship was convenient to everything, and although I was in the suite adjacent to the glass elevator, (cabin #5093) I never heard a sound from it. The balcony was more narrow than most, because of the location the lifeboats directly under, although there was room for two reclining chairs, two ottomans , and a good sized table. Robes and slippers provided, and there was twice-daily 'turn-down-and-tidy-up service.
I had a terrific table for two on the upper level main dining room, and had dinner there every evening, which after the first evening, only took one hour from appetizer to dessert. Breakfasts and lunches were always a treat in the Lido with such an enormous selection of foods, my favorite being the fresh sushi served daily.
The entertainment was interesting enough, and as always, I had my own puzzle books, Kindle, DVD-player and DVDs to entertain myself. I very much enjoyed the dancers, and my husband liked the singers, and we both liked the comedian, who was hilarious, and we both liked the talks about the local history. Room service was always pleasant, and prompt.
I have been to the Dutch islands many times, and always go to the casinos in Aruba and Curacao because they are walkable.
I urge new cruisers to do research, and a lot of it before signing up for any cruise on any line. HAL's clientele is mostly the older generations, like myself, which is why I adore it. In 23 years of sailing HAL, I have NEVER seen a 'tipsy' passenger, and I have NEVER been kept awake at night by 'party animals'. This is what I like, al serene relaxing experience, and I always get that when sailing with HAL. There are nightclubs on board, and I have heard they are terrific, so if you like to stay up later, you can! And I have also heard that their kids' club is the best at sea.
My tip for new cruisers to HAL would be to go places early whenever possible, for example, go to the Lido a few minutes before they open and you will easily find a table you like, and you'll be first in line at the buffet.
Fabulous. I would highly recommend a mid-ship suite for the utmost in comfort and convenience.