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Second spring break in a row doing this particular cruise, same ship, with two of my three kids (this time my 8 and 5 yr old boys) while my wife and daughter attended to family business elsewhere. Picked it again for the same reasons we picked it last year: classic ship feel of the Rotterdam; quiet, clean familiarity of the surroundings; low hassle way to get out on the open sea. Crew did even one better by getting a live feed of the NCAA regional finals, and then doing the muster drills in port in between the two Sunday games. The only downer: Devils losing to Sparty during our first two hours at sea . . . My boys loved it (my 8 yr old's first time aboard, my 5 yr old's second), particularly the pool, and the towel origami from our stateroom attendant Rifky. Ate Lido the entire cruise - given the number of different main courses each night, it is possible to go a seven night cruise and not eat the same thing twice for dinner - and the food as always was top flight for us. Did dolphin watch and snorkel in Key West - got a good up close look at a pod of 6-8 dolphins then did some snorkeling with my boys; we did the waterfall hike and splashed in a couple freshwater pools at the Cerro San Gil Nature Reserve in Guatemala (kids ended up playing with frogs and snails); spent the day at Mahogany Bay Beach in Honduras (my five year old caught what I thought was an eel - till he put it back in the water and it turned back into a sea horse); and did the Mayan adventure water park in Costa Maya. My wife was amazed at how uncrowded everything looked both on the ship and during our excursions. Biggest crowds in fact were in Clearwater, where we spent Saturday doing the marine hospital (made famous by the Dolphin Tale star), then cycling to Clearwater Beach. Spent Sunday before the cruise cycling the Tampa Riverwalk from the Barrymore Hotel to the cruise ship terminal and then back before boarding. Embarkation and disembarkation in Tampa is always easy. Scuttlebutt is that Rotterdam is being repositioned back to Europe at the end of April, and that HA has nothing out of Tampa scheduled for the time being for 2020. I sure hope that changes, because these weeks aboard the Rotterdam have become a true highlight for my children and myself, and I dread having to haul down to Ft. Lauderdale, which I understand is the total opposite of Tampa in terms of ship sizes and crowd density.

An incredibly underrated spring break experience . . .

Rotterdam Cruise Review by bldvl89

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Second spring break in a row doing this particular cruise, same ship, with two of my three kids (this time my 8 and 5 yr old boys) while my wife and daughter attended to family business elsewhere.

Picked it again for the same reasons we picked it last year: classic ship feel of the Rotterdam; quiet, clean familiarity of the surroundings; low hassle way to get out on the open sea. Crew did even one better by getting a live feed of the NCAA regional finals, and then doing the muster drills in port in between the two Sunday games. The only downer: Devils losing to Sparty during our first two hours at sea . . .

My boys loved it (my 8 yr old's first time aboard, my 5 yr old's second), particularly the pool, and the towel origami from our stateroom attendant Rifky. Ate Lido the entire cruise - given the number of different main courses each night, it is possible to go a seven night cruise and not eat the same thing twice for dinner - and the food as always was top flight for us.

Did dolphin watch and snorkel in Key West - got a good up close look at a pod of 6-8 dolphins then did some snorkeling with my boys; we did the waterfall hike and splashed in a couple freshwater pools at the Cerro San Gil Nature Reserve in Guatemala (kids ended up playing with frogs and snails); spent the day at Mahogany Bay Beach in Honduras (my five year old caught what I thought was an eel - till he put it back in the water and it turned back into a sea horse); and did the Mayan adventure water park in Costa Maya.

My wife was amazed at how uncrowded everything looked both on the ship and during our excursions. Biggest crowds in fact were in Clearwater, where we spent Saturday doing the marine hospital (made famous by the Dolphin Tale star), then cycling to Clearwater Beach. Spent Sunday before the cruise cycling the Tampa Riverwalk from the Barrymore Hotel to the cruise ship terminal and then back before boarding.

Embarkation and disembarkation in Tampa is always easy. Scuttlebutt is that Rotterdam is being repositioned back to Europe at the end of April, and that HA has nothing out of Tampa scheduled for the time being for 2020. I sure hope that changes, because these weeks aboard the Rotterdam have become a true highlight for my children and myself, and I dread having to haul down to Ft. Lauderdale, which I understand is the total opposite of Tampa in terms of ship sizes and crowd density.
bldvl89’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 7 to 9
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin DA 2544
Great cabin with two little kids - directly across from one flight of stairs to Promenade deck (w/ the teak decking), directly adjacent to luggage moving equipment storage area (meaning we had neighbors on only one side to worry about bothering).

Love that we were able to choose our cabins with such a high degree of specificity. Stayed in Cabin 2540 last year, which is how we learned to reserve the "end" unit this year. Nice ocean view, slept at night with shades open.
Main Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews