Well, our cruise came to an early end. We set sail with high expectations for an onboard experience similar to the others we’ve had on Holland America. We quickly discovered that this cruise came with an unexpected and unwelcome surprise. Our mid-ship stateroom (which should be the smoothest location onboard) had an unbearable shaking from vibration, apparently due to a known (to the cruise line) engine issue. Picture one of those old-fashioned exercise belts that Lucy and Ethel tried on the I Love Lucy Show and you’ll get the idea. So, while we booked a suite to spread out, relax and be pampered; we couldn't sit in our room for more than a 10 minute stretch and had to try to get our sleep in an obstructed Ocean View stateroom three decks below. Effectively, we purchased a stay at a high-end luxury resort, but ending up sleeping in a motel down the street. Needless to say, this was not the experience we paid for, and we were not happy campers.
That said, tired and bleary-eyed, we were doing our best to enjoy the ship's features and activities. The casino was fun, and Jeff and I made it still standing through the first round of the blackjack tournament, which was to be continued on Friday. The main stage entertainment was really very good. The first night, there was a preview of all the musical acts available throughout the ship all week. I haven't seen this type of preview before... great idea, more ship's should do this! The second night, we saw a production show called Cantare, comprised of four talented male singers. We really enjoyed their song selection, which ranged from classical to rock. Apparently, this show was voted "Best At Sea" by Porthole Magazine!
After three nights, with our exhaustion growing and still no use of our suite, it became clear that the excessive shaking was not going away. When we considered the toll it was taking on our ability to enjoy our trip and the excursions we had scheduled, it was clear that our cruise needed to be over. We flew home from our second port, San Juan, arriving back home at 3:30a.m. I only wish all our luggage arrived home with us…. It finally was delivered 15 hours later.
While this cruise goes into the loss column, we’ll do what any good travelers do…. regroup and find another place to spend the last couple nights of our vacation. Maybe we’ll go to Newport, or Santa Barbara, or Paso Robles or Palm Springs or Laguna. Or maybe we'll just recuperate at home. So many beautiful places close by to choose from. Life is short, we’ll make the most of it!