by Linda R.
July 19, 2003
My extended family of 17 just returned from our cruise on the Holiday. Most of us had never cruised before. I did not book the cruise, but I did extensive research, mostly on this website, in order to be prepared and to figure out what to expect.
All of our family had a great time. This cruise went just as the July 5 cruise as the itinary was also adjusted (I wonder if this will be permanent). My general review would pretty much echo theirs.
The seas were calm. Travelling down the Mississippi river takes 8 hours and we found this fascinating when we were able to view it (most of it occurs during dark). Most of the swaying of the boat occurred in the river, I guess because of all the turning to navigate it.
Our cabins were very nice, our steward was ok, and our waitstaff in the Seven Seas dining room was excellent, as was the food. Our children experienced fine dining for the first time and loved the experience. Many new foods were tried by all and it was very much worth the trouble of dressing for dinner.
Some of the most useful information I gathered from this site was to bring a powerstrip, two-way radios, and air freshener (I used Febreez). The freshener helped for the constant bathroom odor, although it was a mild odor - we did not experience general ship odors as others have posted.
I would like to thank to Linda P. for the tip about Senior Frogs. We also parked there at Playa del Carmen instead of booking an excursion. The beach is much better than the public side. We would have come out much cheaper had we not caved to the pressure of our kids to rent jet skis and go para-sailing. One other thing I would like to point out is that the para-sailing was going on rignt off of our beach, and my other family members booked and sailed right in front of us. But when my kids went, they transported us via jetski 2 miles up the coast to another boat. Thankfully I had arranged to go along to take pictures. It was very crowded on board, and we were gone over an hour. The wait time was miserable, not to mention that the rest of the family was concerned of our whereabouts. I would recommend that you get this very clear when booking.
On our return trip up the river, we had an unfortunate incident that startled me, and may have scared many others. About 1 am we were asleep and well into the Mississippi River. We were awakened to a loud vibration and then a heavy tilt of the boat occurred, enough to send our desktop items (mostly bottled drinks) crashing down on top of us. Since our cabin was directly under the Seven Seas dining room, we also heard the crashing of many dishes. Other guests that were awake and on deck described dishes, chairs, photo equipment, etc. sliding across the floor. The ship righted itself fairly quickly and we sensed that we were still moving. My initial reaction was to laugh and when I knew all was ok, I went right back to sleep. My other family members did not feel the need to go above deck to find out the scoop. It wasn't until the next day that we all shared our experience. None of us felt it marred our cruise. I only wish that the cruise staff would have let us know what had happened. Most of us felt we hit a sandbar or something like it. I had read that this particular ship has had it's share of problems, and I hate to see this added as another incident. I only write about it here to mostly downplay it in case some others sensationalize it on the web.
We loved our cruise experience on the Holiday. I recommend it for persons travelling with large parties. I cannot imagine keeping up with 17 on one of the larger ships.