Ports of Call: The 28-night cruise from San Diego to Lima and back aboard the Maasdam included Cabo San Lucas, Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; Fuerte Amador, Panama; Salaverry (Trujillo) and Lima (Callao), Peru, overnight; Manta, Ecuador; Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica; Corinto, Nicaragua; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and returning to San Diego, California.
Embarkation/Disembarkation: Both were done in a professional and rapid manner with little to no waiting. Lunch was available upon embarkation with the usual options of hot and cold foods from the buffet on an upper deck. Cabins/staterooms were ready for occupancy in the early afternoon and made available in the order of suites, balcony rooms, ocean-view and inside rooms.
Stateroom: The Maasdam is an older ship, built in 1993 and refurbished in 2016. Our Vista Suite, a traditional balcony-type cabin, included a sitting area, private veranda, a tub with a shower, and plenty of closet space for longer cruises.
Services/Amenities: Food on board was of a high quality. The Maasdam has a limited number of dining options due to the size of the ship, including the main dining room, a buffet on a top deck and two specialty restaurants. There were also six bars and lounges. Service in the main dining room was slow, with two hours the normal duration for an evening meal; for older passengers and large tables, this was acceptable. Crew served an afternoon tea at 3 p.m. each day.
Services included a beauty salon/barber shop, a spa, eight elevators, Cellular at Sea (for a high price), self-service laundry and laundry/dry cleaning services for a fee. For relaxation and entertainment, passengers can enjoy pools and a hot tub, a library, a casino, a disco, a movie theater with multiple shows daily, an outdoor movie screen, a video arcade, shops and a showroom for evening entertainment and lectures for large groups.
◆ All events were well-organized and started on time.
◆ The crew members’ smiles and care for the passengers were remarkable.
◆ First-rate entertainers came from all over the world.
◆ Lectures, held almost daily, focused on the people, history and culture of upcoming ports of call and not on excursions that could be purchased.
◆ My wife enjoyed the craft classes held on at-sea days. The price of sewing classes included taking home the sewing machine!
◆ Internet prices were high and speeds were slow due to the satellite connection, something all cruise lines need to improve.
This summer, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles began highly-anticipated enhancements. The property celebrates its 10th birthday next year and the renovations are the largest changes the property has ever seen. They impact the hotel lobby, all 123 guestrooms and suites, corridors and Club Lounge.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Seats on new JetBlue flights between New York City (JFK) and Georgetown (GEO), Guyana, are now available for purchase. The route takes off April 2, 2020, on the new Airbus A321neo aircraft. With a flight time of five hours from New York City, the route delivers intrepid travelers to what JetBlue calls “a playground for adventurists and modern-day explorers.” The route also serves the largest Guyanese American community in the United States, located in New York City.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
An industry-first update to the award-winning Four Seasons app allows guests to plan travel more seamlessly. The app, completely overhauled, now includes a new trip planning itinerary feature that allows guests to easily customize their stay.