Re the Amazon. I hope you had better luck than I had - a two-day storm sailing in dark brown water and unable to see to the river banks because of driving rain.
We did a Southern Caribbean cruise on the VEENDAM last November/December and were disappointed on a number of counts. Firstly, the ship is quite old and had propeller problems (which it had also had the week previous to our cruise) and we had to miss our first port of call and were late getting to the second. The food was OK but not as good as we have had with other cruise lines. Also, we are not big eaters but the portions were really quite small. We had one day where our cabin (and others on the same deck) were without water in the bathroom for over 8 hours - not nice in 90 degrees of heat! However, the entertainment was good and the Filippino and Indonesian crew were wonderful and nothing was too much trouble.
Wow, that is not how we found the Veendam on our Baltic Cruise last year. Everything was perfect, no problems and the ship was perfection, the crew were superb and we thouroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Very professional and we would only use Holland America if we decide to cruise again. We were among about 10 British and the majority of the passengers were American, and it was great. The Captain comes from Cornwall England where we also live. Very Happy Ship! You will love it.
Why not look at Lucy & Mikes Happy Days on Fred Olsen's Braemar, We went in March 2007. Great!! Loose fitting clothes, sensible walking shoes a must warm rain was very welcome, also take pencils, exercise books and general stuff for small schools.