Holland America - we took the Mediterranean Cruise last year and loved it (highly recommend) so we booked the Panama Canal Cruise this year. Also have booked the 14 day Baltic Cruise for next year. I think HAL does a good job but this is not the cruise to take.
Stateroom - worst problem on this cruise was our cabin. It has a "squeak" in the closet area that was enough to keep you awake at night. I told our cabin steward about it and he reported it to his supervisor and then guess it made it to the front desk because a lady called to discuss the problem. She came to our cabin and I pointed out the squeak (it always occurred while the ship was moving). She heard the problem and then went and got a carpenter from the maintenance crew and came back and he pushed here and there and said he would come back later with tools. He scheduled to come back while we were at dinner and when we returned to the room it was still squeaking. I had a voice message from the lady wanting to More
know if they had fixed the problem. I called her back and told her they had not. I heard nothing further from her. She did send us a plate of chocolates and a bottle of wine for our inconvenience but did not solve the problem. I wrote in my review of the cruise that the proper procedure would be to continue to find the problem until fixed or relocate us to another stateroom. The next to last night at sea we had big waves and the ship was rocking and our squeak turned into a roar. I did take my iphone and recorded the noise and hope to send it to someone at HAL. We were VERY DISAPPOINTED in their response.
The ship - the MS Statendam is in need of a facelift. There is quite a bit of deferred maintenance (missing light covers, missing hardware, broken basketball goals, etc). The cleanliness is good, however.
The crew - the ship has a great and friendly crew with almost all speaking English.
The food - meals were very good and we did open seating and met a lot of nice fellow cruisers.
Passengers - we are in our late 50's and we were about the youngest passengers on the ship. There were a lot of wheelchairs; walkers; canes, etc. Guess the 14 day trips during school doesn't attract a lot of younger couples.
Excursions - we did the White Water Rafting excursion in Puerto Vallerto (more like a large stream - no white water at all) which was ok. The other excursions we took were not worth taking. The main attraction for this cruise was the Panama Canal which was great and very interesting.
Entertainment - very poor in the Showroom (which itself is too small, poorly laid-out, and very comfortable seats) with high school level singers and shows. Two nights were entertainment my crew members if you can believe it!!
Will give HAL one more chance next year but if it doesn't improve it will be my last cruise with them. Less
Crew on catamaran was very friendly and entertaining (all danced) but water for snorkeling was cold and foamy (nasty looking). Also went to Yalapa which is a waste of time (one small waterfall) and a lot of walking. Port #2 was Huatulco were we did the white water rafting trip was just ok. Port #3 was Puerto Chiapas which the ship has to bypass due to low swell (pier not deep enough to dock the ship safely). Port #4 was Puerto Quetzel and we took the excursion to Anigua (don't waste your money). Port #5 was in Panama City and did the night excursion to the Miraflores Lock (don't waste your money b/c you'll see everything when you go through the lock the next day). Port #6 was Cartagena, Columbia and took the harbor tour (again, don't waste your money - take an excursion to Old Town)