Having briefly toured Norway on previous cruises it was our decision this year to select a cruise which focused solely on Norway. The Holland America itineraries are appealing and this Norway/Nordkapp route was excellent.
Our experiences are as follows:
The Ryndam is an older ship and its great strength is that it is not too large, having approximately a 1200 passenger capacity. The decor is pleasant and all of the amenities found on larger ships are featured although in smaller scale. The layout mirrors most of the Holland America fleet. The general description of the ship is described elsewhere so I will not go into much detail here. We appreciated the very clean appearance of the ship and noted that there is ongoing remodeling in the pool area and in some of the cabin areas. Although some of the carpeted areas and pool tiles were worn it was obvious that these areas were being addressed during our cruise.
Our particular cabin was very comfortable and we received an upgrade from our original reservation. Located on the 9th deck it had many pluses and only one minus - our cabin was located above the shop area on the 8th deck and we could hear the shop manager announce all of his "specials" throughout the evening. Our perfect midship cabin location was marred by this distraction. Our bed/ bedding was excellent, our cabin stewards were efficient and we appreciated the laundry facility provided. On longer cruises this feature is becoming more important as airlines restrict the amount of luggage passengers can bring resulting in the need for laundry facilities.
The dining choices were excellent and our comments in this area will be brief. The coffee service is poor and it is my opinion that there is room for much improvement in this area. In that regard we brought our own coffee with us and that was an inconvenience for us but at least our coffee demons were appeased. Also, as stated above, the variety of food offered is very good but the food hovers in the bland category more often than not. To counteract this trend we were delighted to see that condiments are offered in the Lido dining area. The main dining room offered a nicer atmosphere and the opportunity for full service dining. Judging just on dinner service rating the 12 dinners, 50% were excellent and the remainder were satisfactory with blandness being the main complaint.
Judging entertainment on a cruise ship is such a subjective matter - we thought the entertainment was "entertaining" and were therefore pleased to spend part of our evening enjoying the show. The dancers on our cruise were very good and gave dance lessons during the day showing off their versatility as instructors as well as performers. The two piano players were brave souls and put up with numerous requests for dance standards. How often are you provided live music in such an intimate setting? Nicely done and we enjoyed the dance music each evening. The movie theater was always full during the sea days and the computer classes were well attended by other passengers. We made use of the library books and liked the fact the library was diverse and well thought out. Since we cruised during early summer we did not swim or make use of the pool area but the open roof concept was nice and actually provided needed "fresh" air during our days at sea.
If you are active and like using a gym you will practically have the gym to yourself. We made use of the gym each day at sea and found the equipment to be high end and well maintained. Yoga classes, bicycle spinning sessions and other exercise programs are available for an extra fee -- but judging from the older demographic on our cruise few passengers partook of these classes.