While we had always sailed on Seabourn, we looked forward to the experience of another cruise line. As such, we tried to match Seabourn accommodations as closely as possible by booking one of the deluxe veranda suites. Our first challenge was embarkation in Vancouver amongst the large number of people trying to board the Statendam and one of the Celebrity ships - an experience we had not encountered before when embarking on a Seabourn cruise. Once aboard, we were left to make our own way, with no offer of assistance for carry-on luggage.
Our cabin, while spacious, felt dated. The veranda was excessively large for two people and planning of the unit was not as efficient or effective as it could have been. The sleeping and sitting areas formed one space with no drapes (or other means) to separate and zone the two area. The bathroom, while adequate, lacked touches of elegance, a quality lacking in the suite as a whole. The ship's laundry obviously did not use any bleaching products as towels and such were grey, particularly when wet. As a whole, we found the suite and the ship somewhat grey in ambiance.
The Lido buffet food service was less than mediocre and quite unappetizing. Rather than using the Lido, most days when on board, we elected to snack in the Neptune Lounge. The Rotterdam Dining Room was somewhat better, but again lacked the elegance desired in both the food presentation and flavours. Service was quite diligent but robotic - we missed the European style service of Seabourn. The best food was at the Pinnacle Grille, and despite an additional charge of $25 per person, the restaurant was constantly booked solid. The few times we were able to book a table, we appreciated this venue approached proper food presentation, flavours and service.
The complimentary laundry service included with the deluxe veranda suites was in our case more of a curse than a blessing. Three of my wife's white and light coloured garments were ruined as they were tossed in with darker colours. Attempts to solve the problem failed and the matter of compensation became so bureaucratically complicated (communicating with people that have no real authority) that we told them to forget about about - life is too short.
We did not participate in any of the venues and facilities geared towards the younger generation and children, but they appeared to be well used. The entertainment in the Showroom at Sea was quite good, but the acoustically quality of the room was abysmal.
Particularly depressing was the constant money grab for most things and the automatically included tipping. While I understand this is a common policy of cruise lines of this ilk, it is nevertheless irritating at the least. The ability to charge things to your account without the visual of money transaction, particular with the urging of children, has provided more than family with some shocking reality at the end of the cruise, I witnessed with a young couple settling their account.
We will not be sailing on Holland America again, nor any of its cruise line contemporaries. We will save our money so we can continue to afford the excellence and comforts offered by cruise lines like Seabourn.