In September 2012 I travelled with Holland America cruise line. It was a disaster and I totally recommend that you find another company to travel with. I fully recommend Princess cruise line which I have travelled with many times before.
To begin, I was travelling with a family group and had 3 cabins booked. One of my sisters had to cancel out due a family emergency. (Fortunately we did have insurance which saw most of our cost returned) My other sister was asked to pay a full amount for her cabin. Understandably a single person in a room usually costs more with a single supplement added. This cruise line want the full amount of the two people in the room and an added 500 dollars. So a cruise which cost approx. 5000.00 per person was now costing 10,500 for one person in a room. An outrageous amount for a company who was known for a reasonable supplement. (let alone for a company who might have a little compassion for an emergent family situation) So we had three people stay in a very tiny room with three beds lined up (the couch bed could not be put down everyday) Only a couple of feet empty between each bed and you had to climb over the third bed to go out on the balcony. I am sure the dimensions would not have meet the NATO standards for jail cells. Of course this was our choice as we did not have an extra 10,000 dollars lying around but really should not have been allowed by the cruise line. Do not, I repeat do not ever book 3 people to a room on Holland America. I have done this several times on Princess and definitely had more room.
Definitely do not travel on the dirty old Prinsendam unless you are over 80 with failing eye sight. This ship was revolting and should be dry docked.
Perhaps I might have understood the lack of attention to repair but I did pay approx. 5000,00 a person for this cruise an expensive cruise in today's cruising environment. The cruise did have unique ports of call.
The pool was revolting and I am not sure when the deck areas were last cleaned. In the 14 days I was on this ship the Lido pool had black soot embedded in the tiles and the same foot prints in the soot. All though the deck area was washed the pool tile area was not. The pool in the rear of the ship had black sludge floating in it. Never once did I see anyone trying to fish it out. The two hot tubs were so revolting the bottoms of the tubs all rusted and the surface all peeling off. It was okay if you put the bubbles on and could see the mess inside. The pool lounges were all in an advance state of decay, the tops all rotting and falling apart and the frames all rusted and peeling. It makes one wonder if they were ever washed as they remained in the same place for the cruise duration. (no covers were put on the lounges like Celebrity) This kind of decay speaks to the problems with management of Holland America not the over worked employees who performed their tasks in a pleasant, hospitable fashion. What these employees did well they did well but obviously the management who were very apparently walking around and eating in the public areas were not doing their job assignments very well.
The tiny dining room was outrageous. The had timed sittings and any time dining in one room. There was constant noise and people coming and going. The acoustics are poor in the dining room at best but magnify the noise and chaos of people coming ordering and being served through out your meal made for a poor dining experience. I cant believe that they do not have a separate dining room for each type of dining. Certainly this is not the elegant dining experience of yesteryears. I cant imagine that this is acceptable except that no one complains. (or maybe it is okay if you have diminished hearing) Again the staff worked hard with a large number of table assignments in the timed dining. This left dirty dishes and no one around for long periods of time while they were serving the other tables. Again a management problem as I know the staff was trying their hardest. Managers were again obviously doing a lot of standing around.
Our room was in the half of the ship in the upper veranda. The location was great except each night you heard the 2nd show through the floor until 11 each night. Not a problem if you go to bed late but was a problem for my group who retired early to get up early each morning to tour. The low ceilings of the show room reverberated through out this part of the ship. It might not have been such a problem had we been warned but it did create 14 days of sleeping hell.
The verandas had very rusted roof components which were missing whole chunks of the structure due to rust but had just been painted over. The dividers between the veranda was a screwed on sheet of metal (2 pieces) in which the screws had rusted out and the metal flapped in the wind. The verandas were filthy, looking like they had never been washed or cleaned. Dirt on the walls and around the floor edges. Antique rattan furniture with the rattan unrolling off the chairs and cushions which smelled like they hadn't been cleaned for many a year.
All though their were many disgusting things like windows in the dining room which were so dirty you could hardly see out of (both sides easily accessible), scratched and dented walls and wood work everywhere, rust out areas of metal obviously visible, white paint all over the deck floors, windows and lights indicating a very poor touch up job. During the lifeboat drill I leaned against a wall which appeared to have fecal material spread on it and was in turn all over me.
For the full 14 days when you went to sit outside at the back of ship either in the Lido dining area or the poor area the ground was covered in a black soot like substance. This substance got on your clothes, on your feet, in the pool, all over the carpeting, everywhere. Often you could tell when a person had been sitting out from the black smudges on the back of their clothes.
My recommendation would be to find another cruise line and steer clear of this dirty little ship with little to offer other than its small size.
Great staff who try very hard but cant quite get it right. Same on you Holland America for charging so much for such an inferior ship which needs to be dry docked.