Room lacks (all rooms in this category) : small refrigerator. In the washroom sink: the drain connection was rusted and very sharp - took 3 days to fix it. Bedding - bed sheets, pillows and pillow cases, blankets, towels are very old are and in need of replacement. Our first impression was "laundry is not doing proper work since we found some of the above listed items quite dirty when we entered the room". We had to request a replacement of all these items as well as washing of all pillows (they had a smell of "previous" users, perfumes etc.). This has improved later. The state room stewards are doing a great job considering the substandard quality of supplies - this has to be addressed with HOLLAND AMERICA top management.
FOOD quality: this had been a serious issue and concern for us. Based on our past experience with 5 Star resorts and other cruise ships, quality of food can only be compared with Cuba i.e. a reasonably good selection of food is available, however, it is prepared by cooks who cannot cook European quality food. They cook based on receipts and pictures prepared by chefs elsewhere, but in order to make these foods properly this is not enough - they need to know how this food is supposed to taste (not only how it is supposed to look).
LIDO, CANALETTO, ROTTERDAM. Most food for lunch and dinner is stir fried, and either heavily salted or sweetened with sugar. Have never eaten before red cabbage with so much sugar, or sweet sauerkraut.
LIDO furniture - in particular chairs: seat covers on most chairs had definitely seen better times (some are seriously damaged) and require replacement.
Service staff in all restaurants are doing their best, they are very courteous and go out of their way to make you comfortable (as much as possible, considering the overall low quality of food - specific comments below) :
Breakfast: cold cuts - poor selection = sometimes two, sometimes three type of cold cuts, the same goes for "yellow" cheese - all relatively low end products.
Long lines of people waiting for individual items , sometimes it takes 3 to 4 minutes to get a piece of bread, another few minutes to get some cold cut, not to mention items like sausage, fried bacon etc. - it can take more time to collect all individual pieces of food from various "food" stations, than to eat it. The way food is served at LIDO creates a lot of chaos and confusion, not to mention dis-satisfaction.
LUNCH - same comment as above re chaos. In terms of food quality - majority of food served is very unhealthy - stir fry, plenty of oil, sugar and fat. Selection of fresh salads and fruits is quite limited and most products are from the bottom shelf. We used to supplement our diet by buying fresh fruits (yellow delicious apples, plums, peaches etc.) and bio-yogurts at fruit / vegetable markers @shore .
DINNER @ ROTTERDAM. Dinner is served on good quality Rosenthal china; however the same does not apply to quality and taste of food. Most food had a South Asian twist (stir fry, sugary taste) and is hardly commensurate with the menu description. It was quite and experience to eat "german -saurbratten " dish which had only some remote visual resemblance to the real stuff. In most cases we ended up eating white rice and green lettuce.
Dinner room service staff was doing their best and deserves recognition, but they were unable to make the food any better.
A lot of other passengers were also quite unsatisfied with the quality of food, however most they were not voicing their dissatisfaction with the management (just talking at the tables).
MS RYNDAM is quite an old ship and it needs URGENT refurbishment (not repairs during cruises ,as we experienced, to inconvenience passengers) but at a dry dock. Examples below:
LIDO - for 4 or 5 days there was a leaking pipe in the floor, part of the floor was very slippery and covered with towels to absorb leaking water. Some people were actually loosing balance and tripping on the slippery floor.
Port side access door to LIDO was closed for the last 8 days of the cruise, due to a major repair work on the wall (removal of the old tiles and application of new ones). On the last day (Monte Carlo) during breakfast (about 8 AM) there was a strong smell of industrial paint solvents -- service staff was painting the recently fixed wall.
Utility shaft for with fresh water / drain pipes and other services across from our state room -- some pipes were leaking and had to be replaced - this work took about 3 days to complete (with not the most attractive smell emanating from that area).
Early in the trip elevator number 9, door failed to open at level 3; it took 25 minutes to free the trapped passengers (passengers from state room 581). It also happened to us and 4 other people in the same elevator on the last day at approx. 8:30 AM (at Monte Carlo) fortunately it took only about 5 minutes before the service staff freed us.
Overall rating: at best 3 stars for a 5 star price.
In summary our vacation experience of 18 days on Ryndam cannot be described as pleasant. WE WILL NEVER take HOLLAND AMERICA again.
Advise to potential cruise customers -- AVOID MS Ryndam, you will not get value for your money.
On a positive note we visited a lot of interesting places.