We had always heard nothing but great things about Holland; less children, elegant ships, no loud music, and the kicker, Great, above board service. This is not what we found. The first thing we encountered was an hour long embarkation. There were 4 metal detectors in the entrance area and only 1 in use, hence the long wait. On our last cruise, we went straight through.
Next, we heard of exceptional service. Not so. Our cabin steward didn't come around til late the first night. We asked for ice to be in our cabin every day for the wine we brought. We did not get it. The second day when we got no ice we called and were assured that we would get continuous ice, which didn't happen. We also asked for fresh fruit and received fresh fruit the first day. After that the fruit looked like it had been left from the previous cruise. We told them to forget it. During our entire cruise we saw our cabin stewards only once or twice. On the other cruises with the sister ships Carnival and Princess we saw them all the time and were greeted by name.
Dining: The dining room was elegant but we didn't find the food all that good and the service was very slow. Yes, we usually dine in the formal dining room on all of our cruises and we know it's not fast food. The food on the lido deck was very good and the wait staff very friendly. We were served all of our food there, rather than serve ourselves. The lido also closed down around 9:00 also. We were disappointed that the dress code in the dining room didn't allow shorts even on port days. We made it back from shore late and had to go to the lido for dinner. Again, the other ships make allowances for port days.
Entertainment: We were surprised at the lack of entertainment also. We always go to the shows after dinner. If it hadn't been for Hildy the German Juggling Boy, there wouldn't have been much entertainment. There was 1 show of singing and dancing and little else. One other show ended only after 30 minutes. The good thing is the music on the ship was not so loud you couldn't think, and the people were singing, not screaming.
The Hal Cats band was very good, and the music by the pool was good and again not too loud.
My husband wrote a letter to Holland Cruises, their regional travel agent and to our own travel agent and as of today, we have heard nothing from Holland. What a pity. Lest anyone think it's just us, we polled lots of loyal Holland cruisers and they were also disappointed with the lack of service with Holland and many said they wouldn't be back. As for us, we're moving on to other cruise lines.