Just returned from our first cruise yesterday. It was wonderful! We didn't know what to expect, because none of the local agents recommended us going on Holland America. They must not get the same commission rates because we have nothing negative to say!
My wife and I are 35 and we were prepared to enter a floating nursing home. not only was this not the case, we "hung out" with a couple who were 10 years younger than us. We also hung out with a couple that were 10 years older than us! It was a blend of all ages.
The ship is absolutely immaculate. The service was absolutely perfect! Read carefully the reviews that complain about lack of service, most of them involve the Lido restaurant. Remember that the Lido is a buffet that is basically open all day. People are always in and out and the only real job of the staff is to bus tables.
The crew are also extremely friendly, it is impossible to pass one without them checking on your well being! There are tons of bars and lounges throughout the ship to satisfy all tastes.
The entertainment was good and offered a wide variety. Embarkation, shore tenders and excursions, and Disembarkation were well organized and a breeze. There were more activities and parts of the ship than one could really take in, even on a 7 day trip!
We really enjoyed our trip and would not hesitate to recommend Holland America. If you absolutely have to have a hairy chest contest or a "guess your spouse's buns" contest, you may want to try another line. On the other hand, you could just start your own contest and still get the great Holland America Service and elegance.