Embarkation at Dover was very smooth and hassle free.
State room was clean and comfortable. Rather a nuisance that the magnifying side of the illuminated mirror had a blemish rendering it unusable. Stateroom steward was excellent.
We had chosen open dining, no indication given that this was in the Lower dining room so on first night we waited at the upstairs of Rotterdam Restaurant until 8.00 pm only to be told we were in wrong place and sent downstairs where the queue was enormous, no one seemed to know the procedure, a terrible lack of communication. We were eventually found a table at 9.30 pm! Meanwhile I went to the Main Desk and asked that we be put on 2nd sitting from now on, this was done and for the rest of the cruise we enjoyed excellent dinners and good company at the same table each night.
We chose to take breakfast and lunch at the Lido, breakfast was total chaos, not just the first day but all days. The stewards did not appear to speak English, service was slow, slap-dash and erratic, if like me you were getting breakfast for two people the first was invariably cold by the time the second was obtained. The lay out of the food in the Lido was bizarre, there was no logical sequence, bread was at the other end from the butter (sometimes only margarine was available)the full range of juices were frequently not all available at any one time, just chaos!
Food at lunch was very good but there was still the same lay out problem as at breakfast. Why on Earth are trays not provided in this self-service restaurant?
My husband sometimes uses sticks and I get his meals for him, this entailed going backwards and forwards repeatedly several times.
The "Musak" in the Lido was exceedingly irritating.
Best entertainment was Adagio (violin and piano) in the Explorer's Bar while sipping a cocktail.
Entertainment in the show lounge was reasonable but nothing special. Guitarist/singer in the Crow's Nest was good.
We chose to adjust the gratuities component on our final bill and give cash to those who had given good service.
Tender to shore
This was generally efficient but the diesel fumes were overpowering and highly unpleasant. The tender back from shore made a terrible meal of coming alongside the ship, one could see the crew member and officer on board at the gangway getting exasperated at the antics of the hapless tender crew.
I will not really be in a hurry to sail with Holland America again.