We have done three cruises all with the Holland America Line (Eastern Caribbean on the Eurodam; Alaska on the Volendam; Eastern Caribbean on the Westerdam (during the week of March 15th to 22nd) so we are unqualified to make comparisons to other cruise lines. However it behooves us as to what possibly could be done in the way of improvements. If we could choose everything to suit our own personal tastes with no considerations for other cruisers changes particularly in the entertainment would be made. However all of the cruise lines have to balance their offerings to satisfy a wide range of preferences unless of course it’s designed to cater to a certain more specialized group such as perhaps the Disney cruises.
I’ve read reviews that I just can’t believe to be accurate; but some people could teach a PHD course in complaining and criticizing. I can appreciate an occasional glitch here and there but a whole cruise being terrible just can’t be believed. A friend experienced rain on only the first day of his 2-week vacation but was so negative about it he said his whole vacation was 'rained out'.
One reviewer allowed the food was terrible, the staff couldn’t speak English, the staff was unfriendly, the rooms and the ship as a whole were dirty, etc….in short nothing was even remotely good. Some of these criticisms were of precisely the same cruises I was on. Granted they didn’t share our room nor did we share their room and perhaps they didn’t have our attendants but I can assure you we experienced nothing about which we could complain or criticize. Our room wasn’t dirty. If my wife says it wasn’t dirty IT WASN’T DIRTY because she’ll often personally test areas for cleanliness with a damp cloth.
There were complaints about the terrible food in the Lido Restaurant. Let's face it cafeterias can’t offer gourmet food – they aren’t about that. However our opinion is the food, the presentation and the staff more than measured up. If there weren’t enough options offered for you to make a solid meal, you were the problem and not the cruise line. I did overhear one person say the apples were no good. The truth is: the apples were fine but not his preferred variety. Can the cruise line be expected to offer every known variety of apples? I think not!
The ‘cracked pepper steak’ in the Vista Dining Room was a disappointment for me but not because it wasn’t good but because I don’t like pepper; and it was I who was dumb enough to order it knowing about the pepper. The waiter offered to replace it with something else. Incidentally another diner at our table rated it as one of the finest steaks he’s ever eaten...even added a little more pepper.
We found the staff to be extremely accommodating and friendly: our room attendants; the information desk staff; the staff in the Lido and the Vista rooms; those we encountered as we made our way about the ship; etc. It’s true their English language skills weren’t necessarily 110% but we had no communication difficulties. I should mention I chit chatted with many of them because I like to chit chat.
There was criticism with the lack of efficiency and friendliness during embarking and disembarking. Again I saw nothing of the kind. Often there will be a bottleneck under such circumstances, but 2000 people just can’t squeeze through a narrow doorway at precisely the same moment…and with more luggage than they can tote. However, had they heeded the announcements they would’ve remained in their rooms until prompted to leave. We did and we breezed off the ship. And we easily located our luggage in color coded groupings.
Yep! You are the problem and not Holland America.
Folks, when reading reviews ignore the completely negative reviews. Common sense will tell you they are exaggerated. As you know some people will complain because the water is wet.