One main reason that we chose Holland America was the highly touted Culinary Arts program. We attended the first cooking demo and noted that the hostess, Nikki, did not mention or try to "sell" any of the for-purchase cooking classes. We signed up for the class on Wednesday, only to be notified the next day that the class was cancelled due to low registration.
On Saturday we showed up for the cooking demo at 9:00 am. At 9:10 a staff person wandered in and told us that the class was cancelled because Nikki was sick. The recipe exchange at 10:00 was nothing more than a staff person laying recipes on a table for us to pick up. At 11:00, we showed up to attend a seafood demo with a wine reduction. The Indian chef came out and demoed lamb chops with a carrot dessert - not what we came to see. He did not even bring recipes to hand out.
The whole approach to this program was very disappointing. It left us feeling like Holland America is not committed to its programs. Given that this is a big reason that we chose this cruise we would probably try another cruise line next time.
We travelled with another couple and received a dinner each at the Pinnacle restaurant. Upon checkin, at 7:20 pm and without our luggage, we were told that our reservation was for 8:00 that night. We had been traveling for 11 hours from Denali . After speaking with the restaurant manager we were "wait listed" for our free dinner. An opening never materialized and all we were offered from the manager was an apology. He made no attempt at all to compensate us or accommodate us in any way.
My overall impression of Holland America is that they advertise and oversell programs knowing that they cannot meet the demand. It is simply a sales pitch to get you to choose their cruise line over a competitors'.