My wife and I did the last half of the 35 day Voyage of the Vikings . We embarked in Rotterdam and disembarked close to where we live in Boston. We weren't sure we could do the full 35 days but we had such a good time that 35 days would have been great.
We flew to Amsterdam and stayed at the Banks Mansion Hotel for three days. I would highly recommend this hotel and the stay in Amsterdam was one on the highlights of our vacation.
We took a taxi back to Amsterdam's airport and we were promptly met by Hal representatives who put us on a bus to Rotterdam where we embarked the Maasdam at noontime without any delays or problems.
The ship was in decent condition. There are obvious signs of wear and tear and we heard of some sewage problems in a couple of the cabins. Our cabin was fine and our cabin steward as well as everyone on the crew was very efficient and a pleasure to deal with.
The food in the dining room was very good and the Pinnacle Grill was outstanding. We enjoyed the entertainment and the casino. The internet was very expensive and extremely slow, many times there was no signal at all. We found that using internet cafes in the ports was a better option.
Holland America caters to an older clientele, so travelers should be aware that there will be fewer children and less partying on a ship like the Maasdam. If you are looking for a wild and crazy crowd, this is not the cruise for you.
There were 13 ports of call on this cruise, Cherbourg(France), Wales, Faroe Islands, Dublin, Liverpool, Belfast, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, New Foundland, St Pierre, Bar Harbor, and Boston. Each port had it's own unique features and we enjoyed them. We took only one Hal excursion in Cherbourg to Utah Beach and it was well worth it. In most of the other ports there were "hop on, hop off" buses that were very convenient and inexpensive.
On this itinerary there is very little sunbathing, etc., temperatures are in the 40's and 50's in many of the countries. The most beautiful and breath-taking part of the cruise was unquestionably the day that the ship traveled through the fjords on the way to Greenland. I took 200 photos during those 6 hours.
In conclusion, we had a wonderful time, it was one of our favorite cruise of the 15 others we have taken, and the crew and waitstaff could not have been any more helpful.