I very rarely write reviews on any subject but I felt compelled to do so after experiencing this first cruise with Holland America.
My husband and I have cruised about 16 times over the past 20 years and prior to this sailing we were beginning to become greatly disillusioned with the cruise scene in general. Having witnessed RCCL and the other majors going down the gross holiday camp barge route and NCL's freestyle organised chaos, it was fantastic to return to the real cruise experience . Never once did we feel under pressure , all the staff were GENUINELY nice, The food was fantastic and every day the head chef was on deck asking for passenger opinions. The passenger space ratio was excellent plenty of sunbeds (without having to lie jammed up against fellow passengers), never queued more than a couple of minutes for anything, the inside cabins were certainly spacious and well equipped with lots of hanging space drawers etc.and the general ambience throughout the ship lent itself to a truly relaxing holiday.
We had heard before booking with HAL that they were noted for mainly carrying elderly passengers, well we are mid fifties but fit (do a lot of hillwalking camping boating etc.) There were a lot of passengers older than us but all of them very able and spritely . On our last RCCL cruise we spent most of our time avoiding motorised wheelchairs and zimmers (mostly occupied NOT by the elderly but by the greatly heavier than average), and by screaming kids running in and out of the lido buffet after having fingered everything that was on offer .
So forgive me if I do not go into any great detail about ports of call etc. but the ship,service, food and cruise were the real highlight of this holiday. Considering the Massdam is an older ship and therefore does'nt have the bling of other new ships, she still has a lot of class and could teach the others a long overdue lesson. Please Hal keep these smaller ships going, I'm sure in a few years these megabarges will have had there day and the real cruisers will be yearning for your sevice.