I booked 4 staterooms on Holland America's 14 Day New Zealand & Australia cruise, departing January 30, 2011, on the Volendam. I booked 1 Deluxe Verandah Suite and 3 Veranda Suites for 9 people. The trip was a gift from me to my family and the cruise was quite expensive.
During the cruise for over half the time in all 4 cabins we experienced no hot water, one cabin only had hot water for 1 day. In 3 cabins we had no functional air conditioning for the entire trip and in the 4th cabin the air conditioning did not work 5 out of 14 days. It was summer in New Zealand and quite warm. We complained, but nothing was ever repaired. The cabins also were extremely dirty. The carpet was soiled to the point that you would not walk in bare feet and the upholstery was equally dirty.
I wrote Holland America regarding my experience and requested a refund of 30-40% stating that they advertise a "premium cruise experience for discerning cruisers" and that was not what we received. We received 2 star accommodations.
Holland America's response was to give each passenger an individual $250 credit toward a future cruise on Holland America. This in no way said we are sorry for your inconvenience, anyone can get a $250 credit toward a future cruise just for asking.
I travel extensively and understand occasional mechanical failures and not everything is perfect all the time. I have never asked for a refund in my 35 years of travel, but this was blatantly selling a product and a condition of ship that did not exist. The ship Volendam should either have been taken out of service for upgrading or had a reduced price and a disclaimer that the ship was not a premium class vessel.
Holland America obviously does not care about the customer or the experience they deliver.