We just completed the classic crossing on the Rotterdam which was in honor of the last continuous Holland America transatlantic cruise 40 years ago. And everyone we talked to said it would be a great experience Holland America would have so many lectures and activities that would commemorate the anniversary. However, when we got on board we found it to be an ordinary cruise there was a lecturer Bill Miller who was good and, there was a museum in the crow's nest (which you could put in the back seat of a car). But really it was just an ordinary cruise, and talking of ordinary let's talk about the Rotterdam.
The most of the staff on the Rotterdam seemed to be "stuck up" and acted as if they owned the ship and the passengers were just people they had to deal with on a daily basis. To make matters worse there was a Dutch TV crew on filming for a Dutch morning show and all of the hotel staff seemed preoccupied making sure the camera crew were looked after and shown everything, while the passengers were left to tend to themselves. This was not what I would expect from a Holland America ship especially one that is so called the "flag ship".
The food in the main dinning room was ok I have had better and I have had worse. But the problem we had with dinning was at the pinnacle grill (which should be called the basement grill because it is not at the top.) The food in the pinnacle was either overcooked or undercooked. The servers would just bring your food and plop it down in front of you. The waiters did not speak very good English so the chance of getting your order right was very slim. I ordered a baked potato I asked two servers AND the manager and to this day I'm still waiting for it. So I would recommend you save money and don't go the service and food is better in the main dinning room.
Our Stateroom was very nice we had a Deluxe Veranda Suite which was well appointed the only word of warning for those who book a suite on the Rotterdam is the Lido pool is right above the suites and if you book a suite under the pool you will hear the kids running back and forth and the staff at 5 a.m. when they move around the furniture to clean the pool deck so book a suit all the way in the back or all the way in the front. Just look at the ship floor plan before you pick your room and use your best judgment and you will be fine.
The Activities were few and far between it seemed that most activities on the ship were aimed at selling you a spa treatment, or selling you another cruise. We have been on other cruises that stopped in a different port everyday and there were more activities on that cruise then there were on the Rotterdam This was very poor because when you have 6 days at sea crossing the Atlantic you are actually relying on the activities to keep you occupied since you have 6 days at sea.
All in all the Rotterdam was just an ordinary ship but I think if this cruise was marketed as just another Holland America cruise I would have enjoyed it better. So we will still go on Holland America again because we know that there are other Holland America ships that actually provide a "signature of excellence" But we will never cruise again on the Rotterdam.