We sailed onboard the MS Rotterdam from Rotterdam to NYC on july 3th 2011.
The departure from Rotterdam was very special, it being the first time in 40 years the Holland America Line made the classic atlantic crossing. There were a lot of festivities on the quay. Especially for Dutch people and even more for those coming from Rotterdam it was extra special. Too bad that some grumpy Americans made comments during the departure and the crossing that the Dutch took over ( a Dutch invation...) : welcome onboard HOLLAND america Line !!
There were than enough activities in conjunction with the character of the crossing : lectures from Bill Miller, a very nice little museum in the Crow's nest with a lot of HAL memorabillia , the Pasadena Roof Orchestra etc. There was also a Dutch TV crew onboard (TV Rijnmond) who made an item for the evening news show. They were very carefull not to be in the way of the passengers. So with all the stuff going on: we were never bored, just staring out over the Ocean makes it worthwile, even on wednesday when the weather was also in classic North Atlantic style : high seas, rain and high winds !
The ship in general was in good condition, whenever the weather was good, crewmembers were painting to keep it looking good.
We had open seating for dinner and that worked out very well and efficiently. The menus were varied and never too much and if still hungry : room service (very quick , even on the stormy wednesday) or the Lido.
We participated in the progressive team trivia at 3 pm ( ended as second) and the pub trivia at 6 pm ( we won twice), hosted by the Dutch speaking cruise director Glenn( great job !!) and Dan , the guy who wants to be in Vegas ? ;-)
The cabin stewards did a consistently great job, no complaints what so ever. The dining room stewards are amazing : even with 8 people at a table they made no mistakes and never had to ask who ordered what .
The ship as such is big enough not to run into the same people everytime but small enough to make you feel at home. If you are looking for a quiet place to read : Explorations Cafe, what a comfortable leather chairs ! Looking for more lively surroundings : the Lido pool.
The fitness area is great too and has enough equipment. Being on a bike and staring over the ocean is quite different than being in a city gym !
All in all, memorable cruise on a great ship !!