We just returned from a 6 night trip on the Ryndam and really enjoyed it. This is about our 12-15th cruise and we have traveled on NCL, Carnival, Disney, RCI and on Holland American (previously on the Westerdam). We are in our 40's and traveled with two teenagers and other family members.
After reading some of the recent reviews I was concerned that the quality had deteriorated, but am glad to report that there were many more positives than negatives on this cruise. The ship is certainly much smaller than most, but it still had all the basics needed to have a great time. I especially liked the Culinary Arts Center, which doubled as a movie theatre throughout the day. We got to see Moneyball and I was pleased that the movies offered were pretty current. They offered complimentary popcorn while there. I think it is a great idea that they offer computer classes free of charge too; however, none of the classes were Apple/Mac related - so that counted us out.
It was nice that the traditional hairy man contest and newlywed game weren't offered, so instead we took advantage of going on the complimentary behind the scenes kitchen tour and the backstage entertainers tour. Speaking of entertainers, while the first show was absolutely awful, the others were very good. The quality of singers was exceptional - some of the best singers I've ever heard on a cruise. I almost felt bad for them that they went from working on Broadway to working on a cruise ship until I found out that their only job the whole is week is those 5 shows. The comedian was enjoyable - wish she had done two shows or that they brought another comedian on too.
The meals were very good in the Rotterdam dining room. Yes, the salmon was excellent, and I was pleased to find out that the steaks were very tender. Perhaps they read all the negative posts about the quality of steaks and decided to upgrade their meat purchases. I had steak at about 3 meals and all were melt in your mouth tender! We went to the Pinnacle Grill for lunch, and while the service was fine, there was nothing out of the ordinary about it. However, the scallop appetizer was to die for! The bruchetta was great as well. I had two desserts; the chocolate cake one was not very good, but surprisingly the lime (flan-type) one was wonderful!
The menus for breakfast and dinner in the dining room were some of the most comprehensive ones I've ever seen. There were so many choices. I think the only thing I didn't enjoy at all was the lobster bisque the last night in the dining room. The duck was great that night though and this made up for it.
My kids enjoyed the club until they were kicked out each night at 12am. They had great fun line-dancing to Cupid Shuffle and The Wobble.
The only negatives were: Yes, the coffee really is bad-and I'm not a real picky coffee drinker; however, it was probably worse than any coffee I've ever tasted. The best 'free' coffee was in the Pinnacle Grill, which technically isn't really free, right? It seemed like we were always waiting for the ice cream bar to open up - they should have it opened longer. We also didn't like that the lido deck closed slightly passed midnight, so the only food you could get afterwards was through room service. I missed having a 24 hour pizza bar or sandwich bar. The other thing that bothered me on this ship...and it happened more early on, was being told "No"....no explanation, just "No". For example, while eating at Canaletto (the Italian no-fee restaurant), my daughter asked for marshmallows for her hot chocolate and our server just said "No" and seemed quite put off about it. She walked a few steps to the ice cream bar and brought them back to the table herself. Another time, we tried to get into lunch at the Rotterdam DR and our when we tried to join our family on line, we were told "No - it was too late". Really? Too late...they hadn't even been seated and were just two families in front of where we were. One of the days I had sweet potato fries outside by the pool area, which were awesome. So when I tried to get them again, they told me "No - not ready". I kept checking back only to find that he was not planning to make any that day. Why not? Finally, the only other negative was the weather - it was pretty cold and we missed the port of Key West, but this isn't Holland America's fault. In fact, they refunded us the port taxes, without us even asking for this.
Overall, the cruise was pretty great. The food was great, my steward was great, most of the staff were friendly, and the singers were wonderful.