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Ryndam Review

77% of cruisers loved it
  • Moderately sized ship feels cozy and homey
  • Great Pacific Northwest fare at Pinnacle Grill
  • Cooking demos in the Culinary Arts Center

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Ryndam Overview

(4.0) 4.0 out of 5+ star rating
As cruise ships go, Holland America's 16-year-old Ryndam is approaching its "golden years." But instead of slowing down, the ship has just undergone the second of HAL's "Signature of Excellence" (SOE) makeovers, with even more upgrades (including the addition of a few dozen cabins and a makeover to the aft pool area) to come in 2012-13. The result: She's fresher and livelier -- and not just because of the new carpeting and drapes everywhere.

During the last SOE makeover, Ryndam gained the Explorations Cafe, which functions as a library, coffee shop and media space; the Culinary Arts Center, a demonstration kitchen that now shares a stage with the Wajang Theater's movie screen; a sleek (though small) wine-tasting nook; and the you've-got-to-see-it teens-only Oasis, where designers have actually added a level to the ship for a Gilligan's Island-style tropical club with a waterfall and hammocks.

Ultimately, what was most compelling about Ryndam's second transformation was that it gave a mid-sized, older ship some fresh new flash. And yet, the ship also retains its status as a marvelously intimate, moderately sized ship that offers a uniquely cozy ambience.

"Guests love this size ship," says Hotel Manager Simon de Boer, a 16-year veteran with Holland America, who oversees all the Signature of Excellence makeovers. "On bigger ships, by the end of a seven-day cruise, you have lost some of the new friends you made." The makeover team began with Ryndam's 924 cabins, installing new drapes, carpeting, lampshades and granite countertops and flooring in the bathrooms. Most of the public areas were also re-carpeted. While a lot of that is simple housekeeping, there are three major changes to the public areas, and two of them are smashing:

The main showroom, the Vermeer, received a dramatic new terraced first floor, which greatly enhances the sightlines for the audience.

A clever collection of three specialty bars, together called Mix, has been laid out side-by-side near the casino. It's the hippest area on the vessel.

A horizontal slice of the Lido Deck Buffet restaurant converts in the evenings to an Italian specialty area with its own waiters. It's an interesting idea, but diners in the Lido already had an Italian option from the buffet, and the venue was largely forgotten on my sailing.
Ryndam Fellow Passengers
On our trip, a Sea of Cortez itinerary, passengers skewed older; this varies, though, with Ryndam pulling in plenty of families with kids on holiday weeks, as well as younger singles and couples (i.e. under 50) when it visits more active ports like Puerto Vallarta. A recent three-day trip just after its makeover included a bachelorette party of 10 and a wedding party of 98. (The marriage was performed while the ship was docked in Tampa.)
Ryndam Dress Code
On formal nights, passengers took the dress code very seriously with most men wearing tuxedos and women dressed in evening gowns. The alternate standard for evenings is "smart casual," which translates into collared shirts and long pants for men and casual dresses or slacks for women. No shorts or swimsuits are allowed in the restaurants for evening meals. In practice, I did see both men and women wearing shorts in the Lido deck restaurant at night, though Holland America's typically older passenger demographic means that most guests are content to dress up for dinner.
Ryndam Gratuity
Holland America Line automatically adds $11.50 per person, per day, to onboard accounts; this is then shared among waiters, stewards and other service personnel. That amount can be adjusted in either direction by visiting the front desk. A 15 percent gratuity is tacked on to bar bills. Note that gratuities are not automatically included on bills for spa treatments.
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Ryndam Member Reviews 301 Reviews
   Key West, Trujillo, Santo Tomas and Costa Maya
November 2014

7 day cruise, sail date 11/30/14

I've sailed on two previous HAL ships, the Prisendam to the Western Med and the Rotterdam to Baltic.

This was my first domestic cruise and first on the Ryndam.

Several points: first, HAL is ...continue

   More than a little disappointed
November 2014

My wife and I have sailed on cruises from 7 different cruise lines and I can say hands down that this was the worst. The entire experience was flat at best. Yes, there were good experiences but the bad outweighed them by more than just a bit. ...continue

   Absolutely elegant -- fabulous
November 2014

This was my first time on Holland America. I chose the Ryndam for the itinerary -- Key West, Trujillo, Santo Tomas Castillo, and Costa Maya. The ship is mid sized, and she is just gorgeous. The decor is not glitzy, but very elegant focusing on ...continue

1 - 3 of 301 Reviews

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Ryndam Ratings
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Sailing From

Cruises To
Baltic & Northern Europe
Southern Caribbean
Western Caribbean
Western Mediterranean

Explore This Ship
Ship Stats
Crew: 560
Launched: 1994
Decks: 10
Tonnage: 55,819
Passengers: 1,266
Registry: Netherlands
CDC Score: 97
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