6 Holland America Amsterdam Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

Our intent on this trip was to have a relaxing time on board ship while seeing Alaska. We had been told that Holland America is a notch above the competition, but found that it didn't come close to other cruise lines. We actually had ... Read More
Our intent on this trip was to have a relaxing time on board ship while seeing Alaska. We had been told that Holland America is a notch above the competition, but found that it didn't come close to other cruise lines. We actually had a horrible experience. There was a major problem with the heating and cooling unit in our cabin. They tried 3 times to adjust the temperature, but our room remained hot, making sleep difficult. We would wake up sweating. We asked for a fan, but they said none were available. We repeatedly asked that they fix it but the gal at the desk continued to blow us off, saying they were already in there several times to fix it, as if it was our problem. Finally, with 2 nights left we were both sick, and I insisted we have a fan. Finally our dear housekeeper brought us one which was taken out of an office. Two and a half weeks later we are still sick with a respiratory virus. Also, my husband uses a Cpap machine which has a filter. After 2 weeks on the ship the filter was black. At home he changes it once a month and it's always light gray. That says something about the ventilator. We will never go on Holland America again. Our once in a lifetime trip to Alaska was ruined. We always look forward to the food on a cruise, but we found the dining room meals to be very salty and underwhelming. However, a need for a medically necessary gluten free diet was met by the very conscientious staff. The staff in the dining areas were wonderful. Most of the entertainment we saw was excellent, but there were a couple performers who were crude and disrespectful. If I was grading this cruise experience I would have to give it an F. The positive features couldn't compensate for our horrible cabin experience and our lengthy illness from it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Beautiful San Diego,We arrived 1 day early, Dec 3rd, Watched the sunset at Sunset Cliffs.There was the evening Christmas Parade. The King's Inn, authentic Mexican food for dinner next door. Embarkation at 1.00pm was very fast ... Read More
Beautiful San Diego,We arrived 1 day early, Dec 3rd, Watched the sunset at Sunset Cliffs.There was the evening Christmas Parade. The King's Inn, authentic Mexican food for dinner next door. Embarkation at 1.00pm was very fast and our luggage was in our room within the hour.Correction, my luggage was missing, regardless We headed up to Lido Deck 8 like veteran cruisers for lunch...Asian curry noodles and rice quite authentic. Checked with Security where my bag was held and my small travel iron was confiscated until Ensenada.You can not pack extension cords either. My cabin was Ocean View 3343 mid deck, near the Clock Tower Atrium....which was beautifully Xmas decorated with gingerbread houses, train set.Christmas trees lights.. Cabin was great,, quiet and equidistant both ends of the Amsterdam, La Fontaine Dining room and Queens Lounge..Must mention that my Cabin Stewards Agus and Made were warm, friendly and unobtrusive, kept the cabin very clean and tidy. I look forward to the Towel Art and be surprised every evening. All the ports were excellent, You are in Paradise, The ship excursions were pretty good but We decided to rent a car where We can and explore the islands on our own. HAL ships' ON LOCATION .We had Kainoa who gave us lectures on Hawaiian Culture, History and personal stories of the islands, advice,maps, guidelines to plan your day ashore,the many places to see,and shore excursions. There were the Hula Dancers performances and Hula lessons.Ukulele lessons,Hawaiian Lei making classes ,....A deeper Hawaiian experience. Dec 4th, 5 lovely fun filled sea days,This beautiful ship had fresh flowers everywhere. I read books by Dean Koontz and Jeffrey Archer in The Exploration Cafe Library. Dec 10th, HONOLULU (Oahu). We took the bus transit to Hanauma Bay, for swimming and snorkeling,Not environmentally correct to walk on the coral and rocks,then a long walk on Waikiki Beach, and some shopping for a Ukulele (Better buy on Amazon). i've been to the Pearl Harbor Memorial before .. there wasn't enough time to do more. HILO (Hawaii) Dec 11th..We drove up to Mauna Kea (13 796 ft) At 9200 ft,The Onizuka Center, the road to the summit was blocked off because of frozen ice, so We decided to drive South to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.(original plan was to do this from Kona) Moana Loa was spewing lava before the mist covered everything. Took a walk through the Thurston Lava Tube. At the shoreline of black lava fields, Kilauea was actively erupting lava into the sea, shooting massive plumes of smoke and ashes into the sky that can bee seen from afar. Next day, Dec 12th KONA, There was no car rental shuttle.It's USD28 to get to the car rental and USD28 back so no car rental. We did the Hop On for USD15 each,At the beach stop,James went snorkeling with his Go Pro and I walked the tidal pools and beaches.Saw 5 turtles and lots of yellow fishes..James did the Atlantis submarine (USD85).while I went shopping. 6 packs of Macadamia nut chocs ($24) at Target and Ross is my favorite for bargain hunting, shoes, dresses and fine Italian soap.(Bulgari 100ml parfum $30). Dec 13th NAWILIWILI (Kauai). We drove through Lihue to Waimea Canyon,The Grand Canyon of Hawaii.Don't just stop here, keep on driving to the very end of the road and from here you can see the North shore of the island, the jagged cliffs overlooking the sea.here was where they filmed Jurassic Park. A stop at Wailua Falls, there was a rainbow, before heading back to the ship. Dec 14th LAHAINA (Maui). Make sure your car rental pick-up is at JHM Airport.(not Kahului Airport which is too far from Lahaina) and the last car rental shuttle return to pier is 4.00pm ($20 cab return to Pier at 6.30pm). Drove up to Hakeakala National Park, dormant volcano, elevation 10,024 ft. We were above the clouds !!!! Nature enthusiasts would love the unique flora , silver swords. THE ROAD TO HANA, yes, We decided to do partway of this road, time permitting because We don't know when We'll be back this way again, just to say "We were there.". Narrow winding road through rain forest.Stopped at a fruit stand, On the way back, We went to the beach to watch the surfers.I had a Maui shave ice for $5, don't do that, not natural flavoring, inedible I had to throw away. It's my birthday, the dining room staff sang a Happy Happy song, which also works for anniversaries or anything else (I speak the language) and also a Birthday cake. If they sang in reverse, Am I one year younger You think? The 5 sea days to Ensenada, Mexico Dec20th, a seaside town with a wet fish market, lots of touristsy shops.Had a walk around and back to the ship for TEA., delicious scones with berries preserve and clotted cream.Earl Grey. Dec 21st, San Diego.Last breakfast.Disembark,Took the shuttle to the airport USD10. The HiGH POINT of this wonderful and special cruise was the Scenic Sailing of Kilauea Volcano 10.00pm.I videoed from the ship's bow.The lava flowing into the sea, bright orange red spewing up against the dark night.Lots of steam and smoke. Captain Fred Eversen is cool. The Amsterdam Dancers and Singers and the other entertainers were Super Excellent. The Culinary Art Centre was standing room only, Lots of activities like Trivia and stuff.... Cruise director guys were cool. The food was Excellent and ALL the staff did their best to make this an amazing wonderful cruise. I did not win the $25,000 Bingo, ;( I did not win the Cruise Bingo. ;( Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Just completed a wonderful cruise aboard the Ms Amsterdam, visiting most of the Polynesian islands. Service was exceptional aboard HAL's flagship, especially for those with a Neptune and Pinnacle suite on the Navigation deck. We ... Read More
Just completed a wonderful cruise aboard the Ms Amsterdam, visiting most of the Polynesian islands. Service was exceptional aboard HAL's flagship, especially for those with a Neptune and Pinnacle suite on the Navigation deck. We were greeted by name by bother servers and officers. Even deviations from the printed menu in main dining were accommodated (like the time an Ahi tuna main coarse was served when the menu only had the tuna as a Carpaccio appetizer) Food was excellent too, making it difficult to decide how many selections to make from the appetizer/soup/salad portion of the menu. A nice touch is that the menu was very predictable; the first appetizer was always a fruit melange, the second an appetizer of thinly sliced meat or fish, etc. ) but also, different in an enjoyable way if you appreciate good food. Only compliant here was that portion sizes were occasionally too large! (My Prime Rib was at least 1 Kg). Entertainment included the typical acts from Las Vegas in the main lounge at night, as well as educational lectures during the days at sea. A very nice touch was how the entertainment was shaped around the ports visited. There were classes to learn play U'kulele, dance the Hula, as well as exhibitions by native experts on the main stage. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
9 to 16 JULY 2016 ......This was my third cruise. My wife and I really enjoyed the time aboard. Our cabin was 5177 so it was an inside room with no windows, which I like for sleeping. Our cabin steward "Riza" was very good ... Read More
9 to 16 JULY 2016 ......This was my third cruise. My wife and I really enjoyed the time aboard. Our cabin was 5177 so it was an inside room with no windows, which I like for sleeping. Our cabin steward "Riza" was very good about keeping our cabin picked up and towels and bed kept orderly. My wife just loved the towel that was folded different each day into a different shape of some type of animal. We had plenty to do on board and we enjoyed the shows and other special activities. The top two for us was the "marriage game" and "Name that tune". The list of Shore excursions was great so we had many options but the only negative I have with that is that the time in port of calls seemed to be so rushed. The cruise up into Glacier bay was just wonderful and interesting and we was given a map of the area in our rooms the day before so we knew where and what we was watching on deck while the PA system announced each Glacier. Initial embarkation process is very chaotic as well as the drill for the life boats but over all we had a very good vacation. we are going to be very pro-active with our friends about they must take a trip to Alaska and HAL would be a good choice for cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We are an Australian couple in our early 60's and fans of Southern Gospel music, so when we saw that this years Gaither Homecoming Cruise was once again to Alaska, we quickly signed up for the 7 day Seattle to Seattle cruise on the Ms ... Read More
We are an Australian couple in our early 60's and fans of Southern Gospel music, so when we saw that this years Gaither Homecoming Cruise was once again to Alaska, we quickly signed up for the 7 day Seattle to Seattle cruise on the Ms Amsterdam. Our home town of Tamworth NSW is a long, long way from Seattle so after a 6 hour train trip to Sydney, over-night at our daughter's and a 14 hour flight to Vancouver that was extended to 17 hours due to having to turn back to Sydney because of a faulty oven switch and then a 40 minute connecting flight to Seattle, we finally arrived the day prior to sailing. We had a very comfortable overnight stay at the Warwick in downtown Seattle and was able to ride the monorail and ascend the Space Needle before heading to Pier 91. Embarkation was busy, but orderly and after arriving dockside at 12:30, we were eating in the Lido(chaotic) by 1:30. Our cabin on the Lower Promenade Deck was ready on boarding and our luggage arrived between lunch and Emergency drill. Sail away was in beautiful fine weather, but this was to change to fog and overcast rainy conditions for the next day at sea. Due to the limited seating arrangements in the "Queen's Lounge", the ship's passenger compliment was divided into the "Blue Group" and the "Red Group". This is all pre-arranged around your dining preference. We had nominated the 8:00pm sitting, so we were in the "Blue Group". Others didn't get their preference as the numbers had to balance. The first "Blue Group" concert was almost straight after deck drill and what a concert it was. Additional artists to those advertised,like The Hoppers, were on board, so we were doubly blessed. The singing was magnificent, throughout the cruise, with heaps of comedy and laughter. On the mornings of the "at sea" days we enjoyed additional mini concerts featuring 5 or 6 of the artist and special events like Reggie & Lady Love Smith,s cabaret and the "Key note speaker" Andy Andrews, were also interspersed during the cruise. Each colour group was further subdivided into "priority" groups who enjoyed front row seats for two of the many concerts. There was a bookstore open at various times that enabled us to meet and mingle with the artist as we bought their CD's and DVD's. A special "Meet the Gaither Vocal Band" was held for both the Reds and the Blues where autographs and photos could be obtained. I took this opportunity to get some "Station ID's" for our local Christian radio station, Rhema FM. Occasionally we bumped into one of the "stars" in the run of the ship, but generally they kept to themselves. One highlight of the cruise for me was a "Gospel Sing-a-long" one evening when we sang some of the great old christian hymns and songs. Each morning at 7:45, one of the Homecoming group led a time of devotions, which where well attended, but on shore days they where a bit hard to fit in. However we could always catch them on the continuous loop TV screening, throughout the day. The food over all was excellent, with breakfast and lunch in the Lido plentiful, although we did try the Main Dinning Room on a couple of occasions for these meals and enjoyed the extra service. Our evening meals in the MDR were very good and although the serves were fairly small, we certainly had sufficient. We were at a table of 8 and really enjoyed the company and interaction, although we didn't all attend each night. Some were sea sick the second night out. My DW and I dined at "The Pinnacle" one night and this was superb. Our shore excursions were; Juneau: Town & Mendenhall Glacier tour. (Self organised on the pier). This was very good and allowed us to explore the town afterwards although it was drizzling rain which aborted our proposed ride on the Roberts Street Tramway. Sitka:HAL booked "Sea Otter and Wildlife Tour". Very relaxing on a lovely fine morning where we saw a small humpback whale, many sea otters and a black bear on a distant shore. We also experienced a full breech of another humpback.Ketchikan: As we only had a short stay here, we opted to just walk the town on another perfect summers day. However one couple somehow didn't make it back to the ship in time and were left stranded. Victoria: Again a pre-booked tour, this time to the beautiful Butchart Gardens. This we loved and would have liked to have spent more daylight time there, but the evening arrival of the Amsterdam prohibits this.Seattle: We booked a post "Seattle by land and sea" tour which enabled us to have our luggage with us and taken to the airport. This tour was fine, but only drove past "Pike's Market", without us going in. The Ms Amsterdam was excellent, the service great and our cabin well located and comfortable. The casino was closed down and very little bar trade, but drinks could be ordered with our meals. Disembarkation was swift once our allocation was called, although this was later than the time slot stated. All in all a very enjoyable cruise with the Homecoming concerts being the highlight for me. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Alaska is our favorite destination. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary...I have visited Alaska 6 times on my own on land tours, and we went back for our sixth cruise to Alaska this time on Holland America's MS Amsterdam. ... Read More
Alaska is our favorite destination. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary...I have visited Alaska 6 times on my own on land tours, and we went back for our sixth cruise to Alaska this time on Holland America's MS Amsterdam. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It visited several ports that none of our cruises have ever visited - but I have been to most of them on my own at some time in the past - i.e. Anchorage, Homer, and Kodiak.We did not check-in to the ship in Seattle until after 3:00 p.m. as friends met us at the airport and we enjoyed a glorious day in Seattle with lunch at the Space Needle. We could see all the way out to the Olympics. MS Amsterdam was in port at Pier 91 along with Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas and Celebrity Infinity was closer near downtown and Pike's Place Market. Check-in was seemless as we were the only people in the terminal at that time. We boarded the ship and found our Deluxe Verandah cabin #6208 - on the port side (left) aft. Our cabin had more than adequate storage space but limited closet space. The verandah was nice with a chaise lounge and a chair with a small round table. There was a fold-out couch and coffee table adjacent to the dressing table. The queen size bed took up the majority of space in the room and there was only about 18" between the end of the bed and the wall. The bathroom was nice with tub. But personally - I would have preferred to have a shower in that space. The tub is set up about 4", so there is a definite rise to step in and out of it. If you aren't careful and forget about the extra height, you can take a good fall right into the counter and sink.The nicest area on the ship in my opinion is the Crow's Nest - a forward lounge on the 9th deck that offers plate glass windows 180 degrees and nice chairs to enjoy the scenery without having to be on deck. There is a bar there, and music is played in the evenings. If you are up there and you happen to see something you want to photograph, it is easy access to the outside deck. Because this was a 14-night cruise, there were four "formal" nights. I did not see any women wearing formal evening gowns and most gentlemen wore suits and ties and not tuxes. On the "formal" nights, the dining room seemed half full. All other nights were "smart casual" attire - with some people even wearing jeans - which until this cruise, I have never seen in the dining rooms at dinner.Food was a huge disappointment throughout the ship. Our servers in the dining room were not interactive and once our food was served, they seemed to disappear. We sent several things back as they were either cooked wrong or not hot. This happened on more than one occasion. Many things lacked flavor and taste and the portions seem to have shrunk considerably. For example, on the night they offered crab legs, we were served a plate with only 4 small legs on it - hardly a full serving. It was a good thing we also asked for a side serving of the fillet mignon that night - as that helped fill the void even though it was overcooked. Desserts were common, tasteless and unexciting. It seemed that Holland America focused much more on ice cream and sorbet than on their desserts. The one night we were offered creme brulee, it was sad. I make better creme brulee! The pear in pastry was all pastry and no pear. Several nights, the "special" desserts were some sort of ice cream sundae - nothing special to me! Very disappointing.I guess because I did not want coffee with dessert one night, the waiter assumed that I never wanted coffee. I had to ask on several occasions if I could have a cup after dinner - they never asked - they just brought coffee cups to three people at the table and did not ask if anyone else wanted anything.Our biggest disappointment came at Pinnacle Grill where I had signed us up for an Evening at Le Cirque - a gourmet restaurant in New York. It cost an additional $39 per person and did not include soda or wine. The meal was a huge disappointment. Our first course was an extremely tart and sour pate of some sort. We each took one bite and sent it back. Oh was it bad! Our second course was a corn chowder soup. I have never had a soup served in a bowl like this. First the bowl came to the table with a few kernals of corn, some mashed mushrooms and five potato croquettes. Then the server brought a crock to the table and poured pure corn puree into the bowl. When I asked for fresh ground pepper, I was frowned at. It was "corn" alright! - but almost like creamed corn. Nothing special. Our lobster salad was served on a triangular shaped white plate with a small lobster tail in the middle with three slices of avocado, three slices of tomato, three slices of pink grapefruit and three thin round pieces of potato drizzled with a pesto vinagrette. That combined with the grapefruit was definitely tangy and odd. The best part of dinner was our "prime rib" which was actually a huge rib eye that was filleted at our table and served. The side dish of vegetables was undercooked and the Daughne Potatoes were tasteless, dry and barely warm. The meat was tender and delicious and made up for the other part of the meal that was not so good. For dessert, I chose the creme brulee and Jim had the sorbet. Again - I make better creme brulee. The schtick for the creme brulee at Le Cirque is that the carmelization is a two part process here with two layers of brown sugar that is supposed to be flamed and carmelized. Mine was not carmelized enough and therefore I bit into pure brown sugar that was gritty and sugary. I definitely DO NOT recommend spending the money for the Le Cirque experience. I talked with several people that did say the regular Pinnacle Grill meals were good - so that would be my recommendation.The hours of the Lido Buffet have been shortened and the lines for service at the individual stations were extremely long. There was not enough staff behind the counter to serve the food to you to make it efficient. It took over 20-25 minutes to get a sandwich from the sandwich bar! For dinner - If you do not have your plate between 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. you have very little choice of alternative options. On our return in Juneau after our shore excursion - we did not get up to the Lido until around 9:00. Our only option was the Canaletto Italian restaurant. We were not happy that the buffet line had already closed on a day we were in port until 10:00 p.m.I think one of the nicest places on the ship is the Crow's Nest where you have a 180 degree unobstructed view of the scenery before you. We spent a lot of time here. It is a great gathering place with easy access to the outside deck if you want to photograph something.The other location that we thoroughly enjoyed was the Exploration's Cafe/Library and Lounge. Holland America exceeds in this area that is warm and friendly. You have easy access to computers here as well as a wide choice of books and DVD's to check out. You can purchase a good cup of coffee (similar to Starbucks) and enjoy a good read - or you can enjoy putting together a jigsaw puzzle or just sit and relax in one of the comfortable recliner chairs that faces the ocean.The entertainment onboard lacked professionalism and unfortunately the few production shows that we went to many people walked out during the performance. The singers and dancers were off key and sad. We enjoyed the daily trivia that was offered up in the Crow's Nest and that is where we met several nice people and enjoyed sunset and happy hour. Happy Hour is between 5-6 p.m. in the Crow's Nest where they offer the second drink for $1. On several occasions there was a server that offered some delicious chicken bites as a complimentary appetizer.There were several days that our room stewards did not make up our room until after 4:00 p.m. - which was not real pleasant. I was in the cabin several times when they finally came in and they quickly made up the bed and picked up the towels in the bath but did not even vacuum the floor. Other than the first day of embarkation when they came in and introduced ourselves, we barely saw them.Having said all of that - as I said before, we took this cruise because of the itinerary - and it did not disappoint one bit. You have to work hard to not enjoy yourself on a cruise. Even though we were not happy with certain things - we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will go back to Alaska again and again. Holland America is the only cruise line offering the longer 14-day cruise. To us - 7-days is just not long enough! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 3.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.1
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.2

Find an Amsterdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click