53 Holland America Amsterdam Senior Cruise Reviews

This had a very good itinerary, with plenty of time in Anchorage and Victoria. Although, lots of smoke in Anchorage due to nearby fires. The staff on this ship is wonderful. They all seemed to have great attitudes, and were willing ... Read More
This had a very good itinerary, with plenty of time in Anchorage and Victoria. Although, lots of smoke in Anchorage due to nearby fires. The staff on this ship is wonderful. They all seemed to have great attitudes, and were willing to help. The ship still maintains a quiet elegance although it’s scheduled for dry dock next May. The public spaces never seem crowded, and the onboard entertainment on the Main Stage was very good. Three production shows, three comedians/magicians, and a wonderful pianist (Ryan Ahern). Temperatures during the day were in the high 60’s, but I definitely recommend warm clothes for being out on deck. The Hubbard Glacier was a good highlight. We were able to get very close, and their was calving during our visit. We also had a lot of whale sightings off the ship. This was our 4th cruise to Alaska, and I recommend this line for anyone looking for a quiet, and enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are a couple in our early 60’s. We traveled with another couple. We stayed at the Homewood Suites downtown. We took an Uber to the port which was very close to the port at around 10:00 AM. We were on the ship by 11:45. We were ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60’s. We traveled with another couple. We stayed at the Homewood Suites downtown. We took an Uber to the port which was very close to the port at around 10:00 AM. We were on the ship by 11:45. We were able to go straight to our rooms. We had a nice quiet lunch in the main dining room. The Amsterdam is an amazing ship! Very clean and nicely decorated! Smaller ship but easy to get around. Since our cabin was on the 3rd floor it was very easy to get to the main dining room which was one floor up. Love being in the back of the ship. Dining: We went to the Pinnacle Grill three times. Love the menu and the waiters and waitresses. Lobster bisque, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, lobster tail and filet were all so amazing! Also had the scallops, candy bacon and porterhouse! All were amazing. Wahyu and Kay were so amazing in the Pinnacle. We also went to the Canalleto one night. Liked their menu also. Mira and Carla were amazing and always friendly and nice when ever we saw them! The main dining room was great. We ate most of our meals there including a couple of lunches and breakfast. Amazing Amin, was one of our favorite waiters! Always had a smile on his face. The last at sea day they served surf and turf and shrimp cocktail in the dining room. Very good! The Lido serves an awesome breakfast. Lots of different juices. Egg making station, pancakes etc station. Lunch they have a great salad station. Ports: Awesome itinerary! Picked this cruise for all the amazing ports! Ketchikan: Bering Sea Fisherman Tour was excellent. We did this tour 11 years ago and couldn’t wait to go back. It was rainy and cold but they provided raincoats and they had heaters on the boat. We watched them catch fish and crabs in the pots. You could hold rock crabs etc. They threw herring and we watched the eagles fly down and catch them . An awesome shore excursion not to be missed! The boat docks right in town. Lots of nice shops etc. Sawyer Glacier at Tracy Arm was beautiful. Nice relaxing day. Juneau: We took the Jeep Wrangler 4 Door Jeep tour. We booked through the ship. We went on our own to the Mendenhall glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls. So nice to take our time and explore at our own pace. We also went to Saint Therese Chapel which was beautiful location in the woods. Amazing area! Then onto the Fish hatchery. Very cool to see that many fish! Icy Strait Point: TOK River Outfitters is a company we found on line. They were awesome! We went halibut fishing! Between the six of us we caught about 25 halibut! The boat was in pristine shape and Nick the captain and Tammy were so amazing! They baited our lines and released all our catches for us. They went out of their way to make our day so awesome! It was a rainy and cold day but we were having so much fun catching fish we didn’t even notice the weather. Anchorage: There is a free shuttle to town. We booked the Glacier Quest Cruise through Phillips 26 Glacier Cruises on line. We actually called direct and got a AAA discount for the cruise. We booked the motor coach for transportation to Whittier which is where the tour begins. The glaciers we visited were beautiful! The lunch was great! This excursion takes all day but it was so amazing to get up so close to the glaciers. We chose the glacier quest which was a shorter cruise because we worried we would not have enough time for the longer 26 glacier cruise. As it turned out though, there was just enough time for the time we had at port to take either cruise. Homer: We took the free shuttle to the Spit. Nice area for souvenir shopping for some unusual things. We booked a private tour through Bay Excursions for a Marine Wildlife Tour. The tour was right down by the water at the spit. We saw puffins and otters and eagles. Very Knowledgeable guys on board our boat. The captain was great! Kodiak: We took the free shuttle to town. The guys booked a Bear Viewing tour through Island Air Service. Expensive but the best tour! Up close to see bears in the wild. They flew them to Fraser Lake in float planes and you are very near where the salmon are. The bears were very close to where they stood and watched them. My friend and I booked a floatplane tour with Andrews Air. We were so close to the mountain peaks that I felt like I could touch them. The take off and landing on the water was so smooth. We highly recommend either place, which were next door to each other, for floatplane trips. Hubbard Glacier: Amazing day to see the Hubbard Glacier up close. The ship offers an excursion to get off the ship to go see the glacier even closer. We didn’t do it though since we had been very close to glaciers in Whittier when we were there. The scenery is just undesirable at the passage into the glacier. Sitka: We took the shuttle to town. We booked a tour on our own with Captain Gary’s Sitka Adventures for a Whale watch. Gary met us in town and took us out on his pristine boat. It was just the four of us. Gary was amazing! We saw so many whales. We saw otters. Beautiful area! Gary was the best! Victoria: The shuttle offered by the ship is $15.95/pp to town. We took a taxi directly to the Butchart Gardens on our own. Way cheaper. The Gardens are about 40 minutes from where the shuttle drops you off at the Empress Hotel in town. The gardens are the most amazing gardens we have ever seen. Highly recommend going there. Embarkation: The Port Valet offered by SEA/TAC is an awesome way to go. Put your bags out at midnight and you don’t have to deal with them until you get to your baggage claim at your final destination. FREE too!!! This itinerary was so awesome! We hoped to go to these same ports next year but they changed them. No Kodiak or Sitka! We hope they bring them back. This was our 16 cruise. 6th cruise with Holland America. We really love Holland!! One big plus for us is that Holland America Line has a priest on board for all their cruises. We really love that they do this! All in all, we can’t say enough how wonderful this cruise was. Alaska is an awesome place to visit! So much untouched amazingly beautiful scenery!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. Check- in was a long process as those going on the World Cruise are mostly four and five star customers and the designated line for that was just as long for the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. Check- in was a long process as those going on the World Cruise are mostly four and five star customers and the designated line for that was just as long for the other guests that were new to the ship. There are a lot of seniors on this trip (who else could take off for 113 days) so don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere as that won’t happen. We had an Oceanview room on the second deck right in the middle. We would not choose this again for two reasons. The pilots that board to help the ship dock usually come in very early in the morning right below your window and then there is the cleaning of the deck (deck three is the walking deck) also very early in the morning. However if noise doesn’t bother you, the cabin was nice. It had a large picture window, plenty of drawers and closet space and ours had a renovated bathroom that had a large glass shower and a marble counter. Unfortunately the rest of the décor was aged and some of the wood on the dressers had chips out of it. The rooms on deck 6 and 7 were fully refurbished during the last dry dock, hopefully they do the same with deck two. The itinerary was the best. Top ports to us were: Easter Island, Komodo Island, all of New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, Jordan, Cadiz (Seville), Copenhagen, Oslo and Dublin. We learned a few things to pass on to others regarding ports. If you are going into a tender port and really, really want to explore that port book a shore excursion. Even though the price is double what a port excursion is, you are first off the ship. We had rough seas when visiting Easter Island and some people did not get on the tender to view this impressive place. However, we were lucky to get a couple of hours on the Island and were very disappointed in Holland America when we saw an awful lot of staff on the island before we got there. Some were helping out with the tours but most were either from the shops or officers, we assumed that guests would have first dibs on the tenders. Pros: - Itinerary was absolutely amazing. - The Microsoft Digital Workshop was a free service that had classes on how best to use Windows 10. We learned a lot - Gloeta was a biology lecturer we had on board that was fabulous. It was standing room only for her lectures on the Pacific Ocean and what was lurking below the water. - The staff was second-to-none. Big shout out to Captain Johnathan Mercer. He kept us informed about all that was going on and always had time to say hello or answer a question. Henk Mensink is the hotel director but you see him everywhere. Wishing you a pleasant day in port, helping you on to the tender, picking up after guest. Holland America is lucky to have him. The wait staff and kitchen help were happy and helpful. - The ship was amazing clean, down to staff polishing the hand rails everyday on every stairwell and even brushing the carpet. Rooms were also exceptionally clean. - The food was all you could hope for. No need to dress up for formal nights in the dining room as the same food is served at the Lido (sure saves on what you have to pack). No need to get to the speciality restaurants either as the food is just that good. I liked the fact that almost all the food is served to you from behind the sneeze guards. We assume that there would be a lot less waste and much more cleanly that way. Cons - The internet is stupid expensive and so unreliable. We paid $700 US for a plan for the whole cruise and had better luck at the ports and in McDonalds on land, than trying to get the internet either to work at all or was so slow you couldn’t connect with what sites you wanted. - Staff – the cruise director was invisible except when the captain was at an activity, otherwise you never saw him or he quickly passed you without even a nod. The shore specialist was more interested in telling you all about the history of the place or what his favourite items were (sailing and pubs) than giving you hints on what to buy, where to buy, how much to pay, etc. Very disappointing for both of these. - Library needs to either get updated books or become a digital library. Some of the books had been there an extended period of time and anything new was few and far between. - The entertainers on board were average at best. Some good, some bad. The average age looked to be around 75 so the entertainment was geared to that era. - There were two big back windows in the dining room that you could not see out of because they were shattered but were never changed out the whole trip. Also couldn’t see out of most of the windows by the end of the cruise as they were not cleaned. We had to complain in order to get our window in our cabin cleaned. Even though there were some cons (as I assume all ships have), this trip was a once in a lifetime experience and what was saw of the world was fabulous. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
A Grand World cruise is a bucket list thing. We loved every day of this. The trip from Aqabah out to Petra was breathtaking. Tahiti was a disappointment...just a big dirty city. Bantry , Ireland was a serendipitous stop...Bantry House ... Read More
A Grand World cruise is a bucket list thing. We loved every day of this. The trip from Aqabah out to Petra was breathtaking. Tahiti was a disappointment...just a big dirty city. Bantry , Ireland was a serendipitous stop...Bantry House was amazing, as well as the impromptu Irish dance and music at Ma Murphys Pub. Snorkeling at the Pink Beach in Komodo, Indonesia..outstanding! But the best of all was having the President of the cruise line treat us ALL to a private reception at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam! What an awesome privilege! Travelling around the world , from east to west means lots of extra hours as we turn our clocks back through all time zones! Music was wonderful, for easy listening or dancing. Captain Jonathon Mercer took us through some stormy seas, we were never nervous. Service was top notch. There’s just something incomparable with a Grand World on HAL! Class act all the way. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We were looking for a Panama cruise and this fit the bill as far as the ship, type of passenger, itinerary. The ship itself was very nice, the crew were good, the activities good. There was plenty of room on board with places to relax. ... Read More
We were looking for a Panama cruise and this fit the bill as far as the ship, type of passenger, itinerary. The ship itself was very nice, the crew were good, the activities good. There was plenty of room on board with places to relax. The pool and hot tubs were not too crowded. Overall, a wonderful experience with friends. My complaints were as follows 1. The butter put out at breakfast for toast etc was rancid and moldy. The Lido restaurant staff were told about it by multiple passengers including myself, but it was not until almost 10 days after they were told of the problem that it was finally removed and replaced. 2. The snorkel/beach excursion in Huatulco was a fraud. The coral is almost completely dead. It was a sad experience and a total waste of money. We would have been much better off just going to the beach and restaurants in the main part of town. 3. They were trying to sell water as you got off the ship to go on shore excursions which included free bottled water. Maybe spend a little more time showing consideration for the passengers and a little less time trying to sell them stuff! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our 5th cruise first trip to Alaska and on Holland. We booked last minute and ended up with a cabin on the main deck 2647. It was quiet with a walk in shower! We bought the spa pass and felt it was our own spa for the cruise. ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise first trip to Alaska and on Holland. We booked last minute and ended up with a cabin on the main deck 2647. It was quiet with a walk in shower! We bought the spa pass and felt it was our own spa for the cruise. We used it in the morning after our exercise in the gym and it was empty. The service was top rate from room Stewart to dining to ocean bar. Everyone referred to us by name and were very attentive. The food was the best I have experienced on all cruise lines(carnival, celebrity,norwegian and royal caribbean). We were in the dining room for lunch and dinner and it was fantastic. We did 2 excursions: In Juneau we did the whale watching and Mendenhall glacier. The whale watching boats so crowded 150 people? Too many! In Sitka we did an ATV which was fantastic. There was only one other couple. We took a small boat to a volcanic island and saw 3 whales, sea otters and bald eagle. The ATV was fun and beautiful scenery. Afterward we went to town and the totem pole park. Hubbard glacier was breathtaking. In Ketchikan just walked the town. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Boarding the ship with a wheelchair was easy and accommodating. The first day into the cruise was filled with underwhelming food. It seemed like the ship did not have any stabilizers and I got very seasick. Not only was there nobody in the ... Read More
Boarding the ship with a wheelchair was easy and accommodating. The first day into the cruise was filled with underwhelming food. It seemed like the ship did not have any stabilizers and I got very seasick. Not only was there nobody in the infirmary to answer the phone, but there was also nobody in the infirmary that could give me seasick medicine. I eventually was helped by someone in guest services. With the medicine I was given, I needed to take it with food. However bring it was late in the night, the only thing open was room service. I could not get ahold of room services for the entire day and still had my tray from lunch in my room. I also used the complimentary movie service. However I did not get to watch a movie because the DVD got stuck in the player. I called to ask for help in working the machine, was told someone would be to the cabin shortly- nobody ever came. The only thing that made my trip with Holland America bearable were the excursions. The excursion company was very good and helpful. The staff were very rude when boarding the ship and were rushing passengers through security. I understand the need to have a swift departure, but they were rude with even elderly passengers. The best food on the ship was the ice cream- which was running low (the popular vanilla and chocolate flavors were nonexistent) by the second to last stop on the cruise. The buffet was lacking in variety and flavor- lunch and dinner time consisted of the exact same things. By day four of the cruise, I was sick of the food. I enjoyed the decor of the ship but ultimately felt it was not a wise use of money and the longest week of my life. I understand that situations are out of control of the hands of the crew- like the rough seas- however, there was nothing extremely good to overshadow the rough beginning in which lots of things the crew could have done better went wrong. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Since I don't like to fly, I chose this cruise over a land, sea cruise. I liked that we went to ports that most people don't get to see. The weather was not the greatest at times, but they have no control over that. I ... Read More
Since I don't like to fly, I chose this cruise over a land, sea cruise. I liked that we went to ports that most people don't get to see. The weather was not the greatest at times, but they have no control over that. I thought the entertainment was terrific, except for the so-called comedian the first night of the cruise. The steward was great. Our waiter was phenomenal. I gained 10 lbs., so the food must have been great. Overall, I was very happy with the cruise and have no complaints. I was traveling with 2 friends, so being in one room together was kind of challenging, but we made it work. The bathroom was very nice and quite roomy. There was way more closet space than I had expected. We took turns sleeping on the sofa, and it was quite comfortable. No complaints. I would definitely cruise Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Loved the ports. It rained every day except in Victoria but we didn't mind. Bought a rain coat.The ship is tired, furniture in Crows Nest frayed and faded, bathroom wall vinyl coming loose, grout peeling, sofa springs sprung. Most ... Read More
Loved the ports. It rained every day except in Victoria but we didn't mind. Bought a rain coat.The ship is tired, furniture in Crows Nest frayed and faded, bathroom wall vinyl coming loose, grout peeling, sofa springs sprung. Most shows overall were lame. Piano bar guy,Van, could really play the piano but couldn't sing worth a darn. The food was excellent. Loved the new salad bar on Lido. The crew was exceptional! We got laundry done on the unlimited plan and it was better than my home laundry. Breakfast in room delivered everyday on time. Someone mentioned banging and we noticed that too. Loud noises coming from the bottom of ship. I just think the Amsterdam needs a face lift. I enjoyed the cruise but the ship is definitely not up to HAL standards. Enjoy the "as you wish dining" and never had to wait for seating. The food was varied and excellent. Again, the staff was the best but the ship needs attention. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I love Alaska and its beautiful scenery, people and wildlife. The more days cruising is a definite plus for me. A little different itinerary going to Icy Strait Point, Homer, and Kodiak. Unfortunately we did not get to Kodiak because of ... Read More
I love Alaska and its beautiful scenery, people and wildlife. The more days cruising is a definite plus for me. A little different itinerary going to Icy Strait Point, Homer, and Kodiak. Unfortunately we did not get to Kodiak because of weather. That was okay since I will just have to do the cruise again another time. The weather in Alaska is definitely not the norm, and you just have to go with the flow. The captain is the man who knows best. Captain Jonathan is the greatest! The weather did not stop us from going on tours or just going out on our own. The food in the dining room and lunch at the Pinnacle was great. Breakfast in the Lido was very good. Piano Man Van was entertaining and played to the crowd. The entertainment was good, especially Hyperion Wright, who was excellent. The comedian Paul Morrisey(??) was awful. Liked seeing the 6 dancers actually dancing. The cruise director, Jorge, was not very visible, and there were not many activities other than trivia a few times a day. Would love to have had music during the happy hours. Music was played after happy hours were over. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Boarding and disembarkation were very smooth, and I especially loved the complimentary, hands free luggage check-in on the return trip home. After leaving my luggage outside our cabin, I didn't see it again until it arrived at my ... Read More
Boarding and disembarkation were very smooth, and I especially loved the complimentary, hands free luggage check-in on the return trip home. After leaving my luggage outside our cabin, I didn't see it again until it arrived at my final destination. The Polynesian staff was as friendly as could be. I loved all the ports we stopped at, except for Kodiak, for which I would have to recommend you either stay on the ship, or take an excursion which gets you out of that ugly town the ship docks at. Loved the Crow's Nest for it's great view and happy hour, and met a lot of very nice people both there, in the dining areas, and on excursions. The type of people on this 2 week cruise were mostly over 60, and lots of retired people who do 3+ cruises a year. Not the best cruise to bring your kids on for diverse entertainment as there seemed to be very few children onboard. This was my third cruise to Alaska, and I probably would not have chosen to do a third cruise, but this one went to 3 places we haven't been to before, and I liked the 2 weeks, instead of the usual 1 week. Service on the ship was excellent and I have no complaints about the food, except that the coffee was always way too strong. Our balcony cabin was in a perfect location on deck 6. The ship is old, but has a very nice floor design and is kept very clean. I did see quite a few rust spots which would drive me crazy if she were my ship, but she is scheduled for some major dry dock work in March'2018. I loved the fact that there were little more than 1000 passengers on this ship, which means you get to see many of the people you meet over and over again which enhances the social experience and develops friendships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Holland America Alaskan Explorer August 14 - 28, 2017 We have always wanted to do the lesser known Alaskan ports so this cruise itinerary was perfect for us. We have been on 3 previous Alaska cruises that did the regular ... Read More
Holland America Alaskan Explorer August 14 - 28, 2017 We have always wanted to do the lesser known Alaskan ports so this cruise itinerary was perfect for us. We have been on 3 previous Alaska cruises that did the regular Ketchican, Juneau, Skagway itinerary. We had been on the Amsterdam before. We really like it. Not too big and not too small. It is well maintained in spite of it's age. We had a cabin on the lower promenade deck. These cabins have the walking deck in front of your window. During the day people can not see inside your cabin. At night, however, you need to make sure your curtains are closed as anyone walking by can see inside clearly. During our visits to the glaciers people would crowd onto the deck so seeing out the window was difficult. We did really like the location of our cabin. It was such a tiny cabin. The two of us couldn't fit in the hallway and dress at the same time. The bed took up the whole room. Our weather for this cruise was truly yucky. I expect rain in Ketichican and Juneau, however, it was rainy in nearly every port. It was getting down right depressing. It was so socked in with low clouds we couldn't even see any Alaskan mountains. Homer was overcast but no rain. Victoria was a picture perfect day, not a cloud in the sky. Everyplace else it rained. However, we packed our raincoats and umbrellas and went out and explored anyway. Sitting outside on this cruise was impossible as it was just too cold. We were able to sit out on the promenade deck in Seattle and Victoria. These were the only days that were warm enough. We booked this cruise short notice. We were on a camping trip along the Oregon coast and thought we would take this cruise since it was such a good price and we were in the vicinity. Since we were on a camping trip we had no formal wear. We were not able to eat in the dining room because of this. We were very happy eating in the buffet every day. The food was wonderful. We loved being able to have lobster in the buffet on lobster night. Entertainment was very good. The production shows were great. Other nights we had a juggler a comedian and a magician who I enjoyed. I didn't really enjoy the pianist, violinist and John Denver entertainers. They were very talented just not my cup of tea. I was very disappointed to find that several things were cancelled due to the new Oprah collaboration. No more crafts, no more dancing with the stars, no more ball room dancing lessons. We only had two game shows on this cruise. Liar Liar and Majority rules. We had no special speakers. I attended the art auctions just for something to do. I was so bored on this cruise. I read 5 books. My husband read 9. There was just not enough to do during the day. It is my opinion they need to stop this new Oprah collaboration as it takes away from the Holland America product. We purchased an internet plan of 1000 minutes for $250. Yes it is expensive but we are addicted to internet. We did no ship excursions. We couldn't afford any. They were extremely over priced. We booked tours independently in port. In Ketichcan we docked right in town. We walked around a bit and then went to the lumberjack show. This show was so much fun. It was nice because the seating area was covered and heated. In Juneau we just walked around town and stopped for a drink at a restaurant and watched the float planes come and go. It was pouring rain but we still had fun. Icy straight point was a bust for us. We took a $5 shuttle into town to find everything was closed. Not that there was anything in that town to see or do. The port area was just okay with a store, restaurant and nature trail. Instead of doing Tracy arm we did Endecot arm. This was a wonderful decision the captain made. We were able to go to the very end of the arm and see the Dawes Glacier. We did Tracy arm on previous cruises and were never able to make it to the Glacier so this change in the itinerary was very welcome. We had two boring days at sea to get to Anchorage. In Anchorage there was a free shuttle to get into town. In town we were able to book a tour of the area for only $20 per person. It was a great tour. We then walked around town and shopped a bit before taking the free shuttle back to the ship. Homer was a great day. We booked a hop on hop off bus tour for $15 per person. Homer is pretty big and it offered several stops. One stop was the beach. The hop on hop off was on a school bus. I had not been on a school bus for 30 years. I had a hard time getting up the steps and the seats were small and hard, however, we endured. Kodiak wasn't fun. We took a free shuttle into town but we found no tours to book and nothing to do. Not even any soveniar shops. We walked around the port area and looked at the different boats but that was it. We had another day at sea and arrived at Hubbard Glacier late the next afternoon. I find Hubbard Glacier to be much better than Glacier bay. It growled and I saw it claving several times. Sitka was a lovely stop. It rained again but it was such a nice city. We didn't do a tour here but the city has such lovely trails along the water. We found a bridge over a river that was filled with Salmon. It also had a fish latter that we had fun watching. We did a lot of walking this day. Sailaway was especially nice with all the islands around. We had another day at sea to get to Victoria and arrived at 1pm the next day. There was a $10 per person shuttle to town. Some people walked but it was quite a long way. It was a gorgeous day not a cloud in the sky. We booked a hop on hop off tour right in front of the Empress hotel. We never did hop off anywhere but enjoyed seeing this beautiful city. There was a lovely gift shop back at the port. We left at 11pm and never even felt the ship move. The seas on this trip were very calm. In fact I missed being rocked to sleep at night due to the lack of the motion of the ocean. This ship has a covered pool area but it was always wet in there due to condensation. I hated walking across this deck as it was always wet and slippery. I had a nice massage at the spa. I was asked to buy things as usual but it was not a hard sell. One no is all it took. Had a very nice Q and A with the dancers and singers. Lots of good information. A very nice Q and A with the captain. He was open and honest. I enjoyed these very much. There is no such thing as a bad cruise so we enjoyed this cruise, however, we decided we like warm weather cruises better than cold weather cruises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We visited most major ports in Alaska except Glacier Bay and Skagway/Haines. Embarkation was better than average with minimal waiting, and the port in Seattle was very easy to navigate. Holland allows 3 bottles of wine per adult ... Read More
We visited most major ports in Alaska except Glacier Bay and Skagway/Haines. Embarkation was better than average with minimal waiting, and the port in Seattle was very easy to navigate. Holland allows 3 bottles of wine per adult which can be placed in regular luggage, but bring your corkscrew if you will drink in your room. Corkage in the dining room was $18 plus tax in Washington :-( . Once out of Washington, no tax. Wine steward service was very good with our bottle always waiting for us at dinner, and each bottle lasted 3 dinners for us. Mildly upsetting was that Holland initially tentatively charged our credit card account $1,499.82 on embarkation (per our bank) while our final bill was only $32.20, overestimating the final amount by 4,657.8 percent. Seems to me that they should have disclosed this to passengers so that they would know what to expect since many banks now inform their customers of each charge made. The ship appears to be old and desperately needs renovation with SD TV's with poor reception in the staterooms (even for the usual onboard sourced programming) with noticeable wear in the bathroom and cabin and dated ship decor. There was substantial deferred maintenance In our stateroom, the bottom desk drawer didn't function well (other passengers said theirs did not work at all) and when I decided to take a bath (I am used to the tiny showers on other lines) there was ring around the bathtub. Yuk - showers on out. I also noticed that the grout had brown stains and the toilet seat showed signs of wear. The bathroom had ample shelf space with toiletries bags and reading material going under the sink and a closing corner vanity cabinet with three levels, There was a hair dryer mounted on the wall as well as a corded hair dryer in the desk which we did not use. A magnifying mirror was mounted to the desk and there was another in the desk as well. Two bathrobes were provided. During our cruise, they were apparently sanding and varnishing outdoor stairs between decks (we were pretty far aft). The strong smell permeated the hallway and rooms and caused both my wife and I to become nauseated. This continued for a substantial time. At one point, someone propped up am outdoor chair in the exterior doorway, but that was soon removed. They were also varnishing the railing on the top deck. Unfortunately, their "Wet paint" signs were placed on small labels facing the sea twisted somewhat around the railing structure. I found out that there was wet varnish the hard way. In another area of the top deck, the top wood rail was completely missing and remained missing throughout the two week trip. Others complained of smoke odors in public areas (purportedly no smoking allowed) and we noticed curry smells near the stairwell once or twice - we presume that the crew must have been cooking in the lower decks. Clean windows appeared to be a low priority on this ship. Besides the stateroom windows which is understandable due to their inaccessibility, windows for public areas, particularly the dining room, were filthy substantially blocking the view outside. Even accessible windows (like the windows on doors in public areas were filthy). Stewards were very polite, as were most personnel on board - much better than we have experienced on competing lines, while shop personnel were typically hard sell as on other lines. Food service in the dining room was good though food sat too long and was too repetitive. With a few exceptions, soup was placed in pitchers and poured into bowls at the table which helped to keep it hot, but most everything else was lukewarm. Portions promoted good health but seemed small. They served Alaskan crab at one dinner which consisted of two segments of a single leg. Dinner fare was unimaginative and repetitive. Souffles were sparse, and the variably prepared creme brulee was available every day. The one time I tried a souffle, it was very cupcake-like. The dinner rolls were likewise the same for the whole trip while other cruiselines provide different variations and styles. I was surprised when the surf and turf night did not include a baked potato. Interestingly, this cruise featured demonstrations by America's Test Kitchen, but it did not appear that anything was communicated to the cooking staff. Eating at the Lido Buffet was similarly unimaginative. Breakfast was substantially the same everyday. There were several stations with different types of food, but the food was generally unchanged and if one wanted different things, several stations would have to be visited. There were separate stations for fried eggs, omelets, waffles, poached eggs/congee, one for juices/milk, ... If one wanted poached eggs/eggs benedict and sausage, that would require a trip to two different stations, or even more if one wanted toast, with each having a separate queue which became very long at times. The stations generally did not have any additional assistance when the queue grew. Potatoes were cooked the same throughout the trip - no variations like potatoes o-brien, hash browns, etc. were offered. Fruit was sparse, and there were no smoked fish like salmon\ or trout, nor a large variety of sliced meats like those offered on other cruiselines. The servers were apparently instructed to work fast, but in their effort to serve the next person, often failed to provide what the prior person wanted. Once, and elderly gentlemen in front of me wanted a couple of different items. When he politely repeated what he wanted, the server became visibly peeved, finally responding to him and filling his request. Things similar to this were often repeated and it appeared that the servers either didn't want to listen or did not understand the people they were serving. It appeared that their failure to listen resulted in longer delays in the lines, though by the third or fourth day, I gave up and took whatever they scooped. Beverage service (coffee, water, tea, lemon syrup water) was spotty, depending on what personnel were present. Even though we were generally approached fairly quickly, beverage speed ranged from immediate to times when after finishing my food, I went to get iced tea from the dispenser myself. Even the supervisors (in suits) were variable - sometimes they would be helpful, sometimes they were busy talking amongst themselves and didn't care, and there were times when the dining area was relatively empty - they served a single diner, but refused to acknowledge other diners who wanted refills, even turning around and walking away after seeing diners wanting service. Lunch at the Lido was similar. There were multiple stations with a few variations (whatever was left over from a prior meal). Pizza, relegated to one regular station, was the worst I have had on a cruise, in part because it generally sat around for a long time (I don't know if the older passenger demographic was a cause). It was refreshing to be offered sushi, but there was only a very few variations of mini rolls (surprising since this cruise served lots of salmon), so after the second day, meh. They were small enough that people often got several, poured the sushi onto one plate, and abandoned the empty dishes. Many also gave up on waiting for the server - they just reached over and grabbed what they wanted. The buffet closed between meals though the food was placed in warming ovens quite early. The food, having sat for an extended time, lost its freshness by the time it was offered. An example - one station had small plates of pasta. I did not encounter any fresh plates. The plates had been sitting around long enough that the outside was dry and hard. Very few people partake. For lunch, sparcely filled small sandwiches were often available in small paper bags. Unsealed, these sat around long enough that the bread was often hard and dry. Lido provided snacks 10:30p - 11:30p. Comfort food such as wings, fries, tortilla chips, potato chips and other leftovers were offered. The wings, though not real fresh, were pretty tasty (unlike the other fried chicken which could have come from a frozen TV dinner. The fries were the best I have had on a cruise ship with two variations, one well done and one regular, provided. The chips, probably coming from bags, were typical. Guacamole was provided, but typically went very quickly without replenishing and at other times, stayed, the surface clearly discolored from sitting too long. The Lido dining area was not well maintained. The tables were often a little sticky (They need to replace the cleaning buckets more often) and it appeared no one bothered to vacuum the carpet, particularly noticeable near the windows. Desserts where typical - nothing fancy - but were not replenished quickly enough. Ice cream service was exceptional, extensive queues not withstanding. There were several choices of real ice cream (eg: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, chocolate chip, cookie dough, etc., sherbets) as well as soft serve, served in regular cones, waffle cones, or in bowls with a selection of toppings such as marshmallows, syrup and chocolate chips. This started near lunch and ran throughout the day. The Pinnacle Grill provided a quiet experience with attentive service though the food was unexceptional. The Italian restaurant was a cordoned off part of the Lido. It had attentive service and good portions, though the food was not up to par and was not close to what we consider good authentic Italian food. It tasted the same as the dining room although with a little different spice mix. Since there were very few people there, it was very quiet. Their written confirmation was off by a couple of hours for us as well as another diner, but with few patrons, it did not matter. The only Cioppino I ever had before this was San Francisco Cioppino and this did not compare. I appeared that the ingredients were boiled separately with Italian inspired broth poured over. The seafood had little flavor. Entertainment was next to the worst we experienced in the over 10 cruises we have been on. The ship's personnel's shows were karaoke style with mostly recorded instumentals accompanied by a lone violinist. There was good one male singer who apparently also worked the restaurant while the others attempted a reasonable facsimile of a high school musical. Dancers included one woman who clearly had some ballet training, but the others were not so graceful. The troup's attempt at a county western bar motive was, with obviously non-native English speaking backgrounds, was entertaining, but not in a good way. The guest performers were better than the onboard musicians and dancers, and they were often accompanied by a live band which appeared to be professional. There were also the requisite lounge musicians. Stateroom TV's provided old NTSC(?) standard definition analog video of very poor quality with lots of distortion, NOT caused by degradation of satellite signal. Last time I watched video that bad was close to 20 years ago. Although the TV appeared to be a first generation stereo set, all signals going to it were mono. This was a 14 day cruise covering just a few more ports than shorter cruises and allowed extensive time in each port, so there was no hurry to get off the boat or rush back to the ship. Unfortunately, at least for us, when we returned to the ship, it was often after lunch hours and there was no food available. For extended hour ports, we arrived after dinner hours, so no food either until snacks at 10:30. This was the first time we were left hungry on a cruiseship, and after 11:30 pm, no food (although room service was still available). It would have been nice if they coordinated the buffet, but no such luck. It was surprising that many halls, stairwells and elevators and outside decks were empty after hours. It was refreshing and comfortable, if a bit spooky, to be able to walk the halls of a cruiseship without seeing another human. This contributed to the slowness of the environment. Maybe because young families cannot always afford to take a 14 day vacation, this cruise attracted an older crowd and we sexagenarians appeared to be among the younger of the crowd. This is NOT a cruise for young people though there was one pack of less than 10 millenials wandering around the decks. Our adult child would have been miserable. The whirlpool on the pool deck closed at 10pm (the pool closed earlier) which was disappointing (we like to linger later) though after 9, there were very few people on deck. Well before 10, the retractable roof over the pool area was closed. Some ports were small enough that unless you paid for a shore excursion, there was very little to do. One port provided a short shuttle to the other side of the spit where there were only a few shops catering to cruise passengers. This being our fourth cruise to Alaska, we did not go on any shore excursions. Embarkation was the best we have experienced. Port Valet service allowed passengers to check in their luggage on the ship and obtain boarding passes for their flights FREE of charge. Luggage fees were charged to our onboard account at cost ($25.00). It made it very easy and comfortable to disembark without having to deal with luggage, and made disembarkation the easiest and most efficient we ever experienced (They or our overbooked airline did lose our seat assignments, but we were able to get new assignments at the airport). I do not know whether it is a Seattle port program or a HAL program, but the ability to transfer our luggage and check in was much appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The Amsterdam is a smaller ship of 1400 people and we sailed to Alaska for two weeks. The weather was mostly very good. We had a Vista Suite which was more than adequate. The cabin stewards were wonderful. We booked several excursions ... Read More
The Amsterdam is a smaller ship of 1400 people and we sailed to Alaska for two weeks. The weather was mostly very good. We had a Vista Suite which was more than adequate. The cabin stewards were wonderful. We booked several excursions through Holland America and they were all very well done. We ate the majority of our meals in the main dining room at the 8 pm seating and had absolutely no issues at all. The meals were all excellent and I do not see any reason to pay a surcharge to go to the specialty restaurants. The entertainment was mostly very good. The HAL singers and dancers were some of the most talented that we have seen on any cruise ship (we have sailed Disney, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian). Jim Curry did a tribute to John Denver and did an excellent job. Amy Lee was a violinist who was very talented. We particularly like America's Test Kitchen with Kathleen. She demonstrated various menus and dishes throughout the cruise. We picked up some great hints and recipes. We really felt that Holland America was a step above the cruises that we have previously been on. However, we still feel strongly that Disney presents the best entertainment. I would urge you to do this two week Alaskan itinerary, we saw whales, bear, eagles, otters and orcas. The embarkation and debarkation were excellent and very well organized. Seattle was an excellent pre and post cruise city. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Our previous 7day cruise does not compare with this 14day Holland America cruise first of all because of the ports visited. The smaller vessel was able to reach more environmentally sensitive ports and provided a much more enjoyable ... Read More
Our previous 7day cruise does not compare with this 14day Holland America cruise first of all because of the ports visited. The smaller vessel was able to reach more environmentally sensitive ports and provided a much more enjoyable experience. The onboard enrichment star, was for us, America's Test Kitchen. My husband of 48 years may start cooking! The library was first class and offered an extensive variety of activities such as board games, puzzle tables and huge assortment of books. The staff was, without fail, smiling, attentive and interactive at appropriate times. We found the menus to be well thought out and provided a good variety of veggies and desserts, including gluten and sugar free. Lovely ice cream selection. There is a nice poolside burger / taco bar that was great for snacks and meals. The fresh flowers on almost every table and venue were lovely and unexpected. Made my days special. The entertainment was typical of other cruises. Movies included popcorn which was a treat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The staff on the ship was wonderful. Definitely no complaints there. The excursions were fine. We did not like the cabin (1885), as it was right across from the janitor's closet for the room stewards and we heard them going in there ... Read More
The staff on the ship was wonderful. Definitely no complaints there. The excursions were fine. We did not like the cabin (1885), as it was right across from the janitor's closet for the room stewards and we heard them going in there and out, all the time. Often it sounded like they were rustling our door to come in. On the other hand it was midship, so the cabin was close to the stairs and elevators. The other issues were 1) On the 6th day, brown water intermittently came out of the faucet. We reported this to the Front Desk who said to let the water run for 10 minutes and they also sent complementary bottles of water to our room. Which we used to brush our teeth and rinse our mouths. We tried the ten minute running of the water on several days thereafter but the intermittent brown water continued the rest of the cruise. We were uneasy about washing our hands with this water but we had no choice. 2) The reception of the TV in the room was spotty at best. This was frustrating, as we like to keep up with the news via TV but often there was no picture. The dinner dining was the highlight of the cruise. OMG those deserts, I gained 4 lbs. The table service was just great. At home I work out a lot, so I went to the gym for at least seven of the 14 days. The gym was just average but on the other hand not very many cruisers used it. I would guess HAL is conflicted on how nice to make a facility that is so rarely used by the cruisers. One big issue with the gym was it was too hot. I worried, as a senior, if working out in that heat would be a strain on my heart. I was always drenched with sweat when I left. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We escaped the heat of Florida for the cool Alaskan glaciers and it was wonderful to be on the ms Amsterdam! Overall, yes, the ship is showing her age a bit but I loved how she "flowed" with well-designed public spaces. The ... Read More
We escaped the heat of Florida for the cool Alaskan glaciers and it was wonderful to be on the ms Amsterdam! Overall, yes, the ship is showing her age a bit but I loved how she "flowed" with well-designed public spaces. The only time we felt crowded was in the rush to get to an excursion, last day look at photos and occasionally in the line for ice cream at the Lido buffet. All to be expected, I think. Food, crew and service were fantastic! It's important to know that the Holland passengers skew older. If you have only ever sailed on "fun" ships, the daily schedule will seem boring to you. If you are looking for peace and quiet with mostly evening entertainment options, you'll probably like the Amsterdam. Check out the message boards and roll calls on CC, to get more details and ideas. Tip #1: If you live more than 5 hours from the port, consider a pre-night hotel stay. We had planned to arrive two days in advance and do some fun stuff in Seattle. Unfortunately, weather locked us down at the airport and I had to change our reservations from Seattle to Charlotte. Also, the next day our flight left late and we would have missed our embarkation, if we hadn't planned for that 2-night stay in Seattle. Tip #2: If you don't want to drink tap water, pre-order the 12-liter package from the Holland website (costs considerably less than buying single bottles on the ship). Also, bring a canteen or water bottle unless you're willing to carry a liter bottle around. Tip #2a: Almost forgot... Get the unlimited laundry deal. On our cruise it was just $98 for two weeks of laundry and pressing (I used this for formal clothes). Be sure to ask your cabin steward early on to bring you extra bags and forms. There are a couple self-service "laundrettes" but, for me, the paid service was totally worth it. Tip #3: the Amsterdam still has a lovely big library with lots of books, puzzles and games. They also have a lovely coffee bar (not too pricey) and free pastries (different than most you find on the rest of the ship). We spent several hours in this space playing Scrabble, chess and just watching the waves. Tip #4+: Research the ports and check out the on-line excursion companies. We did two excursions with Holland, two with outside companies and the rest on our own (with help from Google and friendly visitor centers). Due to bad weather, we did miss one port so be sure any outside tickets are refundable or you're willing to lose that money. Be sure to bring your good binoculars and camera. This was the first trip in 5 years, I wished I had more than just my cell phone camera. Tip #5: Dress for local conditions. This is a cruise but you'll be in trouble if you just bring shorts and t-shirts! For Alaska, bring raingear, warm clothes, good hiking shoes, sunscreen and mosquito repellant, depending on what you plan to do in port. Tip #6: Stairs! If you can, use the stairs as often as possible to make up for the calorie load. There is a small gym available and a wonderful promenade deck but I found the stairs are best for me to keep my weight gain down to just a couple lbs. Also, the elevators can be slow at times - remember Holland skews older so many just CAN'T use those stairs. Tip #7: "Anytime" dining worked fine for us on the two formal nights we used it. We asked for a table just for us and had to wait just a few minutes for it. Just know that most of the prime window tables are large so either the families or the "friendlies" usually get those. Tip #8: If you want to go to the 8 pm shows, get there a little (10-15 min) early for better seats. Some folks get there 30+ mins early for the "best" seats. I went to 3 of these shows and enjoyed all of them - 1 musical, 1 juggler and a comedian. We spend several evenings just chilling in the cabin with some wine and a DVD selected from the list in the cabin. (We did have some glitches with the first two DVDs we chose. When we asked for a machine cleaner from the cabin steward, we ended up with a completely new machine!) Tip #9: PORT Valet!! If you are flying with a participating airline, this is the way to go. It takes a little extra planning while you're on the ship but was great not to have to find and lug suitcases onto the bus and into/through the airport. As a final note, please bring a bit of patience and kindness with you. What bothered me most on this cruise (as with other cruises) was the rare but noticeable rudeness of some passengers towards other passengers and crewmembers. Please don't be "that" man or woman. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
14 day itinerary took in most Alaska ports and it was so comprehensive. Seeing the Hubbard Glacier up close on a sunny afternoon was amazing. Also, cruising Tracy Arm while avoiding ice chunks shows that HAL has a wonderful navigation ... Read More
14 day itinerary took in most Alaska ports and it was so comprehensive. Seeing the Hubbard Glacier up close on a sunny afternoon was amazing. Also, cruising Tracy Arm while avoiding ice chunks shows that HAL has a wonderful navigation team. Amsterdam is the perfect size to access ports like Sitka, Kodiac, Homer. Anchorage and Hoonah. Crew is excellent. The Lido deck buffets were very good and the specialty restaurants Canaletto and Pinnacle Grill for lunch were treats. Dining room food is just ok. Amsterdam's entertainment was ok overall with a wonderful ventroloquist, comedians and musicians. However, the selection of movies in the theater left much to be desired. The movie theater used to be a strong point but horror flics and childrens animated movies are not appropriate for a largely well travelled clientele. Amsterdam's Captain should avoid negative political comments over ship loudspeakers-not appropriate to "bite the hand that feeds him". Perhaps he should move back to Holland? Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We signed up for this cruise because the price was right and it included ports we had never sailed to. The weather was better that we could hope for. We only had a little rain on one day and we dried out after being rained on. That port ... Read More
We signed up for this cruise because the price was right and it included ports we had never sailed to. The weather was better that we could hope for. We only had a little rain on one day and we dried out after being rained on. That port was Icy Strait, which was new to us. The tribal corporation has built very nice, modern port facilities. We enjoyed walking thru their shops but really enjoyed walking to their village. Everyone we spoke to were very polite and helpful. Our visit to Kodiak was great. At Sitka, we had arranged a tour that was excellent. Their web site is sitkawildlifetours.com. Check it out, the price is excellent and the tour we took was very professional and informative. We also did a tour on our own in Victoria that was a walking tour with food tasting along the way. Their web site is atasteofvictoriafoodtours.com. Again, worth checking out. We very much enjoyed the tour. The experience on the ship was very positive. The ship is well kept and the right size. Dining at the main dining room was never crowded. We had to wait about 5 minutes on one occasion. Other that that, it was walk up and be seated for any time dining. The food was excellent as was the service. The shows were pretty good in general. We do not care much for the shows with the ship's cast as they tend to be too loud and over amplified. The other shows were mostly very good. The crew members were very nice and helpful. I'd highly recommend this cruise to anyone who has an interest in visiting various ports in Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was a good itinerary starting in Ft. Lauderdale, going through the Panama Canal up the West Coast to Seattle w/an Alaska cruise included. HAL calls this a Collector's Voyage. The Amsterdam is smaller than most medium sized ships ... Read More
This was a good itinerary starting in Ft. Lauderdale, going through the Panama Canal up the West Coast to Seattle w/an Alaska cruise included. HAL calls this a Collector's Voyage. The Amsterdam is smaller than most medium sized ships w/mostly an older crowd and other than an on-going problem with a persistent series of water leaks mostly on deck 5, the cruise went on w/o a hitch. We had an OV on the Main Deck which I would take again in a heartbeat. The only irritation w/the cabin [and just about everywhere else] was a continual vibration when the engine were going. Then crew worked hard to make sure we enjoyed ourselves. Many went out of their way for us. Esp. the crew in the MDR and Lido. The Lido was OK, the Dive-In was really good, and the MDR was excellent [not every dish was great, but many were really, really good]. Entertainment was just OK. The HAL Singers and Dancers [two troops as they were changed out during the cruise] did a very fine job. The best was getting to listen to "Island Magic" [Steel Drum Band] again. Had been entertained by them on the Zuiderdam. The excursions we took went from bad to great. Great was the Boeing Factory Tour in Seattle and a RIB ride out to a volcanic rock island in Sitka. Bad was a catamaran tour in Huatulco, Mexico cancelled by the Harbormaster before the boat could even clear the dock because one engine wouldn't run. The crew tried to get that boat out of the harbor but w/only one engine that big rig just won't turn. We hit several boats before being shut down. All-in-all, we will probably do this trip again someday. Only we will probably get off in San Francisco like many did for HAL sold lots of 3 day cruises on the Amsterdam from there to Seattle. Turned out to be a party boat for 3 days. :( The MS Amsterdam is a fine ship but she is need of a make-over. A refreshing would put this vessel in a 5 star category. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have done this cruise previously and found it to be all of the above things as stated. The only suggestion I would have, is it would be nice, and I would be agreeable to pay more if we could have more time at some of the ports. There ... Read More
We have done this cruise previously and found it to be all of the above things as stated. The only suggestion I would have, is it would be nice, and I would be agreeable to pay more if we could have more time at some of the ports. There is so much more to see that 8-12 hours can afford. A very special evening was when the Captain changed our course in order to cruise slowly by the flow of lava into the ocean as we left Hilo after dark. It was spectacular. One thing that bothered me personally on this cruise is that so many people were so negative. Most were people our age (old) and complained about almost everything. I can only conclude they were unhappy to start with. An example, at breakfast in the Lido I heard a lot of complaints that a certain food did not taste like what they had eaten at other places. I thought the food was all tasty and hot, even tho it was not like I have had other places. that, to me, is just part of the fun of traveling is to experience new and different things. We are great fans of the Pinnacle Speciality Dining. The food is superb and the service was flawless, and the remainder of the dining choices were great also. The entertainment was very good, and in a few instances spectacular. While we had done this cruise before we only participated in two land tours, which were also quite satisfactory, in spite of rain at times. There is no question we will cruise again, and again. Holland America is the perfect cruise line for those of us a bit older, and content with experiences geared a bit more in our direction. That is not to say younger people would not enjoy it, it is just a bit of an easier cruise with a lot to choose from on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Never again will I take a cruise that takes 5 days of cruising to get there only to have a few precious hours in wonderful ports of the lovely Hawaiian islands. The worst stop was in Kona, where I finally got off the ship at 9:30 only to ... Read More
Never again will I take a cruise that takes 5 days of cruising to get there only to have a few precious hours in wonderful ports of the lovely Hawaiian islands. The worst stop was in Kona, where I finally got off the ship at 9:30 only to get into another line at the car rental counter. All aboard was 3:00pm, so the only advise I can give is do not rent a car there, it simply is not worth the $108.00 I paid for 2 1/2 hours worth of fun. To me it was most disappointing that the tender stop in Lahaina, Maui was cancelled, Adding another day in Oahu was not what I had signed up for and I feel cheated out of the thing I looked most forward to. We were told the cancellation was do to concern for the safety of the passengers, but rumor had it on the ship, that too many people were upset about Pearl Harbor being closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday, which again was very bad planning on the part of HAL. By the way, there is a wonderful port in Kahului, Maui where no tendering is required. Two days out of San Diego all the TV News channels went out and there was no attempt to repair them in the remaining 15 days, unacceptable! Entertainment was marginal at best, except for the Bellissimo show of the HAL dancers and singers. If you wanted to see the show you had better get into the showroom by 6:00pm for the 8:00pm or you could not find a seat. I had a lovely veranda cabin, (6110) that was seldom used. First because of the weather and on the few days were it was pleasant, my chain-smoking neighbors stunk up the air so badly that I went back inside. The best 20 minutes of the cruise were when we cruised by the Kilauea Volcano and watched the lava flow into the sea. That was fantastic. All in all, I have been on many cruises, but this one was the first one where I bored myself to tears. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Let me give you a little of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Good: Staff, Ship, Cabin, Entertainment, Ports (for the most part), Food (for the most part). Spent two days in Honolulu instead of one due to cancellation of the ... Read More
Let me give you a little of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Good: Staff, Ship, Cabin, Entertainment, Ports (for the most part), Food (for the most part). Spent two days in Honolulu instead of one due to cancellation of the tender port of Lahaina due to rough seas. Which was fine with us as we got to see the things at Pearl harbor that we would not have seen. Food was fine for my wife and myself as we split our eating time between the main dining room and the buffet. We are not exceptionally particular about our food as some passengers seem to be. Never ate in port as the ship's food was very good. They had Lobster our last Gala (formal) night and it was served in the Lido as well as in the Dining Room. However, the buffet is not open as much as we would have liked and we only got room service on our disembarkation morning. The Bad: Difficulty getting a table for two in the main dining room. We had a bad experience with sharing a table with some overbearing people and did not enjoy our meal. Passengers in the Queens' Lounge Theater who save seats for people that show up an hour later or not at all. We got there 45 minutes before showtime to avoid this. However, some disabled and geriatric passengers could not find seats due to the saving that was going on. I brought this to the attention of the Cruise Director. The Ugly: A terrible Embarkation policy. Passengers have to lug their bags a city block and throw them up on a trailer by themselves. Nobody to really help. We had extremely rough weather most of the cruise with the ship pounding for days at a time. And, in fact, had the ship do a severe Starboard to Port to Starboard roll one night that caused concern among the passengers and sent things flying throughout the ship. I'm ex Navy and it concerned me. However, this is not the fault of Holland America as they do not control the attitude of the seas. Summary: In spite of a couple of negative things we had a great time. The entertainment on board was professional and superb. and our cabin was very comfortable and super quiet. Most of the passengers were pleasant, a couple in particular. We actually made some good acquaintances with some of the Indonesian and Filipino staff. Our flights both going and coming were uneventful, Gainesville, Florida to San Diego and return. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Holland America can inspire you with excellence and then take you into the depths of mediocrity with poor execution. On our South Pacific cruise, we were very pleased by the quality of the wait staff in the Dining Rooms and Lido and the ... Read More
Holland America can inspire you with excellence and then take you into the depths of mediocrity with poor execution. On our South Pacific cruise, we were very pleased by the quality of the wait staff in the Dining Rooms and Lido and the overall consistently good quality quality of the food. . But then we had to contend with long waits for tenders into the ports -- even when I got in line at 6:15 AM to get tender tickets -- and things like running out of chips all the time for sandwiches, or tired old ho-hum daily itineraries that need to be updated after years and years of the same. And why not have some sandwiches, pizza and snacks around in the Lido for those coming on board late PM from excursions or want a small snack around 9:30? The Amsterdam is a nice ship even thought it is showing its wear in places. This is the best dining and room service crew I've ever seen in action. But I found the front desk people to be difficult at times and the captain and staff weren't all that friendly, except for the fine cruise director, compared to other cruises. We knew before the cruise we were due $1,400 in complementary money for booking the cruise but once aboard we found there was only $500 and the staff was indignant about our concern. When we got to Hawaii we quickly rectified the problem with the help of the vendor supplying the complementary money and I kind of got the feeling HAL was seeing if they could rip us off, especially when the money showed in my account online two months before the cruise. My wife also got food poisoning in the dining room one night and they would not cover the $140 fee for medical attention. One writer on CC noted people were nasty but I didn't find that to be true. There are always going to be a few bad apples and sour personalities. I did think the quality of entertainment was varied and generally acceptable, with a couple of truly outstanding performers. The ship's song and dance group was fine. The piano bar guy was truly outstanding. We were very critical of the casino which is simply too tight compared to many land casinos and doesn't give people enough enjoyment. The ports were fine. Highlights for me were Bora Bora, Moorea, Rarotonga and Dravuni Island in Fiji with its fabulous beach. I thought Papette, Tahiti was quite unfriendly to tourists and and was all that impressed with Tonga. HAL, though, needs to stop taking guests into top port on Sundays, when some of the shop and businesses are closed! Finally, we were told twice by HAL before the cruise we would not be updated to three star Mariner until after the cruise, yet the ship staff did upgrade us when we reached the milestone on board. HAL needs to learn to gets its act together on administrative matters so the right hand knows what the left is doing! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Wow. What a cruise. The ports were amazing. Hawaii, Somoa, Fiji, Tonga and French Polynesia. I have wanted to do this cruise for the last 5 years. My husband finally retired so we had the time to do this 48 day cruise from San Diego. ... Read More
Wow. What a cruise. The ports were amazing. Hawaii, Somoa, Fiji, Tonga and French Polynesia. I have wanted to do this cruise for the last 5 years. My husband finally retired so we had the time to do this 48 day cruise from San Diego. The weather was wonderful the whole time. I can't even remember having any rain. The seas were calm and quiet the whole trip except the night we left and the night we came back into San Diego. There must be something about ocean conditions off the coast of Mexico and California. The Amsterdam is an older smaller ship. I liked the size. Not too big and not too small. We usually get balcony cabins as we enjoy them so much but on this cruise the balconies were cost prohibitive. We made do with an outside cabin. It was okay. We did not like the TV. It was small and was pointed sideways. We couldn't enjoy it as we couldn't see it well from our bed. Also, there was no fridge in our cabin. We couldn't get any cool water to come out of the tap. I won a bottle of wine from the art auction and we had to drink it warm. We were told the lack of fridges was because it was an old ship. They seemed to blame a lot of things on it being an older ship. The food on this cruise was wonderful, however, I am not picky, if someone else makes it I'll eat it. We usually ate in the dining room at a shared table for dinner, however, service was very slow. We found out that the wait was cut in half if we managed to get a table for 2. Tables for 2 were in very high demand. Some nights we ate dinner in the buffet which was so much faster and easier. We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches in the buffet. We were never allowed to serve ourselves in the buffet so the staff had to ask each person what items they wanted on their plates. This slowed down the lines in the buffet greatly at busy times. There was also the Dive In grill that had hamburgers, hot dogs and nachos. Needless to say we didn't lose any weight on this cruise. We loved the main pool area. It never seemed crowded. It was just very sunny and hot. There was no shade for the loungers. The pool itself was very nice. Cool but not too cool. It was deeper so it was so nice to dip into to have a swim. There is a pool in the back of the ship but it was only 4 feet deep. Much too shallow for my liking. I must say all the staff on this ship were fabulous. The bartenders, room stewards, etc were all so nice and friendly and did their jobs well. I hate being called Madam. In the buffet I met a waiter who called me Madam. I told him how I hated it and told him to call me by my name. For the whole rest of the cruise he recognized us and called us Miss Linda and Mr. William instead of Madam and Sir. We were upset that our captain did not take us past the lava flow in Hawaii. To go to Hawaii and not see the lava flow is like going to Alaska and not seeing a glacier. The Captain gave no explanation and just kept saying it was not on the itinerary. Funny how it was on the Noordam's itinerary who cruised past it just a day before. After complaining to the corporate office we found out the reason we missed it was because of fuel consumption. We had been on a Hawaii cruise a few months before this on Celebrity. Not only did the captain go by the lava flow. He stopped the ship and circled it 360 so everyone got a view of the flow. This does not make this captain or HAL look very good in our eyes as was the case for many on this cruise. We missed one port. Niue was cancelled. We do not mind missing ports when the need arises but the way it was told to us was very disappointing. The captain said it was due to heavy swells. We had never seen such calm seas that day. Hardly a ripple. So we found it very odd. We were talking to a tender officer on deck and he said the port was cancelled because the tender did not line up to the pier. The officer explained passengers would have had to jump up 1 meter from the tender to the pier. Now why would the captain lie and say heavy swells when it was due to the pier height. Had HAL never been to this port before? Bad planning on HAL's part. We did not appreciate being lied to by the captain for a second time. We were then slapped in the face when they refunded us .99 cents to our accounts for port charges. I love to snorkel. So I intended to snorkel in every port. I snorkeled in every port except Nuka Hiva. In Nuka Hiva we were not allowed in the water due to bad sharks. We were also warned not to walk away from the port area alone as cannibalism is still practiced here. (We found that hard to believe until talking to the cruise director. He said a tourist was killed and eaten in 2014. Yikes!) I did not purchase any shore excursions from HAL. They were all so over priced. I purchased all my snorkeling shore excursions on the pier and usually paid less than half of what the ship charged. Sometimes I just went snorkeling independently at public beaches or areas near the pier. I enjoyed all my snorkeling trips very much. Sadly, I must say a lot of the coral is dying. I had one snorkel leader who thought nothing of stepping on the coral with her fins. sigh ;-( We purchased $425 in internet time. The internet on this cruise was horrible. Most of our internet time and money was spent waiting for pages to load. We were told by the captain that the reason was because the Amsterdam was such a old ship. The internet could be improved on this ship however HAL corporate will not spend the money to upgrade the internet equipment. The entertainers on this ship were hit and miss. All of the production shows were great. The dancers on this ship were most excellent and the best I had ever seen on a cruise ship and I have been on a lot of cruises. They were exceptional. We had 3 local dance groups perform. One from Hawaii, Fiji and Tahiti. They were very nice. Some comedians were good, some were terrible. Some singers were enjoyable some were boring. We had a lot of musicians. I think I have heard flight of the bumblebee on every musical instrument known to man. Some nights we had no entertainment and just had a movie shown. I must say I loved HAL's popcorn. We had to take tenders to most of these islands as they did not have piers for larger ships like ours. Tendering was such a pain. We would have to line up very early in the morning to get tender tickets. One morning I was 4th in line for tender tickets. I got tender number 4. I asked the crew member in charge how in the world could I be on tender 4 when I was fourth in line. She explained that the 3 people ahead of me had gotten 3 tender boats worth of tender tickets. I guess people were getting 30 tender tickets each for their friends, neighbors, groups etc. I don't think people should be able to get that many tender tickets. It should be limited to 4 or 6 per person. People on ship excursions and 4 star mariners with HAL did not have to line up for tender tickets. They were all the first ones off the ship. Disembarkation was a nightmare. All non Americans were required to go to a lounge and clear customs. Customs would not clear the ship or let anyone off until that was done. Many non Americans did not go in a timely manner. The cruise director kept announcing over and over again for people from certain cabins to go to clear customs. This took 2 hours. It was 9am and we were kicked out of our cabins to wait in the public areas. Finally the ship was cleared and self assist was able to disembark the ship. The problem was that so many people had gone down to the gangway to wait to disembark that the self assist people couldn't get off as all the stair ways and hall ways near the gangway were full of people. The cruise director announced several times begging people not to go to the gangway area until their colors were called. Then it was found that the gangway was not secured to the ship properly. Disembarkation had to be stopped while the gangway was re secured. Our color was supposed to get off the ship at 9am. Our color was finally called at 10:30am. Right then they announced that the elevators were all non operational. I am disabled and walk with a walker. Since my walker doesn't do stairs I had no way to get down 8 decks to the disembarkation area. My husband finally decided to carry my walker down the stairs while I slowly and carefully negotiated the stairs. When we got down to the disembarkation area we saw all the people waiting for their colors to be called. It was difficult to try to get around them and get off the ship. Now this nightmare was not all HAL's fault. Why do people not go when they are told to check in with customs? When people are told not to go down to the disembarkation area until your color is called why do people not listen and go anyway? We made it to the airport in plenty of time as our flight was not until the afternoon, however, I am sure many people must have missed their morning flights. We are not loyal to any one cruise line. When we cruise we have a choice. Most main stream cruise lines are more similar than they are different. We cruise a lot with all cruise lines and are used to getting affordable balcony cabins and booking perks. On Celebrity and NCL we usually get free gratuities, free beverages and free unlimited internet. Nothing is free on HAL. Because of this and the captains dishonesty I don't think we will not be doing many more cruises on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
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

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