1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Holland America is a quality cruise when it comes to staff and they didn't let us down once again. All staff are quite friendly, professional and helpful. The ship is nice and is a solid 4 and is so because it does have some wear. The ... Read More
Holland America is a quality cruise when it comes to staff and they didn't let us down once again. All staff are quite friendly, professional and helpful. The ship is nice and is a solid 4 and is so because it does have some wear. The food is varied and excellent and they'll go out of their way to have and serve you just what you want. All you have to do is ask! Room service was exceptional and included so do be sure to take advantage of it! We always have breakfast and simply tip a few dollars as a courtesy. The port stops on this port intensive cruise are simply wonderful and there was ample time at most. Using Cruise Critic to find small group excursions made them amazing and it's s fun way to meet fellow passengers. Embarkation and debarkation were both effortless, especially if you can take care of your own luggage. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We did a 12 day cruise out of Barcelona ending in Rome on the Westerdam in September, 2017 in celebration of a friend's retirement. We have sailed many times with other cruise lines (Oceania, Norwegian, Celebrity) but had never ... Read More
We did a 12 day cruise out of Barcelona ending in Rome on the Westerdam in September, 2017 in celebration of a friend's retirement. We have sailed many times with other cruise lines (Oceania, Norwegian, Celebrity) but had never before sailed with Holland America. We booked a year and a half in advance and had booked veranda with balcony staterooms that were aft facing and adjoining our friends. We used a travel agent to make the reservation. About two weeks before we sailed, we were offered an upgrade, at $499/person, to a Neptune Suite. We accepted. It was the right decision resulting in a spacious cabin (king bed, large sofa, two chairs, coffee table and wide screen tv) with a ton of closet space, a big bathroom with two sinks, separate tub and shower, and all the suites were recently redone from top to bottom with the renovation of the ship earlier this year. Our friends were also upgraded to a Neptune Suite with a balcony that wrapped around the rear and side of the ship - perfect for 5:00 cocktail parties every afternoon. A concierge comes with Pinnacle and Neptune Suites which is really two wonderful individuals in the Neptune Lounge who cater to your ever need and solve all your on board problems (dinner reservations, printing boarding passes, arranging excursions, etc). The lounge has an extensive continental breakfast in the morning and food all day along with an honor bar that starts in the afternoon. It is very nice to have a nice quiet place away from the hectic Lido Dining room to get a bite to eat at breakfast or lunch. We used the snacks in the lounge for our daily cocktail parties as well. Laundry and dry cleaning services are free with suites. We had no idea how valuable this service is. We could have packed much lighter with the ability to wear things several times. So, if you can book a suite - I highly recommend it. As for the ship, we loved both the Westerdam and Holland America. The ship is exceptionally quiet. Only one announcement in the morning with the basics of the day lasting a couple of minutes. When the ship is in motion, it is hard to tell she is moving. I have never been such a quiet ship even when docking or leaving port. Staff service is excellent. Well beyond that provided by Norwegian and Celebrity and on par with Oceania, but with better processes for moving everyone on and off the ship - where Oceania has failed us in the past. Food was very good. We had the help of the concierge with reservations in the main dining room which was a big help. I would recommend picking one time in advance and getting it booked with your reservation. Many people had to wait for a table. With the suite advantage, we never waited and always had a good table. Selections were many and all the food was well prepared and delicious. The sommelier was helpful pairing wines with the courses. Bottles of wine can be held over from one night to the next which was most helpful. At 4 p.m. two of the bars on board have drink specials where the second drink ordered is all of $2. This really held down the bar bills. We did not bother with the beverage package given the low price of the cocktails and the fact that we were going to be off the ship on excursions most days. Also, with the suite, we got 3 bottles of champagne at sailing from the ship, one from our travel agent, and we won a bottle of red wine on board. One thing we liked best about the ship was the evening entertainment that was available after dinner. We very much enjoyed Billboard Lounge where two pianists play songs with different themes, or the B B King Nightclub with a blues band that kept everyone singing and dancing, or the Lincoln Center Stage with top notch talent (Julliard, Peabody, Manhattan School of Music) playing classical. We did not go to the larger, more usual cruise line shows in the big theater. We liked the option of having two outdoor pools - one with a cover that could be closed on cooler days, and another at the rear of the ship with a wonderful view of the water. We used the hot tubs every day -there are two - and had no trouble finding a seat poolside. The ship at 1,900 people had us concerned that it would be congested, but it never felt crowded. No lines at the elevators. Again, we avoided the Lido for breakfast where we might have encountered crowds, but in moving around the ship, you did not feel like you were with 1,900 people. Our only criticism is that they have ruined our favorite part of a cruise ship - the upper deck above the navigation deck where you have a glass of champagne and watch the ship pull out of port in the evening. They have converted that space on the ship to a coffee bar with lots of empty portals that have meaningless information on the ports you are going to. No one was ever there to help answer questions (we used our concierge instead). Even the office to book a future cruise was usually empty. Pointless use of prime real estate. The area on the first deck in front of guest services (without windows) is where all this stuff belongs. We would gladly sail with Holland America again. And if were were again so lucky to be offered an upgrade to a suite, we would grab it again in a second! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Although I have nothing to compare it to, I thought the cruise was perfect! We went with a couple who were experienced cruisers and they were pleased as well. I'll break it down in sections: 1)Food- sophisticated and elegant ... Read More
Although I have nothing to compare it to, I thought the cruise was perfect! We went with a couple who were experienced cruisers and they were pleased as well. I'll break it down in sections: 1)Food- sophisticated and elegant choices. Each night we had dinner in the main dining room with the exception of one night at the Pinnacle Grill/Selle de Mere. The service was extraordinary and top shelf. The sommeliers were very educated and helped select the right wine for the courses chosen and for our price range. We especially liked a reasonable Chilean red (Loma Linda?) we had dine at will and never waited more than 5 minutes for a table. The portions are elegant and continental so are generally modest. If you can't decide what to order, then order 2! I'm laughing out loud when people on cc whine about portions being too small (e.g. only 2 scallops in an appetizer) ...then order a second one! The husbands enjoyed the rack of lamb so much one night, the head waiter asked if they wanted another and they said YES, thinking another rib would come, no ...another entire entree of ribs came for each of them! Lido Buffet was tasty and generally quite busy. Enjoyed the Asian stations for lunch and breakfast. The made to order pasta station was perfect with scallops and pesto and fresh grated Romano cheese sautéed. We had nachos at the natcho/taco station and they were delicious. We would fill up a plate for our happy hour party and sail away on our balcony each night with nachos and yummy appetizers with cocktails. Selle de Mere is a seafood restaurant pop up which comes up one night in the Pinnacle Grill. The dishes were superb and the service extraordinary. We eat 4 star in the DC area and this easily compares. Room Service-We had room service every day for happy hour and about 5 breakfasts when they had excursions. They were quickly delivered (happy hour) or exactly delivered at the prescribed breakfast time. My only suggestion was the eggs Benedict muffins could have been toasted longer as they appeared a bit underdone. The fruit smoothie was so good, I had it three different mornings! The husband enjoyed his steak and eggs and said it was a first grade New York strip and not scrap. Cabin 8140 is the best on the ship. Our balcony hosted a sail away happy hour each night.. it was hard. Service and quality was top notch. You could tell some Indonesian maintenance folks couldn't speak English, yet would still smile and say good morning when you saw them. We chose this cruise for the itinerary-just wonderful Entertainment. It can be said that blame on whether you enjoy something goes both ways. Choosing correctly whatever requires self awareness and honesty. It you think winding the night away at the disco beyond 2am is da bomb, then maybe this isn't the cruise for you. There was dancing in the BB king lounge every night well after 11. The band focused on music and hits from the 60s-70s-80s. This is a key clue! We found the classical musicians talented and dedicated. The local talent which came aboard was very good in the main ballroom. The cooking classes appeared well attended every time I walked by --to the casino. Didn't make any money in the casino but did win a nice tee shirt. The entertainers in the dueling piano forum were fun and entertaining. Great movies and documentaries in the On Demand system. The HAL corporation messed up and decided to devote millions to upgrading the crows nest and create a high tech explorations cafe. Really neat concept but really placed in the wrong place!!! Why not use the wasted space on the 1st deck where the art galleries are? If they are so focused on revenues, then have a bar and tapas concept in the crows nest and sell sell,sell! Medical clinic-came down with a cold and visited the clinic. Professional and well run. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose the 24-day Mediterranean Adriatic cruise on HAL Westerdam for three reasons: friends had taken it and recommended it; it was going to several ports in Croatia and we were interested in sampling that country; it began in Barcelona ... Read More
We chose the 24-day Mediterranean Adriatic cruise on HAL Westerdam for three reasons: friends had taken it and recommended it; it was going to several ports in Croatia and we were interested in sampling that country; it began in Barcelona and ended in Venice, two of our favorite cities and we spent extra days in each. We had never taken a cruise before, except for a 7-day gulet in Turkey, which we loved. Primarily independent travelers who usually rented a car and apartments while we explored one country for 4-6 weeks, we had not considered cruising. As we aged, however, I wanted to experience being taken care of rather than having to do so much planning. Therefore, this review is mine; my husband would have a different (more negative) view. What I liked: -the size of the ship (1900 people) and configuration never felt crowded or too big; -never having to plan or prepare meals; access to free 24-hour room service; good to excellent food; food stations in the Lido instead of buffet; eating breakfast or lunch on the Lido deck; -open seating so we could meet different people at dinner every night; -comfortable, clean cabin; good selection of in-cabin movies; "ask and you shall receive" attitude; the veranda; -walking on the promenade deck; watching some ship operations, like bringing up the tenders; -adequate time in most ports; having to tender only twice; -BB King All-Stars where we could dance and, especially excellent Lincoln Center Stage quintet. What disappointed me: -poor amateurish entertainment in Main Stage; lack of other dance venues and variety of music to dance to; -HAL was noted for providing good port information but we found very poor lectures geared to independent travelers on the ports; lack of helpful printed maps with street names and large enough to read prior to going ashore which meant wasting time finding a town map and planning a day; -no way to communicate with other passengers, such as to find other cab sharers or poker players; -too many uninteresting ports; too few at-sea days; lack of interesting day activities (e.g. dance lessons, art lessons, etc.) on board; the library which we had expected and so didn't bring books no longer existed; -absence of a rabbi for the Jewish High Holidays -being "nickel and dimed" like $18 corkage fees, $30 (used to be $20) for a filled laundry bag, etc. -having to pay for shuttles to the ports that we couldn't walk to; Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our fourth Mediterranean cruise, our first with Holland America, the other 3 with Celebrity - Unfortunately we were disappointed with parts of the Holland American cruise. Overall, the ship was clean and the staff pleasant. We ... Read More
This was our fourth Mediterranean cruise, our first with Holland America, the other 3 with Celebrity - Unfortunately we were disappointed with parts of the Holland American cruise. Overall, the ship was clean and the staff pleasant. We were in a balcony cabin which was clean, comfortable, and well appointed. We found the food in all areas of a high standard and on par with Celebrity but there is where the comparison ends. Although the staff are pleasant, they are consistently pushing beverage packages and buckets of beers. At the sail-away party you are offered a drink from the trays carried by staff only to find out that there is a charge for this drink. You never see the cruise director - unlike our previous cruises and the 8am announcements before disembarking for the ports cannot be heard in the cabin. There is no entertainment around the pool or Lido deck. Sailing out of Alicante we could hear the bands on the other cruise boats. (2 MSC, 1 Costa and 1x Tui ). The only noise on the Westerdam was crickets. The entertainment is third rate unless you’re into chamber music - then you will be overjoyed. English is not the first language of most staff, although they are pleasant, when making requests or queries in the Dining Room or at the Customer Service Desk, communication can be difficult, frustrating and drawn out. All service throughout the ship or on shore excursions have been outsourced, so it is not Holland America’s ultimate responsibility. Holland America seem to always dock at the furthest birth – so shuttle buses (at your cost) that take to you to the city centre only have the one drop off and pick up spot. The hand sanitisers at each end of the lido food court were often empty and towards the end of the cruise there were many starting to complain of sickness. Unlike Celebrity- we will not be recommending Holland America to our friends. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We booked this cruise because we received a great deal on the price and we liked the ports listed. The cruise started in Rome and ended in Venice with an overnight. I originally booked a Balcony Guarantee cabin, but approximately three ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we received a great deal on the price and we liked the ports listed. The cruise started in Rome and ended in Venice with an overnight. I originally booked a Balcony Guarantee cabin, but approximately three before the cruise, I received an email from HAL offering an upgrade to a Signature Suite at a reduced price. I took the upgrade and was assigned 6070. The cabin was spacious, comfortable, and had a nice balcony. If I can get a Signature Suite again, I will! Our cabin steward was excellent. We visited the Pinnacle Grill once. My mom loved her Crab Cakes and Lamb Chops. However, I was disappointed with my meal. Lobster bisque should be red (actually bright red) but on the Westerdam, it was dark brown. I asked several passengers about this and intend to follow up with HAL about this. The chef appears to be cooking it differently. I also ordered the King Salmon. When it is arrived, it was only warm and the center of the Salmon was cool. I should have sent it back but did not want to wait longer. We took all of our breakfasts (except for one) in the Lido. The Lido is a busy place. You really need to get a table first and then look for food. Sometimes it was easy to locate a table but sometimes it would take 5-10 minutes. Many tables are for larger groups, so you have to keep looking. The food was good at breakfast time. We enjoyed the waffles, pancakes, and cooked-to-order eggs. We only ate lunch once on the ship as we were out in ports during the day. Dinner was disappointing at the Lido. They did not seem to have a lot to pick from. I wish the Lido would serve burgers and hotdogs for dinner, but they do not. They do have a pasta bar and pizza. One night, I thought the Lido offerings at the grill were bizarre: quail, pork butts, or perch! The salad bar area was very good if you like salad. I would like to see more fresh, cooked vegetables and more fresh fruit on the ship. There were no fresh apples, nectarines, tangerines, oranges, or bananas. Most of our time was spent visiting the tours and doing tours. At night, my mom enjoyed the casino on the ship and only lost a few hundred dollars. She found the casino host to be friendly and after a few days, she was offered free drinks whenever she gambled. I watched movies in the cabin. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I am a 3 star Mariner so I've done my share of HAL cruises. The changes HAL is making to update the ship are not all positive. They have removed the library and replaced it with a few books about Holland (we were sailing in the ... Read More
I am a 3 star Mariner so I've done my share of HAL cruises. The changes HAL is making to update the ship are not all positive. They have removed the library and replaced it with a few books about Holland (we were sailing in the Mediterranean) and a reader's swap. I believe we were the first sailing since this change was made so there were very few books in the exchange. One reason we had sailed on HAL was the quality of the library. This change was very disappointing. Along with the removal of the library they have made a small game room,only 4 card tables and it was often closed as the Lincoln Center musicians used it as a break room. The selection of games did not even include Scrabble. Again, Hal took a big plus-the explorer's lounge or Crow's Nest and sterilized it. This combo of games and books plus coffee bar made for a homey, comfortable place to spend an afternoon. Now the Crow's Nest has all the charm of an airport waiting room. New music additions are great-both BB King and Lincoln Center Stage were fantastic. Westerdam singers and dancers were too loud. Attended one performance and skipped the others. Overall, a bit of a disappointment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Chose this cruise because we had never been to Spain and we like the Holland cruises. Two sea days and 10 ports. Stayed 2 days in Ramblas district of Barcelona before our cruise and loved the city! Didn't book any of the Holland ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we had never been to Spain and we like the Holland cruises. Two sea days and 10 ports. Stayed 2 days in Ramblas district of Barcelona before our cruise and loved the city! Didn't book any of the Holland cruises because they were too expensive so made arrangements for tours before we left home. Dining room service was impeccable and most of the dinners were wonderful, presented beautifully and did not disappoint. However, there were just a few low points. I love Caesar Salad and was disappointed that the salad arrived wilted. Tried it in the Pinnacle Grill and it was only marginally better even after I made a point of asking them to make sure the salad was freshly tossed. Not all romaine either. One evening, I opted to have a chicken mango salad for my entree and found it curious that although it was one of the title ingredients, there were exactly three tiny thin slices of mango on the plate. We did not use spa services this trip because of the heavy sales pressure to buy products during last year's Alaska cruise so can't comment on the Spa this trip. I also avoid any of their health and beauty seminars because I found in the past they were just thinly veiled attempts to, once again, sell products or services. We have always enjoyed the main showroom entertainment on board and although we enjoyed the Frozen Earth film concert, the comedian and the illusionist, we were disappointed with the Westerdam dancers and singers this trip. Although they have pretty good voices, they seem to be trained to sing as loud as possible. Overall, the pros outweighed the cons on our voyage and we had a great cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I wanted to experience ports in the Mediterranean and this cruise offered the ones I wanted to see. The ship after being updated is very nice. My cabin was a guarantee balcony 5120 that was very nice. It was midship which turned out to ... Read More
I wanted to experience ports in the Mediterranean and this cruise offered the ones I wanted to see. The ship after being updated is very nice. My cabin was a guarantee balcony 5120 that was very nice. It was midship which turned out to be great when we had a very rough sea day. Holland America diverted the cruise from Calvi to Ajaccio due to the fact that using tenders would have been dangerous for both passengers and crew. It turned out to be a much more enjoyable port than Calvi. Dining was very good. There were only two nights when I ate in the Lido based on looking at the main dining room menu and not finding anything to my liking. As always, the HAL crew was very good. Cabin stewards and dining stewards were all friendly and attentive to needs. I only used one excursion from the ship. Private providers for three others based on price, group size, and activities. I remain disappointed that Holland no longer has libraries on their ships. The old Crow's Nest area now seems to be a wasteland. It used to be a wonderful place to spend time, especially on sea days. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Great service from cabin attendants Spotty service quality in Lido Food LIdo boring Every-night some type of overcooked steak, dry chicken 4 types of potatoes and rice. The most unusual choice of vegetables. No sugar added ice ... Read More
Great service from cabin attendants Spotty service quality in Lido Food LIdo boring Every-night some type of overcooked steak, dry chicken 4 types of potatoes and rice. The most unusual choice of vegetables. No sugar added ice cream choice VERY limited to 9 nights of butter pecan and two of amaretto rarely seen chocolate or vanilla no sugar added ice cream. Cheese cake is so dry every night you could have used it as an anchor. Entertainment--Except for BB King All Stars the show entertainment left much to be desired. I fact we walked out of the productions shows because they were so bad. Ports were good. Able to DIY -Charged for shuttle to city center, Didn't use their overpriced shore excursions. Found private tours at half the price. Will we sail again on HAL NO, in fact we are selling our stock because the quality of HAL the past two cruise has been so bad. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We did the 36 day cruise commencing in Barcelona on June 16. We took in some great ports of call especially in Croatia,Albania,Monte Negro and Slovenia. Our cabin was spacious although somewhat noisy at night till about 11.30pm All ... Read More
We did the 36 day cruise commencing in Barcelona on June 16. We took in some great ports of call especially in Croatia,Albania,Monte Negro and Slovenia. Our cabin was spacious although somewhat noisy at night till about 11.30pm All amenities on Westerdam were excellent. Food was great in the main dining room and Lido. Airconditioning in the Crows nest was generally very cold. We didn't like the changes to the Crows Nest as on a previous cruise on the Eurodam we found this area to be the "social" center of the ship especially around happy hour. Overall though a very good cruise. We did several small group tours that we had organised ourselves as we find small groups (up to 6) being a lot better when touring. Also we were able to get to some pretty impressive places that are not generally on the "tourist" map. Overall small group really are better when touring from the ship Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
The cruise included visits to a wide range of attractive ports in the Western Mediterranean. From Barcelona, the Westerdam stopped in Cádiz, Málaga, Gibraltar, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca, Calvi, Toulon, Monaco, Livorno (Florence), and ... Read More
The cruise included visits to a wide range of attractive ports in the Western Mediterranean. From Barcelona, the Westerdam stopped in Cádiz, Málaga, Gibraltar, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca, Calvi, Toulon, Monaco, Livorno (Florence), and Civitavecchia (Rome). The ship's staff and crew were excellent, food venues were good, entertainment was entertaining, and the experience was generally fun. My lowish rating for the cruise is based on a seeming problem with norovirus throughout the ship (my wife and I both got sick), the lack of exceptionalism in the Pinnacle Grill (they ran out of anchoveys and berries the night we ate there), and the insensitivity of the customer service desk (a shirt ruined by the shop's laundry was not addressed and they either dawdled when asked to get us medical help or bum-rushed us off the ship--lepers of their creation). The Dining Room, Lido, and Canaletto were fine. The Internet program only used PC products; Apple users were neglected. More could have been done with their cooking and wine-tasting programs. The cruise was definitely worthwhile and the ship's crew was mostly outstanding (stewards, servers, cleaning crews, etc.). I think the health concerns caused the pall that prevented me from rating the ship more highly. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We wanted a cruise that visited the ports of Venice, Dubrovnik and Barcelona and this one fit the bill. The ship was disappointing - we sailed on the Royal Princess last year and that was a far superior experience in every sense. The ... Read More
We wanted a cruise that visited the ports of Venice, Dubrovnik and Barcelona and this one fit the bill. The ship was disappointing - we sailed on the Royal Princess last year and that was a far superior experience in every sense. The onboard experience was dull and uninspiring from the shops to the entertainment and the food. The excursions that we organized externally were great and the people that we met lovely. There was a norovirus outbreak and a lot of the passengers were affected and I was one of them. I felt that the ship gave lip service to the sanitization or perhaps it was just our sanitation crew.I had to ask them the wipe down the tables etc which was done half heartedly. I did not see the cleaning of the lifts and public stair rails and doors like the Princess staff did regularly. The food was boring with little change to the menu for the 24 days. I have never had chicken cooked so badly I tried it a few times but it was like chewing cardboard. We tried to have breakfast on the aft deck a few mornings but this was overtaken by smokers. We had issues with our cabin airconditioning 4 times and we even tried to sleep on the balcony to get away from the roaring noise of it. The toilet over flowed twice. The fridge did not work but they were insisting that it did - I had to ask them to bring a thermometer in to prove it to them that 55 degrees was not cool enough. The only saving grace with the ship was the staff they were lovely, courteous and friendly. We did receive 2 x $100 beverage vouchers which was a nice gesture but I would much rather have had peace and quiet and been able to sleep. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We cruised from Barcelona to Rome, June 16-28 and were pleased by most of what the Westerdam had to offer. But the food was a bummer. We are vegetarian, which limited the choice somewhat but even the choices with this limitation were ... Read More
We cruised from Barcelona to Rome, June 16-28 and were pleased by most of what the Westerdam had to offer. But the food was a bummer. We are vegetarian, which limited the choice somewhat but even the choices with this limitation were few. Aside from pure salad, it was hard to find plain food. Everything was loaded with cream, heavy cream. Also, we found out that there is a vegetarian menu only 4 days into the cruise! And the choices there were not great. Other than that, we had a fine time. The cabin was excellent, the staff was amazingly courteous, the entertainment was varied enough to serve everyone, at least part of the time. The ports of call were pleasant enough - we usually walked around with local directories in hand (we don't like tours with 20 to 50 people - they are unwieldy). We will cruise again, but not on the Westerdam or HAL, unless we know that their menus have been improved. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Great ports of call but many days lost to illness. I have cruised eight previous times and this is the first time I have ever been sick. That being said---MANY guests were very ill on this cruise. My cabin attendant did an excellent job ... Read More
Great ports of call but many days lost to illness. I have cruised eight previous times and this is the first time I have ever been sick. That being said---MANY guests were very ill on this cruise. My cabin attendant did an excellent job cleaning my stateroom but I never saw banisters, lounges or elevators being cleaned. Horrible meal at the "Pinnacle". No anchovies for the Cesar Salad and no fresh berries. The wait staff said that this was to be expected "at the end" of the cruise. Really? There were three more sailing days left. Was the upcharge expected? The fish was overcooked and the steak was below average. The food quality at HAL is diminished. The coffee is horrible. The wine list is really pitiful. No water onboard the day of desembarkation. I wonder how those guests who remained onboard were expected to wash their hands? Princess Cruise Line is far superior in food quality and Guest Services to HAL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2004
We had a nice SS cabin plus 2 days in Barcelona at the Gran Havana Hotel, which was quite nice and conveniently located. Embarkation was a disaster with all 1800 passengers arriving at one time, or so it appeared. There was a special ... Read More
We had a nice SS cabin plus 2 days in Barcelona at the Gran Havana Hotel, which was quite nice and conveniently located. Embarkation was a disaster with all 1800 passengers arriving at one time, or so it appeared. There was a special line for PH and full suite guests. There was no one to help carry bags to the stateroom. The stateroom was nice, over 300 sq. feet with a balcony large enough for a table, 2 chairs and 2 padded chairs with hassocks. Plenty of storage space with 3 closets, full size tub with separate shower and 2 sinks. Food service was average- no bad meals, an occasional plate that had to be reheated. The Pinnacle Grill was outstanding- well worth the $20.00 charge per person- we had the lamb and the large filet. The fruit was quite limited with no mangos, papayas or pineapple, and they ran out of prunes and several types of cereals before the end of the cruise!! The entertainment was quite good, with Jacqui Scott as on of the features- she had been on Crystal cruises on 2 occasions with us. The ship's singers and dancers were excellent and they had a big band on for the crossing. Only one real cocktail party- the Captain's reception, but 5 formal nights. On one they had the Black and White Ball in the Crow's Nest at 1030 p.m. for both seatings. Even with most people not attending it was very overcrowded. The outside elevators were a nice feature, but the overall appearance fared poorly when compared to the Rotterdam- too gaudy for my taste- orange and blue angels on the benches! All and all not an experience we would want to repeat. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
Thoroughly enjoyed our recent 17-day cruise from Barcelona, Spain, to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. BOOKING & FLIGHT: Arrived two days early for an opportunity to see and enjoy Barcelona. Our hotel and travel package was booked through ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed our recent 17-day cruise from Barcelona, Spain, to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. BOOKING & FLIGHT: Arrived two days early for an opportunity to see and enjoy Barcelona. Our hotel and travel package was booked through HAL and we stayed at the AC Diplomat in Barcelona. Our flight was booked with Air France and was very uncomfortable in coach. The seating was so close that when the passenger in the forward seat reclined their seat back it actually touched my chest, until I too placed the seat back further back. This made eating almost impossible and in eight hours only one trip to the facilities was possible. Our recommendation, fly business class if you can afford it. The flight into Paris was late and the one hour transfer time for our Barcelona flight reduced to twenty minutes. Air France was on the spot with transportation for our group and ensured a direct drive to the next terminal, otherwise we would have been on our own to walk across the complex. The Air France Airbus flight to Barcelona was pure luxury with all the seating space anyone could ask for. The arrival procedure at Barcelona Airport was great with HAL representatives waiting at the door and assisting with the limited customs procedures and immediate transportation to the hotel. PORT ACCOMMODATIONS: The AC Diplomat is a lovely and very modern hotel with very comfortable beds, a luxurious bathroom furnished completely in marble, fridge. fully stocked with complementary beverages each day and cable television. The heating and air conditioning system was great. With the HAL booking the free breakfast was very nice. EMBARKATION: Bus transportation and city tour was provided from the AC Diplomat, although it took five buses for all HAL guests. The downside was that all 1,800 plus passengers seemed to arrive at the very small terminal at the port within the same hour. The processing was quick, taking no more than 30 minutes, at which time we were surprised with an upgrade from a AA Suite to a SS Suite. SUITE ASSIGNMENT: The SS Suite was large, especially with the additional shower and sink in the bathroom. The three closets were spacious and the drawer space in the desk adequate. Plenty of room under the King sized bed for luggage storage. The larger size television and DVD player made watching the occasional movie more comfortable. PUBLIC AREAS: We missed the larger public rooms of the Statendam. Even the Ocean Bar of the Vista Class ship was smaller. The casino was larger and well designed for gaming variety. The Atrium lacks the style of previous Holland America ships. Having a bar in the first level of the Atrium, adjacent to the customer service areas of the ship was odd. I did use the bar area here for Internet access with the best wireless signal in any public area. The garish color design in most public areas made us wonder who selected the interior fabric and style. DINNING: We found it necessary to request a table reassignment four nights into our cruise. The noise level in the upper dinning room adjacent to the serving area was unacceptable. The menu was good to exceptional most evenings, but the soup and salads lacked any excitement. Several evenings the meat dish was not cooked to order and one evening the lamb dish was so undercooked that the head waiter was visibly upset when we pointed out the blood red lamb. The steak orders were never cooked or served correctly. Breakfast in the Lido was good, although the menu choices lacked the variety of previous HAL cruises. Several breakfast items ran short after the 15th day of the 17 day cruise. Our servers were very friendly and quick to correct any problems brought to their attention. TOURS: Barcelona--took advantage of the Red and Blue Bus Line Tours in the city. A great way to see the sights at your leisure for only about $13 (depending when you bought your Euros). Would like to have had two more days in Barcelona. Holland America is now charging $5 per person for each direction off the ship into Tarragona. The same applied for Funchal, Madeira and the Canary Islands. The Casablanca, Morocco city bus tour was less than pleasant, having boarded the oldest and dirtiest bus available to our group and our tour guide was well past his retirement age and had obvious respiratory problems. The biggest problem was that he was unwilling to answer most questions about the tour route. The St. Maarten tour was delayed due to poor communication and a lack of buses. We ended up in a last resort transportation alternative for the tour. The tour guide blamed the ship and the ship blamed the tour group. Not acceptable. The tour on Half Moon Cay was canceled due to water clarity conditions, no notice and little effort was made to refund the fee. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows were lively, well designed and performed. The variety of guest entertainment good to excellent. The casino was the best we have seen on board a ship with plenty of tournament action and instruction from the casino personnel. We did see quite a few people hit sizable jackpots and had a good gaming experience. The Karaoke competition was great with several nights of great fun. We are looking forward to our next Vista class experience on the Oosterdam in February '05. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
This was our honeymoon cruise. We are in our mid 40s, and this was our 3rd cruise together. We arrived for embarkation early and got onboard quickly. It took a few hours to get our luggage. (not a problem) One of the first things we do ... Read More
This was our honeymoon cruise. We are in our mid 40s, and this was our 3rd cruise together. We arrived for embarkation early and got onboard quickly. It took a few hours to get our luggage. (not a problem) One of the first things we do when we get onboard is to go to the spa and check out any specials. We were pleasantly surprised to find the pay as you go Hydro pool, and thermal spa. We treated ourselves to an unlimited full length cruise pass that cost us $320 as a couple. This proved to be the best investment we've ever made on a cruise ship. We spent at least two hours a day in the spa. It was great after spending all day on a shore excursion, and returning sore, and worn out. We had a late seating for dinner. The service was just above average, but the food was exceptional. The entertainment was the best!! They had a large variety of acts (comedy, juggler, Big Band, and the show troupe was top notch). The cruise staff all knew us by first name after the first day. We were given a handicapped cabin, that was fine with us because of the size, it was very roomy. The bed was the best we've ever had on a cruise. Our steward was very attentive, and our cabin was spotless. There was lots of closet space, and the bathroom was big. The casino was very lively and was packed most of the time. The payouts were in abundance. My wife left the cruise on the winning side after winning on many occasions with $200 and $400 wins. I didn't play much, but broke even. The ports were very lively and we had a great time at every one. Overall we had a great time and will be sailing on Holland America again very soon. Read Less
Westerdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 2.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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