3 Copenhagen Holland America Amsterdam Cruise Reviews

The ship was great, our cabin 6180a was very spacious with a tub and Jacuzzi and the veranda was large enough for a lounge and a chair. Service aboard was excellent in all areas except the wine steward. If you brought your wine to the ... Read More
The ship was great, our cabin 6180a was very spacious with a tub and Jacuzzi and the veranda was large enough for a lounge and a chair. Service aboard was excellent in all areas except the wine steward. If you brought your wine to the table as a gift from your travel agent as was our case, and you asked to have him open the bottle, he waited until he completed orders from paying customers, then at his convenience came to open our wine and in most cases was when we were in the middle of our main course. The food was excellent and presented very well. we ate in the pinnacle grill one night, which was a very pleasant dining experience and we recommend it highly. The entertainment left something to be desired as the quality of some of the cast was less than other performers we have seen on other ships. The shore excursions were for the most part very good although we did not partake in Visby or Aarhus. We enjoyed Berlin the most and in particular the train ride from Warnnamunde to Berlin which took three hours each way. We found St. Petersburg to be very interesting, even though our tour guide made it a point to tell the people on the bus that she works for tips and was disappointed with the way she was treated the day before by some of the guests on that particular bus she was on, and this was reflected in her attitude toward us in the manor of the way she handled the tour .(tacky) The hotel we stayed in pre and post cruise (the Scandec Hotel) was at best a Class B hotel with no air-conditioning. They have a what they call a cooling system which most of time does not work so if it is warm which was in our case this time of year it was almost impossible to sleep. I believe Holland America should look for better places to stay. Both embarkation and disembarkation went without any problems. Their system is so far the best we encountered Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
Overall, the 10 day Baltic Cruise on the Amsterdam was excellent. The cabin was spacious and had ample storage - more then we even needed. The staff was wonderful - always smiling, greeting and very polite. The food was exceptional, ... Read More
Overall, the 10 day Baltic Cruise on the Amsterdam was excellent. The cabin was spacious and had ample storage - more then we even needed. The staff was wonderful - always smiling, greeting and very polite. The food was exceptional, especially in the dining room. Wonderful soups, appetizers, main courses and lovely desserts. The only item that could have improved was having a larger selection of salads. Coffee and tea was included, but sodas were extra. If you like soda, the 20 drink soda card for $20 was the least expensive way to go. Food on the Lido deck was good, but for dinner, it was not nearly as good as the dining room. The ship was spotless, except in the late afternoons around the main pool area where the staff could have done a far better job on picking up towels and glasses after passengers left. The evening shows were mediocre. The dancers, who were there almost every night, were amateurish. The comedy was ok - but nothing to write home about. The Internet fees at 55-75 cents per minute, I feel, were excessive. The casino was there for donations, especially the slots. Getting on and off the ship at the ports was seamless. Never really had to wait long to get on or off. We made our own arrangements for shore excursions as we felt the HAL prices were out of line. For example, 6 of us contracted with a private tour company to go to Berlin - a 2 ½ drive, for only $167 per person, vs. $300 per person that HAL wanted. Overall, again, it was an excellent cruise with only a couple of minor complaints Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
Review of Baltic Cruise on Amsterdam. Well, here we are again cruising in new waters. Even as Brits these waters were new to us so we were looking forward to our Baltic cruise. It is a long tradition in Britain that when a young man ... Read More
Review of Baltic Cruise on Amsterdam. Well, here we are again cruising in new waters. Even as Brits these waters were new to us so we were looking forward to our Baltic cruise. It is a long tradition in Britain that when a young man leaves school he travels Europe. This usually took up to three years and the gentleman in question would travel alone, with friends or a tutor, but not his parents. We, however, decided that parents were the required companions for this 10-countries-in-one-month trip in honour of our son finishing school. We flew to Copenhagen from Vancouver three days early. We stayed at the Ansgar Hotel a few minutes walk from the Tivoli Gardens. The Hotel was three star rating and was booked by us in October 2005 at which time we requested a non-smoking room. When we arrived we were put into a smoking room which stank, was in the attic and was swelteringly hot and very small. My husband calculated that we were paying more per night for that room then we would have at the Empress Hotel in Victoria (www.fairmont.com/empress/). The building next door housed a woman who sat in her basement window, between the scarlet curtains, nightly. I am pleased to say that I had to ask my husband why he though she did this; there are some advantages to a Highland Presbyterian upbringing! (Review of the land portion elsewhere). Even though we did not sleep well during our stay in Copenhagen we were glad of the three days to get over some of our jet lag before boarding the ship. We met several people who were like the walking dead by the third port as they had no time to adjust before what could have been used as an army training week. In our younger days, my husband used to get me up at 4 or 5 am for a day hill walking, which could last up to 15 hours. This cruise reminded me of those days. Don't get me wrong the - full assault - version was not necessary, but if one were to get the most out of the trip it certainly was desirable. Perhaps some pre cruise training would be a good idea. We were disappointed by the boarding process as the land staff did not seem to know anything about the express check in and made me fill in all the documents again. That really is not a big deal but it was an annoyance.  Our first day was at sea so we had time to acquaint ourselves with the ship. This was our 9th cruise with HAL so finding our way about their ships does not take long. We were, however, surprised at how much we found we liked the Vista ships as a result of our trip on the Amsterdam. For the last few trips we have complained that they were too big and that we preferred the smaller ships, but this time we found there were little details which we missed, like being able to walk the length of the ship on deck 4. Nothing major though, one Hal ship is rather like another. The design may be different but the service, food and beds, ah the beds! are the same five star. Day 2 saw us in Tallinn, Estonia which was a lovely introduction to what lay ahead. The city was within easy walking distance of the ship and we wandered all over it. The oldest part is Mediaeval and a delightful days wandering was had by us all. We even stumbled upon the Canadian Embassy hidden down a back street. Days 3 and 4 were spent in St Petersburg, Russia. It is our practice to look up reviews on this site whenever we plan to travel and to consider the advice of those who have gone before. I can but assume that the readers of this article are doing likewise. PLEASE NOTE those who recommend Red October know what they are talking about. We had some difficulty contacting the company in the US in the first instance, but Carolyn helped us out and after the all ran smoothly. If you decide to use their services this is how it works. You access their web site www.redoctober.us have a look around and contact Mike for info on the exact things you would like to do and the cost. Mike will send you the paper work which you return to him with one day's fees and that is really that. We decided upon the same tours as we would have taken with HAL but hoped that we would be getting better value for our money. There were only three of us but we expected that they would add other people until we filled a 10-seater bus. We were given strict instructions to be off the ship at 7:30 am and told that the cruise company may be difficult about it as they wanted to get their tours off first. We had no trouble whatsoever with HAL and we were off first. Apparently, not all cruise companies are so obliging. We were met, after passport control, by our guide Elena and our driver and found ourselves on a private tour. Elena thought it funny that we expected another 7 people to join us, she told us that we booked the tour so it was ours. Off we set in an American minivan (I don't know one make from another). It was air conditioned and it was wonderful. It was like spending two days in Russia with a Russian family and being shown around by them. We did everything that the people on the ship tours did but we did it better. When we arrived at Catherine's Palace there was an enormous queue; we later learned from people on the ship that they waited for over 40 minutes to get in; which we sailed passed as Elena lead us into the Palace. We had a personal guide through the entire building and frequently passed other groups to be allowed into rooms. This is how it was for the entire two days. At no point did we have to queue or not hear our guide. I could not recommend Red October highly enough. When we calculated how much it was costing us we found that we paid $20 more than the same itinerary would have cost us with HAL. We had a wonderful two days in St.Petersburg. Day 5 was Helsinki and I am sad to say that after St. Petersburg nothing would have looked grand. Actually, Helsinki was the perfect place to visit after St. Petersburg as it was serene and lacking in gold leaf. It was a rest for the mind and the eyes as well as the body, which was not required to keep up a break neck pace to cover a small fraction of what there was to see. In the following 4 days we visited Stockholm, Visby, (my favourite place on the trip, if you discount St P. as being in a class of its own) Århus, & Warnemunde. Every city had something to offer, including a lovely beach at Warnemunde, and all of it within easy reach of the dock. We walked between 4 & 5 hours every day and were completely exhausted by the end of the trip, but, delighted to have done it. We did talk to some people on the ship who were much more exhausted than we were due to not having done any research and having no idea whatsoever of what they had taken on. One couple said that they were not even going to get off the ship on the last two ports as they were so tired and over cultured. Certainly to really see the places you would be visiting you would need to be willing to put in long days and do a fair amount of walking, but that said if your idea is simply to enjoy the ship and see a very little of new and interesting places you could do that too. Whichever approach works for you, this was a trip to provide memories to last a lifetime. Of course, all the usual things were available on the ship, such as the evening entertainments, spa, gym etc and I am sure that many people frequented them all. However, we got all our exercise ashore, were entertained by the local life and were just too pooped by 10 pm to do anything but sleep, which is, in my opinion, where HAL excels. Oh, what sleep! Many of the people to whom I spoke were staying on in Copenhagen for a day or two before returning to North America. I would certainly recommend that those days were taken before the cruise. We were setting off for Paris and then driving to Belgium and Luxembourg before returning to Paris and flying back to Canada. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
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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