8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Actually it was a little less than 19 miles an hour, 18.9 mph or 16.4 knots as I reckon it. Nineteen miles an hour seems like a leisurely pace to circle the planet. But on a human scale it’s really pretty hectic. To put 19 miles an ... Read More
Actually it was a little less than 19 miles an hour, 18.9 mph or 16.4 knots as I reckon it. Nineteen miles an hour seems like a leisurely pace to circle the planet. But on a human scale it’s really pretty hectic. To put 19 miles an hour into perspective, the average speed of a runner in the Boston Marathon is 8.8 mph, an average human walks at about 3.1 mph, an average horse’s walk is 4 mph. If you were on a sailing ship on a good day you could travel at 8 knots or 9.2 miles per hour. At times we felt that hectic pace. We are we wanted to see as much as possible at each port. When there’s a port call on the very next day details of the first port get lost. Sea days are a time to reflect, write and sort pictures while memories were still fresh. Many of my cruise mates said things like “I really enjoyed Napier, or was it Dunedin; I can never keep them straight.” Or “I think we were here on a past cruise, but I can’t remember.” That could easily have happened to me so I pondered, sorted and wrote. Many evenings I skipped the entertainment to process my experiences. You would think that on a long cruise I’d get a lot of reading done. I read fewer than half the number of books that I usually read in 4 months. On sea days I tried to spend an hour sitting in a deck chair on the promenade deck “reading.” I didn’t get through many pages. Reading time became thinking time while looking out at the ocean. Other important times for processing were walks around the promenade deck and my daily swim. People ask “What was your favorite port?” Difficult to answer but here is an attempt. I loved each of the New Zealand ports but Mt. Maunganui was the happiest place we visited. I had not heard of it before the trip. It’s the small port for bigger attractions just a short bus ride away. We never got on that bus. We walked off the ship with no expectations, and wandered with no agenda. We enjoyed the beach, the bay and the Saturday crafts market with its booths, music and conversation. Hobart, Tasmania was the highlight of the “The lucky country” (Australia) because of an encounter with the owner of an art gallery who curated aboriginal art. He brought out a bottle of good wine and we had an enjoyable evening of conversation laced with laughter. The “Wow” moment came at Namibia’s sand dunes. The surreal moment was the tourist convoy in Luanda, Angola which included mini buses, police motorcycle outriders, a pilot car, a police SUV filled with armed guards and an ambulance. The guide assured us he would make sure we didn’t get arrested for taking pictures. The romantic highlight was Hong Kong where Suzi and I had spent time 30 years ago. We wandered around looking at what had changed and what was timeless. Who would have thought this hectic city could become our romantic touchpoint? The “experience” that rises to the top is snorkeling and with sharks and sting rays in Bora Bora. Cape Town is where I want to return to explore further. And Cape Verde was my unexpected love affair. I thought it would be kind of a throwaway port, nothing planned, a place to stop in the Atlantic between Africa and America. I loved it. There was only one stop that I really didn’t like, Georgetown, Grand Cayman. I can only take so many t-shirt shops, Jimmy Buffett songs touting margaritas. In his final talk Captain Mercer said a trip like this changes anyone who takes it. It’s too soon to tell how this trip will change me. We traveled far and wide but not deep. How can you when you are in a place for between 8 and 58 hours? Holland America did their best to add depth with lectures, foods from the countries we visited and cultural shows. In the past we have traveled deep, living abroad for almost two decades. Traveling far and wide does not give you that type of experience, but it does paint a panorama that allows me to see relationships between different parts of the world. On board lectures on Indian Ocean trade or Pacific migrations while we were sailing those waters helped me better understand (and look for) similarities in culture, language and religion in very diverse parts of the globe. We learned how trade and fisheries enabled the exchange of not only goods, but of religion culture and genes. Out of this came some intriguing hybrid cultures. I loved the Cape Verde Islands because of the mix of Africa, Brazil and Europe touched with a little bit of Yankee whaler. I spoke with a “Cape Colored” man in South Africa of Malay -- Moslem – German -- Ashkenazi heritage named Rosenberg, educated Lutheran, who is raising his children Catholic. Place names in New Zealand, Australia, Alaska and Canada are the same; Cook, Vancouver, Bligh, Malaspina, and Turnagin. Perhaps the epiphany of this trip will be greater understanding of the interrelationship of peoples and lands. Or perhaps the life changer from this cruise will be the friends we made. I was surprised by the folks who take world cruises. They are not necessarily members of the upper classes, not necessarily bankers or lawyers (although some are.) Many are teachers, nurses, social workers, librarians, production line workers or retired military. Perhaps the epiphany of this trip is that we live in a “lucky time.” a fleeting “golden age” for the middle class when teachers, nurses, social workers, librarians and production line workers are affluent enough to take this type of vacation. Will the next generation of teachers, librarians, nurses, social workers and production line workers be able to do this as trade and professional unions wane in influence and wealth concentrates at the top? My cruise mates were engaged, hard-working and committed people. Will their children, our children, be able follow their parents and enjoy an experience like this? By the numbers: • We sailed 34,128 Nautical Miles, 39,274 statute miles or 63,205 KM • The Cruise lasted 113 days • We visited 39 ports in 26 countries or territories • We missed one port due to weather and substituted one port because of the bubonic plague. • We used 18 currencies (20 if you count the Panamanian Balboa which is the same as a dollar and the Namibian dollar, which is the same as the South African rand.) • I took 16,916 pictures and posted 3,504 on either my blog or Facebook (not counting this post.) • We broke three cameras. • This cruise blog has 143 posts including this one. I didn’t count words. • I lost about 5 pounds. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Trip was on our bucket list.Ship is old but in excellent condition. Our bed was under the window and since we like to look out made it difficult at times. The food and service in the main dinning room were excellent. Food in the Lido was ... Read More
Trip was on our bucket list.Ship is old but in excellent condition. Our bed was under the window and since we like to look out made it difficult at times. The food and service in the main dinning room were excellent. Food in the Lido was good and usually good choices.service was excellent. We were not thrill by the Pinnacle Grill, we were there for lunch and left a lot to be desired. The whole experience of the Panama Canal was more than we expected, from entering the Canal at 6am to the onboard narration by the guide to going through the locks and leaving the Canal at sunset(we were going NW. We took the ships tours in Cartagena Puerto Caldere, Corinto and Cabo, some were better that others but we did get to see each location and get a feel for each country. Disembarkation was fast and well organizes we were able to stay in our cabin until called Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I am totally sold on Holland America - Just finished my 19 day Panama Canal Cruise - Started in Ft. Lauderdale. Visited Cartagena, Panama Canal , Corinto, Nicaragua, Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, Huatulco, Mexico Cabo San Lucas, Mexico ... Read More
I am totally sold on Holland America - Just finished my 19 day Panama Canal Cruise - Started in Ft. Lauderdale. Visited Cartagena, Panama Canal , Corinto, Nicaragua, Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, Huatulco, Mexico Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - San Francisco, Vancouver, and ended in Seatle. Embarkation went well - my cabin was ready - #3377 - Lunch at the Lido Market Buffet was very good. Food on the cruise was very good - they have the same food in the Lido Buffet as in the Dining Room - We didn't want to go to the Dining Room on Gala night for Lobster so we had Lobster in the Buffet (I had four!) I had an issue with my room - with water - and they changed my room - I was originally on the Promenade Deck with an obstructed ocean view - they changed me to the Dolphin Deck (Deck #1) which at first I wasn't too happy with - but my room was larger and there is very little movement when the ship is rocky. The staff is super friendly and very efficient. The ports were fine - I didn't do any excursions. Holland tries to make sure that anything you need is taken care of. The Microsoft classes are very informative! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Cruise was absolutely amazing. It was awhile to embark but then again the hotels ship you out all at the same time so we all pretty much arrived at the same time. There were so many returning cruisers that the "expedited line" ... Read More
Cruise was absolutely amazing. It was awhile to embark but then again the hotels ship you out all at the same time so we all pretty much arrived at the same time. There were so many returning cruisers that the "expedited line" and the regular line were both about 45 minutes to get checked in. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint, the Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, the Xian Warriors, Singapore, Oman, Petra in Jordan, the Acropolis in Athens, Malta, Panama Canal, Suez canal. My bucket list is much shorter now. With visiting all the cities is really showed us the world we live in and our preconceived notions were happily changed. The Amsterdam is really showing here age. There was a lot of water leaks both in the Common Areas and the Staterooms during our Pacific Ocean crossing as there were some rough sailing days. They even had to replace some of the carpet. Rumour was that there was a lot of mold floating around and this caused "ship's cough". I cannot confirm this but most of us had a cough at one time or another. After they changed the air filters in our staterooms, it seemed to get better. The décor in the staterooms is pretty old and faded but clean and spotless. The food on this journey was remarkable, I don't remember ever not having a great pick on the dinner menu. We also had themed meals based on which port we were in. The average age on this cruise was upper 70's to low 80's so the entertainment was geared to this audience. Being quite a bit younger put us at a disadvantage. Lots of classical music, show tunes and easy listening. The ships entertainment was average at best but that is true of all the cruises I have been on. There were lots of lectures on the history of the places we were visiting which was great for understanding the customs and ways at each port. There was also a location specialist who told us what to see and what to shop for and what to do and not do. This was a great help. There were ports where we were at a disadvantage as there were no maps to guide us to what we wanted to see. There were shore excursions off the boat but they were stupid expensive - ie: bus to Atomic Bomb Museum, Peace Park and lunch $119 US. We walked 2 blocks, took a tram, walked a block, visited the Museum and had lunch for $25 US each. As the mobility of a lot of the guests was limited due mostly to the age of the cruisers, the excursions are the only way they can possibly see the ports. The service on this boat was superb from the Lido Cooks and Attendants , the Dining Room Staff, the stateroom staff, front desk, librarian etc. It was great to have a library as this was a 111 day voyage but the ship should go with a digital library as well. There didn't seem to be a lot of new books on the shelves. Of great value was the coin laundry, $2 for a wash and dry was great. There were only 8 washers and 8 dryers on this ship but because most of the customers were return visitors who got free laundry it was enough. Besides the super expensive Shore Excursions , the internet was another fail. It is expensive $55 US for 100 minutes and because it is so slow, your minutes go by really fast. I believe that it should be by usage and not time. Most of my time on the internet was waiting for a page refresh or sending an email. I loved the cruise and would definitely take another world cruise but I think that I would go with another cruise line to have something to compare this to. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was our third World Cruise on the Amsterdam. The embarcation ... went smoothly. There was a long line, but it moved quickly. The ship... We have always loved the Amsterdam, but I'm sorry to say, she seems to be in serious ... Read More
This was our third World Cruise on the Amsterdam. The embarcation ... went smoothly. There was a long line, but it moved quickly. The ship... We have always loved the Amsterdam, but I'm sorry to say, she seems to be in serious need of repair. We saw many leaks in public areas, including the Lido food prep area. Several cabins that flooded terribly. When this happened the crew brought big fans to dry the carpets on top, but I fear that there must be mold underneath. There were also concerns about the 17 year old HVAC units. Most passengers, including us, seemed to be sick, off and on, with sinus infections and allergies much of the 4 months. I think Amsterdam is due for dry dock after the 2018 cruise. Cabin... We were on Dolphin deck. Our room stewards scrubbed the shower every day to try and keep the mold out of the tiles around the shower. Our cabin frequently smelled of diesel fuel. Dining... The chefs and crew do a great job preparing and serving delicious meals and snacks. Entertainment and activities ... The nightime entertainment seemed to be for the older crowd. Lots of classical and show tunes, magicians and comedians. We attended only a few shows. Afternoon movies on sea days were not offered, since a private group rented the theater. The internet is slow as molasses and is very expensive. We spent $600 on internet in 4 months. Service.... The crew on the World Cruise is always the best on the seas!!! Also, the Fillipino and Indonesian crew shos were outstanding. Ports and Shore Excursions... The ports were great! We took Shore Excursions in most ports. They were very expensive, but most guides were excellent. We plan to continue cruising, but sadly will not cruise on the Amsterdam again. We plan to travel on the newer ships that hopefully, will have fewer maintenance issues. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Had a wonderful trip on the Grand World Cruise. Our first world cruise. It was a wonderful opportunity to visit many places on our bucket list. Loved the ports and visiting different countries but too much down time for me. Too many sea ... Read More
Had a wonderful trip on the Grand World Cruise. Our first world cruise. It was a wonderful opportunity to visit many places on our bucket list. Loved the ports and visiting different countries but too much down time for me. Too many sea days with little to do unless you like dancing and bridge. Spent lots of time at the gym and library, excellent library. Shore excursions were well done for the most part and most of the guides were excellent with information about their countries. The lectures were very interesting and really enjoyed the culinary arts center. The entertainment was the best we have ever had at sea can not say enough about these talented young people. . Ship needs a little TLC. There were problem with flooding and leaking through out the ship. The food was good and the service exceptional.Great crew, great captain, met many wonderful people but would probably not do another world cruise. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We sailed the first leg of the 2017 World Cruise, disembarking in San Diego. Overall experience was pleasant, but we had to overlook inconsistent food, a musty smell in our stateroom, and a toilet that malfunctioned three times. The ship ... Read More
We sailed the first leg of the 2017 World Cruise, disembarking in San Diego. Overall experience was pleasant, but we had to overlook inconsistent food, a musty smell in our stateroom, and a toilet that malfunctioned three times. The ship hasn't been refurbished in years, and it shows. Service was excellent, entertainment good. This particular cruise attracts a lot of old people, the majority of whom are 80+. I question the value received for the price paid. This was our second HAL cruise, the first being on the (superior) Eurodam. Was frustrated trying to watch NFL playoff games via satellite. The audio channel carrying the play-by-play call was not working. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Tours are expensive for what's offered. The majority of the passengers on the Amsterdam world cruise take the entire, 4-month trip. There were many repeat customers who apparently don't mind this ship's shortcomings but focus, rather, than on the socializing that goes on. Like other cruise ships, internet service is slow and expensive. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was my 3rd MSM Cruise, really looking forward to the music & acts. But the bands were so blaringly loud, & the singers so screamingly loud, if u weren't hard of hearing when u entered u surely were upon departure! The ... Read More
This was my 3rd MSM Cruise, really looking forward to the music & acts. But the bands were so blaringly loud, & the singers so screamingly loud, if u weren't hard of hearing when u entered u surely were upon departure! The decibel level was as if we all needed hearing aids. Then the singers didn't sing the songs as originally recorded, as we remembered them, it was some updated version, with a lot of waaaah waaaah stuff. Plus the interviews w/girl groups were plain boring! Best stuff was the groups like Brooklyn Bridge, Happenings, Accords, the Elvis Trib artists, & Ricky's kids, Gunnar & Matthew. All that was great. Also good was the food, crew, service etc. Boat was shipshape, embarkation easy, but DE-bark, egad! They've gotta control who asks for early debarkation, there was approx 200 peeps in line, & not all had early flights etc. Our airline SW, moved up the flight, people behind me got moved up even farther by AA. By the grace of God & people graciously allowing us to move ahead we made our flight, but oh the pressure. And airport was mobbed, several large cruise ships in port. Turned out my sis was embarking on Allure of the Seas that am, & that's a huuuge ship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My first on Holland America and I've done 9 on Princess and I'm still partial to Princess. Nothing at all wrong with Holland America. I just think Princess is the better of the two. I don't know that I could pinpoint any ... Read More
My first on Holland America and I've done 9 on Princess and I'm still partial to Princess. Nothing at all wrong with Holland America. I just think Princess is the better of the two. I don't know that I could pinpoint any one thing, but there were a lot of things that needed to be revamped or redone on the Maasdam. It's obviously an older ship and just needs to be redecorated and updated. Some of the shows were also a bit raunchy and the shows are one of the main things I enjoy on the cruise. Service was o.k., but most not outstanding. We did have 2 boys in the dining room that we loved and were very attentive to us and I tipped them more. I'm on a walker with oxygen, so I didn't really do many shore excursions, but what I did were fine. Food, for the most part was fine. Read Less
Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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