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Sail Date: July 2018
My Mother bought us a family cruise for all of us for our Birthdays. We were very excited. The whole trip was a disaster on the Ansterdam. 1st day they gave my brother’s in laws a 2 bed bedroom and my other brother and his ... Read More
My Mother bought us a family cruise for all of us for our Birthdays. We were very excited. The whole trip was a disaster on the Ansterdam. 1st day they gave my brother’s in laws a 2 bed bedroom and my other brother and his daughter a one bed bedroom. They would of switched rooms but my brother’s room had no hot water the whole 7 days of the trip. They wouldn’t switch the room for him or the in laws. So he and my niece had too shower in my Moms room and they would only give her a $200 credit. The toilets did work for a couple of hours 3 times and we didn’t have water from 12 midnight till 5 am and it still didn’t really fix the problem. The DVD player in my room didn’t work, TV was fuzzy the safe locked me out. The movie they played in the so called movie theater was the same movies they played on the 2 TV movie channels. Their nature experts couldn’t answer simple question like does Alaska have Racoons. She said they didn’t but we asked a excursion guide and he said of course we do. The food was not soso the service was poor. I could go on and on. My brother summed it up the cruise was a floating Motel 6 with Denny’s food. Alaska was beautiful! It was just a awful ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We choose this cruise for the itinerary, we always wanted to go to Alaska Boat was nice very clean, abit boring Hardly any music, the PA on deck did not work well Hotels used were dumps Dirty and old and worn Excursions ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary, we always wanted to go to Alaska Boat was nice very clean, abit boring Hardly any music, the PA on deck did not work well Hotels used were dumps Dirty and old and worn Excursions hit or miss Could do better privately crew nice but not that friendly The cruise director a nwaste Specialty Steak house awful Shows very sub par The cruise was a land cruise on the westerdam , started in Fairbanks, awful, to Denali great, to Anchorage, awful hotels call the Westmark. They were both dumps, hairs in bed, stains on sofa, smelled, carpets dirty, Needed to sleep with your day time cloths on and use saddles on the sticky floors Told Holland America about it and they said too Bad all part of the Alaskan experience An example of the terrible excursions was the wilderness small boat tour, the boat broke and did we drove up then down a river Holland American said sorry and gave us back 20 bucks back on a 159 dollar trip All in all use another ship line, Holland is old and has not changed in years SPEND YOUR MONEY SOME WHERELSE Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Having sailed with HAL many times in the past, it was a no-brainer to pick the 14-day cruise on the ms Zaandam. This was my 4th cruise to Alaska, yet the itinerary included no less than 4 ports/sites that I had not seen before (Homer, Icy ... Read More
Having sailed with HAL many times in the past, it was a no-brainer to pick the 14-day cruise on the ms Zaandam. This was my 4th cruise to Alaska, yet the itinerary included no less than 4 ports/sites that I had not seen before (Homer, Icy Strait-Hoonah, Kodiak and Anchorage). As expected, the food and beverage service was above average. HAL's history of Filipino and Indonesian service staff is time-honored and well-known. But I did notice a few things that were not characteristic of prior HAL cruises. The cabin steward service was maddeningly inconsistent. The ventilation in our ocean-view stateroom was substandard - it always seemed warm and stuffy, even with the thermostat at the lowest possible setting. The bedding and bath linens were old, rough and threadbare. However, the bath had been recently upgraded with a nice sink and shower. The mattress was a slight upgrade over a military surplus cot, and I arose every morning with a a backache. I was surprised to find only ONE electrical outlet to be used for cell phone chargers, CPAP machine, Kindle chargers, etc. We had to ask for a power strip/extension cord which we had to drape over the door handle for the adjoining stateroom, which was cumbersome and hazardous. One thing has not changed on HAL is the pricey beverage structure. $7.00 for a domestic beer and $50.00 for a bottle of wine was enough to discourage my customary couple of beers in the afternoon and a bottle of wine for dinner. I was not happy with the structure of the Lido. A buffet should be self-serve, yet you had to stand in line for any hot food selections. On the other hand, I found the quality of the food in the Lido equal to that of the Dining Room, and since I was limiting my alcoholic beverage consumption due to high prices, I visited the Lido for all afternoon and evening meals except twice during the 14-day trip. Overall, a fine cruise with several notable disappointments. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Holland America reviewed well for our selection with our 2 friends and we wanted to go to Alaska. We booked the Westerdam on the southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver with strops in glacier Bay, Haines/Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. ... Read More
Holland America reviewed well for our selection with our 2 friends and we wanted to go to Alaska. We booked the Westerdam on the southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver with strops in glacier Bay, Haines/Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. HAL has priority over the vessels to cruise glacier Bay where 2 boats/day are allowed and docking privileges for a once a week ship at Haines. We booked the Neptune Suite and selected the drink package, upgraded restaurant 1 night and shipboard credits. We pre-cruised with 3 days in Anchorage and the pre-cruise train from Anchorage to Seward. Our introduction to HAL was minutes after the easy boarding process and entering our awesome stateroom. Absolutely WOW and a large balcony and enough closet/drawer space form many large luggage pieces. Our service stewards throughout the week gave us many WOW moments, from the afternoon snacks to towel animals greeting us in the afternoon. Service aboard was incredible from our stewards, concierge, bartenders, and dining room staff. Most notable is the Pinnacle Grill which serves breakfast to Neptune guests. The best food we experienced was clearly the Pinnacle Grill and then fooled by our lunching at the Dive-In hot dog and burger bar. Dining room and Lido buffet food was decent but nothing to WOW about and we would give it a C+ with some food much better. Never without an opportunity for food. The shipboard atmosphere was relaxed and only required pants and a collared shirt for men in best dining evenings...So no Tux needed! The wildlife experts aboard and the Crows Nest public area was fun as we constantly spotted some form of wildlife or a notable attraction. We loved the wildlife interaction and the day on glacier Bay was memorable with bears, otters, eagles, etc...and the glacier. Our onshore tours were very good with the Juneau helicopter to the glacier and2 mile sled dog mushing being a real 10+...expensive and worth the money...Our first day in Haines with the fast ferry to Skagway and helicopter to the glacier was interesting although not too exciting with a "wrote" pathway there/back and a limited opportunity on the glacier...at the end of that trip their helicopter service bus dumped us in town and told us to walk back to the fast ferry...poor. The third land tour was a fast boat to Misty Fjords and floatplane ride back...pretty nice. The cruise was everything se expected and more and everything we made it to be. We saw some show, listened to blues at BB King club and danced...and explored the entire ship where allowed. Some issues arose with our final night in the dining room whereby our sommelier ordered drinks and charged us overage for those that had been OK as we had asked/been answered by bar staff throughout the ship...A lively discussion with the beverage Manager was fruitless and not very nice...However one rotten apple....and we loved the cruise. Off-boarding in Vancouver and 2 days of sightseeing was wonderful and a great finally to our memorable cruise on Holland America...We will return. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I do not want to come across as sounding negative about this, since we did enjoy ourselves on this Alaska cruise/tour. We have cruised most frequently with Celebrity, but as first time HAL guests it's hard to avoid comparisons. Of ... Read More
I do not want to come across as sounding negative about this, since we did enjoy ourselves on this Alaska cruise/tour. We have cruised most frequently with Celebrity, but as first time HAL guests it's hard to avoid comparisons. Of course people have different impressions of things. Many people here have said that the Noordam is showing wear. We didn't really see much evidence of that. The outside decks are all gleaming white and look as though they've just been painted. All areas inside and out appear to be very clean and well maintained. Some of the negative comments may be due to the fact that a lot of the decor looks dated, although it's certainly not very old. Common areas: We found the Noordam to be thoughtfully designed and decorated in a mostly sophisticated fashion. There is some glitz but it's well placed. The ship was launched in 2006 and I think I've read that it was dry-docked for an overhaul in 2015. Much of the decor is tasteful and traditional, while in many places it looks like 1985 -- which obviously is not the case. There's a lot of dusky rose color and polished brass, well done but reminiscent of 30 years ago. The dark reds and rose shades, particularly in the otherwise attractive Vista Dining Room, make it feel a bit claustrophobic. If the ceilings were lightened up it might make the whole area seem more spacious. The ship features a lovely and interesting collection of European art pieces. There are some spectacular fresh floral arrangements around the ship. Certain details are pretty wonderful (like the elevator doors). All these features should make the Noordam feel somewhat classier overall than it does. I think this may be due to the otherwise dated and sometimes claustrophobic color schemes and traffic inefficiencies in certain areas. The ship's decor lacks a certain continuity and is somewhat disjointed. The ship has two pools. If only the Noordam were large enough to have an 'adults only' pool. Both pools were overridden with splashing, running kids the whole time; not particularly inviting for grownups desiring a peaceful poolside experience. Cabin: Our cabin was on Deck 1, the Main Deck. It had a window rather than a balcony. It was comfortable and the bed was good. The decor might have been a little frumpy but it was perfectly acceptable. Unbeknownst to us, our part of Deck 1 is beneath the BB King Blues Club. Don't plan to go to sleep early because the loud thumping music from the Club doesn't end until around 11:15. The cabin's layout where the closets are located makes for a particularly awkward area. That little hallway is always going to be tight, but the way the closet doors open, two people cannot easily access the closets at the same time. There are no lights in the closet and to see your things properly, you must turn on the hallway light, which is on the same circuit as the main ceiling lights in the cabin; not good if it's dark and someone is trying to sleep. I was surprised that the in-cabin TV did not have a channel where you can check on your bill to monitor expenses. I learned at the guest relations desk that they do not automatically provide a summary of your bill, you must request one. While the bathroom functioned just fine, what a dreary little place it is. A ship's bathroom is essentially one big plastic module and probably not easy to update. The color of these bathrooms is a peculiar tan, which reminded me of the color of panty hose; and the tub, sink, and door are that strange greenish-tan like degrading plastic computer components. Again, everything worked fine, but who ever chose the colors? Our mirrors were ready for replacing due to humidity damage around the edges. Lido Buffet: The Buffet is not self-serve, so there are big crowds at the serving areas. The kitchen crew serves everyone, order by order, so it can be slow-going and extremely cramped. I imagine it is not self-serve in the interest of preventing norovirus, which is admirable, but it makes for very inefficient service and crowding. The Vista Dining Room is not open at lunch, so the whole ship is at the Buffet, which is a mob scene at times. We occasionally escaped to the taco bar out by the pool. The Lido Buffet opens to a big aft deck, which has a lot of seating, but if the weather is inclement, everyone is crammed into the inside dining area. We are by no means foodies, but the Lido Buffet food was largely disappointing. Many of the offerings did not seem fresh and sometimes tasted leftover or of refrigerator. Some turn-offs were fat, grisly lamb shoulder; tough, stringy, overcooked asparagus; bleu cheese dressing with absolutely no flavor whatsoever; pre-made sandwiches in bags; and flavorless ice cream. All it has going for it is that it is cold. Of course the ship's cooking ingredients are not supermarket house brands, but it sure does taste like it. Coffee and cookies are excellent, as are the made to order salads (with an alternative dressing choice). Vista Dining Room: Service was excellent and the layout of the dining room is multi-level and interesting. We were seated in a different area for each dinner, which was nice. The food in the Vista Dining Room was head and shoulders better than that of the Lido Buffet, with a few exceptions. Buttermilk pancakes were rubbery and chewy; beef stroganoff was topped with two dry, stringy chunks of beef, and a few other items were lackluster. But most everything else was good to quite good. We never had dinner in the Buffet because the service, food, atmosphere, and stress level is so much better in the Vista Dining Room than in the Lido Buffet. Traditional afternoon high tea is also served in the Vista Dining Room. It's pleasant and the tea is good but many of the attractive-looking small pastries taste like supermarket house brand. A civilized tradition but sort of disappointing. Entertainment: First and foremost (and possibly tempting us to book with HAL again) is their Lincoln Center Stage. It's a chamber music venue that is too small for the number of people it attracts. The room opens to the hallway where clueless loudmouths often make hearing the exquisite music difficult, and is probably a distraction for the musicians as well. The quintet on board were brilliant musicians, accomplished and degreed, with delightful stage presence. We did not attend the BB King Blues Club since it's not our preferred type of music -- and as stated above, we were treated to a free show in our cabin every night. There were two production shows in the main theater during the week we were on the ship. The singers, dancers, sets, and effects are absolutely flawless and professional. The shows we saw were very loud, raucous rock-themed productions. No reflection on the performers, by any means, but I'm not sure if this type of show would be the choice of many of the guests on the ship. The comedian and especially the magician were excellent. My impression is that HAL, or at least this particular ship and cruise, is at a difficult crossroads as far as how to present its brand. I was expecting to find what its reputation is known for: catering to a fairly well-heeled mature clientele that prefers a traditional, rather sophisticated, classic cruise experience. The Noordam exhibits elements of a classic cruise liner, e.g., the teak steamer chairs, certain Deco details, railings and deckings; but is mixed with elements that make me fear that HAL may go the way of Carnival (I realize that's the parent company) and other lines which attract a more brusque, partying crowd. Of course any cruise line must update and reinvent itself to appeal to its current demographic, but HAL should take care not to lose its niche. Land portion: Our cruise began in Vancouver and we disembarked in Seward. A ten-hour motor coach ride (thankfully, with several stops and lunch) brought us to Denali National Park. HAL is to be complimented on how well they've accomplished handling enormous crowds, all working like clockwork. Our room in the Denali McKinley Lodge was comfortable and very attractive; we were in Building O, which seems to be within a fairly new enclave of buildings. And the train back to Anchorage was beautiful, spotless, and roomy. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Drab ship and dated. We were only three nights on the ship as it was the gateway to an amazing tour of the Yukon and Alaska. Three days was more than enough. There was only one electrical outlet in our suite and it was placed between ... Read More
Drab ship and dated. We were only three nights on the ship as it was the gateway to an amazing tour of the Yukon and Alaska. Three days was more than enough. There was only one electrical outlet in our suite and it was placed between the mirror and the desk so we could not place our own power bar on it. These days people have electronic devices CPAP‘s and other things that need to be plugged in and one outlet is not enough. The room only had one very tiny television that was supposed to be swivelled for both rooms of the suite. We had planned this cruise for our 50th wedding anniversary and our travel agent gave us I lovely bottle of wine which was in our cabin. I phoned guest services to ask if we could bring it to dinner and we were told we had to consume it in the room. Then I asked for a corkscrew as there was no device in the room. It took a half an hour and two phone calls to get it. The next morning there was a note outside our cabin congratulating us on our honeymoon rather than our 50th wedding anniversary . I decided to go to guest services to show them the note and I was given an apology but no replacement note ever showed up. Also, I was told that I could have brought the wine to and that I was misinformed. The attention given to entertainment I felt was less than stellar. The performers were fine but in the three nights that we were on the ship there was no change in the sets, just a couple of staircases for the dancers. The sound was good and the theatre was fine but the show was not memorable. The lectures were excellent and the food was fine but I would recommend doing research in picking another Holland America ship. Other than walking the deck, there was a little fitness activity. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
First, a bit of a disclaimer; my wife and I are retired airline employees and have travelled extensively but our last cruise was about 20 years ago. That being said, after our latest cruise with Holland America, we are now looking forward ... Read More
First, a bit of a disclaimer; my wife and I are retired airline employees and have travelled extensively but our last cruise was about 20 years ago. That being said, after our latest cruise with Holland America, we are now looking forward to our next cruise. We loved the great communications we had from HAL and felt we were fully prepared for our cruise. The crew was friendly and exceptional, the food amazing, and the fact that the majority of the passenger population was in our age group (60+). We loved having the drink package as this made our vacation similar to all-inclusive resorts that we often travel to. HAL also had online availability to check your dining reservations, excursions and daily billing. Finally, we never had to wait in line at the dining room because of the smaller passenger capacity. Shore excursions were more expensive via HAL than with our listing agency, but it seemed that it was easier to find the tours once in port if you booked with HAL. A valued surprise for us was the availability of Catholic Mass on a daily basis. This alone would have put HAL high on our cruise list. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Really enjoyed this cruise. Things were very organized and flowed well. Management were responsive to feedback. I had been worried I'd be bored, but there really were enough different activities, presentations, shows, etc., that I didn't ... Read More
Really enjoyed this cruise. Things were very organized and flowed well. Management were responsive to feedback. I had been worried I'd be bored, but there really were enough different activities, presentations, shows, etc., that I didn't experience this. I had loaded a bunch of books onto my Kindle just in case but barely spent any extra time reading. The Hubbard Glacier was definitely the highlight of the voyage. Just an incredible sight and cool to hear and see the calving. I was really surprised at just how close the ship got to it. Saw plenty of whales and porpoises. It's quite enjoyable sitting there eating a meal while watching whales. The Rudi's Sel de Mer night was exquisite dining! Can't recommend it highly enough. Lido food often was more flavorful than the main dining room. Although the Asian tastes offerings were fairly sad. Didn't matter if it was called Vietnamese, Malaysian, Singaporean, etc., it all tasted the same. But it isn't as comfortable as the main dining room, and service can be hit or miss. It can also get pretty dawn busy in there. We really enjoyed eating breakfast in the main dining room. Much more relaxed, much less crowded, and great offerings. The food experience in the MDR improved during the cruise, though. Pinnacle Grill was also great and holds really well to the steakhouse theme. Go hungry, though. Portions are very good-sized. The biggest disappointment was in-room dining. The first day we ordered breakfast and were told it would take 45 mins. It took over an hour, and they left things off. Our 2nd try was much improved. We did in-room breakfast on the final day, and it was missing stuff, too, but at least they showed up on time. Getting sodas at meals can be quite the challenge. Only the bar servers/wine stewards can get you a soda. During the first gala night, it took 3 requests and about an hour to get a single can of soda for my daughter. It wasn't rare for it to take about 20 mins regardless of which public dining room you were in. If you're at the Lido pool, though, it goes more quickly since the bar is right there. Happy hour in the Crow's Nest was enjoyable. They served pretty good appetizers along with the drinks, and service was great. It's such a great view. My teen really enjoyed it. The teen club wasn't as organized as it could be. Often she would shop up for a scheduled activity, and they wouldn't be there, or they'd announce they're closing 5 mins after she got there (for the scheduled activity). They did have some fun activities, though. Our room only had one outlet which I thought was odd. They had an adapter plugged in which gave you 3 plugs to use, but you had to be careful changing or adjusting one of them as it would turn the cabin lights on and off. Even though they knew I was bringing on a CPAP machine, I still had to go to guest services to get an extension cord since the outlet is nowhere near the beds. No biggie, but so you know. Adagio was one of my favorite musical performers. The violinist is superb. I listened to them almost every night. Lots of lounges, and each one has its own look and feel which is quite nice. Gives you some great variety. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Multiple other cruises. First time on holland America. This trip - Charles Stanley inspiration cruise to Alaska. Poor guest service. Long food lines. Dinner sat at a table for 6. When other guests arrived 1 hour late our meals were held ... Read More
Multiple other cruises. First time on holland America. This trip - Charles Stanley inspiration cruise to Alaska. Poor guest service. Long food lines. Dinner sat at a table for 6. When other guests arrived 1 hour late our meals were held back until everyone else caught up resulting in several dining experiences that lasted 2-3 hours! Cruise excursion cancelled by ship but no one from excursion staff available to assist with booking another excursion prior to next day port arrival. Fitness center staff unfriendly and inaccessible often seen lounging around ship (not in fitness center to assist guests with equipment). Gym hours not suited for early excursion and dining hours. Wrote letter to ship manager with suggestions. Never heard back. Cabin steward friendly and helpful. Balcony for cruising a definite plus! Multiple broken items in room requiring service calls (phone, balcony door). Very disappointed and will never cruise with holland America again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We went on the Charles Stanley Alaska cruise July 7-14, 2018 to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary last April. It was everything we'd hoped it would be! Embarkation went well, although a bit slow since we arrived about 1:00, ... Read More
We went on the Charles Stanley Alaska cruise July 7-14, 2018 to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary last April. It was everything we'd hoped it would be! Embarkation went well, although a bit slow since we arrived about 1:00, instead of 11:30. About 50 min. from arrival at terminal to our cabin. Our cabin was perfect...#5049. Close to elevator and stairs, quiet and serviced by two of the nicest fellows ....Taufik & Yudi. Every night they would make cute little animals out of towels and neaten up our room for us. Everything is streamlined to cause the least stress...the dining room, embarktation, and. debarktation. On shore, buses were waiting for excursions (tickets can be purchased on board ship), or one could walk off the ship to town (Juneau & Ketchikan) for shopping and sightseeing There was a free bus trip to the town of Sitka, where inexpensive shopping was the best!. The ship is beautiful, with everything you could want! The Lido food was terrific, with many choices, get there a little early for a good table. Dining room was elegant, plus we were matched with a wonderful couple for dinner who will remain our friends. :) The service in all areas was top notch. Since it was a Christian cruise we had awesome Christian entertainment and seeing Charles Stanley in person was a treat. We loved the Southern Gospel quartets, Dennis Swanberg is a funny funny man, and Mike Speck, Stan Whitmire, The Whisnants, etc. superb gospel singers. We didn't see much sun, it was overcast most of the time, however we still had a great time. We cruised up the Endicott Arm fiord and saw so much ice, we eventually had to turn around. There are shore excursions you can take (although a bit spendy for some), tickets can be purchased on board ship, or you can walk to town (Juneau & Ketchikan) for shopping and sightseeing There was a free bus trip to the town of Sitka, where I enjoyed.inexpensive shopping. Also in Sitka at the Visitors Center we saw a Russian Dance program. In Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier trip was a good learning experience, the movie shown at the Visitiors Center was informative and we saw many bald eagles that day! Alaska is beautiful! They have good presentations onboard, but unfortunatly, they are colored by a sales pitch. Also, the little fridge in our room was stocked, but every can of soda came at a price, as were the bottles of water! Those were probably the only negatives we can think of! Since this was our first cruise, we have no way of knowing if it was a good value for our money, so I put "average." Disembarkation went like clockwork....we were out of our cabin at 8:10, thru customs and on the bus to the airport within 35 minutes! We'd love to take the trip again! Read Less
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