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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
In the end we got more than we paid for. They slashed the rates because they sold the Prinsendam and replaced her with the bigger Rotterdam at unbelievable rates for this great itinerary covering the north coast of Svlbard (and btw. about ... Read More
In the end we got more than we paid for. They slashed the rates because they sold the Prinsendam and replaced her with the bigger Rotterdam at unbelievable rates for this great itinerary covering the north coast of Svlbard (and btw. about 10K km). So this was great. What was not great was that the Rotterdam continued her bad reputation für port changes / cancellations. Even before we sailed, they cancelled Edinburgh for Invergordon. "Port reasons" - no compensation not even the port charges. Then they cancelled Haemey - a discussable decision - but you do not want to discuss this with the captain after having read the reviews here and the threat of applying maritime law. Captain was on the tough side - he left 3 ladies in Reykjavik because they were 30mins late - not to announce two days later on short notice (in the morning) in Invergordon that we would leave 30 mins earlier…. But quod liced Jovi, non licet bovi.... Food average. Excellent cheese and cold cuts, very good salads with fresh broiled tuna in the Lido. Pool grill run out of the good HAL fries after a week. Hot dogs good, hamburgers not. Pizza ok. MDR not so good, excellent front desk, but arrogant sommeliers, other service good, food average - surf and turf for Gala night - badly overcooked. No fresh juices on board. Mocktails removed from menu, but still available. Great experience in the Explorations Cafe - thank you so much for coffee & brownies! Entertainment partly disgusting (Michelle Montouri and her bad, bad vulgar "jokes"), the piano player Patrick singing about mouth and hand jobs with a kid sitting around his piano (she was 12 years or younger, because she had to wear her security bracelet) - unbelievable.) The EXC guide was a bad joke - just reciting Wikipedia word by word and other websites word by word. Putting draaaaamaaaa iiiin everyyyything heee saaaaid iiin aaa deeeeep voice. Aaaaanddd nature alwayyyyss winns. Much better the nice Australian singer and the saxophone player from Holland and the PMJ. And all the nice Dutch onboard - we loved dutch trivia!! Very (!!!) nice crowd in general. Would definitively cruise with all of you again :-) Excursions overpriced, EXC-Team acting like local police in Ny-Alesund - but you did not want to mess with them - you know the captain…. Ship in general not well maintained. Cracked windows in the MDR. So no five star experience as promised - but we never expected that from a mainstream cruise line - for a very nice rate. So: the value for money - still excellent. And: dresscodes have been lifted finally. Formal night: slacks and collared shirt (no jacket, no tie required for men) matched the actual code (so we dressed accordingly) - but even T-shirts and jeans and - that was our favourite - : a tracksuit with polo shirt and sneakers (he) and a t-shirt and very tight and very short shorts (she, showing her lower back tattoo) was admitted - and sat next to a table in black tie… We loved this - as we are on holidays - Live and let live. Baseline: for this price we would come back. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The Koningsdam is a beautiful new ship. The crew is also new, therefore still needs to be fully trained. The service in dining room is quite slow requiring 2+ hours for dinner. The dining room food is good, but not excellent. The Tamarind ... Read More
The Koningsdam is a beautiful new ship. The crew is also new, therefore still needs to be fully trained. The service in dining room is quite slow requiring 2+ hours for dinner. The dining room food is good, but not excellent. The Tamarind however is excellent. There are premium dining venues that are poorly attended. There should be more included dining options. The Lido table cleaning is slow thus not having enough clean table available. The new mechanised hand washing stations are a bad idea, used by a minority of passengers. The restricted self service in the Lido is a welcome change, because too many inconsiderate passengers reach in to grab food with their "dirty" hands. The guest entertainment is mediocre; and significantly curtailed down to 3 shortened shows per night, which may have to do with a smaller new design theater in the round. The Norwegian fjords and ports of call were wonderful. The mountain scenery is amazing. The embarkation in the Amsterdam cruise terminal was a chaotic mess, no apparent system or staff direction. The disembarkation went well. My favorite, the Crows Nest, does not have enough appropriate seating capacity, because of badly designed benches and love seats. Lastly, the chef has changed the bread pudding to a custard with bread topping... The chef needs to look up Betty Crocker's receipe for a good bread pudding. It used to be really good...no more. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise for the destination, Norway all the way to above the Arctic circle. We also wanted to experience a new ship after seven previous HAL cruises. As usual, the demographic is "mature". There were over 800 Dutch ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destination, Norway all the way to above the Arctic circle. We also wanted to experience a new ship after seven previous HAL cruises. As usual, the demographic is "mature". There were over 800 Dutch passengers due to publicity and promotion in the Netherlands. We enjoyed the cruise very much, aided by exceptional weather and smooth seas. Here are our hits and misses: Hits: Dutch Cafe, great food and a nice place to read if you can find an empty seat. Lincoln Center Live, wonderful 40 minute classical concerts, a cut above classical music on previous ships. Arrive early to get a seat. Musical themed art on the ship. BB King's Blues Club, great live music every night. Service was good all over the ship for us. We are not too demanding. Norway and all of the ports. High tea in the Princess Lounge. The new Lido with food being served by staff, it is much more hygienic. Misses: Embarkation was not great. No library, few quiet places to read. Narrow wrap-around deck with no deck chairs. The deck is so narrow, that walkers must go single-file in places with some blind corners. The Dutch Cafe and Explorations kept running out of teabags. Over-priced shore excursions, as is usual on HAL. Smaller theatre with unsafe conditions resulting from people sitting in aisles and on stairs. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We chose this cruise because of the excellent 2 week Norwegian itinerary and our positive history of previous Holland America cruises--the last one being 3-4 years ago. Pre and post embarkation transportation/transfers was flawless. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the excellent 2 week Norwegian itinerary and our positive history of previous Holland America cruises--the last one being 3-4 years ago. Pre and post embarkation transportation/transfers was flawless. The ship is old--but clean and well appointed. Dining is always a big part of cruising and in the past we have generally dined nightly at the formal dining room and enjoyed the specialty restaurants. The main dining room featured the worst service I have ever encountered on a cruise ship. We ate there 3 times before giving up. We waited 10 minutes to get greeted and even get water after sitting down. Once we were taken to a table and in order for me to get seated a bucket had to be moved. The reason the bucket was there was because an area right next to be was being scrubbed down by workers in face masks and gloves. Obviously someone had up-chucked and they were cleaning up--needless to say--I didn't enjoy my food after watching that cleaning operating for 10-15 minutes before getting served. Was very surprised that we would have been seated before the cleaning operation was finished. Service seemed to take forever--the hot food was cold and the cold food was room temperature. Salads were wilted and had been sitting in salad dressing for quite a long time before we got them. Getting iced tea took 20 minutes. Even getting the wine steward to come to our table was a laborious process and I was ready to give up on ordering wine with dinner. The Pinnacle grill was not spectacular as the steak restaurants usually are on cruise ships--only OK and not worth the surcharge. Our steaks were not cooked correctly and no-one wanted to return them after waiting so long to get them. The Cannaletto had better service, but had less of a selection than what I recalled them previously having--only ate their once and didn't want to spend the money for a repeat visit. The Lido dining area (which we usually avoid) was heaven compared to the formal dining areas. The food was generally hot (unless you visited within 30 minutes of the closing), the variety was excellent, and the table service was incredible (coffee, lemonade, iced tea, removing plates, etc). The salad bar area was the best I have ever seen on a ship and my husband enjoyed the daily Sushi. Activities seemed to be significantly less than what I remembered on previous HAL cruises. There should have been lecturers on board to talk about the geology of the area and the Northern lights--there were none. Interestingly--we made friends with a retired geology professor on board who told us he had applied to lecture on the ship and had never heard back from HAL. We were so happy to learn about the area's geological history from him. The dance lessons were horrible--they've changed to Dancing with the Stars--so those of us who wanted basic dance lessons were disappointed by being unable to keep up with learning a choreographic routine. There was no kareoke either, which we also love. The shows were not memorable. The ports were lovely--especially enjoyed the ones where the ships parked right alongside the city center and no shuttle bus was needed: Bergen, Molde, Eidfjord, and Alesund. There were long lines to get on the shuttle bus to get to the city. The information provided by the location expert about the city was well-intentioned, but lacking. We didn't find out for example--whether or not the gondolas were operating to scenic viewing areas until the ship was actually in port. Probably not her fault--but likely a more experienced location expert would have known. Next time suggest one talk for every 2 cities--talking about 5 ports in 1 setting was just too much information and not enough detail. We were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the small casino and the friendly dealers--they were the one group of people that we felt made us feel welcome. This is not a ship where lots of heavy duty gambling occurred--enjoyed the friendly card tournaments. The spa and fitness area were typical HAL--loved the thermal area especially because of the outside rain and relatively cold temperatures in September in Norway. In summary, liked the cruise and the itinerary, but was disappointed over all in what HAL was been downgraded to--more like one of the bargain cruise lines. Read Less
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