1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Holland America Line
  4. Holland America Line Cruise Reviews
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as ... Read More
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as the one on the T.V advertisement? Of course not. The Maasdam is now the oldest ship in the fleet but all public spaces are well maintained. In fact we believe the Rotterdam dining room and the Theatre/Showroom are beautiful. The size of the ship is a plus as there are plenty of seating in quiet places. We never waited more than a a couple of minutes for the elevator. During this 24 day crossing from Auckland to San Francisco there were about 11 sea days and this was when the library was appreciated. It is a great place to read about the American founding fathers American politicians and presidents, American sportspeople, and well known American authors. I particularly appreciated the stories of the American heroes of the integration of black Americans. Well, we must understand this is an American owned company. For the same reason we gave up on Trivia. Our cabin 140 on deck 9 was a disappointment. It was past being tired, it was exhausted and it was dominated by a four seater settee in dark brown vinyl that most likely could fold out into a bed. It looked like a refugee from a Salvation Army charity shop. But get this. Its unwanted presence in our tiny space now placed us in a Vista Suite which raised our gratuities to $16.00 U.S per day per person. The redeeming feature was the large covered balcony. Our total gratuity bill was around the equivalent of $1,100 Australian dollars. To the rest of the world that pays a livable wage to all workers this is a hangover from the days of the 18th century English Poorhouse where the poor were dependent on charity to survive. Meals in the Rotterdam dining room were very good, and while we avoid the rugby scrum of the buffet we were forced there when the dining room was closed. The food was surprisingly good. staff were better than good, they were wonderful. Entertainment was soloists such as a guy playing the flute while jumping all over the stage, a magician, a girl playing the piano accordion etc etc. And get this one. One evenings entertainment was a nature movie with the ship's talented musicians playing mood music. There were lots of complaints when usually the best nights entertainment is the crew, was relegated to 11.00pm. the Cruise Director known as K.K was the best we have ever seen. So here is the bottom line. We enjoyed this cruise and we love so much about HAL. Our 20 per cent discounting of the marketing hype was about right for the ship in general, but we should have discounted the cabin by 30 per cent. ps The guest lecturers saved us from being bored to death. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and ... Read More
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and nature, not so much about small cities. The ship is a little dated and will be sent to dry dock in the Fall. I can only hope they redo the decoration and some of the facilities. The worst we had to deal with that could be prevented is the common cold going around: we both ended up getting it and we washed our hands constantly. Contrary to other ships we have sailed on before (from other cruise lines), a lot of sections in the Lido market and pool food bar area sections were available to passengers directly. I have seen people get their hands around glass to go and help themselves, I have seen one man take a bowl and then put it back on the pile. The handles for the juice/mail/yogourt fridge are calling for viruses... You get your own bread, etc, etc, etc. It is simply not acceptable to have so many areas where germs can be spread on a ship that has so many passengers and personnel. It would cost more staff to block EVERYTHING off to passengers but then the chance of passing on germs would be a lot less. Other cruise ships such as Oceania does this. Rooms are small but comfortable. Staff was great and friendly. We hated the idea of being pressured into sitting with other people in the dining room. Our Valentine's night was a disaster. We could have potentially argued, waited to get something for just the two of us maybe. Next time, we will. At least if they tried to sit people of the same age category together would help. Food was good but not great often. Too many sea days for us. The passengers were simply maybe a little too elderly or had health issues for us. Next time, we will choose a cruise ship that attracts younger and more active passengers. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and ... Read More
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and I prefer a cruise that has its concentration of days at sea at the end of the cruise, so I return to work rested. SHIP - Our "J" category rooms were HUGE! This ship is scheduled for dry-dock in September, so I don't know if these rooms will remain as is. For this longer cruise length, we loved the extra room - without the extra price. In general, this ship needs an update, but obviously, Holland America already knows this. Although I found the decor dated, and a few spots were showing wear, the ship was spotless. I also think the arrangement of some of the public areas could be modernized - especially the gym and the buffet areas which would benefit from more square footage and more glass area. I would like to see the buffet area have glass along the entire front of the ship with doors directly leading to the deck, rather than locating service areas between the buffet & the lido deck. GYM - This area needs serious work. To attract the younger, more fitness-crazed generations, HAL needs modern equipment, and contemporary classes. This was also one of the few areas where you were forced to pay extra for pretty much anything worthwhile. I think HAL should try to be the first ship at sea to offer Bodypump classes - that would be a huge hit! The gym needs to remain open until at least 10:00 - 11:00 would be better. They closed at 9:00 reportedly to preserve quiet for those sleeping on the floor below. However, HAL did not have this same concern for those of us on Deck 1 whose rooms were under the BB King Lounge, which played well after 10:00 (which did not keep me up, so I doubt use of the gym after 9:00 would keep floor 9 guests awake either). Equipment in the gym was OLD! They only had 2 rowing machines - one broke on day 2 and was never repaired. And, if ANY machine should face the sea, it should be the rowing machines, which they didn't. FOOD - Amazing. Simply great. Service, quality, quantity, variety, everything was more than we could have asked for. My only complaint was the Russian Roulette for tables you played every morning in the buffet. Guests got visibly angry trying to find a table. Hopefully HAL will expand seating at their buffet when they refurbish the Noordam. SERVICE - Amazing! From the room stewards, to the dining, to the wine stewards, to the bar attendants to the front desk - these employees exude joy and positive service. How HAL keeps employees customer focused and joyful, when they live and work in such close quarters for 8 months at a time, should be the subject of a TED talk. I really admire what they have achieved. We brought a group of 30 customers for a wine focused tour. We had 3, private, wine events during our days at sea. We were BLOWN AWAY by the elegance of the service, and the expertise of their Director of Wine. Far exceeded expectations. ACTIVITIES - This needs work. Activities are uninspired. I have lots of suggestions for things HAL could offer that would modernize their cruises, without alienating their core customer base. Too long for this review. HAL: Contact me! I figure I can easily raise your per/person income by $100 by simply changing up your on-board offerings. Evening entertainment was sub-par with the exception of Daniel on the piano bar. My husband and I love to dance - especially swing. We never got the chance. The only faster paced music played in a venue with a dance floor, was the "Disco Bar" which got going at 10:30 pm. There was the BB King lounge, which offered our, slow blues music most nights. We are used to several lounges offering danceable music at times from early evening to midnight and beyond on other cruises we have taken. Really missed that. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. ... Read More
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. Bathroom was tired. Mirror, vanity and tub/shower needed replacement. Verandah railings, floor and window frames were on their last legs. Furniture and walls were old and damaged. TV was tiny and old. We read that Noordam is due for refit later this year and it’s needed. Condition of the ship was compensated by HAL’s well-earned reputation for good food, great staff and interesting itineraries. Main hope is HAL and other cruise lines understand that wifi is no longer a luxury for passengers and everyone should at least have access to a limited number of free minutes. The cruise lines that join the 21st century first will get the business. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be HAL. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and ... Read More
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and service (except for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, even after complaining because they didn’t seem to care) was excellent. Shore excursions were all good but very expensive. Embarkation took too long (over an hour) but debarkation was a breeze - best ever. There wasn’t much to do onboard, especially on sea days. Mainly test kitchen offerings, if you like that. A couple of the entertainers were poor (ventriloquist and singer) but others were good (singers and dancers) or great (comedian, pianist). They offered a Lincoln Center Stage venue and the musicians were outstanding - that was an unexpected surprise we enjoyed. The other negative was they closed the ship stores during the last week to get it ready for a new opening (not sure why) so almost no merchandise even before closing - not good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes very good and at others poor. We enjoyed the shore days, the ports were all very interesting. Trips organised by the ship were very over priced and we made our own arrangements on arrival. Our main concern was that there was little or nothing to do during the sea days apart from bingo and trivia quizzes. There was no dancing, lectures, enrichment programmes, classes, craft - nothing at all. We therefore spent several of the days of our cruise sitting and reading, which is OK for a day but not for several. The food was varied and looked lovely, but was rather lacking in flavour and invariably drowned in sauce (sometimes more than one sauce on the same plate). The crew were excellent and the service, in the main, very good (there were one or two exceptions). The tendency to play loud 'background' music in public rooms even when there is no-one there was irritating, especially if people were trying to read. The charging of 15% gratuity on top of the cost of drinks as well as charging over £11 pp per day for tips is excessive. There were no laundry and ironing facilities and the only option to crumpled clothing was to pay rather a lot of money to have things ironed. I would not recommend HAL and would be unlikely to book with them again myself. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We choose this cruise ship because of its very interesting itinerary. It stops at all ports in New Zealand and most of the Sothern/western Australia. We booked both segments, one 13 days from Auckland to Sidney and thence 16 days to Perth. ... Read More
We choose this cruise ship because of its very interesting itinerary. It stops at all ports in New Zealand and most of the Sothern/western Australia. We booked both segments, one 13 days from Auckland to Sidney and thence 16 days to Perth. But we made an error to book into a 29 days journey on a 25 years old boat, a small ocean liner by today's standard. In my mind, the age and the size by themselves is not a problem, giving HAL is known for its great service and food. Well, how wrong we are. Our ordeal started immediately upon boarding. On the surface, the ship had a cosmetic makeover and our stateroom is pretty updated and we do not have a complaint about it, even it is an inside cabin, room 744, on the lowest passenger deck, deck 4. However, the devil is in the details. My major complaint, and it is real, is that I got locked in a toilet in the Ledo Deck men's public. That bathroom is divided into two sections, the toilet and the uraine stall plus the washing sink. between them there is a sliding pocket door, that public bathroom has no emergency alarm bottom as the other public bathrooms do. HAL did not bother to install a new sliding pocket door when they renovate the ship most likely it is expensive and involves opening up the structure which may affect integrity. So, not only it will not latch, but when I got into the toilet side, the door got stuck and I could not open the door after using the toilet. I am physically a very fit person, I tried everything I could to either open the door or tried to signal my wife who was reading a book only 20 feet away out side on a lounge chair. Because the structure of the door and the bathroom, my phone could not receive any wifi signal and my bang on the wall or door was not heard. Finally, after struggled for 15 minutes, some one came in to use the bathroom and was able to call a crew member to release the door. I was saved. I did report the incident to the front desk immediately. The lady at the desk was kind enough to accompany me to the bathroom the examine the pocket door, Of course, by that time, the crew had "repair" the door so it opens and close properly. I know it will fail again, if it is not replaced or disabled. In the few days after the incident, no warning sing was posted on the door. Only after a week or 10 days after, I saw the door had been disabled by the management. Apparently, there are enough incidents in that bathroom similar to my experience. My bad experiences on this ship did not stop with the incident. Bad management shows every where in my 29 days with the cruise. Here are a few major ones that I can echo most of the problems from the people I have talked to and my own obersercation. 1. The quality of the cooking. Please note that I am NOT complaining about the food ingrediances, but the cooking. With few exceptions, the food are very well overcooked. That includes, almost all the fish, sea food, vegitable and meat. My wife incidentally met the chef and compalint about the over cooked fish, so it did improve after 10 days of hard "rock fish" meals.She failed to mention that "rubber band" asperigus knife cannot cut through, so we stopped to order any thing that has asperigus in it. You get the same thing over and over every day in Ledo buffet, the main dining room has more veriety, but because of the cooking, most of the time, it is not a very enjoyable dining. I've heard rave reviews for the hamburger joint next to the pool, but we are not a fan in hambergers and those high salt conent greesy french fries. 2. Lack of entertainment. From MANY four-five HAL stars(over 200 days on HAL) curisers including the lady at the future cruise desk who represented HAL told me that this cruise had cut back entertainment and replaced it with EXC or enrichment talks. It was such a boring ship, there is no music on the ship during the day, lots lots of "talks" or EXC presentations and movies. Its like a dead ship. After 6pm, some "entertainment" is provided, but everything is like from the stone ages. Music is from the 70's or older, good singers on stage are few and far in between, "Avita" was provided three times. Piano bar is handled by only the same person for the entire 29 days from 8-close, he is over worked and ran out of voice. The lone comedian gave the same "jokes" night after night, even after "new material" was announced one night. However, people flock into the theater 1/2 hour before the show starts because there is nothing eles to do on the ship. The Library has the most crowd because it has the most game and book to kill time. 3. Over priced excursions. You can find the same excursion from other providers at half or third of whats offered. I am so sorry that we did not know that the members of the cruise critic have organized excursions on this ship, but you live and learn. All in all, I will not join HAL again given the knowledge that HAL and Carnival, its parent company, had severly cutting corners in recent years. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to go to Norfolk and it was on the itinerary so chose this cruise over others because of that mainly. It also went to other places we were interested in and so we saved our money and booked it. We traveled to Norfolk but ... Read More
We wanted to go to Norfolk and it was on the itinerary so chose this cruise over others because of that mainly. It also went to other places we were interested in and so we saved our money and booked it. We traveled to Norfolk but couldn't disembark as it was too rough. Talking with others was interesting as apparently the chances of getting onto Norfolk are about 2/7. We felt totally cheated and believe strongly this port should come with a warning so people can make an informed decision before paying. From the very start we were disappointed in things and by the time the cruise was half over all we wanted to do was go home. Having been on two other cruises with two different companies we had scope to compare our experiences and expectations with. There was no welcome aboard drink or even a welcome aboard except from the cabin stewards who were wonderful. Our cabin, 640, was really noisy and while part of this was vents in the passage that we were told were needing some adjusting (but it wasn't ever done) no-one could explain what caused the loud humming which seemed to come from the outside of the ship. After complaining four times over six days we were finally moved to 643 which was on the other side of the ship and it was blissfully quiet. The entertainment was really poor when it happened at all. Far too little to do on this ship and what there was really had limited appeal. The food in the Lido buffet was boring and the same things over and over again and the one time there were fresh stir fry veges they were gone in a flash. The waste was huge and you would think someone would start to question why this was happening. Excursions were way over priced and one we went on was triple the price Joe Public would pay. We learned to find our own on shore excursions and to be paying what it was actually worth. The price for bottled water was prohibitive as was the alcohol and then there was the 15% extra on top. The shops and casino were empty a huge amount of the time and that wasn't surprising when the cost of shop items was looked at. The staff stood around and looked totally bored which they probably were. There were some pluses though. Disembarkation was smooth and fast. It was a real plus. The Cabin Stewards were totally fabulous and the other crew were great as well.Cabin stewards always spoke to us as if they really cared and they knew our names. They couldn't be faulted. The Room Service was fabulous and the bowl of fruit in the room was really appreciated. When we chose a time for our morning coffee it was delivered on time and by such friendly crew. Absolutely fabulous service. Even with the positive things we would never travel with this company again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on ... Read More
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on Norfolk Island , the swells too big, a shame but nothing you can do to change that. The ship has H.A.L. new E.X.C. ,we were not a fan of this as it cuts done the amount of entertainment on the ship. Staff told us this is the only ship in the fleet with EXC and it appeals to limited folk from what we heard from others. The ship had only 972 on board this cruise and as it takes 1250 , tender times were good for the most part. Entertainment was very limited and some sub standard.The Cruise Director seemed to do everything with no helpers. The ship is old , but staff excellent in all departments. Our first cabin 545 had so many noises (sounded like steel on steel in the outside wall) we could not sleep.We were moved to 555 , this also had unacceptable noise ! We were then shifted to 556 which was fine apart from the shower control. Dining Room and Buffet both had cheerful and excellent staff as was the cabin staff.. Not 5 star by any mean,s , not even a fridge in the cabin, however the ship is kept clean and tidy by the crew at all times (with a smile) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We cannot travel far from home at the moment due to family commitments so the 12 day around NZ was ideal. The boarding in Auckland was the easiest I have ever done and basically we just walked onboard with a few ID checks and the key card ... Read More
We cannot travel far from home at the moment due to family commitments so the 12 day around NZ was ideal. The boarding in Auckland was the easiest I have ever done and basically we just walked onboard with a few ID checks and the key card issuance. The ship was not full, about 900 passengers when she will take 1200, so there was a real feeling of space. We stayed in the Neptune 043 suite and loved it - heaps of room, a balcony to die for and nicely appointed throughout. This also gave us access to the Neptune Lounge, which I initially doubted we would use much, but as it turned out we became addicted to our quiet time in there with a decent cup of coffee and some nice snacks. It also came in handy when work intruded on the holiday and I needed something printed out and then scanned - this was the easiest I have ever managed to do this at sea. The food was of good standard - although a bit cold at times in the LIdo, service was faultless throughout and the activities were all well organised. The only criticism is that they seemed to be 'short' an act or two; there was no main production troupe so no dance shows and a couple of the entertainers they had were asked to do two or more shows, and quite frankly their material was not strong enough for this. Despite this, we felt entertained (mostly) and there was a really happy, friendly feel to the cruise, all the passengers were smiling and always ready for a chat over food, and the trivia teams were always happy to let others join in when they didn't have a full quota. Jonathon, the cruise director did an excellent job running these and just about any other entertainment. John in the piano bar was fabulous and the stools around his piano were always filled with people who had drunk enough to think they could sing (including us). Great fun there at night. We missed one port (Norfolk Island) due to rough weather and questions were asked as to whether ships should even go there as the success rate is not good apparently, but the captain circumnavigated it and took us off to see another island (no landing), and the tour charges were quickly refunded in full with no fuss. I would travel again on the Maasdam, she is probably not the newest ship out there but we enjoyed the layout and found everything we wanted. The shopping was a bit limited compared to others - not everyone wants high end jewellery, but this is minor and probably saved us some money. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was on a 12 night cruise from New Zealand via Tasmania finishing up at Sydney Australia. The cruise was to include New Zealand North Island, New Zealand South Island, Tasmania, Melbourne and Sydney Australia. Embarkation in ... Read More
I was on a 12 night cruise from New Zealand via Tasmania finishing up at Sydney Australia. The cruise was to include New Zealand North Island, New Zealand South Island, Tasmania, Melbourne and Sydney Australia. Embarkation in Auckland was bad. Their boarding ramp broke and this added a few hours to the ordeal. Not a great start. The room (see below for cabin description) was very poor, dated and with quite a few issues. The ship itself was quite dated and in need of a lot of attention. Hit and miss on reception staff. I took pictures and videos which I presented to the reception staff who did a lot of nodding, agreed to do things and then didn't do anything. Needed constant chasing. That said, eventually one reception person did sort me out and was very good. (they are on shifts so quite hit and miss). I had also had a problem where my door didn't close at all. This was quickly sorted out. The other staff on the boat were very good (restaurant etc) and very friendly. I approached Holland America head office with these issues, offered to show them the evidence in the form of pictures and videos I took of the knocking noises, and of the poor customer service on the ship regarding this. They were not interested and all I got from them was a dismissive "Sorry you feel that way" type response, to quote them "extend our apologies if you feel their response was unacceptable". Very poor response. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak ... Read More
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak highly of their experiences. We spent two days in Auckland before departing to Gisborne, Wellington, Akaroa (Christchurch), Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne and Sydney. Boarding problems delayed our departure, but before long we were on our way. Being my first cruise, I wasn't really aware of and didn't pay attention to the fact that we were circling an island for several hours after we left Auckland and I am still unsure why we changed course. Atlantis Events and/or Holland America diverted the ship from making the planned stop in Akaroa (Christchurch) due to weather. Hard for me to believe that since Akaroa is a protected harbor. If you look on a map, the cruise was to go from Wellington to Akaroa and then south around the south island of New Zealand. Instead, we were stuck for three days at sea while we lumbered along at a leisurely pace to keep on schedule (i.e., not get to Hobart before we were scheduled). This significant change in schedule was, in my estimation, unnecessary, and definitely infuriating. The change in course lead to Holland America and/or Atlantis Events saving tens of thousands of dollars in fuel. We didn't get so much as a credit toward a future cruise. Keep in mind that many of the staff on the ship were lovely. Very attentive, happy to help and genuinely appeared to enjoy their jobs. Most were from Indonesia and the Philippines, and they were outstanding. Unfortunately, there were 20-25% of the employees that absolutely hated their job (or hated us). You could tell because they didn't smile, make eye contact or go beyond the minimum of what they were required. I have heard for years about how great the food is on cruises. Not being someone who enjoys eating large amounts of food (read, all-you-can-eat buffets), I wanted quality over quantity. I also don't eat a lot of meat, but there were plenty of hunks of unknown meats under heat lamps that didn't look particularly appetizing. The salad bar (not self-serve) on our cruise was ALWAYS busy and very understaffed. It was frustrating. You could go to a sit-down restaurant with table service (rather than the buffet-style food served on the lido deck), but this food was only marginally better. There was, of course, the extra-special option of going to a restaurant and actually paying for a high-end meal. Since I wasn't impressed with the food on the lido deck or the sit-down restaurant, I didn't bother. The number of deafeningly loud announcements through over-driven speakers by the crew at all hours was very disrupting and usually sounded like the adults on Peanuts. I felt like an announcement that loud should have been left for "abandon ship!" instead of "we're having a sale on (overpriced) watches on the lido deck" or whatever equally silly announcement they were making. It was ridiculous. The 'drinking' water on this ship tasted like it had been stored in a plastic container in the sun for a day or two, making it taste horrible. The upside was that we could drink the four $5 bottles of water (12 oz) left in our room every day when attendants came in to make our bed. If you're a coffee drinker, you'll need to lower your expectations considerably since the swill they served for coffee made instant coffee taste like Italian espresso, but you can go to their 'espresso bar' and pay $4.50 for a latte, so you aren't totally screwed. If you ask me, it takes a lot of chutzpah to provide undrinkable water and coffee, and then essentially force you to pay their outrageously over-priced bottled water and coffee. In the end, we paid an outrageous $1,354--almost all in drinks and one $100 bottle of wine for my birthday dinner. Holland America also enjoys using only US Dollars as its onboard currency and does not recognize the currency of those countries whose ports they frequent, so you won't enjoy any 'deals' on exchange rates. Buyer/cruiser beware! Take note of the year your ship was built. Read recent reviews of it so you know what you're getting yourself into. Ultimately, I don't think I would ever do another Atlantis Events cruise, and I would NEVER do another Holland America given this experience. Good luck! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the ... Read More
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the rooms had blasting a/c and the other half were saunas. Constant plumbing issues, power issues, and the fact that the maintenance staff were either so overworked or just past the point of caring that nothing seemed to get fixed. When i realized that part of why my room was so warm was that a prior passenger had squeezed a cruise daily into the a/c vent, i called and knowing that i wouldnt get much help i begged the person to bring a phillips head screwdriver so we could get it done rather than have them look, evaluate, and schedule. The promised they would...they brought a corkscrew. They called another staffer who brought a broken leatherman with a phillips bit so worn it was an icepick. They were discussing what to do and i grabbed the leatherman and used the flat head to get it open. That and the televisions on the ship are widescreen tubes that can only be watched in a totally dark room with tylenol for the static. Rooms were caked in salt and dust and mold. There are much nicer and newer vessels out there. Do NOT pick this one. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
On Feb. 1, 2018 my wife and I boarded the Maasdam, a Holland America Line (HAL) ship for a 25-day cruise from Auckland to San Diego via various Polynesian islands. Our son, who had been in charge of medical centres on various Disney ... Read More
On Feb. 1, 2018 my wife and I boarded the Maasdam, a Holland America Line (HAL) ship for a 25-day cruise from Auckland to San Diego via various Polynesian islands. Our son, who had been in charge of medical centres on various Disney Cruise Line ships for about five years, warned us that Carnival ships were notorious for creating 50 to 100 sick people on every cruise. Since HAL ceased to be a Dutch line in 1989 and is now just a brand of Carnival, we might encounter issues. We did. Here is the story: THREE PHASES From a food handling perspective the cruise can be broken into three phases, each about eight days long. In the first phase, food handling was unsafe, and about 200 people on the ship caught various gastro-intestinal and respiratory infections. Countless people complained. In the second phase, staff grudgingly acknowledged the problem, and issued a bulletin that tried to shift blame onto guests. They altered some of their own processes so that fewer unsafe food handling processes were followed and the rate of infection decreased. In the third phase, staff decided that there were not enough sick people on the ship (yes, they actually said that to me), and that any sick ones would be getting off the ship soon because the cruise was nearly over, so they reverted to unsafe food handling procedures again. STAFF RESPONSE At the start of the third phase, at breakfast on the first morning that the unsafe food handling processes were resumed, I complained to our server. He referred me to the person in charge of the dining area who referred me to the front desk who referred me to the person in charge of the front desk staff who referred me to the very senior person in charge of operations for the whole ship. - He said he was from Toronto (where I am from) and acknowledged that a restaurant in Toronto that followed the ship’s food handling procedures would be shut down by health officials - He said that the health centre on the ship had said there are no sick people on the ship and acknowledged that this was ridiculous. By the way, this statement was easily countered by three people hacking violently at a meeting barely an hour later, and was further countered by a person warning others away from his table in the dining room because he had strep throat. - He said that the decision to revert to normal, unsafe, food handling procedures was made by shore-side people, that he could not change it, and he was only there to try to make me feel better and deal with my complaint. A few days later, a nurse from the health centre said that too few health measures were taken too late once the spread of disease became obvious in the first phase, and also that unhealthy processes were resumed too soon in the third phase after the number of sick people declined, but that the decision to return to unhealthy operating procedures was outside of the hands of the health centre. UNSAFE PRACTICES Here are some of the unsafe food handling issues we encountered: - Tables were cleaned using cloths rinsed in buckets of sometimes filthy water sitting on the floor. The water did not smell of any cleaning chemical or bleach but we were told that there was something in it. We usually saw staff take a swipe at a table and only very rarely clear and wipe it properly. Towards the end of the cruise, as this issue became better known, we saw increasing numbers of people spreading napkins on tables before putting down their cutlery. - Glasses and cups were placed on tables in advance of the arrival of guests, and then left on tables after guests had used the tables. Servers would only clear glasses and cups that they thought had been used. I saw one used water glass left on a table for the next person to use because it is not obvious that a water glass has been used. Even glasses that were not obviously used should be removed since someone dining at the table could have touched or coughed on them. For awhile we countered this problem by always getting clean glasses, not off tables, until we saw servers taking glasses off tables and putting them onto trays of supposedly clean glasses. - We saw servers blow and wipe their noses then continue working without washing their hands. There were no hand washing stations for servers so they would have had to go back to the kitchen, which they considered too time consuming. - Servers cleared dirty dishes then handled clean ones, without cleaning their hands between these two tasks. - Guest took drinks and food from serving stations then returned them, sometimes after taking the food to their tables. We even saw a guest give poured juices back to a server who returned them to a serving station to be taken by a subsequent guest. - Even in areas where servers were putting the food on the plates, which should be a safe way to serve, guests were able to reach in and touch the food. - Guests had access to servers’ water jugs and used them to fill personal water bottles, touching the spout of the water jug to the rim of their used water bottles. The contaminated water jug would continue to be used by the server and other guests. - At breakfast, juice was served in pre-poured glasses. Because of how the glasses were presented at the serving station, it was difficult to pick up a glass without touching the rim of adjacent glasses. - At the entrances to food areas, there were no staff posted to encourage guests to wash their hands. This is something that people who have not been on cruises may be unaware of but it is an important health measure. Appreciate that studies invariably show that only one third of people wash their hands after using washrooms, so a typical person carries a lot of bacteria on their hands. Then realize that you are using serving spoons used by others, to put food on your plate, and you will see the importance of having everyone sanitize their hands on entry to the food areas of the ship. - Interestingly, we saw staff sitting at tables in restaurants re-washing and drying cutlery before using it, which made us wonder what they know about the dish washing process that we didn’t. What we did know was that supposedly clean cutlery often had bits of food stuck to it. One plate on which I was served a dessert had a large black thumb print on it, right beside the dessert. CONCLUSION Since both the medical people and the head of operations stated that the decision to follow unsafe food handling procedures was made by shore-side people, one must conclude that the decision was based on economics. Safe food handling procedures take a bit more time and hence a few more staff. Creating 100 sick people who then leave the ship makes economic sense as long as this consistent practice is not widely known and does not affect the rate of bookings. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We would like to share our greatest disappointment about cruising with Holland America with Maasdam from New Zealand to San Diego, on the 1st of February, 2018 Our holiday turned out into a disaster due to problems with accommodation on ... Read More
We would like to share our greatest disappointment about cruising with Holland America with Maasdam from New Zealand to San Diego, on the 1st of February, 2018 Our holiday turned out into a disaster due to problems with accommodation on board. We have booked two cabins - a suite and an ocean view cabin. Throughout the whole cruise we had a lot of issues with our suite resulting in our lack of sleep and sickness. As a result our holiday was completely spoiled and the value of money invested absolutely did not match the promised pleasant experience. We had issues with A/C in our suite throughout the whole cruise and the friendly crew after numerous attempts could not solve the problem. Either the A/C did not work and we had to face the heat or it was impossible to turn it down letting the coldest air possible in the suite, so that we had to put on layers of clothes and still got sick. In addition to the numerous sleepless nights, we were exposed to the toxic smell of the paint through A/C during the sea days, which was coming from the frequent repairs on different decks. However, the worst part began when we smelled unexpected toxic carbon monoxide that was penetrating through the A/C for a couple of days. As it turned out a lot of passengers made complaints about that toxic smell, but the problem was again not solved quickly. The staff reacted with the reply that this smell depends on the direction of the wind and it is an ordinary matter. It is crucial to emphasize that carbon monoxide may result in fatal end, especially, when a person is in a deep sleep and breathing it in. In our case, children had been having a headache for three days and the adults for almost four days with the signs of nausea and inability to live a proper life. This experience may lead to health problems in the future. Highly disappointed and with the fear that the toxic smell of carbon monoxide would appear again, we started to discuss the option for disembarkation in Honolulu. Our only request was reimbursement for the rest of the trip. We even did not even ask for compensation for all the sleepless previous nights on cruise. To our greatest surprise, we were declined the refund for the rest of the cruise. The only gesture was an offer of $2000 for our whole company - 6 people! Considering the fact that we have invested in our holiday almost C$50,000 we are completely unsatisfied with the value of money we have spent on this cruise. Yet, the most important part from this cruise experience was the issue with the toxic carbon monoxide. It is absolutely irresponsible from the side of the cruise company that passengers might get exposed to any toxic smells and gases. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Very comfortable with lots to do. The meals were particularly outstanding with quality stressed and not quantity. There were so many places to eat that you could choose any time that you liked. There were always plenty of lounge chairs ... Read More
Very comfortable with lots to do. The meals were particularly outstanding with quality stressed and not quantity. There were so many places to eat that you could choose any time that you liked. There were always plenty of lounge chairs available. The staff were wonderfully trained, always smiling even for the difficult passengers. Many of them picked up your name after just a couple of meetings. I also noted that if you had a query you could ask any of the staff and they would help you even if was not their prime responsibility. Most, but not all the lectures were well done. The less satisfactory ones might have been personal preference. Most of the entertainment was fine but music was often too loud for my taste and geared to a younger crowd than those around me. You are very pampered. We had cabin 044 on deck ten aft. It had a reasonable balcony. It was a very good location; near elevators, convenient for restaurants, and just a step from the secondary pool. It was an interesting enjoyable trip and we are frequent travelers. We were a little surprised to realize February is the rainy season in the South Pacific and it was almost always overcast. Beaches are quite modest. If you are looking for sun and sand try the Caribbean. We prefer cruises where you pay one price in advance and everything else is 'free'. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
This was a bucket list trip for my husband and I. Always wanted to go to New Zealand and Australia and this cruise was a great way to do it! It was a celebration of our 30th anniversary. We just did one excursion through Holland ... Read More
This was a bucket list trip for my husband and I. Always wanted to go to New Zealand and Australia and this cruise was a great way to do it! It was a celebration of our 30th anniversary. We just did one excursion through Holland America, as we found their prices to be rather high. Booked excursions on our own and with a group of Cruise Critic members. Very happy all around. The Maasdam was a little dated but very well maintained. The crew was constantly cleaning everywhere. Cleanliness was obviously a top priority on the boat. We used the gym daily. Very pleased with their offerings. I went to the morning stretch and abs classes most days, they were great. Entertainment was fair. A few good nights but nothing special. I really liked the Americas Test Kitchen cooking demos. Very interesting and well taught. Overall we had a fabulous time! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We choose this ship and the itinerary to see New Zealand and Australia. We enjoy Holland America and the itinerary, plus an aft cabin fit all we wanted in the cruise. We are in our late 50s & early 60s. We made airline reservations ... Read More
We choose this ship and the itinerary to see New Zealand and Australia. We enjoy Holland America and the itinerary, plus an aft cabin fit all we wanted in the cruise. We are in our late 50s & early 60s. We made airline reservations to stay in Auckland 3 days before embarkation. However, when we were just about to go out the door for our flight on American Air, we received a call that our flight was canceled and they would re-book the same flight the next day. They did, but the available seating was not very good. The flight was very, very long St Louis to Los Angeles, then 13 hours from Los Angeles to Auckland. Needless to say that we were worn out when we arrived in Auckland. We left St Louis 5 below zero and were greeted in Auckland with 66 and light rain. Everyone apologized for the bad weather, but we enjoyed the warm moist weather. The rain restricted our ability to do sight see, but gave us a chance to rest up. We took a ferry from our B&B directly to the pier for embarkation on the Maasdam. A very nice way to board the ship. The dining was very nice. We ate in the Rotterdam Main Dining room for a majority of our meals. The menus provided a wide variety to select just the right meal to satisfy any desire. The presentation and quality of the food was out standing. We ate at the 2 alternative dining venues and were pleased with the quality of the food. We had a few meals in the Lido buffet and enjoyed those meals. I made it to the ice cream station at least once a day, but sometimes twice. We had a Dive-in burger once after our shore excursion came in after the lunch time. The burgers were good. Overall the food was great. Shore Excursions: Tauranga - We visited Hobbiton where the outdoor filming of the Shire was done for the Lord of the Ring and Hobbit movies. What a wonderful excursion. Both myself & my wife have watched those movies and read the books to make it a very memorable day with lots of pictures. The scenery along the way was very pleasant. An excellent excursion. Napier - We visited a Maori homeland, Arch of the Ancestors. They explained the history of their ancestors, the customs and their lives today. Again the scenery to & from was very nice. An excellent excursion. Wellington - We had a tour of the city with details of the history. It included a ride on the cable car and a visit to the WETA Cave, the studio where the Lord of the Ring and Hobbit movies were made. Many more photos and memories.The tour guide was an actor in the Lord of the Ring 3rd movie and gave us some in depth details in the making of the movies. An excellent excursion Akaroa - Our excursion was Journey to Middle Earth, you guessed it, it was where the the filming of the Rohan in the Lord o the Rings was done. The tour guide was with the sound crew for the Lord of the Ring movies. He was able to explain many details of the production of the movies. The scenery of the Southern Alps was breath taking. Our favorite shore excursion. Dunedin - We took a ride on the Taieri Gorge railroad. The train went through the gorge and the scenery was great. An excellent excursion. Oban Stewart Island - This island is south of the South Island. We did not have a shore excursion, but chose to walk around the small town and have lunch at the Hill Top Restaurant. When we got there it was closed but we found a hotel in town and had Blue Cod Fish & Chips. The best fish & chips I have had. It was cool and windy in town and we spent about 4 hours visiting shops and a nature center. Very beautiful town. Fjordland - A day cruising with outstanding scenery. They were glacier cut with tops of the mountains 6,000 feet, nearly straight up from the water. It is a day that we will remember. An excellent day. We had two days at sea from New Zealand across the Tasman Sea. The seas were both rough and smooth. All the sea days had two session of Americas Test Kitchen. They were great. The first night crossing the Tasman Sea, the singers and dancers show was canceled because of the rough seas. But it was a very relaxing time at sea. Burnie Tasmania - A trip to Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake. The countryside was very nice. We saw Kookaburra in gum trees, a Wallaby with her Joey, a wombat, and many other animals. We hiked a short distance to Dove Lake and had a wonderful view of Cradle Mountain. The weather was cool and windy. The tour was great. Melbourne - Hopped on a tram and visited St Patrick Cathedral. A Gothic cathedral that was built in the 1800's. It is beautiful. We then walk through Fitzroy's Garden. After about 4 hours we hopped on the tram and made it back to the ship. Melbourne is a large city, a clean city, with excellent public transportation. It was a very nice day. Sydney - We disembarked in Sydney across the harbor from the Opera House and next to the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Very photogenic. We stayed at a hotel one block from the pier and walked over to the Opera House, then to the Botanical Gardens. What caught my attention were the many large tree. Many of the trunks were 10 feet wide and larger. The flowers and the birds were spectacular. We saw Cockatoos, Lorikeets, Magpie and many other birds. There were acres of flowers. After about 5 hours and sore feet we made it back to the hotel for a rest. The next day we strolled around the port area called The Rocks, had lunch and made way to the airport. Trouble again, the flight was late leaving Sydney and late arriving in Dallas. After a 15 hour flight, you guessed it, we missed our connecting flight and American Air booked us on the next flight out. We made it to St Louis 2 hours later than our original flight but our bags did not. But American delivered them the next Day. In summary, the cruise was excellent, the flights were not. We would love to spend more time in New Zealand, an extremely beautiful country, and the people were very friendly. At every port there were volunteers that dressed up, sang, a Scottish band, vintage cars, and so on to entertain us as we sailed away. A great country. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was a Bucket List cruise for us as well as a 50th Anniversary Cruise for our friends. We had been looking at cruises for several years and this cruise hit all of the marks. We're also Holland America fans and the Maasdam is the ... Read More
This was a Bucket List cruise for us as well as a 50th Anniversary Cruise for our friends. We had been looking at cruises for several years and this cruise hit all of the marks. We're also Holland America fans and the Maasdam is the perfect size. Age is 66 to 77. We boarded the Maasdam in Auckland, New Zealand on a rainy day. Embarkation was a breeze as HA seemed to have it all together. After checking in, we were escorted to our suite and after having lunch, return to the cabin to unpack. We stopped at a supermarket in Auckland and purchased several bottles of wine to bring on board with us as Holland America allows you to bring 1 - 750 ml bottle each. We ordered a bottle of vodka which was waiting in our cabin when we arrived. We also order a gallon of distilled water for my husbands C-Pap machine which was also in the suite when we arrived. We did not take the liquor package as, when all was totaled up, did not drink near enough to cover the cost. We ordered a 3 wine package and bought a second one. HA allows you to take your bottle to your cabin and, with having an extra bottle at the end of the cruise, took it with us to our hotel after leaving the ship. (we had 2 nights in Sydney at the end of the cruise.) Our cabin steward brought my husband an extension cord so he was able to plug in the C-Pap. We had coffee and buns delivered every morning and most mornings enjoyed coffee on the balcony while taking my "arriving in port" pictures. The food in the dining room and Lido restaurant was good nothing spectacular. All you can east with seconds if you wanted. The Pinnacle Lounge was worth the additional money as we enjoyed filetmignon and lobster tails. We have shore excursions in every port purchased from Viator and Trip Advisor as they were similar to the ship tours but much less expensive. Every tour operator was very aware of getting us back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. Most of our tours were small for the 4 of us and we were able to tailor the tour to what/where we wanted to go and see. In Sydney, we road the ferry and stopped at a few ports to walk around and enjoy lunch and a glass of wine. Very easy to move around Sydney. We were in shorts and capris most days and the weather was sunny (after the 3rd day) and high 60's and low 70's. The Maasdam is showing signs of age and will be taken down for refurbishment soon. We highly recommend the Maasdam and Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our first time cruising at sea and will not be our last. We especially liked the Holland & America style and ambiance, not a chav in sight. Our fellow cruisers seem well mannered, courteous, professional types and retirees. ... Read More
This was our first time cruising at sea and will not be our last. We especially liked the Holland & America style and ambiance, not a chav in sight. Our fellow cruisers seem well mannered, courteous, professional types and retirees. They knew how to behave well in a group ensuring they did not adversely impact on others enjoyment. A rare experience when there are so many self-indulgence idiots out there. Perhaps that is why so many were return cruisers to not only the line but, also this ship. With only 1200 fellow guest we always found a seat at the show’s, in the bar’s and on loungers by the pool. It was just not crowded or packed, plenty of space and amenities for everyone. The food in the main dinning room was superb as was the speciality restaurants but, the main restaurant was so good it was hard to justify using the other ones. Our balcony suite was large in comparison to floor plans on other lines and we found the fittings and service first class. We really liked the entertainment from the evening shows to the different singers and musicians in the various bars. The explorers lounge was also lovely and well used. I was also very impressed by the cooking shows, very professional and much better than the dross on tv. Finally, we loved the Mastddam, the captain called her an regal lady and she was. Lovely looking ship, lovely open spaces on a variety of decks and just the right size for cruising. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of ... Read More
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of the European Union we didn't need any Visa or ETA. in New Zealand. The friendliness of the people of New Zealand and Australia has to be mentioned specially. No arrogance or security phobia by the embarkation in Auckland OR disembarkation in Sydney as experienced in an other big English speaking country! The cleanliness on board and on land is remarkable. On board were many citizen of not English countries.We would like to have a little less US american shows and more other main languages oriented activities, even subtitled! The songs of the entertainment group of the ship were purely sung in us american..even if they are of Italian, German or French origin. . The service in the lido by the Filipino cooks and Indonesian waitresses and waiters is remarkable. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Spent a few days in Auckland before boarding the Noordam. Embarkation takes awhile to get so many people onboard. Spent about an hour waiting in line. Once you get through the line, it is a quick process for getting your cruise card ... Read More
Spent a few days in Auckland before boarding the Noordam. Embarkation takes awhile to get so many people onboard. Spent about an hour waiting in line. Once you get through the line, it is a quick process for getting your cruise card and going through security. The ship is remarkably clean, and well maintained. Not a large ship, so it does not take long to walk from one end of the ship to the other. The crew is amazingly friendly and helpful. Incredible how so many crew can remember your name just after a few days. Really enjoyed the food and service in the Main Dining Room. Never felt rushed. Waiters were wonderful. Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch were always very crowded. Takes awhile to find a seat, but the food and service was also good. The cabin stewards kept the cabin clean and refreshed multiple times during the day. The production singers and dancers get and A for effort. Not the glitzy and highly produced productions you find on larger ships, but still fun entertainment. Comedians, vocalist, and instrumentalists filled the other nights shows, and were all very good. Piano bar entertainer was quite talented, and was fun to pop into at anytime in the evening. Great ports with beautiful scenery. A couple of tender ports that took some time waiting in line, but were handled quite efficiently. All in all a great cruise with a wonderful crew. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Mediocre food. They have great sounding creative menus, seemingly quality ingredients, then ruin it with poor execution. Watery pasta dishes, overcooked meats, limp crusted pizza, hot food served cold or lukewarm, etc. Almost laughable ... Read More
Mediocre food. They have great sounding creative menus, seemingly quality ingredients, then ruin it with poor execution. Watery pasta dishes, overcooked meats, limp crusted pizza, hot food served cold or lukewarm, etc. Almost laughable at every meal. The hamburgers on the pool deck were really good, though. A dearth of entertainment options. Shows were boring and uninspired. Piano bar and blues club entertainment were great for a couple nights...not 15 in a row. It got really boring. Daytime activities almost non-existent. No cruise port talks the first week. Zero. No fitness center classes the first week--all were canceled. America's Test Kitchen is great, but the instructor missed the boat while in port one day and they did not wait for her or pick her up at the next port...they just canceled the rest of the classes. They could have provided substitute culinary related talks or demos...they certainly have the staff. I understand they are not allowed to use the Test Kitchen without the designated instructor because of their contract. That doesn't mean they couldn't use the showroom for an alternative food-related activity. No one cares. I was told it all comes down to the cruise director's decision, so, sorry Andy...you get a big fail. The ship needs a refurb really badly. Seems old and tired with no wow factor in any area. This goes for the cabins as well. Waiters, housekeeping, and food servers at the buffet were very friendly and tried to be helpful. Anyone in management in the buffet, however, just stood at their podium or walked around making sure not to make eye contact with passengers, like they were above it all. Never again, Holland. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The ship is not up to the standards one expects from a modern cruise liner, the ship is old at 10years & tired. It is the only cruise line where you have to submit credit card details per passenger in order to get a boarding card they ... Read More
The ship is not up to the standards one expects from a modern cruise liner, the ship is old at 10years & tired. It is the only cruise line where you have to submit credit card details per passenger in order to get a boarding card they took the equivalent of 900$ from each of our accounts & that was before we had even stepped a foot outside the UK, Boarding was a farce, queuing up in an old warehouse with no seating no toilets that I could see . The cabin was barely adequate, very cramped you couldn't get out of the bathroom if someone wanted either to come in to the cabin or wanted to get at the wardrobe. The balcony or veranda as HA put it had furniture that looked as if it came from the 20s cushions that could not be removed so were continually wet. The public rooms were OK just, but there was no library as such just a collection of books in book shelves spread across two of the public rooms without rhyme or reason & very few at that. We always opt for fine dining, in this case it was anything but that, the menus looked impressive full of culinary terms no one understood, when the food came it was either cold or burnt or both, the staff soon learnt not to serve the table with cold food, The majority of the food was just about edible, as if the chef really didn't know the meaning of fine dining, a good example was one night we had roast beef & Yorkshire pudding, the beef was ok, not the best cut but the yorkshire pudding was terrible, it was so bad & tough that I could have used it to sole my boots, we later discovered that the chef was Indian, we asked him for an indian meal he said ok but it never materialised, throughout the ship the food seemed to be of an equally poor standard. No where on the ship could you get a half decent cup of coffee, apart from the coffee stall in the explorers lounge, else where it was stewed with in an inch of its life. For the most part the staff, Indonesian, were helpful & friendly, it was when you came to the american staff that the trouble started, the impression they gave was that they couldn't be bothered with you, an example was our cabin air conditioning seemed to be permanently stuck on very cold, even in New Zealand in November the weather is chilly, we reported the fault & eventually a young girl came to check it out, "nothing wrong with it" she said "it is meant to be cold" I pointed out that if that were the case why it the dial have red numbers on it. As nothing further was done I went back to the front desk & complained, after 2 days an engineer arrived, " your quite right, the thermostat is us" & promptly fitted a new one. I wont even talk about the entertainment, one or two good acts the rest rubbish. Shore excursions we chose not to take the ships advertised shore excursions but used an online agency who's prices were 60% cheaper than the ships & didn't include the 15% surcharge the ship puts on every thing. My wife & I are both over 70, we have been cruising every year for over 10 years, so we have had a lot of experience of what to expect from a cruise line, we have always wanted to visit this part of the world & due to other commitments we had to go at this time of the year. Holland America will I'm sure be pleased to know that we will never step foot on one of their ships ever again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Great itinerary but lack of on board activities, minimal cruise staff after cutbacks, and lack of live musical entertainment. Many of the activities in the program were actually revenue advertisements such as art auctions and spa ... Read More
Great itinerary but lack of on board activities, minimal cruise staff after cutbacks, and lack of live musical entertainment. Many of the activities in the program were actually revenue advertisements such as art auctions and spa promotions. The jazz trio (formerly known as "The Neptunes") and the solo guitarist/singer were sorely missed. Piano bar musician Stryker did a great job of keeping the Piano Bar packed out. There was no fitness instructor or location guide for half the cruise. The price of tours seems to have risen with the new tour company. The little niceties seem to be disappearing such as a daily quiz in the library, the pillow cards with good night wishes and time change reminders and also no Captain's Cruise Log any longer. Despite these disappointments the beauty of the ports and the passing scenery made up for some of what was lacking and the service of the staff was outstanding. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise