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27 Holland America Bahamas Cruise Reviews

I have been on 9 cruises on a variety of cruise lines, including Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, and Holland America. This was my second time booking a Holland America Cruise. The last cruise I took was a 7-day holiday cruise ... Read More
I have been on 9 cruises on a variety of cruise lines, including Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, and Holland America. This was my second time booking a Holland America Cruise. The last cruise I took was a 7-day holiday cruise a few years ago. I booked the original cruise primarily on the recommendation of a family friend, who told me that while Holland America caters to a more mature crowd, the service, food, and entertainment was second to none, and well-suited for a more refined experience. My first experience on Holland America was positive, which is why I decided to book again. My boyfriend and I wanted to take a short cruise (this was his first cruise experience), and I thought that we would splurge a little and take the new Holland America 4-day Bahamas cruise, traveling to their private island and Nassau. Having booked cruises before, I was a little surprised at the amount of information (or lack thereof) given prior to the cruise. Shore excursions seemed very limited, and very few details were made available on the entertainment options to be available onboard. I figured, not a big deal, perhaps this is because this is the inaugural sailing? The embarkation process was fine, but nothing to write home about. I noticed less of the "VIP" treatment I had received on other cruises, such as refreshments upon arriving onboard, and quite a few less-than-friendly faces as we explored the ship. We had an outside stateroom on the 10th deck - the room was fine, although the veranda was cramped with chairs and footrests that didn't quite fit the balcony size. Now, let me get to the areas we were disappointed: 1) Food: The best food I've had on a cruise line was on Celebrity, closely followed by my last Holland America experience. Unfortunately, we were left sending our meals back on multiple occasions on this cruise. Food was served luke warm, and some side dishes seemed oddly paired with entrees. They over-cooked our steaks, and fish was bland. The only decent meal we had was when we decided to splurge on one of their specialty restaurants, so perhaps this is their way of getting cruisers to spend more money? Understanding the large amount of people they are serving, I have experience much better on nearly every other cruise I had been on. 2) Entertainment: Typically, a cruise itinerary is packed with activities throughout the day, where one is left to make choices between, say, a dance class or a trivia game. This was not the case on this ship. There were very few options for entertainment, and for half of the days, we were left in our stateroom with nothing to do. Perhaps part of the issue is that we are not the type to blow hundreds of dollars on over-priced spa experiences. But it seemed as though this cruise expected you to spend your time spending the money in the spa, or be left with the dullest of activities to choose form (nearly every hour, there was a "Microsoft" training class - on a ship - really???). Completely disappointed with entertainment quality in the evenings as well. Now, I realize that cruise lines are notorious for cheesy very-off-Broadway shows, but in some cases, I have been impressed with the variety and talent. This was not the case on this cruise. The "dance" performances were of the quality like something you'd see a Six Flags amusement park, and the live music, while offering variety, was poorly laid out on the ship (e.g. while in the classical music hall you could hear the music from the rock club, poorly placed directly next door). 3) Service/Friendliness: Usually I have no complaints with service or friendliness on a ship. Unfortunately, this crew seemed genuinely unhappy to be serving us. Again I am not sure if this is simply because this is a new crew, but instead of friendly smiles and personal greetings, many of the staff seemed uninterested in answering our questions, or unable to. Lots of dull faces, and not many personal greetings in hallways as one would usually see on a cruise. The service was equivalent to something I would expect in a 2-star restaurant or hotel, not a quality cruise line. 4) Value/Quality: Last but not least, I'll address cost. The cost for drinks on the ship was about average, although the very green crew was not generous at all with their pours, and most bar tenders were clearly not trained to make any drinks not on their menus. Shore excursions were also average priced, and of course the spa was outrageous. We opted for a massage on Nassau so about 1/4th the price of what we would have paid on the ship - a very good decision. I felt as though I had a much better bang for the buck on my last Celebrity cruise, where perks like an all-inclusive drink package were added to sweeten the deal. Altogether, unfortunately, Holland America has proven to be a disappointment. I do not recommend this ship, the ship design, the food, the drinks, the activities, the entertainment, the crew, or the value. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had already been on the Koningsdam and we liked the NS. The RS Rock room and BB Kings gave new variety to the cruise. The Ship is beautiful and targets the younger boomers and gen xers imo. Embarkation was a mess as it was on ... Read More
We had already been on the Koningsdam and we liked the NS. The RS Rock room and BB Kings gave new variety to the cruise. The Ship is beautiful and targets the younger boomers and gen xers imo. Embarkation was a mess as it was on Oosterdam last month. They packed everyone in the lounge gave boarding cards by number. We were on by 1pm. Pinnacle was very good this trip after having been there several times now. They have some new menu items and we made sure to try them. The service led by the big boss Denise was 5 star! Our server handled a table of 12 plus the two of us with great ease. I kept thinking in the States this would have bombed. Very impressive! MDR was decent enough but service was very slow at lunch on embarkation day but was much better at dinner. Lido service was not up to the speed on the Oosterdam last month. HAL I guess has abandoned the staff serving food on the first day. We used to really respect they did that but we see it has been cut. They just have one maybe two people at each station and it is help yourself the entire cruise. There was nobody from HAL doing the hand sanitizer so many guests I would imagine would just walk in. HAL used to enforce this for the safety of the guests. This is a mistake to abandon this imo. Disembarkation had the longest Customs lines I have seen on the 20 cruises we have been on. I have no idea why but when we exited the ship we got in a line of 300 people long. For that many people they moved it the best they could. The Pinnacle class ships are a big change for HAL but they seem to be pulling it off. The overall staff at some times seemed to be learning about their new home as well. I was told for food the NS is intended to have enough for a 7 day cruise so on the previous TA they were stuffed with minimal space to accommodate everything for that long of a voyage. We had some rough seas so they did not go to the private island but I was very impressed at how smooth the ship handled itself. I could look out a window or look out from my balcony and see how rough the seas were but felt nothing on the ship! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The window for this cruise fell just right and the duration could be worked in to office schedules. This was my first cruise in a long time and on a much larger ship than I was used to. The layout of the ship made it seem much less ... Read More
The window for this cruise fell just right and the duration could be worked in to office schedules. This was my first cruise in a long time and on a much larger ship than I was used to. The layout of the ship made it seem much less crowded than I thought it might have been. The ship personnel and atmosphere contributed to a great time. The dining room staff made us feel particularly welcome. Shore excursions were arranged beforehand and everything clicked just the way we expected them to be. Stateroom (Signature Suite) was very nice. I had planned to have some meals served on the veranda, but the Manhattan dining room was just too good to pass up. We ate one night in the Tamarind Restaurant (Pan Asian cuisine) and that should be part of your bucket list items. Super food, accommodations were first rate, and I booked another cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam already. Looking forward to returning! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Good Holliday cruise. The Eurodam is a very nice with small ship feel. The staff was friendly, and very attentive to our needs. The food was amazing with a nice variety on the menus. We missed one of our ports due to wheather which was ... Read More
Good Holliday cruise. The Eurodam is a very nice with small ship feel. The staff was friendly, and very attentive to our needs. The food was amazing with a nice variety on the menus. We missed one of our ports due to wheather which was disappointing. Nice adults only pool area. The spa was great. The sea day activities were ok. Cabin was typical. Very nice steward. First time on HAL. Would go again. Would not go with children. While family friendly there did seem much to do on sea days. Our excursions were also typical and fun. The ease of embarking and disembarking was really nice. No heard lines. No shoving. The shows and evening activities were nice. Good music selections. Would recommended for adults with no children. Good and older crowd friendly. Ship was very well maintained. Had unique ports of call. Good value for thanksgiving week cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this cruise to experience the new, beautiful Koningsdam! The ship was beautiful with lots of open seating and excellent music venues! The theme of the ship is music since all of the decks had a name associated with music. I have ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience the new, beautiful Koningsdam! The ship was beautiful with lots of open seating and excellent music venues! The theme of the ship is music since all of the decks had a name associated with music. I have taken over 20 cruises, but never on HA. The age was varied and a little younger, probably because it was a short cruise. The staff was very nice, but the Captain had no presence other than the mid day update. No captain party or night, no champagne toast to celebrate the maiden US voyage. We had anytime dining and we're seated within 5 minutes every night. The service and food went downhill after that. The first night we waited 20 minutes before we ever saw our waiter. The soup was tempid at best. After 1 hour the entree arrived COLD. the maitre D apologized and advised us to order our food hot! Really? That's crazy. The next night I ordered my food hot and it was fine. The next night I didn't order it hot and I had to send it back. On the positive side, breakfast in the dining room was outstanding with the BEST and most varied menu! Great experience with room service too! We chose an inside cabin because I like it dark for sleeping. I must admit I didn't pay a lot of attention to the sq footage, but the room was VERY small. Looking back HA provided a range for the sq ft and ours was microscopic! There was no chair in the room, so room service was a bit challenging! No dreaded shower curtain to wrap around you! Nice modern bathroom! Hopefully, HA will get their act together with hot food. If you sail on the Koningsdam, be sure to enjoy an ocean view or balcony cabin! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Ship selected by a group for a birthday celebration. The ship was very nice--a new ship. The service was very good--friendly, helpful employees. The food was good--much better than I expected. I opted to travel on the cruise bus to and ... Read More
Ship selected by a group for a birthday celebration. The ship was very nice--a new ship. The service was very good--friendly, helpful employees. The food was good--much better than I expected. I opted to travel on the cruise bus to and from the airport. It was really good to go from the airport to the ship. My bag was picked up at the airport and delivered to my cabin. On the return, I waited for over an hour on the bus. I was told not to book a flight before 11am--we docked at 6am. I could have gotten a much earlier flight. Because of my 11:50am flight, It was almost 4pm by the time I got home. I booked 3 shore excursions with Holland America. The City Tour with visit to the Gardens was definitely NOT worth the time or the money. We were left at the garden for almost 2 hours. We only needed about 15 minutes to see everything. I had booked a snorkel activity. I got up at 6am, went by boat to Half Moon Cay. After I arrived there I was told my trip had been cancelled due to the weather--it was a calm, beautiful, sunny day. I was offered a substitute, but much later than my event, which meant I'd just sit and wait a couple of hours, which I did not do. My biggest criticism is the lack of internet service. It would have been very expensive to sign up for the ship internet. That is ridiculous in the day and age of instant communication. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I will put this short review in the form of questions and answers. Why did we decide to take a cruise on the Koningsdam? We wanted to see a new ship. A short inaugural cruise was a good option. Despite the limited time we’ve had a ... Read More
I will put this short review in the form of questions and answers. Why did we decide to take a cruise on the Koningsdam? We wanted to see a new ship. A short inaugural cruise was a good option. Despite the limited time we’ve had a good insight of the new ship. Below are our impressions. What major things did we like about the new ship in comparison with the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam? What novelties were so-so? What didn’t we like at all? Part 1 Major Improvements 1. The most visible improvement (not only a “change” but improvement) is the Queen’s Lounge. It now spans two decks high, similar to the Queen’s Room on Cunard cruise ships. 2. Nasty cabanas have been removed from the pool area Lido deck. They are localized in the dedicated area (The Retreat). 3. We liked the new afternoon tea setting in the Queen’s Lounge. Top class. 4. We loved added “wings” in the aft pool area. 5. We loved the crew. 6. We appreciate an addition of the atrium café. 7. More “solid” entertainment program in general. Part 2 Changes that we did not considered as definite improvements. 1. The theater. It looks like a rotunda with a flat ceiling. We liked the new setting: a large proscenium, quite spectacular LED-generated “motion pictures” in the background walls, unobstructed views. We liked live music in the theater. However, the ceiling feels low (from distant seats), seating capacity has been reduced. The show room now lacks atmosphere. In fact, the final impression boils down to the quality of the performance (we did not like dance production actually – very generic). 2. The sliding roof over the Lido pool has moved one deck up. This area is now a 2 deck high space when the roof is closed. It looks much more impressive. However, this area is now a busy crowded place with a lot of noise from multiple junk food “poolside” eateries. It’s quite similar to the hell of central pool area you see on Carnival Dream class ships. From the other hand, as dust settles by the evening, the new movie screen appears as a good addition the ship’s entertainment facilities. 3. The new look of the Main Dining Room. Strangely, it’s accessible from elevator halls only. There is no more or less “impressive” entrance. Is it why MDR does not have a fancy name? It’s simply “Dining Room”. In my opinion, MDR layout and décor on the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam (despite excessive reds) provided more classy feel and look. 4. Most cabins got lighter color palette but “feel smaller” than they used to be. Part 3 Changes that we did not like at all. 1. First and foremost – the loss of proper promenade deck. This has been an iconic feature for Holland America ships for decades. This is a loss in class of the ship. This loss is dramatic and cannot be justified. 2. Our lovely spacious yet intimate sun deck above Tamarind restaurant has disappeared as Tamarind moved aft. The beautiful with spectacular views Silk Den lounge has been dwarfed and hidden in a corner of the new tamarind Restaurant. 3. Redesigned aft pool area: clustered, clustered, and clustered. Gone is the spaciousness and open feel. Cigarette smell is annoying. 4. The library has gone. 5. The hydropool is shallow. No comparison with what it used to be. A huge disappointment. 6. Large inside cabins on Deck 1 are gone. 7. Freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast in the buffet, once a luxury feature of HAL ships: gone. 8. The maritime theme in decor has gone. 9. Buffet: limited access to formerly self-service items (like juices), more chaotic, more time consuming (although nicely appointed). Inedible bread pudding (used to be “to die for”). 10. Afternoon tea (two days out of 3) lasted 30 minutes. Why not 15 minutes? 11. Did we (would we) feel the presence of additional 500 passengers? Definitely yes, although the ship was not full. Overall impression: despite several improvements the level of the new product overall has moved towards more mass-market formula. More people per square inch, more glitz and gloss, but cheaper as you scratch the surface. The ship is OK and is worth 3.5* (at least) or maybe 4* (at most). The ship has left a bitter taste. I ca explain why: considering how high the starting point was, the new ship could have been far better. We wish the Koningsdam every success, but are not planning cruises on this ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was ms Koningsdam's first US cruise after sailing throughout the world on its 2016 inaugural season. This ship is a stunner from top to bottom, and it is difficult for us as frequent cruisers to imagine a more thoroughly ... Read More
This was ms Koningsdam's first US cruise after sailing throughout the world on its 2016 inaugural season. This ship is a stunner from top to bottom, and it is difficult for us as frequent cruisers to imagine a more thoroughly delightful experience than this short (four night) introductory voyage. Incidentally, Holland America may be regarded as a premium line, but there are a good number of excellent low fares available. As seems to be routine these days at Southeast Florida ports (both Port Everglades and Miami), embarkation and disembarkation procedures flow without any excessive delay. We did not travel with children, and while Holland America offers, I believe, very good facilities for young travelers, this was not a voyage noted for its youthful numbers. We opted out of shore excursions at both ports; while in Nassau walked to a nearby beach and loved the afternoon. On that subject, Half Moon Cay, HAL's private island, was one of the most memorable days we've had on a cruise. The cruise line seems to have thought of everything here as well, including a very good island barbecue. This is truly a spectacular ship, with brilliantly imagined transitions in design and atmosphere between public spaces, based upon a broad theme of music, both classical and popular. For instance, the Dining Room is intended to echo the inside of a violin! Artwork, sculptures, and photos amaze throughout, often in unexpected places. Fresh flowers and live trees are seemingly everywhere. The Dining Room was an unfailingly sublime event for us for every dinner. We were seated at three different tables over four nights and were at each one greeted warmly as well as served with unfailing courtesy and polish. The Lido Market (the buffet) was first rate. None of the self-service and empty chafing pans one occasionally encounters, but rather true hand service, including individual coffee and juice brought to the table and promptly refilled. When a buffet line was closed, it had been done so tastefully and it was immediate apparent from signs that service continued in other areas of the buffet. Tables in the Lido Market were set with the same order and elegance one encounters in formal dining rooms. The aft pool was a welcoming spot for us, but the main, multi-level pool in the ship's center, was fabulous with cushioned loungers and semi-private sofa and chaise lounges on the upper level. Poolside dining was available at the New York Deli and Pizza, and really excellent burgers, hot dogs and fries at Dive-In. No heat lamps here: you order and are given a pager to await your custom order. Also absent from this beautiful ship is the sense that one is on a vessel teeming with passengers. We found a quite a few areas on the open decks where lounge chairs were always available and where not a single sunbather was seen. The entertainment at the World Stage for remarkable. This is an 'in the round' theatre, with projection walls circling the stage. We were especially awed by Frozen Planet Live (you'll have to see it for yourself). Piano music at Billboard Onboard and B.B. King's Blues Club was consistently excellent. The classical pianist in the Ocean Bar was a lovely nod to tradition. Bar service was also excellent with reasonably priced cocktails and even a happy hour at several bars each evening, as well as cocktail and whisky tastings. The bars are to be complemented for their creativity and variety of mixed drinks on offer. Holland America Line doesn't overwhelm with ships line amusement parks, but concentrates on offering professional service in every respect, and it does not disappoint. If you are seeking a sophisticated, adult cruise adventure, this is the line for you. We believe ourselves to be reasonable discriminating travelers, and this was one of the best. Suffice it to say, we will happily sail on ms Koningsdam again (and again)! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Before sailing on Koningsdam I had read with interest the other reviews on this board, most of which were negative or lukewarm. However, I am happy to report that this is an excellent ship with fantastic food and crews. A few things I ... Read More
Before sailing on Koningsdam I had read with interest the other reviews on this board, most of which were negative or lukewarm. However, I am happy to report that this is an excellent ship with fantastic food and crews. A few things I did dislike were 1) Yes, the outdoor promenade deck is a terrible design, 2) You do get a little bit of noise from adjoining cabins, and 3) the daytime entertainment is a bit lacking. However, for my cruise experience these were minor complaints. I can't say enough about great the food is on this ship. For a premium class ship the food quality and choice could not be beat. Anyone sailing on Koningsdam must book the Tamarind specialty dining room....the service and food here was a highlight of our trip. We tried to book the Tamarind for a second night, but it was already fully booked...not surprising on a four day cruise. The Main dining room offered good quality food and the service here was NOT slow as other reviewers have reported. Canalleto specialty dining (Italian) was also a delight and offered huge portion sizes of delicious food. Service here again was fast and professional. Of special note on Koningsdam are the new outside casual dining choices New York Pizza and Deli and the Hamburger / Hot Dog stand. Both offered very high quality food , but sometime due to high demand food preparation here just a bit slow (20 minutes or so). HAL continues to offer excellent room meal service and all of our breakfasts were taken in the room....they offer a nice selection of hot choices for breakfast in the cabin. One other criticism I would offer is that the layout of the ship is confusing. A straight corridor was never used by the designers when one with a lot of right angle turns could be stuck in. Outside decks hard to negotiate , mainly due to lack of adjoining outside staircases from one deck to another. And of course the outdoor promenade deck is horrible. The placement of lifeboats block most views from the promenade. The ship offers a wide choice of nighttime entertainment. I would say that not all of the acts were first rate, but anyone could find something to their taste. Ranging from classical music, to blues, to pop, to country, to soft rock...all of these were presented on a more or less nightly basis. The BBC earth production of Frozen Planet shown on video screens combined with a large live orchestra was impressive. The classical and jazz selections presented in the Lincoln Center Stage area were top notch and greatly enjoyed. Crew on the ship was very friendly and efficient. They all seemed to be enjoying their jobs and proud of their new ship. So kudos go to HAL for the execution of food, service, and entertainment on Koningsdam. The interior spaces of the ship are, to the most part, a delight to explore. Lots of color and a lighter overall feel as compared to other HAL ships. So if you are sailing on Koningsdam, don't be discouraged by some of the other bad reviews found here. My family and I found the ship to be excellent and we highly recommend her. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Embarkation went smoother than expected but was understandably not typical. This was due to the fact that this was the Koningsdam’s first visit to the United States. The ship and staff had to go through extra protocols before ... Read More
Embarkation went smoother than expected but was understandably not typical. This was due to the fact that this was the Koningsdam’s first visit to the United States. The ship and staff had to go through extra protocols before passengers could be allowed on board. One week prior to sailing many, not all, of us received an update stating that boarding would begin at 3 pm and not before. They were using deck numbers to board. A few days later another update arrived requesting we add our cell phone number to our boarding information and HAL would send us a text message if boarding could begin earlier. Since we flew in on the same day as sailing we grabbed a late breakfast at the airport and then took a cab to the pier. When we got there we were given the choice of checking in early and then taking a free shuttle to a local mall. We opted to stay in the waiting area, found an outlet and played with our devices. HAL did provide a bag with a bottle of water and some snacks for those of us who did not go to the mall. At 1 pm we were advised that boarding was beginning and that we could go to the lido deck as cabins were not yet ready. By 1:15 we were having lunch in the newly designed lido with all of the attention one could want at lunch time. I never received a text message from HAL but others on the roll call did report getting one. I just chalked not getting one to us being checked in. By 2 pm, with drink in hand, we were told that our cabins were ready! The cabin, we had 4119, was bright and well laid out. The closets by the bathroom were spacious enough for the two of us and had a nice new feature, the pole to hang your clothes on lights up when you open the door. The seating area was spacious enough and the desk/vanity had plenty of space and an outlet, along with a USB port. The bed was close to the balcony with the TV hanging for good viewing from bed. The view from the sitting area was less than ideal. This did not really pose a problem for us. On each side of the bed was an outlet and a USB port. The balcony for this cabin is narrower than what we have become accustomed to on a Vista cabin. It had two chairs, a foot rest and a very small table. There is no provision for anyone to lay out on this balcony. The bathroom is perhaps the most interesting change. The outlet is close to the vanity top so I could plug in my sonic toothbrush without any trouble and keep it charged. There is no tub but the shower is nicely done with gray tiles on the floor. The shower head is a nice change as the stream of water is very invigorating. (I wouldn’t mind this one at home) The biggest problem with the bathroom is the toilet. The angle does not easily accommodate a person with long legs. I did have two additional flaws that would make me try a higher cabin category when we sail on this ship again. The first was that we could hear our neighbors chatting away at all hours, not sure if it was the people or thin walls. The second issue I had was that there was a fair amount of light coming through the cabin door and there was no curtain to block the light. Overall I would say that this cabin is nice and efficiently laid out but felt smaller that what we have become used to in this category. I also found that the cabin service was not up to the standard that we have become used to on other ships. The beds were made up at lunch time and taken down after 9 at night. One night we did not get next day Daily Navigator and, horrors no chocolate! The next morning I asked for a planner and received one in Dutch, at least I could figure out when Happy Hour was. In the cabin the TV programming did leave a bit to be desired. Live TV was MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and BBC. You could choose some movies to watch and then some TV shows from a small select choice. “Big Bang” episodes were offered, but only season 2. (I needed some comic relief after this year’s election) On the Koningsdam they do offer a Navigator page that can be viewed on your phone or tablet. It was easy to sign up and see your shipboard account. On the first day I was able to quickly verify my OBC and mariner credits were applied. You could also view the daily activities and in theory add them to your personal itinerary. This feature didn’t work for me but for a four day cruise I wasn’t too concerned. You are also able to book dining and shore excursions using this web page. You could also sign up for paid internet but I choose to go internet free four the three days out of port. The one improvement that I would like to see is a messaging feature. It would be nice to tell traveling companions were you are at or to let them know of something that they might want to see or do. The lido was nicely reimagined on this ship. The first thing you notice is how bright everything is throughout the dining area. The food stations make getting what you want to eat easier. One example is the pasta station. There were portions of the lasagna, mac & cheese or whatever the “special” was for the day in dishes that you could just take away. No more waiting for a scoop of something while someone had their made to order dish cooked. There was plenty of staff pouring coffee, tea orange juice or water so you didn’t need to run and get that for yourself. There are mini bar stations in the lido so that they could make mimosas and have the wine and beer close by. The Canaletto and Tamarind were both real nice. The food and service in both venues was perfect and worth the price of admission. On this cruise I had prebooked the dinners and that was a very good thing. All of the dining options were sold out during the four day cruise. Just a reminder that if there is a special day you want book it ahead of time. My mariner discount was applied for all on the first day. I could see this on the new ship board web page. We only ate in the MDR for the Mariners lunch. Again the dining area is bright and cheery. The service was excellent for the lunch and the food choices, while limited, tasted very good. The World Stage is something that should be experienced first hand. The walls are made up of 12 million LED lights and immerse the audience in the experience. The dancers have been kicked up a notch and are far superior to what they had during “Dancing With the Stars”. At times you forgot that there was singing going on, they were that good. The singers themselves were good but not outstanding. The BBC show was essentially the “Frozen Planet” series condensed into an hour and was accompanied by the band members from other venues. We left halfway through as we had watched the series on TV. The Koningsdam itself is a wonderful ship. I found that the ship had a HAL feel but that it was updated to a more modern era. Everything seemed to be brighter and cheerier. It even had that new ship smell when we first boarded. There are more shopping opportunities on decks two and three. The promenade deck is a bit of a let down. At some points I noticed that the walkway is very narrow and could be a challenge for those on a scooter. Definitely two people might not pass at the same time. There were some benches located outside but the view when sitting down was disappointing. All in all I found that if the Koningsdam is the future of Holland America I will remain loyal. The improvements are what I was hoping for in future cruises. I am curious to see what lessons learned are applied to the Nieuw Statendam when she comes out in 2018. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Our first cruise with HAL from Fort Lauderdale down to the Caribbean First the crew made up of mainly Indonesian and Filipino absolutely fantastic they can,t do enough for you, that's where the praise stops. The food Now Holland ... Read More
Our first cruise with HAL from Fort Lauderdale down to the Caribbean First the crew made up of mainly Indonesian and Filipino absolutely fantastic they can,t do enough for you, that's where the praise stops. The food Now Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam, the food in the buffet is what you would expect in an old peoples home (sloppy) the restaurants Ok but the menu in the main dinning restaurant does not have enough choice and only 3 courses and if you like coffee after your meal you have to pay for it, in the pinnacle restaurant I have my first hot soup and best meal but it cost an extra $29, we tried the Asian restaurant its so uncomfortable, the chairs are a terrible design with no back support, the cutlery is a joke as the new "designer" plates and bowls makes eating your food a struggle. The cabin, We had a balcony which was larger than most on the upper promenade deck which was the best part, because the have put small tubs in the bathroom it has taken space away from the entrance which made it very tight and the best way to get into the wardrobe and bend over was to open the bathroom door, I would like to know which bright spark from HAL decided to purchase LCD televisions as most people know they need to be at the correct height so when you were lying on the bed all you could see was a dark screen, or allow them to tilt and the program choice was terrible unless you wanted to rent a DVD from reception. The bar areas Who ever designed these bars I must have done it during the school holidays and has now gone back to using crayons and painting pictures of mammy and daddy ( no style or class ) but well done to the person who designed the Silk Den, this is the best bar area on the ship and could easily go onto any 5 star cruise line. Other passengers Is it because I am British or am I out of touch on the way to behave but why were the other people treating the ship furniture so badly every where I went they had there feet on the furniture with their shoes on, this shows so much disrespect and we all ending paying more in the future for our cruise as the ship will need refitting more often and the staff are too polite to ask them not to it. I afraid this was my one and only cruise with HAL, its back to Princess and Celebrity   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This is our second cruise on Holland America and we had a wonderful time! It was a short cruise, only 4 days. We visited Nassau Bahamas (where we had our honeymoon many years ago)...and Key West and Half Moon Key (Hal's private ... Read More
This is our second cruise on Holland America and we had a wonderful time! It was a short cruise, only 4 days. We visited Nassau Bahamas (where we had our honeymoon many years ago)...and Key West and Half Moon Key (Hal's private Island). Embarkment was quick and easy. We arrived late so we got on very quickly and went straight to our room and missed our Mariner Lunch - oh well next time. We upgraded to a Neptune Suite which was very nice. On our previous cruise we had a Superior Verandah. The Neptune Suite was larger but looked very similar in decor to the Superior Veranda on Zuiderdam. The artwork throughout this ship was amazing. The stunning hanging glass sculpture in the atrium was a marvel to look at. We loved the Christmas decorations throughout the ship as well. When we arrived to our statement, we were greeted by a huge floor fan that was running very loudly and was very windy. We called about it and were told that our carpet had gotten very soaked when they washed the deck and they were trying to dry the carpet. We understood that things like this happen and kept a good attitude about it. They removed the fan each evening and brought back the next day while we were out and ran it. By the last day the carpet was much drier and the room was quieter. Even though it was annoying we didn't make a big fuss about it. We know these things happen. HAL sent us a nice bottle of wine and $150 credit to our account which was really generous and thoughtful. We appreciated it very much. One thing I did do when we arrived was to wipe down all areas with 'Lysol wipes' including all counter tops, couch cushions, closet doors/handles, cabin door/handles, remotes, chairs, phone receivers, etc. Just in case any virus's were lingering around. I also used Lysol spray in the room. I also bring my own 'hand wash' gel with antibacterial. We also ran any fruit we had in our room under water before we ate it. It may not keep all germs down all the time but it can't hurt anything to try. Our cabin stewards were both very nice and friendly. The Neptune Lounge concierge was also very charming and helpful to everyone. We enjoyed popping in lounge to sneak a small snack in the afternoon. We got invited to the Captain Welcome Party. We enjoyed chatting with the Captain and his Officers. All were friendly and easy to converse with. It was quite enjoyable. We were also invited to a Champagne Lunch but we didn't attend that one (we got up too late). We had a king size bed, HOWEVER it wasn't very comfortable for me with my bad back.. I thought it was quite hard and and didn't give much. Unfortunately my back and hip didn't do so well each night. I was disappointed because of how great the mattress was on the Zuiderdam - I thought this one would be as comfortable if not more so. I hope they replace this one (and others as needed) with a better quality mattress. It would make a difference on whether I would take another cruise on the Eurodam in the future. One good thing - I did love all the comfy pillows - I think we had six! Loved that.. I usually bring a little night light to plug in because it gets so dark in the cabins but this room had built in night lights next to bed that worked well. I pointed them to the back wall and had an instant night light. There were plenty of storage areas - Three full closets with shelving for clothes. There was very long desk area with many drawers to use as well. The full couch and large coffee style table and two extra sitting chairs were really nice. There was also very large picture window in addition to the floor to ceiling sliding glass door that was fabulous to view the beauty outside. The bathroom was nice and roomy with two sinks, a large bathtub w/shower head and a small walk in shower. Both had shampoo/conditioner/body wash. Just outside the bathroom was a small vanity/dressing area (with curtain). The vanity also had several drawers. this is where they kept the blow dryer and plugs. (I don't think the bathroom had any plugs). The blow dryer was not that powerful (even though it was much better than the one on Zuiderdam). I brought my own because I style my hair with blow dryer and the one they provided wouldn't have done the job. There was a small refrigerator in the room that was pre-stocked but it did have some room for a couple of extra bottles of water or whatever you want to chill. That was nice. I wish they included a small microwave so I could heat some water up for tea. I order hot water each night but I rather have the option to heat my own at times. The ac/heat unit didn't worked that well. It worked okay but was slow at cooling and heating but doable. The deck was large and several chairs and a couple of tables. Very nice. This ship didn't have a self-service laundry - since this was a short cruise it didn't matter but it would annoy me if it was a longer cruise...I would love to be able to iron some pieces of clothing without having to send them out...its just inconvenient to me. The television did run some movies, news and music stations...that was nice. I order room service for breakfast and it was delivered on time (except the first day it was very late). Food was hot enough and very good. I didn't like their coffee - it had an off aftertaste. I brought individual coffee bags so after the first day I just ordered hot water and made my own. My husband ate at the pinnacle grill for breakfast and raved about it all week long....I just hate to get dressed to eat breakfast so he went by himself. We absolutely loved the Tamarind Grill...the service was very professional, the atmosphere was calming and lovely and the food was spectacular. The main dining room was also very enjoyable. No complaints on the food. We ate in the lido buffet one night and it served the same food as the main dining room. TIP: Check the menu that hangs outside the entry way into the lido buffet to see what is being served. It will describe each dish. Have that in mind when you get into the buffet line. You will see each dish displayed before you order..however the staff isn't very famlliar with what each dish comes with - so you have to tell them each item you want and not expect them to know what should come with your particular choice. In other words, I found out that after they place the protein on your plate - you will be asked what else do you want and you can't say "whatever it comes with" like I tried a couple of times...so be ready to them what sides you want, Other than that the food was quite good in the lido buffet. Lunch time it was decent as well. There is a grill for hamburgers/hot dogs plus a place to get pizza around the pool areas. We loved going to the 'happy hours' and visited different ones each day - that was fun. I absolutely loved ADAGIO violin/piano music - FABULOUS. The "Hal cats" were fun and entertaining. We listened to them in the Ocean Bar and one night around the pool area...pure fun. The guitar soloist in crows nest was okay...not the greatest but better than nothing. We didn't go to the main show room this time or the casino. PORTS: Nassau was very, very crowed with several other cruises ships. It made walking around miserable to me so we didn't enjoy that as much. Key West was also very crowded because of the other cruise ships being there at the same time. Half Moon Key was lovely (and crowded) but you could walk away from the bulk of the crowd if you wanted to. They had a nice outdoor lunch for everyone which was fun. We didn't do any excursion on this trip. The views from our stateroom at each PORT was absolutely beautiful. Picture Perfect. Weather was fabulous. Stunning blue/green/turquoise waters.....everywhere you looked. Disembarkment: I loved that you could wait in your stateroom to be called. However if you had a high number like we did (since we didn't request an early disembarkment) the crew needed to start cleaning the rooms so we went downstairs before our number was called. You could stand in the crowed hallway or could sit in the nearby lounge. When our turn came up we got off the ship quickly but had to wait about 40 minutes or so to get through a slow moving line. I didn't love that because it was hard on my back and it was somewhat warm in the back of the line, but got a little cooler with a fan overhead as you got closer. My husband had me wait with my luggage in the center island where there were some benches. He parked in the large parking garage. However when he tried to pull into the area where I (and many other people were sitting with luggage- an officer told him he couldn't pull in because it was only for cabs and made him get out of line??? This officer must have gotten 'confused' because passenger cars had been pulling in and out the entire time while I sat with the other cruise members who were waiting for for their rides. We watched car after car pick people up. What a confused mess. Anyway, the second time around he was able to pull in with the other cars to pick me up.... Overall we had a wonderful time. I love HAL even with a few glitches here and there....Its a well run, classy cruise line - especially great for 50+ crowd. Very enjoyable especially if you keep a good attitude and don't sweat the small stuff....   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My three sons and I just returned from a 4 day trip on the EURODAM. The ship was doing an unusually short cruise for her, 4 days, to get her back on schedule after her just completed 10 day drydock in Freeport. The exterior of the ship was ... Read More
My three sons and I just returned from a 4 day trip on the EURODAM. The ship was doing an unusually short cruise for her, 4 days, to get her back on schedule after her just completed 10 day drydock in Freeport. The exterior of the ship was pristine...looked brand new...obviously she had had a complete new paint job while in Drydock. The rest of the ship was also in very good shape, especially the outdoor decks and swimming lidos. Interiors very well maintained, but I did notice a very few spots of slightly worn carpet. Cabins were not refreshed in this drydock, but ours was just fine, with only a few spots of wear and tear. Three days before the trip HAL offered to upgrade us to a Neptune Suite for $298 which we were very happy to pay. We quickly learned once on board that Neptune Suite means First Class on HAL. We got free laundry service (which we used every day!), daily breakfasts in Pinnacle Grill, a larger room, and access to the ever changing snack bar in the Neptune Lounge. Your room card is a different color if a Neptune passenger, and when ship staff notices your card they seem to give you the best treatment. Worst part of the trip was the entertainment on the ship. It was third rate when they had it, and two nights they did not bother to have any show at all. One night they had an Elton John impersonator which was actually pretty good and funny, but still not what you would expect for a main show of the night. Another night they had a show called "Playlist" which was horrible, no live music, all taped, and third rate singers and dancers. Holland America has drastically cut their show budget in the last 3 years and it is very obvious. If you are sailing on a cruise for the nightime shows, don't go on EURODAM. Best part of the trip was the food and service. Cabin stewards very friendly and quick to make up our 7 deck cabin. Every meal that I had on the ship was fantastic. We ate dinner each night in the main dining room and enjoyed all the meals. Service was fast most nights, with only one night of slightly slow service which the waiter apologized for as the kitchen was slow. Really I cannot say enough good things about the food. We had a dim sum lunch one day in Tamarind and this was great also. Breakfast each morning in the Pinnacle Grill was grealty enjoyed and especially so with the all Dutch staff in this room. We visited Key West, Nassau, and Half Moon Cay. Perfect Weather the whole trip. We enjoyed Key West. Nassau had 6 ships in port that day and was a zoo. Highlight of the ports was Half Moon Cay which presented us with the perfect beach experience. Soft sand, gentle waves , clear water, and an uncrowded beach. I thought the Disney Island could not be beat, but really the Half Moon Cay beach is better. Food served here was only so so, but not a problem considering the otherwise perfect beach experience. Landscaping here was beautiful. So we greatly enjoyed out short time on EURODAM. As long as you are not a show fanatic, I think you would love her too. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We had a great time on the Eurodam, our room was huge with a corner settee which was an additional bed, we had a queen with bunk over for our youngest and considering there was 4 of us in one room, there was plenty of space. The food in ... Read More
We had a great time on the Eurodam, our room was huge with a corner settee which was an additional bed, we had a queen with bunk over for our youngest and considering there was 4 of us in one room, there was plenty of space. The food in the Dining Room was exceptional as was the Buffet which we only used at breakfast time. The Ports of Call were fantastic, the first was Grand Turk and Caicos, wow what a place, straight from the Ship into a lovely resort with a huge on the beach swimming pool and surf rider, swim up bar and a gorgeous beach, this was heaven and did not think this could be beaten, we also stopped at Charlotte Amalie in the Virgin Islands (do not do the internal Islands tour, was waste of time) but do go to Meagans Bay Beach,Puerto Rico (which so so hot) that we did not walk very far, but was pretty and we managed to have a Strawberry Dacquari at Senor Frogs. Our final stops was at the Private Island - Half Moon Cay - OMG this is truely Heaven on Earth and my favourite place so far, I have never encountered such powder soft Sand and Turquoise Sea. A place I cannot wait to visit again this October (2012). Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Just the facts: Day 1: Flight on-time leaving city. Arrived in Fort Lauderdale (the Saturday before embarkation as planned), followed instructions to call hotel for courtesy van to hotel, only to find out that I had no reservation for ... Read More
Just the facts: Day 1: Flight on-time leaving city. Arrived in Fort Lauderdale (the Saturday before embarkation as planned), followed instructions to call hotel for courtesy van to hotel, only to find out that I had no reservation for Jan. 15th (even though I was holding reservation numbers for January 15th and 23rd e-mailed to me from the Smooth Jazz Cruise travel agent). That snafu was handled well. I was relocated to another hotel (Hilton at the same price as the Hampton Inn). Thank you Day 2: Transported on courtesy bus from Hilton to the Hampton where I boarded the bus to the pier. The trip/transfer of luggage to the pier went smoothly. Embarkation went quickly, even though there was a line it moved quickly. Boarded the ship, had lunch/drinks met great people, immediately. Room was ready (with luggage delivered) in an hour. THIS IS GOING TO BE A GREAT VACATION!! Info regarding which artists will be appearing in each of the many music venues also left in the stateroom so I can plan what I'm going to do tonight! Stateroom and veranda were smaller than I had anticipated, but enough room for 2 had it been necessary (remember, I'm traveling solo). There was plenty of closet space for 2 and the bathroom was more than adequate and very clean. No complaints about the cleanliness of stateroom throughout the cruise. Stewards (Mohammad and Bah)were great. Enjoyed a great concert, took a picture with Jeff Goelub and Phillipe Saisse. I am on my way to a Smooth Jazz lover's heaven. Had dinner in the Vista Dining Room after the show where I shared a table with another solo traveler. We pretty much hung together for the remainder of the trip. Great variety on the menu, although the food could have been a tad warmer. Did the Crow's Nest Lounge until about 3 A.M. OH, MY GOODNESS! Day 3-6: More of the same - meeting and hanging out with great people, enjoying awesome (I mean breathtaking) concerts, mixing/mingling with the Smooth Jazz artists (many of whom I was photographed with) and fantastic food. Enjoyed the Italian restaurant one evening(the name escapes me, now). Delicious food, also. The barbecues were awesome, as well. This entire cruise was everything I anticipated. It was truly an ageless, international gathering which in itself speaks to the power of music. Thank you Smooth Jazz Cruise sponsors and participating artists, stewards, cooks, Chef Roy (who prepared a special dish for me daily and had it delivered to my table in the Lido buffet), bartenders, front desk personnel, and Amy Grove my Smooth Jazz travel rep. This was truly the vacation of a lifetime for me. I will do it, again! Day 7: I chose the independent disembarkation (my flight out of Fort Lauderdale was an early one). Disembarkation went smoothly. I placed my luggage outside the door the night before and it was waiting for me in a color-coded area outside the ship Sunday morning. I was met by a very friendly, knowledgeable baggage handler who retrieved my luggage, walked me through customs outside to where he hailed me a taxi and off to the airport I went (about a 15 minute drive). My Southwest flight(s) were on-time and even though I had to change planes in Nashville, Tenn., the gate for the plane I was boarding in Nashville, was right next to the gate of the plane that I got off of. Arrived on-time to my final destination. If you're a Smooth Jazz lover, you owe this to yourself! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I have been on many cruise lines and many ships in the last 20 years. And when the cruise was complete I had a clear opinion of the cruise and how I would rate it. But this short cruise on Holland America, my first on the line, leaves me ... Read More
I have been on many cruise lines and many ships in the last 20 years. And when the cruise was complete I had a clear opinion of the cruise and how I would rate it. But this short cruise on Holland America, my first on the line, leaves me confused. Let me start with the positive because the new Eurodam does have many attractive features. It is by and large a very beautiful ship that has been well thought out, although a little too brightly lit for my taste. The art work is varied, engaging and attractive and the old photos of ships from bygone days that line the hallways are worth touring. The cabins are wonderfully spacious with great closet space and storage, exceptionally comfortable beds and most come with very generous sized verandas. There are two wonderful pools, one the center of activity, where socializing with new found friends is what the ship designers had in mind as the perfect way to pass the time while the aft pool is made for gazing off at the horizon or restful poolside nap after one's eyes tire from reading too long in the sun. And for an even more private outdoor rest, there is the "Retreat" on deck 11, replete with private cabanas and a staff of two whose only job is to make you comfortable throughout the day, be it to bring you cool drinks, fresh fruit, a wonderful lunch or even to provide you with an Evian water spray to keep your face moist. And as the Retreat is adjacent to the Explorations Cafe there's an extra bonus; easy access to a wonderful windowed indoor space to take a sun break and read the NY Times on line for free or to pick up a board game or deck of cards to play again in the sun. While everyone else piled off the ship to the line's private beach resort, I had a phenomenal day up top that I and my companion will remember for years to come. And when it's time to return to the ship or come out of the sun, there are innovative dining opportunities both at lunch and dinner, a wonderful spa with very reasonable prices and a very knowledgeable staff, great gym facilities and first run movies playing from noon to midnight in a wonderful theater with large reclining chairs and free popcorn. At night, the numerous public venues never leave one wanting for diversion. The space on deck 2 is arranged in such a way that you feel like you are in the middle of a great big party in some wonderful hip urban center with everything from a big show, a lounge act or a sing along in the piano bar; but when it becomes too much you can ride the outside ocean view lift to deck 11 to be alone with someone special in a quiet corner sipping cocktails in the Silk Den or Crow's Nest while a piano plays and the moon and stars sparkle just for the two of you. And for those lucky enough to book a deluxe suite or penthouse, there is even a not so well known yet very well-serviced first class lounge (the Neptune Lounge on deck 7 accessible only with a suite or penthouse key). The lounge provides superb snacks from sunrise until the second seating for dinner and is staffed with a personal concierge who is there to handle ones every whim or issue. And even better, they succeed most of the time! But what of the times they don't succeed or what about the majority of patrons that do not have a concierge. For those times and for all those passengers I come to my biggest criticism of my cruise . . . the inability to listen when they fail to meet expectations or where they simply fail to meet reasonable standards. In fact the failure is so great as to be almost abusive and the "home office" should investigate and if necessary make a clean sweep of the hotel management staff. Never have I seen a less caring attitude among senior staff management toward guests. Never have I seen more abusive treatment by ship officers of junior staff members in front of guests. It was cruel and it turned my stomach. You see what I am reporting on were not my issues. I was having a wonderful time and I know what to expect and not expect on a large ship cruise. That's not to say I don't have negatives to report. But I like to take the negatives in stride and never let them overwhelm me and destroy an otherwise good time. And a very good time I had indeed. But not everyone is constructed like me and most people, including myself, want to feel they are listened to and understood when a problem arises. Yet on the Eurodam, I witnessed senior hotel staff take what easily could be such a wonderful overall experience and trash part of it out of laziness, ruin what remained out of apathy and squash passengers and crew alike out of arrogance. Why were they behaving this way was a question that kept recurring. Were they in fact fatigued, had management understaffed the ship or not given officers an adequate break since the ship was launched. In short were they being overworked by Carnival management? And again I remind you that I say all this mostly from observing other guests and lending an ear to those who wanted to vent. My only real problems were a backed up toilet on the first morning (which took 5 hours to remedy), a lousy meal in the Pinnacle Grill on my last night, about which the very haughty maitre d' did not care, and incredibly bad room service. None of these would I allow to ruin my cruise but let me share them to give you an idea of what you might find on board the Eurodam. The first issue was merely inconvenient (having to go up two decks to the lido in order to use a toilet) while the second and third issues are harsh reminders that Holland America can at times be a very pedestrian mass market experience. My supposed gourmet meal served in the Pinnacle Grill included scalloped potatoes that were in fact mass produced Stouffer's styled frozen dinner side dish, the Caesar salad prepared "tableside" was created by pouring "Newman's Own" bottled dressing and mass produced Nabisco croutons over romaine and stirring with a salad tong and the three flavored "crème brûlEe " dessert was nothing more than flavored Jello-brand instant pudding that had sugar poured on top which was caramelized under a broiler for 30 seconds. It's not nice to be played for a dweeb or idiot gourmet. But one need not despair about going hungry for as bad as the Pinnacle Grill is, the main dining room serves very decent food in fact dare I say better food, the Lido serves unlimited well prepared but bland food while one finds great gourmet salvation by dining at Tamarind because this restaurant does in fact serve some of the finest food I have ever had on any ship anywhere, with excellent service to match. And if you are still hungry after a good or bad meal, which in some venues is quite understandable, there is always 24 hour room disservice, where the wait is long and the hot food is brought cold. Notice I say "brought" not "served", for if it were served then the waiter would not simply dump a tray on your coffee table and do a quick about face and leave. Do I expect too much? Well if I do, then at the very least the waiter should check the order to make sure it is what I ordered (they got one breakfast completely wrong) and that there is sugar for the coffee (both times there was none) and so on and so forth. But this is not the waiter's fault, because every waiter behaved exactly the same and therefore the problem is entirely rooted in detachment from true service handed down from senior staff. And when a guest became upset about something no one seemed interested in listening and this left me completely flabbergasted and other guests downright angry. And it is so ridiculous that this is even an issue because it all comes down to a willingness to listen. What I am discussing is not a failure of the service staff but the complete insulation of senior management from both staff and guests. Guests are not listened to and staff is not properly trained despite an obvious attempt on their part to play their part and service the guest. At one point I asked if it were possible to at least fill out a comment card that they could read later since they all seemed otherwise engaged at the moment. Well, dear reader, my jaw dropped open when I was told with a completely straight face, "we don't solicit the comments of our guests on short cruises" In reply I asked "what are you guys afraid of? You have an opportunity with all the travel agents on board to get voices of experience critiquing this cruise and gaining valuable insights and instead your response is 'everyone go to bed' '. Don't you want to know that your spa changing rooms are gorgeous with but contain not a single amenity such as combs, shaving cream or even soap and are so poorly serviced that the towels and robes lay everywhere awaiting a long absent attendant? Don't you want to know that despite this shortcoming how much I love the Spa staff and the waiters in Tamarind and together how much they made for a wonderful cruise experience? Don't you want to know that the staff of older men and ladies in the terminal in Ft. Lauderdale is phenomenal (the nicest of any cruise line) and were extremely efficient in processing embarkation and so sincere when saying goodbye on the last day? In short why are you so afraid of listening and learning? And so I close this review with having great difficulty in making the ratings. Had they addressed my issues simply by listening, a five in most categories would not be difficult to give. But under the circumstances . . . less is more; meaning grading lower now is done in hopes of them listening and doing more in the future. For the bottom line is cruise lines are not just in the tourism industry they are in the service industry; and to serve requires one to listen. And to allow for communications to be delivered is the best path for avoiding upset Will I return to cruise on HAL? That depends if anyone ever contacts me from their management team. And if they do I will be sure to let you all know. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Pre-Cruise, Embarkation & Cabin We booked the Eurodam 3 day October 15 cruise about two weeks before the sailing because of the great price on an inside category N cabin! About a week later, we were upgraded to a VF verandah. We ... Read More
Pre-Cruise, Embarkation & Cabin We booked the Eurodam 3 day October 15 cruise about two weeks before the sailing because of the great price on an inside category N cabin! About a week later, we were upgraded to a VF verandah. We were extremely excited to get away for a few days and check out a new ship! I had read so much about Eurodam and followed the building process, so it almost seemed mythical. But no, the ship is very real and it was a great feeling to catch a glimpse of it for the first time as our plane landed in Ft. Lauderdale. We took a taxi and got to the pier around 12:15. The check in line seemed long, but moved very quickly. The customary embarkation photo probably took the longest. We were shown to an elevator and whisked to the Lido for lunch. The Lido is very pretty, (I love the carpet) but quite narrow between the tables and buffet line. This was better on days when it wasn't so crowded. I liked the "Flavors of the World" sections. The meat sauce and pasta were excellent. The bread pudding was perfect. It was announced that cabins were ready and we headed to VF 5059. The cabin was small, but nice. We usually get suites, so I definitely missed the space, but considering the low price we paid for this cruise, it was an excellent value. There were few drawers, but lots of closets. I had the sofa bed. It was very firm and didn't creak; it was probably one of the better ones I've had. It took up a lot of room when it was out. It was best to crawl over it to get to the verandah. The table also had to be moved against the wall and made it difficult to get through to the door and bathroom. The bathroom had a shower/small tub. I liked that it had clear instructions posted of which way to turn the faucet for hot/cold and shower/bath. Genius! No more guesswork. The sink seemed backwards to me and I had to remember to turn the faucets the opposite way or spray water everywhere when I really meant to turn it off. There were three small shelves on the side and one long one under the sink. The verandah had two chairs, footstools and an end table. It was very private and had an overhang above. It looked down on a lifeboat. Should there have been an evacuation, it would have been a good location. The Ship & Staff The Eurodam is gorgeous! Cool public rooms, interesting art, even the lighting and chairs are creative. The layout is very similar to the Vista class ships. When we first boarded, I thought, "Everyone is so friendly." Maybe because we were all so close in the Lido? But, really, even the staff vacuuming the carpets said hello. The Captain was Jonathan Mercer, but we never saw him. He must have been there, because we heard his "voice from the bridge". The Cruise Director, Shane Michaels, boarded the same day we did. Stan Kuppens was the Hotel Manger. He is very friendly and detail-oriented. We saw him stop just to straighten a vase in the atrium. When we had a question about a certain cabin category, he wanted to make sure he gave us the correct answer and made a phone call to double check. Cruise Critic Events HAL gave us a very nice Cruise Critic Meet & Greet in the Piano Bar at 5:30 on embarkation day. The Beverage Manager, Murat Kaya, called to let me know they were upgrading us to a cocktail party with drinks and appetizers compliments of himself and the Hotel Manager (the Upgrade Fairy even does Meet & Greets!). The Beverage Manager, Hotel Manager and Cruise Director joined us. Stan Kuppens, talked with us for an hour and a half. I was impressed. The second night, we had a Cabin Crawl. All of the cabins we saw were basically the same verandah categories, except one was a spa category. Still, we had fun and it was interesting to notice how the motion changed as we got to higher decks or moved forward. It's true that the middle, lower decks feel less movement. After the Cabin Crawl, the Beverage Manager was really nice to invite us to join him in the Silk Den to try warm sake and specialty drinks. Most of the drinks came in martini glasses, but without the stem; they sat in a bowl of ice instead. My favorite drink was something that tasted like lime- very refreshing. Entertainment & Activities We saw two shows. One was the juggler/comedian Jeff Taveggia. He was okay, but it was a lot of juggling to sit through for one show. He was originally supposed to perform with a comedian, but due to sound problems with the "In Concert" production show the first night, he filled in then instead. The production show "Dream Park" was very good. Really creative! The daily program seemed limited, but I didn't care. It was a short cruise and I was more concerned with relaxing, seeing the ports and eating. Many events were around 8:00 pm and that was right before our dinner. Dining We had 8:15 traditional dining in the Rembrandt Dining Room at a table for four. It was located on the upper level, on the side, on a raised level. Our stewards were Henri and Andie. They were excellent! Every special request was met. They seemed very relaxed and were happy to chat. I can't think of anything I ordered at dinner that I didn't like. I enjoyed the different sauces, especially from some beef entrEe the second night and the Caribbean jerk chicken the last night. I will confess, I usually ordered two or three desserts. I had a fabulous dessert the first night. The name was something to do with chocolate, caramel and toffee. Really, it was the Warm Chocolate Truffle! It lives! How many identity crisis has that thing been through anyway? I ordered a second, a la mode. For breakfast, I loved the chocolate croissants and the muesli was just the way I like it. Although, one day, there was a moldy raspberry on my muesli and my ham and cheese omelet didn't have cheese. But I just picked off the raspberry and ate the omelet and life went on. We saw more familiar dining staff members on this cruise than any other! Either we recognized them or they recognized us. The Dining Room Manager remembered our table number on the Noordam from over a year and a half ago, our assistant dining room steward was the same we had on the Noordam, a former yum-yum man was our lifeboat captain, I could go on... We had lunch at Tamarind after we came back from a morning at Half Moon Cay. The view was great. Everything was so artfully presented. I am not a seafood person, but apparently my favorites on the main plate had crab and squid in them. I liked the different dipping sauces and my green tea tiramisu was yummy. Our Cabin Steward Our cabin steward deserves his own section. He was something else. He seemed like a nice guy, I didn't meet him until the second day and I didn't know his name, but he would wave from down the hallway whenever he saw me. His service on the other hand, needs some work. He must have shown he was good in the past though, because he was actually training another cabin steward! The first night, we didn't have new towels. They were just left in a pile on the floor. We called for some fresh ones. The same thing happened the second night. Each time they were brought by someone in housekeeping, not our steward. On Friday, the room steward knocked on the door at 7:45 am. My mom answered the door, half awake. We listened as he said, "Holland America has a new policy of only changing towels once a day". He went on to say if we had a complaint, we could write it on a card and give it to the Front Office. The third night, my mom called the Front Office and promised them it would be the last time she asked for towels. She also told them about the "new policy". They apologized and said that what the steward said to us is not true. They said they would have the housekeeping manager talk with him after we left the ship (most likely so he could not sabotage our room). Also on Friday morning, the steward took all of our toiletries (and we have a lot) off the bathroom shelves and left them all on the counter. I don't know why he thought he needed to clean the shelves for a three day cruise on the last full day. Plus, he could have put them back. We had tea with some ladies who had the same cabin steward. They said he gave them tote bags that smelled like exhaust, didn't make the bed for the third person, and didn't leave them pillow chocolates (the horror!). At least we got the pillow chocolates he left in a pile at the foot of the bed. The first night, I didn't have a pillowcase on one of my pillows. Also, he always left the toilet seat up in the morning, but I guess that meant he cleaned it. We never had fresh fruit, flowers or towel animals, maybe because it was only a three day cruise? After breakfast on disembarkation morning, we waited in our room for them to call our deck. We were close to falling asleep when he knocked on the door, opened it, propped it open and turned on all the lights. He asked if we would mind waiting in a lounge because he needed to make up the room right then. He said he would be back in five minutes. We then listened as two ladies in the hall told him what a wonderful job he had done keeping their room clean during the cruise. What?! Either they have some different standards or he only does a good job for a select few. We closed the cabin door and finished getting our stuff together. There is one good thing to say about him, and that is that he does not clean the drawers. What should we find in a drawer, but two Mariner delft tiles! Yes! This was just very unusual. We've never had a room steward like this on HAL before. Ports In Nassau, we went to Ardastra Gardens. We took a taxi that was $15 on the way over and $12 on the way back. I hear there is a bus that will take you there for $1. The gardens were very pleasant and not too crowded. There were exotic birds, animals and flowers. We saw the famous marching flamingos and helped feed the lory parrots. You just hold up an apple slice and they will fly over and land on your hand to eat. It was amazing and one of the highlights of the trip! We also went to the Straw Market, but it was very dull and crowded. Every booth had the same stuff. It started as a cloudy day in Half Moon Cay. The island was deserted! I guess many people stayed on the ship. The water was warm and the sun came out later. We went pretty far down the beach, but there was certainly room closer to the dock as well. The sand was so soft and squishy. Beautiful island. Some Random Memories While walking on the Promenade one day, a beautiful rainbow appeared out of nowhere. It looked like it was out of the water. Of course, I didn't have my camera. The benches in the elevator lobbies are missing cushions because they are making some that are up to the fire code. They could remove the benches, but they are bolted down. They had a party by the Lido Pool to celebrate the World's Largest Cruise Night with chocolate fountains, cake and champagne. And of course, brochures and the Future Cruise Consultant were available to help you book your next cruise. I saw a man at this party wearing a vest made of HAL tote bags! The front had the older ones with the big logos and the back had the newer ones with the destinations. Disembarkation We didn't get any comment cards or Mariner tiles (but we found some in our cabin drawer!). The bills didn't arrive until the morning. Some people didn't get them at all. After being chased out of our cabin, we sat in the Atrium. What a great people watching spot! We watched the long Front Desk line. I liked that, as they did on the first day, they had a staff member walk the line. This way, if you have a quick question, they can answer it then and you don't have to wait the whole time. One man was extremely rude to the staff member and we heard some not so nice words as he raised his voice. The staff member calmly stood there and then continued down the line. After this, the man lit up a cigarette and smoked right in line. No one seemed to care, probably because he seemed so much calmer. We walked right off the ship when they called our deck. No line. Conclusion It was an awesome cruise, but it was too short! I can't wait to return to this beautiful ship for a week in December! We'll have a suite then and most definitely a different cabin steward. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Sorry for the delayed review, I just wanted to give my thoughts regarding this cruise and am a fairly new Cruise Critic member. We arrived in Ft Lauderdale one day prior to cruising; we stayed at the courtyard Marriott and got a pretty ... Read More
Sorry for the delayed review, I just wanted to give my thoughts regarding this cruise and am a fairly new Cruise Critic member. We arrived in Ft Lauderdale one day prior to cruising; we stayed at the courtyard Marriott and got a pretty good deal ($120). This rate included the free shuttle to the port, a decent breakfast and shuttle from the airport. The accommodations were just OK, the room seemed really run down and the evening we arrived, there were 10 or so high school students that were in the lobby in tuxedos and formal wear, they were obviously drunk and were pretty rowdy. My wife and I are early thirties and this was our second cruise, our first was Star Princess and we absolutely have nothing bad to say about our first cruise. We chose HAL because we had heard good things about this line, we were somewhat disappointed overall. The ship itself was pretty run down, the windows were dirty, there was rust etc. There was a foul smell in one of the hallways en route to the dining room and our toilet had some issues flushing at times and maintenance was responsive in fixing this problem. The nightclub was horrible, we went there one night and the 3 couples besides us that were there were on oxygen and walkers and were "getting jiggy" (sarcasm added) with it. The cruise director was pretty cool and although it rained EVERY DAY (not HAL's fault) there were plenty of activities to participate in/watch. I especially enjoyed the chipping contest (into a floating putting green in the pool) as I am an avid golfer. The food was spectacular and our table fell in love with our servers, they were very approachable and funny and anticipated our needs extremely well. We had window table with 2 other couples and one couple we have since been on 2 additional cruises with; this was probably the highlight of the cruise given the poor weather. We snorkeled in the Bahamas but given the rain, this was a very chilly boat ride and we weren't too enthused to get into the water. The HAL private island was beautiful but again, it rained the whole time so most people stayed on the boat, we spent no more than an hour and HAL did refund the cost of the clamshell that we had booked. The stateroom was pretty roomy, we had an unobstructed window (on our first cruise we had an inside cabin... never again). After seeing our friend's balcony stateroom, we decided we will ALWAYS do a balcony from now on. The room seemed roomier than the Star Princess but also seemed more dated and run down. The pools were nice, they had a sliding roof on the main pool which cam in very convenient given the weather. The entertainment was OK, not real high praise for the "crew" attempting to entertain us, don't expect Broadway. Embarkation/disembarkation was pretty smooth, nothing negative to say here. Summary, when we first got home from this cruise, we berated HAL in comparison to our first Princess Cruise. After being on several other cruise lines, we have since realized that HAL is a pretty well run line, other than some updating and elbow grease, this was not so bad. We would go on HAL again if we were able to take advantage of a low rate, we still prefer Princess but thought this was a good second option. Good Meals, service, quick response to stateroom issues, daytime activities especially given the rainy cruise Bad Nightlife was poor, shows were not very entertaining, rain (nobody's fault here) Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
We did the five day Bahamas cruise on the Westerdam January 3  8, 2006. I apologize for the length of this review, but I wanted to give every tidbit of information I could, in case other cruise rookies happened to be looking for more ... Read More
We did the five day Bahamas cruise on the Westerdam January 3  8, 2006. I apologize for the length of this review, but I wanted to give every tidbit of information I could, in case other cruise rookies happened to be looking for more specific details. This was our first cruise. Im an event planner, so I researched this cruise to the hilt, getting most of my information from the good people on Cruise Critic and Cruise Clues. We wanted an upscale line, with excellent service, large luxurious cabins and a relaxed atmosphere. We just arent party people, so we didnt want a booze cruise by any means. We had been to Atlantis before and loved the Caribbean water, so this was a good fit for us. Five days didnt feel like as big of a commitment if we werent pleased (oh boy, were we wishing for extra days by the end of the cruise!). Id like to commend HAL on making this cruise an absolute favorite vacation of ours. Embarkation: We arrived at FLL and had to wait 45 minutes for our bags  I dont know why. Lots of cruisers at the airport, but most seem to be using transfers, so we paid $15 for a cab to the cruise terminal (which was more of a crude airplane hangar, but did the job). There was some confusion about what to do with our bags, but at the door, a porter did grab them and whisk them away ($5 tip). If I didnt already know what to expect (from the boards!), I would have appreciated a little more information from her. We went inside and joined the suite line (again, I knew to look for it, no one directed us to it). We stood in a very short line for ten minutes while we filled out credit card forms and a health form (are you sick? have you been in close contact with anyone who was sick?). They had us sign our cards and took a very informal photo for the identification system. This photo pops up when you scan the card as you board the ship. The check-in clerks were very friendly. We went through security, up the gangplank (looks like a jetway), took a very quick photo and were on the ship. Tip: you can freshen up before this photo if you want, but rest assured, you will have many more chances for photos. Cabin: I knew we were on Deck Five, so we took the elevator, and a steward met us at the elevator door on five to take us to our suite (5186, an SC cabin). On the way down the hall, my husband looked in open cabin doors and I could tell he was a little disappointed in the size of the regular balcony cabins and downright scared of the inside cabins. Keep in mind he is 64 and 235 lbs. I assured him our cabin would be fine  we walked as far as the hallway would go to the very back of the ship. The cabin didnt let me down. The first thing I saw was the dressing area with a vanity, a stool and a lighted makeup mirror. Also three small mirrored closets, one with shelves and one with a large umbrella. Two nice waffle weave robes hung near the door. In the bathroom, there were double sinks, two medicine cabinets, a glass shower and a Jacuzzi tub (my favorite thing!). No need to seek out that hot tub! Water pressure was awesome and we never ran out of hot water. Heres a great tip  the stool is also a canister and can make a great dirty laundry container (drawers are scarce, but shelves are plentiful). Free laundry service is still a suite perk, but we didnt need to use it this trip. In the main part of the cabin, there is a magnificent king size bed with crisp white linens. There is a fluffy comforter (heavenly!) in one of the three additional closets (the one with the lifejackets  and one has a safe). There are four pillows on the bed. One wall is mirrors, with two nightstands, each with two small drawers and a reading light. There was a couch, two chairs and a coffee table, along with another canister type stool (they store the bed cover in this at night).In the corner is a shelf unit with your TV and DVD player. Look closely  there is stationary with your name on it  a nice touch. There is a large clock on the wall above the TV (ours was 10 minutes slow). There is also a TV channel that will tell you the ships exact time. Tip: If you have mail, check to see if you received an invitation to the captains reception and a tender pass. We forgot to check until the next day! Read the daily program carefully  it has a weather report, the dress code of the day, and a schedule of the days event. Youll also find a dining room menu delivered to your room each day. Our room steward, Ramses, dropped by to introduce himself. We tipped him $20 and asked him to keep the ice topped off and the room as cool as it could get all week. He was an absolute delight for us, always there and always cheerful  our room was spotless all week. We finally turned to the aft balcony and, even though I knew it would be great, it blew us away. It was as large as the cabin itself, with two loungers, two small tables, four chairs and a dining table. It wraps around the cabin and has a small overhang. Be warned  turn around and look up  there are four decks above you that can look down into your balcony if you are more than four feet away from your door. We really didnt mind and had breakfast (in our robes) delivered to our balcony every morning. There was no debris, but we did get a good mist every evening when they washed down the upper decks. You can hear some noise from Deck Six (chairs scraping) but little else. There is no traffic in the halls by the room. Even though this side (ironically, the port side) doesnt face the port all the time, we did get a great view in the Bahamas (we backed into port) and in Key West, where we faced the sunset. Best of all, we had the moon, the wake and the open sea without a stiff breeze the entire trip. Tip: Keep the drapes closed. This room will heat up quickly in the sun. First day: We ran to the Lido for a quick late lunch. We didnt quite know what to do, but grabbed some pasta and a salad. Here was the biggest disappointment of the cruise: the drink glasses on the ship hold about six ounces. My husband drinks abut a gallon of water and tea a day, so I had to get him five glasses of tea all at once before he got over the shock. I cant figure out why they are so stingy with the liquid  they only offer coffee, tea and quasi juice to drink for free. Why not larger or paper cups? Tip: the OJ is horrible and made from concentrate (funny  they have a port in FL!). I thought the coffee was good and hubby liked the tea. You purchase a soda card (sticker) if you want cokes, but they only have Coke and Sprite, and they come in the same ridiculous small glasses. Tip: pack a plastic glass and help yourself to the tea. We didnt really enjoy the Lido, although the pizza was good. To be fair, we really arent fans of buffet dining. I did see some great looking baked chicken, but it was after I had already eaten the pizza. They had sandwiches made to order and Chinese food as well, but we didnt sample those. When we got back to our room, they were making announcements about Muster Drill, so we put on our life jackets and followed the crowd to our assigned spot (it is printed on the lifejacket). Tip: Take some bottled water, a hat and sun glasses. This is the hottest we got all trip. It only takes 15 minutes or so, but seems like a lifetime. We took a leisurely tour of the ship before sailaway. The pools looked nice and the bars were pretty and cozy, but our favorite place was in the Crows Nest, in the recliners facing the bow. Nice views. We made it up to the Neptune Lounge for appetizers (veggies and dip, salmon on toast points, egg salad on crackers). Same small glasses for tea and juice here. The wonderful part was the cappuccino machine. I had at least two cups every day. There are also sweets (cookies, doughnuts, fudge). We sat and watched CNN while sipping drinks for awhile, and played a short game of scrabble. They have a small selection of magazines. If you have questions, the concierges can help you out. They were nice but seemed very young and not so knowledgeable during our trip. Maybe this was a training cruise for them. The majority of the staff around the ship was outstanding. The room stewards and dining staff are from Indonesia. The casino staff is from eastern Europe and Australia. Back in our stateroom, we were surprised to see that we had left the dock (no motion yet). Out on the balcony, we were even more surprised to find locals standing on the shore, waving as we left. How nice. It was a dreamy site as the sun set and we pulled away from Florida. Dining Room: Our dinner seating was main lower (8:30) for a table of two. It seemed very late to us, but we never went hungry on this ship (the fresh fruit in the cabin helped). My husband was worried about the dress code, but his nice shirt (button front, khaki slacks) fit in well for casual night. Saw only a few sports coats on men. Women were in everything from semi-formal dresses to jeans. On informal (read this as semi formal) and formal nights, men wore jackets and women dressed to the nines. Our waiter was Ananta and he was pleasant but not overly attentive. No complaints, but not top-notch service either. Thanks to the boards, we expected small portions, but the first two appetizers were still surprising in their tiny (but extremely tasty) size. Our waiter never encouraged us to order more of anything, but I knew we could from the boards (thanks, guys!). Please pass that information along to everyone. Thanks to the filling and delicious soups and salads, we were always satisfied. Our favorites were the bean soup and the Italian wedding soup. Memorable entrees were the Mushroom Ravioli and the New York Strip. Surf and Turf was great, but the lobster only had four good bites in it. The best dessert for us was the berry crisp. The baked Alaska was beautiful, but if youve had it before, you know it isnt as tasty as it is showy. They do an excellent job of presentation, though, with the Baked Alaska parade. We ordered room service for breakfast most days. While portions arent as small as the dining room, everything is ala carte, so be sure to order butter, jam, cream, milk and toast separately. They dont bring anything not ordered, even ketchup. We attended the Suite Luncheon in the Crows Nest during our at-sea day. It was great to meet the captain and other suite guests. The food was lovely but was more reception food than lunch (shrimp, canapEs, cheese bites, spring rolls, even caviar). Suite guests can eat in the Pinnacle for breakfast and lunch. We were in port most lunches, so we tried breakfast in the Pinnacle during the immigration inspection at Key West. While the surroundings are beautiful and the food was delicious, I was disappointed with the aloof service  not what Id heard from these boards. Maybe our waiter was having a bad day. My husbands eggs were great. My pancakes were delicious, but were only three to four inches across. Luckily, the delicious croissants filled me up. We didnt try the Pinnacle for lunch or dinner Motion/seasickness: We never had any sea sickness or came across anyone with it on this trip. Seas were four to six feet most days, and on our at-sea day, rose to ten ft swells. While we could feel the sway of the boat, it was never a problem. It was most noticeable in the Vista Dining Room and the Crows Nest. Our sea day was the roughest and we did the funny drunken dance down the halls at some times. We were gently rocked most nights, but not ever tossed about. Nothing ever spilled that I could see. I did see plenty of patches behind ears. I was concerned about the Norwalk virus, since you never know when it will pop up. I never saw anyone sick, or heard of anyone sick on the ship. Tip: There are plenty of hand-sanitizing stations around the ship (mostly outside dining rooms and elevators). Use them. Decks and Pools: One of the best things about Hal  this ship was spotless! The staff is constantly cleaning and we really loved that. Because of our Jacuzzi tub and our ports (we did the snorkel adventure), we did not use the pools. The grill at the pool smelled delicious but we never got around to trying it out. Something to look forward to next time. We didnt have to do the deck chair dance since we had such a lovely balcony, so I dont know if there were chair hogs or not. Not very many children were on this ship, although the cruise was sold out. I never even came across ClubHal except for the deserted playground at Half Moon Cay. You can take a great walk around the entire ship on the Promenade Deck. It gets windy after dark and the crew washes it down after sundown, so watch for slippery surfaces at times. There is a basketball court on the top deck, but we didnt see anyone using it. The pool roof was closed for our at-sea day and during the Key West port, since it was chilly. Other times it was open for sunbathing. Casino, entertainment and lounges: We spent lots of time in the casino (open whenever we were at sea) and we got to know the friendly staff (from Croatia, Hungary and Australia). The slots are really tight, so only play for fun  dont expect to get your money back unless you get terribly lucky, which my husband did (5,000 nickels doesnt go too far, though). They have four blackjack tables, a three card poker table, Let It Ride, a roulette wheel and a craps table. Only the BJ tables were crowded at times. The BJ tournament ($20) was popular. I only saw a few people in the slot tournament (also $20). They had nickel, quarter, dollar and a few five dollar slots. I won one $400 payout but didnt hit much else. There was plenty else to do. The sports bar had the football playoffs going the whole trip  nice, since USA news was scarce (CNN is the world version, not the US version). Other bars were almost deserted most of the time. The Piano Bar was hopping some nights, but the Explorers Lounge and Ocean Bar never seemed to have a crowd. Several had live entertainment. The Nightclub did have a large crowd for Karaoke, but we couldnt find a place to sit, so we left. We only saw the Illusionist Show in the Vista Lounge, but he was great. We missed the 10:30 show on the other nights. We played Snowball Bingo on the last night (for some reason, they didnt have a late show that night). Bingo is $20 per three game session and jackpots ($200 - $300) werent really big enough to warrant anything but the snowball game ($2600). They showed a movie in the Queens Lounge each day and served popcorn. They also show the movie on TV in your cabin. The Queens Lounge also held cooking demos and fun activities (photoshop class, game shows) but they were not well attended. I heard that the deck activities and the Crows Nest had a better crowd, but we didnt get up there after dinner. With only five nights, time flies. The photo gallery is crowded on the last night  try to find your photos during the day if you can. It isnt open all the time, so you have to check the daily program. We played Pictionary and Team Trivia on the at-sea day. Ports: Half Moon Cay was everything youve heard. Crystal water, white sand, pristine beaches. The BBQ was pretty good, although it was crowded. We rented a clamshell although we had debated about the cabana. I think we made the right choice for us, since we did an excursion, played in the non-existent surf, and made sand castles. The water is unbelievably clear and turquoise colored. There is no coral but some fish. Take some bread into the water and they find you immediately. The cabanas near us got surrounded by lounge chairs and didnt have any privacy (the ones farther down the beach probably fared better). They did look wonderful, though, and if you had a larger party with the food and the butler, Im sure they are worth it. We did the horseback riding (Ok, but I wouldnt recommend it  the horses are pony-ride trained for the trail ride and the ocean ride was a wild free-for-all that scared even me  and I spent 20 years on horseback). Im sure it is different some days and for some people  hubby liked it and he is a novice rider. We rode at 11am, so maybe the horses are better on the early ride. We had been to Nassau before, so we didnt need to tour the island. We chose the Snorkel Adventure. HAL booked way too many people (40) onto this tour for one boat. We took a shuttle bus to Stuarts Cove (45 minute ride). We piled onto the boat and went to three sites (a large reef with some fish, a plane wreck and the shark swim. The water was chilly but the day was nice. Our crew was friendly and seemed to enjoy their job. Only the shark swim really stood out as memorable. They dropped a box of fish to the bottom and you swam out on a line as the sharks fed below you. Most people climbed right back into the boat when the sharks appeared! They were 4  7 ft sharks, so I cant blame them. After everyone got back to the boat, the crew fed the sharks from the back of the boat and we really got a scary show. That was the best part, being 3 feet from a feeding frenzy. That night, we went for dinner at Atlantis. Weve stayed there before and it is one of our favorite places, so it was nice to visit for awhile. The Bahamian people are so wonderful and beautiful  it is amazing to see them each time we go. You can tour the hotel lobby, casino and shops at Atlantis free of charge. Tip: If you go during the day, you can see the beautiful grounds from the windows, but you cant get to the aquarium dig or the water park portion without a room key. Key West was chilly, so we just did a short tour and ate lunch at the Hogs Breath Saloon. We visited the Aquarium($10) but it isnt worth the money. I did enjoy a large Dr. Pepper in Key West, which was a treat after the tiny Cokes on board. For some reason, we docked at Navy Pier instead of the pier near downtown, so we got a nice trolley tour of the town both ways. Tip: a great photo shot is the zero mile marker of Highway 1 on the main street downtown. Well  Ive written an entire book and just scraped the surface. While I noted some things that were mildly annoying, this cruise experience was absolutely fabulous and we would highly recommend it to everyone. On our next cruise, well be sure to book at least seven days so we can take advantage of everything the ship has to offer. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
Hi. Just returned from 4 night Bahamas cruise aboard Zuiderdam and here are my thoughts and opinions: Pre-stay and Embarkation: Flew down from Pittsburgh on Friday 1/28 on USA 3000. Nice trip and even had free tv shows, music and ... Read More
Hi. Just returned from 4 night Bahamas cruise aboard Zuiderdam and here are my thoughts and opinions: Pre-stay and Embarkation: Flew down from Pittsburgh on Friday 1/28 on USA 3000. Nice trip and even had free tv shows, music and lunch(sandwich/cookie/chips/whole can of pop). Stayed at Sheraton FLL Airport. Booked thru Priceline for winning bid of $50 and well worth the price. Had the Sweet Sleeper beds. Nice place for a pre-stay night but wouldn't book for a vacation since not near anything. Took a taxi to the pier which cost $11.50 before tip. Went to embarkation at 11:15 am and on ship within a half hour. Was originally booked in VA #6003 and was pleasantly surprised at check in to find out was upgraded to SS#5001. Took picture and away we go!!!!! First Thoughts and Cabin: Biggest newest ship we have ever been on and only have Carnival to compare to. Color scheme very similar to Carnival but in a more upscale way. Lots of teak wood and extra special touches like fresh flowers and artwork. Was surprised that there really wasn't an atrium and the seahorse crystal not given justice. Husband couldn't believe how tight the ship felt at first. Hallways very skinny and ceilings are low leaving you with a claustrophobic feeling. Also not too many windows in public walkways. I am happy to report that by second day the closed-in feeling was gone and you didn't even notice. I also didn't like that you had to walk through the casino to get to the Vista Lounge and walk through the Spa to get to the Lido. Felt too much like in your face advertising. Did end up finding other ways around eventually. Cabin was HUGE!!!! There was plenty of drawer space and three cupboards. The bathroom had whirlpool tub and free standing shower. Medicine cabinet was ample sized and utilized easily, liked that it had bars so items could not fall out. There were 2 telephones, a TV and a DVD player. Like that doorways were wide with no step over due to being a handicapped cabin. We are not in need of this service but choose 6003 due to floor plan looking larger than other cabins in this category and it is true -- they are. We were bumped to SS but still a handicapped cabin in very front of ship. This was a great location in that you had floor to ceiling window and door and a second window which overlooked front of ship. There was a deck right outside our window so it felt like you had this huge balcony!! Only drawback to this cabin was that it sat over anchor so you knew when you stopped, but we didn't mind. Also, would have been better to book even numbered side of ship because this faced ports instead of nothing. Our cabin did contain magnifying mirror and vanity, fruit bowl, robes and silver plated ice bucket but did not have upgraded bed or bedding yet. All in all a great room and great accommodations!!! Would book again in a heartbeat Food and Service: Everything was very nicely presented and very good in my opinion. Ate at the Pinnacle on the first night and it was excellent. Only $10 pp and dress was causal even though most dressed more like business casual. Top notch food and service. Husband had clam chowder, 20 oz porterhouse and volcano cake while I had cedarplank halibut and berry shortcake. Vista dining room was very elegant and food very good. Waitstaff was wonderful. Had 3rd floor 8 p.m. seating at table 82 which was a two-top right along the railing by the stairs. had no movement or vibrations. Only item wasn't too crazy about was the surf and turf. The steak was chewy and lobster tail small and watery. Loved everything else, especially baked potato soup, mushroom ravioli, raspberry sherbert and cheesecake sampler. All salads were good, too. Service excellent!!! Always had breakfast delivered to room and ate on balcony. Had nice assortment to choose from and served on same china as Vista. Came on time as did any time ordered room service. Lido had a lot of choices and always found something easily to eat. Only time that was bad was first on board and everyone there at same time. Could not find a table because most just sitting waiting for room to be done. A lot of people ate with plates in lap by the pool. Yes, there were liqueurs for the ice cream and Hunky Dory was there too!!!! Overall service was incredible. Lots of smiling faces and thank-yous to go around. Everyone seemed to really go out of there way to make you feel special. Lots of joking around and singing to be heard. Entertainment: This is where I would say Holland is lacking. Yes you could always find something to do but your only real choices were drink, spa, gamble, art auction, bingo, drink, shop, drink, show and an occasional other activity. I don't drink very much and didn't use the spa. Never made it to the art auction. Played bingo once. Shopped a little. Gambled some but didn't have any luck. The magician was incredible! DO NOT MISS HIS SHOW!!! Julie Barr the comic act sucked. not funny at all. Her X-rated show was kids playground humor (called her private area her sweet spot), MISS HER SHOW!!! The showtime live acts were good. They did a summertime musical and last show was a Broadway showtune with glamorous Bob Mackie costumes. This is a good cruise to take if you want laid back activities and minimal choices. We always found things to do but not always plentiful choices. Biggest complaint was that Windstar, where they sell specialty coffees closed at 9 p.m. each evening. Not a great way to get late night or after dinner coffees. Was disappointed. Ports: Key West was nice. Very party-like and alive. Walked all of Front Street, down Duval and up Whitehouse? Shopped and saw a lot. Was pretty cool that there was an arts festival going on in town with lots of local artists selling their arts. Way cool! Nassau was kinda scary. We were there 2 years ago and can't believe how much it changed. Now there is this "compound" you have to pass through to get into town with armed guards wearing fatigues. Streets in town much more hectic and busy with cars whizzing around with out a care for pedestrians. We are stopping there again in August on Disney Wonder with kids but don't think will get off the boat. First time I ever felt that I could easily be in some kind of danger in a port. When we went last time we walked all over town, even up to fort and Queen Anne's Staircase and took public bus to Radisson Cable Beach. And took a taxi at night to Atlantis. This time I couldn't wait to get back on ship. There was a definite air of desperation with the public, from hurricane devastation maybe? and a definite crackdown by military or police. Did not like this port. Half Moon Cay: As everyone says HEAVEN!!!!! We rented clamshell, thank-god or would have fried more than did. Water is sapphire blue and transparent. Sand is like baby powder. Could easily have stayed here for whole cruise. We did horseback riding excursion which I would highly recommend. Take truck out to stable and trainers pick you a horse you ride around in ring until everyone has a horse and then you start on hike down beach and up and down hillsides. You come back to stables for a can of pop or bottle of water and horse is changed from saddle to a mat. You then ride into ocean and water is waist high. Horse gallops and swims and then you return to beach. Was the most incredible thing I ever did. I have never ridden a horse before and was scared but in a complete giddy way. Going into ocean on horseback was breathtaking. Only bad part was that husband dismounted from horse badly and tore knee muscles. Had to push him around in wheelchair for remainder of cruise. Be very careful dismounting and don't think you are too manly to have trainers to help you off horse. These are big beautiful Jamaican horses. Went to BBQ on island. Standard fare like hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, salads and desserts. Disembarkation: EASY EASY EASY. All in all would rate this as one of the best cruises I ever took. Would go on Holland again in a heartbeat. Might be a little sedate for children but not too much. Would take my kids if itinerary right. Club Hal looked small and not sure what kids activities were like. Age mix on this cruise was varied from 20/30 all the way to 80s. Best thing we brought was lanyards for room key cards that we hole punched at front office and wore around our necks for duration of cruise. Made purchasing and getting on/off ship a breeze. And we never lost or misplaced key. Would also suggest bring spare suitcase for purchases and alcohol or YOU WILL EXCEED WEIGHT LIMITS FOR AIRLINE LUGGAGE. Please ask any questions you may have and thanks for all your help!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Early Boarding: We arrived at Port Everglades at 11:15 a.m. There was already a very long line of people waiting for the boarding process to begin. Boarding started promptly at 11:30. HAL is very organized with the process and we were on ... Read More
Early Boarding: We arrived at Port Everglades at 11:15 a.m. There was already a very long line of people waiting for the boarding process to begin. Boarding started promptly at 11:30. HAL is very organized with the process and we were on the ship in about 45 minutes. Dining: We found the Lido Buffet to have very adequate food choices for both breakfast and lunch. The Lido had plenty of staff on hand to clean tables, take/carry food trays and we found the Lido staff to be very friendly. The main dining room had many food choices and the wait staff would gladly substitute items upon request. We found the food to be very good. Entertainment: The two crew shows were excellently done. An illusionist was on board during this itinerary and he had an excellent show that I highly recommend. The comedian, Julie Barr, was entertaining although she let the crowd get the comedy routine off a bit. With mostly port days, there were not a lot of other activities planned during the day. I went for two of the scheduled games and was one of only a few that showed up. Half Moon Cay: This is a beautiful island and an excellent port of call. A little word of advice -- get on the beach ASAP and find a lounge chair. When two ships are in port, the chairs can become quite limited and are a sought after commodity. Decor: The ship is very pretty inside and not as ugly as some people have suggested. Some of the colors are bold, but they work well in the ship. I love that the promenade went all the way around the ship. Disembarkation: Again, HAL is very organized. Luggage is set out the night before and you are called to the gangway based on your assigned luggage tickets. We were off the ship and at the airport in less than an hour after the process began. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Overall, a brief, but very good trip. The ship was wonderful, on a rather short itinerary. The trip got off to a good start. we learned were upgraded from an obstructed standard stateroom to one on the Verandah deck with a balcony before ... Read More
Overall, a brief, but very good trip. The ship was wonderful, on a rather short itinerary. The trip got off to a good start. we learned were upgraded from an obstructed standard stateroom to one on the Verandah deck with a balcony before we left for the ship. The trip from Ft. Lauderdale airport to the airport was less than $10 by cab- don't bother with Holland's transfers, they're not worth it. The airport itself was somewhat chaotic, with a bit of a wait for a cab. Embarkation was great- we'd done as much of the preboarding as we could over the internet, and it really helped. There were two lines- internet and others. We were able to board the ship and were having lunch by 1130am. The cabin was great- the bathroom even had a tub! We found the room quite spacious, and enjoyed it for the duration of the trip. We had meals in the main dining room and the Lido deck. All the food was enjoyable; the portions seemed smaller than on some other cruise lines (Carnival) but of high quality (on par with Celebrity). At random intervals, they ran out of chocolate ice cream on the Lido deck! Very high marks overall. We only sampled one stage show- it was okay, but nothing extraordinary. The ship was quite impressive overall. Immaculately clean, well appointed, and it even LOOKED like a ship, if you know what I mean. The clientele was mixed in age- we'd been expecting an older crowd. However, we found quite a few young families, so the atmosphere was very pleasant. The cruise went to Half Moon Cay, Nassau, Key West, then back to Fort Lauderdale. We didn't book any activities through the ship, but "did our own thing". Unlike some ships, it wasn't possible to view our account in our cabin, but there were no billing difficulties. Half Moon Cay was lovely- the beach was well maintained, the water gorgeous, good amenities. We were disappointed that Holland charged for any kind of activity, including the use of SHADE!!! Our analogy would be to compare this to a beachfront resort, where we feel it would only be reasonable for the guests to be use non-motorized watersports, etc, without having to pay. Nassau was, well, Nassau. Interesting to walk around and sample the activities. Similarly, Key West was also enjoyable. We were shuttled from the dock into town. We took the "Trolley Tour" and found it a good overview of the island. Disembarkation was also well organized and trouble-free. We chose to request breakfast in our cabin the last day, to avoid having to compete for space in the dining room or on the Lido deck. We had been hesitant to travel with Holland, first because it was owned by Carnival (and we'd expected cheapening of the brand) and secondly because of the passenger demographics. We were very pleasantly surprised- with the exception of charges in Half Moon Cay, there was no "nickel and diming" of the guests, and the mix of people on the ship made for a lively and enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
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