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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was a trip to a bucket list area of the world, and the Nieuw Statendam did not disappoint. The staff were courteous, friendly and obliging (thank you Iman and Izee and others in the main dining room, and stewards Petrus and Joko ... Read More
This was a trip to a bucket list area of the world, and the Nieuw Statendam did not disappoint. The staff were courteous, friendly and obliging (thank you Iman and Izee and others in the main dining room, and stewards Petrus and Joko who made everything work so smoothly for us and for whom nothing was ever too much trouble). I'll not repeat here the many positive comments made by other reviewers, save to say that I am in agreement with most of them. The food was excellent with sufficient variety, and the public areas were amazing. The only thing I would add some constructive criticism about is the level of on board entertainment provided. The musicians were talented, and from what I observed there was a "BB King" group, a classical music group, a rock and roll music group and a couple of pianists who played and sang together. There was also a small support orchestra for the theatre acts. I don't go to theatre performances at home, and avoid them on TV, so I am not in a position to offer any critique. The dancers could have included Michael Flatley and I still wouldn't have bothered attending. Chacun a son gout, but at least they were not the same entertainers every night. The other venues were a different story. Same players, same venue, same music style, same time, Every night, The day time daily activity program needn't have been published. It was invariably a rehash of the day before, and a copy could just as conveniently have been permanently affixed in each cabin. And some (most) of the "activities" being advertised? Friends of Bill W meet. Evening Mass (each evening). Mahjong players meet. Ping Pong players meet. Basketball players meet. Shuffleboard players meet. Bridge players meet. Pickleball players meet (yes, really). Shops are open with amazing deals (yeah right, I cruise to shop). There must have been a lot of deeply religious, card and board game playing sports fanatics on this cruise, although funnily enough I never came across any actual tournaments being conducted. Trivia was also there, And, apart from the bars, (and perhaps the casino for those so inclined) you would be hard pressed to find any other activity with general appeal. Seriously,I appreciate the age demographic of the HAL pool, and the fact that there were few sea days on this particular cruise, but I did expect a little more creativity. The ports of call were wonderful. If the ship excursions on offer matched those I privately arranged (and I believe they did) they would have been very much enjoyed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this crew because of the itinerary and we wanted to try Holland America.. Embarkation (Amsterdam) was the best of any cruise we have been on (4 previous cruises). Disembarkation (also Amsterdam) was also the better than any of ... Read More
We chose this crew because of the itinerary and we wanted to try Holland America.. Embarkation (Amsterdam) was the best of any cruise we have been on (4 previous cruises). Disembarkation (also Amsterdam) was also the better than any of our previous cruises. Ship is big, new, and beautiful... Great layout and we never felt too crowded. Cabin was spacious with good amount of storage for suitcases and ample closet space. I would say dining was above average but we did not dine at any of the specialty restaurants. We "tried" to attend a few of the shows but never stayed for the duration they were just too boring. Service was outstanding throughout the ship for the duration. Ports were all good but we did not book any excursions through HAL as they were too expensive. We booked through a third party for much less and they were basically the same tours. Shops were somewhat limited but all the staff were friendly. Casino was sufficient (also a great staff) but I would have liked for them to have a Texas hold'em table. Overall a good cruise and we would probably give HAL another try possibly Antarctica. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Retired active senior couple desires to leave sunny, humid Florida Summer for two weeks. Have sailed several times on Holland America. This ship and its sister ship Nieu Kolingdon (which we sailed on last December) are HAL newest. About ... Read More
Retired active senior couple desires to leave sunny, humid Florida Summer for two weeks. Have sailed several times on Holland America. This ship and its sister ship Nieu Kolingdon (which we sailed on last December) are HAL newest. About 2,600 passengers...larger than the rest of their fleet. The food, the service and the ships themselves are 5 star. The main shows in the evenings in the main large theater are soso which can be expected on a ship this size. This cruise was about 60% Scandinavian, 30% US/English and 10% Asian with not many children. Vista Suite (4110) was on deck 4 midship and was small but had great storage and a first class cabin attendant. We ate in 2 specialty restaurants ($35pp) (Pinnacle-steak and Calenture-Italian) and came to the conclusion that the food in the main dining room was as good if not better. The made to order pizza and ceasar salads in the New York Deli for lunch are terrific. The highlight for us were the daily classical concerts in the Lincoln Center which consisted of a talented ensemble of piano, cello, base and 2 violins. They also had a blues band in the BBK Room and a R & R band in the Rolling Stone Room which were OK. A hint on the drinks. Different bars have different Happy Hour times which gives you a cocktail at regular price and a second for $2.00 more. Another nice thing about HAL is that you can buy a 5th of vodka or others for about $40 bucks for your cabin which lets you have a nip on the veranda before the evening festivities. Excursions: Bergen was the best. The other tours were soso. I guess after you see a few fiords and cute little colored cottages it becomes redundant. The truth be known,,,,our numerous national parks in the good old USA are the truly spectacular sights! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Not everything about this cruise was abjectly awful. The food and service in Pinnacle Grill was good. Annette, who led the America's Test Kitchen demos, was very good. The itinerary was fairly rare. But a lot of stuff went wrong. ... Read More
Not everything about this cruise was abjectly awful. The food and service in Pinnacle Grill was good. Annette, who led the America's Test Kitchen demos, was very good. The itinerary was fairly rare. But a lot of stuff went wrong. Aside from Pinnacle Grill, the food was fit for a King. As in "Here King! Here boy! Good boy!" Food is subjective but food temperature and consistency are not. And they couldn't get the basics right on temperature and consistency. In eight dining room appearances, my wife never got what she ordered on the first try once. The Lanai room was clean, but the good points stopped there. The Lanai door did not work and was propped open or closed with wood. We could not control the stateroom temperature. This could not be fixed. The toilet clogged frequently. Passenger internet was knocked out for a week in/around Spitsbergen. Some internet worked of course, as the daily mini-newspapers kept appearing, just not for pax. A $50 credit was belatedly offered...a decent deal for those who bought the cheaper packages, but cold comfort to those who bought the more expensive/multi-device ones. The itinerary was clumsy, with too little time in too many ports. Putting Heimaey on the list of ports was ridiculous: at the best of times, the ship cannot approach the shallow harbour so it's a 35-minute tender ride to shore. These were not the best of times: It was not safe to put the tenders out so we skipped it, burning a day we could have been elsewhere. This was supposed to be an EXC cruise and after reading about the biologists and geologists brought on for the Southerly cruises we expected a treat. Instead our "expert" was a drowsy Aussie who had never been to this part of the world. His "expertise" was reading us Wikipedia. Easy enough to skip his talks, but his mumblings were blared on the outside decks, likely scaring away what little wildlife there was. They ran out of 2/3 of the wines in our package (Cellar #2). Servers eager/kind but hopelessly overworked The thermal package bought pre cruise was a grimy hot tub, grimy sauna, and six heated loungers. Layout unsuitable for this wheelchair user. Guest Services to their credit cheerfully gave Day 1 refund. We would only travel HAL again if, factoring in price, it was still a good deal after factoring in the $39pp it costs to eat in Pinnacle Grill nightly in a full balcony with working balcony door. The auto-itinerary says we were on a 34 day cruise but it was 20 days only, disembarking Aug 4. Mostly Spitsbergen and Iceland, with a stop in Norway Proper and Scotland bookending. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because of its unique itinerary which went to Svalbard and then south to Iceland. We booked the original cruise which was to be on the Prinsendam, but this was changed to the Rotterdam. We were therefore on a cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its unique itinerary which went to Svalbard and then south to Iceland. We booked the original cruise which was to be on the Prinsendam, but this was changed to the Rotterdam. We were therefore on a cruise that was designed for a smaller ship and I think that detracted from the experience as we did not seem to get as close to the glaciers and polar ice cap as the smaller ship would. As a result we saw very little wildlife compared to the same cruise in previous years. The crew were good and the outside cabin was roomy, But I may as well have had an inside cabin because the windows were really dirty. In fact, for a cruise that 'featured' so much scenic cruising the windows were disgustingly dirty - particularly in the main dining room and lounge areas. At least some attention there would make it look like someone cared. The food in the MDR was good to very good and the wait staff were very attentive and helpful. We ate at one of the speciality restaurants and whilst this was very good, would not be value for money other than for the occasional treat. The entertainment was very hit and miss. Enjoyed the female singer and the modern dance troupe, but the rest of it was just strange. An Australian singer/guitarist playing old American country music in a fake American accent was weird. Post Modern Jukebox band and singers were great, but some modern music is really good and shouldn't be retro'd into big band music. The holographic dancer and video segways to the franchise owner made it just look cheap. The entertainment timing was also odd. The movies clashed with the stage shows and it was really difficult to get to dinner, movie and show in one night. The day time entertainment usually consisted of someone trying to sell you something. A matinee movie would have been great. And talking of movies - they were repeating them on a 20 day cruise! Again, very cheap. Would have thought they may have packed some more. The American Test Kitchen was great. Annette was an excellent presenter and I really enjoyed her sessions. We paid a lot of money for this cruise because we booked early to get a place on this unique itinerary on a small ship. It was therefore a bit galling to hear about how cheaply this cruise was discounted after the change of ship. I feel pretty ripped off that having paid this money we still couldn't look out a clean window. This was our first cruise on HAL. Can't imagine coming back to it unless things improve. The feature was the itinerary, but the ship just met (average) expectations. It was OK but certainly no wow factor, and not enough to make me recommend it to my friends. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this cruise to go to Svalbard, pure and simple. Was not disappointed. Been to Iceland a couple of times before but still found things to see. Ship board life was fine by me. Did a few shore excursions organized by Holland, all OK ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go to Svalbard, pure and simple. Was not disappointed. Been to Iceland a couple of times before but still found things to see. Ship board life was fine by me. Did a few shore excursions organized by Holland, all OK but a tad expensive I thought. I deliberately sail on smaller ships where I can and Rotterdam is about as large as I want to go. Still had a feeling of smallness about it, and able to meet others passengers several times, creating a more intimate feel. My biggest upset, while not Hollands fault but something I will try and check on in any future sailings, was the arrival of a behemoth carrying 4500 passengers in the same small ports as us. 3 times. Imagine our 1400 passengers and 4500 off the other ship arriving in a port with a population of about 2000 people. Most unpleasant for me who lives in a small town with a total population less than the mob on the Preziosa. I like to feel a ship move and it took a storm with wild seas to make this happen. It appears a very stable ship. Cant have been too bad as we have just booked a cruise on a sister ship, this time to go to the bottom of the world. The review here by cancruise2 indicates to me he/she would be better of staying at home. One small complaint. I paid extra to have an ocean view. It is pointless to do this if you cant see through the dirty window. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first cruise ever and we didn’t quite know what to expect. We chose it because we wanted to reach beyond the Arctic Circle and into the Midnight Sun, and had a limited time availability. We stayed into a Neptune Suite - ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and we didn’t quite know what to expect. We chose it because we wanted to reach beyond the Arctic Circle and into the Midnight Sun, and had a limited time availability. We stayed into a Neptune Suite - Mozart deck, Aft corner. We absolutely loved the suite. Top of the line, modern and elegant dual sink bath with oversized shower, all in travertine. Ultra large screen TV, and lovely wrap around balcony. King bed was best ever. The personnel was without reproche. All were just trying to go beyond the call of duty. We went to the restaurants - Tamarind was our favorite, with the Mango Posset desert being a killer. Rudy’s is also very good. Great atmosphere. Sophisticated food. The Orange Club was a very convenient way to have a more intimate environment for dining, and Neptune Lounge handy and well stuffed. The World State venue is just extraordinary. Music program onboard video was diverse and we could find our preferred tunes with Hyperion Knight piano, Dual piano performance, blues and rock bands. Shore trips - did do the job. We enjoyed them and used them to the fullest. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
The cruise was chosen because of the itinerary. This was our third Holland America Cruise. It was a Baltic Sea cruise with an itinerary that included 9-10 ports in 7 countries in 14 days. We didn't believe the food in the ... Read More
The cruise was chosen because of the itinerary. This was our third Holland America Cruise. It was a Baltic Sea cruise with an itinerary that included 9-10 ports in 7 countries in 14 days. We didn't believe the food in the Pinnacle Grill (with an upcharge of $39 per person) was any better than the food in the main dining room (where there was generally a better selection, too). The entertainment in the main show room was okay, some evenings better than other. None of it was spectacular. The comedian was fresh and funny. Entertainment at the piano bar was okay. The pianist had a good repertoire and played well, but didn't have a voice to match. I have more comments in the cabin review. Ports seemed to be well chosen and excursions were generally good. We had an issue in St. Petersburg, Russia, where arrangements to visit the Hermitage were not well handled. After waiting for an hour to gain entrance, and about time for the museum to close, the tour operator rushed us through a single exhibit (spent maybe 20 minutes) rather than canceling and refunding. Traffic conditions that day were atrocious, and we were delivered back to the ship an hour after it should have sailed. Fortunately, since the excursion was sold by the cruise line, the ship waited for us. We all received an apology from HAL and a 25% rebate on the cost of the excursion. We took an optional excursion via bullet train to Moscow from St. Petersburg (offered by HAL), and believe it was an exceptional experience that anyone with an opportunity should try. Spent a day in Red Square and the Kremlin. The ride was itself a neat experience. The only poor experience we had on any other excursion was a weather-related disaster in Arhus, Denmark, where we thought it would be neat to attend a July 4 celebration. The weather that day was cold and wet and windy. Since most will not have an opportunity to be in Arhus, Denmark, on July 4, it is not likely that this note will matter to many of who read it. We returned to Denmark about a week later (Copenhagen), and the weather and the excursion (mostly in Tivoli Gardens) was wonderful. We thought the best part of the time in Stockholm was actually on the ship as we sailed past great vistas of large and small islands, some with a single home, some with several, some with none. Where there was a home, there was a boat that was necessary to get off the island. We spent a some time in the old town of Talinn in Estonia. Old town means really old. There is a pharmacy that is and claims to have been in business since 1492. Yes, 1492. These are some of the highlights. With as many as two excursions each day and 10 ports, it is impossible to review all of them, but I will be happy to answer any questions directed my way. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose the Zuiderdam for the Baltic cruise because we wanted an itinerary that had us in St Petersburg for two days since we wanted to more fully explore that port. We also wanted a smallish ship because we don’t want to contend with ... Read More
We chose the Zuiderdam for the Baltic cruise because we wanted an itinerary that had us in St Petersburg for two days since we wanted to more fully explore that port. We also wanted a smallish ship because we don’t want to contend with the number of people on the large ships and some of the small ships get too pricey. We chose wisely. We had an amazingly experience and among our group of 6 with mixed levels of cruising experiences we all agreed we would do it again. My husband and I got off and most ports and did things on our own with the exceptions of St Petersburg and Warnemünde where we had lined up tours with TJ Travel and Harry’s Taxi respectively for our group of six. Both tours were tremendous and well worth their price which was way less than the ship. In Stockholm my husband and I got a cab so we could start at the Vasa Museum and walk back. One couple did the Hop on Hop at some ports and the Easy Excursions from the ship at other ports except Tallinn which is an easy enough walk around for them. Our remaining twosome used a combo of HOHO and just walking off the ship at the other ports. We needed a cab in Tallinn for our couple with limited walking abilities. Tallinn has a HOHO but you cannot get into old town. This same couple used wheelchairs in St Petersburg provided by TJ Travel. We were confused the first couple days by the dining but got it sorted out. The flyer we receive each evening in our cabin indicated that it was open seating (or some similar term). We thought that meant our scheduled dining time was not being honored and instead we should go anytime. Well good news is that you can go at your scheduled time OR anytime. I like this feature a lot but it was a little confusing. We did want to go at the same time and have the same servers so we figured it out on day 2 and we did that going forward. The food was always amazing and varied. The only exception was embarcation day but I bet that is a crazy day for the kitchen. Great experience had by all! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
HAL delivered again with a very nice cruise, great food, super service, friendly staff and gracious public spaces. Great room on Dolphin deck with hardly and rock and roll and a big room with window (1903).Not a fan of the tv/dvd ... Read More
HAL delivered again with a very nice cruise, great food, super service, friendly staff and gracious public spaces. Great room on Dolphin deck with hardly and rock and roll and a big room with window (1903).Not a fan of the tv/dvd combo...hopefully they will upgrade that. Elevators around the corner zip up to Lido and MDR. Food was excellent. Banana bread French toast was a fav in MDR for breakfast. Creme Brûlée, prime rib, French onion soup, any dessert all good. Pork roast was like Sunday dinner as a kid. Liked the trivia games and the happy hour in the Crows Nest. Lincoln centre stage was excellent. Gift shop was so-so... to many high end things and low end was gaudy. Embarkation and disembarkation was the smoothest I have experienced. The staff were the real stand outs. Always friendly , helpful, smiling and keeping things clean. They work so hard! Great ports mix of large and small. 24 hour sun was something to see! Did not do any shore excursions with HAL(to expensive)all were booked ahead of time online. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
ITINERARY is the reason to pick Holland America Line. However, we both came home sneezing and coughing because of the airco in the cabin that is placed right over the bed and cannot be shut off. This was also the case two years ago ... Read More
ITINERARY is the reason to pick Holland America Line. However, we both came home sneezing and coughing because of the airco in the cabin that is placed right over the bed and cannot be shut off. This was also the case two years ago when we also sailed with Zuiderdam but we figured this major problem would have been solved after the ship had been refurbished. But NO. We were certainly not the only people complaining about this problem and I would never book such a ship again. Service, food choice had also declined in two years. The menu was cut down, no more surf and turf, or baked Alaska. I do not mind paying for lobster ($20) but the quality was poor, lobster was small, hard and tasteless. Other dishes failed to impress as was the case earlier. Now the service has always been excellent, but also here they started dropping the ball, almost constantly. Three times our wine got lost and most dinner they were unable to serve us wine with first course, which is really a shame. Also on deck nine staff sometimes unfriendly, and hardly willing to serve. A great let down! We are going again with HAL in September on Koningsdam and on New Statendam service was better and the airco could be shut off, we always take veranda cabin to get in fresh air. Cabin staff was fine and we like the older look of Zuiderdam too but they really must get their act together and stop counting pennies. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I'd have given this cruise an overall raging of 5 were it not for HAL cheating out on food, service and entertainment. Food was almost always JUST warm. No flavour and boring, I brought my own garlic powder is that's an ... Read More
I'd have given this cruise an overall raging of 5 were it not for HAL cheating out on food, service and entertainment. Food was almost always JUST warm. No flavour and boring, I brought my own garlic powder is that's an indication. Wine staff are ill equipped to offer any advice and are mostly bored with the job. We usually like to attend the Sip and Savour but after one, we stayed away because the so called sommelier had no real interest. She just went through the motions. I had to send back the escargot because they were actually over cooked. The dining room service is not very good. I think HAL reduced, again, the number of people working the dining room. Entertainment was largely just above the Busker level. Two very good dance performances by the group One Step. The five piece string and piano recitals in the Lincoln centre were quite good but other than that, entertainment was third class. The Lido for breakfasts and lunches was HAL's standard level of quality but the guy at the eggs station needs an attitude adjustment. The Drive In's food is just terrible ...... except for the fries. They are tolerable. Can't comment on HAL's tours because we don't take them. Waaaaaaay over priced. The ship was clean and our cabin attendants were very efficient. Our captain made entertaining and informative announcements. It was a good cruise but had the above been better, it would have rated as excellent. We tend to use the gym on sea day. Why were there no individual TV monitors on the cardio machines. Instead we had to watch CNN, FOX or BBC.....silently. Another thing. There are an awful lot of Canadians onboard. Why not offer the CBC Newsnetwork.....far better coverage. We finally attained that 4 Star Mariner status and enjoyed all that free laundry and discounted wine packages. Hopefully that does not change. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
The Northern Isles cruise was a great 14 day tour of Nordic country and history in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Shetland Island and Scotland. The cruise had 5 full days in Iceland, longer than most tours. My husband and I went early to tour ... Read More
The Northern Isles cruise was a great 14 day tour of Nordic country and history in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Shetland Island and Scotland. The cruise had 5 full days in Iceland, longer than most tours. My husband and I went early to tour Copenhagen/Sweden. Copenhagen has so many wonderful things to see you could easily spend 5 days just in that site alone. We took a fjord cruise and shopped in Bergen. We went on the troop wall tour in Ålesund, highly recommend. We booked a private tour to reduce the price. Seydisfjordur was a lovely town with colorful buildings. We took a tour to the interior part of Iceland’s Eastland. Next came Akureyri with the huge Godafoss waterfall and the really interesting Laufas Museum of a Church and preserved sod house. In Isafjordur, we took a tour with a local to Flateyri with a waterfall and the most amazing views of lupine flowers all over the county side and hillsides. The guide has rested eider down for the over 10000 ducks on his land. Then there were 2 days in Reykjavík with an Super Golden Circle tour and a city tour with the historic open air museum the next day. Lerwick and the Shetland Island was amazing, taking a small bus tour with a local, seeing the southern part of the island with amazing views, the Croft House museum, Scalloway museum with 5000 year old ruins and Sumburgh Head with Lighthouse and Puffin lined cliffs. Last stop was Inverggordon/Inverness, Scotland with a tour of Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns and Inverness shopping. Many’s memories, any pictures. A cold was going around the ship and we both picked it up, luckily near the end of the cruise. The on ship experience was very peaceful. They had great EXC tour specialist that gave information. The shows did vary, some were not as interesting. They did have three large music venues to attend, we found we enjoyed some of the music days better, especially the five piece Ensemble at the Lincoln center room. The in room dining with always great with fresh food and came quickly. The main dining room, the food was very good and non-gala nights. The Lido market had a variety of food that was just fine. We ate once at the Pinnacle Grill, you can eat lunch there for only $10. This was a really good restaurant. I recommend purchasing the unlimited laundry, you can bring less clothing. We purchased drink cards of $250 rather than a higher price drink package. At the end of the cruise the money left on the gift card was applied to your account. Embarking and disembarking went very easy. We took a morning tour with airport transfer to the airport on the last day. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
If your primary interest in cruising is to make short visits to a variety of sites without having to unpack or worry about checking in/out, arrange transport between cities, etc. , then the Nieuw Statendam is the ship for you. If you also ... Read More
If your primary interest in cruising is to make short visits to a variety of sites without having to unpack or worry about checking in/out, arrange transport between cities, etc. , then the Nieuw Statendam is the ship for you. If you also see cruising to foreign lands as an opportunity to learn through onboard lectures and enjoy yourself, then this is not the ship for you. We did a 14-day cruise to Norway that included five sea days. I anticipated having presentations by speakers who might discuss the local traditions, legends, politics, or other potential Nordic topics. Not so on this ship. The EXC guide presented memorized generic lectures with photos on each port and very few other topics. Most lectures were 30 - 40 minutes in length and usually covered two ports at a time. The EXC guide arrived and started promptly on time and as soon as she finished went into hiding in the crew spaces, i.e., no deviation from the script, no questions, etc. Other than the three music venues, HAL has done away with all entertainment other than a few guest artists (singers, comics, etc.). In the first seven days, we had a great opera singer who performed two evenings, one comedian who performed once, one adequate guitarist who performed once and one evening when the guitarist and comedian shared the stage. The first night, there was an EXC lecture and one night there was no entertainment, not even a movie in the mainstage. There were movies each evening poolside. We were fortunate to obtain a reasonably priced upgrade to a Neptune Suite which made the cruise much more comfortable. The room, although not as large as on older HAL ships was very well laid out with a great bathroom. There were at least six electrical outlets with North American 110 and USB jacks in each. The Neptune Lounge concierges, Paulo and Kirsten, provided great service when requested. Club Orange is HAL’s effort to catch up with the completion in providing a distinctive suite experience. It is a somewhat feeble attempt in that the menu is identical to the MDR with an additional item on some days. Our original excellent chef was moved to Sel de Mer near the end of the cruise and his loss was obvious to the tenor of the restaurant. Not only was he a wonderful and meticulous chef, he also took time to come out and talk with the clientele when time permitted. The new chef maintained a low profile. Service by the staff onboard was typical of HAL and other lines - excellent with a smiling and helpful team. Navigation officers must have been present since we travelled safely between ports, but were invisible, only to be seen when tendering. With the exception of the friendly and visible chief security officer, hotel officers remained behind the scenes unless they were hurriedly going from one place to another trying to avoid interaction with guests. Rust. I mention this since some reviewers believe it is an indication of ship condition. We noted rust in several places on our veranda and other locations, so those who don’t like rust should avoid this eight month old ship. To us, the ship was quite well maintained with many subtle front-facing and behind the scenes improvements from the Koningsdam on which we cruised eight months ago. We will likely return to HAL for a great itinerary, but can’t imagine any other reason. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I joined this HAL-branded cruise for 2 reasons. Firstly, to sightsee and enjoy the Norwegian Fjords and its culture. I am happy to achieve what I wish for and rated it a 9 out of 10. Secondly, the HAL experience onboard Nieuw Statendam ... Read More
I joined this HAL-branded cruise for 2 reasons. Firstly, to sightsee and enjoy the Norwegian Fjords and its culture. I am happy to achieve what I wish for and rated it a 9 out of 10. Secondly, the HAL experience onboard Nieuw Statendam (prior, I cruised with Zuiderdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Koningsdam). This is the worst programming/events I encountered. The quality of the World Stage performance was below par (apart from renowned pianist Zhang and One-Step light & dance performance). There were 2 nights without performance. I was disappointed that the ship didn't engaged any local Nowergian performer throughout the 14 nights. t) Sea day has 1 track event rather than 2, on most ship. As such, sea-day was boring and subdued. I would like more enrichment programs on sea day. Like painting appreciation, pottery making, knitting, play a simple norwegian musical instrument Lido Market food quality and quantity were excellent BUT lack variety. Serving the same food 14 days in a row. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because of where it was going. Have not ocean cruised for over 10 years. The ship is lovely & new. We thought the staff was great. The emphasis was on music and we enjoyed the Lincoln Center stage concerts so very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of where it was going. Have not ocean cruised for over 10 years. The ship is lovely & new. We thought the staff was great. The emphasis was on music and we enjoyed the Lincoln Center stage concerts so very much! The World Stage was a mixed bag for us. The acts varied from classical vocals, to comedy, to dance. For this stage I would have liked to see group scenes, comedians that work together. One guy is not to energetic. We did not attend all of those. BB King was terrific as well. Food.. we did not take advantage of the specialty restaurants. Another way tp pick our pockets. The Lido breakfasts were great! Lunches were fine too. The main dining room was very hit or miss. I was looking forward to fish but each of the 3 entrees I tried were not well prepared. My husband tried more and had some good results. The Norwegian salmon was the best. The servings of vegetables were very, very small. Sauces were tasteless and often smeared on plate for effect, not enough to enjoy. I had salmon with one asparagus spear! Often the potatoes were just 2 bites worth. Over all, choices were varied and so were the results. I had a couple pasta dishes that were terrific. The curry one night was superb. Excursions...so outrageously over priced that we didn’t even consider. Did a couple private ones that were great and much cheaper. The thermal spa was nice...we did spring for this, but felt like it was not worth the charge. Wine overpriced and why no local Norwegian craft beers not available? The port talks were fun, but honestly of little help. Neither were the port maps or info helpful at all. We came to see Norway and did...on our own. Hiked most of the time while off the boat. The fitness area was excellent and we took full advantage of this area. But really...$20 for spin class? The stretch classes looked too crowded so again, did our own thing. Over 50% of the passengers were Dutch, there were a lot of Chinese as well. Our assigned table mates were just awful so we went rogue and came in as our music scheduled allowed. Overall, the charges for drinks, excursions, WIFI, classes etc were too highpriced , but we enjoyed the music and the movies. The 5 sea days were lovely and relaxing. Each stop was interesting. We were blessed with many good days of weather. The laundry service was excellent and the embarkation as well as debarkation was well done. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise had an amazing itinerary--the wonders of the Norwegian fjords, charming little ports, the Arctic with its eerie light, and the fascinating little medieval stave church at Urnes. We loved all the sights, were very lucky with the ... Read More
This cruise had an amazing itinerary--the wonders of the Norwegian fjords, charming little ports, the Arctic with its eerie light, and the fascinating little medieval stave church at Urnes. We loved all the sights, were very lucky with the weather (just missing the weeks and weeks of rain), and enjoyed experiencing Holland America's newest ship. The Nieuw Statendam is stunning. We thought our Vista Suite cabin was the most thoughtfully-designed cabin ever (especially the easy walk-in glass shower), loved the glorious fresh flowers and the interesting art in the public spaces, and especially enjoyed the serene Retreat of the Explorations Lounge on Deck 12 where there was always excellent coffee (though not free), stylish coffee table books to browse, and a few shelves of briskly traded cruisers' fiction paperbacks. And definitely the most relaxing music on the ship. Only the garish decoration of the main dining room seemed out of place (a kind of interior design fail of a bold burgundy and orangey-yellow modern carpet underneath lipstick red and metallic red ceiling fixtures. And for some reason truly terrible pop music. It's a loud place, both literally and metaphorically.). The Step One Dance Company's performance, which we'd already seen twice on the Eurodam, we loved all over again, but all the rest of the entertainment was C, not B, list. No one, however, probably chooses Holland America for the shows. It's the music venues that are the real entertainment--especially the lively BB King Blues Club band. Lots of dancers on this cruise: The Americans all danced as they did in high school, the Asians did ballroom dancing moves with dramatic arm and hand gestures, and the Dutch and the Norwegians took it all in with anthropological interest. :) The food in the dining room was always good and the presentations were lovely. The soups weren't as good as the soups I had admired so much on the Eurodam, perhaps, but oh my the salmon! Tamarind was the only supplemental charge restaurant we know to try--though after the astonishingly good Indonesian restaurants we'd sampled in Amsterdam, we were disappointed in the Tamarind's Indonesian night. Everywhere we ate, there was attentive and professional service, though the staff didn't make the effort to be friendly or to remember names in the way the staff on the Eurodam had done on our cruise to Hawaii in February. There didn't really seem to be much of a sense of esprit de corps among the staff, perhaps because the Captain seemed humorless and even a little dour--or maybe the ship is just too new to have developed a sense of community yet. The one thing that I always winced at was the tendency of the wait staff to announce that it was "Yummy, Yummy Time!" when the dessert menu came around. Oh, please. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Holland America is going bigger and that means selling their small ship, the Prinsendam. This is our 5th trip and small ships are more rewarding for us. This is the most popular Holland America ship and there are no plans to replace her. ... Read More
Holland America is going bigger and that means selling their small ship, the Prinsendam. This is our 5th trip and small ships are more rewarding for us. This is the most popular Holland America ship and there are no plans to replace her. Competition from Viking Ocean Cruises and others will take many loyal travelers which is what we heard on board.We agree as we did Viking and their new ships are great. As usual our only issue with the cruise is that it costs extra for Wifi, water for shore trips, more for the specialty dining, more for wine and beer at lunch and dinner, etc The staff was excellent and couldn't do enough for us. The shore trips continue to be excellent. Our only complaint was that the shore excursion staff was not well informed about the ports and couldn't answer basic questions. They were put off when asked a sensible question. We did our homework before we went so we were well prepared. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most ... Read More
I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most recently from 2 June to 23 June the Norwegian fjords on the Nieuw Statendam. My purpose in this review is not to deal with every aspect of the cruise on NS, as most topics are well covered in the many reviews published since its launch. It suffices to say she is a beautiful ship, well designed in all respects (other than the closed in effect of the Promenade Deck), and is tastefully finished in its furnishing and art works. She is operated like a well- oiled machine. Her Officers and crew do an amazing job. Rather my purpose is to give my opinion on a few issues, with which some may disagree, but in relation to which, if there are enough others who agree, may give HAL cause to make some changes which I think could alter the experience of future passengers on the NS very much for the better. For me the problem with the NS does not lie in any way with the ship or its crew. The problem is with the passengers. Those we came in contact with were very nice people – it is just there were too many of them. In the first 7 day leg of the cruise they had not learned how to spread more evenly between the many venues. Everywhere seemed crowded. During the second 14 day leg passengers were definitely better distributed but it was still not easy to find a table in the Lido during peak periods (we were in a party of 4 which probably made it a little more difficult) and there were still queues waiting to be allocated tables in the Main Dining Room. We also found during both parts of the cruise that it was difficult to find a quiet place to play cards or just to relax and enjoy the quiet of ocean travel. The effect for me, compared to previous cruises on the Eurodam, Noordam and Volendam, was a sense that the somewhat illusory feeling of a degree of some exclusivity which HAL managed to create on those ships, had been lost. There are a few things which could be done to address some of these issues. Our observation was that the covered front pool area was much underutilized except during meal hours. The reason for this was noise. Documentaries were often shown on the large screen during various times of the day. Very few people seemed interested in them but everyone had to deal with the blaring sound which made conversation difficult. Other than meal times this large seating area was virtually deserted. At night when movies were shown there was often no more than 4 or 5 people watching. On previous cruises we would often sit in this area and just enjoy the world going by. I would suggest that the large screen and sound system not be used at all during the day. This will take pressure off other areas. Thought might be given to whether there is any benefit in showing films at night on cruises to colder areas or whether some better use could be made of the area. During the day we also experienced that talks were given in public lounge areas. On one occasion a talk was being given using a public address system which was so loud you could not hear yourself think in the adjoining lounge area. We and others got up and vacated the lounge. This could be easily avoided by ensuring any talks are conducted in isolated areas or closed rooms. Although we had an overall very enjoyable cruise I personally will be unlikely to cruise again on the NS or the Koningsdam because of the sense of loss of exclusivity to which I have referred. I query whether cruise lines have made the right decisions in the move to bigger and bigger ships. It is now well known that Amsterdam has concerns about the flood of tourists associated with cruise ships and that Venice is concerned about the effect of cruise ships. Bergen now intends to place limits on the number of tourists which may visit that city. I love cruising and will remain loyal to HAL for as long as possible because I think it is a very well- run company, which trains its staff to serve its clients well and which in my experience has always been responsive to any concerns raised. But for now my future cruising will be restricted to HAL’s smaller ships. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our adventure started with our first visit to the city of Amsterdam. We enjoyed a two day sojourn there packed full of things to do and see on both days starting on the afternoon of our arrival with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum. (See the ... Read More
Our adventure started with our first visit to the city of Amsterdam. We enjoyed a two day sojourn there packed full of things to do and see on both days starting on the afternoon of our arrival with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum. (See the heading below for full details on Amsterdam, though it is not part of the Cruise it really deserves our comments.) Itinerary Excellent, learning experience for the Norwegian coastal cities of Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Flam. Cabin - Vista Suite 6135 Well designed, lots of storage with wall hooks that are lacking on most cruise ships. Bathroom is small but large shower stall; only room short on storage capacity. Large and deep balcony furnished with two comfortable lounge chairs with separate foot rests and a small round table; a very enjoyable area. Balcony access door swings rather than the customary slider and is easier to operate. One of the shelf guide wires on the wall below the TV set was damaged when I tripped on the bed spread and its connection and part of the wooden wall were pulled apart. This was repaired the next day so well that one would not know the wall had been severely damaged. Very, very impressive. Storage space is plentiful and includes two wooden boxes placed underneath each bed but not very easy to pull out. (Warning! When packing on the last day do not forget to check those under bed drawers because we were so very close to forgetting a lot of used clothes we put there during the cruise). Eating in the cabin is not a comfortable experience due to the too small provided table; breakfast (only!) was quite a feat. Regardless you are paying the same amount in gratuities ($16.- pp/per day) as the Signature and above suites, you do not get the same amenities as they do, e.g. welcome bottle of bubbly or wine, a serving of canapes, etc. It’s a suite but without the butler service. After so many cruises with a butler, this was the first time without; though they can be very helpful many times they can be intrusive and knowing when you are in, when you are out, when you get up, what you eat and drink etc. In one word there is a complete lack of privacy. So this time without one, it was quite enjoyable. Cruise line staff Excellent all over the ship; Lido staff it seems have learnt more English and they were very polite and helpful, the staff serve the buffet food, a very important detail to avoid any kind of infection. The Front Desk or Guest Services, were on a par with Viking and much more efficient and polite than most other cruise lines. All issues were handled and solution at once and in a very good manner. Food Only disappointment was with the Lido buffet. Not really impressed with the offerings. Desserts were below par and repetitive. Tables were not cleared up quickly and wine service was slow regardless the “service button” that each table had. Restaurants The restaurant menus, presentation and temperature of meals were always right on. No complaints with any meal. Specialty restaurants were worth the price, in fact Tamarind was so good it almost demanded a higher fare to give it the recognition it deserves and been on Aft Deck 10 the views are great; I imagine on a sunny day having al fresco lunch or dinner there; but unfortunately the weather was quite unpredictable during the whole cruise. Pinnacle was superb and on sea days the $10 noon fare was well worth it if not just for the luxury and peaceful surroundings and the very attentive staff. Canaletto was good too, food and staff but being part of the Lido buffet during the day (as a matter of fact we were having some of our breakfast there) this takes away that sense of been “Italian”. There are other places where to have a snack or even lunch. For a light lunch or a snack, the Grand Dutch Café (Deck 3) many items free of charge like coffee, pastries and ham and cheese sandwiches. Tranquil atmosphere but could be very busy on sea days. The other place to have a good light lunch is the pool side Dive-in from seven specialty burghers (or create your own), three ways to have great hot dogs and four ways to enjoy the best French Fries on the ship. Buzzers are handed out so you will be called when the order is ready. And last but not least, the New York Deli & Pizza in Deck 10, overlooking the pool deck. Open at 7 a.m. and stays open till midnight. The pizzas are out of this world, they have six specialty ones or you can build your own, you also can get salads, classic deli sandwiches (pastrami or corned beef) and if you get there early enough avoiding the buffet crowds for breakfast you get bagels, sandwiches, fresh fruit, pastries and coffee! It is very clear that on board the Nieuw Statendam you will not go hungry! But for sure you will gain lots of pounds if you are not careful. Formal or Gala Nights? Biggest let down of the cruise. The tuxedo rental service worked well, good fit and housekeeping redid pressing of the garments free of charge. We showed up at our reservation time (8PM) and realized right away that the dress code was non-existent. Much less than 10% of men wore tuxedos and the majority of guests were in LESS than resort casual clothing. We saw short sleeve shirts, jeans, running shoes, teenagers and grownups in t-shirts etc.; the only thing missing were shorts! We really felt foolish wearing tuxedos and will not go to the trouble again. We were very lucky with the young waiter at table (#115), his name was Cahadi and thanks to his good humour and doing his best for us to have a good time we were able to ignore our surroundings. When we complained to the Maître’d (Martin) his explanations were inadequate and groundless- clearly and visibly he was not a strong manager and lost control of his restaurant. The “gala” had been advertised as a 5 course meal but only 3 were offered. That happened on the first gala night, on the second one things were a bit better, we cannot explain why; maybe our complaints? At any rate, gala or formal in the way the people were dressed it was unacceptable and was the first time we experienced such a thing on any of our previous cruises on many different cruise lines. Excursions - please see below Amsterdam Our hotel was in the museum quarter, as a matter of fact its name is NH Museum Quarter (nhmuseumquarter@nh-hotels.com). It was in a very good location facing a canal with very helpful staff; we could have purchased museums tickets through them, the best method if you only wished a general visit but remember you’re taking your chances, that the day and time you want, may not be available, that’s why and wanting to take advantage of every minute in Amsterdam we did pre-cruise museum tickets for Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum, a City tour plus a Canal cruise, all done through the internet and it worked out well, unfortunately we missed the Hermitage Museum! God willing next time! By the way, at the hotel you also can acquire bus, tram and metro “day pass tickets” for about 16 euros. In general, we were disappointed with the organization of the museum tours, regardless the electronic guide that’s provided as it was not user friendly and trying to quickly find various famous paintings of interest among so many people, many of them spending a long time in front of every painting proved difficult. Regardless, the paintings were superb, many of them unknown to us and some of the Van Gogh’s were a real discovery. We had no idea how prolific he was over such a short time span. At the Rijks the Rembrandts were featured in a special showing of many unknown ones but also there were an enormous number of his sketches - interesting but boring unless you were there to match the sketches with the final painting. The City tour (by bus) was a good learning experience. The modern architecture is outstanding in its variety, especially the use of new materials and colours. It was very refreshing compared to the repetitive high rises that are being built in North America. So the bus tour is worthwhile but we don’t recommend the Canal cruise; the boat was a glass box that on a hot day and that one was, makes you feel you’re in a sauna and no water was available on board. It wasn’t a very nice feeling going along those narrow canals and having to look up at the buildings that from that vantage point says very little (regardless whatever you hear from the loudspeaker) those were the same older buildings we had seen during the City tour but the message got thru mainly because there was a tour guide to whom you were able to ask any question which was then answered very clearly but the ship megaphones were deaf! In case you would like a canal cruise take it at night and I am sure the light show will be stunning, Amsterdam was a city full of surprises! Never imagined there was a subway and a brand new, modern one at that, very wide avenues lined with cafes and sidewalk patio restaurants and many expansive parks and green spaces around every corner. Having the opportunity to go there again now that we know our way around, we would jump at the chance! And then, a visit to the Hermitage (Amsterdam) will be our number one priority for sure! Closing statements Since the day we arrived in Amsterdam we were on the go! We made the mistake of choosing a 7 day cruise that visited completely new places and to make things more demanding, on a new, big and beautiful ship! This cruise was also a kind of a shock because our previous one was an 18 day Atlantic Ocean crossing from Europe to South America, our second one that long and our last! For us spending too much time on a ship becomes repetitive (in all the areas) and boring! Regardless we enjoyed everything to the fullest during this short cruise, we do not plan a repeat such a combination: that is, new places-new ship-7 day cruise….never again! Perhaps it was that there were too many “FIRSTS”: first time with Holland America, first time on the Nieuw Statendam first time in Amsterdam, first time in Oslo and all the other beautiful cities of Norway, so it is very easy for you to imagine how elated we were with this cruise, so happy and elated that we booked another one - more days and going to well-known places. As it was not possible on the Statendam because of a clash of dates, it will be on her older sister’s ship, the Koningsdam and again another first! We have to emphasize that there are many factors why we will sail again with Holland primarily because of the excellent staff but also for the superior food and wait staff being a very close second. Really, we hope you found our review helpful and interesting, so till next time, wishing you very happy sailing days! To our fellow Canadians, being today July 1st. Happy Canada Day! Cheers!!!! Ps. Photos soon to follow this review Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We picked this cruise for the itinerary because it went above the Arctic circle along with Flam and Geiranger. Soon after we boarded the ship on May 25th we were informed via a piece of paper stuffed in the “welcome package” that our ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the itinerary because it went above the Arctic circle along with Flam and Geiranger. Soon after we boarded the ship on May 25th we were informed via a piece of paper stuffed in the “welcome package” that our itinerary had changed. We were no longer going to Flam or Geiranger due to tenders not working. Ship Condition - showing major wear. Windows in dining room were cracked. A lot of rust around door frames in bathroom, bath tub, and out on balcony. Outdated decor. Food - overall we liked the food. We enjoyed the Dive in grill, pizza place, lido salad bar, and dining room(breakfast and dinners). Service - the crew is wonderful both in dining room and cabin stewards. Officers were aloof and not friendly. The Captain, guest relations, and Seattle office have made it very clear that HA is well within its rights to change ports at anytime. Absolutely no compensation not even a small gesture has been offered after numerous people have complained. Room - sadly we booked a guarantee and were placed over the Ocean Bar. So every night we heard music until 11:30 pm. Internet package was expensive and limited internet at times. Should not be charged when we can’t get service until 6:00 pm or later as we sail out of a Fjord. Entertainment - enjoyed the Lincoln Center Stage venue and BBC movies, other entertainment was just ok(magician, comedian, sax player) We will not be cruising HA again. The issues on this cruise and HA’s response says it all for us. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Note, this May 25, 2019 HA Rotterdam sailing (May 25 to June 8, 2019), was a 14 day Norway cruise, not 21 days. We booked this to see the fjords, scenery, certain tours, and go beyond the Arctic Circle to the most northerly point in ... Read More
Note, this May 25, 2019 HA Rotterdam sailing (May 25 to June 8, 2019), was a 14 day Norway cruise, not 21 days. We booked this to see the fjords, scenery, certain tours, and go beyond the Arctic Circle to the most northerly point in Europe. There were two key port downgrades due to tender maintenance issues...completely within HA control, and either an example of poor maintenance or an inadequate PM (Preventative Maintenance) Program. Neither of the substitute ports (Skjolden or Hellesylt) offered anything like the originally planned excursions that Flam and Geiranger offered. Flam and Geiranger were prime ports due to their excursions, and losing these ports was a major disappointment, all within HA control. There was very poor communications issues with port changes. Nothing when checking in, nothing from the room steward when handed the excursion tickets, about the missing ports / excursions. We had to call Guest Services as to why we were missing excursion tickets, and the communication was matter of fact that due to tender issues, had to change the two ports...lack of empathy or apology. The Captain's approach to dealing with the issue was very negative. I met with the Captain on behalf of a group of 25 Cruise Critics members re the port changes, expressing disappointment and asking for fare reduction, and instead of empathy, the Captain said that he would not tolerate any potential growing unrest, and that if the Cruise Critic group met again, that under Maritime Law I would be put off the ship at the next port. The Cruise Critic group was taking no unrest actions. The Captain's approach was an unbelievably negative experience. Other ship issues: Safety concerns associated with the drill and lifeboat changes / positions. When everyone was lined up at their life boat position, there was only about a metre of space to the railing, with people trying to walk by. If everyone was wearing their bulky life jackets, there would have been no space. We view that the life boat drill without wearing life jackets is not realistic and is an inadequate drill. Frequent toilet not flushing issues. Frequent Sat TV not working. General ship condition - rust, some cracked windows. No laundry room, with excuse of 'hygiene'. If that is real, then every laundry mat in the world should close. We suspect that the real reason is that the washers and dryers break and need regular maintenance. Food and food service was very good. Room steward service was very good. We outlined these issues to the HA President, and requested certain financial consideration. While HA indicated that they would follow-up on the issues that we raised, HA only offered a dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, on a next cruise...wholly inadequate. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Prinsendam is going out of Holland America Service on July 1. I wondered if I should write these reviews, but since Veendam is taking over some of the Prinsendam itineraries in 2020 I’ve decided this might still help future cruisers. ... Read More
Prinsendam is going out of Holland America Service on July 1. I wondered if I should write these reviews, but since Veendam is taking over some of the Prinsendam itineraries in 2020 I’ve decided this might still help future cruisers. We took two back to back itineraries, Celtic Explorer and Norwegian Fjords Explorer on the MS Prinsendam. The 14 day Norwegian Fjords Explorer started with a sea day before arriving in Oslo. In Oslo the ship docked at someplace other than where the EXC Guide told us we would be. It was not on the map that HAL provides for each port. We were told that there would people with maps and a currency exchange, there was none of that, only a couple of cabs and a hop on hop off bus. The map for the Ho-Ho did not have our dock marked. It was a “special stop.” There was one sign pointing to downtown but no indication on how far a walk it was. I understand that sometimes things change. But when they do HAL has the responsibility to make an announcement of the different docking venue. We took the Ho-Ho. It was fine for getting us where we wanted to go but terrible for sightseeing. They had decals across the front window on the upper deck and blocking the windows on the bottom deck. The bus stopped running before we ran out of Oslo so we took a cab from Central Station to the ship, more than $30. This was Prinsendam’s first, and last, call at Arendal, a charming town. We were greeted by a dance troupe who performed on the walkway climbing up from the dock. We walked through the town, spent time in the old town hall, a classic old, large wooden building. At a café we had some local pastries and coffee. A man sat next to us, his brother joined us, and we had a conversation about their grandfather who immigrated to America and made enough money to come back and buy a fishing boat. It changed the family’s life, giving them cash and status. Sailing into Eidsfjord includes a trip through Hardanger Fjord, worth getting up early to watch. In Eidsfjord we took a HAL tour to the highlands, a lake, waterfall and the alpine tundra. The guide was a farmer who raised a traditional breed of sheep. He is also a snow plow driver full of stories about sheep, farming, and rescues on mountain roads. The next stop was Flam. We took the HAL tour on the train. We should have just gotten off the boat and gotten our own tickets. It would have cost us half the money and we would have been on a less crowded coach. Having said that, it was worth the trip. There is a nice railway museum. We needed the sea day that followed Flam because after there were 6 ports in six days. Trondheim was a walking day. We went to the cathedral, which was beautiful. Unfortunately, photos aren’t allowed although you couldn’t tell by the number of people whipping out iPhones. The crown jewels were a disappointment. After paying the admission fee to the museum they told us that because of concerns over security the exhibit was not open. We could stand at the door to the room where the jewels are displayed and look through the iron bars. They had tied a pair of binoculars to the bars for us to get a better look. The resistance museum next door is worth your time. The old wooden houses in Trondheim create nice neighborhoods to walk through. Rockheim, the Norse Rock and Roll Museum, is right where the ship docks. Ålesund burned down in the early 20th century and was rebuilt in Art Nouveau style. We walked through the town, stopping at both the Art Nouveau and Modern Art museums. Both were well done. The Modern Art exhibitions were expressions of people’s relationship with the sea. We took a cab to the lookout for a great view of the city. It was worth the NOK 300 ($33.00) Geiranger is approached through a long series of fjords. It’s worth getting up early for the sail in. In town we took the Hop-On, Hop-Off. It stopped at an overlook, a mountain farm and the Fjord Center. From the Fjord Center you can walk down more than 300 steps, along a waterfall, to town. It always rains in Bergen, like my hometown Sitka, Alaska. We wanted to go to the Hanseatic League Museum but last October they discovered it was sinking, it’s 300-year-old pilings were having problems, so it’s closed. The museum shop and some exhibits are spread around Bryggen, the old section of Bergen. The Bryggen Museum was also closed for renovation. It may be open by the time you read this. There’s a free shuttle bus between Bryggen and the Fisherman’s Museum. Living in a fishing town I found comparisons interesting. The docents are more than willing to talk fish. Stavanger was the next stop. The ship docked right at the old wooden residential section with its white buildings. It was a short walk to the commercial district, also made up of wooden buildings and beyond to the petroleum museum, which does a good job of discussing the importance of the oil industry to Norway’s economy while also discussing the ramifications of oil on climate change. It raises a lot of questions and leaves you thinking about the answers. The final port of call was Esbjerg, Denmark. Because of tides the ship has to time its approach to hit an hour and a half window to make it into port. Sailing through the sand banks we pass by offshore wind farms. Docking was difficult because of winds and currents. Prinsendam had to hold steady while a second tug came alongside to help her dock. In Esbjerg we spent the day with friends visiting Tirpitz, a museum made from an old German bunker with a lot more. It talks about WWII, the occupation, fortifications and other seafront topics like fishing and amber. HAL’s tours miss the most interesting stuff, Tirpitz and the original Legoland, located near the Lego factory. If you stop at Esbjerg consider these alternatives. When we got off the ship in Amsterdam from the Celtic Explorer, they did not stamp our passport because we were going back on the ship. When we got off after the Norwegian Fjords Explorer there was no one to stamp our passport because everyone had gotten on in Amsterdam. As a result We were detained at the airport leaving Amsterdam because we did not have a proper entry stamp. The immigration people were polite and helpful, there was no problem there, but it was time consuming. Had we not arrived at the airport three and a half hours before the flight, instead of the recommended two we would have missed our flight. We finally got to the plane at the tail end of boarding. Part of the problem was the 30-minute walk from immigration to the gate. Be prepared if you fly out of AMS. Here are a couple of other notes. Because of the small number of sea days there was no outside lecturer on board. We missed this but Brett, the EXC Guide gave good port talks and a lecture on Norway and one on the Vikings that we enjoyed. May was a good time to cruise. We had unusually good weather and the ship was not nearly full. Prinsendam has a capacity of 835. On the Norwegian Fjords Explorer there were 665 on board, short lines for dinner, an uncrowded lido and lots of seats in the Showroom at Sea. I’m sorry to see Prinsendam go out of Holland America service. We’ve enjoyed Prinsendam in the past. She’s an older ship but we like her size, her aft saltwater pool good for swimming laps, her classic but understated appointments, her generous cabins and her walk-in closets. We’ve been on other HAL ships and enjoyed ourselves, but not as much as on Prinsendam. We will still cruise on HAL but we will be reading Cruise Critic reviews, looking for smaller ships that match our lifestyle and budget. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I were on the Rotterdam for 55 day in 2015 and liked it very much. The ship is very different now. There appeared to be a reduction in staff that resulted in frequent poor service in the Lido and often poor service in the ... Read More
My wife and I were on the Rotterdam for 55 day in 2015 and liked it very much. The ship is very different now. There appeared to be a reduction in staff that resulted in frequent poor service in the Lido and often poor service in the main dinning room. Seldom refills in the Lido and two and a half hours in the main dinning room. The employees in the main dinning room worked hard but there weren't enough of them. Many of the employees in the Lido appeared to be poorly trained and lacked proper supervision. The cabin boys were excellent and did every thing they could to make our stay as good as possible. The Food was often very bland and lacked proper seasoning. There were a lot of desserts with varying quality. When I ordered lamb chops I received only two which were quite small. Of the 21 days there were only two entertainers that were good. There was no duplicate bridge, no craft lessons, almost no expert speakers, The lectures on upcoming ports were obviously for selling excursions, It was a boring cruise Fellow cruisers read a lot of books and played games in the library. The price of the internet was outrageous with no reception most of the time. The ship shows its age with warn carpet with poorly chosen carpet colors. The design is confusing with an odd layout. We missed the two most important ports of the cruise. The excuse for for missing Flam was that several of the tenders were in operable. How did several tenders have problems at the same time? What happened to preventive maintenance. We had doubts about the life boats. The ports were advertised over two years ago, why had docking reservations made then. There were four other cruise ships in the port. We have well over 200 days of cruising but will never take another cruise on Holland American again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Chose the cruise because of the advertised itinerary. HOWEVER, port times were on the average 3 hours shorter than stated in sales brochures. Four ports were on holiday or Sunday-nothing was open, and experiences were limited. ... Read More
Chose the cruise because of the advertised itinerary. HOWEVER, port times were on the average 3 hours shorter than stated in sales brochures. Four ports were on holiday or Sunday-nothing was open, and experiences were limited. Worst--Cherbourg, France docked on Sunday no rental cars were available all tours had been booked before we purchased the cruise, So my plans to visit the DDay beaches and museums were destroyed. The town was closed except for a couple of convenience stores and a few junk shops. I asked a cruise director why we had a Sea day Saturday and Cherbourg on Sunday- She became irate and said you have to be somewhere on Sunday (duh Sea Day). Oslo Norway - holiday everything closed or sold out. and on and on! Food was very poor quality overall, the Italian Specialty restaurant was a section of the buffet in which they placed a sign, a hostess station and table clothes. The Spa on the first day was a huge sales hustle trying to force overpriced treatments, but they offered same treatments at reduced prices throughout the cruise. A massage for $170. was the worst I've ever had-back was out because of the bed and the person barely touched my back, when I talked to management they said oh well! The kicker was my Wife left a small box of jewelry in a nightstand drawer. We tried to call from the Airport could not get Through. Tried to call the ship would have cost $8.00 per minute from the first ring. Landed in LA called Holland closed. Called on Monday to report the loss and explained that the only two people that had access were the cabin cleaners. They referred us to a lost and found service which we have contacted several times and received back have not found your item, I ask for a contact with the captain so I could advise him he had thieves on working the ship. Hollands response nothing-no contact information. Read Less
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