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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We decided to book this 38-night Holland America (HAL) cruise because it made multiple stops in Greenland and Iceland - two destinations on our bucket list. Other interesting new ports for us were Douglas (the Isle of Man,) Portree ( ... Read More
We decided to book this 38-night Holland America (HAL) cruise because it made multiple stops in Greenland and Iceland - two destinations on our bucket list. Other interesting new ports for us were Douglas (the Isle of Man,) Portree ( Isle of Skye) plus Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Liverpool, UK. Ports previously visited by us included ones in New England, Canada and Europe. Even more importantly, the Rotterdam's extended stop in Liverpool permitted my daughter & our grandsons to visit the ship for the day. Canadians & Americans made up the vast majority of the passengers. Most of the passengers were four and five star members in HALs loyalty program. Although there were a handful of youngsters on board, we rarely saw them. We flew to the departure city of Boston, on August 1, 2017 a day early in order to do some pre-cruise sightseeing and meet a friend for dinner in the North End. The following day, we were picked up at the Langham Hotel and transported to the ship by coach. Unfortunately, the ship was undergoing a surprise Coast Guard Inspection so there was a delay in boarding. Later, we heard that the ship scored well. Our stateroom was ready on our arrival and our luggage arrived later in the afternoon. The safety drill was well-organized and proceeded smoothly. We chose Open Seating Dining and arranged with our servers to keep our table for the entire cruise. We never needed, therefore, to wait on a line for seating. There was always a small vase of fresh flowers on our linen dressed table. Food in the Main Dining Room (MDR) was consistently good. My husband's Special Request Meals arrived in a timely fashion and fit his dietary restrictions. Only once was there a problem with his meal. His order of a steak cooked rare arrived well-done. The meat was quickly replaced with apologies from everyone. Our servers Budi and Fitoni were excellent, as was Benny who departed the ship in the middle of the cruise. Doni, Assistant Dining Room manager and Ronald, the Dining Room Manager were friendly and very helpful, too. Jennalyn, our Wine Steward was prompt, helpful and always pleasant. We looked forward to seeing her smiling face in the Lido Market and other venues around the ship. She, too, is a big asset to the HAL. Executive Chef Peter stopped at our MDR table nightly to chat & often was visible in the Lido Market at lunchtime. He was so friendly and seemed to enjoy his job and meeting the guests. New York Pizza made delicious pizzas with many choices as well as custom ordered pizzas, too. The Dive-In had excellent burgers cooked to order and delicious fries. Food in the Lido Market was quite varied and we always found food choices to please us. I especially enjoyed the complimentary ice cream choices and toppings. Besides Vanilla, Chocolate & Strawberry ice cream, there was also a Special Flavor of the Day - my favorite was Rum Raisin. In addition, there were many other dessert choices. Rarely did we experience any trouble finding a table on either side of the buffets stations. The servers were quit helpful pouring guests' beverage selections, removing used plates, even offering to carry your food from the buffet to your table. Service was very friendly, too. Our mid-ship stateroom #2621 was quite comfortable-A/C worked well. Water pressure in the shower was good and the hot water was steady. I wished that there was more storage room in the bathroom, though and a nigh light would have been welcomed. The absence of a fridge was our only issue. My husband had to visit the medical office frequently to retrieve his medications that needed refrigeration. There was a lot of sneezing, coughing and blowing of noses by passengers, but my husband and I stayed healthy throughout the cruise. Out stewards, Rezki & Gusti brought us an extra copy of When & Where each morning, two copies of the Times newspaper, extra ice deliveries and always accommodated our comings and goings when cleaning our room. They both did an exemplary job daily. The evening entertainment in the Showroom was quite varied and I especially enjoyed the four production numbers of the HAL Singers & Dancers. The cast members were very friendly around the ship as were the various other performers. Two outstanding performances that were favorites with me as well as other passengers judging by the standing ovations that they received were the sensational Mersey boys and the very energetic and talented Flyrights. My main reason for taking this particular cruise was the itinerary. Iceland was a big highlight. On one HAL excursion in Reykjavik, we drove up on a glacier in a 4X4 and later walked through an ice cave under the glacier. I loved the many stunning waterfalls and the Fjords. My highlight in Greenland was cruising Prince Christian Sound with its massive fjords, some still topped with a mantle of snow, many tall ribbon waterfalls and wide glaciers. Is was so much fun to cruise past huge icebergs and watch for whales and other wildlife. We cruised the sound twice, once the first leg of the cruise and later on the back end when we made it completely through the sound on a beautiful sunny day. Late one clear night for a brief period we saw the Northern Lights, later confirmed by the Captain and Cruise Director. Trivia & Bingo were quite popular activities on board. I especially enjoyed the Art & Antiques Walking Tour with Barbara Haenni, Behind the Scenes Backstage Tour and the Galley Tour. Many of the activities on board were un-hosted; a few were extra charge such as the wine and beer tastings and the Mixology Classes. I saw several movies on board, The Last Word, The Founder, The Lovers and the Zookeeper's Wife, while munching on complimentary popcorn. My favorite talks were the ones on the Universe, Lighthouses and Greenland and It's People. Barbara Haenni was a great Location Guide and her port talks were timely and informative. Digital Workshop classes were quite helpful. Ask the Captain Sessions were interesting as well. Of course not everything was perfect. Perhaps the biggest annoyance was having to get to the Showroom an hour early in order to get seats close to the center of the theater. Even the lectures were so crowded that some were repeated; other talks were broadcasted on TV. There were some leaks around the ship, even in the Lido Market. One tender also leaked badly. These will need to be address when the ship soon goes in for refurbishment. Also, many times the information in the When & Where daily planner was incorrect. The audio on our stateroom TV when the Captain or the Cruise Director made announcements was so indistinct that we had to open our cabin to hear clearly. Since the Rotterdam is an older ship, the stateroom TVs are not interactive. You could not make dinner reservation, view menus, make /cancel a shore excursion or view your statement right from your stateroom. By the front desk, there was a machine to print out statements but several times it was down during the cruise. Although we booked this complete cruise as one cruise; some passengers only booked half. The ship turned around in Rotterdam. The HAL Singers & Dancers performances were repeated on the second half with many grumbles by full cruise passengers. Some dishes in the MDR were repeated but on a positive note, Surf (lobster) & Turf appeared twice at least on the menu. Although on a few nights quiet music was piped into the MDR, I wished that it happened every evening. Overall though, the unique itinerary, the good quality food, attentive service and unique itinerary made this an extraordinary cruise. Now we know why some passengers have repeated this cruise four or five times. We hope to see them on our HAL Grand World Cruise next year. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Ship: Lovely new ship, everything is lovely and new. Public areas are really nice. Shame the smoking is still allowed in the casino and its in a public area you have to walk through, it also spills onto the deck below. However we did ... Read More
Ship: Lovely new ship, everything is lovely and new. Public areas are really nice. Shame the smoking is still allowed in the casino and its in a public area you have to walk through, it also spills onto the deck below. However we did feel the ship felt crowded in public places like we haven't seen before. Especially with only 2 pools, the covered one was exceptionally busy during the day in cooler climates. They also allow children in the hot tubs so these were always crowded and not peaceful at all. Cabin: Standard balcony cabin was great, reviewed below. Really good bathroom Dining: Food quality was good, maybe a little bit better on some other lines, but still very good. However service was painfully slow in the main dining room. Dinner on average was 2 hours and breakfast took 1.5 hours on 2 occasions so we wasted so much time there. Lido buffet is very good quality. Staff were OK but always trying to up sell everything from drinks to vodka brands. Room service was hugely disappointing - tiny many without even a burger on it, only 2 main courses outside of sandwiches. You have of course the option to pay extra for almost everything even at breakfast room service. Entertainment: Good variety, nice classic options as well as superb blues band. Main stage was OK, but nothing special by way of music. Service: Hit and miss, not as friendly as some Caribbean cruises but maybe more Dutch passengers meant the staff didn't speak English so much. It is obvious that they have got the cheapest staff they could in minimal numbers. Sometimes they don't really understand what is being asked and don't really have any authority. Excursions: By far the most expensive we have ever seen. In 3 ports they were exactly double the price on land, even with the same company in one case. Overall the ship is very nice (especially cabins), but a little crowded. Staff are OK, but service could be slow. The continual upselling all the time of excursions, food, drinks, premium drinks etc etc is very annoying. Trying to enjoy dinner and being offered "would you like one of our liquors, would you like to change to a double, would your like to change to premium gin was really annoying after a while. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Missus Charlie and I just returned from the Northern Isles cruise. We upgraded during the last pre-cruise week from guaranteed Veranda to Neptune class stateroom 7052. The crew was exceptionally friendly and attentive. Particular ... Read More
Missus Charlie and I just returned from the Northern Isles cruise. We upgraded during the last pre-cruise week from guaranteed Veranda to Neptune class stateroom 7052. The crew was exceptionally friendly and attentive. Particular plaudits to the Culinary Center, Pinnacle Grill, and Ocean and Explorer staffs. The entertainment was as expected. The on-board troupe occasionally appears to substitute volume and kinetic energy for musical and terpsichorean ability - but, they make a great effort to entertain and deserved the applause. Activities tended toward sedentary which is not surprising given the ship's demographic. (Not a significant complaint, by the way. Neither Missus nor I are into rock climbing. Food was as expected to disappointing. The Pinnacle Grill was uniformly excellent. The main dining room menu occasionally suffered from the idiosyncratic and exotic choices of the Celebrity Chefs to whom Holland has given its menu planning. Food was well prepared and presented. Staff were very attentive. Shore excursions were limited by the Icelandic venue. The Falkirk Wheel and Antoinine Wall were fascinating, though the walk to the wall is longer and its terrain more varied than described. The Blue Lagoon was fun and not too crowded. Some ship carpets and furniture upholstery appeared worn. The exercise center was disappointing. Elliptical machines do not have audio connectivity to television displays. The variety of weight machines was more limited than we've seen on some ships. However, we understand that the ship will go in to dock for refreshment this fall and these minor problems will be corrected. All-in-all, our second cruise on Zuiderdam (and our fifth cruise on the Dam ships) will go down as very enjoyable and worth the price. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this itinerary because it offered us 5 days in Iceland. We also enjoyed 2 days in Norway and 2 in Scotland. The Ship was a little dated, however the service was great. Our stateroom (Neptune Suite) was spacious and ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because it offered us 5 days in Iceland. We also enjoyed 2 days in Norway and 2 in Scotland. The Ship was a little dated, however the service was great. Our stateroom (Neptune Suite) was spacious and well-appointed. We had access to the Neptune lounge, which provided food all day and an excellent concierge (Mae, you were great). The Spa was excellent and we enjoyed many treatments. Kadina runs a great Spa. The food was good throughout the ship and our Main Dining Room experiences were good. Wish there were more specialty restaurants on board; carving off a section of the Lido buffet did not make a special dining area for Caneletto, the specialty Italian restaurant. We did miss one of our ports due to fog - still not sure why that happened since I could easily see the shoreline...but if the Captain felt there would be a safety issue, so be it. Unfortunately I missed my up close Puffin excursion - really wanted to see those little guys up close. Last, I loved the glass outside elevators! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
It was a great itinary. Wanted this for years and now was the time to do it. But the ship was a dissapointment . No more then two or three stars and that is being kind! Old is no problem ,but this ship was neglected . Lots ... Read More
It was a great itinary. Wanted this for years and now was the time to do it. But the ship was a dissapointment . No more then two or three stars and that is being kind! Old is no problem ,but this ship was neglected . Lots of buckets on decks 1 and 2 .Lots of leakage . All kinds of not matching carpets to hide the fungus .One meter red , three meters with a patttern , 1 meter blue and so on. The pool on the outer deck was without water and filled with sunbeds . You wonder if the interior of the ship is so badly maintained ,how is the outside ? Is it save ? We had a complaint about the guest service .At guest service they asked to report our complaint after our holiday .No 8 weeks later ,we still not have a reply..After 6 weeks iasked if they forgot to answer . But no I had to be patient. The food and service in the restaurants was excellent .Compliments are due. Entertainment was poor , No big shows like Royal Caribbean . You had to pay for dancinglesses , fitness 12 dollar . And also for coffee after your meal The cruisedirector was a dispair .Did not do much good . Even introdeuced the captain with a complete different name. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
Interesting destination, the polar ice cap balanced our cruise to Antarctica. Unusually good weather made for a nice cruise, with beautiful views of the Norwegian and Icelandic fjords...a lot of fjords. The Prinsendam is a great small ... Read More
Interesting destination, the polar ice cap balanced our cruise to Antarctica. Unusually good weather made for a nice cruise, with beautiful views of the Norwegian and Icelandic fjords...a lot of fjords. The Prinsendam is a great small ship, without the big crowds found on large liners. 670 of the 790 passengers (804 listed max) had sailed HAL before. My point for this review is about the forward Vista Suite cabins (cat. AA) on deck 9, specifically cabin 105 back to about 115 or so on the starboard side (and equivalent cabins on the port side). These cabins sit above the main theater, and the noise from band and show practice is pretty loud, during daytime practice and during evening shows (which end about 11 PM). Early to bed passengers will have trouble getting to sleep before 11. This is apparently a known issue, and the front desk is well aware, fielding many complaints. They try to offer 'free goodies' to compensate. The ship goes to dry-dock refit in December 2017, so hopefully they'll fix this. FYI. A tip for those who use Hop On Hop Off buses (we like them when we don't book specific day tours, as they provide a nice fairly quick overview of a port city): traffic can make HoHo buses a pain. We encountered this in Amsterdam (use the boat hop on hop off during rush hour) and Edinburgh, Scotland. With a Fair event and the annual Tattoo in town, traffic at 5 o'clock was at a standstill. The guide on the bus suggested it would be quicker to get off and walk the 2-3 blocks to the next/end-stop/train station/Waverly Bridge, which we did. (Estimate was 45 minutes to go 2-3 blocks through a main intersection. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
2nd cruise on Koningsdam. much better this time around. Room attendants were excellent (yamin and Sri) both deserve a bonus from HAL. Lido food was very good, however did become very redundant. Bathroom in room was one of the ... Read More
2nd cruise on Koningsdam. much better this time around. Room attendants were excellent (yamin and Sri) both deserve a bonus from HAL. Lido food was very good, however did become very redundant. Bathroom in room was one of the best. the shower to die for ! Entertainment was average at best. Josh and Ingrid played the same music over and over. Still NO LIBRARY. Young and Old love to read. this is a huge mistake by HAL. Lots and Lots of smoking in the Casino, you could smell at all music venues. GROSS. Many of us are gamblers and I don't mean penny slots, I would love to play craps but refuse to because of heavy smoke. this policy of allowing smoke is really costing HAL money. One big snafu----Captain got us docked 1 1/2 hrs late into Amsterdam. Weather was perfect. Many people missed their flight home. The design of the ship and interior was stunning. Overall crew was excellent ! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This cruise was chosen for the Norway Fjords and they were all that I expected. The ship is beautiful but the new policy of Holland America is to emphasize seminars and not paying much attention to fun when we had days at sea. The pool ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for the Norway Fjords and they were all that I expected. The ship is beautiful but the new policy of Holland America is to emphasize seminars and not paying much attention to fun when we had days at sea. The pool area was like a morgue. The daytime activities on the ship were boring talks about the things for sale at the ship's stores and the art work at the auctions. The shows at night were mostly very good. The exception were the singer/harpist and the Russian singer. Their acts were amateurish and poorly done. The dancers and singers were terrific. The various lounges had great talent. The Lincoln Center strings and piano were spectacular. The ports were all very nice and the scenery was unforgettable. I would like to see more activity geared to the young at heart as that is how I feel. If the company had at least put a musical group at the pool, that would have changed a lot of boredom to enjoyment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I had the pleasure of sailing on the Koningsdam last October/November on its first crossing, from Rome to Fort Lauderdale. I am a fan of smaller ships, and at first sight this behemoth did not impress: outside it looks even more like a ... Read More
I had the pleasure of sailing on the Koningsdam last October/November on its first crossing, from Rome to Fort Lauderdale. I am a fan of smaller ships, and at first sight this behemoth did not impress: outside it looks even more like a condo than its predecessors, such as the Eurodam. And many of the deck areas seemed to be "monetized:" private cabanas impeded certain strolls. Inside, the ship was very attractive and well thought-out. (Some glaring exceptions: no library, no chaises on the Promenade Deck) Hence, I had a few misgivings about booking the Koninsdam again. They were unfounded. The ship has worked out most of the kinks, and it was a hugely enjoyable fortnight. Here are some highlights: Amsterdam: is there a better city to sail from? The Cruise Terminal is a ten minute walk away from Centraal Station (or one stop on the tram). The sail away was spectacular. We managed to embark at the most crowded time of day, it seemed, with very long lines. But it only took about an hour all told. The itinerary: Norway and the North Cape had always been in my radar (had been to Oslo and Kristiansand previously) but I was unprepared for just how spectacular the trip would be. Wonderful weather helped, of course: we had only one day of rain in 14, and lots of sun. All of the ports were interesting, and much more diverse than expected. True, in Alaska the glaciers are more up front and personal, but the cites are not nearly as interesting as those on this itinerary. Tendering was required in a few ports, and it was handled flawlessly and quickly. Lincoln Center Stage: I loved this piano quintet last year, and again they did not disappoint. They have varied and increased their programs, and at times one was able to attend three different programs in a day (sea days usually featured matinees). The musicians were personable and super talented, and eloquent in introducing the programs and selections. They were a godsend, as most of the shows in the World Stage were NOT so great (I live in New York and I admit to being snobbish when it comes to live entertainment). The big exception is the Frozen Earth BBC film accompanied by all the musicians on board. The dining venues: The dine around pass, where you purchase all five specialty restaurants for about $120, is a good deal. They are all eminently worth it: The Pinnacle: best filet mignon ever Canaletto: superb Italian food. Wish we'd gone there more than once Sel de Mer: rarefied French bistro atmosphere with lovely service Tamarind: delicious pan-Asian cuisine with a knockout view over the rear pool. Perfect for a sail away. We ate here three times. Culinary Arts Center: A fun and enjoyable (and delicious) tutorial by the head chef. This place should be more popular! The main Dining Room was just okay, better at lunch imho. I found the main courses to be disappointing; hence we ate here only four times for dinner. Dive-In offers yummy burgers and hot dogs. The New York Deli is open late and has decent pizzas and good salads. The Lido has everything and the food quality and variety was laudable. The staff: wonderful and friendly and they even remember your name! All in all, it was a real delight to be back on this ship. It felt familiar and welcoming. First time I had a miniscule inside room, which was claustrophobic for even one person. This time we had a huge outside cabin with two baths: heaven. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. As always when we cruise with HAL we found the staff to be helpful, friendly and very hard working. Perhaps it's us but we have certain expectations in regards to a ship. This one was clean and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. As always when we cruise with HAL we found the staff to be helpful, friendly and very hard working. Perhaps it's us but we have certain expectations in regards to a ship. This one was clean and comfortable, but it was evident that it needs work. Many windows were cracked and there were leaks along many of them. We heard of plumbing leaks in certain staterooms, as well as seen leaks in the Lido and the Crow's Nest lounge. Our itinerary needed to be changed because there were too many icebergs in Prins Christian Sund as well as in one of the ports of call, which was fine with us since safety should come first. The Captain was great in finding us alternatives. As always the food was plentiful and of very good quality in the Lido as well as the dining room. We went to the Pinnacle Grill on three separate occasions and the food was spectacular each time. My husband and I rarely eat beef, but the filet mignon at the Pinnacle Grill was astounding. On board they had many talks about the ports of call and the areas in general. The ones we attended were very good. However, we found there were few other activities on board. Read Less
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