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201 Holland America Line Barcelona Cruise Reviews

I am a member of the Mariner Society and have sailed a number of times on Holland America. It had been a few years between sailings and this past cruise was a hugh disappointment in almost every respect. Only the Indonesian staff have ... Read More
I am a member of the Mariner Society and have sailed a number of times on Holland America. It had been a few years between sailings and this past cruise was a hugh disappointment in almost every respect. Only the Indonesian staff have keep the high quality. The food was sub-par. The selections were terrible. Lunch at the Lido was just a mad house of trolling plates and not enough seating. Almost no music for dancing. Dull dull dull in every respect and I am writing this as a senior citizen. The casino would put you to sleep--after you could not figure out the slot machines that is. The deck chairs (if you can fine one) just ache your back and are impossible to get of for senior citizens. The fire on board surely didn't win any positive points either! No more HAL for me. It is just not the same Line I once knew. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was a very lovely crossing. Many more pros than cons. To begin with, the sailing was delayed by a full day due to strong winds and high seas preventing the ship from getting into port. The overnight in Barcelona spent waiting for the ... Read More
This was a very lovely crossing. Many more pros than cons. To begin with, the sailing was delayed by a full day due to strong winds and high seas preventing the ship from getting into port. The overnight in Barcelona spent waiting for the ship was expertly and efficiently handled. Considering the number of passengers HAL had to suddenly and unexpectedly accommodate, this had to have been no easy feat. A sterling performance. Once on board we found the ship elegant, gracefully absorbing her 2000 passengers. The mostly Indonesian crew was nothing short of wonderful, friendly, kind and always happy to fulfill any request. Cabins were spacious, comfortable (we wanted to take our bed home!) and immaculate. Food, for the most part, was excellent. The specialty restaurants we tried, Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind, were superb. Sadly, due to the loss of a day, we forfeited the Azores as a port of call; that was unfortunate as many on board were looking forward to it. Many felt it would have been far better to have sacrificed the uninteresting Alicante. Our major grievance was the lack of quality entertainment on board which was, for the most part, embarrassing. This needs to be seriously rethought. Among the educational offerings, Vivienne Rowan and her series on Ancient Egypt was superb. If you are a night owl or looking for anything fun to do on board later in the evening, it will be a challenge. The movie theatre was always full, folks were always being turned away; reconfiguring the seating might help. And why was there no decent coffee anywhere except at a surcharge in the Explorations Cafe? Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I have been on HAL ships 4 or 5 times before including in family groups but have not sailed with HAL in3 or 4 years. Was surprised at the dramatic decline in quality control in all areas - late night snack buffet menu listing two items ... Read More
I have been on HAL ships 4 or 5 times before including in family groups but have not sailed with HAL in3 or 4 years. Was surprised at the dramatic decline in quality control in all areas - late night snack buffet menu listing two items not actually available, 3 carvery items in dinner buffet repeated twice in a 1 week cruise, one random chair in dining room without arms when all neighbouring chairs are armchairs, most of the time no one offered juice and coffee at the table in breakfast buffet, inattentive service in dining room even at 5:30 open seating when the vast majority of tables were empty, typo in daily program referring to answering questions on Taormina when we were in Cartegena, 4 hour walking tour in Cartegena without admission into sites such as Roman Theatre, Forum and submarine when tours from Norwegian Epic can be seen entering sites, cleaning cloth left in bathtub and missed towels a couple of times in cabin, given the disembarkation form for another cabin in error, dining reservation system showing a second person in my room when I was travelling alone, spa giving my room access card to another passenger by mistake. Random errors and gaps in service were occurring on a daily basis. Nothing was a major problem but there simply was not a sense of focus on excellence or quality control. Also the smiles and greeting from every member of staff and crew that one comes to expect in the cruise industry was only sometimes offered. Ship is nice, public areas are well appointed, ship is not crowded, cabins are a good size and cabin bathroom is relatively spacious. Ports were interesting - particularly Motril for Granada to see the Alhambra Palace and gardens, Cartegena and Gibraltar to see the siege tunnels. Collaboration with Microsoft resulted in onboard classes on Windows 10 features which were informative and always over-attended with chairs being added to watch as there were not enough computers for everyone attending and some even just stood. Collaboration with BB King's Blues Club resulted in a great band on board performing in the lounge most evenings and performing a great main stage show one evening. Impressive and hilarious juggler comedian. Ship's lead singers were very good and better than most other ships I have travelled on. All in all an OK experience but far from the standard of excellence that all cruise lines market to the public. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We got a deal on a Pinnacle suite and were very surprised at how nice it was. Disappointed that the only amenity was free laundry. Free water and free internet would have been nice. The staff was friendly and accommodating. Breakfast ... Read More
We got a deal on a Pinnacle suite and were very surprised at how nice it was. Disappointed that the only amenity was free laundry. Free water and free internet would have been nice. The staff was friendly and accommodating. Breakfast and dinner were great. Lunch was so so. The ship looked new. Nightly shows could have been better, as compared to other cruise lines. Over all we were very satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Sailed out of Barcelona on the Nieuw Amsterdam and the experience was wonderful. The staff was very friendly and worked very hard. Our rooms attendants made sure our room was cleaned everyday with clean towels and ice in the bucket. The ... Read More
Sailed out of Barcelona on the Nieuw Amsterdam and the experience was wonderful. The staff was very friendly and worked very hard. Our rooms attendants made sure our room was cleaned everyday with clean towels and ice in the bucket. The Lido and Manhattan Dinning Room staff of food Servers and Waiters were excellent. The whole crew seemed happy doing their jobs. The ship was unable to dock in Barcelona on November 2nd due to heavy winds. I was very impressed how all the staff and officers answered all our questions. We were able to call out from our room to rebook our flight and was given access to WIFI which we used to receive our travel confirmation. I really was impressed with the shows in the theatre. They had some really talented singers. All the Male and Female vocals were fantastic. I don't remember all their names but some did stick out like Johnathan, Melody and Anna. I loved this cruise and would sail on the Nieuw Amsterdam any day. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I wanted a cruise through the mediterrean and black sea. A friend recommended Holland America. The price was not bad on vacationstogo.com. Everything was great. The entertainment started to repeat after three weeks. Four weeks was ... Read More
I wanted a cruise through the mediterrean and black sea. A friend recommended Holland America. The price was not bad on vacationstogo.com. Everything was great. The entertainment started to repeat after three weeks. Four weeks was really almost too long a cruise. The entertainers would be out in the public areas and converse with guests. We missed two ports because of the Serbian Refugee Crisis was so close by in Izmir. If we passed a tiny vessel with people who needed help, we would have to take them aboard. Some families rented rafts and threw their children overboard to get ships to stop for them. The Prinsendam is a very small ship not built by Holland America. Older people love it because there are very few children to run up and down the hallways. During the cruise, mechanics had to come aboard and fix the engine. The captain always kept us alerted to what was happening. In one port, a girl was late for departure. I guess she called the ship and they waited 1 hour for her. Nice to see they could delay even though cruise ships always promise they will wait for no one. As we cruised into Russia, we were told we could not get off the ship unless we tour and excursion. The ship got a group visa for us which avoided expensive, time-consuming visas we could obtain on our own. We stopped at a different port almost every day. This was good for me because I wanted to do a lot of walking. The downside was that some of the ports weren't that interesting. The food was excellent and because we traveled to many countries, the menu varied so we could sample foods from different cultures. The host in the culinary arts room taught use regional recipes. The fruit carving was very nice also as was the different ice creams each night. The flower arrangements on board were amazing, something Holland America was know for. The room on the Prinsendam had a walk-in closet. Laundry was self-serve and free. Almost never waited for a washer or dryer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Great time. This cruise was very port intensive...29 days and 20 post of call. Had to miss one port due to a storm but because of this we had to stay two days in Rome...no problem with that!! Over all cruise was great with no major ... Read More
Great time. This cruise was very port intensive...29 days and 20 post of call. Had to miss one port due to a storm but because of this we had to stay two days in Rome...no problem with that!! Over all cruise was great with no major problems. The staff is always wonderful. No problems with the staff in the dinning room and the food was always good. I do wish the entertainment was better but, it is a small ship with little room for big shows. This was our 4th time on the Prinsendam and will sail on her again. Love this ship, although, she does need a good deal of upgrading. Cabin and main areas need a lot of updating. This is an old ship and is really showing her age. Heard several guests had some major pluming problems. Although, we have never had any problems, we have heard that others have had the same pluming problems on every cruise. We have sailed with Holland America 10+ times. We have never had a problem that could not be fixed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Not a cruise line I would recommend. We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. But once on board were informed that two ports we had booked to berth in had been change to tender ashore. Two of these ports were cancelled because ... Read More
Not a cruise line I would recommend. We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. But once on board were informed that two ports we had booked to berth in had been change to tender ashore. Two of these ports were cancelled because of "rough weather", some experienced cruiser said it was absolute rubbish, compensation, 1 hour free drinks with 2000+ passengers. The third port to be tendered ashore was the port with the shortest stay, time to get ashore, a cup of coffee then queue up to tender back to the ship. Cabin cleaning was very superficial, no clean linen. Meals did not vary much with only fair quality. As for entertainment, you're better off to read a book. BEWARE compulsory tipping is deducted from you account daily, it is up to you to alter this if you are not happy with the service. Overall this equates to a budget line without the budget price. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our fourth HAL cruise and the first on the Zuiderdam. We enjoy the HAL line as we enjoy the smaller ships and the traditional, classic touches. This trip originated in Barcelona where we had an overnight on the ship and we ... Read More
This was our fourth HAL cruise and the first on the Zuiderdam. We enjoy the HAL line as we enjoy the smaller ships and the traditional, classic touches. This trip originated in Barcelona where we had an overnight on the ship and we disembarked in Rome. There were others who remained for another 11 days travel to Venice. We stayed an extra night in Barcelona at the Petit Palace just off of Las Ramblas, and couldn't have been more satisfied with the accomodations. Getting on the ship was the easiest we have ever done. As the ship was docked overnight, people came onboard throughout the day. We were the only people in the vast terminal. We, my husband and I traveled with my sister and brother-in-law. The ship is NOT brand new, and for those who expect a brand new ship will be disappointed. What it is is a lovely, refined, elegant vessel. Our room, 8143 was a rear-facing veranda. We enjoyed the veranda thoroughly and the foot traffic on the end was minimal. However, the room was just below an active Lido deck when chairs and tables were being moved (loudly) during the night and early morning. The room was spacious enough with many thoughtful touches. The curtain between the bathroom area and bedroom area keeps the bedroom area dark when the bathroom door is opened during the night. Fruit and ice and regularly replenished. The bed was soooo comfortable, and the room was kept spotless. HAL is one line that provides robes for its guests. The activities on the ship were not as plentiful as other sailings we've been on, but what we attended was great. KK, the destination specialist, is a treasure. We attended her presentations on the ports of call (there were only 2 sea days on an 11 day voyage) and found her expertise to be invaluable. She also found information for us about a location we wanted to see in Livorno and allowed us to use the ship phone to arrange the visit. Do not miss her talks. We also attended the culinary shows as well as trivia games and enjoyed those too. What really impressed us though was the Adaggio Duet, Evgenia and Dimitrov. We went EVERY night following dinner to the Explorer Lounge to enjoy their amazing talent. We weren't the only ones enjoying their shows and their repertoire and abilities. We decided many evenings to stay there rather than go to the main shows. It couldn't be better. The bar steward in the Explorer Lounge, Armin Lavador was a standout among a wonderful crew. We enjoyed talking with him and hope HAL knows what a great team they have there. We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the Lido, and found the food very, very fresh, plentiful and varied. My sister commented that there was nothing that could possibly be served for breakfast that wasn't available. From full English breakfasts, to Meditteranean, and on and on. She especially enjoyed the fresh squeezed orange juice, a profit center on other lines, free on HAL. My husband enjoyed the different offerings in the Asian station, and I loved the cheese display and fresh fruits and veggies. Most dinners we ate in the dining room and there wasn't a bad meal to be had there either. One night we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, and without question, it was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. We will, on future voyages, take advantage of that level of dining again. The ports (all 9 of them) were of varied enjoyment. Some surprised us (St. Raphael and Corsica), others not so much. When Tunis was taken off the itinerary they added Corsica, and while I enjoyed it, I much would have preferred an overnight in Livorno, in order to enjoy Florence for more than just a few hours. We mostly did our own travel off the ship, with one exception and that was Herculaneum. We did the excursion from the ship and highly recommend it. I don't know how we would have found our way there and back without the bus. It was one of the great highlights of the trip, looking at the baths and stores from over 2000 years ago. Worth the money, definitely. There were no lines for tenders when we went, no lines to get on or off the ship and disembarkation in Rome was flawless. I would sail on this ship again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Mediterranean Cruise, Holland America I wanted to share this review for other travelers. It is a long review and I will try to include details that may or may not be important to others. We stayed two nights at the Colon Hotel. The ... Read More
Mediterranean Cruise, Holland America I wanted to share this review for other travelers. It is a long review and I will try to include details that may or may not be important to others. We stayed two nights at the Colon Hotel. The hotel staff was friendly. We arrived around 12:00 p.m. and our room was ready. We had a superior room for three. There is a coffeemaker and small mini bar in the room. The water pressure is good, and the beds are comfortable. We did not eat at the hotel. There is a Carefour supermarket that is walkable from the hotel heading towards the train station, a bank directly across from the front door of the hotel (the atm did run out of Euros the last day), and a Starbucks across the street. The Carefour supermarket has wine, water and also prepared foods. I could not find something I liked in the wine selection so I purchased at the port but did purchase our soda and water for the ship. The hotel will hold your luggage in a room in the lobby if you want to tour before boarding or checking in. The pool is too small. We wanted to see the view at sunset from the roof, but were not able to make it. We purchased the 10 ticket package at the train station and used this to travel to the FCB Camp Nou Soccer Stadium, Park Guell and back from Sagrada Familia. Place the ticket through the ticketholder and remove and the gate will open. One person passes through and then each time for the amount of people using the ticket. There is a discount for students at FCB Camp Nou of 5.00 euros. I think the train stop is Les Corts. We purchased two tickets online and bought my son’s tickets when we arrived at FCB. My son and husband enjoyed the museum. The next day we visited Sagrada Familia. I was thinking we were close to the Sagrada Familia but that was not the case. It was around 7 Euros by cab to the Cathedral. I bought the tickets to Sagrada Familia with the tower access online. We were late due to a time difference and had to buy new tickets which were only available at 7:00 p.m. and no tower access. At least we were able to book tickets for entry. Looking back we should have just entered for the tower access because we were not late for that entry time for the tower but didn’t think to ask. The original tickets will be refunded because we bought new tickets. They will give you the email address and save the new and old ticket numbers. You do get a student or under 18 years old discount. I forget which one it is. We always brought the student id with us and a copy of my son’s passport. We only had a choice of audio with the new tickets and my son and I found it confusing when they said you can go in any direction not in order. Go in order if you can. We had visited Barcelona 8 years ago and was not able to visit the tower during that time.. I guess we will have to visit Barcelona again some day. Since we had to come back at 7:00, we decided to go Park Guell. We got off at the second train stop that takes you there. Park Guell is in the middle of two train stops. Lessops is the first stop and the walk is harder on the second stop and more uphill. There are some escalators, but if you get off at the first stop it seems to be easier. There was no entry to Park Guell until 5:30, and we didn’t want to miss the 7:00 La Strada entrance so we decided to leave, and come later after our tour. The Park is free after 9:30, but it does start to get dark around 9:00. We ate at two restaurants close to the hotel during our stay. The first restaurant Nuria which we enjoyed. The Sangria was great, service friendly and good food. The second restaurant which was very close to the hotel one block up was Estruch. We sat outside, and there was too much smoke. The inside customers come out and smoke, so at least ask for a table closer to the entertainment in front of the cathedral. I thought the food was not that good and the staff not friendly. I would not visit again. We wished we went back to the first restaurant. We did not have any problem with pickpockets in Barcelona. We were careful. A cab to the port should be inexpensive but we left around 12:30. It was bumper to bumper in the port and cost around 28.00 euros. Check-in was not too bad. The line moved quickly. We arrived between 1:30-2:00. The water was expensive at the port so purchase it if you can before you arrive. I asked the woman in the store at the port which wine was similar to a Pinot Noir and she recommended a few. The price range was between 7.00-10.00. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the two I purchased but I did. You can go back out and reenter up until I think it was 3:00. We did go back and take our picture. I think we were one of the last ones on the ship. The picture background was really strange but we we usually purchase the boarding picture for a souvenir. We dropped our bags in our room, and went upstairs to the lido to grab a quick bite before the muster drill. They do take attendance at the muster drill. The ship: There were pros and cons to the ship (which there are with every cruise line). I wish I could take all the pros and make one favorite cruise line. I think if I could combine the entertainment and gym of RCL with the pools, restaurant atmosphere and food of Princess and the beds, port information and pricing from HAL. I would have the perfect cruise (Princess and Hal both have laundry options). The pros for HAL are: towels, food, Tamarind, laundry package, in room movies, storage space, the bed, BB King blues, covered pool, Port advisor available to answer questions, no announcements in rooms, no long lines like larger ships, relaxed atmosphere, great captains party. The towels were available at the pool. You do not have to sign for them. Also beach towels are in your drawer under your bed. It is easier not having worry about turning them in and watching them on the lounger by the pool. The food (sometimes small portions) was good and is always cooked how ordered. If you wanted more, just ask. I felt like the menu has gotten smaller but I ordered what I wanted and was happy. There was only a few nights that I wished there was more variety but I ordered an appetizer as a main meal if I couldn’t find something I liked on the main courses. We had great waiters. We were always the last table to leave the dining room at night. My son made a great friend and they hung around the entire cruises. If you can get Ferry and Ade you can’t go wrong. My husband asked for mint and rosemary, and they delivered it. Also I loved the lamb and they ordered it for me another night. The lobster was real lobster but it was salty. Not sure if it was the butter. We loved visiting the yum yum man after dinner if he was still there. We did want a picture with our tablemates but for some reason the professional picture did not come out. We looked on the computer for it but the photographers could not find it. We didn’t get to take another pictures because our table mates were not able to make the last night because we were overnight in Venice and they had plans. I cannot comment on all the specialty restaurants because we only went to the Tamarind. The food was really good. They give you the options so I don’t think you can order everything off the menu but you can make some changes. We were stuffed when we left. The laundry is a good deal especially if you traveled before the cruise like we did. We filled our bag and left it in the basket the first day. We were not given another bag and had to call the front desk several times to have a bag delivered to our cabin. Also the first few laundry deliveries came back really wrinkled. I went down to the front desk and straightened out that we purchased the packaged and then the pressing was included. We did lose some laundry items but they were found before the end of the cruise. We filled two bags and only one sheet so keep track of your laundry items. If laundry is busy, the clothes will be delivered a few days later. Whites are not returned white and may be because there is no bleach. In room movies are a good selection, there was enough storage space with three large closets. We didn’t use the storage drawers under the bed because the towels and bedding was stored in there. Our luggage fit under the bed. The bed was comfortable but not the pillows. BB King Blues band was great and got people dancing. Also some of the shows were better than expected. If the weather was bad the main pool was covered. The port adviser was available 2 hours in the evening before the port and 2 hours in the morning for questions. We only asked once while in Marseilles but this is very helpful especially to the older crowds. Also the front desk will assist with information. You don’t find this on other lines. Our table mates also found his information very helpful. We did go to the pool several times and managed to get a seat. I think because of the ship size, the pool, the gym, tendering and boarding never seemed to be overcrowded. There was one boy who hurt himself diving in the childrens pool. Staff tries to enforce but are not watching all the time. The library is fully stocked with games and books. Front desk is always friendly, polite and helpful. The ship seemed very relaxed and sometimes there were families having fun in the disco dancing. The Captains Party was relaxed and less formal which I enjoyed. The captain introduced himself and some of the staff in the showroom. Drinks were offered, champagne, red or white wine and orange juice. I appreciated the wine because I do not drink champagne and other lines do not always offer wine. The cons are: cabin lighting, pillows, the steam room, the treadmills, the breakfast, lack of food choices after dinner, some shows are performed during late seating, drinks, no access to account online, Teen activities, the internet, no nightly mariner party (only a brunch), getting in touch with cabin steward and room service. The lighting in the cabin was terrible. There was a magnifying mirror with a light but it was very hard when not using this to see unless you go into the bathroom when doing hair or makeup. The pillows were hard, and maybe looking back I should have changed them. I did not sleep well but we were getting up early the first few days for tours and then by the time I thought to do something we were half way through the cruise. There is no access to the steam room unless you buy the package, which I wouldn’t use that much on a European cruise. The sauna is near the pool and not in the spa or gym. I really enjoy going to the steam room after the gym and was disappointed that there is not a public steam room and only the package for 299 per a couple. We did go for one hour free with our coupon book and glad I didn’t buy it because I wouldn’t have spent that much time in there. A big negative is use of the treadmills. The treadmills did have the tv’s on them (unlike princess) but there was restricted time of use. One hour before leaving port and one hour after due to navigational issues was posted on the treadmills. The times we wanted to workout was before dinner, and there was no access to treadmills. This was a concern because I really only exercise with a treadmill. Other people also seemed upset. Lido time changed periodically. Full breakfast was until 10:30 and then some days it was until 10:00, which is too early. I felt like every time I was in the lido they were pulling down the shade and closing. I don’t mind them serving the food it was more organized. By the time you get your food and found a place, the food is cold. The stations are mixed up and I can’t describe it, but I didn’t have this much trouble with breakfast on other lines. The first day they had two people behind the egg station. One was taking your order for toast while you stand there. After ordering your toast, your eggs are ordered and you wait. After you get your egg, pancake order, you are asked if you want additional items (bacon, sausage, oatmeal). It makes no sense to have one person taking egg orders and trying to also complete your order. If they would switch the toast to guy it would be a little faster. I did notice after I said I can’t believe there is only one person here taking egg or pancake orders next to staff member, that they had two people making eggs the next morning and complete orders. I feel like breakfast was chaos and it shouldn’t be that unorganized. Cups would not be clean and coffee wouldn’t be brewed. You couldn’t find ketchup or if you couldn’t hold your eggs, and wanted oatmeal, you had to wait in line again. Not relaxing for a vacation. At night the only access to food after the lido closed was pizza. They would tell you to order room service but there was limited room service menu. We found ourselves hungry around 12:00 with no choices. Some of the shows like the marriage game, etc were performed at 9:00 during late seating. After dinner and the show (some really good and some not so good) the choices were the disco, the piano and BB blues. During the end of the cruise we found ourselves wanting something else to do. The silk den bar was terrible. When we made reservations we were invited for a happy hour before or after our dinner. I ordered the Mai Tai which was just juice. There was nothing in it. I wouldn’t go there again. Also the happy hour choices are limited for wine. I ordered a Pinot Noir one night during happy hour, and was told because it was $9.00 it wasn’t part of happy hour. The only way to check your account is at the front desk. The teen activities were listed and delivered to the cabin every three days but my son said they were performed randomly. Sometimes there would be an activity and sometimes there wouldn’t be one even though they were listed and they showed up. Don’t count on the internet. It barely functions. One time it took me almost 20 minutes just to load and open an email. If there is a blackout, which there was twice, the email will stop working. I did go to the front desk and they credited me minutes from the blackout. Someone told my son that the internet is faster at sea than in port. The least expensive package is 19.99 for 30 minutes, and if you are a Mariner you can add 15 minutes to any package with the coupon book. I was disappointed that there was no Mariner Party at night. I enjoy the party usually more than the captain’s party because it isn’t as crowded. They do have a brunch, but with so little time to enjoy the ship. We usually don’t do a big lunch we didn’t attend. I did have a few problems with obc, but they were corrected. I did have backup email documentation. Also only one coupon book was delivered to our stateroom. I went to the front desk and received another book for my husband. Not sure if my son would have gotten one if I asked since he is also Mariner. We did bring an extension cord but probably didn’t need it because there are three outlets. The flat screen does not move. It was the first sailing with the new tv’s and it was not positioned that great with the inside large connecting J room but it was okay. Looking back on the rooms, I think we could have booked an outside and it would have been fine. I heard so much about the large J’s and since there was three of us I held on to it even with pricing changes. I looked in at the ocean views and there was the same amount of storage. Maybe the J had a little more standing room for getting dress but for the pricing difference and the bathtub I think next time I would have gone with the ocean view. Also we were on the Main deck and close to the front desk. If you are nearer to the showroom you will hear the music and BB King blues, but I think they end the show around 12:30. Our table mates commented on culinary demonstrations being over in 10 minutes. There seemed to be a lot of art auctions. We got invited to a VIP Mariners Party, which I thought was going to be similar to other cruise line loyalty parties. There was an art auction being cleaned up and no Party at 8:00 (which is our dinner late seating time). We waited around 10 minutes and decided to leave and go to dinner. The party was in a conference room and didn’t look that interesting. Advertised drinks and food, but we didn’t see either. We never saw our cabin steward which at times was annoying and probably one of the reasons we didn’t change our pillows. If we wanted to get the laundry bag we had to call the front desk. My son needed to ice his knee and we had to call the front desk. We would look in the corridor at various times, but never saw anyone only when we were going to dinner. My son ordered room service for breakfast and the bagel was hard as a rock. Marseille: We did go to the old town on our own. We took the free shuttle bus with no problem. If we did not take the shuttle bus, we would have taken a cab because it would have been cheaper than the ship shuttle for the three of us (8 per person). Coming back the free shuttle was crowded and no single line but we were able to get on. The shuttle lets you off not too far from the main part of the town. Walk straight down and you will come to it. Monaco: We visited the Exhibition of Prince Rainier III’s private collection of antique cars. Adults 6.50 and children 8-14 3 euros. We asked for a map at the front desk and asked direction at the information booth when we got of the ship. Shared Tours: We booked our tours with AP tours. I would highly recommend them. They arranged all requests and answered all our questions whenever asked. There was no only transfer to Rome tour on the website and Sarah created one. Also customized Naples with visiting Positano and not Sorrento which was a good choice due to high traffic that day. We booked them for Livorno, Rome and Positano. We wanted to have flex schedule with depart and arrival times. Livorno: Our driver Raphael was wonderful. We reserved the Accademia for 10:30. If you reserve over the phone, you give them the code and receive the tickets inside when paying. We were given free time in Florence to explore. We then drove to Pisa. We could not book the 3:30 tickets to climb the tower because they were already taken 20 days before when I signed on to purchase. Sarah let us book the 4:00 tickets. The tickets were scanned. Then we were charged on our credit card with the card that we used to reserve. You line up around 10 minutes before your entry time. There is a student discount for Accademia but not for Pisa Tower. You cannot visit the cathedral without the tower ticket. Rome: We purchased a shared tour transfer to Rome with AP Tours. I purchased the Museum Sistine Chapel tickets and the underground colosseum English spoken tours online. We could not understand our guide. Also the Sistine chapel/museum was so crowded. We had a 10:30 ticket entry time and actually had to leave the tour early at 12:30 to make our 1:20 tour for the underground colosseum tour. We wished we had more time to also visit the Vatican. Looking back we should have visited the Vatican earlier before the 10:30 tour. We jumped in a cab and I think it was 10.00 euros from the museum to the colosseum. The underground tour was amazing and I highly recommend it. We could understand the tour guide. Naples: We booked again with AP tours. We visited Pompeii in the morning and were able to avoid some of the heat. We had a great tour guide included with our tour. We did have to purchase the entry tickets which our tour guide Phina did for us. My son was free with id. Phina was our guide and we could understand her most of the time. Our driver suggested not driving to Positano because of traffic. There are three tunnels you need to drive through. Everyone in the car wanted to drive to Positano so we did. The driver was able to go around one tunnel and avoid some traffic. He joked about having to spend time with his mother for dinner. We were glad we decided to go to Positano. It is very crowded and hard to manage through the one road in and out. My son bought some lemon candy, and we tasted some local sandwiches. We also visited the beach, which is very hot and pebbly. It is amazing how they get the cars in and out of the garage, and parked so close together. Taormina: We loved Taormina. We got off the ship and asked someone if there was a bus to Taormina. They said no. There was a hop on hop off bus for $20.00 euro pp but I decided to cross the street and look at the bus schedule posted in a place that looked like a bus stop. It said Taormina so we waited for the bus. You can buy the tickets on the bus. They drop you at the bus stop at Taormina and we saw the hop off hop on tickets for 10.00 euro pp. There are a lot of shops to explore. I think this would be a great port to spend more time. There is a beach when you get off the ship but I wanted to see Taormina. Corfu: We did Corfu on our own. We took the bus to town and then I tried to use two atms which declined our transaction. We later used the atm at the port and it worked. I wished I used it first because I was little nervous with less cash. We found a taxi driver to take us to Glyfada beach. It was really nice. When they drop you off the chairs are 8.00 euros with umbrella. If you walk a little further in front of the hotel the price is $12.00 euros with umbrella. We arranged a time for the taxi to return. You pay half when they drop you and half when they return you to the ship. Croatia: The beginning of the day it rained which was a good thing because we were able to walk the wall without the heat when the rain let up. We finished walking the wall when the sun came out and it got really hot. We could barely get out of the entrance/exit when leaving. There were many people coming in and only one small line able to exit. The entrance to the wall is cash or credit card. Cash must be Kunas. Montenegro: We were tired of touring by this port and just walked around near the port. We stopped for wi-fi and bought a cappuccino. Venice: I purposely booked a hotel close to the people mover. When you get off the ship you can walk to the people mover. We purchased our people mover tickets the night before when it wasn’t busy. The tickets are not validated until you use them. They are 1.50. The people mover is one stop. You are let off near the taxi stand and train station. Walking towards the town there is a bridge that has a ramp to the left that is easier to go over than the first bridge you hit when leaving the taxi stand area. We didn’t know until we went over it later on the next day. We booked the Hotel Palazzo Odoni for two nights. The stairs a little tough with 6 pieces of luggage. The staff was very friendly and breakfast was very good. My only complaints were: the bed was a little hard and there were some mosquitoes in the room. For the price, breakfast and staff it was worth the stay. We found it easy to get around Venice. We bought a one day vaparetto ticket the second day. We visited Murano for the glass blowing demonstration. The cost was 5 euros and children are free. It did rain heavy the first night and we got stuck in the rain coming back from the square. There are people running around selling umbrellas for various prices. We did the gondola ride near the hotel the next night and it was so quiet and beautiful. He took us down the side canals and then to the main canal to drop us off. He recommended a restaurant Murao (I think that is the spelling) that my husband and son loved their pizza. I forget what I ordered but I know I didn’t like it and wished I stuck with the pizza. I hope my review and comments help. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We were on a 12 day cruise from Barcelona to Venice. This was our first experience with Holland America. Everything went really well. Loved our aft balcony cabin, nice full bath, plenty of closet space, and great service. The ship appears ... Read More
We were on a 12 day cruise from Barcelona to Venice. This was our first experience with Holland America. Everything went really well. Loved our aft balcony cabin, nice full bath, plenty of closet space, and great service. The ship appears to be in good condition, although not as glamorous looking atrium as Princess and not as beautiful as Royal Caribbean with the street, etc. This was a very port intensive itinerary, therefore, we didn't have too much time for onboard activities. Beautiful library, which could be nicely utilized if there would be many sea days. Embarkation and disembarkation was wonderful, much better than what we experienced in the past on other cruise lines. Loved Lido. Food quality, selection and service was very good. MDR menu was not always very exciting, but the food was good. MDR service was excellent. The specialty restaurants are great, especially the steak house. What we didn't like is that nobody supervised pool area. There were plenty of kids on board due to summer vacation and they were allowed to go to adult pool. Even though both pools have sign "no diving", people still did it and nobody stopped them. The other unfortunate thing was that only sauna was free and steam / hydro pool / thermal suite was very expensive. On other ships there is a women's / men's locker room with access to steam / sauna for free alongside with paid area. Here there was none. Overall, we had a great time and enjoyed this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I was disappointed to find no guest laundry on the ship. Was on a 32 night cruise, and ships laundry costs very expensive for that amount of time. Loved our verandah suite stateroom. The staff mostly cheerful and attentive. The ships ... Read More
I was disappointed to find no guest laundry on the ship. Was on a 32 night cruise, and ships laundry costs very expensive for that amount of time. Loved our verandah suite stateroom. The staff mostly cheerful and attentive. The ships band was amazing. Singers and dancers pretty good as well. Some of the bought on entertainment Average, one of the comedians was embarrassing. HAL merchandise not of the good quality as has been in past years, and cabin bag now like Shopping bag fabric, not the sturdy thick cotton of the past. Be aware of 15% on top of alcohol and some other purchases. Everything costs. We were surprised at the amount of Children and young adults cruising, probably because of school holidays. Good on you for broadening your horizons. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My husband and I and two of our friends recently cruised with Nieuw Amsterdam on the Mediterranean Tapestry cruise in May 2015. We are still talking about what a wonderful experience it was with their friendly, helpful crew and fantastic ... Read More
My husband and I and two of our friends recently cruised with Nieuw Amsterdam on the Mediterranean Tapestry cruise in May 2015. We are still talking about what a wonderful experience it was with their friendly, helpful crew and fantastic itinerary. Not only did we enjoy seeing all the exciting ports everyday, the staff made us feel special and pampered 24/7. This was our second cruise with HAL but it won't be the last. We are already looking at itineraries for next year and the year after. Thank you again to entire staff and for anyone looking for a marvelous cruise itinerary, this one from Barcelona to Venice would be hard to beat! Our favorite ports were: Barcelona, Taormina, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Kotor and Venice. The excursion to St. Paul De Vence (out of Monaco) and to Sorrento (out of Naples) provided wonderful photo ops. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our second HAL cruise, and the first one was nearly flawless. On this trip, our group really felt like we were being gauged for extras or being sold more services. This took away from the relaxation factor of the cruise and was a ... Read More
This was our second HAL cruise, and the first one was nearly flawless. On this trip, our group really felt like we were being gauged for extras or being sold more services. This took away from the relaxation factor of the cruise and was a sore spot with us, so I am downgrading to just very good. My basis for "very good" (instead of average rests on the great service from most of the staff. The Main Dining Room, Room Staff and Security Staff were excellent as usual, and in our opinion, are the feather in the cap of HAL. Just as kind and helpful as could be, as per usual. And on this trip, the Front Office Staff was also great, and I think they have one of the toughest jobs on the ship, judging from the cranky/rude customers they had to deal with on a daily basis. Never ceases to amaze me how nasty some people on vacation can be to the hardworking and low paid staff. I did also note that on this cruise, there were multiple folks who had nasty accidents (falls) while in different ports. Several actually left the ship with their injuries, and several had to seriously curtail their activities due to stitches, wounds, strains and bruises. Busted noses, busted knees, splinted arms.... I have to admit, my group was on high alert, as looking up at all the beautiful old sites while walking on old cobble stones and irregular steps is a bad combination. We all had some very close calls and stumbles in different cities, but I am happy to report that we all survived unscathed. If you are unsteady, I recommend a walking stick or cane, and a steady companion who can back you up. We also felt that younger people were generous in their description of "easy walk" or our favorite "only 5 minutes to get there". We found that "5 minutes" loosely translated, usually means 20 minutes, 200 uneven stairs, and 80 degree heat, all up hill. When selecting shore excursions, stick to the easy exertion levels if you are challenged. We heard many complaints from folks who could not keep up. One of our party cannot walk for long, and we were very sensitive to this issue. This is also another reason we prefer private excursion tours, as they can easily cater to any physical issues and usually get a lot closer parking than a tour bus. Well worth it in the end. Herma, Francis and Irfan in F/B were stellar in every way, as were our Room Staff, whose names escape us at this point. Also,we usually eat breakfast in our room, and almost everyday we received a call making sure that the breakfast met our needs. It arrived correctly and on time every single day! We found the embarkation and disembarkation nearly flawless on this trip, with no lines whatsoever on either end. We were amazed and pleased. We arrived at 2:15, with a 3:00pm deadline. On Disembarkation, we were in the 8:30-8:45am time slot. Half our group carried off our luggage, half did not, all did fine with the exception of a damaged wheel on a suitcase. We stayed in a Verandah Suite, 8008, on the Nav deck. Room was great. This room is directly across from a staff facility room, so the door opens and closes all night long, and some staff members are a little loud. Generally this did not bother us, but might bother some. This room is also directly under the Greenhouse Spa, generally not an issue unless they are rearranging things at closing time. Room as promised, clean, neat. Glad HAL does not allow smoking in cabins any more. (But some staff do smoke in some of the service rooms, which can't possibly be permissible.) My big room gripe? Cabin neighbors who smoke on their Verandahs and or those who don't understand the concept of closing a door softly. Ours let their balcony door slam every single time, or those who "drag" their balcony furniture around. Petty, I know,I know, but it makes me nuts. Getting off my soap box..... We did not personally partake in any entertainment, but 2 of our group did, and overall, they enjoyed it. Apparently, a few hits, a few misses, but overall good reviews. We did peek in on the BB King lounge, and it sounded great. Show cast seemed really sweet. I only used the gym once, but found it to be nice, with good options. I like to also walk the promenade deck. We only took 2 shore excursions, as we try hard to avoid them. Both were well organized and delivered as promised. Both were more of a scenic drive with brief stops where you could go it alone or stay with a guide. We did "Nice and EZE" tour and the Provence Les Maurers (?) tour. We would recommend both, and the price was good. Generally, we arrange our own private tours through local guides, as we can customize the itinerary as maximize the time in port, for less money. We also prefer to avoid standing around waiting for others to come back to the bus. We also get to avoid the "herd" experience. Again, I know it's my personal issue, but I find that some people on the excursions are beyond rude, and it makes me nuts. On the above mentioned excursions, one man and his wife felt the need to carry on loud independent group comments and conversations as the guide was trying to give us the history, all while they stood smack in the middle of the group. We all know how hard it is to hear the guides on a good day, especially for the folks who may be hard of hearing or more elderly. This same man felt the need to make several scathing remarks about how the French wouldn't be here without Americans, blah blah blah. My Vietnam Vet brother-in-law quickly shut him down. Okay...getting off my soap box..... We were in port with a "megaship" on a few occasions, and the crowds of shore excursions were unreal, they were all over, and there were a ton of them. This occurred in Naples/Pompeii/Amalfi on a national holiday in Italy, and traffic was a mess. As a result, 23 passengers on a non-HAL excursion did not make it back to our ship, which left without them. They did make it to the next port. Luckily we did a private tour, and our driver was constantly being updated on traffic, and devised an alternate route for us. Tender operations were very smooth, very well run, no issues at all. They did a great job of handing out numbers and getting everyone smoothly loaded in. Again, very well organized on this trip. Staff was great, Security was on task and efficient. They seemed very helpful to passengers needing additional assistance. I will say that our group felt that everything was a sales pitch, and this was a big negative for us. Art "auction", photos, behind the scenes tours, Thermal Spa, spa products, etc. On the barbecue night, drinks were offered up by waiters walking around with trays of pre-made cocktails. If you say yes, beware...because if it is in a swanky plastic HAL cup, that cup costs $3.95 MORE than the regular drink. They fail to mention this until the bill comes. Items of tchatkes and souvenirs are always being hawked on the ship. It never ends. Loved being able to take many sunset shots from the 10th/11th floor decks, while lounging in chairs, watching the sun go down. We did not partake in internet service packages. They are as slow as ever, and still expensive. I would like to see HAL upgrade this and follow the lead of hotels with free wi-fi. Or at least improve the quality of the service, if for a fee. We relied on free wi-fi on shore, which was usually available and fairly reliable. Venice was probably the most difficult place to find consistent free wi-fi. The barbecue night was good, but the seating was chaos. And getting non-alcoholic beverages served took forever, we made 3 requests, then finally got up and went in to the Lido restaurant and got our own. Food was good, lines were really long. (They close one of the Main Dining Room floors on this night). I would skip this next time, especially if traveling with older or less mobile friends. Great experience: We booked a Cabana Club corner cabana on our At Sea day, and it was well worth the $115, at least to us. Lovely, quiet, clean, comfortable. Plenty of room for all 4 of us. 2 big double loungers, and a dining table and chairs for 4. We were given fruit, water, and Evian mist. They took our lunch order (although a bit late, it was after 1), brought us food, served champagne and then chocolate covered strawberries in the afternoon. All this was included. A few points: information on the pricing and booking of the cabanas was sketchy online, and we could not book until we were on board. This is the first thing I did when I got on board. (I thought they would sell out quickly, but there were still empty cabanas on the At Sea day.) The flier provided at the front desk seemed old, as some of the items were not in evidence. It stated that we would actually have a food spread at the cabana club, which we did not. It stated that we would be served ice cream, we were not. It stated that we would receive some additional Greenhouse Spa discounts, but we did not. While these are certainly not deal breakers, I am just pointing out that it was not quite up to date. That being said, still great. And nothing prevents you from going down to Lido and getting food/snacks on your own, but again, they do take your order and deliver to your cabana for no additional charge. *Note, the Lido cabanas are much smaller, and sit on the Lido deck right next to the other diners. Different experience altogether, not private, not open to the ocean. Spend the extra money and get the Cabana Club size. There is also an open area among these larger cabanas to sit or lay in the sun as well. Great place to quietly lunch, read, relax, nap in the (fully shaded) gorgeous sea air. Worth it! HAL allowed 1 bottle of wine for each person at embarkation, but we only brought one, from Barcelona. For us, they used the honor system, and did not actually check our totes, but instead they just asked us if we had alcohol. We told them we had one bottle of wine, but they never even looked to see what we had. We also found that we could pre-order alcohol online from HAL for our room, and honestly, pricing was not that bad, and the bottles were huge, much larger than we anticipated. And easier than trying to "sneak" it on board. We did not come close to finishing our Skyy or Jack Daniels. We also inadvertently brought more alcohol on board during shore excursions. (Not thinking, we bought souvenirs of Limoncello and Sangria in silly little souvenir bottles, which sailed right through security without mention). Only later did we realize what we had done. We also had a small mini bottle of wine for our after-kayak trip, bought in town, that we never drank. This too was brought back on board and never discovered. We ended up giving away much of the alcohol we had purchased, but as a plus, also did not spend much money on onboard cocktails. The drink packages are also a good way to save on cocktails and soft drinks, if you will consume them. We loved our Main Dining Room experience. I have a food allergy, and they were great, giving me a custom menu to order from in advance. Consistent service, quality and experience every time. They even had the chef make me a special dessert based on one that I really liked on embarkation night. Really nice! They never disappointed us, really great. We are all carrying the extra weight to prove it. We dined at Pinnacle one time, and it was not up to the usual par. First, it is impossible to book reservations for more than 2 people at a time online. So, if you have a larger group, you need to re-arrange the reservation when you get on the ship to get all people in your party at the same table. When doing so, the Maitre D was very "put out" and stated that rearranging 3 separate tables for 4 people into one table for 4 was going to be "difficult". (Really?) Somehow, he managed to survive this hugely difficult chore, lol. He was honestly the only grouch we encountered among the staff on this ship and apparently other ship staff are aware of his reputation. Interesting to note that on the day we actually dined, the restaurant was half empty, and service was still slow. Our prior Pinnacle experience was awesome, (save for the fact that they fed me my food allergen after insisting it was fine) but not this one. They were slow, dishes sat on the table a long time, and quality was iffy. It took over an hour to get one iced tea, and we still never got the tea for 2 others at the table. Food was brought to the table lukewarm, and one party received a really salty entree. The waiter argued with us on all points, including the salty fish. He lectured our friend that if she could not eat salt, she should have told him up front. (She CAN eat salt, it's not her fault they over-salted the recipe) Only when the chef actually tasted the fish did they admit we were right, but the waiter never apologized. Well over an hour after sitting down they then offered a substitute for the fish. We had had enough at that point and were ready to leave. I actually timed the service issues on my phone, once service started going down hill. He argued with me about how long it took to get the tea. This was caused by his misunderstanding...he sent the wine steward to us for the tea. She was delayed, and when we told her we only wanted tea, she dropped the ball. Listen, we all have "off days", but being lectured and argued with at the table is not cool. They finally deducted two of the meals, but I had requested a refund on all four and did not get it. In retrospect, Tamarind was highly recommended, and I wish we had eaten there instead. In good faith, other cruisers we spoke to at at Pinnacle several times on this cruise, and did not have any issues. But I would be reluctant to eat here again. Main Dining Room was a great experience for us as usual, we will stick with them. We did not use the laundry service this time, although we have used it in the past and it is very good. We washed our own stuff in our room, as there is no laundromat on this ship. One of our group did use the bag service, $30 per bag, and he got his clothes back within 24 hours. Greenhouse Spa was good overall. I splurged big time and booked acupuncture, a pedicure, and a hot rock massage. The acupuncture doctor was really good, but came back in to the treatment room several times to pressure me to purchase $1000 more in treatments over the remaining days of the cruise. This completely ruined the "relaxation" treatment that I had requested. I work in the corporate world, so I am used to high pressure sales people, but this was way over the top. I had to literally stop her from "booking me in, just to save the appointment slot" on subsequent treatments. She literally had the port schedule in front of her, telling me when I would have "free time" to schedule these appointments. I should have actually requested a refund on this treatment, in retrospect, including the automatic tip. Additionally, the treatment room was right off the LIDO exit and elevators, being really busy and loud, and you could hear two separate PA/music systems being piped in. My pedicure was wonderful, thanks to Isabella. She was sweet, and the fire and ice hot rock pedi was delightful after all the walking around. I had mentioned the "hard sell" acupuncture appointment, so perhaps she laid off of selling anything. I highly recommend this, and Isabella was fabulous. My hot rock massage was EXCELLENT, and could not have been nicer. No sales pressure here, either. I highly recommend this treatment. *I booked all my spa treatments in advance online, because I wanted them to occur on At Sea days/mornings. Otherwise, I would recommend that you wait to book any spa services, because there are always discounts later in the cruise. Had I waited, I could have saved 20-30% for services, but again, I wanted very specific time spots. If you have more flexability, wait until you are onboard to book. My husband also had the hot rock massage, and loved it, but he was upsold on products, which he did not buy. I would have loved to experience the thermal room/spa/pool, but the pricing was exorbitant. Based on the spa service prices, HAL should allow you the use of the these features on the days that you purchase a full price spa treatment, just like every other spa in the world. $40 per day is ridiculous after spending $500 on spa services. Looked nice, but I was not going to pay for this. I recall that this did not used to be so expensive. Overall, a great trip, made so by the staff of HAL. Easy embarkation and disembarkation were a huge plus, very well organized. We really enjoy the size of the HAL ships, as it makes things more manageable and personal. We are averse to the megaships, just can't imagine being on a ship with 4000 passengers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first time Holland America line, and some of the reviews were a little scary. Ship was older but nice. Not run down, and modern decor. I enjoy cruise entertainment, but the entertainment on this ship was pretty awful. There ... Read More
This was our first time Holland America line, and some of the reviews were a little scary. Ship was older but nice. Not run down, and modern decor. I enjoy cruise entertainment, but the entertainment on this ship was pretty awful. There were a few nights of really good shows, but the others were really bad. We enjoyed the food. The buffet was limited in selection, but what they had was very well done. We ate ate the restaurant for dinner each night, and we enjoyed the varied menu options each night. Room service breakfast was also quite nice! There was only one real specialty restaurant so dinner choices were very limited. Casino was really small. The ports were not that good. Some were amazing, and some not so much! On the lower decks there was a terrible odor. Like mildew, not really sure what it was, so we stayed away from deck 1. Happy hours were nice. local band was excellent. Had some nice specialty events upon leaving some ports that were nice! Just crowded! Great staff and crew. Seemed to be for the older generation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This is an older ship and even though they did remodel , it still needs help ie attention to details. The staff made the boat. Almost all were wonderful . Great smile and attitude . The entertainment was marginal at best. Their shore ... Read More
This is an older ship and even though they did remodel , it still needs help ie attention to details. The staff made the boat. Almost all were wonderful . Great smile and attitude . The entertainment was marginal at best. Their shore excursions are pricey and uninspiring .The problem is with HAL . We booked a 22 day Mediterranean cruise only to find out when we boarded that we were on two 11 day cruises. So after 11 days we had to re purchase spa package and Internet servic. First , I feel that wifi should just be included in the price. The Internet itself was beyond poor and HAL should be embarrassed as a company to charge for such poor service. HAL arrival and departure at the ports was just unacceptable . Especially at key ports like Florence, Rome . You don't actually get to see your itinerary until booked and they have your $$$. But , to dock at these major destinations 90 minute drive into town ( 3hr round trip ) and then depart in the middle of the afternoon is just wrong. Especially Rome where they were scheduled for departure at 4pm but because this was the beginning of a new 11 day cruise , we had to be back at 2:30 for muster station safety check or if we did not attend we would not be allowed on the boat. We had booked and paid for private (2 people) Vatican tour guide which was expensive and just a joke because we had so little time. We did not get to see anything else in Rome with the super early departure. Overall the room stewards and food service staff saved this ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The iberian intrigue cruise was not as great as we hoped. The first day a passenger had a minor accident and the Captain turned around to Barcelona for eight hour delay. This was the jist of the trip constant delays . On the excursions as ... Read More
The iberian intrigue cruise was not as great as we hoped. The first day a passenger had a minor accident and the Captain turned around to Barcelona for eight hour delay. This was the jist of the trip constant delays . On the excursions as inconsiderate passengers failed to return to the buses. Again holding up departures. Highpoints were stops at Valencia and Cartegena where we could stroll to the sights On our own. OuT of Vigo we took bus to Santiago where a magnifcent lunch at the Parador can dull the pain of the lousy bus service provided. So, we get to Cherbourg in Force 9 winds and get stuck there by weather, missing Belgium stop altoger as a result. Now we had 2 1/2 days at sea to catch up with the excellent beverage package provided. 15 drinks a day can keeo you pretty numb! This was a unique itinerary that allowed us to get to the Normandy Beaches and see Stonehenge and embrace the tomb of the apostle St. James. I would do it again if HA ran it later in year! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
After three days in Barcelona we boarded the Eurodam for our 13th HAL cruise and our third time on Eurodam. It's a big ship that never feels big to us and we would never sail on one of the mega 4000 passenger ships. Embarkation is ... Read More
After three days in Barcelona we boarded the Eurodam for our 13th HAL cruise and our third time on Eurodam. It's a big ship that never feels big to us and we would never sail on one of the mega 4000 passenger ships. Embarkation is always excellent and rapid and one gets in one's room quickly. We always take a Neptune Suite, in this case 7047. I realize having a suite may not be in everyone's price range but if you can make it work, the cruise you go on will feel different for many reasons. The room is obviously bigger with a large patio and a sitting area with a full size couch. There are many suite amenities which make an experience above and beyond regular passage. And then there is the Neptune Lounge, a kind of private club for suite passengers with two incredible concierges (in this case Mae and Joni) who will see to absolutely anything from help with excursions, any personal needs, making dinner reservations, you name it. One can have a European breakfast there daily or in the Pinnacle Grill. Throughout the day there are hors d'ouvres, cappuccino and tea. One can have breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill and there is a place to meet with other cruisers and share excursions, memories and tips. We find it well worth it. My wife and I loved the itinerary and loved Spain. What more can you say about Stonehenge and the Normandy Beaches? It was an ideal itinerary. it was very busy and packed each day. Someone complained that the captain turned the ship around in Barcelona to accommodate a lady with a broken leg. Wouldn't you want the same so you could be off loaded and not pay $1500 min for a helicopter? it was only an hour back and an hour forward and we were not off schedule, we arrived on time the next morning. We were not delayed 8 hours. Sheesh. And yes there were gale force winds at Cherbourg so the port would not let us leave. I too am sorry we missed Brugges but I would rather that than die at sea. Hello, it is a cruise. The cabin stewards, the waiters, the whole crew of the ship were wonderful. HAL has made some small changes which I appreciate. And the Tamerind remains one of the best restaurants at sea or on land, bar none. The Captain was very friendly on and off ship, the cruise director was fun and not cloying, and Ian the tour maven is the best one could ask for. Book your own excursions and you will usually pay a lot less but even at the same price, wouldn't you rather tour with four people in a nice van than with 120 in a bus? I never understand how people complain about the food....the Lido is never empty, the restaurants are never empty and the waistlines keep getting larger. I haven't read a review yet where people wrote they didn't like the food so they ate eggs and toast or cereal for dinner. Never happen. In fact the ship had an international dinner on the deck and one night served mussels on the deck and you couldn't even find a seat. Embarkation, debarkation...a snap. HAL does it well. And a special thanks to HAL for always making arrangements to have faith specific services on board. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my second cruise on the Eurodam and my seventh with HAL. I love this ship and their staff. Smiles, helpful, professional without being stuffy. The food was great and my cabin immaculate. The staff at the front desk were always ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the Eurodam and my seventh with HAL. I love this ship and their staff. Smiles, helpful, professional without being stuffy. The food was great and my cabin immaculate. The staff at the front desk were always helpful. I did not attend any shows but the piano bar and lounges were staffed with friendly people who remembered your name and favorite drink. No problems on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
First time on Holland America after many Princess Europe and Caribbean cruises. Chose this cruise to travel before the heat of summer began. We usually get a mini-suite with Princess, so was concerned about booking a regular balcony ... Read More
First time on Holland America after many Princess Europe and Caribbean cruises. Chose this cruise to travel before the heat of summer began. We usually get a mini-suite with Princess, so was concerned about booking a regular balcony cabin. It was beyond expectations, had a rear facing balcony. Plenty of storage space, some we only discovered days later after we were already unpacked. Liked the fact that a regular room had a bathtub/shower combination. The chairs on our deck were better grade than Princess, we had wicker chairs with cushions. Really enjoyed to Lido food stations. We never ate in the main dining rooms, so will not comment on regular dining. Found the variety of food to be better than most cruises on Princess. When beef items were offered at the carving station, they were nicely medium rare, and could be cooked further on the grill if you asked. Always had nice moist fish entree's along with lots of Lamb that I enjoy. Had great salad bar area, Asian area, always had a freshly made pasta station where you tell them what you want, they cook it for you. Had pre-made grinder type sandwiches that were already wrapped to make it easy to take ashore the next day (as we did several times). We were fortunate enough to get the promotion that included a free drink package. Really enjoyed sampling the different drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Great specialty coffees in the Explorers lounge, both with and without liquor. Recently upgraded TV entertainment system was the best I've seen on a ship. Had access to many movies, TV programs, all on demand and free of charge. Covered pool area was very nice with cushioned lounge chairs, and the ability to use it even if not the best weather. They would open it up most days, but had the option of closing it in needed. Only food not better than Princess was the Pizza..still prefer Princess in that regard. Missed the large open atrium on Princess ships. Was excited to see 2 very nice ping pong tables in the cover pool area, but disappointed that HAL did nothing to get people together to play. Most cruise lines have a ping pong 'tournament' to get players together, HAL had no mention of it for the entire 12 day cruise. Not great on entertainment, but we have gotten to the point that we don't go to shows every night anyway. Will cruise again with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our 2nd sailing with HAL having done the Greek Isle 3 years ago. That cruise was wonderful. Cannot say the same for this one. Across the board cost cutting is very evident in staffing, service, food and entertainment. Our ... Read More
This was our 2nd sailing with HAL having done the Greek Isle 3 years ago. That cruise was wonderful. Cannot say the same for this one. Across the board cost cutting is very evident in staffing, service, food and entertainment. Our balcony cabin was a little small but ok--the bed and pillows very comfortable, storage good and the reading lights are a nice touch. I wish there had been a night light in the bathroom but we just kept the door open a little. Our cabin attendants were excellent. Dining hours/service/food have suffered the most. MDR closed at 9:30am and is not open for lunch. The Lido hours are shorter too and serving areas were closed down early in some instances. There just was not enough staff to take care of everyone and the great service we had with HAL before is gone. It shows not only in the dining areas but on the pool deck bars, CrowsNest and other areas...hard to get a drink when you can't find a bartender or waiter. Room service was very good. The quality and variety of food has suffered also. Menus in the MDR are very limited and the waiters are so rushed they can't take time to discuss choices. My husband and I dined in the Pinnacle Grill twice. The 1st time, service and food was superb. Friends joined us the 2nd night and the food was still good but not the service. New York pizza was always tasty and the Dive-In grill is a great addition. The Explorations Café is in a tucked away area..as far from the dining areas as it could be. As for entertainment: the few shows we saw were not very good. Dancing with the Stars with guest competition is not our cup of tea. We did enjoy Adagio while we waiting for dinner seating and it would have been nice to have a little music in the CrowsNest. We booked this cruise because of the itinerary and every port was great. We used private tours for the most part. The Nieuw Amsterdam is beautiful but HAL was a real disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I will preface my comments by saying that I usually cruise on Celebrity having taken several transatlantic cruises on their ships. I have heard positive comments about Holland America so opted to try them this time. My number one, ... Read More
I will preface my comments by saying that I usually cruise on Celebrity having taken several transatlantic cruises on their ships. I have heard positive comments about Holland America so opted to try them this time. My number one, chief complaint was with the response I received from H-A home office to a request I made as to how rapidly I could disembark in order to catch a train leaving from Barcelona Sants rail station. I was simply told there wasn't any way to be sure of a time. What I learned at the end of the cruise was that one could leave the ship by taking their own luggage and be off the ship immediately after port clearance. It shows a lack of interest or concern on the part of home office staff. I guess they can't be bothered to know the ship routine. On the positive side the ship's staff is definitely superior, courteous, friendly and efficient. The veranda stateroom was clean, the bed comfortable, but lacking in desk space and a decent chair to sit by it. The computer lectures were well done, but a little too basic, but that is understandable. I did learn something and it was worth the time. The best entertainment by far was the two ladies from the Ukraine, the pianist and violinist; Adagio. Considering the fact that their venue was limited in space and sight lines, they were full for every performance. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and efficient. On the negative side there was a vibration felt in many places of the ship including the stateroom on occasion, the dining room, the Crow's Nest, the library and many other places. This was noted by almost every guest where the subject was mentioned. Apparently it is not part of the propulsion system as it was present even when docked in port. Obviously this ship needs some repairs. The buffet food was by and large pretty tasty, but the serving system is a mess. People line up at each station, while people walk behind them trying to see the options or read the small print on the cards or just trying to get from station to station. Next to the walking people are tables. Not a very nice place to sit while dining. In the main dining room the food was adequate in taste and portions, but there is a very limited menu and minimal options. The internet service was extremely slow and complicated which in turn makes it expensive. If you make the mistake of not logging out, and that is not obvious if you use your own computer all your time is gone, poof!!! The educational lectures were anything but educational. Nostalgia gets old after a few minutes. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My wife and I finally decided to plan a life-long, dream trip to Europe as a way of celebrating our upcoming wedding anniversary. This particular trip took several months to plan starting in the summer of 2014. In my research, I used ... Read More
My wife and I finally decided to plan a life-long, dream trip to Europe as a way of celebrating our upcoming wedding anniversary. This particular trip took several months to plan starting in the summer of 2014. In my research, I used several travel resources including DK Eyewitness Cruise Guide to Europe & The Mediterranean, Pocket Rouge Guide – London by Rob Humphreys, and Lonely Planet Mediterranean Europe. Yet, the cornerstone of my Europe strategy was assembled using Rick Steve’s 2015 Best of Europe Travel. Rick is a dynamic writer who makes you feel like you are part of his planning teams on these excursions to Europe. Rick has a practical approach filled with lots of humor. I kept using this book several months before the trip. Rick provides tourist information including the latest on attractions, booking tickets and tours, lodging, and planning. With this approach, I became more familiar with the cities. Unlike typical vacations, a trip to Europe was more complicated and expensive than other vacations. We selected the Holland America Eurodam Western Mediterranean Cruise. To celebrate our 26th Anniversary, my wife and I took an incredible trip to Europe followed by a 7-Day Mediterranean Glamour Cruise from Barcelona, Spain on the Holland America’s Eurodam. The trip was planned over the summer of 2014. We obtained several complimentary items including a cruise credit of $50, a bottle of wine, two signature beverage packages (worth $106 days a day), and a free professional photo. Additionally, we received an upgrade from Deluxe Verandah Oceanview (VF) which was a partial view to Deluxe Verandah Oceanview (VC), an outstanding view. Our cruise representatives maintained frequent communications and were always available to address any of our questions. The cruise itinerary included Barcelona, Cagliari, Sardinia, Palermo, Sicily, Italy, Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, San Margherita, Italy, and Monte Carlo, Monaco. Initially, our first port was going to be La Goulette (Tunis), Tunisia. However, there were issues with terrorism and tourists killed that diverted the port to Sardinia. All the ports were fascinating with interesting ports, unique cultures, and plenty of shopping opportunities. Holland America’s Eurodam is a very classy vessel. In fact, this ship is one of the largest ships in Holland America’s fleet. Our stateroom (Room 6123) was modern and large with a very attractive balcony with no obstructed view. Embarkation and disembarkation were organized and without any drama. The ship was to leave at 5pm. We arrived at the ship around 3:30pm. I would recommend arriving later so that you can avoid the crowds and go directly to your room without a hitch. The ship activities were limited but pretty well done. Causal dress was routinely more business-like and formal than the past ships we have sailed on; this type of cruise is geared towards an older crowd. The food was extremely good on the lido deck. We did not visit any of the specialty restaurants due to the high quality of the general eating. One of the highlights are our cruise was having open seating for dinner. We had the flexibility to eat at our own leisure, which was nice. In the past, my wife and I had pre-determined seating (6pm); this seating often required us rushing from a port to make the dinnertime. One of the additional advantages was sitting with different people and listening to their stories. We did formal dinner twice on the cruise. The downside of formal eating was the long wait to receive food; many of our dining partners around the table mentioned this fact also. The remainder of our eating was done on the lido deck primarily because we had a large selection of foods to select with limited wait times. We had nightly debriefings on local tours and the cost associated with them. These were invaluable opportunities for me and others to share the information with other value cruisers. In terms of the cruise ship services, the majority of the services were very good including room service. The entertainment on the ship was outstanding. From my research, I found that with the exception of summer the ship is a much older crowd (upper late 50s) than any other ship we have cruised. My wife called it a ‘sleep ship’ because there are limited activities on the ship unlike Carnival, which is known as the ‘Fun Ship.’ Yet, passengers were generally friendly and helpful in their discussion. We love music, shows, and the dancing. There was a variety of music from classical to hip hop. One of our favorite routines would be to eat dinner at 6pm and play musical chairs. We would go visit the ‘The Band’ as the play ballroom music and dance on the 3rd floor, sit back and listen to The Adario play some classical music, and make our way to the main stage to see a Broadway type performance by the Eurodam dancers. Drop by the BB King Lounge to dance to some soulful vocals. We would then make a finally stop at the lounge where Host Nick would be taking request from listeners. I always requested some Latin music for Salsa. Most times the club was dead at 10pm because most passengers were going to bed early for the early rising of the next port. Yet, there were times that the passengers were engaging the entertainers at all stations and the dance floor was both packed and electric. As usual, I found the excursions overpriced based on the value. The majority of our port excursions were either pre-booked, booked done upon arrival, or self-guided. We did book a ship transfer from the ship to the airport once we returned on our cruise; we had an early flight and didn’t want the hassle of getting a taxi. I would rank this cruise experience on the Eurodam as very good primarily based on the quality of food, excellent customer service, and attractive port of calls. Western Mediterranean With one sea day at the end of the cruise, this itinerary was both exciting and exhausting. I would encourage you to bring good walking shoes, local currency, and a good attitude about different cultural lifestyles. The Western Mediterranean ports of call included cities from Italy, France, and Spain. The cruise itinerary included Barcelona, Cagliari, Sardinia, Palermo, Sicily, Italy, Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, San Margherita, Italy, and Monte Carlo, Monaco. All ports had something interesting to see. With our past experience with cruising, we have found the shore excursions to be very expensive. Yet, booking a local tour was tricky, due to many negative reviews concerning personal theft (i.e. pickpocketing) and scams on tourists. I did my research and found some local tour guides with the latest customer reviews. The primary source was Viator.com. I was not disappointed. Those local tour companies who had great reviews, delivered as promised. In other cases like Palermo (Italy), we were able to negotiate with locals (i.e. taxi drivers). One of the keys is not to accept the first three offers regardless of how good the offer sounds. We have found that if you keep pressing onward you will find a better deal. The only item we booked through the cruise was the transfer from the port to the airport on our return. With that said, an individual can get better value if you are willing to do the research to minimize his or her risks. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Just got back form a Mediterrranean cruise, sailed on the Eurodam. One of the best cruises ever. Elegant ship, wonderful and friendly crew, great food (especially at the Lido buffet, great variety). Fresh flowers in all the public ... Read More
Just got back form a Mediterrranean cruise, sailed on the Eurodam. One of the best cruises ever. Elegant ship, wonderful and friendly crew, great food (especially at the Lido buffet, great variety). Fresh flowers in all the public spaces. Two gifts were waiting for me in my stateroon, an invitation from the Captian to join a few cruisers for Brunch the next morning and a complimentary drink package (15 drinks a day allowed). WOW! what did I do to deserve this - a great touch. The casiono was great, I never gamble, but tried the slots and won $20.00 - yea! Also booked a pre-crusie hotel stay for 2 days thru Holland America. Picked up at the Barcelona airport by a chauffer driven Mercedes, taken to the lovely Melia Sarria Barcelona hotel, Very nice hotel, great staff and the most wonderful breakfast buffet. Taxi was cheap to get to La Rambla and the other sights. Found two small restaurants a few minutes walk from the hotel, 3 course dinner for 9 euros per person, could not beat that. With my little spanish, it was not an issue talking with the owners of the restaurant, just very nice people. Shopping on Diagonal (the street behind the hotel) was wonderful, prices were so reasonable, El Corte Ingles, Zara, H and M and 2 shopping malls are just a few minutes walk from the hotel. All in all - I thought Disney was great, but the Eurodam gave it a run for its money. Disney has gotten so expensive - the Eurodam was a much better value. I felt as if I got some very personal service from a well trained and capable crew. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Everything started out great. The cabin was very clean and the staff was helpful. All the ports were quiet which was a change from other cruises we have taken, just walk through the cities and enjoy them. The city markets were fun to see. ... Read More
Everything started out great. The cabin was very clean and the staff was helpful. All the ports were quiet which was a change from other cruises we have taken, just walk through the cities and enjoy them. The city markets were fun to see. Those were the good things. The over all quality of Holland America has declined over the past 20 years. They have done away with alot of passenger envolvment. Seems like you are on your own if you don't pay for an experience. The food has had a decline in quality and taste also. Breakfast was the same menu everyday for the 15 days . Lunch not much different. Dinner had the same selections just with a different sauce. After about 8 days there was quite a few people getting sick with what was a respritory problem. The doctors office was full, did not seem to alarm the staff. After a visit to the doctor and minor medication. We continued to get sicker and so did others. Disemberkation was a nightmare. Should not take 2 hours to get off the ship, we asked for help and were told not to worry we would make our flight. Only after complaining again were we helped and made our flight by 1 minute. totally unaccaptable. We waited in line to get in line for 2 hours then another 2 hours at immigration. Holland America needs a board meeting to fix problems. Don't think we will be using them or an affiliate again after 20 years. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
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