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545 Holland America Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

I'm always curious to see if my assessment of a cruise ship matches the typical review of it I read here on Cruise Critic. Reviewers correct on the food, entertainment and things to do ... mostly pretty mundane. But the ship itself ... Read More
I'm always curious to see if my assessment of a cruise ship matches the typical review of it I read here on Cruise Critic. Reviewers correct on the food, entertainment and things to do ... mostly pretty mundane. But the ship itself is in immaculate condition after a fall 2019 retrofit. And the crew was one of the sharpest and friendliest I have encountered on the high seas, except for a few letdowns in the dining room. Also love the size of the ship, easy to get around with a max of 1,400 passengers. Our New England and Canada fall colors cruise encountered some storms and we could not get in to Bar Harbor or get off the ship at Halifax. An extra wine tasting was added, and it's nice they do them, some lines don't, but HAL uses mostly cheap wines . One habit I find distasteful is their tendency during wine tastings and Lido food service to begin to shut things down too quickly. Other lines not so bad on that score. HAL loves these Microsoft classes but after a decade it's gotten old as people now focused more on cell phones than laptops. Our cabin with a small porthole was fine but several people related horror stories about plumbing problems and rude service at the front desk. HAL needs to revisit its offerings of things to do .. why not try some new, creative things instead of the same old same old you have run for decades! The food? In typical HAL fashion had some great lunches and dinners and a a couple that were flops. Soups not as good as they used to be on HAL ships. We don't even try the Pinnacle anymore because they just can't cook a steak right! The stops we made were fine ... loved Quebec City and the North End of Boston. Also enjoyed small towns Charlottetown and Sydney and their friendly people. Found the casino in Sydney and also their nice waterfront boardwalk. People complained that there is nothing at the pier at Port Canaveral. Overall glad we did the cruise and HAL is fine if you don't get thrown for a loop by a few things not to your liking. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Nice cruise with great food, entertainment and service encounter part of a nor'easter in Halifax, but we just stayed overnight so it wasn't a big deal. Overall we had lots of sunny days to see the colors. Missed Bar Harbor, but ... Read More
Nice cruise with great food, entertainment and service encounter part of a nor'easter in Halifax, but we just stayed overnight so it wasn't a big deal. Overall we had lots of sunny days to see the colors. Missed Bar Harbor, but it would have been raining. Weather this time of year isn't always great. We've been on about 20 cruises and the singers and dancers on this one were the best. Amazing talent. Veendam is in great shape after dry dock earlier this year. They haven't messed up the Crows Nest like on some of the newer ships - and there still is a library. And we like it's (relatively) small size. Only critisizm would be we'd like more noncommercial (IE pay) activities on sea days. Since we don't gamble, shop of go to the spa, activities were limited in choice. Not sure what Orange thing was - we just got a menu with a different cover at dinner. Same menu. And a guy with an orange tie showed us to our same table. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had 3 choices for this itinerary from Canada to Ft. Lauderdale (inc. Zaandam from Montreal & either Zuiderdam or RCL AOS from QC), but we chose the Zuiderdam because of its sail date that would allow us to spend my wife's ... Read More
We had 3 choices for this itinerary from Canada to Ft. Lauderdale (inc. Zaandam from Montreal & either Zuiderdam or RCL AOS from QC), but we chose the Zuiderdam because of its sail date that would allow us to spend my wife's birthday with our friends in Quebec City. We are 3 star Mariners on HAL and will probably stop there and not choose HAL again when compared to the significantly better amenities for loyal cruisers we get on RCL and Celebrity for even fewer cruises. Positives: The age of the Zuiderdam did not detract from the significant improvements made by the last upgrades in the Lido and public areas which really impressed us since we typically include older ships in our many cruise itineraries. In the many reviews of this ship, there are definite differences in ratings for the same items with major differences in reviews of food and entertainment most evident. Crew in Lido, DR and cabins have ALWAYS rated a 10 for us in service on all of the HAL ships we have been on and this cruise was no exception. The service by the server crew in the LIDO that irritates some cruisers has apparently been very successful in decreasing food illnesses caused by careless cruisers and no incidents happened on our ship that we heard about. Food in the LIDO and main DR was good to very good on some nights but nothing to rave about on a typical evening where escargot and shrimp cocktails are no longer standard appetizers except on the 2 "gala" nights on our 11 day cruise. This time we did not participate in the computer classes although those have been very good in past cruises where we did sit in; these typically rate very high and deserve it along with the string musical group that add elegance to the evenings on the ship. Dowsides/Negatives: Walking into our Verandah cabin on Deck 6 gave us an initial shock on how small it looked because of the very low amount of free floor space compared to what we expected from our cruises on Eurodam/Nieuw Amsterdam class ships or even on older HAL ships. Worse: there are ONLY 2 small drawers in each of the tiny night stands in the entire cabin, NONE in the desk and a hidden one you need to discover under the foot of the bed but that requires you to bend down to the floor so might be best for things you might need only once or twice during a long cruise. The ONLY shelves in the cabin are located in one of the 3 closet spaces right by the cabin door and on the side of the desk already filled with glasses and a hair dryer......a small shelf under the vanity is the only other shelf in the entire cabin. So, when you read comments about "lack of storage", this ship was the first in our experience on other HAL ship classes or 3 other cruise lines that had the lowest possible amount of storage. For activities the cooking demos are fun although tasting the product is a thing of the past on HAL. If you like Jazz and dueling pianos with off key singers then evenings will be your high points; each of these events had their enthusiastic followers and demonstrates again why there are differences in reviews. The shows in the theater were hit or miss with a rather stunning light and techno start in one show and two rather boring performances in later efforts. The officers on the Zuiderdam. unlike on many other lines we sail are relatively invisible and not friendly. The cruise director on our 11 day trip to Fr. Lauderdale was visible for about 30 seconds or less (i.e., sometimes not at all) in introducing the entertainment acts and did not participate in any of the onboard activities we attended. We started to wonder why this cruise even needed a CD except for morning messages and perhaps a few more waiters would have been money better invested by HAL. OVERALL; The Zuiderdam will offer you a quiet cruise with afternoons that often seem like a day at a museum in the middle of a slow week. Evenings are better for Jazz/Pop piano and Casino enthusiasts but little else for those looking for audience games or alternative entertainment Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Typically cruise on Princess but wanted to try this due to itinerary. Hard not to compare Princess against Holland America. On the positive side we like the larger bathroom. Also the staff is great. On the not so positive side: The ship ... Read More
Typically cruise on Princess but wanted to try this due to itinerary. Hard not to compare Princess against Holland America. On the positive side we like the larger bathroom. Also the staff is great. On the not so positive side: The ship itself is old and is not well maintained compared to Princess ships except for cabins. Too much up selling in all areas. For example, Consistently being asked if we want to purchase a $75 steak or pay $25 for a lobster. When you say NO the demeanor of the staff seems to change. Not as attentive. Booked a walking tour at one of the ports. Due to fairly heavy and consistent rain and cold we thought it would be canceled but it wasn’t. Can’t imagine who would want to walk in the cold and rain for two hours. Probably will not be cruising with Holland America again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I just want to add a more positive note over any bad or poor reviews that have been posted about the Holland America Zuiderdam. Unfortunately many CC writers believe that when people want to know what they think, they only write the ... Read More
I just want to add a more positive note over any bad or poor reviews that have been posted about the Holland America Zuiderdam. Unfortunately many CC writers believe that when people want to know what they think, they only write the negative. We had a lovely Canada & New England cruise ending in Ft. Lauderdale after 2 sea days. The slim shipboard theater entertainment was more than compensated for by the friendly and professional crew….everywhere from the Guest Services desk assisting with a possible shore conflict (thanks Kevin), to the great bar staff, to our great cabin stewards (thanks Tau and Matt), to the plentiful and wonderful and easy-going servers in the dining rooms, where we were thrilled with all of the amazingly delicious and well-presented food.. All the embarkations/disembarkations were efficient and smooth. The ship was going into dry dock in the near future to spruce things up a bit, but she stil looked to be in great shape. We have many, many cruises under our belts but this one will always stand out as enjoyable. Well done, Captain and crew of the Zuiderdam !!!. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our second cruise with Holland America. The first was June of this year on the Niew Amsterdam. It was superb, so we decided to stay with Holland America and book another for October. For both cruises we decided on the Neptune ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Holland America. The first was June of this year on the Niew Amsterdam. It was superb, so we decided to stay with Holland America and book another for October. For both cruises we decided on the Neptune Suite, thinking that Holland America would have the same quality on all their ships. Big mistake! Because we were flying 3000 miles to begin our cruise, we decided on paying for the pre night stay and transfer fee. We were told that given the fact we had suite status, we would be able to board as soon as the ship cleared customs. We were on bus 1 they said. Long story short...bus 1 was too small, bus 2 didn't arrive until 2 hrs later. We finally boarded the ship at 2 pm. No problem we thought, let's just get to our room and unpack and relax a bit. We looked forward to our suite. Another mistake. The room was old and worn. The sink was so badly chipped I thought at first it was debris not cleaned. The tub was also chipped. The bags had not arrived! When they weren't their by 3:45, we let our room steward know we would not be staying on the ship if they weren't there by 4:30. The ship was schedule to leave at 5 pm. Bless the room steward, I think he went and found them himself...they arrived at 4:15. Three days into the cruise we were informed they would be shampooing our carpet the next day! It was rainy and they expect it to dry? No problem, we let the concierge know to bypass our room for the entire cruise...but really? I should add there was not a clean window in any public area on the entire ship. I mean they were filthy, no crystal clear views to be had anywhere but in your stateroom. One day after walking most of the day, we came back around 3 pm, changed into robes and decided to relax on our verandah with a glass of wine. We hear a noise and up pops 2 guys on a scaffold...they are painting! We had to pull the curtains and sit in our room. Apparently they paint while in port. The next day we came back and the patio was covered in paint chips...they had scraped on the deck above us while we were gone. It never was swept. Except for the Pinnacle Grill, the food was mediocre. That didn't bother us too much given the fact we are not big eaters BUT we were told that on a smaller ship, the food is always better...definitely not the case on this ship. We ordered room service twice, both times order was incomplete, we gave up on ordering again. Nightly entertainment was definitely for older crowd and we are in our early 70's! No BB King on this cruise! The casino was small but adequate. We found the service employees on the ship very friendly. We always make a point to visit with our room steward, concierge, and dining personnel. They are friendly and each one has such an interesting life story. Port excursions were wonderful. This cruise is advertised a a "fall color" cruise. It is misleading not because catching the fall color at just the right time is iffy, it is because you are cruising at night in the dark passing the color. By the time the sun is up, you are in port, which ports have little fall color. They are ports after all. Instead it should be advertised by the richness of history in every port they visit. It was wonderful! Our cruise came to an end and our scheduled time was to disembark at 9:30 am. We were more than ready by 8 am but no problem, we walked to the concierge lounge, grabbed a a few snacks and brought them back to site on our verandah. We are sitting there and all of a sudden water comes shooting over the partition. This time we yelled, what are are you doing? The water ceased. Apparently they started hosing off decks without checking the departure time for each room. So, my advice to all of you, take a look at the age of your ship first of all, ask what you will see while cruising and don't be afraid to speak up. Cruising is not cheap and you are entitled to what was presented to you initially. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have been on the Zuiderdam before but it has been several years. We were pleasantly surprised to see that they have done a nice job refurbishing the ship and adding some new features. Like some of the other ships in the Holland ... Read More
We have been on the Zuiderdam before but it has been several years. We were pleasantly surprised to see that they have done a nice job refurbishing the ship and adding some new features. Like some of the other ships in the Holland America line, they have added the America's Test Kitchen, Lincoln Center Stage, BB King's Blues Club, and Billboard Onboard. The crew on this ship was fantastic - always friendly and cheerful. It reminded me of the crews I saw 10 years ago before Holland America decided to make some significant staff cuts. (I remember one cruise on another HA ship where the crew was miserable and I didn't blame them because of the pressure they were under. It appears that things have improved.) The food was good if a bit bland, but it is hard to cook for 2000 people and please everyone. I did like many of the soups and the salad bar. The service was great in the specialty restaurants, dining room, and on the Lido deck. We usually had breakfast in our room (nice!) but we never had a problem finding a place to sit on Lido deck as can sometimes be the case. The one place I think Holland America can improve is with the onboard activities. They definitely cater to an older crowd so I'm sure that is a big part of how they choose what to offer. It just seemed like most of the activities were either shopping or alcohol related, in other words ways to make more money. I loved the America's Test Kitchen although I would like to seen more demonstrations or even a hands-on cooking class. We did not go to the shows every night so I can't speak for all of the entertainment but there is some room for improvement. I enjoyed one of the comedians but was not too impressed by some of the other performers I saw. Although Billboard Onboard was quite popular, well, let me just say that it needs some work. There is no chemistry between the dueling pianists. I did not listen to the performers at Lincoln Center State or BB King's but I have seen some excellent performances on HA's other ships. Finally, this cruise had a great itinerary except that we had to use tenders at many of the ports. We also had to skip Prince Edward Island due to high winds which was a huge disappointment. Shortly after the cruise director announced that we would be stopping there after all, the captain announced a short time later that we would not, in fact, be stopping. Many people, including myself, were sorely disappointed. Although I understand that safety is the priority, I would have suggested that they skip Sydney, Nova Scotia and gone straight to PEI. They knew the day before we arrived at PEI that weather might be a problem because they announced it. Overall it's a nice ship and I would recommend it if you want to kick back and relax and maybe do a bit of sightseeing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I see there are a few other reviewers of this particular cruise that didn't like the fact we couldn't anchor in Charlottetown, PEI. Them's the breaks, folks. You can't control the weather. I thought we were very ... Read More
I see there are a few other reviewers of this particular cruise that didn't like the fact we couldn't anchor in Charlottetown, PEI. Them's the breaks, folks. You can't control the weather. I thought we were very fortunate overall with the weather given the timeframe, with Sydney, NS being the only problem spot. My only gripe with this is that the printed itinerary (which I booked a month out) said we'd be at pier and not anchored. Because of this I took a chance and booked a third party tour, which of course didn't have a refund policy. When confronted with this discrepancy, HAL Guest Services stated that they have no control over where the ship is assigned in port. I guess I don't understand how that works as I thought these itineraries are planned months if not years in advance. Don't cruise lines pay ports for docking privileges? Anyway, this is only my second cruise, the previous being a 9-day Alaska cruise on Westerdam, another Vista class sister ship to the Zuiderdam. I found virtually everything to my satisfaction, including the food. All dinners were taken either in the MDR or the specialty restaurants. Pinnacle Grill was nice, though it seemed like staff was stretched thin on the night I attended. The Cellar Master's Dinner was spectacular. Didn't bother with the Lido other than for breakfast, which was fine and really not much different from MDR's offerings, with the exception of better service. As for onboard entertainment, I greatly enjoyed the Lincoln Center Stage offerings. A shame they don't have a larger venue for them to play in. Saw the BB King band during the Orange Party and it was no different than on the Westerdam. Not my thing, and I don't need the hearing damage. Attended one America's Test Kitchen show where they made gnocchi. I didn't think so many people would be interested in someone boiling water on a stage. A bit disappointed with drink service in the Crow's Nest as I thought their double Scotch pour was a little miserly. As to the port excursions, I think there's a little too much bus and shuttle stuff going on compared to the time actually spent at whatever the destination was. Folks with mobility issues were a definite factor, and I think HAL needs to be more proactive with respect to what's expected of those travelers. Newport: Did self-guided tours and a non-HAL trolley. Great little town. Could spend several days here doing all of the mansion tours. Gloucester: Beauport Mansion & Rockport Tour. Nice tour of the Sleeper-McCann House, though at only one hour it is very, very rushed if you're a photographer. Managed to squeeze out 90 minutes from the house guide, which I'm sure annoyed the bus driver who still had to hustle up to Rockport, which isn't much more than a picturesque tourist trap, IMO. A woman was 20 minutes late returning to the bus, resulting in a 5 minute photo stop at the Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial Statue. No big loss. Portland: Kennebunkport & Scenic Cruise. Skip the cruise part entirely. The boat goes approximately 100 yards past the breakwater and picks up a lobster trap for a photo op. Big whoop. The town's much like Rockport, quaint and aimed at maximum tourist dollar extraction. Walking the streets of Portland was okay. Bar Harbor: An Intimate Look at Acadia National Park. The only thing "intimate" about this was the fact that you were in a small airport shuttle instead of a full sized tour bus. Only two 15 minute photo stops intersperced with pulling over to the road shoulder and pointing out houses. Have fun if you get stuck with a driver that doesn't know how to work the a/c to keep the windows from fogging up. I was later told there was a free shuttle up to the park entrance, but how you got around after that was a mystery. Made it to the top of Cadillac Mountain for some spectacular views, but it was incredibly windy. I didn't mind, but it seemed most of the tour group had enough after a mere 15 minutes. Halifax: Did self-guided tours and explored the Citadel. Nice city. Sydney: Weather was poor, so this wasn't much fun. Walked the city self-guided and there frankly wasn't much to look at. I suppose a Cabot Trail tour might have been nice, but it was a short day in port and I was tired of being on buses. Charlottetown: Canceled due to high winds. Lots of disappointed people, but I thought the captain's talk later that day really explained what he was up against. Saguenay: Did the bus tour to Anse St-jean and took a large jet boat back to La Baie. Would have been nice to spend more than 15 minutes in the woods with the fall colors, but apparently the guide was insistent we be in town to buy trinkets and eat food. Covered bridge was underwhelming. I'm tempted to say skip this tour as the Zuiderdam left port before sunset, so you'll see much of the same sights just with different lighting conditions. The Zuiderdam did make a stop at the Lady of Saguenay statue (as does the tour boat), which was nice. Quebec City: Spectacular. Self-toured both days. Did the pricey high tea at Chateau Frontenac, which I thought was better here than at the Empress in Victoria. Ironically, this port had the most fall color of all the cities on the itinerary. Would have been worth it to find a hiking tour someplace around the airport as the red and gold colored trees went on for miles. Not sure I'd do this trip again, but it serves as a decent sampler of the region for folks interested in an extended stay at one of these cities. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had high expectations when we booked this cruise! Unfortunately, the cruise was a huge disappointment due to extremely poor management primarily from Guest Services on the ship. First, let me inform you about the positive aspects on ... Read More
We had high expectations when we booked this cruise! Unfortunately, the cruise was a huge disappointment due to extremely poor management primarily from Guest Services on the ship. First, let me inform you about the positive aspects on the cruise! Virtually all of the ship's staff that we encountered went above and beyond attempting to make the cruise enjoyable! In particular, our cabin attendants were excellent in attending to our needs the entire cruise! The staff in all the of the eating and dining areas of the ship were very good and all were very helpful and seemingly always had a smile on their face! Food was OK with the food in the dining area lacking but made up in the Lido Market by having a tasty variety of dishes and desserts. The on board entertainment was good with a couple of shows that were fun. We went on four shore excursions with the highlights being the Quebec and Charlottetown tours. We were thoroughly impressed with Charlottetown as it very much reminded us of Ireland! Absolutely the most enjoyable aspect of the entire cruise were the great people we met! We traveled with friends and we participated in a couple of events (Music Trivia and Team Pictionary) in the evening that turned out to be great fun! Also met a couple from Oregon that were lots of fun! Unfortunately, all of the above positive aspects of the cruise were negated by the following debacle! Upon boarding the ship at 4:00 PM on Sept 21, we proceeded to our cabin. As soon as we entered the hallway we observed some type of machine down the hallway which was making quite a noise. As we approached our cabin, we realized this was a large blower that was right outside of our cabin door. Opening the door we were greeted by another of these large blowers in the entryway of the cabin. I quickly recognized the blower as a large industrial type used to dry out wet areas. The room was configured with two twins pushed together to make a queen size bed. On either side of the bed was suppose to be a night stand but the right side nightstand was removed and placed in front of the dresser on the other side of the room. This was necessary because the first 10 to 12 feet of cabin carpet was soaked in water. As we entered the room, water pushed up around our shoes. I immediately went to Guest Services and was greeted by a long line of guests. Eventually, I was helped by a Guest Services individual named Caesar. As soon as I told him what the problem was he stated he was aware of the state of the carpet in the room and said it should be dried out quickly. I was informed that the bathtub had been allowed to overrun when it was being sanitized between cruises. It overflowed so badly that it soaked the carpet in the our cabin, the hallway outside the cabin, as well as the cabin next to us. I asked about moving to another cabin and was told the cruise was 100% booked and there was nowhere they could move us. I asked twice for clarification about cabins and was given the same answer again. He stated that they were extremely busy right then but would contact us after 6:00 PM. About 7:30, I again went to Guest Services and was told that they would send someone to check on the cabin. Approximately an hour later an individual from the ship's staff knocked on the door and checked the floor. He stated the machines would have to be left on to dry the carpet and left. The blower was so loud that we left the room and wandered around the ship just to escape the noise. After we returned I turned off the blower in the cabin so we could get some sleep. I turned it back on when we woke up the next morning. Upon returning from breakfast, we were greeted with a second machine which was a very large suction machine which made it impossible to get around the bed. We left very soon for a shore excursion and did not return until mid afternoon. Upon returning we noted someone had come in and moved both pieces of equipment to another spot. I went back to Guest Services and was again told they were working on the room and that we would receive compensation for our inconvenience. The representative stated she could not tell what this amount would be as management would decided the amount. Again was told there were no spare cabins. That night I again turned the machine off when we went to bed that evening. Carpet was drier but I could still mash water out of it. During the night a pillow fell off the bed and was dripping water when we picked it up in the morning. I turned the machine on again when we left for breakfast. We again went on and a shore excursion and returned to the machines. When we returned from dinner, the machines were finally gone. The smell in the room was terrible and reminded us of a wet dog. It stayed that way the entire cruise duration. Mind you this was day three of the cruise when the machines were removed. Consequently, the first three days of a seven day cruise was a disaster to us. On the night before the cruise ended, we returned from dinner and found a final bill statement on our door. After three days of putting up with a mess, Holland America offered us $300 in compensation. I went to Guest Services as was told by the rep that "this is the maximum compensation we can offer". After I stated that we put up with this mess for three days, I was told we were "only inconvenienced for two days" because the machines were taken out after two days. He quickly realized that was not true as my wife produced cell phone photos of our room with the equipment present. It was dated 17:02 23 Sept 2019 which was the evening of the third cruise day. He realized we were right and gave us no further argument about the fact. He went to the back and when he returned to the front desk he stated "they raised to compensation to $400". I was still unhappy about the offer but asked the rep if he could give me an updated statement. He again went to the back and upon returning he stated that the compensation was increased to $450. He offered no explanation for the increase. Realizing this was going no further, we left to pack for disembarkation the next morning. As I stated initially, this cruise was a total letdown for us because of extremely poor management by Guest Services. We were given compensation (which I had to negotiate) that amounted to less than 10% of the amount we paid for the cruise. Probably more important was the fact that no one really seemed to care about our situation other than to state "we are working on it". My wife has a severely compromised immune system and we were very concerned about the possibility of mold or some other type of contamination being present in the room. I mentioned this to every single contact I had with Guest Services and not one person even acknowledged the fact I had brought it to their attention. We felt they did not care about our concerns. This entire situation could have been avoided if we could have been moved into another cabin. To not have any available spare cabins is poor management at best. Actually, I find the fact they have no spare cabins very difficult to believe! When I brought up the issue of no spare cabins to the Guest Services gentlemen the last evening of the cruise he stated " Of course we had spare rooms but they were not of the size and comfort level of the cabin you were occupying".We had repeatedly been told that the ship was 100% booked and were now told they had spare rooms but not like ours! No one questioned us as to whether we would stay in a smaller room for a few days! Throughout this entire episode, we had to actively pursue resolution of our situation with Guest Services and they absolutely showed no concern for the condition of the cabin, our discomfort and inconvenience! We absolutely were not treated as valued customers! Additionally, we felt we were given the "run around" the entire cruise by Guest Services! We certainly plan more cruises but it will not be with Holland America! Needless to say, our experience was unforgettable for the wrong reasons! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Holland America has some great ships and cruises. Unfortunately the Veendam cruise from Boston to Montreal is NOT one of them. The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned soon so it is in its lasts throws as a working Holland America cruise ... Read More
Holland America has some great ships and cruises. Unfortunately the Veendam cruise from Boston to Montreal is NOT one of them. The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned soon so it is in its lasts throws as a working Holland America cruise ship. Problems began on embarkation. Our fellow travelers were assigned to a Veranda deck state room next to ours and upon arrival found industrial strength air blowers trying to dry out their room(A178) which had been flooded by an overflowing tub being sanitized. Room A176 was also flooded as well as the hall way. The smell (like a wet dog) and damp carpets were present for the remainder of the seven day trip. Guest services said nothing more than trying to dry out the carpet could be done since all the cabins were full. When we first went down to Guest Services to complain, there was a long, long line of people trying to change rooms for various problems. Dining in the main dinging room was also a negative aspect of the cruise. On all of our previous cruises with Holland America, dining in one of the main dinging rooms was always special. The menus and meals on this particular cruise were so mundane that it seemed like a majority of dinners left of the Lido Market after two days of disappointment. The Veendam is old and pretty worn out and it shows in every room that we visited. Most of the crew tried to make up for the ships many faults with their service but there was just too much to overcome. The most dangerous moment occurred when we were tendering back from a day in Bar Harbor. Lack of seamanship left the tender too far from the Veendam's dock and a choppy sea resulted in the tender slamming violently into the side of the Veendam. A number of returning passengers were thrown into the floor of the tender and one woman appeared to be seriously injured. I have always praised Holland America but after this cruise, I would be more careful about reading current reviews. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This cruise was a last minute decision and the most delightful surprise. A 1400 passenger ship now qualifies for a small ship experience.The Veendam was renovated in April and its classic charm updated into a modern version of the ... Read More
This cruise was a last minute decision and the most delightful surprise. A 1400 passenger ship now qualifies for a small ship experience.The Veendam was renovated in April and its classic charm updated into a modern version of the same.Beautiful antiques throughout, easy to get to any place on the ship, absolute fine dining in the main dining room and in specialty restaurants.Chef Guru handled all dining venues from Rudi's Seafood, Canalettti,Pinnacle Grill and buffet to perfection.Classical entertainment by Marian on violin,and beautiful shows especially the Planet of the Stars in main theatre. Other musical performances happy and fun.Service impeccable in all dining areas.Even have a happy hour in 2 bars twice a day!!Many more ports than the usual Canada/New England cruise. Officers friendly and kudos especially to Chief Engineer Paul Jacobs and Hotel director Leonie Henry who were visible and so engaging. Can't wait to book this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Had to be bussed 4 hours to the second port because the ship was under repair. Had to wait in the lobby for hours for a bus because they had no idea when we would go. We were compensated $75 for the trouble. Communication for ... Read More
Had to be bussed 4 hours to the second port because the ship was under repair. Had to wait in the lobby for hours for a bus because they had no idea when we would go. We were compensated $75 for the trouble. Communication for Immigration back into the country and tendering were also very poorly handled. The good news was the food was better than other lines I’ve been on and the ship was very clean. We paid extra for Club Orange which I thought was worth it. Our upgraded stateroom was clean but in need of updating. There was NO outlet in the bathroom and only one in the room. More closet space than expected. The staff in general were very pleasant. The highlight of the trip was when we got off of the cruise to spend time in Boston. We were with some friends or else this itinerary (Montreal to Boston) would have been too boring for us. Unless you really, really want to see these ports I don’t recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I chose this last minute cruise since she had never seen Canada. We are frequent cruisers of the Caribbean and thought this might be a nice change. The ship is fairly small and the clientele for this cruise is definitely ... Read More
My wife and I chose this last minute cruise since she had never seen Canada. We are frequent cruisers of the Caribbean and thought this might be a nice change. The ship is fairly small and the clientele for this cruise is definitely older. The food was good on the cruise. The best part for us was all the food is actually served even on the buffet. Was nice to not have other guests touching serving spoons and kept things very fresh and appetizing. Had not seen this on most lines and was a nice feature. This cruise had ports every day so that kept daytime activities onboard minimal which was ok since we took cruise to see the sights. However in evening there was still little to do but eat, casino or drink. They did have ESPN on at one of bars to watch sports which was nice. Bars are actually minimal too so had to go out of way usually to find drinks. Very friendly staff but amenities from most ships are lacking here. So if onboard activities are your preference pick a different cruise. We chose to do our own activities in port so didn’t do the planned excursions. They also seemed very pricey for what they offered. There was a nice theater onboard with a couple nice movies that were shown. Also, the shows were decent though nothing special. The cabin was good size and had a tub. We had a window cabin and it was comfortable with lots of storage. Only one outlet on desk but will bring you a power strip. This is difficult though if you have lots of devices and also the desk is far from bed. The tv is also small and far from bed. They will give you dvds to watch but again hard to see in 13 inch screen that is the long way across the room. Overall happy with room though. The bad now. This is an older boat and it actually broke down in Quebec City so we couldn’t continue to our last port in Montreal. In talking to staff this wasn’t the first time it broke down either in the last year as they all knew the drill. This kept casino closed the last night and took away one of the few entertainment things on the ship. This also meant the decided to bus us to Quebec starting at 4 am for a 3 hour bus ride to the port. This was the only information given. When we got to bus it was an old yellow school bus! So no facilities in bus and no information prior to leaving the ship this would be the case. People had just eaten and now had to ride in a tight bus, no facilities and no air conditioning. They did stop about 2 hours into trip at rest area but by then people had resorted to using bottles etc. when we got to the port they had our luggage on a truck that was at port but not unloading. Instead they chose to spend an hour loading the next group on those buses to take them to Quebec City to board the boat. So we sat at the port an hour waiting for luggage with no Holland America rep present to explain where to go for luggage, timing, etc. For the inconvience e were given $50 ship credit on our account. Also, offered 15% off future cruise where details of discount were supposed to be on other side of letter but was blank. So really no offer at all there. I would have rated the cruise about a 3 had the end not happened or been handled better. However the lack of communication and really poor accommodation at the end made this a terrible cruise. Given age of boat and past problems I would tell anyone to avoid this ship at all costs. So sort of buyer beware situation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise because my family decided a last minute trip and this trip was the only itinerary would fit our schedule and we wanted to explore the East coast of Canada. I would rated the experience better if it was our trip ended so ... Read More
I chose this cruise because my family decided a last minute trip and this trip was the only itinerary would fit our schedule and we wanted to explore the East coast of Canada. I would rated the experience better if it was our trip ended so terribly on the last day of our cruise trip. The crew members were hardworking and friendly. The food was good overall. I think they ship needs a major update in many areas as it looks really outdated. On the first night of our trip, there was a fire alarm triggered at 2 a.m due to some leak of a smoke. We were super terrified. On the last day of our trip, the ship broke down at Quebec City and was not able to make it to Montreal. We were told that we would be transported from Quebec City to Montreal by bus. They started to transport passengers starting at 4 a.m.! As we didn't pre-arrange any transportation with the cruise line, they would only be willing to transport us to the cruise port. When we were in line to wait for the bus, we found out that we had to travel by old small Yellow school bus!!!! Our luggage were loaded in other trucks as no space in these tiny smelly Yellow bus! We waited for at least 45 minutes at the Montreal port to get our luggage! There was no one from Holland American to assist passengers. They were just shipping these passengers from Montreal to Quebec City so they can board on the broken ship! No one cares about the passengers. There were a huge line up at the taxi and I barely made it to the Montreal airport to board my 3 o'clock flight. There were other passengers have missed their flights/train due to this delay! No one from HAL would offer any help! The compensation was a joke. We were given a piece of paper that we can get discount for the future HAL cruise and referred the terms and conditions in the back but it was blank!!! This was a super terrible experience and HAL handled it poorly! Who wants to travel again with them!? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We choose this cruise for the itinerary. It was leaving from Boston and we don't live to far away. Also we had heard great things about Holland America. We loved the first 5 days of the cruise but the last two were where Holland ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary. It was leaving from Boston and we don't live to far away. Also we had heard great things about Holland America. We loved the first 5 days of the cruise but the last two were where Holland America totally lost us. We loved the service, food and ship until the last two days. Two nights from the end of the cruise a pipe burst on our deck and 6 or 7 rooms not far from us were flooded. We heard others on another deck were also affected. They had to move the people on our deck at 4 am. They woke us up with all of the noises but at least we were dry. We had a fire alarm go off on one of the first nights of the cruise at 2 am and it ended up being a steam leak in the galley but alarms and speakers going off so wrecked up that night's sleep. The worst thing was that the ship started having propulsion problems before Quebec City which slowed us down so we were several hours late getting into that port. They worked on the problem while we were ashore and acted as if it was fixed but by dinner that night it was clear we were not going anywhere. They finally told us at 10pm we were not going to Montreal on the ship and were to be bused in the morning. When we showed up to disembark we were put into a yellow school bus for an estimated 3 hour ride which ended up being over 4 hours. No room for luggage or carryons. No room for knees. No room for senior citizens. When we got to the Montreal Port Terminal we had to wait for 40 minutes to unload because they were first loading up the next cruise guests for the next week and they had to get them to Quebec City. I was livid that they had the gall to make us wait in the parking lot (as we had already paid) so they could load up the new guests. We also found out that other guests got to be on nice air conditioned custom buses as they were waiting in the parking lot with us. We were supposed to disembark in Montreal at 8am. We didn't get to leave with our bags (had to wait on them as they came by u-haul truck as no room on a school bus) until 2pm. So pretty much whole day lost in touring Montreal due to riding on a bus and waiting at terminal and waiting on bags. Then we had to drag our bags several blocks aways from the terminal to get a ride as the taxi line was very long and not moving. But Holland America did give us a $50 pp credit for all of this situation so I guess in their minds they took care of us. Terrible communications on the issues. If they would have advised we were going to be stuck on a school bus I would have looked for a train, plane or automobile instead. Due t the issues on the boat, I also wonder whether this boat should be active right now. I'm no expert but it sounds like dry dock is where it should be. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We flown in the day before and spent the night in Boston. The embarkation was rather smooth as we didn’t rush with the masses to get to the pier. We were offered an upgrade to the Neptune Suites and we jumped on it as apparently some ... Read More
We flown in the day before and spent the night in Boston. The embarkation was rather smooth as we didn’t rush with the masses to get to the pier. We were offered an upgrade to the Neptune Suites and we jumped on it as apparently some travelers canceled due to hurricane Dorian. We figured that the storm would have been ahead of our travels so there shouldn’t have been any excursion disruptions. Upon settling into our cabin and waiting for our luggage to arrive, we stepped into the Neptune Lounge to find snacks waiting for us. The fruit tarts are delish and look for them each day. After attending muster, we were informed the Captain decided to delay our departure from Boston an hour to give the storm a chance to go further north. Our main dining room experience was fine, we sat with 2 other couples. Going forward, we decided to get a table for two for the remainder of the cruise. Bar Harbor Sept. 8th We ate breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill as that is exclusive perk for Neptune Suite guests. Very good service and food is perfect. After arriving ashore via tender, we looked around for signs and possibly someone to tell us where the Lulu lobster boat ride is located but no one seemed to know. After waiting for 5 minutes, someone did show up and lead us to the area where the boat is tied up. We waited until the designated time and boarded. We opted for forward seats with unobstructed view of where the lobster traps were to be hauled up. The female guide was very knowledgeable about the lobster industry and about lobsters. We learned quite a bit, now we know a female has sweeter tail meat, while the male have bigger claw meat. We got dressed for formal night as we are scheduled to do the Cruise Critic meet & greet. We received acknowledgements from about 18 folks but in the end, only 6 showed up. Very disappointing but we had good conversation nonetheless. Beverages and cookies were provided so at least it was not a total disaster. Formal night was good as the dining room has special meals to select from. Of course the photographer was making his round be we forgo the photos as we weren’t going to purchase any of the photos. Halifax, Nova Scotia Sept 9th After getting off the ship, we boarded the Horse Trolley ride through the city. We did see debris from Dorian, uprooted trees, and even a crane that fell from top of a building. Overall, nice ride through the city but the seats were not that comfortable. After returning to the pier, we stopped in to one of the shops to try out the so called famous “Lobster” roll. We opted to just by the mini one to split. It was ok, nothing to write home about. We went back to our same table for two for dinner now that the maître d knows us. Sydney, Nova Scotia Sept 10th After arriving by tender, we were ushered into a small room with tables and a small stage in the front for Spirits of the Fiddle. There were drinks and biscuits which were ok, hard and tasteless. The music was ok and they had a clog dancer for one of the songs. After getting back to the ship, we decided to see what is up at the lido deck. After looking around, we decided on getting a made to order pizza. After waiting for about 30 minutes, the buzzer rang to tell us it was ready. It was nice and hot. Thin crust just like the way we liked it, very tasty. DH got his shirt stained so we decided to get the laundry done. The laundry is complimentary with the Neptune Suites so we were able to get our clothes washed as often as we liked. We went to the dining room and to my surprise the waiter gave me organami elephant. So I took the elephant to try our luck at the casino with blackjack. As it turned out, not so lucky, lost $200. Charlottetown, PEI Sept 11th The rain finally caught up with us so after getting off the tender, we walked into a chaotic building wondering where we needed to go. After a bit of looking we finally found the kiosk where the gal took our tickets. We waited until a guy showed up and took us out to the Chinese Junk boat. We walked quite a bit but after we got settled in, all twelve of us, we traveled out into the bay. It is a family operation as the wife and daughter came from mainland China. He is Caucasian and told us how he got the boat. The wife served snacks and tea to everyone. The daughter did dancing and singing in Chinese. We did try to head out to the lighthouse but the water was getting choppy and the older travelers were starting to look a bit green so we headed back to the pier. We went to the dining room and found an organami dog this time. Cruising the St. Lawrence River Sept 12th Tried the casino again and didn’t have any better luck so switched to slots. At least didn’t lose as much. Dressed for our Pinnacle Grill Dinner and we ate so much but the filet mignon was cooked to perfection. Quebec City Sept 13th After leaving the ship, we waited for our winery and Ste Anne falls tour. We drove outside the city and stopped at the winery. The guide provided us with wine samples which were all pretty good. We then drove to the Ste Anne falls. We decided to take the golf cart instead of walking the trail as DH knees would not be able to handle it. We took pictures and video from two vantage points but we opted out of trying out the zip lining. Our last meal at the dining room and the waiting gave me an organami butterfly. Montreal Sept 14th Our last breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill. We lounged in our cabin since there was no hurry as we couldn’t check into our hotel room in Montreal until noon. We disembarked with a slew of other passengers and into cab for Hotel Zero 1. We left our luggage with the reception desk person and headed into Chinatown across the street. We walked to find the dim sum restaurant and after many attempts, found it on the second floor inside a mini mall. The restaurant did not have dim sum carts but rather a list for us to order. The food was so so, as the ones back home is better in our opinion. We returned to the hotel and found out our room was ready. The room as nice, although the couch could have been better. We rested up and then we made our way out for dinner. Again the food was so so. We went to the bakery and picked up breakfast items for the morning. Montreal Sept 15th We ate breakfast and received text message our tour guide is waiting downstairs. Ruby is our guide for Montreal. We traveled through the city stopping in a meat restaurant to sample their brisket. Very tasty. Then stopped in the fresh bagel shop and picked up out of the oven bagels. Also very good. Then off to the fresh market, we walked around to see all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables. Amazing sight, we sampled sweet corn and it was so good. Stopped into a wine and cheese store. We sampled the meat and cheeses along with apple cider wine. After being dropped back at the hotel, we later went for Pho and bought some souvenirs. Next day our early transport to the airport and flight home. Overall, pleasant vacation, ship staff is nice and cabin roomy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have traveled with Holland America for many years...have been on the zuiderdam three years ago and was very happy. We picked the Canadian cruise from Boston to Quebec City because of going to New Foundland. Even though we got to ... Read More
We have traveled with Holland America for many years...have been on the zuiderdam three years ago and was very happy. We picked the Canadian cruise from Boston to Quebec City because of going to New Foundland. Even though we got to the pier at one o'clock ,the embarkation took over two hours, because the Coast Guard had a inspection. We were in a veranda cabin, it was very nice, except the bathroom needs a renovation badly. Dining has declined since the last time we were onboard the Zuiderdam. The menus for dinner in the main dining room were difficult to find something to eat each night..It had quite a lot of spicy entries, steak that were fatty, grizzly and tough to chew, continually trying to up sell lobster, steaks, and wine. The portions have been reduced in all dining venues. Lido for breakfast and lunch were very good. Lido dinner which is like dining room, is fair. The piano players in the Billboard and BB King, were fantastic ...can’t say the same for The main stage... Because of the hurricane, Dorian, we missed two ports in New Foundland.. the captain did a wonderful job avoiding the storm, except for telling all that the waves could be 40 feet. We were on two shore excursions, one in St Johns where we stood for almost an hour waiting for the previous tour to return. The other Peggy Cove, which was very pretty area but enjoyed the stop at cemetery whereSome people from the Titanic were buried. We were on the Kongingsdam in January 2019 and it was wonderful. Don’t think we will be back on Zuiderdam any time soon.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We selected the 12-day Canadian Maritimes cruise for the itinerary; the Zuiderdam was the only ship that offered it. We found the food quite good, and the cabin, dining, wine staff, and dining captain service excellent. We had a Verandah ... Read More
We selected the 12-day Canadian Maritimes cruise for the itinerary; the Zuiderdam was the only ship that offered it. We found the food quite good, and the cabin, dining, wine staff, and dining captain service excellent. We had a Verandah stateroom on Deck 6, and it was large-with lots of storage and a huge bathroom with soaking tub and double sinks. Our balcony was large, though we were not able to use it-too rainy and cool. Hurricane Dorian chased us up the coast--and the captain did an excellent job of escaping to calm waters. Even though we missed two ports and had two extra days at sea, we never had any qualms--even when the captain announced that we should secure everything in our cabins in the event of rough weather. Boarding was a mess--apparently Boston Port officials needed to do a surprise check of the ship. We spent 3 hours waiting to board and were not provided any snacks or water. Disembarkation was well-organized and speedy, and we were allowed to wait in our cabins until leaving. We were nicked and dimed to death--water, breakfast cocktails, pictures, bottles of wine, drinks in the Lido, special classes in the Fitness Center. They were there when you got off the ship, got on the ship, and in the Lido and dining room. We laughed at all the people who kept their key cards on lanyards--but you always had to present the cards. Bottles of wine were charged at 4 times what they would cost in Delaware--vastly overcharged. One downside of this cruise was the amateur entertainment--except in Lincoln Center--and the lack of any engaging acts. Entertainment seemed like an after thought. Another downside--the land tours were expensive for what they were. Four of us were traveling together, and we booked private tours at four of the stops. The price of the private tours per person was 20-30% cheaper than what was offered from the ship for the four of us---and there were not 52 people getting on and off the bus at each stop. Not all ports had access to private tours, in which case we booked ship tours. In Cornerbrook, we took the Gros Morne Park tour and spent 7 hours on the bus with three 20 minute stops and one hour-long lunch stop. It was torturous. In Baie-Comeau we took a four-hour bus tour of an inland shell valley of crushed shells and a puzzling exhibit about the last ice age. There are 55 steps up to the beginning of this exhibit, and there were many elderly people on the cruise who were challenged; no mention of this was made in the tour information. The final HA cruise tour straw was the five and a half hour Discover the Fjord Secrets of the Saguenay tour on a boat. We were the last people to board 20 minutes before it left. The only seats left were at the back of the boat over the propellers. For two and a half hours we could not hear the guide nor see the landscape because there were two partial walls on either side of us. I complained to the Cruise staff, and they begrudged us a 20% refund on two tickets totaling $340--not very customer-focused. Our previous other HA cruises 20 years ago were good. However, we will never book on a HA ship again--for the reasons stated above. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We booked quite late, so missed out on a verandah cabin, we had a cabin on the lower promenade deck with a window view. The room was fine, but you do need to fully unpack suitcases because there is not room to have them out. The room was ... Read More
We booked quite late, so missed out on a verandah cabin, we had a cabin on the lower promenade deck with a window view. The room was fine, but you do need to fully unpack suitcases because there is not room to have them out. The room was super clean. The room attendants so helpful. Go to the talks on the first day, they are very helpful about shore excursions and the ship layout. We didnt book any shore excursions and so glad we didn’t. Most of the passengers are in their twilight years, elderly with walkers, sticks, wheelchairs.. and mobility is an issue. At times it seemed like a floating nursing home. Here’s my dos and donts. All the port stops are walkable into the town - dont pay $40-80 for a guided walk. Don’t pay $140 for internet per device, it didn’t work most of the time and you could only access a few sites. Don’t dress up for Gala night - its a have to get professional photos you pay for, and book the pay for restaurants. Do - be kind and polite to the staff, go to the evening entertainment, research what you want to see and do but bear in mind there will be elderly folks slowing down tours with their mobility. Dining - there are queues in the lido market no matter what time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary. I really wanted to do the east coast of Canada. And the departure from Montreal was very appealing. The destinations did not disappoint. I was totally charmed by the east coast, and will ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary. I really wanted to do the east coast of Canada. And the departure from Montreal was very appealing. The destinations did not disappoint. I was totally charmed by the east coast, and will definitely return! The reason that I felt compelled to write the review was because of the outstanding service and dining on this ship. I have been on many different cruise lines and am an experienced cruiser. Up until this point my favorite cruise line was Celebrity. I have to admit that Holland American Lines lived up to it's hype. The food was amazing, and the service was impeccable! I especially want to give a shout out to our dining room staff, Mahendra, Subatra Smith our waiter, and Jonathan our wine steward! The cabins were larger than I have experienced on other cruise lines, which was a nice surprise. They were also kept spotless by our cabin stewards. The shower allowed enough room to shower and shave comfortably! The entertainment was geared more towards an older crowd and would probably be my only slight criticism. Although we enjoyed the trios, quartets, and piano man...people on the younger side may have found it boring. And the shows although well performed, were definitely a little dated. But that would be my only complaint. We took two ship excursions, one in Sydney and one in Bar Harbor. The Sydney one was the hiking tour to Ban Usige Falls, and was very picturesque. I fell in love with Baddeck. And the tour guide Wendell was a very spry 78 years old! The other excursion was the small group guided tour of Acadia National Park. Once again our tour guide was very knowledgeable. I did go to the gym once, and attended a body stretching class. The instructor was quite good and was constantly checking to see that everyone was doing the moves properly. Overall I would rate my experience on HAL as 5 stars, and I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our cruise on the VeenDam was not a pleasant one. The food was terrible and the ship was dirty. We had dinner at our assigned table only 3-4 times. We just could not tolerate the food. After finding a hair in my salad we didn’t go back ... Read More
Our cruise on the VeenDam was not a pleasant one. The food was terrible and the ship was dirty. We had dinner at our assigned table only 3-4 times. We just could not tolerate the food. After finding a hair in my salad we didn’t go back to the dinning room. Janet almost threw up when I found the hair. One morning we were having an omelets and I discovered a hair in my omelet. (picture attached) Another morning I grabbed a fruit cup and was eating the fruit when I looked down and saw a filthy glass the fruit was in. I took my finger nail and scratched the crud. This was disgusting. I took the cup to the front desk and heard crickets. (picture attached) After this incident we lived on scrambled eggs, yogurt, fruit, salad and pizza for the majority of the cruise. Anything that was prepacked or would be killed in high heat. The fruit juices were watered down just like their cocktail drinks. We went one evening to the Crow’s Nest for happy hour. The Holland America app said happy hour was from 4:00-4:30. This crated a lot of confusion with the bartender. The guy in front of me had a discussion with the bartender about the time. I showed the bartender the H.A. app which clearly said 4:00, but the bartender insisted it was 4:30 as printed in the daily ships guide. The bartender eventually gave the guy his drinks at first one at regular price and the 2nd for $2.00. When it came my turn, he said I had to pay full price or wait until 4:30. I told him this was discrimination and the people behind me agreed. It is obvious some of the ships personnel need to be retrained. It gets more interesting. Every evening at happy hour there was trivia. The cruise director Tom Webber was great as was Eileya who did the trivia in the evening. One evening we ordered Mojitos. The bartender never mulled the lime and mint together, so on this evening I discovered a bug in my drink. (picture attached) There was dust everywhere. No one ever dusted the bases of the fixed table.(picture attached) I called for a meeting and Mr. Bashir met with me in the lobby, outside of the customer service desk. I went through my list of issues and was told “there are 1,350 on board the ship. “We are trying to make everyone happy”. You are the only complaint”, which is a lie. We did excursion with many people who complained about the services and quality aboard the ship. I showed Mr. Bashir my pictures and he didn’t believe me. I told him “I bet you that spinach is still on the wall”. He said “they clean every day”. I took Mr. Bashir up to the Lido deck and showed him the spinach on the wall. He too was unhappy about the quality of the food. I was at breakfast one morning, before I met him, and he was complaining about how his food was cooked. We did a lot of excursion. One had only one excursion that was not good and that was the trip to Corfu. The WORST excursion we EVER had. I complained about this excursion, as did others. We did not get a refund, only crickets. As for Holland America, I will not cruise with them. This was our 3rd cruise. This was our gift to each other for our 45th anniversary. Not a glass of wine, not a glass of Champaign nothing! Holland America’s was all about separating you from you money and if you didn’t like what you got, well that was just too bad. See you later sucker, they just didn’t care because they had their money. We paid high dollar for a low budget, low quality return. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our second cruise with HAL. The first was through the Panama Canal and was memorable. This one was more memorable for the Cons than the Pros: Pros: We like the Neptune suites because they are spacious and there is access ... Read More
This was our second cruise with HAL. The first was through the Panama Canal and was memorable. This one was more memorable for the Cons than the Pros: Pros: We like the Neptune suites because they are spacious and there is access to the Neptune Lounge, breakfast in the Pinnacle Restaurant, the complementry laundry, and the Concierge who is very helpful for anything that comes up. The crew was excellent and our cabin stewards were very helpful. The drinks were well made and reasonable, but they do tack on a 15% gratuity in spite of the $16 per day gratuity assessment. Who does that go to? The hamburgers by the pool were very good. The no sugar added desserts were excellent. WIFI was faster than other ships. That means it was adequate. LOL Cons I thought the food was lacking, except for the Pinnacle Restaurant. We ate in the main dining room twice. The first time I had halibut which was overcooked and dry. The second time I had pot roast which was bland and required salt and pepper. I mentioned the overcooked halibut to the concierge and got a phone call from the head waiter offering to make another reservation and also the food services officer stopped by at our table at breakfast to apologize. This would indicate that the crew is very serious about the food. That's why I feel it is a budget constraint causing the "just average" food. The food in the buffet was just average, except for the fried shrimp, which were so small that you could not see the shrimp in the breading and the NY steaks were somewhat tough. I think the budget was screwed down pretty tight. A big problem was that the buffet seemed understaffed, causing lines at the various stations. By the time we found a table, our food was usually cold. Kids were running around everywhere and the table density in the buffet was very high and made it hard to walk between tables. WIFI is not included, but is available at a flat rate. $139 per week per device. The per device sucked as you had to knock off the other person to get on wifi. The speed was pretty good for shipboard wifi. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was my third Holland America cruise. My two prior experiences were very good. Food in the main dining room in the past was good to excellent. On my past trips there was sufficient entertainment and on board activities. Not so on ... Read More
This was my third Holland America cruise. My two prior experiences were very good. Food in the main dining room in the past was good to excellent. On my past trips there was sufficient entertainment and on board activities. Not so on this cruise. Food in the main dining room was okay to poor. On the gala evening, the lobster in the surf and turf was old and cooked to death. So too was the filet which was tasteless. I opted for the optional Rudi's Sel de Mer dinner and was well pleased. Excellent food, excellent service. As to the entertainment, the dance numbers in the variety show entertainment were pretty good, but the vocal numbers were aimed at a 12 year old audience and you had to endure them to see the dancers. There was a very good jazz band playing in the ocean lounge, which unfortunately was not the best venue for engaging with the music. A violinist and pianist were the bids for classical type entertainment but the pianist was not very talented. The staff was, as always on HA, excellent. That is, my cabin stewards, the restaurant servers and wine stewards all were exemplary. My suite was always clean and well provisioned. Not so the customer no service staff in the atrium. When they did not know the answer to a questions, they sent me away instead of trying to find the answer for me. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I think this particular cruise is all about expectations. We read the reviews... older boat, older crowd, not the best entertainment, etc, etc. Because we already knew this going in, we had a wonderful time! We took out 12 and 5 year old ... Read More
I think this particular cruise is all about expectations. We read the reviews... older boat, older crowd, not the best entertainment, etc, etc. Because we already knew this going in, we had a wonderful time! We took out 12 and 5 year old kids and we had 2 oceanview staterooms (2525 and 2529). Pros: The food was overall very good. The buffet tasted like normal cruise food, but the dining room had some really good dinners. I would say they excelled at the meats and sides. The soups and salads were average. The desserts were amazing. There were 4 entertainment options we liked. They did a live concert to Planet Earth 2 which was really beautiful. The comic was funny enough. There was a violin duo that we enjoyed, and we liked the America's Test Kitchen presentations. We liked that the pools were not crowded and we could always find a lounge chair. We were also VERY impressed with how we really didn't wait in line for anything. Our last cruise was on Disney and we felt like a heard of cattle everywhere we went. On the Zaandam, our embarkation was immediate, our bags were in our rooms quickly, our shore excursions days were a matter of just walking off the boat and we didn't wait in line for dinners. The longest line we had was waiting for our crepes in the morning ;-) The best part of this cruise was probably the ports! We were only at sea one day. Prince Edward Island and Quebec City were what I was hoping for, and we loved Bar Harbor, Maine. If you want to enjoy Sydney, you must do an excursion. We just walked off the boat to the town and it was a major disappointment. Halifax was OK. Cons: It's an older boat. Everything was clean and nice, but having been on many other cruises, there was nothing cool or exciting to see. Just your average boat layout with shuffleboard and ping pong. I was surprised at how much you had to pay extra for things like exercise classes and soft drinks. I was also surprised at the prices of the spa options. For this reason, we didn't do the spa although we would have liked to. The kids club staff was very nice, but they were always closed. We would get flyers about kids club the morning of, but the flyer would say you needed to call the day before to reserve your spot. So that was frustrating. Overall, very smooth sailing, super friendly staff and fellow passengers and we had a delightful time! We did come across a handful of older people that did not appreciate the energy of our kids so that was a bit hard, but we also came across an equal amount of truly amazing people that treated our kids so wonderfully. My kids didn't want to get off the boat! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
There were 2 couples sailing on this cruise (fifth we have done together), we chose it for the itinerary. The embarkation was flawless. We arrived at the cruise terminal and we finished all the paperwork and were boarding the ship by noon, ... Read More
There were 2 couples sailing on this cruise (fifth we have done together), we chose it for the itinerary. The embarkation was flawless. We arrived at the cruise terminal and we finished all the paperwork and were boarding the ship by noon, half hour or so. The ship is older but quite lovely and well maintained. We were in Vista suite 7050 and our friends were next door. The room steward opened the balcony door between so we could share visits and happy hours etc. our room steward was phenomenal. He left ice in the bucket twice a day as well as fruit in the basket on our coffee table. We always bring a small extension cord as there are never enough outlets. We enjoyed the breakfasts in the Lido Cafe. Very wide selection of foods and if you ordered cook to order eggs,pancakes,waffles,omelets they were good. The cooks serve you mostly so as to decrease the cross contamination, which we appreciate. We never took any of HAL excursions due to cost. Over time we have found that going on private tours is much nicer and generally not a huge cost difference. We are then able to stop and take pix as often as we choose. We had the most difficulty with dinner service. We were at the second seating at 730 pm which we liked, however the shows were at 9 pm and even though we told our waiters we wanted to be out in time we never got to a show on time. The shows are only 40-45 mins long so that’s a big deal. The dinner food was ok not great. My husband who is celiac has always been visited by the maitre d on our previous cruises to choose dinner options for next evening. On this cruise we were visited a couple of times and most of the time he was on his own to choose. They did have gf next to a couple of items but we knew from previous experience that some of the other choices could be changed slightly to accommodate. No one was there consistently to help with this. We did enjoy a few of the entertainment acts such as The BBC orchestra,PJ Walsh a comedian and Mike Robinson a ventriloquist comedian who was very good. All in all we were happy with the cruise and the ports and the ship. There were a couple of areas where improvements could be made. Disembarkation was also a breeze. We were able to choose a time and we were off right on time to get our luggage and continue our trip in Boston. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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