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331 Holland America Line Caribbean Cruise Reviews

I was so disappointed with this cruise on the Oosterdam. Have been on many Holland America cruises, but this was the worst. We had a signature suite (8091). The toilet did not flush for 5 days. Called for a plumber 6 times and had to ... Read More
I was so disappointed with this cruise on the Oosterdam. Have been on many Holland America cruises, but this was the worst. We had a signature suite (8091). The toilet did not flush for 5 days. Called for a plumber 6 times and had to wait on many occasions. Passenger service desk would place the call on hold for minutes at a time when water was coming over the top of toilet and we never put anything in it. we used bags for our paper and placed it in the wastebasket. The shower had mold. The carpets in cabins were old and dirty. The food was mediocre at best. Pinnacle grill was another upsetting evening. food was served cold and the crab legs were few to be had. The desert tasted old and like refrigeration. such a disappointment. the sea view pool was out of commission for 10 of our 14 days due to a malfunctioning pump. The ship needs another dry dock and bad. such a disappointment. not sure I can cruise Holland again. Have been on Carnival and Princess recently and I must say that they are way above Holland. The staff were friendly for the most part ,but passenger services just did not care about any issues that we had. Holland has a long way to come to make this right. Our cabin stewards were excellent, but the two of them had 29 cabins. unreal!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Embarkation went well, we were aboard at 11:30. Dining and cabin was excellent. MDR food was terrific PG was ok nice venue not sure it's worth the surcharge Had a retreat cabana booked which was great but windy. ... Read More
Embarkation went well, we were aboard at 11:30. Dining and cabin was excellent. MDR food was terrific PG was ok nice venue not sure it's worth the surcharge Had a retreat cabana booked which was great but windy. Ship needs maintenance we got stuck in the elevator going to cabanas on embarkation day ...stuck for about 1o minutes and working on and off for balance of our cruise. This made it difficult for staff to provide all perks. Aft pool was closed majority of our 14 day cruise. As stated the weather was very windy so did not get to Halfmoon Cay, Grand Turk and Cap Cana...we instead went to Samana DR, and San Juan again. Would be nice if they changed locations of happy hour, same time and places every day. We have been to these ports before and mostly disappointed about missing HMC and Grand Turk Just nice to get away. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I loved the ship and the staff. Shore excursions was another thing. Terrible and scary drivers (not in the Dominican Republic.] Very rude staff at Magen's Beach. We felt rushed everywhere we went except for Dom. Rep. Next time I will ... Read More
I loved the ship and the staff. Shore excursions was another thing. Terrible and scary drivers (not in the Dominican Republic.] Very rude staff at Magen's Beach. We felt rushed everywhere we went except for Dom. Rep. Next time I will read reviews of other options rather than an overpriced excursion. The wait staff on the ship were the nicest and most polite people I have ever met.I felt like a queen in the dining room. It was disappointing that the outside pool stayed closed due to filtering problems. The cabin was nice, albeit quite narrow in places. I slept better than I do at home, possibly from the gentle swaying of the ship. The food was very nice and tasted good but it is an international cuisine. Many of us had to ask what food was called and what was in it! Omelet and crepe stations were great with no long lines.( We did not eat at:normal times.) I am so used to a predominance of Italian food where I live (Rochester, New York) that I had to adjust to none onboard. What? No garlic bread? I also do not eat red meat, lamb, veal and fish so sometimes my choices were limited. The Dutch desserts were wonderful, not too sweet. I absolutely loved this ship and would go back in a heartbeat. Classy, elegant decor and geared to the older crowd. Also, this was a 7 day cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We sailed on the Nieuw Statendam 1/6-20/29 for a 14-day collectors cruise to the Western (week one) and Eastern (week two) Caribbean. Mitzi caught a head cold on the flight from MSP and did not feel great for a couple of days in week one. ... Read More
We sailed on the Nieuw Statendam 1/6-20/29 for a 14-day collectors cruise to the Western (week one) and Eastern (week two) Caribbean. Mitzi caught a head cold on the flight from MSP and did not feel great for a couple of days in week one. I caught something on board and felt icky for part of week two. There was definitely something going around the ship, even our assistant table steward missed a few days due to illness. We had a very nice cruise, but we are growing a bit tired of this itinerary. Here are some of our observations about the ship and ports. I didn't really notice any major problems related to this being an early cruise in the life of a new ship. Embarkation- HAL sent instructions saying to arrive 1:30 (deck 8 & 11 boarding). But we were at the mercy of the Ramada Inn shuttle schedule which left at 11:45 am. We arrived a little after noon. The right side of the wickets had a fairly long line, the left side line, where we were supposed to go, was very short (even number decks I think). We were whisked around to the empty 4-5*/Neptune line and got our key cards very quickly. We were on board and to our room before 1:00. Our luggage arrived within an hour or two. We were unpacked long before muster drill time and set out exploring the ship and taking pictures. Muster drill was by the front desk for our group and was mostly painless. The Ship- It really did have a “new car smell” when we first boarded. It is very much like the Koningsdam in colors, layout, and artwork (quite modern, traditionalists might not be impressed). The big change is the creation of the Rolling Stone Rock Room and moving the Lincoln Center Stage to the “Queen’s Lounge” area which they now share with BB King. They also moved the appetizer bar in the Billboard bar into a corner from its original location in the middle of the room on the K. This worked much better IMO and allowed for a small dance floor area in the Billboard bar. The Crows Nest bar has changed and now incorporates the coffee bar. The old Explorations Café coffee bar area has been taken over by the EXC excursion desk. This seemed to work OK IMO. The Crows Nest still has lots of comfy seating, puzzle tables, and a reasonable number of books (cannot comment on the quality, we brought our own reading material). It remains a nice quiet spot to sit during the day. I do not know if it was used much in the evenings. I did not head up there for drinks since they did not have a Crow’s Nest happy hour. The room on the port side of the Crow’s Nest (I had heard it referred to as the Captain’s Corner) now has rows of upholstered chairs facing a flat panel display. It was used for some EXC presentations but it seemed empty most of the times I wandered by. The ship can handle about 2700 passengers and I believe we were pretty full for week one. It never felt crowded anywhere on the ship. The MDR- The room was bright and pleasant IMO and very much like the K. We had late (8:00 pm) fixed dining (nice table for two by a window, but it was dark and you could not see anything). The dining room did not seem overly noisy to me. The first week seemed to have more tables occupied than the second week. There was no sign of the Yum Yum Man or his cart of goodies; hopefully it will show up eventually. The food was of the same high quality (IMO) that we have come to expect. My biggest complaint was that the menu for week two seemed identical to week one. I do not recall so much repetition from our previous 14-day collector’s cruises. Also, there were no chilled soups! The Lido- We only had occasional breakfast and lunch bites in the Lido. It was laid out much like the K but had sinks for hand washing instead of the whirligigs you stick your hands into. The food was fine and it did not seem too crowded, but maybe my timing was just fortunate. It did not seem that hard to find tables, but many people went out by either pool with their food. There were sushi (rolls) and sashimi at lunch, but not a huge selection. We did not try any of the late-night offerings. And I did not see any bathrobes in the Lido! The Tamarind- We ate there once and it lived up to its billing as our favorite HAL restaurant. The room seemed bigger and they do use some outdoor seating (at least when in port). The deck plans for the K and NS seem to show they have identical square footage, so the apparent size difference may be due to the different layout for Nami Sushi and the Tamarind bar (we did not try either). The Pinnacle, Canaletto, and Sel De Mer- We skipped these this cruise. I have avoided Sel de Mer because the idea of an a la carte restaurant on a cruise ship bugs me. However, a new acquaintance on this cruise (Sir Robert) went and said his bill (including 5* discounts) was only about $20. I might have to give it a try! The Dive-In- Same menu as on other ships and the burgers, dogs, & fries are delicious as always. But now they have milkshakes! We did not try them since we were already eating too much. I think they were around $5. The New York Deli- Again, same good quality as on other ships. We had pizza a couple of times but did not get any deli sandwiches this cruise. We also did not get around to trying the late-night snacks (too much food, groan!) although they sounded good. I found the NY Deli to be a great “secret” breakfast spot. They were never that busy when I stopped by, there were plenty of tables available, and pitchers of orange juice and coffee carafes that were self-serve. They have a good bagel selection, including a breakfast bagel with egg, cheese, and ham. The new treat was Breakfast Pizza! They had about 4 different choices. I tried one with cheese, bacon, and two sunny side up eggs which was very good. It was really enough for two people. The Dutch Café- This is a very pleasant spot for a snack. We only stopped once after a shore excursion and had pea soup, grilled ham & cheese sandwich, and fries – pretty good stuff. I kept meaning to stop for bitterballen, but never quite made it. Something to try on the next cruise! The Happy hours- The main Happy Hour was in the Billboard and Rock Room bars from 4-5 pm. Standard buy one get one for $2. It could get quite busy, but cleared out by 5:30. The self-serve appetizers (hot and cold) in the Billboard were usually pretty good and, for the most part, they kept appetizer bar stocked. We developed a small group of 3-7 people that would get together during happy hour for conversation. There was some kind of happy hour at the Blend at 9:00 pm. I never stopped by. It seemed like it was wine only and we always had enough wine with dinner. Club Orange- My travels around the ship did not take me by Club Orange very often. The few times I went by at breakfast or dinner, it did not seem very active. They did seem like they were using the kitchen area, but I could not tell if it was for food prep or plating-up. I actually like the room as a restaurant venue – I am not sure Club Orange is the best use for the space. America’s Test Kitchen- They had new recipes and the presentations were nicely done. The problem, IMO, was that the World Stage was not a good venue for it. You were far from the cooking area and they did not have good enough camera angles and close-up to allow you to see the details of the food preparation. Billboard Onboard- The piano duo of Debby and Nate (or was it Nat?) were very good, probably the best I have seen on HAL. The pianos were real! With strings!! They played very enthusiastically (and skillfully) and their singing was quite good. They usually drew a big crowd. As soon as their 45-minute set was done the Rolling Stone rockers started up. They switched on and off throughout the evening (three sets each). Rolling Stone Rock Room- This is a brand-new idea and probably needs some work to hit its stride. There were five guys (no fries) – two guitars, one bass, drummer, and keyboards. I enjoyed them but Mitzi was unimpressed – she did not like their versions of rock classics. Musically, I thought they were fine and talented. The vocals seemed like the weakness (not bad, just could stand improvement). I am not sure how extensive the playlist is, but I did not hear any duplications (but I was not there 14 nights straight!). It is loud, so I would not sit too close to the front. I definitely enjoyed it, but then I like hearing covers of songs that do not sound identical to the originals. Lincoln Center Stage- The five ladies were excellent musicians. I did not go too often, but was impressed when I did. The “Queen’s Lounge” area is a much better spot for them than where they were on the K (now the RSRR). Their performances were usually well attended. BB King- This iteration of BB King had a really nice sound. I did not recognize any of them from prior cruises. I also did not go often enough to tell if they suffered from the same problem I have seen with other BB Kings. That being a too small play list so that they seemed to be playing the same stuff over and over. They did play some of the same songs I have heard on other cruises, but they sounded great doing it! The Shops- The selection seemed minimal, but the quality seemed improved. Some prices seemed awfully high. I did buy a NS inaugural season Christmas ornament for next year’s tree for $7.99. Wine list/packages- The same basic Cellar 1, 2, and 3 wine packages were available and the wines offered were essentially identical to last year. Mariner discounts were applied. The regular wine list looked to be brand new with lots of more expensive choices. I wanted to get photos, but kept forgetting my camera or phone. I will try again this March. There were still some $35-45 per bottle choices, but they seemed scarcer. The Ports- Half Moon Cay – We did our usual clamshell and laid about on the beach and swam to cool off. The Island BBQ was the same as always - OK, not great. But laying out in the sun wears you down and one needs to refuel! We shared the island with the Zuiderdam. Montego Bay, Jamaica – None of the tours appealed to us and we were docked too far away from town to walk. So, we stayed on board to explore the new ship. Georgetown, Cayman Islands – There were at least six ships in port so we thought the town would be very crowded. The last tender from the island was around 3:30. It did not seem worth the tender ride in for a short, crowded visit to the various shops. Cozumel, Mexico – Mitzi was not feeling well so we abandoned our plans to stroll through town. Nassau, Bahamas – We went to the Ardastra Gardens after a small bus tour through town. It was a zoo getting off the ship and to the buses as there were 4-5 ships in port. The gardens were OK and the marching flamingos were amusing. I am glad we went once, but I will not be in a hurry to return. We had a picture taking stop at Fort Charlotte on the way back to the pier. There was not enough time to go into the fort and the entry fee ($5-6) was not included in the tour. San Juan, Puerto Rico – It was Calle San Sebastian festival day when we were in port (along with a Carnival ship). Even though the festival did not start until around 7:00 pm, the preparations had everything in a state of chaos. Our tour was to go to the two forts followed by shopping in Plaza Colon. The police would not let our bus drive to El Morro (the fort guarding the harbor) so we went to San Cristobal (the fort guarding the land-side of the city) first while our tour company tried to sort things out. San Cristobal is well worth seeing (2nd time for me) and was enjoyable again. When we got back to the bus, our guide said his boss talked with the police chief and we now had permission to head to El Morro (I am sure no money changed hands). The bus got as close as possible, but it was still a fair walk to the fort. The setting is beautiful, but there were a lot of festival preparations going on. The fort is older than San Cristobal and rather different in construction and purpose. It was well worth the visit and long walk. After the forts we did walk around Plaza Colon for a few minutes, but we were hungry for a Dive-In burger so we headed back to the ship. St. Thomas, USVI – We were docked in Havensight along with a Viking cruise ship. We did the St. Thomas Island Drive which took us to Mountain Top. There are impressive views once you get through the huge gift shop (in their defense, the prices and selection were OK). We were then supposed to go to Drake’s Seat, but the Viking guys had the parking area filled up. So, we went to the “Valdemar A. Hill, Sr. Drive Scenic Overlook” instead. There were impressive views of the Havensight pier, downtown, and Crowns Bay. You could also see Saint Croix in the distance. There was the option of being dropped off in town, but no one was interested. I did wander about the Havensight Mall before going back to the ship. Half Moon Cay – Another clamshell day. I also tried to lay in the sun to try to bake away my head cold (while trying to avoid sunburn). We shared the Island with the Volendam. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our first time with Holland America and it didn't disappoint. Been on most of the other cruise lines and they all have their pros and cons but we really enjoyed the Nieuw Statendam. Getting on board was quick and not ... Read More
This was our first time with Holland America and it didn't disappoint. Been on most of the other cruise lines and they all have their pros and cons but we really enjoyed the Nieuw Statendam. Getting on board was quick and not having to bring the life jacket to the muster drill and not having to go to the actual life boats was a nice surprise. The staff was amazing as expected and the food was above what we had experienced on prior cruises. The buffet on the lido deck was good and we had a hard time pulling ourselves away to the actual dining room. It was different that in the buffet you didn't just help yourself but people actually served you the food. My only complaint about the food was the lack of after hours Ice Cream which as I'm typing this sounds really petty and sad. The entertainment was amazing! The World Stage Dance group was soooo good especially since they used the innovative surround screen. Lincoln Center Stage with Atlys was incredible. So nice to hear classical music performed live on a cruise ship. We were planning on walking past the husband and wife dueling piano performance but we stopped and spent a few hours there they were so entertaining. The destination ports were all enjoyable except for perhaps Jamaica. We might of went to the wrong part of town but it wasn't a very nice experience. Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Half Moon Cay were so much fun. The latter had beaches that we will never forget. We had an inside cabin and it was bigger than the one other inside cabin we had on a Carnival Cruise. Huge screens and of course great service. Definitely an older crowd. I don't think we saw more than 15 kids the entire cruise so over all it was quiet. If that isn't your cup to tea I understand but we figured that was going to be case when we booked. Overall we loved every minute of the seven days and were jealous we couldn't stay longer. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Charter cruise for music fans. Delbert’s cruise is always a people pleaser. Arrived the day before cruise and stayed at Westin. Great beach location and great nearby restaurants. Ship was fine as well as the food. Friendly staff. This ... Read More
Charter cruise for music fans. Delbert’s cruise is always a people pleaser. Arrived the day before cruise and stayed at Westin. Great beach location and great nearby restaurants. Ship was fine as well as the food. Friendly staff. This cruise is like no other. Not your typical cruise. Non stop music from morning until the wee hours of the night. Our fourth time to do this cruise. Plan to return next year and will encourage friends to join us. We have done this cruise four times in the last six years. Although this is somewhat of an expensive cruise, it is worth it. The excursions to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic were great. We especially enjoyed our time on the beach in the Dominican Republic - a 45 minute drive to Cocony Cove beach. The food and drinks were good and we did the all inclusive which was worth it. The Puerto Rico craft cocktail excursion through old town was the best. Our guide Rocio who is a native of Puerto Rico was great - along with our bartender Carlos at la factoria. Highly recommended excursion. Just be prepared to walk up hill. Lots of food and drink with this one and a good value for what you get. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We picked this cruise because it went Tortola and Antigua, islands we have never visited. We are 3 star HOLLAND Cruisers so we know Holland pretty well. The ship did not disappoint. It is beautiful. However some parts of our experience ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it went Tortola and Antigua, islands we have never visited. We are 3 star HOLLAND Cruisers so we know Holland pretty well. The ship did not disappoint. It is beautiful. However some parts of our experience were less then acceptable. To start, the embarkation was a nightmare. I received an e mail ftom HAL about Adweek before telling me to arrive between 1 - 1:30pm. We followed directions and arrived about 12:45pm and saw the longest line I have ever seen on HAL. Did they tell every one to arrivecatbthe same time? It appeared that way. The line went out the door, down to the end of the building, around the corner and back to the entry point into the building. It took over an hour. Exhausting in the hot Florida sun! Once on the ship we found our storeroom and it was nice however the extra pillows and mattress wedge I requested were not there And the bed was arranged in twins not queen. It took about 15 min to reach customer service to make another request. Overall the ship services disappointing. Not up to the level I was use to on HAL. Food was ok! Again not what I have come to expect from HAL with a few exceptions. I loved the NY Deli but the service is very slow. The Dutch Cafe was a nice surprise And The servers were excrptional. MDR was disappointing but the standards like salmon and steak that are available every night saved my dinner experience on at least 4 out of the 9 nights. Entertainment has improved with the addition of the ROLLING STONE along with the BB King venue that is a few years old. Overall not a bad cruise but getting use to the new "Normal" for HAL may take awhile. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wanted to be gone over Christmas and this was a decent itinerary, and we were able to drive to the port. The price as good, and they through in the beverage package and the Pinnacle Grill. Our cabin was small, but workable, and we ... Read More
We wanted to be gone over Christmas and this was a decent itinerary, and we were able to drive to the port. The price as good, and they through in the beverage package and the Pinnacle Grill. Our cabin was small, but workable, and we loved the big walk in shower. The boat was great.....nice public areas, lots of sitting areas, two pools, lots of places to eat, etc. The Grand Dining Room was only fair. We didn't care for the decor, the food was just ok, ad the service was slow...especially the wine service. The first night we sat for a long time, and had received our first course before our glasses of wine arrive, and the second glass arrived when I was almost finished with my entree. Did not particularly like the Lido. Food was just ok, it was very crowded....always fighting to find a place to sit, and we hated that there was no self service.....everything had to be served, slowing down the process and making it hard to get what you want, in the quantity that you want. The specialty dining rooms were great......nice decor, good menus and good food. The steak in the Pinnacle Grill was very good, and when we went to Alaska on HA it was terrible. We really like Sel de Mer and Tamarind......would be great restaurants in any city. Entertainment was first class......the evening pianist, the classical groups, soul in BB King's rock in the Rolling Stone and a good piano bar. There was no "big show" in the theatre this cruise. There were two pools.....one amidships with a slide on/off cover, and another at the stern. As with all cruise ships, there were not enough loungers, and people would grab them first thing, so by 11AM there was no place to sit. There was a nice looking spa and fitness center that we did not use. In conclusion, HA is a "near luxury" line, and Konigsdam is there most luxurious ship. The difference between them and a more luxurious line like Oceania or Regent lies in better food, more elegant decor in the public rooms, better service, and more items inclusive. HA is not as good, but it is a lot less expensive, and a good value. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because of the price and the ports. The ship is 2 years old and we like newer ships. This cruise was great. The food was great. The entertainment was very good in the Rolling Stone room and the room across from it - ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the price and the ports. The ship is 2 years old and we like newer ships. This cruise was great. The food was great. The entertainment was very good in the Rolling Stone room and the room across from it - I forget the name. Their other shows were good too - just no singers. They only had dancers - who were awesome but on other cruise lines, they offer more 'Broadway' style shows. The only downside to this ship to me, was that it was small and I felt the motion of the ocean a little more on the return trip to Port Everglades. Other than that, I have nothing negative to say about this ship and it's crew. Our cabin steward was THE BEST! We tipped him at the beginning and at the end and he was great! The casino was good too. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
If you are looking for excitement and entertainment on this ship your are on the wrong ship. My experience was having to stand in long lines waiting for a small portion food in the Lido dinning room. Take your own bath soap if you are ... Read More
If you are looking for excitement and entertainment on this ship your are on the wrong ship. My experience was having to stand in long lines waiting for a small portion food in the Lido dinning room. Take your own bath soap if you are allergic to mint dispense soap and you are not going to get any body lotion. Place the do not disturb sign on your door if you don't want the attendant barging in your room early in the morning. Most of the time finding a seat in the LIDO can be difficult to get a clean table. The shore excursions are a waste of time if you booked through the cruise line. Don not expect to any entertainment during the day and the only attraction is the BB King band, after a few days you gbecome tired of the atosphere. The food in the manin dinning room is above average and expect to share a table with folks who have you feeling uncomfortable. Conclusion!! Find another cruise if you are looking for excitement and middle aged travellers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
It was a good deal on a week that worked well for us. We like HAL. The room was adequate, our room steward excellent, and the location was right smack in the middle of the ship which made it easy to get around. I went to trivia twice every ... Read More
It was a good deal on a week that worked well for us. We like HAL. The room was adequate, our room steward excellent, and the location was right smack in the middle of the ship which made it easy to get around. I went to trivia twice every day, swam in the pool every day and attended a couple of the American Test Kitchen presentations which were very good. My husband's foot was bothering him so we did not go off of the ship except for San Juan. He seemed to be ok that day so we ventured out to Starbucks to retrieve our emails and phone calls. We were unable to dance which was too bad since we love to dance. We would have liked to dance in BB King's. WE were unable to attend any of the Lincoln Center presentations as the times did not work out for us. The food was wonderful. The salad that is prepared for you according to your choice is the BEST!! I miss it already. The Pinnacle Restaurant was excellent as usual and the dining room food was really good. One night I ordered all of the desserts!!! The ice cream was good. The no sugar added desserts were also delicious. The salmon and steak were prepared properly, as was the lobster (not overcooked). The onion soup is so so, however. We found that to be the case on the Konigsdam as well. The other soups were very good. The omelets were excellent as were the Eggs Benedict which I ordered in the dining room one morning. We met some very nice people on board as we always asked to share in the dining room. The pool had enough chairs in the shade which is what we like. The pool was not too cold. The Dive is terrific. All in all, we had a really good time! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We picked this cruise because it was very inexpensive and wanted to try out Holland America. We were a bit disappointed about 1-2 weeks prior to our cruise. We received an invite to upgrade to a suite for a very decent price. However, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it was very inexpensive and wanted to try out Holland America. We were a bit disappointed about 1-2 weeks prior to our cruise. We received an invite to upgrade to a suite for a very decent price. However, within a short time, our travel agent called in, all suites were gone. The ship itself is a bit rundown and could use some updates. It was not "state of the art" and the ambiance is a little conservative. Service was really good. I felt at times that staff were "correcting" me when I wasn't doing things exactly as they would prefer. For example, on my last day, I went to the coffee bar at 6 AM and the person there snapped at me, informing me that they wouldn't be open until 6:30. Food was great, especially the vegetarian menu. Although you have to ask for the vegetarian menu, the selections art outstanding! The entertainment was amazing, especially the Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard On Board! We went to at least 7-8 "recitals" and saw the Billboard On Board most nights before dinner. Our excursions were outstanding. We went to go see the rainforest in Puerto Rico and took tours of almost every other port except for Grand Turk. Our last day at Half Moon Cay (Holland America's private island it shares with Carnival) was outstanding. We had such a good time on a tour and then a barbecue that was free to guests. All in all, it's pretty decent for the amount we paid (approx $950 per person) for a balcony. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose Holland America for our first cruise experience. We are a newly retired couple who generally prefer land-based vacations. However we decided to try something different for our birthdays (just three days apart). The Oosterdam ... Read More
We chose Holland America for our first cruise experience. We are a newly retired couple who generally prefer land-based vacations. However we decided to try something different for our birthdays (just three days apart). The Oosterdam did not disappoint! Everything was awesome, from the amazing service to the great food, to the terrific verandah stateroom. We are already looking forward to booking our next cruise, with HAL. Getting on and off the ship was easy and quick. When we embarked in FLL we were on the ship within an hour of arriving at just after 11 am. The ship was beautiful, certainly not new but definitely clean and well-appointed. The Pinnacle Grill was our favourite restaurant with fantastic service and really great steak. We found the wine selection to be very good. The ship draws an older crowd but we much prefer that over a “party boat” or tons of kids in the pool area. Our cabin stewards Purr and Ono were simply fantastic, always helpful and really upbeat. An all-round awesome first cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We picked this cruise to celabrate my wifes birthday and to enjoy the relaxing ports of call. We are currently a 3star mariner status. We have not been on a Holland ship since 2012. This was the second time on the Oosterdam over ... Read More
We picked this cruise to celabrate my wifes birthday and to enjoy the relaxing ports of call. We are currently a 3star mariner status. We have not been on a Holland ship since 2012. This was the second time on the Oosterdam over the years. Very disappointed in the food quality in the dinning room. Average variety of selections on menu, just not much flavour in any of the meals. Dining room service... As you wish dining, in the evening was the worst we have had in 22 cruises...will not rebook with Holland America. Good service in all bar areas that we visited with friendly staff. Most evenings, coffee or tea never offered. Entertainment, wasn't worth going to the lounge, yet another disappointment. Didn't use the pools but other commented water was lovely and warm. Used and enjoyed the Dry Sauna but very small and only approx 4 to 5 can enjoy at one time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Wanted a relaxing cruise with family for Spring Break- got it! But very disappointed with boat and selection of activities on it. Boat is very old and needs updating. They still have bathtubs in the showers! All food is served from a ... Read More
Wanted a relaxing cruise with family for Spring Break- got it! But very disappointed with boat and selection of activities on it. Boat is very old and needs updating. They still have bathtubs in the showers! All food is served from a buffet line, but you have to ask for them to put things on your plate, different from other ships where you can just get your own amounts of whatever you want. The main dining room was nice and servers were great, but food selection was a little unusual. If you like to eat duck and try new dishes you’ve never heard of, then the main dining room is for you. We found the food to be bland almost every night. The boat is very old, about 30 years, and does not have a huge atrium like other boats. There are a couple of little shops. The casino is very small, with only three $1 slot machines, three 25 cent slot machines, a few tables, and about 20 penny slots. The staff is very nice with all workers being very polite, but do not go above and beyond. The ship also has issues with plumbing. There were several announcements made about plumbing issues to everyone on the boat. Be prepared to have to call the front desk for a plumber to visit your room! The cruise director always says “let’s rock it until we dock it”, but not many activities are planned. Some activities included the art of flower arranging, movies, talks with port info, trivia, and art auctions. Many young people on the boat went to trivia to do something fun. We are used to having drinks of the day specials and a little send off party when we leave the port, but there was nothing like that on this boat. When we went into other ports and other cruise ships were there, they had music playing, but our ship was silent. People say that Holland America cruise line is mostly for older retired people, and we did find this to be true. So in conclusion, go on this boat if you like a nice relaxing time on a small ship, but avoid it if you are younger or traveling with family because there is not much to do. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Second lifetime cruise for me and my 4 yr old (our first cruise was Alaska two years ago aboard the Westerdam with him, my 7 yr old and my father for his 80th birthday), first cruise for my 9 yr old daughter. My awesome wife can only ... Read More
Second lifetime cruise for me and my 4 yr old (our first cruise was Alaska two years ago aboard the Westerdam with him, my 7 yr old and my father for his 80th birthday), first cruise for my 9 yr old daughter. My awesome wife can only handle one kid on vacation at a time, meaning our 7 yr old drew the Europe straw with her this past week, leaving me, my oldest and youngest to go exploring the western Caribbean. I went budget this time (compared to the Westerdam), reserving an ocean view cabin (instead of a verandah, or as they are termed on the Rotterdam, a suite), and choosing to sail out of Tampa - a relatively easy drive from Atlanta at any time other than the start of spring break. The kids absolutely loved the OV window, and I didn't have to stress with my four year old toddling up on a deck table to look over the balcony (as he did on the Westerdam). Two big reasons I'm a fan of HA: every ship in their fleet appears to have a basketball court on the top deck, and every ship has a teak wood deck on their promenade level, which gives them a "classic" ship feel (not unlike WWII era battleships like the USS North Carolina or Missouri). We stayed at the Barrymore Hotel the night before next to the Straz Performing Arts Center, and reserved parking at the Skyhouse Garage - $56 for the week, a half mile tops from the HA terminal. We were able to take our time visiting the Florida Aquarium the morning of the cruise and eat lunch there, before walking back to the garage, grabbing our luggage, and wandering to the terminal for boarding. I've only done this twice - in Seattle and in Tampa - and to me, Tampa seemed like a big spacious terminal, and our embarkation was incredibly fast and easy. Enjoyed sailing down the Hillsborough River. Didn't eat a single meal other than at the Lido (we did the first night dinner on the Alaska cruise when my two younger kids were 2 and 5, and it was way too long and late for them; have never eaten anywhere other than the Lido since). There's enough variety with each meal - 3-4 appetizers, 4-5 entrees, 3-4 desserts, with made to order salads and pastas - and the menus vary enough that even if you eat every single meal there, you can go an entire cruise week without eating the same thing twice. First stop was in Key West, and because I hadn't yet bothered with Club HAL (it had been a bust on the Alaska cruise with my two kids being two of only five kids in the club) and had assumed I would have to do excursions with a 9 and 4 yr old, I booked events geared to the lowest common denominator - my 4 year old. We did the Land and Sea tour - an hour on a trolley train sightseeing Key West, followed by a two hour glass bottom boat cruise - which turned out to be a hit, since my whale loving 4 year old (which ironically took root two years ago on the Westerdam) got to see a pod of 6-8 dolphins up close just goofing off - which apparently does not happen often. Key West harbor was the least charismatic of any of the ones we visited - we had to go through the Truman Naval Base to get to town and got searched on the way back in - but even the least interesting harbor visit beats the best day in an office. NCAA basketball championship was that night, but since HA doesn't get TBS, I'd resigned myself to missing it for the first time in 40 years. So, imagine my surprise when I flipped on the ESPN Internat'l Channel that the boat does carry - and hearing Dick Vitale doing color for the game (which ironically, turned out to be a dud unless you're from Philly). I always dig the "at sea" portion of cruises - much boat exploring, much time spent in the ship's well-appointed Explorations Cafe (found an encyclopedia about ships which kept my four year old entertained and quiet while I taught my daughter how to play chess), and of course much time spent in the main pool with my kids mid-ship . . . Roatan was okay - the only I thing I booked for us that day was the "Magical Flying Beach Chair" which was just a ski lift from the pier to the beach - but which kids will love. The walk would've been nice too. Spent the entire day with my kids on the beach - ample equipment for rent - snorkels and floats - but cannot claim to have done anything truly "Honduran." Santo Tomas, Guatemala was memorable. Booked the Ak-Tenamit/Livingston river cruise - long boat ride up the bay and into the river, but it was worth it. I'm not a birder, but the river was dominated by water fowl everywhere. The Ak-Tenamit settlement, which included a visit to a local school with students was a hit with my nine-year old. Had a good lunch, though if I'd known how bony the fish would be, I'd have ordered the chicken. River ride out was also good; the ride back was broken up with a stop at the town of Livingston - with two kids, I never made it past their playground by the dock. The Santo Tomas harbor is a real life working harbor, and we were mesmerized watching containers being loaded and unloaded off of 18 wheelers before sailing off. What I will always remember about Costa Maya was the water clarity. The "harbor" there, is just a concrete walkway in the shape of a "T" - when we arrived, the Norwegian Pearl and I think Rhapsody of the Seas were already backed into the dock. The port area is easily the most well furnished. Would have liked to have done a beach, but with two small kids, I ended up rewarding them with a visit to the water park - which they both loved. Sea day back was relaxing - my daughter discovered Club HAL and asked if she could go - and both my kids ended up in the 9-11:30 am and 1-4 pm sessions. It was almost weird having an unexpected day to myself like that - so I did what any kidless dude in that situation would do - went to aft deck smoking area, found a chair in the shade, and lit up a big fat stogie . . . We arrived back in Tampa early the next morning - we ordered room service for 6 am, which turned out to be the right call - even though we were slotted for an 8:15 "expedited" disembarkation, the Captain released us an hour early - we were literally on the road home by 8:15 am - we got to the Fla Turnpike and I-75 so early, that for the first time I can remember, we didn't even have to stop . . . Shout out to Teguh and Anita for keeping our cabin clean, to the tall, brunette Guest Relations officer who found my kid after he ran off exploring the ship's elevators, and to the Lido dining staff who for the most part, actually seemed to enjoy my kids. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I was worried when I read reviews from Dec 2017, but not necessary. This cruise was absolutely fantastic. It is a smaller ship and that’s what we loved. Though the ship is older we didn’t notice anything that was rusted or in ... Read More
I was worried when I read reviews from Dec 2017, but not necessary. This cruise was absolutely fantastic. It is a smaller ship and that’s what we loved. Though the ship is older we didn’t notice anything that was rusted or in disrepair as others mentioned. The crew was attentive, gracious and experienced. It was really refreshing to see everyone dressed appropriately in the main dining room, no (or very, very few) shorts or t-shirts, showing respect for fellow cruisers and the staff that is working so hard for you. Even the kids were very sharp; kudos to those parents and thank you! Our waiter and assistant waiter were very friendly and helpful and so very busy; but outstanding nonetheless. The live main stage entertainment was just ok, but occurred every night. The best was the Planet Earth II feature because of the live music accompaniment, it was very powerful. The Lido buffet was smaller than others, but the selection was still vast and I can’t think of anything else one could need. Loved the “big salad” bar and that you can no longer serve yourself along most of the buffet - it was significantly cleaner and more appetizing, but I will say it holds up the line a bit which is a fine trade-off. We booked all of our excursions outside of the cruise line, so can’t comment on that. All of the ports were fine, Key West was fun, as usual, Roatan was a lovely island with nice and informative locals. I’ve seen Guatemala called a wasted port, but probably not for those who did an interesting ruins tour; we did a quick walk through the vendors and went back to enjoy a relatively empty ship. Costa Maya was certainly very touristy and commercial, but it looked like people were having great fun at the beach. Definitely an up and coming Playa del Carmen. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This cruise, out of Tampa, is just an hour away from our home. Tampa port is a fun sail away (goes under the bridge around dusk/dinner time) so we often take this Western Caribbean cruise. We like the ports and the opportunity to see ... Read More
This cruise, out of Tampa, is just an hour away from our home. Tampa port is a fun sail away (goes under the bridge around dusk/dinner time) so we often take this Western Caribbean cruise. We like the ports and the opportunity to see some wonderful Mayan ruins. Key West is always fun - just a stroll down the main street is interesting. And the chocolate covered key lime pie from Kermit's is a must. Mahogany Bay has a great beach, easily reached by the Magic Chair ($12 round trip) lift is lovely, but way too crowded if there is more than one ship in port. SantoThomas, Guatamala is our favorite port because of the wonderful people, Mayan ruins and great shopping right at the port. Costa Maya port is all inclusive. But not to be missed are good beaches nearby. And further out are some amazing Mayan ruins still being discovered. Add to those 4 great port days, 2 sea days on the fabulous Rotterdam, this cruise is excellent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This cruise was a total disaster due to the age of ship and the fact that we missed one of our ports of call, allegedly due to weather (although two other larger cruise ships docked ahead of us with no problems) but more likely due to ... Read More
This cruise was a total disaster due to the age of ship and the fact that we missed one of our ports of call, allegedly due to weather (although two other larger cruise ships docked ahead of us with no problems) but more likely due to broken side thrusters (supposedly repaired in Tampa delaying our embarkation over an hour). Upon arriving in Costa Maya, Mexico, the port I wanted to see the most, the Captain informed us after 5 minutes that due to weather he would be returning to Tampa immediately. All the passengers were surprised that he didn't wait to see if we could land later as we were supposed to be in this port til that evening. The Captain didn't even wait to see if the alleged "bad weather" improved but immediately set course for Tampa. The weather was fine--sunny with a slight breeze. The real issue was that the ship would have had to docked using the side thrusters between the other 2 cruise ships, and if they were broken again, then he would not be able to do so no matter how long we waited so he left immediately. Thus one quarter of my cruise was taken away from me and as a "gesture" the Captain gave us all a glass of cheap "sparkling wine" to compensate us. Needless to say the passengers were upset that we didn't get adequate compensation for missing a port of call and having an extra day at sea (meanwhile Holland America no doubt profited by keeping us captive on board with increased gambling and alcohol revenues). When we asked for better compensation, the snotty customer service staff told us to "read the fine print in the contract" and that Holland America didn't have to reimburse us for weather. While technically correct about the contract, the fact that the Captain never tried to wait out the "weather conditions" and sailed immediately to Tampa lends credence to our belief that the problem was really mechanical, for which the contract would necessitate reimbursement. I wrote requesting the maintenance records, but still am awaiting a response from Holland America. Needless to say I am not holding my breath. This entire ship should be scrapped. The bathtubs and plumbing were horrendous (see attached photos). Our suite was filthy when we arrived (see photos of human toenails on the carpet and crumbs all over dresser and mud on balcony) and then flooded later in the week so we could not use our suite on the last sea day due to maintenance men and loud blowers. Other passengers we met had problems with brown rusty water and scalding hot water so they couldn't shower and had to shower in the spa area. Several other passengers had toilet backups and our toilet flushed irregularly. And we were all in SUITES. I can't imagine how bad the less expensive cabins were. The restaurant service staff were aloof and disinterested in the main dining room and the Lido Cafe (however, the speciality restaurants Canneletto and Pinnacle Grill were excellent). If you were a group of women, you were often ignored while waiters served couples surrounding you. Every dinner I had to ask to get water, food, and dishes removed. Wait staff need to be trained to treat all guests (including women traveling without men) equally. We went to tea and eight of us women were ignored for a half hour until finally I had to physically track down the restaurant manager to get tea served and then tea sandwiches took another 45 minutes to arrive. There need to be more omelet stations in the Lido. It often took a half hour wait to get an omelet for breakfast. The entertainment was very good and there was sufficient seating for guests as they had two shows per evening. The comedian, magician and the Rotterdam Players were all very entertaining. The ship boutique had excellent sales and interesting merchandise. The photographers were all excellent as well. Too bad the poor physical condition of the ship, poor maintenance, disinterested service even when I booked a SUITE with a BALCONY, and MISSING A PORT OF CALL, all led to a terrible cruise experience. Please note that I was a second star Mariner Club member and even that couldn't help me get properly compensated for the dismal experience of this cruise. You do have choices when cruising so be smart and AVOID HOLLAND AMERICA, as it was indeed ROTTEN, DAM!! PORTS OF CALL: KEY WEST: Touristy but interesting. Take the Old Town Trolley to get a good overview of the town's history and see the major sights. Check our Tony's bar to view the bras hanging from the ceiling, stop at the Pilar Rum Distillery for a taste of some premium rums, and lunch at Sloppy Joe's. There will be a long line to get a selfie at the Southernmost buoy but take a shot of it without you in it and move on. ROATAN: Interesting island. We took a private tour and saw the entire island, visited the Iguana Sanctuary, went on a Glass Bottom Boat Ride--don't pay more than $30 and look at the boat windows beforehand as some were so foggy you couldn't see out of them. We ate iguana and oxtail at a local restaurant at the zip line attraction and headed back to the ship. There are nice stores around the docks. SANTO TOMAS DE CASTILLO: The stop in Santo Tomas de Castillo was a total waste of time. There is literally nothing to see or do here. THERE ARE NO ACCESSIBLE BEACH AREAS IN THIS PORT. We hired a taxi to take us around town--be sure to haggle as they wanted $80 per person and we got it for $25 but "guide" only spoke Spanish, no problem as I translated for our taxi, but if you don't speak Spanish forget it. The alleged "Taj Mahal" is really a funeral crypt not a real building. There is a port with banana boats and two local Mercados but nothing special. The trip to the waterfall is NOT worthwhile--small falls and treacherous walk to see them. There is a nice craft fair market in the terminal near the ship dock worth visiting. You can haggle there as lots of vendors selling the same stuff. At the far end you can get a passport stamp for free and try the local Guatemalan beer. All this (without the wasted taxi ride) can be accomplished in an hour so shop and then go back on board) COSTA MAYA: UNFORTUNATELY I NEVER GOT TO SEE THIS PORT AS THE CAPTAIN ABANDONED IT AFTER 5 MINUTES. WE ALL GOT RIPPED OFF ON THIS CRUISE AS WE NEVER GOT TO SEE THIS PORT. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Wanted to have a relaxing one week trip. Enjoyed immensely.Embarkation was very quick and efficient. Rooms were ready when we got on the ship! Common areas were not crowded. Minimal lines.Our Cabin was well maintained. Room ... Read More
Wanted to have a relaxing one week trip. Enjoyed immensely.Embarkation was very quick and efficient. Rooms were ready when we got on the ship! Common areas were not crowded. Minimal lines.Our Cabin was well maintained. Room attendants were friendly and willing to help. Dining room staff were very egar to assist. Can add a few more items for vegetarians.Happy hour was an added bonus.The BBC presentation was unique and creative. Jewelry auction added to the variety of activities on a Sea Day. Rotterdam is maintaining the traditional brunch for the Mariners.Guest Services and Future Cruise offices are run efficiently. Interesting ports of Call, sorry to have missed Costa Maya. Presentations re.ports and shopping were informative.Disembarkation was a breeze. I will recommend Rotterdam and this itinerary to anyone looking for a brief vacation. The weather made it all more enjoyable. This was our fifth cruise with Holland America, impressed with this sailing, we have booked for a fourteen days European venture in 2019. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Our first cruise on HAL. We have cruised 10+years on RCL and were looking for a new experience. We were not disappointed Food,service, and ports of call are not what they used to be on RCL. Seven day cruises are usually only 3 ports (used ... Read More
Our first cruise on HAL. We have cruised 10+years on RCL and were looking for a new experience. We were not disappointed Food,service, and ports of call are not what they used to be on RCL. Seven day cruises are usually only 3 ports (used to be 4). Rotterdam, as some have said, is an older boat but is well maintained and much more conservative in decor than RCL. The crew was friendly and the dining was excellent. For younger cruisers there may be too few activities, but on HAL the focus is on service and the destinations,.Definitely an older crowd but at sea days were enjoyable with deck chairs available and little if any wait on a hot tub.Cabin was roomy with a tub/shower. Show consisted of a comedian, a comedian/magician and two show by the ship's singers and dancers. In addition, there were two BBC presentations which were very interesting. We look forward to our next Holland America cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I chose this cruise because of price and date. I found it to be excellent. I had a wonderful room steward, good service in the Lido, great entertainment and lots of great weather without it being too hot. I loved the entertainment. I have ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of price and date. I found it to be excellent. I had a wonderful room steward, good service in the Lido, great entertainment and lots of great weather without it being too hot. I loved the entertainment. I have cruised many times on Holland America and like the new entertainment venues. B.B. Kings, Live at Lincoln Center and the pianos in the Billboard lounge are all great. Tempest, the singer in B.B. King All Stars, is an incredible talent. Key West is always fun and Grand Tuck is great for sitting on the beach. I did not do any excursions as I have visited the islands many times. We missed Amber Cove because of weather. I was traveling alone so my room was fine for me. But it is small. 4181. There is no sofa or chair. It would be pretty tight with two. My only complaint would be about the spa. I know Holland America doesn't operate it but the up selling is so obnoxious. Whatever service you go for they will try to sell you on three more. And they really don't want to take no for an answer. I only went once. I would have gone more often if it was so hard sell. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My stateroom was changed without my knowledge and consent and it was worse than the one I had reserved. The new stateroom was located next to the front door and had strong vibrations and terrible noise. The stateroom's door kept on ... Read More
My stateroom was changed without my knowledge and consent and it was worse than the one I had reserved. The new stateroom was located next to the front door and had strong vibrations and terrible noise. The stateroom's door kept on continuously banging . In the shower compartment the pipe was clogged, and the water in the faucet almost did not flow. Within three days I asked to fix the pipe and faucet, but customer service manager answered that nothing could be done, and there was no another available stateroom. But it was a lie. The stateroom next to mine was available. On all my claims, eventually I was offered a room with a significant surcharge. It was just outrageous. There were also very few sun loungers on the decks. People had to wake up as early as possible to get any. Every day there was a strong smell of paint on the decks. Food and disserts were good enough Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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