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331 Holland America Line Caribbean Cruise Reviews

Review of Rotterdam, 14 day, Circle Caribbean cruise, March 11 - 25, 2018, in Lanai cabin 3376. We are 4-star Mariners, so the boarding process in Tampa, which is usually pain-free, was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal at 10:30 am, ... Read More
Review of Rotterdam, 14 day, Circle Caribbean cruise, March 11 - 25, 2018, in Lanai cabin 3376. We are 4-star Mariners, so the boarding process in Tampa, which is usually pain-free, was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal at 10:30 am, checked our luggage, and got our key-cards. HAL will re-use your previous ID picture, if you have a current one and your appearance has not changed much. We pre-purchased the Signature Beverage Package (SBP) online, so in the top right corner of our key-cards was printed SBP. We had late (main) seating fixed dining, table for 2, #72, upper level of the MDR. Lanai Cabin: Our cabin was a Lanai type, which we never had before. Instead of a private balcony, you have a sliding glass door (and a fixed glass door) which opens onto the very wide Promenade deck. The glass doors have extremely thick glass, possibly 1/2". That makes the door very heavy to slide. The door is held shut and locked by a magnetic lock. Very secure, impossible to open without the pass-card. There is a small white button inside the door that you press to release the magnetic lock. You have only a few seconds to slide the door open or it will re-lock. On the outside, right under the little sign showing your cabin number, is a proximity sensor. HAL provides 2 proximity cards in your room that are not marked or labeled in any way. Hold that card over the proximity sensor and a little green light will come on indicating that the door is unlocked. You have the same few seconds to slide the door open or it will re-lock. Once unlocked, a sturdy pull on the handle will open the door. It will not close by itself. You must push it closed to lock it. If you run out for a quick look at something, make sure you take the little white prox card or you will be pounding on the door to get back in. The door glass has a reflective film, making it impossible to see in from outside, even at night. I switched on all of our cabin lights, went outside, and pressed my nose against the glass. I could make out the glow of the ceiling lights, and some vague reflections. So, there's no concerns about people passing by and looking in. However, you will still need to close the drapes for sleeping, because the promenade deck is well lighted and that may affect your ability to sleep. Walkers start doing their rounds on the Promenade deck as early as 5:00 am. Some are crew members. They go as late as midnight. Very few joggers, mostly fast walking. There are 2 comfy lounge chairs outside the door. They are semi-permanently labeled "Reserved for Lanai Room". Still, even with the very obvious sign, some folks don't bother to read, or ignore it, feeling that they are somehow special, and signs don't pertain to them. One guy was relaxing in our chair during the sail-by of the Pitons in St. Lucia. We wanted to use the chairs. We politely asked him to move so we could use our chairs. He said, in perfect English, that he didn't understand the meaning of the sign on each chair that is was reserved. He did move. The chairs are made of wood, and the comfy cushions are removed each night around 7:30 and replaced each morning after the decks have been washed, usually around 7:00 am. The cabin was sized OK for 2 adults. There was a pull-out bed in the 2-seater couch. But I would not recommend a third, adult-sized person in that cabin. When the bed is opened, there is very little room to move around the cabin. The TV was on a shelf over the desk with a DVD player under the shelf. The TV is around 18" wide, and difficult to see from the far side of the bed. These TV's are the old, analog type, not the new on-demand 50" ones that are in the suites and on all Vista class and newer ships. You have 2 remotes, one for the TV and one for the DVD player. The TV does have external inputs, but they are analog, composite, component and RGB with audio. Anyone thinking of plugging a laptop into these TV's must bring their own HDMI to composite (yellow, red, white RCA plugs) adapter. There is an extensive DVD lending library and there is a catalog of movies in your room. There is a single US-style 120 volt outlet at the desk, and also a European (round prong) 220 volt outlet. Most electronic devices (including CPAP machines) will work fine anywhere from 100 volts to 240 volts. I use a CPAP machine, and I also have my laptop on the desk. I use the 120 outlet for the laptop, and with a $3 European plug adapter (not a converter) and a short extension cord, I use the 220 volt outlet for my CPAP. There are 2 USB charging outlets at the desk. The bathroom is typical, one sink, toilet, tub with shower. Only a glass shelf, no medicine cabinet. Closet space is adequate, with 3 closets. One of the 3 is less deep, and there are unmovable shelves in the closet that has the safe. Air conditioning was good, no problems. The thermostat numbers are in Celsius and adjusts in 1/2 degree increments. Easy to use, just remember that 28 C is 82 F, and 23 C is 73 F. Dining: We had fixed dining, main seating (8:00 pm), upper level of the MDR. Table 72, a 2-top along the railing overlooking the lower level. The food was very good, many selections, prepared well and properly served. Wait staff, although overworked, were prompt and efficient. Our favorite beverages, and a basket of rolls were always waiting for us when we arrived. I can usually judge the quality and variety of the menu selections on a HAL ship by the number of times I fall back to the "HAL Signature Selections", meaning the onion soup and Caesar salad for starters and the NY strip, roast chicken, or salmon for mains. I did that only twice in the 14 days. We ate at the Lido only for lunches. Generally, the lunch menus had lamb in the "carvery" too many times, but I don't like lamb, so that's a personal thing. We also really enjoyed the NY Pizza, out on the back of the Lido deck, across from the Seaview bar. They will make a personal sized pizza in any way you want, and no problems getting double-anything on your pizza. You get a pager to take back to your table while waiting for the pizza to be freshly made. Normal wait time is about 10-15 minutes. You also can request how you want the crust cooked. The Dive-In was great as usual. On this ship, the Dive-In is located at the forward end of the Lido pool area, close to the Spa. We had 2 Pinnacle Grill lunches ($10 each) and one PG dinner ($35 each). Our Mariner discount cut 50% off of those prices. The PG was great, as usual. We did not use the Canaletto restaurant on this cruise. We used the breakfast order card each morning. Yes, the selections have been reduced, but I have had absolutely no problem writing-in anything I wanted that was not on the card. Even Eggs Benedict as long as you want the version with Canadian bacon and not salmon. That will require an extra charge. I actually had more write-in items on the card than checked printed items. So feel free to write-in anything that is available at the Lido. We do tip the server who brings the breakfast tray each morning. Entertainemnt: We did not attend any of the Main Stage shows. We loved the "Mix" piano bar entertainer, Don Alexander. He was talented, good voice, and very versatile. While playing the piano, he picks up his small, alto saxophone and plays it with his left hand and continues to play the piano with his right. He will also play a harmonica along with the piano, Billy Joel style. He has bass accompaniment with a series of pedals. He constantly takes requests, interacts with the audience, and knows music for all ages. The trio (occasionally quartet) in the Ocean Bar was very good. Most movies that are shown in theater are on the cabin TV's the next day. The cabin TV's have CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, and BBC for news, and 2 ESPN sports channels. They have 2 music channels, a location/weather channel, bow camera channel, America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Country channel that alternates with PBS documentaries, 3 movie channels that repeat every 2 hours, a port talk channel and a port shopping channel. There is a guide channel providing the lineup and channel numbers. Internet: The Rotterdam has the older style, by-the-minute internet. We had an access point in the ceiling of the hallway, only a few cabins away from us, so we had a solid 5 bars of signal at the desk in our cabin. They offer different plans with varying minutes. 100 minutes was $55, 250 minutes was $100, 500 minutes was $175. 1000 minutes was $250. They also have a plan where you are billed 75 cents a minute. Considering that speeds to connect to anything is slow, the 75 cents per minute is not a good move, unless you need to connect only a couple of times on your cruise. The speed we had was sufficient for a VPN connection, and a few Skype audio calls. I didn't try any video calls. 250 minutes was perfect for our 14 days. Shore Excursions: We only did one HAL tour, the Antigua Catamaran with Lobster Lunch, 6 hour tour for $139. We did that tour in 2016 on the Oosterdam, and liked it so much, we did it again. The rest of our tours were private or DIY. Ship Condition: We last sailed on the Rotterdam in 2005, so a lot has changed. But the ship appeard to be in good condition. There is still a library on deck 5, seemed to be well stocked. Disembarkation: We arrived in Tampa early. The ship was quickly cleared, and they started calling luggage tag colors at 7:30 am. Our time was scheduled for 8:45 to 9:45, and we were called at 8:10. A little trick that works great in Tampa. As soon as you enter the huge room with the luggage, grab a porter. He will take your bags, and escort you to the special "porters only" line. That gets you to the immigration officer in minutes. We were through immigration by 8:15 and waiting for our ride home at 8:20 am. Tip the porter $10 or $20, it's well worth it to not stand in the Disney-type lines, pushing all of your luggage as you snake through. Problems: The first night onboard, just before going for dinner, we noticed a small puddle of water under the sink near the toilet. We thought we may have splashed some water out of the shower. We placed a towel on it and left to eat. When we came back to the cabin around 11 pm, the whole bathroom floor was flooded and the carpeting outside the bathroom was squishy wet. We called guest services and the cabin attendant came quickly and looked. He arranged to shut off water in the bathroom until this can be checked out. The next morning, a plumber came with representative from guest services. The plumber quickly fixed the leak (or so he thought), and they vacuumed out as much water as possible from the carpets. They placed a huge, noisy floor blower in the cabin, at the foot of the bed to dry the carpets. The fan was very loud and we couldn't use the TV or have a conversation without shouting. We left the cabin and only came back to use the bath and change clothes. We shut the blower down for sleeping. That lasted 2-1/2 days. Just when they were about to remove the blower, we noticed water dribbling down the cabin wall at the foot of the bed. It was coming from the ceiling, dribbling through one of the hanging pictures, and then dripping on the carpet. That also was addressed quickly, but the blower was put back in to dry that carpet. Another day of noise. When we docked in St. Lucia, we came back to our cabin around 10:00 am and we heard a horrible loud steel grinding noise outside our lanai doors. We went out onto the prominade deck and the noise sounded as loud as a jet taking off. Workers were cutting steel pieces of the lifeboat davits a deck above. They were using cutting torches, steel grinders, and hammers. The whole ceiling of the deck was reverberating with the noise. We went back into our cabin and the noise was deafening. We went up to the Lido deck for drinks and lunch and we could still hear it very loud. This work was happening on both sides of the ship. Guest services said it was work on the lifeboats. They wouldn't say it, but I'm guessing that this was supposed to happen in the November 2017 drydock and was never completed. There's no way they would routinely schedule such a horrible noise with passengers onboard. We couldn't hear our cabin TV, even with the volume full up. We had to shout to each other to hear. This was not routine ship maintenance. We called Guest services again at 4:00 pm, hoping the noise would stop before the sail around the Pitons of St. Lucia, because there would be narration. They promised it would stop and it did, around 4:30 pm. We had a day at sea next, and then Curacao. Sure enough, at 10:00 am after docking, they started up again with the grinding. It was so loud, that guests approaching the ship from their shore excursions could hear the grinding over 500 feet away. We complained again to Guest Services, and they sent a rep to our cabin. There was nothing they could do, they insisted the work must be completed. On our sea day after Aruba, we saw another puddle in the bathroom. I called immediately and they sent more reps from Guest Services and a plumber. He spent an hour in our bath, and finally fixed the leak. After the 3 leaks, and the horrible noise from the lifeboat work, and having to put up with the blower in the cabin, they offered us compensation in the form of cabin credit. We felt it was a reasonable amount. I cannot fault HAL for the speed in which they responded to the leak problems and the speed they fixed them. That was under control of the Hotel department. But the steel metal grinding noise was under control of Marine Operations, and Guest services could only pass along the complaints they were receiving from us and other guests. Note, when we docked in Tampa at the end of the cruise, the grinding started up again, both sides of the ship. We were sitting out on the street, waiting for our ride, 500 feet away from the ship, with the terminal between us and the ship and the grinding was still very loud. On Saturday, March 24, right at 11:30 am, a woman carrying a home-made sign, marched through the Lido deck. One side of the sign was for the "March for our Lives". The other side of the sign said "Ban all Assault Weapons". She got as far as the Dive-In, and a couple of officers approached her and she stopped. Protesting on city streets is a right and I have no problem with it. If you are offended by the theme of the march, you can just ignore it or walk away. But doing it in a closed environment, on a cruise ship, with people paying thousands to get away from the world for a few days is not appropriate. Doesn't matter which side you support, a cruise ship at sea with a captive audience is not the proper place. I am happy that HAL's officers ended it quickly. The 2 TV channels dedicated to shore excursions and shopping on shore were constantly out of date. After leaving Key West, they had a port lecture recorded that repeated 24 hours a day. It featured the next 4 ports, through St. Lucia. On our day in St. Lucia and the day at sea following, we were still being told of the wonderful things we could see and buy in the prior 4 ports that were long gone. A little thing, but it makes the EXC department look kind of silly, or lazy. They could have made a port lecture for each port, and run them all together in sequence, but delete each one as we left that port. All in all, we had a great time, the Rotterdam is still a great ship, and they did address the problems we had quickly. The only beef I has was with marine operations trying to pull off maintenance that was so offensive with passengers onboard. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have cruised on the Rotterdam five times. Entertainment was terrible and on several nights they just had a movie presentation. One comic juggler was bad. Another comic was great. Ship show presentation was two good and one terrible. ... Read More
We have cruised on the Rotterdam five times. Entertainment was terrible and on several nights they just had a movie presentation. One comic juggler was bad. Another comic was great. Ship show presentation was two good and one terrible. Day time activities was limited to sales pitches of excisions, jewelry, shopping in port, and art sales. Spent most of our days in the cabin watching DVD's. Almost all of the ports consisted of Duty Free Shopping stores specifically designed for cruise ships. Each port had a Diamonds International and similar stores. It all became one big been there, bought a ring. Or you could do a zip line. Food has improved and actually tasted good. You needed a food dictionary to determine what some of the menu items were. Prices keep on increasing and more and more amenities are disappearing. Crew members were all excellent without exception. Daily hotel charge is now 13.50 per person, a 30% increase since the original 10.00 charge. I guess to keep up with inflation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Since we live in the Tampa area we were looking for a getaway type cruise to go on with our neighbors. We have been on 20 plus cruises but only one short Holland America cruise which we had enjoyed. So we thought we would give this one a ... Read More
Since we live in the Tampa area we were looking for a getaway type cruise to go on with our neighbors. We have been on 20 plus cruises but only one short Holland America cruise which we had enjoyed. So we thought we would give this one a try. It turned out to be one of our favorites. The ship is one of HAL's smallest but had small but adequate facilities including a nice casino, bars and theater. We had an ocean view cabin with an obstructed view on the lower promenade deck. It was good size for a ship cabin and actually had a bath tub. The promenade deck had an entrance near our room which enabled us to sit on deck chairs right outside our room. The food in the main restaurant was great. The Lido buffet was unhurried and featured good fresh food. There were burgers and pizza by the pool which were good and fun. The service by the mostly Indonesian and Philippian crew was attentive, efficient and pleasant. The itinerary was uninspired with the standard Western Caribbean ports where we had been to many times. The only exception being the Guatemalan port which is just being established as a cruise port. It was mostly a commercial freight type area with not much to see. The only negative was the entertainment which was mediocre at best. We will definitely book on this ship again Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Holland America is our line of choice. We wanted to sample the current Rotterdam after last three cruises on Amsterdam and two on Veendam. Deck plans very similar on these ships make it easier to get around. Neptune Suite and Lounge are ... Read More
Holland America is our line of choice. We wanted to sample the current Rotterdam after last three cruises on Amsterdam and two on Veendam. Deck plans very similar on these ships make it easier to get around. Neptune Suite and Lounge are worth experiencing. Main dining room and Lido Market and Canaletto had excellent food and service. Spa dn fitness center were under utilized and very comfortable. Thermal Suite with steam rooms and heated tiled lounges very relaxing. Embarkation very smooth - Tampa is not Fort Lauderdale but very well run process. Excellent, as always, food in main dining room and Lido Market - and of course the Dive In on the lido deck has super hot dogs. Adagio classical music duo was very relaxing and a welcome change from the other performances i Mainstage theater. Neptune Suite was excellent. very spacious and nicely decorated. The Neptune Lounge provided a retreat with coffee and snacks from 0700-2000 daily. Concierge attendants there were able to help with odd requests and pass problems on to appropriate managers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We enjoy Holland a lot, primarily because they attract people like us and we make a lot of new friends. Not as many children running around. The ship is small, which is not a disadvantage. It is also older. The crew is very friendly ... Read More
We enjoy Holland a lot, primarily because they attract people like us and we make a lot of new friends. Not as many children running around. The ship is small, which is not a disadvantage. It is also older. The crew is very friendly and eager to serve you. Unfortunately, we had the worst cabin we have had on 40+ cruises with 5 different Lines. It was called a "Spa" cabin The room was oddly shaped and one wall was at a 45 degree angle as severely limited the walking "space" and closet space. HAL charged us for this as they called it an up-grade. The food was good, better than most other Lines. One of the problems I have with this itinerary is you have a "wasted" port, Guatemala... The other ports and excursions made up somewhat. The worst cruise I have ever been on is GREAT so this one was great also..... Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The staff & crew were friendly & welcoming. The dining staff was very accommodating in dealing with my food allergies. Our cabin was clean & comfortable. There were never any long lines or shortage of public places to sit. ... Read More
The staff & crew were friendly & welcoming. The dining staff was very accommodating in dealing with my food allergies. Our cabin was clean & comfortable. There were never any long lines or shortage of public places to sit. The entertainment was varied & delightful. Don, the piano man, is an incredible talent. There is a nice, quiet library with a good selection of books. Each evening we sat at a table of 8 with a variety of fun couples ranging in ages from 40 - 70. We didn't do excursions, but walked to nice swimming areas except for Guatemala. Roatan Honduras had the best beach for swimming/snorkeling. It was an easy walk from the ship. The theatre for the 8:00 evening show was somewhat small. You would have to get there no later than 7:30 to find 2 seats together. This was our first time with Holland America and will definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
First of all the veranda cabin was much smaller than on other ships and the great bedding that all HAL customers are used to no longer exists. Instead there is a narrow mattress of twigs, bamboo and leaves (my interpretation) which ... Read More
First of all the veranda cabin was much smaller than on other ships and the great bedding that all HAL customers are used to no longer exists. Instead there is a narrow mattress of twigs, bamboo and leaves (my interpretation) which crackled when you sat on it or during the night when you turned around on it or when you or your significant other left for the bathroom. Absolutely horrible. The bathroom was long and narrow and did not have a night light so that you had to put on the full lighting in the room if you had to use it during the night. The toilet was cati-corner to a corner at the far end of the room close to the shower which was as long as the room with a slate floor that was quite slippery. The food was not great in the dining room. Weird choices and not even half as good as all the other cruises that we have taken on HAL and we are 3 star mariners. It seemed to us that they were trying to get people to pay at the up-charge restaurants on board whereas, formerly, the main dining room food was as good as any expensive up-charge restaurant. No more cakes or pies from European pastry chefs, NONE!, just mouse pies, ice cream or fruit crumble. Even the Pinnacle Grill was not up to previous par. Entertainment was also poor. I have never seen as many people leave a theater as I did on this trip. BB King loud and lousy now in a two story opening in the center of the ship. No chaise lounges on the promenade deck. When ship is at sea. not enough lounges to accommodate the passengers wanting to use one. Even though most of the passengers were gray haired seniors, it was quite evident that HAL was now pandering to a different clientele. More Carnival like. Many of the older Indonesian service people that we spoke with have seen the change. New Management is now saving money at the passenger's expense. NO MORE HAL TRIPS FOR US EVER. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My husband and I are Five-Star Mariners who have sailed on many of HAL's ships. We chose this cruise for the itinerary--not for the ship. We were on the Koningsdam in November, 2016 and were hoping some changes had been made. ... Read More
My husband and I are Five-Star Mariners who have sailed on many of HAL's ships. We chose this cruise for the itinerary--not for the ship. We were on the Koningsdam in November, 2016 and were hoping some changes had been made. However that did not happen. There is still NO library; music from all three venues (especially B.B. King Blues) blast every evening. The main dining room and the theater are too small. There are now three shows scheduled each evening. Stewards in the dining room are overwhelmed----and still provide excellent service with a smile. Happy Hours are scheduled to conflict with the early dining hour---which is now 5:00 P.M! Since we had visited most of these island before we just booked one Shore Excursion in Puerto Plata. We enjoyed the day there and learned a lot about the local history. Our cabin stewards were excellent----and again overworked. Embarkation was orderly and relatively swift. Disembarkation was another matter. When our luggage number was called we walked from the ocean bar all the way back to the entrance to the theater and then back again to mid-ship where the gangplank was located. Why not have guests wait comfortable and go in smaller groups directly to the gangplank? I honestly feel HAL does a better job of pleasing guests on their smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was my 63 cruise. I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Hotel Info: We flew down one night early and stayed at Bahia Mar Fort ... Read More
This was my 63 cruise. I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Hotel Info: We flew down one night early and stayed at Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach – a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. This was our second time at this hotel. The employees are very nice. Ship Info: We haven’t sailed on this cruise line since 2004. We enjoy this cruise line because it is geared towards adults and not a drinking crowd. The average age group was probably Baby Boomers (with most being retired). I loved how this cruise line didn’t give you the option on their beverage, dining, and fitness receipts for “additional gratuities” like other cruise lines do. If you enjoy classical music, reading, relaxing, great conversation, and hardly any children, this is for you. The ship was extremely clean and new. If you are looking for a cruise with a lot of night life (disco and pool parties) and people spending time at the bar or getting buckets of beer by the pool, this cruise line didn’t have that. Activities: Their spin classes in the fitness center are $20 each and they hook you up to equipment that keep track of your heart rate, etc. They also offer yoga and Pilates (for a fee). They offer several complimentary fitness classes too like meditation, abs, and stretch classes. They do not offer dance classes. They do an amazing job with their afternoon tea (includes food served by the employees). They do not have karaoke at night. They do not do pool contests/games during the day. They do not have bands playing by the pool during the day. This ship did not offer “family actives” like water slides, rock climbing walls, etc. Service: Service was great in all areas. Shore Excursions: We booked the Snorkel trip in Bonaire with the cruise line (Seacow), and it was excellent. If you like to sit on the beach with shade, I recommend booking the chairs with the shade on their private island several weeks before you cruise because they sell out (you can book it on their website). Stateroom: We originally booked an outside cabin, then a few weeks before our cruise, we received an email from the cruise line asking if we wanted to upgrade to a balcony for $125/person (total for 10 nights), so we took it. They offer complimentary shoeshine service. They had Elemis shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body lotion in the bathroom. The water pressure in the shower was outstanding; probably the best shower at sea. Out of all the cruise lines, they offer the best complimentary movies available to watch on your TV. As a matter of fact, they don’t charge you for any movies (like some cruise lines do). They offered a package for unlimited laundry and pressing that was $70 per cabin for the 10 nights, so we purchased that and loved it. The balcony did not have lights on it, so if you wanted to sit out there at night and read, this was not an option. Dining: Before you order your meal in the main dining room, ask the waiter what they recommend. If you do not like crowds, eat in the main dining room for breakfast and lunch instead of the buffet. This cruise line has the dining room open for lunch on embarkation day, and we really enjoyed that so we did not have to go to the buffet. We purchased their dining package so we could experience all their specialty restaurants. It cost $95/person for five restaurants, and I felt it was well worth it. We purchased it online a few weeks prior to the cruise, and then when we got on board, we made the reservations. Our favorite restaurant was the Asian restaurant. I recommend eating in a specialty restaurant on the first night because some main dining rooms can be a bit unorganized because all the guests are trying to figure out where they sit, etc. When you eat in the Asian restaurant, make your reservation near the window during the sunset. Their buffet had the best food options I have seen in years. They also serve everything to you, so other guests are not touching the buffet lines. Dress Code: They had two formal nights, and most men were in a dark suit. I wore a cocktail dress on the formal nights. On the other nights, everyone dressed in business attire. I enjoy dressing up. Entertainment: I loved their entertainment, especially the Lincoln Center Stage and the dancers in the main show room. Their main shows are three times per night (6:30, 8:00, and 9:30 p.m.). Disembarkation: If you want to carry all your bags off the ship by yourself, they will let you off starting at around 7:30 a.m. We had a 10:15 am flight and opted to carry our bags off. Other: I prefer Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, and Princess when not traveling with children or young adults. I like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line when traveling with a younger crowd. Overall: 5 out of 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My husband and I choose this cruise to get away from the cold and enjoy 14 days of luxury in the warm Caribbean. The weather did not disappoint. It was beautiful, warm and sunny. We were in an outside cabin and it was very ... Read More
My husband and I choose this cruise to get away from the cold and enjoy 14 days of luxury in the warm Caribbean. The weather did not disappoint. It was beautiful, warm and sunny. We were in an outside cabin and it was very comfortable. The cabins on Rotterdam appear to be a little larger than normal with a little more storage. The bed in under the window which limits your view, however. Our cabin steward was okay - and that's very unusual for Holland America. He usually have fantastic cabin stewards. Our waiter was pretty bad but the assistant waiter was great so it worked out all right. We actually found the food on the Lido deck to be just as good as what is supposed to be "fine dining" so we ate at the buffet several nights. The hamburger/hot dog place and pizza place were . I'd give them 10 out of 10! My husband and I are dancers were very disappointed with the music on board. Thank goodness we had Joe the piano guy in the Ocean Bar. We danced a lot of waltzes but at least we danced. There was a quartet in the Ocean Bar occasionally but the small floor was usually crowded when they were there. The Adagio group was very good for listening. The only other music was a sometime DJ in the Crow's Nest. There were only two members of the Cruise Director's Staff - the cruise directer and one other guy so there wasn't much in the way of entertainment. The shows in the theater were good. The small group of singers and dancers were as good or better than those on larger ships and the other entertainers were very good. The ports were great. We did shore excursions in four of them and greatly enjoyed three of these. I would definitely recommend the Made in Curacao and a Taste of the Caymans. The ship, sadly to say, was one a grand lady but is soooo showing her age. I would not take another cruise on the Rotterdam or a 14 day cruise on such a small Holland America ship again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
After reading all the negative reviews about the Rotterdam, particularly those following her recent dry dock, I was apprehensive about what we would find on board. I should not have worried. The Rotterdam is a beautiful, classic ship. Yes, ... Read More
After reading all the negative reviews about the Rotterdam, particularly those following her recent dry dock, I was apprehensive about what we would find on board. I should not have worried. The Rotterdam is a beautiful, classic ship. Yes, she is 20+ years old, and she shows it. But it’s through her teak decks, open railings, and other classic touches, not through neglect. Those who are looking for huge, open spaces should not book this ship. This is not an “of the Seas” experience. Our stateroom (a Neptune suite) had gone through some updates during the dry dock. New furniture and new textiles (carpets, drapes, bedding) added a more contemporary touch. To truly get the feel of the newer ships, HAL will need to do something about the abundant mirrors and blond wood. Still, it was a comfortable room and the updates were nice. The public spaces generally looked good. It was tough to find a table or lounge chairs on the Lido deck, both inside and out. I attributed this to the great weather we had, and everyone’s desire to be outside. The main dining room was nice, and less crowded during the second seating. The only space I did not like was the Pinnacle Grill. Much too dark and ornate for my tastes (but great food). Even the Canaletto Grill was nice, despite being a part of the Lido. We did not frequent the inside bars. We spent a lot of time at the Sea View Bar, which we loved. Service was excellent. Everyone referred to us by name from the very first day, and we never wanted for anything. The food was also very good (excellent in the for fee dining options, as well as Dive In). We did have a minor issue with embarkation. A HAL representative put us in the line for multiple star Mariners (which we are not), since that line was shorter than the line for suites. The woman checking in passengers for the line we were in very loudly objected to us being in that line. The original woman who told us to get in that line took the blame, but it did not appease the affronted check in person. It certainly was embarrassing and uncomfortable for us. Thankfully, it was the only bad experience we had. I also found it odd that after making it clear multiple star Mariners ranked above suite guests, the latter were allowed on board first. I guess I don’t understand HAL politics. Because we had the late dinner seating, we generally skipped the evening entertainment. The few shows we did attend were not overly professional, but were great fun. As a couple in our mid fifties, we were definitely on the lower end of the passenger age spectrum. No kids at all on our cruise (two weeks in February), which we appreciated. We met many nice and interesting fellow passengers. About the only other concern worth mentioning is related to motion sensing. The small size of the Rotterdam is positive in most other ways, but you can definitely feel motion during rough seas. If that bothers you, you should probably pick a different ship. One last comment for those who have also read all the negative post dry dock reviews. We saw no buckling carpet, buckets to catch leaks, leaks of any kind, non working toilets, or non working air conditioning. Key West We’ve been to Key West many times because we love it. We spent our time in port at our favorite restaurant (Blue Heaven), followed by a cigar, glass of wine, and great people watching at Cork & Stogie. Puerto Rico Damage from the hurricanes has been largely cleaned up in and around San Juan. We took a taxi to Isla Verde Beach. It was a pretty, uncrowded spot with cheap chair/umbrella rentals. We had lunch at a great spot right on the beach. Because we were in port late, we had a fabulous dinner in Old Town San Juan at Marmalade (not to be missed if you have the time). The people in San Juan were the friendliest of all the ports we visited. St Thomas Hurricane damage was more apparent here, mainly in land. Our group taxi (try to avoid these, we got on one by mistake) took us downtown first. This was a miserable experience. Once we got out of town, we went on to Magen’s Bay. The beach was gorgeous and uncrowded the day we were there. Chair rental was pricey, and we didn’t see umbrella rentals (found out later they were available). Food options didn’t appeal to us so we headed back to the ship for lunch. Fellow passengers went to Trunk Bay on St John, on their own. They said it was fabulous. Antigua We took a taxi to Jolly Beach. It was a longer drive than anticipated, about 30 minutes. The beach was beautiful and uncrowded (despite the many rows of chairs set up). Chair and umbrella rentals were cheap, and the little restaurant on the beach was great. Be sure to pre arrange your return taxi. There were none waiting for return passengers. St Lucia We had pre booked a land/sea excursion (not through the cruise line) with Spencer Ambrose Tours. We really enjoyed the boat tour along the coast with stops at the mud baths (we skipped those and toured the volcano instead), a waterfall, and then Sugar Beach. The power boat ride is not for the faint of heart! St Lucia is a beautiful island which we thoroughly enjoyed. The cruise ship also sailed by the Pitons upon departure. This was the best part of the cruise scenery wise. Curacao We so wanted to like this island, but did not. We found it dirty, crowded, and unfriendly. We walked along the Handelskade (cheap, tourist shops which can be skipped), and then took a taxi to Mambo Beach (crowded, not nice). I’d probably stay on board the ship if I returned here, except the cruise port overlooks an oil refinery. Aruba We thought we’d hate this island, but we loved it. We took a taxi to Eagle Beach. Chair and umbrella rentals were ridiculously high, and we found out later the vendors will negotiate (but not happily, great entertainment, though). The beach was beautiful. We then returned to the port area where we had lunch at the Paddock. Great food and view of the water. Grand Cayman We had been to Grand Cayman previously and had found it unpleasant (rows of cruise ship passengers packed onto certain sections of Seven Mile Beach). This time, we followed a tip from Cruise Critic and went to Hemingway’s. What a difference! Free use of chairs and umbrellas on a beautiful beach as long as you spend $25 minimum per person. You can also use two pools. The entire area was uncrowded and we had excellent food and service. I highly recommend Hemingway’s. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We did the last two weeks of this cruise, which was actually three weeks, but we skipped the western ports, having visited them all before and found they were not to our liking. I prefer these smaller sized older ships, having sailed ... Read More
We did the last two weeks of this cruise, which was actually three weeks, but we skipped the western ports, having visited them all before and found they were not to our liking. I prefer these smaller sized older ships, having sailed with HAL for twenty years, and having experienced all size and style of their ships. This particular Rotterdam cruise is well suited for the older crowd and that includes me. This time of year there are almost no children sailing which makes for quiet public places on board, and less hectic crowds in port. The entertainment is not Vegas style, but there is a show in the main theater every evening, and other entertainment and low level activities in other venues, but most activity comes to an early close on this style of cruising. The southern Caribbean ports are my favorite places in the world. I didn't do an excursion because the ports are walkable, and having been there so often, I know exactly where I like to go. A real plus is most of the islanders speak English and most use the American dollar. I was late to book, and the suites were taken, so this was my first time in a lanai, which is a smallish ocean-view-style cabin, but it has a sliding door that leads out to the Promenade deck, with two assigned lounge chairs positioned outside. I enjoyed it. I did miss the privacy of a balcony, but the lanai in the 3357 area (center ship) offers a much wider view of the ocean, as it isn't partitioned off like the balconies. I would stay again in a lanai. I could always find something great to eat in the Lido, regardless of the time of day or night, and I could choose exactly what I wanted and as much as I wanted. I LOVED it! The other dining venues were a disappointment. The staff is bare-bones and it took almost 90 minutes to finish dinner, even when ordering only three courses. No time for any small-talk with the waiter. No time to get a refill on a glass of water either. The food, although edible, was not the best I've had on HAL. Tough steaks, and sides that were barely room temperature. No special deserts. Even the Pinnacle Grill offered tough steaks, room temp sides, and overly slow service. Who wants to eat cold mashed potatoes? The casino was the best I've ever visited at sea. Loose slots and great attentive staff. It was remarkable in every aspect. Disembark was the best in twenty years. We left our room at 8:20 and were on the road home at 8:41. Unbelievable! We parked our car at Park4Pier and their service was amazing from drop off to pick-up. Kudos to Park4Pier. In summary, this is a nice ship and it visited interesting ports. This ship is definitely NOT for young people or children. I advise doing research and reading reviews before booking any cruise with any line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I chose this trip as a new widow because I knew I would be safe, cared for and have plenty to do in wonderful surroundings. The ambiance of the vessel is charming and old world to me, like being in an art gallery and a museum. I finally ... Read More
I chose this trip as a new widow because I knew I would be safe, cared for and have plenty to do in wonderful surroundings. The ambiance of the vessel is charming and old world to me, like being in an art gallery and a museum. I finally was able to get the i pod from guest services and do the art tour. I am certain that many do not realize the magnitude of the collection. The music offerings were varied and relaxing. I eat a very carefully prescribed diet and was accommodated for this and ate well and flavorful. I observed table mates food and they all expressed satisfaction. I did hear some complaints from others about the food however feel they are unfounded. If they wanted Pinnacle food and service they needed to go to the Pinnacle. The food handling was safe with a large variety in the lido where I ate breakfast and lunch meals except for one morning of room service which arrived exactly as I had requested and in the time frame requested. I would have liked more fish without batter, however the batter was easy to remove. My cabin was kept immaculate and carpet was cleaned at my request ( I exercise every am and use the floor). The number of ports of call was magnificent, look at some lines that way less than the 8 ports we had. The lectures about the ports was super, even though I had been before, I still learned a great deal. The variety of shore excursions suited my needs, beach, snorkeling and relaxing. I am not one much for nightly shows however was entertained when I did go. I did hear some complaints from a few however if they wanted Las Vegas they should go there and PAY the going rate. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I went because it was recommended by friends. It was an RSVP chartered cruise. The crew was friendly and liked working the gay cruise. The cabin was comfortable, we had an oversized Verandah cabin. The bed was comfortable and ... Read More
I went because it was recommended by friends. It was an RSVP chartered cruise. The crew was friendly and liked working the gay cruise. The cabin was comfortable, we had an oversized Verandah cabin. The bed was comfortable and afforded a good night's sleep. The balcony was an oasis of calm where I could read and unwind. The bathroom was small, but well appointed and did what it needed to do. Our cabin was kept clean by the crew. The main theatre was very cool - the led covered walls were stellar. The lighting designer took the time to talk with me about the theatre tech (thank you!). I'm a set designer for a few local theatre companies and was curious about the theatre. Food: The food was good to great. The buffet always had good choices (vegetarian here) morning to night. The main dining room had good quality food but service was never less than 2 hours. The signature restaurants were worth the modest up-charge. Alcoholic drinks weren't as expensive as I thought, but there wasn't a drink package (I hear they are available on the non-gay cruises). Excursion: Half-Moon Cay was a relaxing place. We had a bungalow with butler service and it was worth every penny. Our butler was so helpful and engaging. One criticism is that the spa staff are all programmed to hard-sell the services. I had pre-booked a massage, which was good. However, from the spa tour through my appointment, everyone was trying to get me to spend more. My "treatment plan" would have cost >$1000. I didn't go back and avoided the spa entirely after my appointment - it wasn't a relaxing area. I will consider HAL for my future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I chose this cruise because I had never been to any of the ports except to Key West. I read that the ship recently was refurbished, but it looked a little run down, especially the rusted balconies and dirty windows throughout. The food ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had never been to any of the ports except to Key West. I read that the ship recently was refurbished, but it looked a little run down, especially the rusted balconies and dirty windows throughout. The food was above average. I appreciated that there is someone to serve you at the buffet. Anytime dining was a joke; you waited in line, and when the lobby filled up, you were instructed to go to the bar on another deck and wait there until your beeper rang. The crowd is older and going to another deck was something they were not going to do. Of course, one evening a small argument ensued. Entertainment was mediocre. No BB King which was advertised when I first booked. One night the main entertainment was a BBC video. If you wanted to listen to contemporary music, a small lounge was available. There was always a good movie in the lounge. We sat in the theater for the Super Bowl party. What was interesting was that my boyfriend bought a "package" which included a front row seat in a leather chair, unlimited drinks, "football food" not typical food that Americans eat at football parties, and Bud sunglasses and glass. What I found annoying was why everyone else ate and didn't pay for it. During the day, the usual cruise ship activities: port and shopping info, trivia, future cruises and art auctions. Good TV reception in the cabins. Cabin 7042 great location right down a small corridor from the elevator. Good sized room with lots of closet space. Bathroom with tub and a nice vanity. Room was kept spotless. Having been to Key West a few times, we just took the shuttle to Duval St. and walked around. Mahogany Bay Honduras was run-down in terms of roads and housing. We took a private tour to the Iguana, Sloth and monkey preserve; it was fun. The guide also drove us around the whole island so we saw just how poor these people are. Didn't get off in Guatemala. In Mexico we got off the ship, took the shuttle to the market. Lots of t-shirt stores and silver stores. The best thing about this cruise was that we had a Catholic priest onboard who celebrated Mass everyday for us. I think HAL should receive a commendation for this since no other cruise line has a priest. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Dining and service (staff) were first rate and "saved" the cruise. Dining in the MDR and Lido (breakfast and lunch) was outstanding for quality, choice and sevice. Entertainment was very poor. The Main stage productions were ... Read More
Dining and service (staff) were first rate and "saved" the cruise. Dining in the MDR and Lido (breakfast and lunch) was outstanding for quality, choice and sevice. Entertainment was very poor. The Main stage productions were 'High School" quality. Special individual perfofrmers were O. K. but not special. Other presentations and performers (except for Adiajo) were dreadful! Ship was fairly well appointed and clean with plenty of seating areas in inside and outside public spaces. Ports were fair with Ste. Tomas de Castillo offering absolutely nothing to do but take a ship tour that ran 3 hours late in returning. The two at seadays had very few activities except for the Test kitchen and three showings of an old second rate movie in the theatre. Carlos the CD was a very positive and always friendly presence. The Art Auctions were awaist of time. I rated the cruise (overall) with four stars but it only deserves 3.5 stars. Joel Barry Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Start with the fact that our bathroom that leaked water up from underneath the linoleum floor every single day of the cruise (I have pictures.) No idea where the water was coming from, but despite 3 complaints to Guest Services and three ... Read More
Start with the fact that our bathroom that leaked water up from underneath the linoleum floor every single day of the cruise (I have pictures.) No idea where the water was coming from, but despite 3 complaints to Guest Services and three plumber visits- NOTHING stopped the water leakage. It was gross. Second, it was nearly impossible to even get a glass of water with our meals in the Lido Buffet (under staffing.) The ship's overall condition was deplorable. Steward service was hit or miss. The cabin stewards were so sloppy that they left toilet water on the seat of the toilet after the bathroom was cleaned ! The Dive In Restaurant couldn't get orders straight and served me cold burgers not once, but twice ! Our room had an electrical outlet that worked sometimes and other times did not. The Thermostat in our state room did not work at all- One temperature (warm) throughout the entire voyage. The offerings in the Lido Buffet were mostly the same items every day. Very little variation in menu. All in all, not like any of the previous ships that I sailed on Holland America. Here's some good advice: Choose a different Holland America Ship (ie: Konigsdam or Eurodam, both very nice) This ship should be permanently retired from the Holland America fleet. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
After pouring over reviews I was leary about our cruise expecting the worst. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ship while being older was in good condition and hearkens back to our first cruise back in the 1990's. We were ... Read More
After pouring over reviews I was leary about our cruise expecting the worst. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ship while being older was in good condition and hearkens back to our first cruise back in the 1990's. We were some of the youngest on board, in our 50's, and enjoyed the fact that there was only 1200 passengers with none of the public spaces ever feeling crowded or overly noisy. We were surprised to find cloth hand towels in the public restrooms along with real orchids! The Lido also had fresh orchids on every table with the MDR having fresh flower arrangements. There were never long lines anywhere on the ship. We ate in the Lido for breakfast, lunch and a few dinners, the food was good and a nice selection offered. The MDR also was a solid 4 out of 5, if you went away hungry it would be your own fault. After chatting with some of the older passengers the over-all impression was that HAL takes good care of their "seniors". The entertainment was enjoyable with the Juggler being the most unexpected surprise and had everyone rolling on the floor. Service was good in all areas of the ship. Now that we have been back to these ports of call we will be checking that box off the list with no need to revisit. We would sail again on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Wanted to get out of the cold and chose this cruise because if the timing with other activities scheduled in Florida. We have sailed the Rotterdam three times in the past and loved the ship. The reviews lately were about how tired she ... Read More
Wanted to get out of the cold and chose this cruise because if the timing with other activities scheduled in Florida. We have sailed the Rotterdam three times in the past and loved the ship. The reviews lately were about how tired she was and then of smelly carpet glue and shedding carpets after drydock. The ship was lovely. The staff was exemplary. Food was tasty. What more could one ask for. We are 5 Star mariners and just tried our first inside cabin. It was fine and a good value. In fact, we didn’t feel the ocean Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
My husband bought this cruise for me for Christmas and anniversary, as I had no interest in cruising (this was his only way of getting me on one!). I was always worried about feeling like a tourist, getting seasick, lineups, viruses etc ... Read More
My husband bought this cruise for me for Christmas and anniversary, as I had no interest in cruising (this was his only way of getting me on one!). I was always worried about feeling like a tourist, getting seasick, lineups, viruses etc (all of those things I read)... even moreso after doing research I was worried this ship was old, small and as some would say like an old age home. I was completely blown away and loved every minute. I loved the size of the ship as by the end we almost recognized everyone. Holland America certainly caters to an elderly crowd but we had a blast (we are age 53 and 42), met a ton of fantastic people. The intinerary was so-so, we loved Key West and Roatan (went to Little French Key!), Guatamala (not a great port, we did a river tour to an very 3rd world village, it was eye opening but I would not go back), and Costa Maya (what seemed like average Mexican port). The ship had everything we needed. We got the unlimited laundry and took a day to sort through how to do that, it was a small bag but all you could produce in one day. Fresh, clean and pressed clothing the next morning!! The ship was extremely clean, they took great measures to keep it very sanitary. We got the Signature beverage package, worth it, loved the bartenders, food in dining room was awesome, spread at breakfast had everything you ever could imagine. Evening entertainment was okay, definitely catered to older folk. Cannot wait for the next cruise (though I think we are going to venture onto Celebrity or Norwegian for a bit more night entertainment). Thank you Holland America for an amazing time!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Chose this cruise as it went to ports we had not been to and wanted to experience the ms Koningsdam. We were not disappointed as it is a wonderful ship and a lot different from other Holland America ships we have sailed on. The ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it went to ports we had not been to and wanted to experience the ms Koningsdam. We were not disappointed as it is a wonderful ship and a lot different from other Holland America ships we have sailed on. The different ports of call certainly added to the wonderful experience. Guadeloupe was not at all what i expected it was much more worn down than i had expected. Gran Turk was beautiful but again not what I had expected. The shore excursion to the historic village in Romana was a real good experience The entertainment was spectacular. The wrap around lighting was unusual. We had a family room and it offered two bathrooms which was an added benefit. The dining was excellent in all outlets especially the Dive for burgers and fries. We also had an excellent dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. The wine steward upsold us on a bottle of wine and we were pleased that she did. Overall it was a great cruise and would recommend the itinerary as well as the ms Koningsdam. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
HAL is headed downscale to becoming a mass market line from its previous premier position. Let us count the ways. While the food in the dining room was still very good and the service from HAL's service staff was still excellent, ... Read More
HAL is headed downscale to becoming a mass market line from its previous premier position. Let us count the ways. While the food in the dining room was still very good and the service from HAL's service staff was still excellent, the Entertainment Department is almost missing. During a 14 day cruise the ship's singers/dancers performed twice; there was no band by the pool for lunch/happy hour/sail away. Trivia was limited. There were no deck games to bring passengers together. There were no enrichment lectures, only the port talker reading her script from her laptop - painfully boring. The library was a mess with mis-shelved books and books in tatters with no staff ever in attendance. BB King's has been removed from the vessel in the last overhaul and the Crow's Nest is dead as there is no entertainment there. Daytime entertainment is given over almost entirely to sales pitches: shore excursions, future cruise sales, port shopping, art auction. Live performers have been replaced with videos and films. The EXC program, which is advertised to bring new value, is simply the old shore excursion pitch repackaged. America's Test Kitchen gave very basic cooking demonstrations and then ran non-stop on the cabin TV. While the recent overhaul gave the Rotterdam a pleasant face lift, it also removed all the self service laundries. Laundry service is now a profit center at HAL. Our lanai cabin was advertised as allowing one to step right through the sliding door and enjoy one's own deck chair on the promenade deck. Except nothing is done to fulfill that promise and other passengers routinely plunk down in our chairs. Regarding HAL's future, the new mantra is now: 'yes, our new ships are bigger but still mid-sized compared to what's out there'. That, of course, means HAL is only comparing itself to mass market lines as they are the ones with the huge ships. Other premium lines like Viking are building new real mid-sized ships (900-1000 pax) or, like Oceania, buying older mid-sized ships and remodeling/repurposing them as premium ships. It appears if, in the future, one wants a premium experience one will have to book other than on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We like small and mid size ship hence we chose the Rotterdam for this cruise. Must admit to getting cold feet just prior to sailing as there were some pretty negative reviews - some justified. Starting though with the positives: The ... Read More
We like small and mid size ship hence we chose the Rotterdam for this cruise. Must admit to getting cold feet just prior to sailing as there were some pretty negative reviews - some justified. Starting though with the positives: The mostly Indonesian and Pilipino Cabin and Dining crew were absolutely excellent - could not fault a single one of them. We did not see much of the Ships Officers mostly Dutch and who kept pretty much to themselves but they did their job! Previous reviewers have complained at lack of entertainment - well for this cruise we had no complaints there was a great choice of options throughout every day. - we give this top marks. The digital workshops which were held every day were excellent. The much hyped America's Test kitchen though was a bit disappointing. The presenter was good but the menu ideas were not inspiring. Our cabin (Vista suite 6111) was larger than we expected and very comfortable. Our cabin Stewards were brilliant. The en suite bathroom was spacious although the bathtub and certainly seen better days but everything worked and we saw no signs of blockages or leaks anywhere on the ship. The Lady who gave the Ports talks really did know her stuff and gave excellent island introductions. Let's talk about the food: Our room service breakfast was delivered at precisely the correct time each morning and was a good start to the day. The Lido buffet had some great food stations - we particularly liked the Salad counter and the Pasta station. We liked the idea that staff actually served you at the counters as if left to individuals everything gets mixed-up so this was a positive. For the mains and starters ample and good choices but sad that there was not lobster even once. Surprisingly few desert choices - often just 3 cold and one hot which was always bread and butter pudding . For tha main dining room we had selected open seating - sounded good at the time of booking but in reality it actually meant on any given day you could chose either 5.30 too early or 8.30 and miss the evening shows. Spa prices (unfortunately like most ships) were ridiculous. Talking of prices, Holland America do seem to want to nickel and dime you for even the smallest extra and without logic. For example you can go to the Dining Room for a full afternoon tea (included) but have a coffee in a lounge and thats $4.0 thank you! Bottles of water also charged as extra. This cruise had a great itinerary but at 2 ports of call - Grand Cayman and Aruba you had to be back on board by 2.30 which precludes doing a decent island/ beach trip. On board excursion prices were way to high. Fellow passengers. On this voyage the mix was about 95% American / Canadian and 5% Other and thats fine. Then further sub divide to about 75% Geriatric, Walkers/ zimmer frames galore. About 65% Obese. Sadly far too many not making the slightest effort to adopt smart casual - is it that difficult o was and put at least clean clothes on for dinner? Overall. Yes we enjoyed the Holland America experience but am not sure we would rush back. One final point Disembarkation seemingly went so well. Even CBP excelled in speed and politeness but once you hit kerbside - what a shambolic mess but I guess that is the fault of Port of Tampa. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise to get away from a Colorado winter and because we had never been on the Rotterdam. We weren't too picky on which islands we visited. The Rotterdam was in dry dock in October 2017 and we had heard it was in bad ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get away from a Colorado winter and because we had never been on the Rotterdam. We weren't too picky on which islands we visited. The Rotterdam was in dry dock in October 2017 and we had heard it was in bad shape afterward, but that was not the case in our experience. She's an older ship and doesn't look brand new, but she has aged gracefully. During the first two-week segment of our Collector's Cruise, there were some excellent entertainers. My favorite, and the only one I remember as I'm writing this a month after returning, was the MacDonald Brothers. They are from Scotland, with heavy accents and excellent singing voices. They played some oldies that most people would know as well as some Scottish tunes (Loch Lomand, Danny Boy). They had the showroom rocking! I bought their CD, and it had a lot of songs on it that they sang in the show. My only complaint is that there was not much going on for entertainment on some nights and on sea days. I liked when the future cruise directors gave talks about other cruise destinations, with photos. Didn't like when movies were shown at night in the showroom. I did like the way the Sea View Pool area has been changed. It was nice to sit in a shallow pool, then take a break in the hot tub. I cannot say enough about the staff on board, from the room stewards Gede and Wayan, the Crow's Nest bar staff Roland and Mark, and the office staff. During the third week of the cruise we received news that our youngest son had passed away. He was 30 and we were devastated. After that first phone call from the US, the front desk staff let us use the room phone to call back home for free whenever we wanted and to as many people as we needed to contact. They sent us a beautiful vase of flowers, and everyone from fellow passengers to the staff were very supportive. A young woman who I believe was a Rotterdam Singer and Dancer saw me on the Sea View Deck, and I was obviously very sad. She didn't know the reason, but she brought me a dessert and hoped that would cheer me up. It made me cry, but I did feel better to know someone cared. We had a Vista Suite (6213)- which is somewhat like Veranda staterooms on the larger ships. We chose it because with Holland America you get credit for double days in a suite and we needed those extra days to get us to the four-star Mariner category. But I really enjoyed the balcony. I went out there quite a bit, during the day and at night. It's a small, private retreat. (A request to others with a balcony - please turn your balcony lights off at night. Your neighbor might want to see the stars.) The cabin was almost as far forward as possible. My husband said there was noise when we pulled into ports. I didn't notice it. Most ports we just went out on our own. A few excursions I will mention. In Costa Maya we took a ship's excursion to the Maya ruins at Kohunlich. We had never been to Maya ruins before and thoroughly enjoyed it. The guides were very knowledgeable. We learned a lot about the Maya culture and about those particular ruins. I recommend this excursion. The bus ride was 90-minutes to two hours each way. It didn't seem too long. There is a lot of walking on the tour, but it isn't strenuous and it's at a slow pace. On the way back we stopped at a local restaurant at a resort and had very tasty fajitas. (The cost was included in the excursion price.) At Mahogany Bay, Honduras, we walked to the Mahogany Bay resort. It's a very short walk and there's an option of taking a tram for not a lot of money. The resort is free, the water was warm, and you could go out a long way and still be in fairly shallow water. I took an inflatable noodle and just chilled in the water for awhile. There is a restaurant/bar on the beach and restrooms. At Grand Cayman, we walked to Seven Mile Beach. It took us about 20-30 minutes. What a beautiful beach! Warm and fairly shallow for quite a ways out. Great place to people watch! We took a cab back to port. Some were asking $4 per person for the ten-minute drive, but we found fare for $3 each. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
third time we have been on HAL.Like the smaller ships better. This time my husband forgot his passport and thanks these 3 wonderful people at the embarkation terminal -Jennifer Richardson, Heather Vaughan and Maryann Byren he was able ... Read More
third time we have been on HAL.Like the smaller ships better. This time my husband forgot his passport and thanks these 3 wonderful people at the embarkation terminal -Jennifer Richardson, Heather Vaughan and Maryann Byren he was able to get a picture of his birth certificate and was allowed on. We had tried AIG (our insurance) and they said he HAD to have his passport. Our room 1926 on Dolphin deck was very clean at all times. Cleaned our rooms just when we wanted them to. Toilet made loud noise each time it flushed, but worked well. Food on Lido deck had great selections and was always hot. Loved the pizza, hamburgers , nachos choices and just wish they would of serviced soft chocolate ice cream every day. Entertainment was good, but not great. loved Don Anderson in the Mix bar each night. Excursions were pretty good except St. John/Antigua at Dickson Beach. 4 1/2 hr trip up around the hills (real narrow) with starving horses, cows dogs etc. and ended up with only less than 2 hrs to swim. Starving dogs laying under your lounge chairs. Really made for a sad day. Only took 1 hr to come back to ship. DO NOT recommend this excursion. Jay Jay at the Sea View Bar on Lido deck was an outstanding server. Always came over to talk to us whether we were having a drink or not. Had no problems disembarking. Highly recommend this cruise for a nice and quiet trip with beautiful weather and stops. We are planning to do the same trip next January. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
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