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331 Holland America Line Caribbean Cruise Reviews

We have read a lot of positive reviews about HAL ships, guests and staff and were definitely not disappointed. The staff are the friendliest and most accommodating on any ship/line we have so far cruised (Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, ... Read More
We have read a lot of positive reviews about HAL ships, guests and staff and were definitely not disappointed. The staff are the friendliest and most accommodating on any ship/line we have so far cruised (Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, RCI). We were impressed with their great attitude - making an effort to get to know you and how much they seemed to really care. This included all staff - the cabin stewards, the Lido staff, the chefs, the Dining Room wait staff, etc. The second highlight for us would be the food. We ate most of our breakfasts in the Lido, where you could always find a table (not always the case on other cruise ships) and often sharing tables with others (which we enjoyed). The selection of food was vast and always hot and fresh. It was certainly the best selection of fresh fruit we have ever seen on any ship. We also loved the Asian section in the Lido at lunch which changed daily. We did have "As You Wish Dining", and we were lucky to secure the same table for 2 a bit later 7/10 nights. We loved having the same wait staff (Wayan 1 & Wayan 2). This pair, along with Jobelle, our wine steward made our cruise. They got to know us, learned our idiosyncrasies, and treated us as old friends. Their suggestions, professionalism and kindness and stories about themselves were a true highlight (not to mention the food) and the memories will last a lifetime. Other staff that helped make our cruise a memorable one were Dangdan and Efi (our cabin stewards) who always greeted us with a warm smile and by name and always left a towel shaped an animal along with our chocolates on turndown and took such good care of us. Nila, the Lido steward also went out of her way to stop by everyday to greet us and ensure we were well looked after. We also loved the Lincoln Centre stage musicians whose classical repertoire and playing exceeded expectations. The ship was always clean and full of fresh flower, although surprisingly modern which we weren't expecting. Even on sea days, there were always spots in the bar area and common areas or on deck to sit and read. We took this cruise for the relaxation of being on a cruise as opposed to the itinerary, however we did get off at a few spots and felt it was an easy transition from sea (ship) to land. We cannot wait for our next HAL cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The ship is fine. Older but reasonably maintained. Just like most passangers. Food was good but not great. Individual pizzas were great at the stern. The hotdog nazi handed you a beeper if you want a burger or dog but he is kind of a jerk. ... Read More
The ship is fine. Older but reasonably maintained. Just like most passangers. Food was good but not great. Individual pizzas were great at the stern. The hotdog nazi handed you a beeper if you want a burger or dog but he is kind of a jerk. You have to wait for everything on this ship. Worst was first and second nights were the wait for dinner in the main dining room was way over an hour and the waiter was surly. On the other hand the people at the Pinnace Grill were great and the meal we had there was excellent. Only went to PG once for breakfast and my eggs benedict came out hardboiled. At the gym the guy next to me on a treadmill was sick and hacking every 30 seconds. The ignorant dope should not have been alowed to infect the other passangers and I can't prove he did but three days later I was sick with the same symptoms. NO supervision at the guy other than trying to up sell fitness classes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Date of cruise, price, size of ship, reputation of HAL, not necessarily the reviews of the Rotterdam. The condition of the ship needs some improvement but certainly is not falling apart as some reviews imply, and is still a beautiful ... Read More
Date of cruise, price, size of ship, reputation of HAL, not necessarily the reviews of the Rotterdam. The condition of the ship needs some improvement but certainly is not falling apart as some reviews imply, and is still a beautiful vessel to be enjoyed. Entertainment was not good, food was not great but was good as was the food service. Cabin stewards were very good. Friendliness and helpfulness was a characteristic throughout the ship. The main dining room was preferred over the Lido buffet for the quality and choice of food, albeit the service was slow at times. I had a hot dog at the Wave which was very good except for a very stale bun. We enjoyed the Mix bar for their daily Martini specials and the bartender, Raul, was outstanding. It seemed that a trivia game was going on every evening in the Mix Bar area as well as during Happy Hour in the Crow’s Nest. The Crow’s Nest is a great spot for Happy Hour when the ship is departing a port, great views to go along with the beverage of choice. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We really enjoyed this restful cruise. There is a difference in Holland America an elegance no longer on Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Linen tableclothes, the meals were delicious. Excellent surf and turf with prime beef and perfectly ... Read More
We really enjoyed this restful cruise. There is a difference in Holland America an elegance no longer on Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Linen tableclothes, the meals were delicious. Excellent surf and turf with prime beef and perfectly prepared full size lobster tails. Classical pianist and violinist played before and after. No long pushy lines on the Lido. It is a mature crowd, the young people were usually with family. No hairy chest, no carry the woman type of entertainment. No drunks wandering around. There is no big screen, no slides, no party atmosphere. Small ship with1400 possible passengers. Lovely wooden decks for walking. Not a lot of activity the Test Kitchen and BBC Earth movies in a small theatre. One major production by the singers and dancers, a comedian and a magician in a medium theatre. This is a cruise for an older crowd or someone wanting a restful cruise. I loved it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Chose it because of Tampa departure as well as ports we had not been to...Central America. Service very good. Not a lot of entertainment, but it was good. Great cruise for those who like to read, watch cd's, spend time in the ... Read More
Chose it because of Tampa departure as well as ports we had not been to...Central America. Service very good. Not a lot of entertainment, but it was good. Great cruise for those who like to read, watch cd's, spend time in the lovely pools, play games...lots of public areas and just enjoy the cruising experience as well as interesting ports. These ports required at least a taxi ride to beaches or a tour. Otherwise, one could be content to spend a couple hours wandering through the port tourist (shopping) areas. Food good but not exceptional (to our taste). Gala nights (2) had very good food. Great desserts and nice breakfast assortment on Lido. Best coffee ! Burgers and dogs very good; pizza not so much. There was always a line for ice cream on the Lido deck. A quartet played dancing and listening music on deck 5 several times a day. More dancing available at 11pm. Violin and piano music daily and even some piano sing a long. Comedianne/singer/fiddler was excellent in the theater. We also enjoyed a musician and dancers. There was an art auction on 2 days. We chose open seating for dining and were assigned to the 4th floor. Very elegant restaurant with good service. Were allowed to choose group dining or table for 2. Dinners were not dragged out as on some other cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This FAB cruise by Delbert MClinton's 24th Sandy Beaches Cruise was considered by most, the best vacation of their lives. The musical themed cruise had some of the best talent by The Mavericks, Marcia Ball, Wayne Toups, The McCrary ... Read More
This FAB cruise by Delbert MClinton's 24th Sandy Beaches Cruise was considered by most, the best vacation of their lives. The musical themed cruise had some of the best talent by The Mavericks, Marcia Ball, Wayne Toups, The McCrary sisters and Delbert McClinton;s Band just to name a few. Fans got to mingle up close with their favorite artists and felt like a big family. The Seaview pool was transformed into an outdoor theatre where most artists performed. Unfortunately, the weather from the start was not cooperating and venues had to held indoors. But after a few days, the weather improved and the outdoor performances were appreciated. The only port stop was in Antigua and it was a nice day to get off and explore this lovely caribbean island. Many have booked for next year's Sandy Beaches 25th Cruise to be held January 5-12,2019. Can't wait. Holland America has some of the best staff on board and I look forward to inter-acting with them to learn about their lives. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Will never go with Holland America again. Ship was crowded and room was very small.food was horrible . Deserts were tasteless. Coffee was like thick mud. Staff were not helpful and need to be retrained. Too many walkers look more like ... Read More
Will never go with Holland America again. Ship was crowded and room was very small.food was horrible . Deserts were tasteless. Coffee was like thick mud. Staff were not helpful and need to be retrained. Too many walkers look more like a nursing home. Not enough shaded area for guest. What little was available was always saved by rude quest. We have been on other cruise lines and will return to them. HAL. Had certainly lost its reputation of being a great cruise line . It is now just a cheap place for the elderly to spend the winter. We met a lot of people who lived in Florida and got such a reduced rate that they just could not pass up the bargin. We have sailed with them before and have never had such problems. Please evaluate how you want to spend your v action dollars and do not use this cruise line of you are not over 80. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose to sail on the Koningsdam because its ports included Martinique and Antigua, which we had not visited previously. We were also interested in this ship because it shares a designer, Adam Tihany, with the Celebrity Solstice-class ... Read More
We chose to sail on the Koningsdam because its ports included Martinique and Antigua, which we had not visited previously. We were also interested in this ship because it shares a designer, Adam Tihany, with the Celebrity Solstice-class ships, which we love. We were very impressed with the Koningsdam, which is beautiful and the perfect size (not too big and not too small). The food is the best we've had on a mainstream/premium cruise line. The food on the Lido deck was particularly good. We ate in the main dining room three times for dinner and the food and service was quite good by cruise ship standards. We had nine dinners in the specialty restaurants, Sel de Mer, Culinary Arts Center, Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, and Canaletto, and had good food there as well. The burgers and hot dogs at Dive In, and the pizza at New York Deli and Pizza sounded better on the menu than they were, but still a notch above most other cruise ships. We love the music walk concept, especially the talented young quintet performing at Lincoln Center Stage. Our veranda stateroom was a little tight but well-appointed with plenty of storage and a great television opposite the bed. The live TV channels were restricted to news (BBC News included, fortunately) and sports (ESPN), but there was a great selection of on-demand films and TV shows at no additional cost. Very comfortable bed and pillows. As others have noted, the toilet is positioned so that I had to sit almost sideways on it (I'm 5 foot 8 inches tall). It didn't really bother me but it's unfortunate; as others have noted the shower is fantastic and made up for the toilet. Best water pressure I've had on land or sea. The service in the staterooms and throughout the ship was efficient and friendly. We did not notice a lot of attempts to sell us add-ons during the cruise as others have noted. In fact, we had less up-selling than on other cruises. We enjoyed our 11 days on the Koningsdam so much that we booked a 10-night cruise for next January on the forthcoming sister ship Nieuw Statendam. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The ship. It was our second time on Koningsdam and I will admit, although not as grand as last January, it was fantastic! First off there were two disappointing things: the NY Deli and the BBC movies being shown poolside. That said, the ... Read More
The ship. It was our second time on Koningsdam and I will admit, although not as grand as last January, it was fantastic! First off there were two disappointing things: the NY Deli and the BBC movies being shown poolside. That said, the rest was fantastic as expected. Granted there are no "hairy chest" contests by the pool and you don't see rowdy groups of drunken party goers, but that's why I chose Holland America. I call it "rest & relaxation". The rooms are very typical unless you compare to Seabourn or the likes. The service is always top notch. We love the Grand Dutch café, the Tamarind, the Pinnacle and the Canaletto. The America's test Kitchen is a favorite as is the Digital Work shop. I enjoy the World Stage and must admit the shows always seem to be just a touch above most of the other lines. my favorite night time activity is the Music Walk. This last cruise had the best Billboard duo ever. Closed it down every night with pretty much the same lively group, great entertainers. BB King was very good as we jumped back and forth between Billboard and Queen's Lounge every night. I really hate to see poor reviews. Firstly because someone didn't have a great vacation but mostly because people don't do their research before sailing. The offerings are there but it's up to each cruiser to pick that ship that offers his or her likings! They certainly are not all the same!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We had sailed on the Konigsdam last year. It is a nice ship. Glad to hear they are adding a library. Amazing food. Each night and day we were delighted with the food provided by the dining room and Lido Staff. There was as always an ... Read More
We had sailed on the Konigsdam last year. It is a nice ship. Glad to hear they are adding a library. Amazing food. Each night and day we were delighted with the food provided by the dining room and Lido Staff. There was as always an air of great service and the staff do an amazing job. We really enjoyed having the awesome itinerary as we haven't done a southern Caribbean cruise in the past. We met great people. We tried out the spa for the package for the 11 days and really enjoyed the relaxing that it provided. We didn't take many shore excursions but mostly went to the beach by cab. We thought that the Top 10 tour at St. Maarten was really well done. The damage done to this beautiful island is amazing. The spirit of those who live on the islands is full of life and it will be interesting as the rebuilding continues.Great Celtic performance by Live Wire. Overall it was a fantastic holiday. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Went on this ship from Ft Lauderdale, December 27th 2017. We chose this ship because the dates fit for our family. The ship was very clean and looked very impressive. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff at ... Read More
Went on this ship from Ft Lauderdale, December 27th 2017. We chose this ship because the dates fit for our family. The ship was very clean and looked very impressive. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The staff at the excursion desk were wonderful. The food on board in the restaurant was on par with Carnival, plain, boring and cold, we expected more from a new ship that was boasting about their cuisine. The lido buffet was ok, but it wasn't self service, the staff put the food you point at on your plate and unfortunately that takes time, so the lines are long, you definitely will not gain any weight on this ship. After about 4 days into our trip the salad bar had run out of beets, bacon bits, and various other items. The deserts in the buffet were flavourless and only about 5 varieties were on offer. The entertainment was short and boring, the only place that had anything going for it was Billboard, the piano bar. The ship hosted a pub crawl and one evening whilst we were in Billboard the entertainers had to stop their show because of the leader who was yelling into a mega phone telling them to chug chug chug. The show resumed after they had left but the entertainers were not happy. One of our ports of call was Cozumel, the ship docked at Puerto Maya which is about 5 miles away from the old town, this cost us $10 plus tip each way to get to the market area. After saving for a year to take this vacation we were very disappointed, I doubt we will cruise this ship or cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We always take a New Years cruise with friends, but the way the holidays worked out on the calendar this year left us with few ideal options for travel. We initially chose this particular cruise because it was the right length (7 days), ... Read More
We always take a New Years cruise with friends, but the way the holidays worked out on the calendar this year left us with few ideal options for travel. We initially chose this particular cruise because it was the right length (7 days), left mid-week, long enough after Christmas and several days prior to New Years Eve, and it got back in enough time for everyone to get back to school. OVERVIEW (PLEASE READ THIS SECTION, EVEN IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE BELOW) Having cruised on several different cruise lines 25+ times prior to this trip, we were fully aware that Holland America Line caters to an older clientele. We also knew the basics of what to expect in terms of onboard amenities, service and entertainment. We chose to book this sailing for three main reasons: 1. The dates were ideal for us. 2. This is a brand new ship. 3. It was a holiday sailing, which we figured would skew younger. If you're looking for an experience akin to what you'd find on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian or Princess (or similar), look elsewhere. This is NOT the cruise line for you. Activities were mostly boring and repetitive, and we walked out on several we chose to attend. We often found ourselves walking around looking for something to do, which has never been our experience on any cruise ship before. More on activities later. We do not have unrealistic expectations with service, and in fact we're happy to acknowledge and accept that sometimes things don't go perfectly according to plan. It's how it's handled when things go sideways that the service is really put to the test. That said, the service onboard ranged anywhere from lackluster to awful. Certain people in high-profile service positions were downright rude, snarky and unhelpful. Specifics below. We were never asked about buying an inclusive drink package or upgrading to a paid dining option, which was a welcome change to other cruises we've taken. EMBARKATION Aside from the rainy weather, embarkation was a breeze. Check-in lines were managed well and moved smoothly. The check-in agent was friendly, efficient and helpful. Our cabins were ready when we boarded, which was a nice change of pace. SHIP This ship is exquisite! We've never sailed on a ship so beautifully appointed. You name it - the tasteful flooring, the welcoming and comfortable furniture, the interesting artwork on the walls, and the variety of gorgeous light fixtures - it all made us feel like we were traveling in affluent style. The layout is easy to navigate, and there's plenty of well-designed signage to help point you in the direction you want to go. CABINS We had an interior cabin. Aside from being as beautifully appointed as the rest of the ship, the cabin was especially roomy with plenty of storage. In fact, there was so much storage space that some drawers and cabinets went unused. That was a first. The in-room entertainment is spectacular. Dozens of first-run movies are available on demand on a large new flat-screen TV. Live TV includes CNBC, MSNBC, FOX News, ESPN and ESPN2. I'm convinced that the cabins onboard the Koningsdam feature the nicest bathrooms at sea. The designers traded industrial molded composite flooring for attractive black tile, and the sink and countertop were a tasteful white stone. But the real difference was the shower. Rather than a tiny shower enclosure tucked into the corner of the bathroom, the shower was a full rectangular stall with a glass door. No more soaping the walls and spinning. The rain shower head was a nice addition. The only thing that seemed out of place was the shampoo/conditioner/body wash dispenser attached to the wall. The Koningsdam seems like a higher class offering than that, but it's just a minor point. We were very happy with the accommodations. One minor issue was the electronic key reader attached to the door of one of our cabins. The black cover fell off every single time we opened the door. Not a critical issue, but an annoyance, especially on a ship so new. DINING Overall, no matter where we ate, the food itself was terrific. We did not book meals at any of the pay-extra restaurants. The variety of options was satisfactory, and whatever we ordered was flavorful and attractively presented. Dinners were either in the dining room or at the buffet. Unfortunately, aside from the food quality, the dining experience left much to be desired. We were two families traveling together and our 8:00 PM dining reservations were not linked (as they were supposed to be) when we boarded. We paid a visit to the dining room to sort it out, and after some back-and-forth with the maitre 'd, we settled on two adjacent tables of four. Not ideal, but an acceptable resolution given the circumstances. One particular standout was the Dive-In burger bar on the lido deck. When you place your order, they give you a buzzer and page you when it's ready. The burgers were fantastic and the Nathan's hot dogs were delicious, but the real star of this show were the french fries. I wish I could find french fries like that on land! The biggest issue is that this dining option closes at 6:00 PM. Again, what's up with the hours they keep on this ship? The main issues were as follows: - After a day in port we opted to dine at the buffet instead of the dining room. Thus, we made a plan to meet at our regular time (8:00 PM) at the buffet. The only problem? The buffet inexplicably closes at 8:00 PM! Seriously. There is no acceptable reason why the buffet shouldn't be an alternative option to dining in the dining room. The buffet should be open the same hours as the dining room. This is basic stuff, and someone REALLY dropped the ball on it. Now, at 8:10 PM, all dressed in shorts and sandals, we were forced to go to the dining room to eat. When we arrived, they tried to turn us away due to our clothing (the dining room requires men to wear pants on all but the first and last night), but we insisted and kept moving toward our table. The staff relented and didn't continue to make it an issue. We're still perplexed about why the buffet closes so early, and we were unable to get any logical answers, even after registering the complaint with the guest relations desk. - Speaking of the buffet, the different stations all close at random intervals during the day. Sometimes some stations are open while others are not. Your chances of being able to get an ice cream cone at any given time, based on our experience, is somewhere between, "hahaha, that's funny," and, "what's ice cream?" - New Year's Eve. Everyone understands that this is a special night, and so should the dining room. We all got dressed up and went to get portraits done before dinner. The lines for pictures were longer than we anticipated and we showed up to the dining room about 25 minutes late. There is no leeway given in the dining room; if you're not there 15 minutes after your appointed time (8:00 PM), they give your table to someone else. Fair enough, but again there's no consideration for the event nature of the night. The assistant maitre 'd, Arsa, explained to us that he'd given our table away because we didn't show in time. He then explained that all the tables in the dining room were taken. That was it. He walked away and didn't even bother trying to help any further. Eight people in our party, including four kids, and he offered no solution. When he finally came back, between five and 10 minutes later, we demanded some sort of solution. He spent more time walking around, told us again that there were no tables, and ultimately handed us a buzzer like you'd find at a chain restaurant on a busy Saturday night. He said our wait would be around 30 minutes. 30 minutes later (after 9:00 PM) we came back to the dining room to ask about the status. Arsa was walking through the dining room toward the front, he saw us, and he immediately turned around and started bussing tables. After ignoring us for a good five minutes I finally was forced to approach him by walking through the dining room. I asked him about our status in the middle of tables full of guests, at which point he became snotty with me. It took another 30 or so minutes to finally be shown to a table - a full hour AFTER we were given the buzzer. Totally unacceptable, but at least we were ignored and were given plenty of attitude for our trouble. When we arrived at our table, before even sitting down, another group of eight people was shown to the same table. The wait staff and dining room management were nowhere to be found. Both groups of us stood staring at one another for five or so minutes before someone from the dining room came to help. The other group was shown to a different table and we finally were able to sit down and enjoy a meal. I probably didn't do a very good job of explaining just how frustrating, annoying and terribly handled this was. Trust me when I say that it was what sealed the deal for us to never sail with Holland America again. ENTERTAINMENT Boring. That's the only word I can use to describe onboard activities. This is why I made the comment above about RCCL, NCL, Carnival and others. The activities were sparse, especially if you don't gamble. One or two planned activities per hour really slowed things to a screeching halt. The only activity taking place on the deck was the New Year's Eve party, but short of a special event like that there was nothing to speak of. There was a funny comedian one night in the World Stage, but other shows were not good. We walked out of two and didn't bother with the rest. Even basics like trivia contests were hard to find on the schedule, and when they were there they conflicted with dinner. The only nighttime activities worth visiting were the dueling pianos Billboard Onboard lounge and the band performing in the Queen's Lounge branded as B.B. King's. Every single night. Otherwise, you'll find daily stretching and yoga, daily mass, computer classes, mah johgg meet-ups, and a nightly movie shown on the lido deck screen. Seriously, nothing else exciting or even remotely interesting in the dull calendar. Like I said: boring. Nearly everything on this ship has a corporate sponsor (BBC, Lincoln Center, Billboard, Oprah, Food Network, Microsoft), which you'd think would be fine, but it felt intrusive and salesy. We had an issue with watching the Rose Bowl onboard (broadcast on ESPN), but since that's a one-time thing I won't bother spelling out the details. I'll just say that the guest services staff tried to organize a formal viewing location in the culinary arts center, but the staff there didn't seem to be aware. SPA We bought access to the thermal suite at the spa for the entire voyage ($299 per couple). Included is a central reclining pool (a giant hot tub) with massaging jet streams, heated ceramic lounges with window vistas, a steam room, sauna, cold water bucket and therapeutic showers, including a unique horizontal shower and a very spacious rain shower. Upon purchase we were told it would be available to us from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM every day. On the final day of the voyage we were told that the reclining pool would be closed for scheduled maintenance at 6:00 PM. I spoke to the spa manager about this and after some discussion she agreed to issue a half-day, pro-rated refund. There was no answer regarding why they do scheduled maintenance during open hours when it could be done after 10:00 PM, but the manager agreed it didn't make sense. A half-win, but not really. SERVICE I've already covered dining room management, and the buffet issue is still confounding. In spite of poor management, the wait staff in the dining room were wonderful. Our cabin steward was fantastically pleasant and nice, but other than the basic block-and-tackle job of cleaning up and making beds, he didn't get the job done. I requested a bottle of distilled water for the room twice and it was never delivered. I also repeatedly asked for additional bath towels, yet extras were never left in the room when it was made up. Again, he was pleasant and he got the basic job done, but it's also his job to know what the guest needs - especially after being approached repeatedly about the same things. On the final morning you are permitted to remain in your cabin until your tag number is called for disembarkation, which is also a nice change of pace. However, the minibar staff spend most of that time banging on doors so they can access and account for all the stuff in your fridge. This is a nuisance, and it could be handled after people are already gone. Just another poorly executed service issue that could easily be resolved. The guest services staff seemed to be more interested in making excuses than finding solutions for issues here and there. Minor inconveniences that could have been easily resolved turned into annoyances that would prevent me from sailing this line again. PORTS The ports of call were fine. The beach bar we went to at Half Moon Cay (owned and managed by the cruise line, mind you) ran out of piña colada mix pretty early in the day. The most popular drink at a beach bar and they ran out. Someone should have to answer for that. We didn't book any excursions through the cruise line, so no commentary on that service. CONCLUSION Overall, the ship is beautiful and the accommodations are the best we've experienced at sea. If we weren't traveling with friends, the terribly boring cruise would have sunk us. And the service onboard leaves much to be desired. We'll never sail with HAL again, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone I know. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I have always liked Holland America. This was our seventh cruise. I feel they offer good value. The new ship is beautiful. Our cabin was lovely , but not well designed for a small suite. There was a large dressing area with a desk and ... Read More
I have always liked Holland America. This was our seventh cruise. I feel they offer good value. The new ship is beautiful. Our cabin was lovely , but not well designed for a small suite. There was a large dressing area with a desk and a built in Murphy bed, but in the sleeping area, there was a bed and a chaise lounge. One could only view the television sitting in bed. The staff was friendly and very helpful. We enjoyed dining in the specialty restaurants where the food was delicious. Specialty restaurants were also less crowded. Our only complaint was the smoking policy. Smoking is allowed throughout the casino. We had to leave twice and did not go back. They should not allow it, but they do. They have one non-smoking night. Perhaps it should be the other was around, one smoking night. Smoking is also allowed on the lido deck and the area is too large. If you dislike smoke, you cannot go near the bar. They also do not enforce the no-smoking on your balcony. We complained more than once and then stopped complaining. The smokers put out a DO NOT DISTURB sign, so the ship personnel could not even knock to ask them not to smoke. The pool are cannot accommodate everyone on the ship. This was disappointing. There is an area where you can reserve cabanas, but there are only a few and they were taken long before the ship sailed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We were a group of 14 and we traveled to the Western Caribbean December 27, 2017 to Jan. 3, 2018. The ship is only about two years old and is well thought out. Best part is there is an onboard internet system that allows you to text each ... Read More
We were a group of 14 and we traveled to the Western Caribbean December 27, 2017 to Jan. 3, 2018. The ship is only about two years old and is well thought out. Best part is there is an onboard internet system that allows you to text each other so we didn't waste time looking for each other. My family of four had two rooms with ocean view. Plenty of storage space, the shower is great with dispensers for soap, shampoo and conditioner, great absorbent bathrobes, TV has movies that are currently out in theaters and the cabin stewards were very efficient our rooms were cleaned right away and they were very nice. My daughters had an adjoining door between their cabin and the next and you could hear a bit so I would ask for one without an adjoining door between the two in the future. We chose 8:00pm dining (deck 2 dining room) and the waiters helped out with different dietary restrictions in our party of 14. It was my daughter's birthday and they brought out a huge cake (yes free of charge) for all to share, the maitre'd and waiters were exceptional. The food was wonderful throughout the ship. The ship has beautiful artwork throughout and there are many places to explore (deck 12 Crow's nest is a good gameroom meeting place at the end of the evening). The Seaview pool is quieter than the lido pool (more for adults) and is multilevel. The entertainment was very good. Here's a list of just some of the things we went to: 2 person piano players playing and singing requests (Nathalie & Ashley) , the dancing/singing shows were well done with wonderful costumes, line dancing was short but fun, martini tastings, stretching classes, fitness room is big and very nice, high tea & dancing. Overall the staff was great and the ship was very clean and there was plenty of things to keep you busy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My husband and I are avid cruisers in our late 40's. This is our first trip on the Holland America line. We chose this because of the dates of travel since we wanted to go away over New Years and because the price was reasonable. We ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers in our late 40's. This is our first trip on the Holland America line. We chose this because of the dates of travel since we wanted to go away over New Years and because the price was reasonable. We chose the 7 day voyage of is cruise. We have been to all of the ports before, except HAL's island and all were nice. We have sailed on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara, Norwegian, and Disney. This ship reminds us most of Princess. It was very elegant and did skew to older people. We were in the minority when it came to age. There was a good mix of passengers from all over speaking many languages. Some of the reviews I read were not that great and I cannot understand why. This is one of the best cruises we've taken. Everything was excellent. Room: We chose an inside cabin to keep costs down and we spend very little time in our room anyway. The cabin was laid out nicely. The most impressive thing was the amount of storage space we had. Also, the shower was very large, bigger than any we've had before and even large enough for 2 people. The bed was really comfortable and we had a large tv that had tons of movies all for free. Service: The service everywhere was excellent. We got a hello from every crew member we passed. Our cabin steward was excellent, came to introduce himself and we saw him frequently and he always addressed us by name. Our room was cleaned at least twice a day and we got chocolates and towel animals every night. The service in the main dining room and the lido buffet was top notch. We had open seating so we had different servers each night and all were excellent, helpful and friendly. So service everywhere was top notch. Everyone went out of their way to greet you and make you feel at home. Food: All food that we had was delicious. First in the main dining room where we ate dinner every night, all food was hot and tasty. There were many choices at dinner and you could get whatever you wanted and as much as you wanted. We loved the lido buffet area on the pool deck. We ate breakfast there every morning and had some lunches there. They had an excellent selection. I've never seen so many varieties of bread. They also had an awesome salad station with about 100 different things to choose from and someone makes your salad for you and then mixes the dressing in. There was also pasta stations, Asian stations, and carving stations just to name a few. There was a nice dessert selection, a lot of cookies and hard and soft serve ice cream in waffle cones or bowls. I also loved the fact that most things were not self serve. The crew would give you the food. I liked this because it cut down on passengers touching and putting their hands all over the food, coughing, etc. and you could get as much as you wanted from the servers. They were happy to dish out anything. Sorry to say but passengers can be rude and kind of gross and greedy so the whole setup of the buffet was really nice and I would say the best ship buffet we have had. Other food options that were great was the Dive In, a burger, hotdog and fry place. Food was cooked to order and it was super. There was also the NY Deli. They had bagel sandwiches in the morning among other things (their NY bagel with lox and cream cheese was delicious), had pizza and big deli sandwiches at lunch and dinner and during movie nights you could get nachos and cheese, soft pretzels, chicken wings, cheesy Doritos, popcorn, corn dogs, etc. so much food to choose from and all free. There was a paid gelato place which we did not do because of the free ice cream. We also did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants so I cannot speak to that. All of the included food was so good, we did not need to spend extra money. Entertainment: We very much enjoyed the entertainment. There was a cruise director and her assistant but no other staff. We saw all of the shows- a comedian that was funny, a magician who was great, two shows with the singers and dancers which were really fun with great music, a piano player who did a bunch of Elton John and Billy Joel and then a really nice live band that played along to a BBC production of a nature show. It was fantastic. There was not a ton of stuff going on during the day, but enough to keep you entertained. We played trivia a few different times and it was hard but fun. They had Billboard Onboard which we loved and went to a lot. It was like dueling pianos. Lots of fun. If you like jazz and blues, a very popular place was B.B. King's blues club that was really happening. And if you are into classical music they had some string musicians at Lincoln Center Stage. So a lot of really nice entertainment. This was not a crazy party cruise and I would not choose HAL if you want that. They did have what looked like a really cool Pub Crawl one night where we saw people go from bar to bar and they seemed to have a great time. There were movies out by the pool on most nights on a big screen and that was a lot of fun. Ports: We went to their island Half Moon Cay which was great and just what you'd expect from a ship's island. We also went to Grand Caymen, Cozumel, and Key West. We've been to all before so there was nothing special we did. No pre planned excursions. Other: Some really nice touches were afternoon tea each day. We went just once but it was elegant and a lot of fun to have good tea, sandwiches, scones and pastries. Also a nice touch on New Year's Eve, not only did we get champagne, but we also got a whole bunch of hors de vores. To thank the passengers for cruising, they also had toward the end of the cruise a chocolate surprise night and servers came around with a ton of chocolate treats for everyone. It was decadent and delicious. So overall, an excellent experience. I would definitely book with HAL again. The ship was beautiful and well appointed. It was decorated beautifully and there was something for everyone. Anything you were not happy with, they do their best to fix the problem. Cruise director was friendly and outgoing and always all around the ship. There was a place to make you own blend of wine and a cool culinary kitchen concept. You could never be bored and if you wanted to just sit around the pool and relax, there were so many spaces to do this. Lots of comfortable chairs and beds, and seats to choose from. Easy embarkation and debarkarion and we were allowed into our rooms immediately. We were on the ship by 11:30am. I don't know how they do it so fast. A great trip from beginning to end! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
After a death in the family, it was decided that a 'traditional Christmas' was not wanted; a family cruise was needed. Nine of us were booked on the Eurodam, one suite, two balconies and one inner cabin. For my review, it will ... Read More
After a death in the family, it was decided that a 'traditional Christmas' was not wanted; a family cruise was needed. Nine of us were booked on the Eurodam, one suite, two balconies and one inner cabin. For my review, it will be focused strictly on my experiences. We were on the msEurodam; December 24 - 31, 2017; Fort Lauderdale, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay, Fort Lauderdale Embarkation was good. No real lines, the staff were welcoming, someone was walking around with Christmas cookies. We were on the ship within 20 minutes of arriving at the port. Having cruised several (5) times before, we have always been greeted on-board by officers of the ship along with a sparkling wine service. This was not the case with this cruise. Especially odd since it was December 24th - the day before Christmas. I would have thought there would be some sort of celebratory drink service. We were on our own to find the elevators and locate our cabin. I also note that upon entering the ship, there is no WOW factor - the lobby seemed closed off, there was no dramatic art work, solarium, etc. We found the cabin (7126) to be smaller than the other cruises we've taken (Celebrity and Princess). The finishes seemed generic, the verandah was also slightly smaller. Storage in the cabin is good once you find it (check under the end of the bed, under the couch, and under the ottoman/stool. The cupboards can also be altered to what best suits your clothes as the shelves can be raised (to make for longer hanging areas) or lowered to make more shelf space. The lavatory is smaller with no storage to speak of. Our cabin had a bath/shower combination. The water pressure was okay. The cleanliness was fine, except we did find a couple pieces of debris from the prior passengers behind the drapes. One nice touch that have not been on my previous sailings was a light for the verandah. The condition of the ship needs to be looked at in some areas. Our first lunch, the table had a crack in it, the material on the chairs was cracking, the window had a crack in it, paint was peeling on the light fixture on our deck, there was rust on various pieces of metal on the ship. All little things that add up. Our room stewards were pleasant and general did a good job, but not outstanding. We were into our second day before fruit arrived and a replacement wine glass that was used my first night. The dining room / food services is where things REALLY need attention. My wife and daughter are celiac - therefore they are gluten free (GF) and cannot have a number of items (flour, oats, wheat, barley, rye, most soya sauces, etc.). When the cruise was booked we informed the agent, upon embarking we informed the maître d'hôtel, and then when setting for dinner explained it to the waiters. The first dish presented to my daughter I noticed they had served it with a Potato William. I asked what her potato was coated in (usually it is a bread crumb). I was informed it was panko. Panko!! They had NO clue that panko is just a Japanese breadcrumb. The waiter quickly removed her plate and returned with a baked potato. As is customary with dietary restrictions, the wait staff ask you to pre-order your meal the night prior. Both my wife and daughter order that evening for the next day. On the order they wrote GLUTEN FREE. The second night dinner was served, and all seemed fine... until three hours after dinner when my wife started experiencing a gluten attack. Normally when she is "gluten'ed" it is something minor and lasts three to four hours. This time she was laid up for twelve hours. It turns out the kitchen sent her a regular lobster bisque. The next morning I had a meeting with the Hotel Director and Food & Beverage Director - at which we discussed how dangerous and completely inexcusable this error was. Both were apologetic and said they would look into it. That night at dinner the Dining Room Manager came to the table and apologized, sending two bottles of wine as a gesture of good will. A welcome gesture, and we appreciate that he "fell on the sword" for the company - however, this was NOT the error of the dining staff - they brought out what the kitchen sent as GF. So I ask, why did the Chef not come out to speak with us?? The F&B issues did not end there: - at the Dive-In restaurant (burgers, hotdogs, chicken) I ordered a hamburger cooked medium-well. Upon my first bite, red juice started dripping out. They sent me with a RAW burger. I immediately returned it, and they provided me with a replacement about five minutes later. I will admit, the replacement was excellent, but if the first one was served to a child who did not know better, what then? - at the NY Pizza counter I built my own with tomato, pepperoni, onion, and pineapple. To my surprise I was given a pizza loaded with mushrooms... LOADED! I do not eat mushrooms. And this was not someone else's pizza, mine was the only one on order. Rather than replace, I just picked them off, but upon showing the staff they did not seem phased. - three separate times on deck I had to flag down staff to receive beverage service, one time I could not get any attention and had to go to the bar. - Christmas morning we ordered room service breakfast to our suite. It was "fine" except they missed parts of our order, put breaded hashbrowns on our GF eggs making them inedible, and served cool coffee (rather than hot). - the line-ups at the lido bar are incredible. It is mostly due to the layout. People have to queue in the same passage way as those walking around. Everyone is tripping over each other. Celebrity Solstice class has the right idea, central service areas with lots of open space around the different counters. On a plus side (sort-of), the best service I received was in the Exploration Cafe. Although it is in a very strange location - on the 11th deck forward, which you cannot actually get to directly from the aft or mid-ship elevators. Service overall seemed to be lacking. One day in port it started to rain, HARD (torrential is more accurate). I was at the Dive-In for a hotdog (which was good) and watched as the passengers had to scramble to get out of the rain. The staff literally just stood there and watched - not a single person offered help, especially to the number of passengers who were slightly older and could have used assistance gathering their belongings. What seemed to be really lacking, and I think the real reason why the service is so poor is that over seven days I NEVER saw an Officer walking around, checking on the staff, talking with the passengers. Nothing. Not one time! In fact, neither of the Directors had the foresight to follow-up with my spouse or me about her experience in the dining room. And the last kicker - I went to a "complimentary" acupuncture consultation. I would like to stress, the consultant (Dr. Q. Sihan) was very pleasant and seemed to take a real interest in her profession, and I take NO issues with the actual service she provided. In fact, under the right circumstances I would attend her practice again. My issue is with the manner with which the spa operates. Dr. Qin and I spoke for about ten minutes, she asked to test a needle on my arm, and then said she was going to work on a problem area for me. AT NO TIME DID she tell me the complimentary consultation was over and we were moving into a treatment... that I would be charged for. At the end of my session she presented me with a bill for $150 plus a service charge of 18%. I signed the form believing this was just a control receipt (the same thing happened with our beverage package, for every drink we ordered we were presented a receipt which was posted to our cabin account but immediately credited). Wanting to show Dr. Qin my gratitude for her free consultation, I wrote in a $20 gratuity to say thank you for the time she spent with me for the complimentary treatment. She then presented me with a new receipt just showing the $20; this is what I expected to pay. As usual, the morning before disembarkation I printed my cabin account to find out that there really was a charge of $150 + 18%... WHAT?!?!? It was complimentary!!! I immediately went to the spa but could not find Dr. Sihan to discuss the issue, so I went to Guest Services only to be told that they understood my concerns but there was nothing they could do (even after calling the Spa). Apparently the Spa is a contracted service. WHAT?!?!? My contract is with Holland America - not the spa. Later that day the spa manager called me to essentially say, 'you should have known the difference between a consultation and a treatment (even though I had never had acupuncture before), you signed the receipt, you're paying the charge'. After much debate she offered to remove the $20 gratuity and the 18% service charge. NOT COOL!!! As I expressed to her - what a scam!! Disembarkation was well organized; we were out of the cruise port within 40 minutes of our group being called. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We sailed on the eastern Caribbean cruise November 26 after a few years absence from Hal. We specifically chose this line because we remembered eating the best cruise food ever . We previously sailed Princess, Royal and Celebrity. We ... Read More
We sailed on the eastern Caribbean cruise November 26 after a few years absence from Hal. We specifically chose this line because we remembered eating the best cruise food ever . We previously sailed Princess, Royal and Celebrity. We thought we were on the wrong ship. The first evening we sat Down to shrimp,that looked like someone opened a tin and put it in a bowl. Well we thought the mains would be better, but no. They brought beef stroganoff only it was brisket and instead of noodles some leftover pasta whichh I would not serve at home. The bread was so hard my husband said he could throw it against the wall. Okay we thought just first night, maybe busy whatever but we only had two decent meals in main dining room the whole time we were on board. We were shocked at both portion size and food. A lot of brisket all week. The buffet was better and the Italian food was good but everything else stunk. I had made reservation at the specialty restaurant six months in advance, the Thai place. When we arrived we were shown to a table in the back. I asked for a table with a window, not once, not twice but three times and was told no? "You have to reserve for five thirty, is not possible" we booked a suite and it was very nice and staff did a great job but I would not sail again on Holland America . What happened to the cooked to order salmon in the buffet and the wonderful dining room food? Deserts were inedible,asked for apple pie, was told only at lunch? The chef should be fired.liked Catholic mass and the priest was great. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was my second time on this ship, but my third time on a cruise ship. I don't quite remember the first time I went on this ship, but I certainly remember the second. I went with my family and my friend's family. The ship ... Read More
This was my second time on this ship, but my third time on a cruise ship. I don't quite remember the first time I went on this ship, but I certainly remember the second. I went with my family and my friend's family. The ship departed 24-12-17 and er came back 31-12-17. First of all, the service was excellent. Not only were the crew members all very nice (they greeted us every time we crossed one of them and always remained polite), but they also did their job properly. The room stewards (I was in room 4030) cleaned my room twice a day and in the evening they would leave two pieces of chocolate, the next day's activities and an adorable towel art. They also remembered my name on the second or third day (thank you Mantri and Ari!). I would also like to mention the staff in the dining room. Because we were 9, there weren't many tables for us (compared to the rest of the tables, for example, for 4 people). We sat at table 205 everyday, for we ate at the dining room every evening. Because my grandparents could not drink cold water, we asked for some hot water on the first night. On the second night, the assistant dining steward (we had 2 dining stewards) remembered us and specifically served hot water for them. This is to point out that they care about the guest and pay attention to us. My dining stewart, Agung, was also very patient when I asked him about the different items on the menu. When you walk out of the dining room, there is a guy named Ferry who could give you mints or dates to refresh your mouth after you've eaten dinner. He is a really sweet guy and I encourage you to talk to him. The buffet (Lido Market) is very big and full of great food. It has a variety of bread, meat and different kinds of food for different cultures. They have rice, sushi, pasta and even a salad bar! All you have to do is to ask a person to prepare it for you. All this to say that their service is fantastic. As for my cabin, I lived alone. For one person, it was plenty of space to move around (I was living in a cabin with windows). We had a TV where we can watch a lot of movies. The bed is really big and could easily fit two people. They have shampoo, conditioner and body wash already prepared so you don't need to pack any. Same thing goes for soap. You can deliver food for free and you can also get someone to deliver you breakfast in the morning. The Eurodam offers many entertainment and activities. During the night, they have entertaining shows. I went to the piano show where a pianist combined many different songs/music into one and it was absolutely magnificent! There are also many other shows that you could watch, but I personally preferred that one. You are also given a pamphlet "When and Where" by your room steward with all the activities that will occur the following day, their time and places. You can receive a lot of free stuff if you participate in them. I also particularly liked the late night trivia game, although I wasn't really good at it. The ship itself is very big and not so crowded because we are only 2000 people, unlike other big ships who have more guests on them. It has two pools on the 9th level, a small puzzle/board game/trivia game/computer room on the 11th floor, a casino, an art gallery, shops, a stage, a spa and a gym. Overall, it's pretty "spacey" and you won't bump into someone while walking around. The embarkation was pretty quit and the waiting time wasn't too much. The way they organized it made people avoid uselessly standing around and was pretty efficient. We had four destinations: Half Moon Cay, San Juan, St Thomas and Grand Turk. We first went to Grand Turk. My family and my friend's family went to the beach. The beach wasn't particularly the best. It had a lot of rocks near the shore, but we saw a lot of fish! We used the towels the ship gave us. The second destination of San Juan, located in Puerto Rico. We decided to not take a tour and walk around by ourselves. The old part of the city is extremely beautiful with its colourful buildings. We found, by chance, one of the old fortresses and went in (free for 15 and under and 7$ for each person 16+). The view was simply magnificent! Same thing goes for St Thomas, except we payed for a tour (18$/person because we made a deal). We took a lot of pictures at those two destinations. The last destination was Half Moon Cay. Apart from the fact that we had to use a small boat to get there, I'd like to call it "Heaven on Earth". The sand is as white as snow, as soft as a baby's butt and there weren't no rocks! The water was clearer than any I have ever seen and was as blue as a bright summer sky. You would think i am exaggerating, but I am only speaking the truth. That was my favourite destination. The wait to disembark the boat was almost nada, except for Half Moon Cay because we had to wait for a smaller boat (but the beach makes up for it). The disembarkation for the other three destinations took no time at all because we are only 2000 people. All in all, this was an amazing experience and I'd 10/10 go back there again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We wanted to take my mother-in-law on a Christmas cruise to celebrate her upcoming 90th birthday. One reason we chose the Eurodam is that it is a relatively small ship. Holland America customer service was very helpful in guiding me to ... Read More
We wanted to take my mother-in-law on a Christmas cruise to celebrate her upcoming 90th birthday. One reason we chose the Eurodam is that it is a relatively small ship. Holland America customer service was very helpful in guiding me to select appropriate staterooms to suit our needs for the cruise. We had three cabins close together on the main deck. We were quite happy with our midship location. (Except one issue that I'll talkabout below.) Embarkation went very easily. Once we got inside the terminal they put my mother-in-law in a wheelchair so that she didn't have to walk very far. The rest of us breezed through the line and we were ready to embark in about 15 minutes. Disembarkation went fine, also. Again, a wheelchairwas provided to help my mother-in-law leave the ship. Our cabins were clean and spacious, and Andy, our cabin steward was very attentive. We ate dinner in the main dining room every night. I thought the food was very good. They had a variety of soups that were delicious, and I particularly liked the flat-iron stead that was served one evening. Our dining room steward was Pajar. He went above and beyond to anticipate our needs. His assistant, Michael was also great. I made arrangements for a small cake for my mother-in-law on our last night. All the servers sang to her when Pajar brought her the cake. Also, we didn't seem to be disturbed very often by photographers wanting to take family photos while we were eating. We also ate breakfast in the main dining room almost daily. There was a wide variety to choose from. Towards the end of the cruise, some of the main dining room service slowed down. I would imagine some of the crew were starting to prepare for new arrivals. It definitely wasn't a deal breaker. I think we cruisers have to try to be a little understanding. We ate lunch at the buffet most days, which I preferred over lunch in the dining room. There were many ready made selections, but you could also get a fresh salad or made to your specifications, or pasta cooked to your liking. The entertainment was very good. Besides the Eurodam singers and dancers, the orchestra performed a movie score one night while the movie was aired. On Christmas Eve, there was a concert of carols, including performances by the Phillipino staff choir and the Indonesian staff choir. It was lovely! There was a very good juggling act and a great comedian on other nights. B.B. King's All Stars were great, as well. We didn't get a chance to enjoy Lincoln Center Stage but that venue also offered a variety of musical programs. We chose this itinerary because we have done a couple of Western Caribbean cruises already and wanted to see some new sites. We enjoyed the ports. First, Grand Turk, where we did an island excursion that we booked through the ship. Second, San Juan, where we did the same. Both excursions were perfect for someone approaching 90 years old, with friendly and professional guides. In St. Thomas, we ventured out and got on a tour on our own. It was difficult to hear and understand the woman driving and guiding the tour, and our brakes started smoking on the way down from Mountain Top, so we weren't as satisfied with that tour. In all cases though, the guides were upbeat and did not dwell on the recent devestation. Our guide in San Juan said how happy they were to have the cruise ships come back. While we were on the ship, customer service was wonderful at helping with disembarkation plans and a few glitches on our accounts. The people working on the ship seem tireless and upbeat at all times in meeting everyone's wishes. They are amazing. Would I go again? I would love to be back on Eurodam! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was our first HAL cruise and I found it met and exceeded our expectations. The Eurodam, and Holland America, turned out to be an excellent fit for us -- not too big and even for a holiday cruise there was not too much noise and ... Read More
This was our first HAL cruise and I found it met and exceeded our expectations. The Eurodam, and Holland America, turned out to be an excellent fit for us -- not too big and even for a holiday cruise there was not too much noise and bustle, yet there were enough of the type of things we liked to do to keep us entertained (when we weren't "busy" relaxing). Before going any further I definitely want to point out the quality and friendliness of the staff as one of the highlights of the ship (and from what I've heard all of HAL in general). That, and the amenities of the Eurodam, will induce us to cruise with HAL again. Pre-cruise: We stayed at the Quality Inn Airport Cruiseport South. Rooms are basic, but clean and comfortable, and the hotel provides free pickup from the airport and a free shuttle to the port as well as a hot breakfast poolside - a lovely start to our vacation. It’s within walking distance of a couple restaurants (we chose the Moonlite Diner which has good sandwiches and delicious hand-dipped shakes). There’s also a K-Mart nearby for any last minute purchases (in my case, new surf shoes). Our shuttle left at 11:30 a.m. but due to one passenger going walkabout after checking in with the driver, and with dropping off other passengers at Royal Caribbean and Celebrity first, we didn’t get to the Eurodam’s dock until 12:30 p.m. There were no lines so we got through the security scan and obtained our keycards in less than 15 minutes, and were in our room shortly before 1 p.m. Cabin: We were in 4040 which is one of the verandahs with the steel railings. I found it really didn’t bother me and in fact felt quite cozy to have the balcony space more enclosed. I’m 5’7” and was easily able to look out over the railing when sitting up in the lounge chair. The cabin is very convenient to the forward stairs/elevator, and quiet since there is little engine noise and vibration that far forward. I was a bit concerned that the cabin was over the back half of the theatre but we never heard any noise from the performances. Storage in the room was plentiful for us - we’re light packers - especially once we discovered the drawers under the end of the bed. I found the bed very comfortable, absolutely no complaints there. I really enjoyed having the mini-tub as opposed to the tiny showers we’ve had on other lines. The on-demand TV worked well for finding out information about what was going on and there was a very good selection of current movies. I also was happy to see that there was a separate section for paper recycling inside the trash bin for responsibly getting rid of all the surplus paper announcements. Food: One of my favorite things is to have morning coffee on the balcony, so we had room service breakfast every day. Service was prompt, the orders were always correct, and there were metal heat plates under the egg dishes to ensure they stayed hot. I especially liked that we could even get room service on disembarkation day. It was so much more pleasant and convenient than having to navigate the usual madness in the buffet. We had lunch in the Lido most days. We both really liked the salad bar and chose that option several times. We had New York Pizza poolside for one lunch and since we prefer thin crust pizza anyway we were very happy with the margherita version, which featured fresh tomatoes. We chose anytime dining and most nights asked to be seated with others. This was a great option for us (we figured if we ended up sitting with someone we didn’t care for, it was only for one night anyway) but it turned out we enjoyed chatting with all of the people we were seated with. We usually ate relatively early (6 or 6:30 p.m.) and had no problems getting seated immediately, either with others or at a two-top. We only had to wait for a table on the 1st gala night (which was Christmas Day) and that was because we arrived after 7:30 and wanted a two-top. We found the food in the main dining room ranged from very good to exceptionally good so we never really had any interest in the specialty restaurants. My favorite meal was the roast goose on Christmas Eve - it was perfectly done with crispy skin, and served with red cabbage, a baked apple and William potatoes, followed by a decadent ‘buche de Noel’ that was almost like a bittersweet chocolate truffle. Bliss! Ship activities We took advantage of afternoon tea on the 1st sea day. There was very nice assortment of goodies and enjoyed The Band playing dance favorites. Most evenings we went to the Lincoln Center performances, which were excellent, though the venue needs improvement. It’s wide open to the main hallway except for a flimsy curtain and an openwork divider, and though “quiet please, performance in progress” signs are posted in the hall not everyone was heeding them and it was jarring to have a beautiful passage of music interrupted by someone’s (often loud) conversation. Perhaps more of the wall could be closed in, or the venue moved elsewhere that’s more enclosed. It’s a shame to hire such talented musicians and then give them such a poor performance space. We also enjoyed going to B.B. King - another group of excellent performers, The volume was a bit much for us in the club itself but sitting on the couches in the hallway outside the venue was perfect. We attended the comedian show and jugglers in the Main Stage and both were enjoyable. We attended America’s Test Kitchen 3 times. It’s something we watch at home, so it was fun to see the demos being done live, and we picked up a couple recipes we want to try out at home. We didn’t go to the Casino or the Spa. I was in one of the pools almost every day. For the most part people heeded the “adults only” restriction on the Seaview Pool and there was only one day where there were a few teenagers. The often-discussed music was usually playing, but I didn’t find it offensive. It’s mostly a lite-rock selection, and the volume was reasonable. Loungers around the pools were hard to find on sea days but we could usually find some available on port days (we usually came back to the ship early). Shore excursions: We didn’t book any organized excursions, prefering to explore on our own. We’re not beach people, so Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay didn’t do a whole lot for us (though if you are a beach person Half Moon Cay is very, very nice). In Old San Juan we toured the two forts and did a bit of walking around. I saw some hurricane damage in the tourist area but most stores and restaurants were open and had power (though some may have still been on generators). The tourist tram was not running but we were able to walk to everything of interest. However, the La Perla neighborhood on the north coast had horrific damage, and my understanding is the rest of the island is still suffering greatly. The people I spoke to emphasized how much they want (and need) tourists to come to help rebuild their economy. I really liked Old San Juan and hope to return. St. Thomas is a little further along in its recovery with about 75% of the island having power. The cable car to Mountaintop was not operating (though I heard from other passengers that it was possible to drive up, and stores and restaurants were open there). Most stores on Main Street in Charlotte Amalie were open and busy. My favorite area was Palm Passage, which has two great stores featuring local crafts: Fish Face and Gallery St. Thomas. It also has an open-air bar in the center of the passage, so if you have a significant other who doesn’t like to shop, he/she can spend the time in the shade with a refreshing beverage while you engage in retail therapy. Disembarkation was the easiest we’ve ever experienced with any cruise ship. We chose to do Expedited and carry off our own luggage. We waited in our stateroom until the announcement came through at about 7:15 a.m. (after enjoying room service breakfast - THANK YOU HAL for not making us face the madness of the Lido on the last day!). From our stateroom to the cab stand was 15 minutes flat. However, it’s important to note that we have Global Entry cards which allowed us to whisk to the head of the Customs/Passport Control line. If we hadn’t had those, I suspect we would have spent about a ½ hour in the line since even at 7:30 a.m. it was already pretty long. My only major disappointment with HAL was the Internet service. We got a 100-minute package, and access to the outside world was spotty. I couldn’t connect at all from Monday evening until Tuesday afternoon, and an email I sent later in the week (when it appeared I was connected) was never received by the recipient. On other tech-related items I liked the onboard web page and the TV menus in the room for looking up activities instead of having to refer to the paper schedule. Even though we paid a premium price to cruise during Christmas week, I still feel we received good value for our money. Overall we were very pleased with our first HAL experience and look forward to sailing with them again, so much so that we purchased two Future Cruise Deposits. We'll probably use them for Alaska in a couple years' time as HAL's offerings for Alaska look *very* enticing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Having previously sailed on 6 HAL cruises, and several other cruise lines, I picked HAL when my brother and his wife asked us to pick a nice cruise for their very first cruising experience. Embarkation was a little on organized. Seemed ... Read More
Having previously sailed on 6 HAL cruises, and several other cruise lines, I picked HAL when my brother and his wife asked us to pick a nice cruise for their very first cruising experience. Embarkation was a little on organized. Seemed like new staff not knowing what to do. We were held up about an hour before being allowed to board. Once on board, I was surprised to learn, having just coming out of dry dock the chair in our cabin was stained and scuffed up. There wasn't any stationary or pen in the cabin. (Always used to have). Dining was good if we got Dodih. When we did not get him, we found service poor and slow. Entertainment has REALLY been cut back. In the past there was always a show every night on par with a Los Vegas Review. The Hal dancers were our show one night, a comic, and a piano man each did a show the beginning of the week. There was No show 2 nights, only a movie in theater was offered. On the last night the same comic and piano man were brought back again. WTHeck. Most of the crew were polite. Never saw the Captain once even attending the Mariner lunch. Heard him, never saw him. The ports were Key West fun. Roatan, interesting but the weather wasn't ideal for snorkeling, no ones fault. Guatemala, no thank you. Then we were supposed to go to Costa Maya. We were informed by the Captain about a serious bus crash so he was diverting our ship to Grand Cayman. We were puzzled, because accidents occur everyday somewhere. Why all the way to Grand Cayman instead of another Mexican Port. Many people were really upset. We left Guatemala early and they ran the ship wide open all night. We didn't arrive to Grand Cayman until 2pm the next day and had to leave by 8pm. Many of the places we wanted to see, were already closed for the day. We paid for excursions we couldn't even complete. We then found out that the Rotterdam needed to go there to pick up a life board that was in for repairs. I guess they think their passengers are dumb to figure out what the truth is. Sure hope they re-think doing things like this to people who looked forward to this trip and saved their money for a long time to take this vacation. I sure have rethought my favorite Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We originally picked this cruise due to limited dates and we wanted to avoid ports which had been hit by hurricane Irma. Little did we know how many issues we would have in our seven day voyage. Our biggest issue was being told with 36 ... Read More
We originally picked this cruise due to limited dates and we wanted to avoid ports which had been hit by hurricane Irma. Little did we know how many issues we would have in our seven day voyage. Our biggest issue was being told with 36 hour notice that we were changing our last port from Costa Maya to Grand Cayman, not quite comparable to each other. While they were playing it off that we were changing ports due to the tourist accident in Mexico, the real reason was because they had dropped a life boat in Grand Cayman and needed it back sooner than their next planned trip there. This use of people's death as an excuse to change the port was an atrocious and pathetic con which would have been more readily accepted had we be told the truth. Additionally, we arrived late in the day to Cayman the Friday before Christmas, so naturally everything was closed two hours after our arrival without the possibility of renting a car or taking the bus to go anywhere. This was truly a terrible way to end the destinations, on top of an extremely rough ride to rush to Cayman before hand (guests had to change rooms due to engine noise and vibrations). On top of this immense communication error, we also had several problems in our stateroom, cleanliness of the ship and general maintenance of the ship. Our stateroom toilet and shower both leaked upon arrival (yes toilet water on the floor), in addition to having blood spots on the wall from a sharp piece of metal trim. Our deck was covered in paint chips and the painting of the boat created noxious fumes while trying to sit on the verandah. The Sky View Deck and lounge chairs were also unkempt and in desperate need of a power washing. There were multiple exposed wires at the Sea View Bar, along the stairwells and some of the LED floor lighting strips. Additionally, we had booked our drink packages on the Holland America website at the discounted rate prior to sailing with confirmation from the website. Despite this, when we asked guest services about our drink packages, they had no evidence of the reservations; therefore we had to pay the full price of the packages on board. We were not offered a discounted rate despite having proof of confirmation date since it was a technological glitch on the website’s behalf. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Our family stayed in cabins 1830 and 1832. It was an OK cruise, my 6th of the year. I can verify that many of the other reviewers on CC have it right about this ship. Even with the dry dock that happened in October, this ship is sorely ... Read More
Our family stayed in cabins 1830 and 1832. It was an OK cruise, my 6th of the year. I can verify that many of the other reviewers on CC have it right about this ship. Even with the dry dock that happened in October, this ship is sorely lacking compared to other ships on the seas. The light blue carpet everywhere had stains, which was quite surprising given it's recent dry dock. There is no large outdoor movie screen, I can confirm that it was taken off this ship. The internet is NOT upgraded to the unlimited plans and still boasts slow speed and higher prices. The tv's and dvd players in the rooms were not upgraded during drydock. You were left watching scratched movies on dvd players that had to be replaced in many rooms (heard this complaint a lot). The tv's were flat but box like tv's. Ours had lines going through it. It felt like they were the original tv's installed in 1997. Maybe? I concur with other reviewers that cabin 1830 is noisy when entering and exiting ports and the night before disembarkation (luggage storage). Our voyage was particularly bumpy on the first sea day and it was strange, because I have been in far harsher seas this year and not experienced anything like this bumpiness that we did. Many passengers took ill, which was unfortunate when on vacation. Even the patch behind the ear had to be followed up with the pill. :( The cruise director staff did a good job and I appreciated their good nature. They are a bit stressed on Holland with only 2 staff members on ANY HAL ship. This leaves pockets in the day that are less active. If you are lucky, you will get to see guest performers Paul Pappas and comedian Frank King. They both performed marvelously and packed the house! In contrast, the in house entertainers were seriously lack luster and guests just walked out of the theater during the performance. I held out and watched the show, but by the end, there were only a handful of us left in the theater. It ranged from the poor harmonizing of sung songs, poor costuming and sets, to boring dance numbers. I KNOW they can do better and HAL needs to address some simple fixes so that the theaters are full. The food had highs and lows. Consistency was the greatest problem that the kitchen had. You will not starve on this cruise, but certainly not the quality of the other five cruises I have been on this year. Overall, I give the ship an average 3 star rating. It wasn't the best on the market, but if you are looking for a laid back vacation out of Tampa, this might just be what you are looking for. As a side note, I compared notes with guests on the Rhapsody of the Seas RCL and they indicated a lot more activities and energy on the ship that took off at the same time as ours. I would explore my options and consider this ship next time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
1. Our stateroom had 1 power outlet (none in bathroom) and 2 usb port outlets (for cell phones). 2. Lower dinning room, which is for anytime dining, our table for two was perfect. Table # 137. Table 136 is the same on the opposite side ... Read More
1. Our stateroom had 1 power outlet (none in bathroom) and 2 usb port outlets (for cell phones). 2. Lower dinning room, which is for anytime dining, our table for two was perfect. Table # 137. Table 136 is the same on the opposite side of dining room. We went to the 5:30 seating so we were able to reserve the same table for each night. When you arrive on board the ship go to the dinning rooms and reserve your table. See photos. Upper dining room is for select time dining. The tables for 2 along the rails are nice. Book a table and time --when you arrive on board...don't wait til dining times-- 3. Casino is small. About 35 slots and 6 table games. 3 of which are Blackjack tables. They do not offer a Craps table. I got real lucky at the roulette table playing #13. It was amazing how many times it hit. I made $700ish in profits. I only played about 25 total spins for the cruise and 13 hit 7 times. Wow! Blackjack is $6 a hand not $10. That is good for us newB's. Our inside room 3340 was perfect. No vibration, noise, ac worked well, very good location. Room to avoid (located in the middle of the ship on desks 3-2-1) at all cost because of vibration and, what I think is engine noise, are 3370,3372,3374,3377,3379 are very bad. I would also avoid 3368-3366-3381-3383-3385-3368-2634-2626-2632-2630-2635-2637-2639-2641-1896-1898-1900-1902-1904-1885-1887-1889-1891-1893-1895. 4. They do not offer karaoke nor the newlywed game. Bingo is cards only which in our opinion is better than using machines other cruise lines offer. It's more fair. 5. The buffet is good for one thing, compared to other ships from Royal, Carnival, etc, is they serve you (for most items) rather than you grab what you want. In my opinion this is more sanitary than dealing with finger lickers as they go through the buffet. 6. Save newspapers that you like to read for a few days prior to your cruise so you have something to read at breakfast. 7. Bring a watch 8. Some (most) will find this next bullet point odd, but here goes. If you port in Guatemala do something different (at least in the morning). At breakfast on the ship start saving the small boxes of cereal (Fruit Loops) and the small peanut butter containers (about 20 boxes of cereal) . Bring them with you when you exit the ship and when you exit (very short walk) the port area (he is not one of the cabs inside the port secure area) look for a blue cab, #186. The driver's name is Orlando. He will take you to Puerto Barrios (about 5 miles) for $10 per person round trip. Ask him to take you visit a poor family with kids so that you can give them the cereal and peanut butter. Ask him to take you to visit the twins girls he took us to visit. Orlando is a nice man and safe and speaks English. Don't worry that you are going off the main road in the town. The little girls and the other young kids we met were very grateful as well as their mothers. We also stopped at a local church (went inside as well) and then I asked him to take us to get a beer. I wanted a can of local beer to bring back. It was $2 america. We also stopped for coffee. He's a nice man to speak with and to learn about the people and area. The people are poor, but only in money. Very nice and they seem happy. See photo of Orlando, sitting opposite my wife, and his cab. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise after having a lovely time on the Oosterdam last February..unfortunately this was a much smaller ship, having only 900 guests ( holds 1400). Embarkation went smoothly. We were in a balcony cabin on deck 6 which had a ... Read More
We chose this cruise after having a lovely time on the Oosterdam last February..unfortunately this was a much smaller ship, having only 900 guests ( holds 1400). Embarkation went smoothly. We were in a balcony cabin on deck 6 which had a bathtub that looked like it hadn't been cleaned in a year!! After fussing and having it cleaned again it just wasn't any better. Guest services offered to move us to a different cabin but we just didn't want to repack/ unpack again. They gave us a free meal at the Pinacle dining room with a bottle of wine. We did anytime dining...we were almost alone each night around 7:30 as the older folks ate at 5 and then went to bed. ( I'm not kidding) Evening entertainment was almost nonexistent..two evenings the entertainment was a movie on the main stage at 8 pm. One afternoon the ship's A/C stopped working for 4 hours! In Cayman Is. the ship had two broken winches which were supposed to haul the tenders back up on the ship! Sooo 6 hours in port to fix them but the ship couldn't open the Casino cause we were too close to the island! ..the service was good, both in the cabin and dining room. The food was fair, like who wants stuffed peppers or roasted turkey? Not up to cruise ship standards! We will never cruise with Holland America again. We have nothing against older folks, we're in our late 60's but this was boring! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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