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39 Holland America Line Caribbean Cruise Reviews

We chose the Zuiderdam for a romantic, relaxing cruise. We were very disappointed with many things about the Zuiderdam and Holland America as a company. First, let me start by saying the Holland America has some serious operational and ... Read More
We chose the Zuiderdam for a romantic, relaxing cruise. We were very disappointed with many things about the Zuiderdam and Holland America as a company. First, let me start by saying the Holland America has some serious operational and procedural issues which need an outside consultant to fix. Embarkation: You know you are in trouble when getting on the ship is the best thing you can say about the ship. Embarkation was quick and painless. Cabin: We chose an inside cabin for this cruise because we like to take a nap in the afternoon and there is nothing better than a cold, dark cabin after a hot shore day. The cabin was very dated. The shower floor was filthy. I mean black filth. When the shower is dirty you have to wonder what else is dirty that you are not seeing. It is like walking into a restaurant and looking up to see black vents and ceiling tiles. If they do not care enough to make sure the shower floor is clean then you can bet they are not making sure the things you cannot see are clean. The steward was fine and helpful. Restaurant: We ate dinner in the restaurant only one night because the first experience was that bad. First of all, they sat me a 6 foot 7 football player type of a guy in a booth with a table cloth that almost went to the floor. I spent the entire dinner feeling like I had a blanket covering my legs and when I got up I took the table cloth off the table with me. Second, we never saw the same person twice. It was ridiculous. There was not one person you could have called our waiter. Third, it was chaos in the restaurant and took a very long time for the food to arrive. There was way too much time between courses and when the food did arrive it was bland and just not very good. We skipped dessert because by the time we got around to being asked what we liked we just wanted out. We went one morning to eat breakfast in the restaurant at 9:05 am and were turned away because they said breakfast was over at 9. Now mind you, we are on vacation and 9 am is too early to stop serving breakfast to people who are sleeping in and trying to relax. Buffet: The biggest problem with the buffet is there are not enough places for people to sit and eat. There are two many large tables and not enough smaller tables. Lunch and breakfast can become very stressful affairs. I literally felt like dropping my plate and walking out on more than one occasion and I have never felt that way on a ship before. It was not just us you would see and hear people upset they could not find a place to sit. I have never experienced something quite like this on a ship before. Also the buffet stops serving dinner at 8 pm. This is way too early because people from the West Coast are not ready for dinner until 8 pm. The problem with the Zuiderdam is it wants to run on its time schedule and not on a realistic time schedule for all of their guests. One evening I actually saw them removing the food away from people trying to get something to eat. This is not an exaggeration. They actually removed the food away from them leaving them to stand there hungry. Bars: The bar service was fine and as a matter of fact our best overall service was from Ricky in the Ocean Bar. The drinks were always plentiful and good. At least the bar was good to keep the edge off of how awful everything else about the ship was. America's Test Kitchen: One of the reasons we booked this cruise was for America's Test Kitchen. It was advertised that it was on the Zuiderdam. Guess what? There was no America's Test Kitchen. I have to say it really felt like a bait and switch type tactic. If you are going to advertise something to a potential customer as a cruise company you had better make sure it is happening on the ship when they arrive. BB Kings: The best part of the Zuiderdam entertainment was the BB King lounge. The only problem was the first three nights it was not offered. We got half the product for the full price. See how this is going? Billboard Music: This was the most laughable and horrible entertainment I have seen in years. I am serious it is awful. The two guys behind the piano's are awful. Mainstage Theater: Dance Shows - They had three dance shows which were very good. The dancers were very well trained and their interaction with the LED screens was really amazing. They were the best part of our trip. English Comedian - First let me remind you that we are a gay male couple. The homophobic comedian was not funny and as a matter of fact he was offensive. He made several awful gay jokes which were insulting. My husband and I did not pay to be insulted and that is exactly what happened. If this were racial jokes the guy was making they would have fired him on the spot. What is the difference? You do not insult people who are paying for your service. We will not make this mistake with Holland America again. It was really that bad. Half Moon Cay: You would think since Holland America has had this island since the 1990's if would be an amazing place to be. Well it is not. The straw market was a joke. The food was a joke. Not being able to use your drink package on their island was a joke. The facilities are run down and they are dirty. Once again Holland America and dirty are in the same sentence. Not good. We took a shore excursion on Half Moon Cay. It was awful. It was not on the ocean but in a lagoon. We rode a small uncomfortable boat around a lagoon. Seriously it was like one of those bad amusement park boat rides with the cheesy narrator. It was truly that bad. Disembarkation: Was quick and easy. In closing, we were very disappointed in Holland America. The ship and cruise were overall depressing. Holland had better change their game because this was truly one of the worst cruise ships we ever sailed. We will not choose Holland America ever again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I am missing a single day to become a *** three star mariner with HAL. I crossed the Atlantic twice: once on the Noordam and once on the Koningsdam from and to Civitavecchia, plus three weeks on the New Amsterdam (which is still my ... Read More
I am missing a single day to become a *** three star mariner with HAL. I crossed the Atlantic twice: once on the Noordam and once on the Koningsdam from and to Civitavecchia, plus three weeks on the New Amsterdam (which is still my favorite vessel in terms of decor and style). Firstly, the ship voyage was often unexplainably rocky - even when there was not particularly rough seas. This made me wonder if the ship STABILIZER were working properly. Second, I’ve always found the food experience on board of HAL to be excellent and I NEVER even considered once to send back a dish... well, this time I was forced to do so several different times on board of the Zuiderdam. Including in its Pinnacle grill, which in my opinion was way below the standards of a HAL specialty restaurant (for $35 extra). So my major complaint on board of the Zuiderdam was the poor quality of the food - often unacceptable even in the Lido cafeteria. I found the food selection and quality dramatically lower than the usual standards of Holland America lines. Often economizing on the carving station with few choices, and those that were offered were often sad chunks of overcooked beef, pork or turkey, or the “ethnic” section with shameful bowls of equally overcooked stuff. — Furthermore, I found the entertainment offered on board rather pitiful. Nothing like the BBC Earth show played by a four element string quartet on other ships. Plus the overall appearance of the Zuiderdam is tired and anachronistic sometimes lacking in basic hygiene (as I had reported to officers onboard) like in the aft pool mens restrooms on the Lido deck, which -honestly- smelled like a Marine barracks. Horrific. On the other HAL ships I mentioned above, there were fresh orchid buds in every restroom. To my chagrin, I found the miseries of a ship which has failed to live up to its promises to have undergone some "major" refurbishment. I also would like to mention my profound disappointment of having found the classy lounge right next to the Crows Nest turned into some sort of schoolroom with (in my opinion) useless chairs where I have noticed only three people who were occasionally sitting to attend some sort of medical lecture. On the other hand there was always a battle to get a seat on one of the TOO few bistro chairs in the smoking section of the ship aft. Overall I would never consider take another cruise on the Zuiderdam. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Hi there. It’s January, and I’m back home in Michigan. We are all snowed in today so I’m finally going back to submit my review for my holiday cruise. Most of which I typed while I was on the ship, and some I filled in just now. ... Read More
Hi there. It’s January, and I’m back home in Michigan. We are all snowed in today so I’m finally going back to submit my review for my holiday cruise. Most of which I typed while I was on the ship, and some I filled in just now. (So please excuse my mixed tenses!) Here it is: ROOMS: It’s 4:24 a.m. and I'm on the ship, on Christmas Eve morning, actually. I’ve been thinking about it since my first dinner here, so why not start my review now, because the reason I’m awake now in the first place is because I’m suffocating in this too-hot room. I bought a small digital clock to take with me that also shows the temperature. I would get the room just right and the system was set to auto-regulate. Then it would be too hot. I finally figured out that any time housekeeping would come in the room, they were setting the thermostat back to their set point of TOO HOT AND STUFFY TO SLEEP. I am laying by the floor by the door now in hopes of sucking some fresher cooler air into my body and to limit the light from my iPad. Since I mentioned the room temperature, before I move on from talking about the room, the smoke alarm went off the first time after I took a quick shower and left the door open. We’d all been diligently keeping the shower door closed after showering since. The second time it went off, I took a shower and although I was careful to keep the door shut, the captain started making announcements so I creaked the bathroom door to hear them, what with being a responsible guest and all. It almost immediately went off. It didn’t wake me, as I was up since 3:30. It did however (almost) finish the job of waking up my kids, which could stay asleep under interrogation lights. Interestingly, the smoke alarm has not gone off the last few nights when we distinctly smelled cigarette smoke. We called and the guy turned it off and explained to me how smoke alarms sense heat and smoke (well except cigarette smoke) and how it was all for our well being and the safety of the ship, Like I’m an absolute complete ticking idiot and never understood in 46 years the purpose of smoke alarms. Basically there is nothing they could do but turn it off remotely each time after they inspect for no fire. So I said thanks and “okay I’ll see you the next time I take a shower again, I guess.” Overall, though, sneaky temperature changing and smoke alarms that go off when there is steam but not when there is smoke, the rooms are good. More spacious than Carnival and the bathroom didn’t induce claustrophobia. SHIP DECOR: Now that I’ve gotten out of the way why I’m writing this at this very moment, I’ll start properly! I am on the Holland America cruise line’s ship “The Zuiderdam.” I took a short Carnival cruise over the summer with just the kids and wanted to go with my husband for a longer vacation over the winter break. The kids and I wanted more cruise fun but slightly more upscale. (That is to say, less people that see a cruise as a prolonged drinking contest, and less people that don’t have manners and step slightly to the side when they decide to plant themselves in doorways and see other people trying to get around them.) I researched and this ship’s size-to-occupancy ratio was one of the best. That is to say, it had the most square feet per person, so the overcrowded feel of The Carnival cruise would hopefully be avoided. Although generally this cruise line is thought of as more expensive, I shopped Carnival cruises at the same time and the prices were very close worked out on a per day cost but Carnival didn’t have one that fit our schedule well. This is my fifth cruise. The prior one was Carnival, about 6 months ago. Go back 20 years to two more Carnival cruises. Then one more when I was a kid. I don’t remember the line, but it wasn’t Carnival or Holland. I remember though, as a kid, the shows were amazing. I was in awe! That is the breadth of my expertise as a cruise guest. I’m no expert but am very well positioned to compare/contrast Carnival and Holland, so here goes! The ship took a little getting used to. It’s beautifully, well at least plushly, decorated. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It feels decadent with its plush fabric chairs and spacious layout. But it is decidedly less open than the three Carnival’s ships I’ve been on. The atrium only spanned three floors and isn’t spacious. It’s just more of a 3 floor open staircase isha. Crystal seahorse hanging down in the center. The center floor had some Christmas decorations there. It didn’t seem that even without the decorations there would be space for a d.j. And there wasn’t space around the edges enough for audience to gather. There were chairs put around but it wasn’t a comfortable place to gather around a performer. It was more of a very comfortable waiting room, with the exception of being overly lighted to the point of wincing - but more on that in a bit. What I’m trying to say is it was impossible to get that sense of a ship that was a singular cohesive body with all its separate parts working together, which I realize now was what was in large part appealing about the large unifying open inside atrium spaces of the Carnival ships. I got used to it after about a day, after learning my way around more. You really couldn’t go to the atrium first and then look around and see or remember. I had to always strategize in my head first where I was going, and how to get back. Felt like lots of luxurious appointed tunnels. Other than the general lack of an open floor plan, of note was that this ship has two additional full restaurants they’ve built into the main areas. They push them, announce them, put them prime and center in most of their print-outs for the days’ activities. I find this tacky because all the food is paid for in the price of the cruise, and here I am being told if I want a true fine dining experience I have to make reservations and pay more. That’s right, did I not mention they are full on paid restaurants? There is a sense of luxury in the use of the space (minus the open concept, as I mentioned). Halls that are curvy for no reason except that they can be. Little curved corridors with lighter art insets in the wall. His luxury isn’t as felt on the Carnival ships, where walkways always seem to be made the shortest space between two points. The Zuiderdam throws down the mike here, and deservedly. SHOWS: It’s important to me that you take a moment to recognize I did say some positive things first about the ship. Because it’s all downhill from there. Entertainment. Oh boy. Reviews said this ship was top rated for entertainment. Maybe those reviewers were very heavy drinkers? The first night, there was no show. The cruise social director kept asking about great upcoming shows they had, such great dancers. I was thinking maybe she just really like the dance part, because watching just dancers for an hour - that can’t be right. Right? It was right. The second night was all and nothing but dancers. I made everyone go, we stayed for 10 minutes. There was no second show going anywhere here to catch. They have an ongoing blues band act with a dance floor. It’s not something to go sit and watch, though. I walked up to the edge of it a couple of times. Nobody was dancing, and the music was so loud you wouldn’t have been able to hold a conversation in there. I was used to Carnival that had a main show and on a smaller stage other side of the ship they’d have a comedian or something smaller. The next night’s show was a guy that did a Beatles tribute. Why yes, that WAS on the main stage, it was the main show. It was starting out okay, I mean the Beatles, right? He told some little stories and did some songs but mostly lots of tiny bits of songs. Then his wife came out. I winced, just like I did with the interogation-wattage-level lights at dinner, which I’ll get to later. She was like a more saccharin and thin (personality-wise) version of Kathie Lee Gifford. Hey, Kathie Lee did Carnival Cruise commercials early on, so maybe this is the Holland America version? Wow. I can’t think of anyone more Beatles-contrary. Then she sang one of the best songs ever - "Let It Be." Were it not possibly the best song ever, it would have ruined it for me forever. If a female is going to sing that song at all, shouldn’t it be a little more Edie Brickell and less fake Marilyn, dramatically flitting her skirt around and coming out in different glamorous outfits that were all basically the same cut, but in different colors, with no explanation, on and off 5 times in a 45 minute show? Last night there was a comedian. He was mentioned excitedly by one of the cruise hosts earlier. I should have been on alert since the other host got so excited talking about dancers. This guy had no act. Zero. I kept waiting for it. He knew it, too, and seemed embarrassed, even. He was affable enough and talked to the audience for 45 minutes but no show actually came. He had just written a book and was on a late night show and taped a special, (and he told us all, plus he had done 10 commercials) so maybe he had no jokes left. My kids enjoyed it more than the dancing show or the Beatles guy, but still not as much as watching a movie in their room. They didn’t know how much of a non-act it was, as they are ages 9 and 11. His show was truly far below the standard of what you’d get from that comedian on Carnival on the smaller stage - that wasn’t even the main act. The last night of the cruise was supposed to be the “good” show, as touted by the comedian in his first show, when explaining why he had no jokes. (He was saving them for the last night.) It was going to be a variety show. It was about 17 minutes more of the comedian. Then the Beatles guy and his sacharrine wife again. Not really a variety show by my definition - more of a warmer-over recycling of what was bad to begin with. I missed the first 5 minutes of the comedian. When I was walking up the stairs outside the theatre to join my family I heard the comedian saying something about how he told his wife when she gives him the silent treatment it's not really punishment. As I sat down I was thinking "tonight's the good stuff?" He made a bunch of age put-down jokes the first night. My husband said that as soon as he came out onto the stage for his "finale show" some guy yelled "I don't like you." So, that has to suck as a comedian, but I'm not sure he didn't deserve it. Other "jokes" included saying he needed surgery once and started with a Jewish surgeon and then got "upgraded" to an Indian surgeon and they're smarter, so... (insert laughter here?) FINE DINING: Fine dining that is included? I’m still trying. The first night, as soon as we sat down to dinner, I winced in the brightness of the faux incandescent colored light. Why. So. Bright. Fluorescent supermarket lighting would be better, truly. I couldn’t stop wincing. Then they delivered a bloody rare steak to my daughter even though she ordered it medium well. They took so long to come back to the table that everyone was mostly done by the time they even knew they needed to try again, this time cooking it. And my husband and I very stupidly agreed to a salad which meant our kids just sat there for the first 20 minutes or more. I ate as fast as I could when I realized they were waiting before my kids could get to eat. We were there for an hour and a half with no dessert. And I never was able to stop wincing from the light. The next night at dinner I asked the dining manager if we could possibly please sit somewhere less bright. He said they were assigned, so no. I could wait “over there” for a family with another table to be asked I they’d be willing to trade with us. No straight thinking person would trade with us, and I didn’t want to be further at their mercy, so I said it was fine, I didn’t want to wait, I’d just wear my sunglasses. I went back to my room and brought back my sunglasses and wore them, like a jerk, through dinner. There are darker normal-restaurant-light-level tables around the edges and the very center of both floors. The overhead oval of light that goes all the way around both floors is nauseatingly bright and really I couldn’t get past it. After dinner I went to the desk and they said the only way I could change tables was to forfeit my assigned table if he manager would “release” us from it, so we could go in unassigned on the other floor. But we had to get permission to go in unassigned at a certain time and there were no slots. The other option was to make reservations in the main (still) free fine dining restaurant. There were no spaces for actual reservations, no spaces to reserve for “unreserved” spots. But guest services said I could always “try.” She said she couldn’t guarantee anything though because it was just like a regular restaurant and again we could not even try without getting permission to be released from our assigned table which, once we forfeited, could not get back. I said it’s not really like another restaurant, because if it were home like another restaurant, you could go home to feed your kids, or go to another restaurant. I had to risk losing all dining options for my kids on Christmas Eve and Christmas for the gamble to get away from the light. Please be warned that if you order anything from a different category from your fellow diners, they will not bring it all at the same time. They will serve the first course and not bring others’ food until you have sat there with the empty plate for quite a while for whatever soup or salad you were so dumb to say “yes” to when they suggested it. A waiter at dinner asked me if I wanted ice cream with the slice of apple pie for dessert I ordered. I said "okay." A different waiter delivered pie. I said “I ordered this with ice cream?” The waiter said it doesn’t come with ice cream, but if I wanted ice cream too, he could bring me some. (Because I'm a huge pig and he was making a special exception? No thanks!) Also a wrong desert was brought second night. Waiter set it down and walked off, and I had to wait SO long to get a chance to tell him he brought the wrong thing (which was getting awkward to keep repeating.) Another time, my husband had breakfast in the dining room with my daughter, just the two of them. The dining room was mostly empty. A while after they were seated, an older "proper" British couple were seated RIGHT ON TOP OF THEM. Well, right next to them, filling out the remaining 2 seats at their 4-top, but it felt uncomfortable to the British couple apparently because she politely asked to sit somewhere else (not in my family's lap) and the waiter said "no." I get cruise seating style but when someone politely asks to sit somewhere else, even one table over, and is told NO by the waiter, well, that's just weird. My husband said it was certainly memorable to hear this proper British lady get angry and raise her voice with her British accent at the waiter after he kept saying "no." It's just weird that it's the opposite of "customer's always right" here. It's "the ship staff is always right." Another time, my husband ordered a coke, waiter took forever, husband asked again, waiter dropped off TWO warm cans, no ice. Husband FINALLY gave up waiting for the waiter to come back, and walked around and found the waiter to return the second coke. The waiter said he'd take it off beverage gift card, and said he'd get back to us with a cup of ice. We gave up on ice eventually and took the can to lido to get our own cup of ice. The next morning, I tried to get a coffee with the beverage card and I couldn't because the beverage card showed no balance, because, of course, the errant charge for the unordered second coke can had not been removed. Finally, on Christmas Day, I was seated with 3 other ladies that were strangers but we were having a touching conversation about something very important that had happened to her, and were all leaning in. Other people around us were still eating their main course. We were finishing our coffee. The waiter INTERRUPTED her emotional story ON CHRISTMAS DAY to ask us IF WE COULD LEAVE. One of the other ladies snapped back at him "no we'll leave in a few minutes." I just really couldn't believe I wasn't hearing things. Nope, that really happened. ROOM SERVICE: The first night, we filled out our little placard for breakfast in-room the next morning. We all woke up but it wasn’t our set delivery time of 8:30 to 9:00. We could have gone to the lido deck or the fine dining restaurant, but we’d ordered something so kept waiting in the room the first morning of our cruise. I called and asked about it 10 minutes past the window, and we got it 20 minutes later, so it was 30 minutes after the end of our set window. Well, most of it. Except my husband’s, which wasn’t included at all. I called. We left and he stole a piece of my son’s toast. We got a message at 10:30 saying they tried to deliver the food but nobody was there. Next morning, the only thing that changes was that I started to ride them faster. 5 minutes before the end of the window, I called them and they THEN started the order and we got it in about 20 minutes. Still later than our window. It would be nice if on a trip like this I didn’t STILL feel like as a mom it was my responsibility to be sure my kids get food, but whatever. We get it. In room dining isn’t something they make more money off of, like their other paid restaurants. It doesn’t seem to be a priority to them to actually fill the orders, at least not ours. To that end, there is also no printed in-room dining menu anywhere to be found, as there was for Carnival. I waited in line to ask at the desk and they said I could find it on the television ship channel. One night we were hungry after the lido deck shut down everything but pizza, but we didn’t want pizza. So we tried room service and after an hour of no delivery we called and then were told again “we’ll follow up.” No explanation given. Seems they don’t start a room service order until the first complaint of it being late comes in? REFLECTIONS ON THE FOOD: It was difficult for the kids and even my husband to find things to order at dinner. There was usually just one thing they would eat, and the order would have to include instructions to leave certain things off. Carnival’s menu worked better for us. It had several recognizable things, a few fancier things, and one “exotic” type thing each evening as choices. Most of the food on this cruise was for the “refined” pallette so much it was alienating. Waiters would drop off food and then be gone for a good long while unless I was rude enough to wave them down, for, say, water. (The glasses were empty when the waiter set down the food and walked off.) My daughters’ medium well steak was ripe with fresh blood in the center. It took forever to get the waiter to come back, and then we had to wait for a new steak that was cooked. The first night that dinner took an hour and a half, with no dessert. Prime rib is suppose to be pink but we all found it too disgusting, wet with red blood in the center to eat, so we could never order that again. The coffee was way too strong. In the lido deck I would get 2/3 of a cup and add hot water to it to make a full normal cup. I could never get coffee in the dining room. I tried once. I only was given creamer and sugar, no Splenda or anything. I often felt I was breaking decorum to ask to get my family’s dining needs met. (Also please be aware that soy, almond, or coconut milk is not available for coffee.) There IS an awesome coffee bar on the 10th floor at the front of the ship. We didn’t discover it until halfway through our cruise, though, because it is all by itself and not listed as anything except EXC Tour Cafe in all the paperwork. We thought it was a desk where salespeople tried to sell excursion. I was looking for where I could get lattes and cappuccinos since I had these $25 drink cards and don’t drink alcohol. Do you understand I was LOOKING for this place and still only found it by accident out of boredom on the 3 rd day of the cruise? It’s a neat room. Seriously it is the coolest space on any cruise ship I’ve experienced. If you are reading this and go on this ship, go there first - it’s awesome and you’ll likely have it to yourself a few days with crickets chirping as nobody else will have figured it out yet. Unlike other cruises I’ve been on, about 9:30 the only offerings in the lido deck were self-serve pizza. Well, there was pasta with meat sauce behind the counter but glass separated you from it and there wasn’t someone to serve it. No cookies, cupcakes, sandwiches... just pizza. Good pizza. But wow if you didn’t want pizza and were hungry, you’d have to get room service, and you’ve read how that turned out for us… AFFILIATIONS, “O”/OPRAH AND MICROSOFT: There is a connection with “O” magazine they tout.. They advertise that they offer yoga and meditation classes for a comprehensive Oprah inspired well-being experience. One class was a guided meditation class at 5:30 the first full day. It was printed on the daily activity highlights insert as well as the daily schedule. It was supposed to be in the fitness center and was to be $15. I went with my daughter, who is mature for her age, and wanted to go. She does yoga with her dad sometimes. The first person in the fitness center said there was no class. I got out my paper daily schedule and showed it to her. She led us into the fitness room where on the floor in the center of all the loud machines were some mats. The fitness guy came up to us and clearly had zero class. I mean, had no idea of any meditation class. ; ) He handed me a clipboard and said "you can take one fitness class for $25 or a pack of 5 for..." I said, no, I wanted the mediation class for $15. I gently asked if he had done this before. He defensively said "yes, I've been in fitness for 10 years" or something. I said, "it's a little different." He looked alarmed, and seemed defensive. This guy was threatened and it didn't seem likely he meditated himself much less had ever led a meditation class. I said "Is it going to be in here?" and he said, "oh, well, you can do it in here" and led us back to the little room on the side with chairs. He walked off and I told my daughter I was sorry, but I didn't feel good being "led" in a meditation with this guy. We were getting up to leave when he came back and I politely said "we're going to pass this time" as I walked out. I didn't make eye contact with him. It was so awkward and embarrassing. For him, too, I think. I’m sure he was relieved. Oprah, methinks, would not be proud. The onboard daily schedule had huge spans of hours with nothing worth doing, so I went to a class on something I wasn’t really interested in. There is a Windows connection and I went to learn how to use a program that came on Windows that I don’t ever use. There were other classes that I didn’t go to because they were on how to use paid programs. OTHER SHIP “FUN” The piano bar had two pianos with guys singing. I usually love piano music but those guys were so canned and tame there was just nothing to latch on to. Definitely not dueling pianos, and absolutely it wasn't a sing-along piano bar. Trivia was a couple of times a day, we did that out of desparation a few days but by the end that was too boring to keep going to. Also, my daughter and I went to watch someone cook food, because we were that bored. I learned the difference between rice pilaf and just rice. Yay. One “game night” we went to had a capacity to be fun, but the female host wouldn't read a funny answer and she whined and ruined the joke like it contaminated everything. It was a PG-13 joke and it was mostly senior citizens, and us.. Ugh sometimes I had to wonder if this was a European sense of humor thing, like how in Europe maybe populations as a whole think crying clowns are hilarious? She was the same host that thought watching dancers with cool lights was just the bee's knees, so… I'm glad the televisions in the cabin had movies loaded on them for the kids. They watched about 5 movies and I let them have their video games. It was my intent to just let them have their "tech" on the plane too and from, but I felt sorry for them for having nothing to do. I made them leave their home from Christmas to be on a ship with no entertainment! I wish I could combine the spacious plush ship and polite other guests from this cruise and mix it with the "everything else" of any of my prior Carnival Cruises. I can't believe a Holland Cruise, which is supposed to be the top of the line, failed so greatly by comparison. I’m really glad my husband didn’t hate this, his first cruise, which I forced upon him. He is even willing to try again. He has no idea that cruise ships usually have nonstop ENTERTAINING “entertainment,” and by comparison this ship sucked SO BAD as far as that goes. The most entertaining thing I did, truly, was watch “Blinded By The Light” one afternoon in the main theatre. But even that had issues. It froze several times and had to be re-started, and fast forwarded up to the point where it had stopped. By the time it reached the end, I was almost the only one there. Like this too-long review, which if you are reading it, you may also be the only one “there”... ; ) Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We tookk the cruise as we got a fabulous rate for our suite for three. We had drink pack for 2. paid taxes and grats for 2 and 1 nite dinner at specialty.we padi tax and grats and din for son. The cruise had a more diverse age group ... Read More
We tookk the cruise as we got a fabulous rate for our suite for three. We had drink pack for 2. paid taxes and grats for 2 and 1 nite dinner at specialty.we padi tax and grats and din for son. The cruise had a more diverse age group than usual. Te cruise line attracts seniors but this date had more folk younger. The activity choices were AWFUL. If you like Bingo and Mahjong you were in paradise. Limited ne class for exercise and a handful of day activiies which included shore excursion lectures etc. Very discouraging. The food choices were POOR but the prep averaged a "C". The sommeliers encouraged drink pack holders to get bottles of wine NOT included on package(I knew that) and purchasing 15 dollar glasses of wine. It would be O but it was unrelentless no matter whether MD anytime dinign etc.Discouraging! Not once. twice but three times our beverage bill was charged for a drink at Billboard lounge their addition nest to casino.It was corrected bu once should have been enough.we played trivia theer daily as ONE thing we could do when NOT in a port. Billboard dueling pian disappointing. Talented pianists but their voices less than average. The BB King lounge FAB> Many empty seats at ALl shows .Troupe there was Hopping and Popping and WOW. The quartet in the lincoln lounge was extraordinary.Kudos to each musician and their professional talents and presentations. Yuo were a gleaming beam on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I was so disappointed with this cruise on the Oosterdam. Have been on many Holland America cruises, but this was the worst. We had a signature suite (8091). The toilet did not flush for 5 days. Called for a plumber 6 times and had to ... Read More
I was so disappointed with this cruise on the Oosterdam. Have been on many Holland America cruises, but this was the worst. We had a signature suite (8091). The toilet did not flush for 5 days. Called for a plumber 6 times and had to wait on many occasions. Passenger service desk would place the call on hold for minutes at a time when water was coming over the top of toilet and we never put anything in it. we used bags for our paper and placed it in the wastebasket. The shower had mold. The carpets in cabins were old and dirty. The food was mediocre at best. Pinnacle grill was another upsetting evening. food was served cold and the crab legs were few to be had. The desert tasted old and like refrigeration. such a disappointment. the sea view pool was out of commission for 10 of our 14 days due to a malfunctioning pump. The ship needs another dry dock and bad. such a disappointment. not sure I can cruise Holland again. Have been on Carnival and Princess recently and I must say that they are way above Holland. The staff were friendly for the most part ,but passenger services just did not care about any issues that we had. Holland has a long way to come to make this right. Our cabin stewards were excellent, but the two of them had 29 cabins. unreal!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We picked this cruise to celabrate my wifes birthday and to enjoy the relaxing ports of call. We are currently a 3star mariner status. We have not been on a Holland ship since 2012. This was the second time on the Oosterdam over ... Read More
We picked this cruise to celabrate my wifes birthday and to enjoy the relaxing ports of call. We are currently a 3star mariner status. We have not been on a Holland ship since 2012. This was the second time on the Oosterdam over the years. Very disappointed in the food quality in the dinning room. Average variety of selections on menu, just not much flavour in any of the meals. Dining room service... As you wish dining, in the evening was the worst we have had in 22 cruises...will not rebook with Holland America. Good service in all bar areas that we visited with friendly staff. Most evenings, coffee or tea never offered. Entertainment, wasn't worth going to the lounge, yet another disappointment. Didn't use the pools but other commented water was lovely and warm. Used and enjoyed the Dry Sauna but very small and only approx 4 to 5 can enjoy at one time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Wanted a relaxing cruise with family for Spring Break- got it! But very disappointed with boat and selection of activities on it. Boat is very old and needs updating. They still have bathtubs in the showers! All food is served from a ... Read More
Wanted a relaxing cruise with family for Spring Break- got it! But very disappointed with boat and selection of activities on it. Boat is very old and needs updating. They still have bathtubs in the showers! All food is served from a buffet line, but you have to ask for them to put things on your plate, different from other ships where you can just get your own amounts of whatever you want. The main dining room was nice and servers were great, but food selection was a little unusual. If you like to eat duck and try new dishes you’ve never heard of, then the main dining room is for you. We found the food to be bland almost every night. The boat is very old, about 30 years, and does not have a huge atrium like other boats. There are a couple of little shops. The casino is very small, with only three $1 slot machines, three 25 cent slot machines, a few tables, and about 20 penny slots. The staff is very nice with all workers being very polite, but do not go above and beyond. The ship also has issues with plumbing. There were several announcements made about plumbing issues to everyone on the boat. Be prepared to have to call the front desk for a plumber to visit your room! The cruise director always says “let’s rock it until we dock it”, but not many activities are planned. Some activities included the art of flower arranging, movies, talks with port info, trivia, and art auctions. Many young people on the boat went to trivia to do something fun. We are used to having drinks of the day specials and a little send off party when we leave the port, but there was nothing like that on this boat. When we went into other ports and other cruise ships were there, they had music playing, but our ship was silent. People say that Holland America cruise line is mostly for older retired people, and we did find this to be true. So in conclusion, go on this boat if you like a nice relaxing time on a small ship, but avoid it if you are younger or traveling with family because there is not much to do. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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
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
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
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
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
We chose this cruse primarily because of it's departure port and also because we had been very pleased on 4 previous HAL cruises. Another deciding factor was that the Rotterdam had just come out of dry dock a month before. It should ... Read More
We chose this cruse primarily because of it's departure port and also because we had been very pleased on 4 previous HAL cruises. Another deciding factor was that the Rotterdam had just come out of dry dock a month before. It should have stayed in dry dock! In addition to the A/C problem in our cabin, the A/C was not balanced throughout the ship. Some venues were very hot and others were very cold for the entire cruise. Most furniture was reupholstered or replaced but I noticed cracked vinyl seats in the Lido. Lots of rust was visible on the exterior ironwork. The public restrooms had several urinals and commodes that were out of service for the length of the cruise. Some of the coverings on the elevator door panels were torn off and looked quite shabby as did peeling paint on wooden moldings. The BBC Earth and the America's Test Kitchen presentations were excellent and the best part of the cruise. Other daytime entertainment for the mostly senior citizen passengers was non-existent. HAL euphemistically referred to games such as Uno and Chess as "unhosted activities". In other words, they were something you could have done in the comfort of your own home for free. The movie selection was pitiful. Worst of all was the movie, "Once Upon a Time in Venice". The opening scenes showed Bruce Willis speaking to a group of kids and every other word was a 4 letter word. Shortly afterwards, he is seen buck naked on a skateboard in an attempt to escape from a client because he was caught in a compromising position having sex. After a few minutes of this garbage, about a dozen of us waled out and registered complaints at guest services. Cutbacks were evident everywhere. No BB King show although it was shown on the website when I booked this cruise. No cold facecloths on returning to ship on port days, No HAL coasters were given out at Mariners Luncheon which was mediocre. No Royal Tea. I won't be cruising again on HAL anytime soon, if at all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My Grandmother chose this ship for our family vacation. She, being a 4 star mariner, wanted to see the new ship and thought the family would enjoy our experience. 20 of us boarded the ship for an 11 day Caribbean cruise. The day we ... Read More
My Grandmother chose this ship for our family vacation. She, being a 4 star mariner, wanted to see the new ship and thought the family would enjoy our experience. 20 of us boarded the ship for an 11 day Caribbean cruise. The day we boarded, each of our rooms we're charged $12.50 per person per day as a service charge. Now the charge applies to everyone from infants to the elderly. So for me thats a $825 charge I was unaware of. Then they double it as a deposit for your onboard spending. So now I've been on the ship for less than 24Hrs and I've been charged $1650 in addition to the ticket price of the ship and half of that i won't get back because its considered a tip for the staff. Thats right, my 1 year old son had to tip the staff $137.50. Lets move on to the service and staff. Demand a receipt after every transaction because the drinks changed price with every server not to mention the automatic 15% gratuity added to every transaction as well. They will give you the most expensive wine they can find if you don't specify what you want. Our second night in the dinning room we changed our seating up a little so eat with other family members, 4 of us never received our entrees and then were told we never ordered them. That fiasco went on the whole trip. Everyone that sat at that table got repeated poor service for the entire trip. Now remember we were already charged the tip for this service on day one. My 1 year old son was not allowed in ANY pool on the ship so if my other kids wanted to swim one parent had to stay out and walk around with him. The free ice cream station was only open for a short time before they closed it and opened the payed ice cream station for most of the night. The food portions in the dinning room always left us hungry and in a hurry to get upstairs to the buffet before they closed and then you had to order payed room service. We watched in horror as a woman walked back up to the buffet counter and told the cook she found something else she wanted elsewhere on the ship and handed him back her plate which he proceeded to place back into the available food! Arif, our server, and Buddy and Jami, our stewards were the only competent people on the ship. Our room tv stopped working after 11pm. The sales people are overly pushy if they do help. I think they try to bore you into buying things. Sadly there is not much to do on this ship, it was just plain and boring. If sitting there doing nothing but waiting to die is your thing then this is the cruise for you. They should rename it Heavens Waiting Room. Even my grandmother was bored to death. Overall I've learned Pirates still exist in the Caribbean... they just pose as cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Let’s start with the basics: this is an old ship with old décor and design badly in need of full dry dock rehab, and a very old clientele (mostly 60-80 age). If this is your cup of tea, then this is your ship. For perspective on our ... Read More
Let’s start with the basics: this is an old ship with old décor and design badly in need of full dry dock rehab, and a very old clientele (mostly 60-80 age). If this is your cup of tea, then this is your ship. For perspective on our experience, we have cruised on Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, RCL, Viking and Seaborne cruise lines. This was our first with HAL and unfortunately, it’s one and done. First the good, and it’s short. The entire ship’s crew, from the cabin stewards, to the waiters and bartenders, to the maintenance crew were some of the best I’ve seen. Their attention to making your voyage memorable through their service was outstanding. Our waiters at table #50 (Libre and Oka) were wonderful and kept us entertained with magic and conversation while providing excellent service. Secondly, the food in the dining room, specialty restaurants and buffet Lido deck was good to excellent. Thirdly, I ordered a bottle of liquor (gin) for $37 for cabin consumption and was surprised to see that it was a full liter bottle with three cans of mixer---an excellent value. Fourthly, excursions from HAL were a good experience as well. Our “villa” rental on Half Moon Cay was worth the money. Not much to do on Aruba so rented a taxi and went to Eagle beach. Took the “Native Village” tour in Panama and that was interesting. In Costa Rica we took the 7 hour “Adrenaline Rush Zip Line Rain Forest” tour and it was excellent---11 zip lines, very safe as someone like me who’s afraid of heights can attest. Great bus guide (Ray) who provided interesting history and facts about the country as we rolled along to and from the rain forest. Now the bad. As I stated, this line caters to a much older crowd, 60s – 80s. We are in our late 60s and very active so we were taken aback by the number of walkers and scooter chairs on this cruise. At each stop, some passenger(s) were being offloaded for medical treatment on shore. We even had to make an unscheduled emergency stop at Grand Cayman at 10 PM to offload a critically ill passenger. It would appear from the repeat business of this older crowd that they are not bothered by some of the things I am about to critique. As mentioned, this ship is old, worn and showing its age compared to the other cruise line ships we’ve been on. Walls are marred in places, furniture and fixtures in public areas and cabins are in bad need of updating as is the color scheme. We attended a movie in the “Screening Room” and the sound system was so bad, I couldn’t hear the dialogue and walked out. It also has very few seats which fill up half an hour before the movie starts. Our cabin stewards (Rizal and Roni) kept our room impeccable and seemed invisible as they cleaned and made up our room during the times we were absent. Unfortunately our cabin and hallway on deck 8 smelled of sewage several afternoons. Also, the doors on the Lido deck above us are left open and as our cabin (8068) was next to the elevators and stairs, the hot air from the pool area kept our hall directly outside our cabin hot and humid. The AC seems to be in need of upgrading in several areas of the ship (more below) as it was uncomfortably warm in the Lido buffet as well. We ate in the two specialty restaurants and the food and service were excellent and worth the surcharge. Unfortunately, the Canaletto Italian restaurant is partitioned off at the doors to the Lido buffet and the doors are open to the hot, humid air from the pool area. We (9 of us) were all sweating by the time the main course arrived and the heat totally ruined our meal. I don’t recommend you eat here for this reason. The Pinnacle restaurant was excellent, cool, and worth the surcharge. As for the ship’s entertainment, it proved to be the worst of any cruise we’ve been on except for a European river cruise which has no evening entertainment. The German juggler was funny and excellent as was the Island Magic Steel Band. The other nights had a so-so magician and 3 nights of the HAL “singers and dancers”. The singers and dancers are contracted by HAL from a New York City talent group which must specialize in supplying very inexpensive entertainment to cruise ships as these, albeit hard working, singers and dancers were NOT ready for prime time. The singers especially would not make it past the first round of America’s Got Talent. Sorry but that was the consensus. So in summary, our first cruise on HAL was not up to expectations and we will not be cruising again with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I have been cruising Holland America for many years and have watched the service and food go down hill to what I would say was second rate.On this last cruise I had no hot water for 12 out of the 14 days of the cruise. Others complained ... Read More
I have been cruising Holland America for many years and have watched the service and food go down hill to what I would say was second rate.On this last cruise I had no hot water for 12 out of the 14 days of the cruise. Others complained that their toilets would not flush for days . This was just the starter. The food was mainly institutional quality, cold and portions small. Service was limited to the crew reductions. The pools had slim on the walls becasue no one was checking the PH levels. The deck in on spot outside the Lido was bubbled up and waiting for someone to fall. There was next to no deck entertainment and the stage shows were one man. Out of 14 nights the Hal Dancers only preformed on night! I feel that the cruise director needs to learn his job. FUN!!! There was no Sail Way Parties, the music that was piped to the areas did not match the age group on board. They would provide a tour of the ship for $150. and the Culinary Arts Class you couldn't taste the food! Having been through the islands I took one overpriced 3 hour tour $59.00 to a place called Nelsons Shipyards in Antigua. We spent most of the time riding through the poverty stricken sections of Antigua and when we got to the Dockyards we spent 20 minute in what now was a high end marina. Saw a few buildings (you can't go into because they re now businesses and three capstans.. Other tours that people where offers were $39.00 to a free beach???? Not the best days for Holland America since the new management took over. Charge for everything..Hawk Hawk Hawk Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was the third cruise with HAL. Visiting the Panama Canal was on the bucket list. Several aspects of the latest cruise deserve some remarks. The food selection has gotten smaller compared to earlier cruises. The main dining service was ... Read More
This was the third cruise with HAL. Visiting the Panama Canal was on the bucket list. Several aspects of the latest cruise deserve some remarks. The food selection has gotten smaller compared to earlier cruises. The main dining service was dismal. An hour and a half for a three-course meal is too long. The food selection in the Lido also has been reduced over previous experience on the Eurodam. The entertainment was mediocre at best. The Zuiderdam shows its age. Maintenance seems to suffer. Light fixtures had missing bulbs. The toilet stopped flushing in the middle of the night. While the Filipino crew was very friendly, the language barrier limited the interaction to the bare minimum. Explaining the malfunctioning toilet was a major effort. The public address system often did not work on our deck (deck 6). This made it difficult to respond to several fire alarms that turned out to be minor issues. Conclusion: This was our last cruise with Holland America and cannot recommend it to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was my 5th cruise, and by far the worst cruise I have been on. I traveled with my wife and my in-laws. We purchased 2 separate rooms on the Eurodam. My previous cruises were with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Do yourself a favor ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise, and by far the worst cruise I have been on. I traveled with my wife and my in-laws. We purchased 2 separate rooms on the Eurodam. My previous cruises were with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Do yourself a favor and book your cruise with Royal Caribbean or Celbrity. 1) The room we booked 4053 - Deluxe Verandah- This was a terrible room, we were up-sold by the Holland America salesperson on the phone. The balcony was larger than the other rooms however, there was no privacy. Everyone could see you sitting on patio. We attempted to change rooms, but were told we could not do so. They informed us 48 hours later that another room was available, but by that time I wasn't going to pack everything up and move. They did not compensate us with anything or even offer to compensate us. So the cruise did not start off well, and did not end well. I will never cruise with Holland America again, and I suggest you don't either. 2) There was absolutely no entertainment near the pool or anywhere on board. They didn't even have music playing near the pool. They could have at least put on easy listening or Caribbean themed music on. Everyone was forced to sit in silence The shows at night were just average too. 3) We wanted to purchase a picture that they took of our family (1 picture) but were told that we had to purchase the photos as a set. It seems like they would be able to sell us just the one that we wanted, however we were told they could not sell us just one. So we did not purchase any. 4) We were sailing in 50mph winds, so it wasn't the smoothest trip, but that was not their fault (the only thing that wasn't). They had to re-route our itinerary twice, due to the weather. Almost all shore excursions were cancelled at every port due to this change. 5) There are far better cruise lines out there, and the only reason I chose Holland America was because of other good reviews that I read (don't believe them) and they went to a few different islands that I wanted to see. Turks and Caicos was beautiful, Amber Cove was very dirty, but an experience. Half Moon Cay was also beautiful, but all services on the island were limited, because for some reason their employees couldn't leave the ship to work on the island (There was not a good explanation as to why the island wouldn't be staffed with employees). Key West was a lot of fun and there was a lot to do there. 6) The only saving grace for this cruise was the food and service, which was excellent. We also ate at their signature sushi restaurant Tamarind, which was great food. Everything else about this cruise was terrible. I would strongly suggest for people to reconsider cruising with Holland America. I will never cruise with them again. I emailed Holland America all of the information above 2 weeks ago, along with my contact information and no one from the company has reached out to me or attempted to contact me. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Although this was our 6th cruise, it was our first on Holland America. We did the 7-day Western Caribbean trip. We knew that Holland America caters to an older crowd but since we're in our 60's, we certainly fit right in. There ... Read More
Although this was our 6th cruise, it was our first on Holland America. We did the 7-day Western Caribbean trip. We knew that Holland America caters to an older crowd but since we're in our 60's, we certainly fit right in. There were a few children, some 20-somethings, but I'd say that 75% of the people were over 55. We met some very nice people who have cruised before on Holland America, and several said they feel that service is slipping. Pros: The food in the main dining room is delicious. We opted for the flexible seating times and never had to wait more than 10 minutes. Portions are smaller than most Americans are used to, but they'll bring you more if you ask. The Lido Market (buffet) was fine for breakfast and okay for lunch. Nothing outstanding here. We never tried them for dinner. Embarkation and debarkation went smoothly. Excursions: We went on Capt. Nemo's Snorkeling Safari (or something like that) in Grand Cayman. Than was great! The lower level of the ship has big glass windows and they take you past 2 shipwrecks and lots of fish before getting to the middle of the bay, where those who would like to snorkel have about 40 minutes to do that. It was nice for my husband and me because he snorkels and I don't. The boat was a decent size, with a restroom on board. We took the Everglades airboat excursion with airport transfer when we docked in Ft. Lauderdale. Our flight left later in the afternoon, so this was a pleasant way to spend 4 hours in the morning. If you're looking for a quiet, relaxed cruise, this may fit the bill. Cons: BIG CON - Our first stateroom, VB5148, had a very strong mold smell in the bathroom. They tried "deep-cleaning" it 3 times in our first 24 hours, while telling us they were 100% full and couldn't move us. Nothing helped. On our 2nd day, after the smell and my mold allergies had kept me up most of the night, they moved us to 5160. It still had a faint smell of mold, but was much better. I had read a review of 5148 from Dec. 2015 and the person had complained about the moldy smell. I assumed it would be fine because it was over a year later. Wrong! The toilets flushed only intermittently during our first 24 hours. Our whole section of the ship was affected.. Many carpets in the hallways looked worn or stained. Entertainment, especially in the main theater, was mediocre. Buddy Guy's Blues Club was good, as were the 2 pianists in the Billboard area. Lincoln Center musicians seemed okay. But that was it for options. No live music on deck for Sail-Away. No other musicians in lounges. Not much going on in terms of daily activities. If you don't like playing trivia, there's not too much to choose from. If you expect to swim in the pool, forget it. There are 2 pools, one being for adults only, but neither is big enough to do a lap. If you just want to sit on the edge or stand in the water, then its fine. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We had enjoyed a one week eastern Caribbean cruise with Holland America a couple of years ago and decided to treat ourselves to a back to back eastern and western cruise this year . The first week in the Western Caribbean was very good and ... Read More
We had enjoyed a one week eastern Caribbean cruise with Holland America a couple of years ago and decided to treat ourselves to a back to back eastern and western cruise this year . The first week in the Western Caribbean was very good and I particularly enjoyed the stop in Key West. One of the elements that we enjoyed the first week was the open dining when we could arrive at the dining room any time between 5:00 and 9:00. We enjoyed dinning with different folks each night at a time that fit in with our day. On the second week we were not pleased to be suddenly informed when we arrived for dinner on Sunday evening that the dining room was closed in order to provide seating for a large group (1000 people) and this would be the situation for the remainder of the cruise. This is where Holland America truly dropped the ball on customer service. The front line staff were just as surprised as the passengers that this was going to be the arrangement for the dining room so they did not have any answers for us. The customer service staff that should have been available to resolve the issue were nowhere to be found. I asked a couple of times to speak with people in authority and received no response. I understand that folks that took more time than I did out of my holiday time did actually speak with someone but all that was offered was limp apology and certainly no action was taken to address our concerns. Even folks who were 5 Star Mariners were treated very poorly in an effort to accommodate the large group. I realize that not getting dinner at the time that suited us was really a first world problem but as the cruise went on and there was no response to my concerns I was wondering what would have been the response of the staff if there had been a serious issue to be addressed. The Dining Debacle became a constant point of conversation with other passengers that we met. I understand that this group regularly books with Holland America so beware you could be on the same kind of trip. I did complete the electronic survey that Holland America sent me when I returned home highlighting my concern with the poor customer service and indicated I would be willing to discuss the problems. I have not had any response. We did enjoy the time away from winter and the ports of call were nice to visit. Our cabin staff were very attentive and did a very good job of taking care of us. I will not choose Holland America again, there are other cruise lines and other winter warm weather vacation choices that I will certainly consider in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We travel with a group, usually on this line. Everybody in our group was disappointed.There was no library, the cabin was small and had workers doing fix up projects. The promenade deck was very small with no place for deck chairs. The ... Read More
We travel with a group, usually on this line. Everybody in our group was disappointed.There was no library, the cabin was small and had workers doing fix up projects. The promenade deck was very small with no place for deck chairs. The dining room service was very slow, there weren't enough waiters. The captain loved to be on the PA, the first time I ever heard a captain out talk the cruise director. Service was also slow on the lito deck, difficulty finding seating.We would not go on this ship again, bigger and newer is not always better. The disembarkation went very well, we paid extra for a direct luggage check to the airport. The outdoor running track was a joke, very small with people not running in the way. When we were checking in we were held in line for about 15 minuets for no apparent reason, no explanation was given. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We cruise quite frequently (our 84th Cruise) and this one was available at a reasonable cost at the time I was searching for a get-away to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary. We have not sailed with HAL for many years and was happy to ... Read More
We cruise quite frequently (our 84th Cruise) and this one was available at a reasonable cost at the time I was searching for a get-away to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary. We have not sailed with HAL for many years and was happy to take advantage of this convenient opportunity which matched up with a business reason to visit South Florida. We boarded Eurodam with no delays in a very smooth operation. Were a bit dismayed with the small size of our cabin but made the best of it and quickly got settled in. One caveat to fellow disabled couples: This ship has two sizes of elevators, and only the larger ones can accommodate two scooters simultaneously. We found that the Buffet was quite good and easy for us to negotiate with our scooters, plus early reports by fellow cruisers commenting that the Dining Rooms fare was nothing special caused us to utilize the Buffet for all of our meals except for a couple occasions when we decided to have room service, which BTW was quite good for sandwiches and salads. (not so much for any hot foods as that proved to be difficult to receive while still hot) The ship is arranged for easy movement by wheelchairs and scooters, with automatic door opening on virtually all doors except for the cabins. Where the disabled accommodations fell short was in the Main Theater. Almost no designated spaces were provided for disabled to remain in their conveyance and watch the shows. Very poor design ! There was only two production Stage shows for the 7 day trip, and neither of them was sufficiently interesting for us to stay for the entire performances. Definitely were geared toward the young Millennials. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Taking a cruise in mid-winter should be the highlight of one's January, but the overall disappointment of this ship left one cold. Let me say that the ports were great, the weather delightful, and our group kept the conversations ... Read More
Taking a cruise in mid-winter should be the highlight of one's January, but the overall disappointment of this ship left one cold. Let me say that the ports were great, the weather delightful, and our group kept the conversations smart. Ship details : Pros: Clean, easy to navigate, and disembarkation was pretty easy. Cabin was bright and happy and balcony was lovely. TV, shower, hair dryer and magnifying mirror were all great touches. Cons: NOTHING to do. Crowds smashed into small bar areas to hear mediocre piano playing or Trivia games. Shows were sadly disappointing ( ie: A Juggler?) and never enough room in the theater for all . Tolerable lines in the Lido Market ( buffet area) but the choices were slim and repeated daily ( maybe a salad of the day would change). Barely enough room to accommodate all the guests, and they closed the market in late afternoon, leaving those of us who wanted an early bite to wait for another couple hours to return. We had an assigned dinner time and our dinners ALWAYS took a full 2 hours from sit down to finish of meal. Had to ask numerous times for the simple things ( coffee, tea, butter, bread) and no one seemed to care much about making sure it was better the next night. Food on menu was described beautifully, but its taste was yet another story. Bland, unseasoned, small portions, and often cold. When a plate was left untouched, none of the staff seemed to care to ask what was wrong, or offer another choice. When some actually asked, it was done. Having to order a vegetarian option meant you had to preorder your choice a day in advance. Did that one time and found those dishes to be over-spiced, or over cooked ( rice, pasta, veggies). Others complained of overcooked and dry meats, and little side portions of vegetables. Desserts were lackluster, but had sumptuous names. We ended up avoiding our dining table most of the cruise. The pizza, pea soup and salads were good, as was the desserts in the Dutch Cafe ! Most cruisers did not know those items( pea soup, sandwiches and desserts) were free from that Cafe, so it was not ever crowded. We did not purchase a soda/drink package , but we felt it so distasteful to see scores of older people carrying around colorful plastic glasses to get their beverages. The barbecue on their island was good and well planned. Others had trouble getting essentials in their cabin ( soap, extra towels) but we were delighted with our steward and staff. Bed in cabin was not comfortable. You either dipped into the center or slid off the side. The pool areas were small and the hot tubs overtaken all the time by people, so you barely ever got a chance to use them. It was nice to have beach towels left in cabin, but once you took them to the port beach, you had to handle the dirty towels back to your cabin as no one would take them,telling us we would be charged unless they were returned that way! Older people really don't want to tote dirty , sandy towels back to their cabins. The outer walkway around the deck had little view as the lifeboats were hung on this deck, making your visibility difficult . Strange design. The doors to the front of the ship were locked most times leaving that experience only when it was announced. The ship constantly rocked , even in very calm seas. Many in our group took meds for this, but it was the worst we ever experienced, even with a cabin mid-ship. Movie night was disappointing because the audio was poor, closing the roof made the humidity hard to handle, and they charged $6 for 2 packs of small M & Ms. Many of us thought we paid a good amount to watch movies, play trivia games and eat average food. Some complained there were no opportunities to dance on board, unless one waited late into the night. . In summary, we will not cruise this ship or line again. It was our first on Holland and we were so let down. This was an older crowd, and NOTHING was geared for that age bracket. We were mostly in our fifties and there was little for us to do. Nothing about our experience with the ship or this line was memorable. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
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