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89 Holland America Line Caribbean Cruise Reviews

At the port we were greeted very nicely and had a gentlemen that did our paperwork that was very nice and patient. The embarkation went smoothly got our stateroom cards then hop on the ship! We had a guaranteed partial view balcony and it ... Read More
At the port we were greeted very nicely and had a gentlemen that did our paperwork that was very nice and patient. The embarkation went smoothly got our stateroom cards then hop on the ship! We had a guaranteed partial view balcony and it was ok. Next time I will prefer a full view balcony but the price was right. There is a lot of storage space everything was well appointed. I found that the toilet in the bathroom was set in a awkward manner since it's on an angle. The shower though was large and loved the glass door. We then met our stewarts that were going out of their way to help us. We then headed to the Ocean Bar for a glass of champagne. We had the elite beverage package and found that for us it was worth its price. Jose the bartender at the Ocean Bar is fantastic. All of the cocktails were made with attention and were very good. Then off to the adult pool and the pool bar and there we started our voyage. There was a very good vibe there also. Then off the Main Dining Room. All of our servers were excellent all through the week. The food at the Main Dining Room was very very good all the time. We did go to the Specialty restaurants Canalletto and found that it was not worth the extra money spent. I also have the same opinion with Tamarin but it was better. On our voyage the seas were rough but the captain travelled behind the Bahamas and could not stop at Half Moon Key. Captain O'Driscoll is Excellent very prudent and was out on the pier in Grand Turk to salute all the guess. The Music scene is great. BB King Blues Band was excellent, Billboard on Board, Rolling Stone Rock were awesome, I was impressed. We also had good times in the Crows Nest with EXP and the vision was beautiful. We did take an excursion of the ship and it was very nice. (Puerto Plata and Cabarete Beach). The Dutch Café was my morning RDV, Andre and Kessidy were always very nice and enjoyable to start the morning. Sunshines! Where there was some downfalls in my personnal opinion was how short the time lap was for having breakfast and Lunch at the MDR. I was turned away a few times. It is more quiet during the afternoon not as much entertainment. The theatre is a bit small for the amount of people on the ship. Service was sometimes a bit slow at the Aft Pool Bar. We attented the dance shows at the Theatre and they were beautiful. By the way we had a slowed disembarkation because of the testing on one individual by the government of Florida but that was beautifully taken care of. All in All a great cruise with many many great Qualities and some small downfalls. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I booked this cruise later than I usually do, about three months out, so I didn't get any "freebies" but the price wasn't to bad for a new ship. The New Statendam is the largest, newest ship I've ever travelled on ... Read More
I booked this cruise later than I usually do, about three months out, so I didn't get any "freebies" but the price wasn't to bad for a new ship. The New Statendam is the largest, newest ship I've ever travelled on and there were lots of pros and a few cons. First of all, the ship is absolutely gorgeous, the service and food were outstanding. My cabin stewards were some of the friendliest and hardworking I've had in nine cruises. The evening music entertainment was great, something for everyone - classical, BB Kings, rock bank and dueling pianos were all wonderful. The first dance show "Humanity" was amazing with the 270 LED panels that were as much a part of the show as the dancers. The second dance show was also good, but I don't think it was good as the first show. There was a comedian that was somewhat funny, a magician that I didn't see and a BBC Earth movie (no live musical accompany). I had anytime dining for dinner and I only went to the dining room three times, food was very good and service was sometimes a bit slow. The lido was great with tons of options and great food ( the only thing I missed was a taco bar as the last two HAL ships had one at lunch). Dive In was wonderful as always I still don't love the pizza at New York (bagels in the morning were very good) Now for the cons- for some dumb reason, HAL has not renewed their contract with America's Test Kitchen - so no live cooking demos and no ATK shows on the TV. We were very lucky that Rudy Sodoman was on board and did a live cooking class in the main stage that was fantastic. Other than trivia (which was great), and overpriced Bingo there wasn't much to do during the day. HAL isn't known for constant activities, but there seems to be less and less free things to do during sea days. I was travelling solo, so I booked an inside room. The room was spotless, but tiny, mostly bed. The bathroom was also very small but the shower was awesome. It was fine for one person, but I think it would be tight for two people, although storage was good. The ship was pretty easy to get around, but the number of people meant sometimes a wait for the elevators and the lido could get pretty crowded at peak times. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Chose this cruise for Pickleball and music theme. Ship was very classy and the music venues were great. Especially enjoyed the Billboards venue where two artists on two grand piaoes played nightly with a range of songs from the sixties ... Read More
Chose this cruise for Pickleball and music theme. Ship was very classy and the music venues were great. Especially enjoyed the Billboards venue where two artists on two grand piaoes played nightly with a range of songs from the sixties thru the present. Embarking and dis embarking was a breeze. Food was very good in all areas, like the hand washing stations in the Lido common area. Food and service in main dining area better than my last cruise on Celebrity! Now where the cruise fell a bit short. The sport court. Where we would play Pickleball had no equipment on first couple of days. There doesn’t appear to have an activities director. There was no meet and greet announcement in the daily newspaper nor any time mentioned in the daily things to do pamphlets. When I asked if a time could be put in they said they were made up in advance and couldn’t be added? Fortunately six people eventually showed up and we enjoyed excellent games for remainder of cruise. We just scheduled ourselves. Same goes for card playing which was listed at 10am and 2pm in the main dining room. No staff to coordinate though and no cards! Had to bring our own. These were not major problems and everything worked out fine. Weather was perfect and their private island was beautiful with some of the nicest powdery sand I’ve seen. Would definitely sail with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our first HAL cruise and our 7th overall. DW and I had wanted to try HAL for a few years and this was a great deal on the last minute sale. We booked a verandah guarantee about 3 weeks out, and about a week before sailing, were ... Read More
This was our first HAL cruise and our 7th overall. DW and I had wanted to try HAL for a few years and this was a great deal on the last minute sale. We booked a verandah guarantee about 3 weeks out, and about a week before sailing, were offered an upsell to a Signature Suite for just a few dollars more. We snapped that up and looked forward to getting on the Nieuw Amsterdam. EMBARKATION We had flown into Fort Lauderdale the day before, so were able to take an early shuttle to Port Everglades and be in line early. The terminal was opened up around 10:30 and we were checked in a few minutes later. We had to wait until 11:30 before boarding so used that time to visit with others in the waiting area. ON THE SHIP Nieuw Amsterdam was clean and elegant without the flash of some ships on other lines we had sailed. We were told our cabin was ready, but we wanted to make our Pinnacle Grill booking first. That was done with ease at the podium on Deck 1. CABIN We got up to Deck 5 and our Signature Suite, SS 5091. It was well appointed with plenty of room for the two of us. The bathroom had dual sinks as well as a jetted tub with shower and a separate shower stall. DW appreciated the bathroom size and comforts! Bed was very comfortable. The balcony for SS cabins on Deck 5 is not as deep as others due to the lifeboats immediately below, but with some organization we could arrange the chairs and stools to be able to stretch out. There was also a table of reasonable size. Met Darma and Tri, our stewards for the week and they kept the cabin spotless throughout. FOOD We were on As You Wish dining, which was new for us and I think we both still prefer the set seating, however we can see the benefits of being able to go anytime. Food is subjective so others may have different views, but we found the meals in the MDR very good, and for the most part, service was attentive. We ate in the MDR every night except for the Pinnacle Grill. The Pinnacle Grill did not disappoint. Excellent steaks, and the sides were pretty amazing. We did order the Clothesline Candy Bacon and it was very tasty. We also had these tater tot like things as a side with a blue cheese aioli dip. THAT was delicious and when I mentioned this to the chef who came out to see how the meal was, he asked if I wanted the recipe. He had that delivered to the cabin the following day! Will definitely book in Pinnacle again our next cruise. Food at the Lido was decent overall, we generally ate breakfast there and the egg dishes were always hot and tasty. We also ate lunch at Dive-In on a couple of occasions. Those were some of the best burgers and fries we’ve ever had!. ENTERTAINMENT As has been discussed on the Holland America boards, this was an area we felt could use improvement. The comedians were alright. The dancers good but certainly could have used live singers to make the performance more enjoyable. BB Kings was the best entertainment on the ship without question! Very talented performers and we would listen to them for hours. Billboard Onboard was a letdown. Like food, music is subjective. We sat down to listen to the piano players do a county set and DW, who is a country fan, wanted to leave after 2 songs. They pretty much butchered those and we just didn’t enjoy any of their other music, so never went back. PORTS We stopped in Key West and just wondered around on our own. We were supposed to make a stop in Grand Turk, but after a couple of tries at docking, the Captain came on and said it was well above the wind threshold for the ship, so sadly we had to just wave at the island. Port fees were refunded and the bars were opened up to free beer and wine for an hour that afternoon. Our next port was Amber Cove and we booked the Monkeyland excursion through the ship. We both enjoyed the little squirrel monkey’s more than we thought we would. Half Moon Cay was outstanding as our final stop. Silky smooth sand, and lots of room as we were the only ship there. DISEMBARKATION Sometime between Half Moon Cay and getting close to Port Everglades, Nieuw Amsterdam apparently developed steering issues with one of the azipods. I say apparently because there were no announcements on-board saying there was an issue. A lot of us figured out something was wrong when they used tugs to get us turned around and docked. The only announcements we heard were “we are delayed and expect to be docked soon”. It was later on, reading cruise critic boards we learned of the reason. We docked about an hour after scheduled time and it was about 30 minutes after that before the first passengers were allowed off the ship, us included in that group. While we made our 10:50 flight with plenty of time to spare, there were a lot of upset and angry passengers waiting in the line. I’m betting if there had been better communication from the bridge and cruise/travel director, it may have calmed some of the people a little bit. SUMMARY Despite the issue with disembarkation, we both thoroughly enjoyed our first Holland America Cruise. We purchased 2 Future Cruise Deposits on-board so we will be sailing with them again. Yes, the entertainment could use a big overhaul and perhaps add a singer or two in a couple of the lounges to help out. Neither of us has to be entertained 24/7, we just would have preferred a couple more options. Our cruise “needs” of clean ship, friendly and attentive staff, and good food were met. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my 2nd Caribbean cruise and we brought 2 friends who had never cruised before. We wanted a smaller ship and also the likelihood of less young children, hence the choice of Holland America and the Oosterdam. I must say that the ... Read More
This was my 2nd Caribbean cruise and we brought 2 friends who had never cruised before. We wanted a smaller ship and also the likelihood of less young children, hence the choice of Holland America and the Oosterdam. I must say that the staff made the holiday the best, from the room service, sommelier, waiters, barkeeps, most of the folks were friendly, helpful and always willing to please - of course there's always a few exceptions so we just didn't go where we weren't treated the best! Overall we enjoyed the amenities onboard but a few things could be improved upon. The evening show entertainment while very good was VERY SHORT!!! I realize there's 2 shows most nights but each show was less than an hour which fell quite short of a really entertaining event. We also found many of the daily activities somewhat bland - there was no events during the day by the pool, which we had experienced on our other cruise which was very enjoyable and entertaining. As well on the other cruise there were nightly, adult interactive games - like a newly wed game etc etc. which gets everyone involved. I did miss this sort of activity onboard. So if you are looking for a really relaxing, laid back atmosphere, with little excitement, good food, drinks, and lots of rest - you will very much enjoy the Oosterdam. I would likely specifically give a shout out to our room attendants - Astrid and Ali, our wonderful wait staff - Von and Tre, bartenders - Junar (Jose), Paula, Ryan; all lovely to deal with and deserve a big hand! Our cruise director Becca also deserves a shout out as she too certainly went above and beyond the duties of a 'traditional' cruise director!! The signature beverage package was very useful and the Pinnacle Grill dinner was fabulous!! Overall a lovely holiday really - very enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Hollard America Oosterdam Jan 19-26, 2019 Great Cruise! -Had a beautiful cruise on the Oosterdam and lots of sunny, warm days! Embarkation was the best ever! We arrived shortly after 1:00 with no lines or waiting to board the ... Read More
Hollard America Oosterdam Jan 19-26, 2019 Great Cruise! -Had a beautiful cruise on the Oosterdam and lots of sunny, warm days! Embarkation was the best ever! We arrived shortly after 1:00 with no lines or waiting to board the ship. We went right to our balcony stateroom on deck 4 and were soon greeted by our wonderful cabin steward Yumus who took great care of our room and kept our ice bucket filled. I was thrilled that we had a bathtub, though it showed signs of age. -We joined our 4 friends on the Lido deck for cocktails, then the Muster drill, followed by dancing at our Sail Away party. We had “anytime dining” which worked well with little or not waiting at the main dining room. -Shortly after boarding, we learned that the Christian band Mercy Me was on board to give several prepaid concerts. We heard toward the end of the cruise that staff considered this group of passengers as a whole to be among the most courteous and kind. -We did not see more than 10 children, all of whom were well behaved. Most of the passengers seemed to be our age (early 60’s) and older. -We loved that there was a Happy Hour daily in the Billboard Lounge at 4:00 with buy one drink, get the second for $2. They brought appetizers and had Trivia hosted by our Cruise Director Becca. We had wonderful Whiskey Sours, Chocolate Martinis, Mudslides, and Bourbon and Diet Cokes. All refreshing! -At 6:00 daily in the Gallery lounge, they featured three $4 drinks which varied from day to day. They had Lemon Drop Martinis, Manhattans, Blue Margaritas, Appletinis, Classic Martinis, and Brandy Alexanders. They brought olives, bread stick crackers, potato chips and nuts. There were comfortable couches, wing back chairs and warm lighting where we felt like we were in our own family rooms with delightful servers to attend always with a smile. -The Lido buffet dining area was lovely with perfect lighting including lamps, nice upholstered chairs, and cloth napkins. Loved the made to order pasta bar and made to order salad bar. Pizza was also available. Food was served by the servers on request as you went through the line. There was a dessert and scooped ice cream area with toppings available. I was disappointed that they were out of waffle cones the three times I went there. At breakfast, there was a made to order crepes and waffle area. I loved the blueberry crepes. By the pool, there was a taco and hamburger bar. -Many mornings, we ordered room service including omelets, fruit, coffee, cereal, and rolls. Service was prompt and courteous. We were given a form to fill out nightly if we wished room service and place on our door knobs. -I was glad that I’d read the reviews and the Holland America policy ahead of time and knew we could carry on a carton of soft drinks, bottled water, and 1 bottle of wine per person. -The dining room was nice. I found the food okay, though a couple in our group loved it especially the onion soup, noodles and beef, and Weiner schnitzel. We liked that a cheese plate was available each evening for dessert. Dessert varied each evening. I especially loved the chocolate lava cake and key lime pie. -The public restrooms were all warmly lit, and I LOVED the rolled-up wash cloth to use to dry hands. So luxurious! -We heard the comedian Tim Kaminsky several times. He was clean and very good. One night there was to be a dancing show early evening but it was cancelled due to accident a performer had, so Tim was asked last minute to do another performance. He did a fine job. -We were to stop in the Bahamas our first day on Sunday, but had to cancel due to not being able to dock safely. We attended Mass at 5:00 pm. We were pleased a Mass was available but would have preferred a morning time. It was well attended with no extra seats available. -One morning, my husband and I attended a cooking demonstration at America’s Test Kitchen, but were disappointed to discover there were no samples available. Blueberry pancakes and artichoke and salmon omelets were featured, so it seems basic enough to provide small samples. I’ve attended shows on other ships and always had delicious samples. -We were to stop in Turks and Caicos, but due to weather stopped in Samana, Dominican Republic. We did not book excursions through the ship. We met a man who offered to take us on a motorcycle pulling a four person cart on a tour to a waterfall and a beach for $25 each. It was a bumpy ride seeing many small houses, some with dirt floors, and all with bars on the windows. We arrived at the path to the waterfall with locals telling us of the “5 minute walk” to the waterfall. It was really 20 minutes with many rocks and hills. Most of us were in flip flops crossing rock streams. Locals were along the path selling jewelry, paintings, and drinks along the way. One fellow climbed a tree yelling, “Monkey Man” and quickly descended the tree as we walked past with his hat out looking for tips. When we got to the falls, 3 young men were jumping off the falls as a guy counted to three, then passed the hat for more tips. We hiked back to where our motorcycle had dropped us off and rode to a small beach. We stayed about an hour anxious to return to the ship. It was an interesting adventure. -Our second stop, which was not scheduled due to weather was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We went to a restaurant, did some shopping, and the guys walked around the fort. We found some wonderful Michael Kors purses at a good price. -Our final stop was in the Dominican Republic. We went to a large pool and had a wonderful day of swimming, water sliding, and hanging out at the pool. -My husband liked the casino and found the Craps Table attendants friendly. -We went to the BB King lounge a couple of times and the band was terrific! The sets were somewhat short. Overall, we found limited opportunities to dance. -Loved that liquor purchased in the onboard store was delivered to our room the morning of our last day at sea. -We would have liked an aerobics class and exercises in the pool. We’ve cruised Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian and were a bit disappointed that the Oosterdam didn’t feature gleaming brass staircases and a tiered balcony atrium with entertainment. I missed the entertainment crew led dancing opportunities, the hairy man contest, and Newly Wed Game. -Overall, the cruise was great! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our second cruise with Holland America and we were impressed with the Oosterdam. The embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. After processing our boarding passes and receiving our room card we waited in a large area ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Holland America and we were impressed with the Oosterdam. The embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. After processing our boarding passes and receiving our room card we waited in a large area with a card number. When our number was called we walked on the ship and went straight to our cabin where we left our carry on stuff and headed for lunch in the Lido Market. The decor in our cabin was new, pleasant and well done. Our attendant Mardi did a great job checking on us and keeping the ice container filled. The Lido Market also is decorated beautifully. When we saw it at night it really was quite upscale looking and gave me a new appreciation for its attractiveness during the day. Food was simply outstanding in the Lido Market. Servers behind the buffet served us. We usually ate breakfast and lunch there and their coffee was the best. Our evening meal was 5:30 in the Main Dining Room 3. We were seated right on time at a table for 8 and had pleasant dining companions. We were able to enjoy several gorgeous sunsets while we were there for dinner. The Christian band Mercy Me had about 900 guests on this cruise so the overall age appeared more diverse. The band brought their families for a time of R&R and the actor in the movie "I Can Only Imagine" , J. Michael Finley was on this cruise with his family. The pool area had plenty of lounges and most of the time there were empty ones in the shade. The Lido pool was a good size and I was able to do my lap swim one of the days we were in port. Some things are out of our control and the weather in the Caribbean that week was one of them. We could not stop at Half Moon Cay for our picnic because the high winds made tendering dangerous. The next day was At Sea. Both days were sunny and pleasant. We also were able to see most of the lunar eclipse of the Blood Moon. Right at the last minute a cloud cover moved in and poof - it disappeared. On Tuesday we were diverted to Samana, Dominican Republic because of high winds and tendering issues at Cap Cana. The ship offered a few excursions but we enjoyed a walk around this port. Samana is where the whales spend time during the months of January through March although we didn't see any. Wednesday was spent in San Juan, Puerto Rico rather than Grand Turks due to high winds. I was disappointed about this because I enjoy the beach that is near the port where the ship docks. On Thursday we did dock at Amber Cove. This is a great place to play. We enjoyed the water slide and the pool area. This area has been developed nicely for the cruise ships. There is really a lot to do on this ship. BBC Earth Experience shared several good shows about nature in diverse parts of the world. The area called Billboard Onboard has two piano players that presented music and songs from Great Standards, On request (excellent) The 1970s etc. We stopped at their 7:30 shows after dinner. Mainstage performers were Tim Kaminski and Derek Floyd. Our cabin was 5136 with a balcony. There were no rooms across the hall from us and it was very quiet and pleasant. There is plenty of storage room. The beds, sheets and pillows were comfortable and clean.We were disappointed there was no night light in the bathroom. We enjoyed seeing Fox News on the TV in our cabin. One thing we really liked was the Navigator for our mobile device. We were able to check our phones for information on the ship, view our onboard statement, etc . We were invited to the Captain's lunch during one of our days at sea. It was very nice, well attended and Captain Rens van Eerten and the entire crew did a fabulous job to make our cruise safe and interesting. We chose to carry our luggage off the ship ourselves at the end of the cruise. This was so easy and well organized. Our shuttle to the Park and Cruise was waiting for us when we walked out. And just like that we were home! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Chose this cruise for ports as we have done several Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. This was to be Half Moon Cay, Cap Cana DR, Grand Turk and Amber Cove DR. Have wanted to see Turks & Caicos and DR. I was somewhat ... Read More
Chose this cruise for ports as we have done several Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. This was to be Half Moon Cay, Cap Cana DR, Grand Turk and Amber Cove DR. Have wanted to see Turks & Caicos and DR. I was somewhat concerned about the Oosterdam as far as updates and refurbishment. It was in good condition with no particularly worn areas. The cabin was at least partially updated. Not sure if more to come. Hallways look slightly dated. Dining was prompt with good service. No complaints on food. Unfortunately we had to skip Half Moon Cay as tenders could not pick up passengers due to waves. This was then a sea day. We were unable to stop at Cap Cana for the same reason and they substituted Samana DR. We didn’t get off the ship. Grand Turk was also cancelled for weather/safety reasons and they substituted San Juan. They did dock at Amber Cove. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Embarkation went well, we were aboard at 11:30. Dining and cabin was excellent. MDR food was terrific PG was ok nice venue not sure it's worth the surcharge Had a retreat cabana booked which was great but windy. ... Read More
Embarkation went well, we were aboard at 11:30. Dining and cabin was excellent. MDR food was terrific PG was ok nice venue not sure it's worth the surcharge Had a retreat cabana booked which was great but windy. Ship needs maintenance we got stuck in the elevator going to cabanas on embarkation day ...stuck for about 1o minutes and working on and off for balance of our cruise. This made it difficult for staff to provide all perks. Aft pool was closed majority of our 14 day cruise. As stated the weather was very windy so did not get to Halfmoon Cay, Grand Turk and Cap Cana...we instead went to Samana DR, and San Juan again. Would be nice if they changed locations of happy hour, same time and places every day. We have been to these ports before and mostly disappointed about missing HMC and Grand Turk Just nice to get away. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We sailed on the Nieuw Statendam 1/6-20/29 for a 14-day collectors cruise to the Western (week one) and Eastern (week two) Caribbean. Mitzi caught a head cold on the flight from MSP and did not feel great for a couple of days in week one. ... Read More
We sailed on the Nieuw Statendam 1/6-20/29 for a 14-day collectors cruise to the Western (week one) and Eastern (week two) Caribbean. Mitzi caught a head cold on the flight from MSP and did not feel great for a couple of days in week one. I caught something on board and felt icky for part of week two. There was definitely something going around the ship, even our assistant table steward missed a few days due to illness. We had a very nice cruise, but we are growing a bit tired of this itinerary. Here are some of our observations about the ship and ports. I didn't really notice any major problems related to this being an early cruise in the life of a new ship. Embarkation- HAL sent instructions saying to arrive 1:30 (deck 8 & 11 boarding). But we were at the mercy of the Ramada Inn shuttle schedule which left at 11:45 am. We arrived a little after noon. The right side of the wickets had a fairly long line, the left side line, where we were supposed to go, was very short (even number decks I think). We were whisked around to the empty 4-5*/Neptune line and got our key cards very quickly. We were on board and to our room before 1:00. Our luggage arrived within an hour or two. We were unpacked long before muster drill time and set out exploring the ship and taking pictures. Muster drill was by the front desk for our group and was mostly painless. The Ship- It really did have a “new car smell” when we first boarded. It is very much like the Koningsdam in colors, layout, and artwork (quite modern, traditionalists might not be impressed). The big change is the creation of the Rolling Stone Rock Room and moving the Lincoln Center Stage to the “Queen’s Lounge” area which they now share with BB King. They also moved the appetizer bar in the Billboard bar into a corner from its original location in the middle of the room on the K. This worked much better IMO and allowed for a small dance floor area in the Billboard bar. The Crows Nest bar has changed and now incorporates the coffee bar. The old Explorations Café coffee bar area has been taken over by the EXC excursion desk. This seemed to work OK IMO. The Crows Nest still has lots of comfy seating, puzzle tables, and a reasonable number of books (cannot comment on the quality, we brought our own reading material). It remains a nice quiet spot to sit during the day. I do not know if it was used much in the evenings. I did not head up there for drinks since they did not have a Crow’s Nest happy hour. The room on the port side of the Crow’s Nest (I had heard it referred to as the Captain’s Corner) now has rows of upholstered chairs facing a flat panel display. It was used for some EXC presentations but it seemed empty most of the times I wandered by. The ship can handle about 2700 passengers and I believe we were pretty full for week one. It never felt crowded anywhere on the ship. The MDR- The room was bright and pleasant IMO and very much like the K. We had late (8:00 pm) fixed dining (nice table for two by a window, but it was dark and you could not see anything). The dining room did not seem overly noisy to me. The first week seemed to have more tables occupied than the second week. There was no sign of the Yum Yum Man or his cart of goodies; hopefully it will show up eventually. The food was of the same high quality (IMO) that we have come to expect. My biggest complaint was that the menu for week two seemed identical to week one. I do not recall so much repetition from our previous 14-day collector’s cruises. Also, there were no chilled soups! The Lido- We only had occasional breakfast and lunch bites in the Lido. It was laid out much like the K but had sinks for hand washing instead of the whirligigs you stick your hands into. The food was fine and it did not seem too crowded, but maybe my timing was just fortunate. It did not seem that hard to find tables, but many people went out by either pool with their food. There were sushi (rolls) and sashimi at lunch, but not a huge selection. We did not try any of the late-night offerings. And I did not see any bathrobes in the Lido! The Tamarind- We ate there once and it lived up to its billing as our favorite HAL restaurant. The room seemed bigger and they do use some outdoor seating (at least when in port). The deck plans for the K and NS seem to show they have identical square footage, so the apparent size difference may be due to the different layout for Nami Sushi and the Tamarind bar (we did not try either). The Pinnacle, Canaletto, and Sel De Mer- We skipped these this cruise. I have avoided Sel de Mer because the idea of an a la carte restaurant on a cruise ship bugs me. However, a new acquaintance on this cruise (Sir Robert) went and said his bill (including 5* discounts) was only about $20. I might have to give it a try! The Dive-In- Same menu as on other ships and the burgers, dogs, & fries are delicious as always. But now they have milkshakes! We did not try them since we were already eating too much. I think they were around $5. The New York Deli- Again, same good quality as on other ships. We had pizza a couple of times but did not get any deli sandwiches this cruise. We also did not get around to trying the late-night snacks (too much food, groan!) although they sounded good. I found the NY Deli to be a great “secret” breakfast spot. They were never that busy when I stopped by, there were plenty of tables available, and pitchers of orange juice and coffee carafes that were self-serve. They have a good bagel selection, including a breakfast bagel with egg, cheese, and ham. The new treat was Breakfast Pizza! They had about 4 different choices. I tried one with cheese, bacon, and two sunny side up eggs which was very good. It was really enough for two people. The Dutch Café- This is a very pleasant spot for a snack. We only stopped once after a shore excursion and had pea soup, grilled ham & cheese sandwich, and fries – pretty good stuff. I kept meaning to stop for bitterballen, but never quite made it. Something to try on the next cruise! The Happy hours- The main Happy Hour was in the Billboard and Rock Room bars from 4-5 pm. Standard buy one get one for $2. It could get quite busy, but cleared out by 5:30. The self-serve appetizers (hot and cold) in the Billboard were usually pretty good and, for the most part, they kept appetizer bar stocked. We developed a small group of 3-7 people that would get together during happy hour for conversation. There was some kind of happy hour at the Blend at 9:00 pm. I never stopped by. It seemed like it was wine only and we always had enough wine with dinner. Club Orange- My travels around the ship did not take me by Club Orange very often. The few times I went by at breakfast or dinner, it did not seem very active. They did seem like they were using the kitchen area, but I could not tell if it was for food prep or plating-up. I actually like the room as a restaurant venue – I am not sure Club Orange is the best use for the space. America’s Test Kitchen- They had new recipes and the presentations were nicely done. The problem, IMO, was that the World Stage was not a good venue for it. You were far from the cooking area and they did not have good enough camera angles and close-up to allow you to see the details of the food preparation. Billboard Onboard- The piano duo of Debby and Nate (or was it Nat?) were very good, probably the best I have seen on HAL. The pianos were real! With strings!! They played very enthusiastically (and skillfully) and their singing was quite good. They usually drew a big crowd. As soon as their 45-minute set was done the Rolling Stone rockers started up. They switched on and off throughout the evening (three sets each). Rolling Stone Rock Room- This is a brand-new idea and probably needs some work to hit its stride. There were five guys (no fries) – two guitars, one bass, drummer, and keyboards. I enjoyed them but Mitzi was unimpressed – she did not like their versions of rock classics. Musically, I thought they were fine and talented. The vocals seemed like the weakness (not bad, just could stand improvement). I am not sure how extensive the playlist is, but I did not hear any duplications (but I was not there 14 nights straight!). It is loud, so I would not sit too close to the front. I definitely enjoyed it, but then I like hearing covers of songs that do not sound identical to the originals. Lincoln Center Stage- The five ladies were excellent musicians. I did not go too often, but was impressed when I did. The “Queen’s Lounge” area is a much better spot for them than where they were on the K (now the RSRR). Their performances were usually well attended. BB King- This iteration of BB King had a really nice sound. I did not recognize any of them from prior cruises. I also did not go often enough to tell if they suffered from the same problem I have seen with other BB Kings. That being a too small play list so that they seemed to be playing the same stuff over and over. They did play some of the same songs I have heard on other cruises, but they sounded great doing it! The Shops- The selection seemed minimal, but the quality seemed improved. Some prices seemed awfully high. I did buy a NS inaugural season Christmas ornament for next year’s tree for $7.99. Wine list/packages- The same basic Cellar 1, 2, and 3 wine packages were available and the wines offered were essentially identical to last year. Mariner discounts were applied. The regular wine list looked to be brand new with lots of more expensive choices. I wanted to get photos, but kept forgetting my camera or phone. I will try again this March. There were still some $35-45 per bottle choices, but they seemed scarcer. The Ports- Half Moon Cay – We did our usual clamshell and laid about on the beach and swam to cool off. The Island BBQ was the same as always - OK, not great. But laying out in the sun wears you down and one needs to refuel! We shared the island with the Zuiderdam. Montego Bay, Jamaica – None of the tours appealed to us and we were docked too far away from town to walk. So, we stayed on board to explore the new ship. Georgetown, Cayman Islands – There were at least six ships in port so we thought the town would be very crowded. The last tender from the island was around 3:30. It did not seem worth the tender ride in for a short, crowded visit to the various shops. Cozumel, Mexico – Mitzi was not feeling well so we abandoned our plans to stroll through town. Nassau, Bahamas – We went to the Ardastra Gardens after a small bus tour through town. It was a zoo getting off the ship and to the buses as there were 4-5 ships in port. The gardens were OK and the marching flamingos were amusing. I am glad we went once, but I will not be in a hurry to return. We had a picture taking stop at Fort Charlotte on the way back to the pier. There was not enough time to go into the fort and the entry fee ($5-6) was not included in the tour. San Juan, Puerto Rico – It was Calle San Sebastian festival day when we were in port (along with a Carnival ship). Even though the festival did not start until around 7:00 pm, the preparations had everything in a state of chaos. Our tour was to go to the two forts followed by shopping in Plaza Colon. The police would not let our bus drive to El Morro (the fort guarding the harbor) so we went to San Cristobal (the fort guarding the land-side of the city) first while our tour company tried to sort things out. San Cristobal is well worth seeing (2nd time for me) and was enjoyable again. When we got back to the bus, our guide said his boss talked with the police chief and we now had permission to head to El Morro (I am sure no money changed hands). The bus got as close as possible, but it was still a fair walk to the fort. The setting is beautiful, but there were a lot of festival preparations going on. The fort is older than San Cristobal and rather different in construction and purpose. It was well worth the visit and long walk. After the forts we did walk around Plaza Colon for a few minutes, but we were hungry for a Dive-In burger so we headed back to the ship. St. Thomas, USVI – We were docked in Havensight along with a Viking cruise ship. We did the St. Thomas Island Drive which took us to Mountain Top. There are impressive views once you get through the huge gift shop (in their defense, the prices and selection were OK). We were then supposed to go to Drake’s Seat, but the Viking guys had the parking area filled up. So, we went to the “Valdemar A. Hill, Sr. Drive Scenic Overlook” instead. There were impressive views of the Havensight pier, downtown, and Crowns Bay. You could also see Saint Croix in the distance. There was the option of being dropped off in town, but no one was interested. I did wander about the Havensight Mall before going back to the ship. Half Moon Cay – Another clamshell day. I also tried to lay in the sun to try to bake away my head cold (while trying to avoid sunburn). We shared the Island with the Volendam. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Charter cruise for music fans. Delbert’s cruise is always a people pleaser. Arrived the day before cruise and stayed at Westin. Great beach location and great nearby restaurants. Ship was fine as well as the food. Friendly staff. This ... Read More
Charter cruise for music fans. Delbert’s cruise is always a people pleaser. Arrived the day before cruise and stayed at Westin. Great beach location and great nearby restaurants. Ship was fine as well as the food. Friendly staff. This cruise is like no other. Not your typical cruise. Non stop music from morning until the wee hours of the night. Our fourth time to do this cruise. Plan to return next year and will encourage friends to join us. We have done this cruise four times in the last six years. Although this is somewhat of an expensive cruise, it is worth it. The excursions to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic were great. We especially enjoyed our time on the beach in the Dominican Republic - a 45 minute drive to Cocony Cove beach. The food and drinks were good and we did the all inclusive which was worth it. The Puerto Rico craft cocktail excursion through old town was the best. Our guide Rocio who is a native of Puerto Rico was great - along with our bartender Carlos at la factoria. Highly recommended excursion. Just be prepared to walk up hill. Lots of food and drink with this one and a good value for what you get. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wanted to be gone over Christmas and this was a decent itinerary, and we were able to drive to the port. The price as good, and they through in the beverage package and the Pinnacle Grill. Our cabin was small, but workable, and we ... Read More
We wanted to be gone over Christmas and this was a decent itinerary, and we were able to drive to the port. The price as good, and they through in the beverage package and the Pinnacle Grill. Our cabin was small, but workable, and we loved the big walk in shower. The boat was great.....nice public areas, lots of sitting areas, two pools, lots of places to eat, etc. The Grand Dining Room was only fair. We didn't care for the decor, the food was just ok, ad the service was slow...especially the wine service. The first night we sat for a long time, and had received our first course before our glasses of wine arrive, and the second glass arrived when I was almost finished with my entree. Did not particularly like the Lido. Food was just ok, it was very crowded....always fighting to find a place to sit, and we hated that there was no self service.....everything had to be served, slowing down the process and making it hard to get what you want, in the quantity that you want. The specialty dining rooms were great......nice decor, good menus and good food. The steak in the Pinnacle Grill was very good, and when we went to Alaska on HA it was terrible. We really like Sel de Mer and Tamarind......would be great restaurants in any city. Entertainment was first class......the evening pianist, the classical groups, soul in BB King's rock in the Rolling Stone and a good piano bar. There was no "big show" in the theatre this cruise. There were two pools.....one amidships with a slide on/off cover, and another at the stern. As with all cruise ships, there were not enough loungers, and people would grab them first thing, so by 11AM there was no place to sit. There was a nice looking spa and fitness center that we did not use. In conclusion, HA is a "near luxury" line, and Konigsdam is there most luxurious ship. The difference between them and a more luxurious line like Oceania or Regent lies in better food, more elegant decor in the public rooms, better service, and more items inclusive. HA is not as good, but it is a lot less expensive, and a good value. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because of the price and the ports. The ship is 2 years old and we like newer ships. This cruise was great. The food was great. The entertainment was very good in the Rolling Stone room and the room across from it - ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the price and the ports. The ship is 2 years old and we like newer ships. This cruise was great. The food was great. The entertainment was very good in the Rolling Stone room and the room across from it - I forget the name. Their other shows were good too - just no singers. They only had dancers - who were awesome but on other cruise lines, they offer more 'Broadway' style shows. The only downside to this ship to me, was that it was small and I felt the motion of the ocean a little more on the return trip to Port Everglades. Other than that, I have nothing negative to say about this ship and it's crew. Our cabin steward was THE BEST! We tipped him at the beginning and at the end and he was great! The casino was good too. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
It was a good deal on a week that worked well for us. We like HAL. The room was adequate, our room steward excellent, and the location was right smack in the middle of the ship which made it easy to get around. I went to trivia twice every ... Read More
It was a good deal on a week that worked well for us. We like HAL. The room was adequate, our room steward excellent, and the location was right smack in the middle of the ship which made it easy to get around. I went to trivia twice every day, swam in the pool every day and attended a couple of the American Test Kitchen presentations which were very good. My husband's foot was bothering him so we did not go off of the ship except for San Juan. He seemed to be ok that day so we ventured out to Starbucks to retrieve our emails and phone calls. We were unable to dance which was too bad since we love to dance. We would have liked to dance in BB King's. WE were unable to attend any of the Lincoln Center presentations as the times did not work out for us. The food was wonderful. The salad that is prepared for you according to your choice is the BEST!! I miss it already. The Pinnacle Restaurant was excellent as usual and the dining room food was really good. One night I ordered all of the desserts!!! The ice cream was good. The no sugar added desserts were also delicious. The salmon and steak were prepared properly, as was the lobster (not overcooked). The onion soup is so so, however. We found that to be the case on the Konigsdam as well. The other soups were very good. The omelets were excellent as were the Eggs Benedict which I ordered in the dining room one morning. We met some very nice people on board as we always asked to share in the dining room. The pool had enough chairs in the shade which is what we like. The pool was not too cold. The Dive is terrific. All in all, we had a really good time! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We picked this cruise because it was very inexpensive and wanted to try out Holland America. We were a bit disappointed about 1-2 weeks prior to our cruise. We received an invite to upgrade to a suite for a very decent price. However, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it was very inexpensive and wanted to try out Holland America. We were a bit disappointed about 1-2 weeks prior to our cruise. We received an invite to upgrade to a suite for a very decent price. However, within a short time, our travel agent called in, all suites were gone. The ship itself is a bit rundown and could use some updates. It was not "state of the art" and the ambiance is a little conservative. Service was really good. I felt at times that staff were "correcting" me when I wasn't doing things exactly as they would prefer. For example, on my last day, I went to the coffee bar at 6 AM and the person there snapped at me, informing me that they wouldn't be open until 6:30. Food was great, especially the vegetarian menu. Although you have to ask for the vegetarian menu, the selections art outstanding! The entertainment was amazing, especially the Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard On Board! We went to at least 7-8 "recitals" and saw the Billboard On Board most nights before dinner. Our excursions were outstanding. We went to go see the rainforest in Puerto Rico and took tours of almost every other port except for Grand Turk. Our last day at Half Moon Cay (Holland America's private island it shares with Carnival) was outstanding. We had such a good time on a tour and then a barbecue that was free to guests. All in all, it's pretty decent for the amount we paid (approx $950 per person) for a balcony. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Wanted to have a relaxing one week trip. Enjoyed immensely.Embarkation was very quick and efficient. Rooms were ready when we got on the ship! Common areas were not crowded. Minimal lines.Our Cabin was well maintained. Room ... Read More
Wanted to have a relaxing one week trip. Enjoyed immensely.Embarkation was very quick and efficient. Rooms were ready when we got on the ship! Common areas were not crowded. Minimal lines.Our Cabin was well maintained. Room attendants were friendly and willing to help. Dining room staff were very egar to assist. Can add a few more items for vegetarians.Happy hour was an added bonus.The BBC presentation was unique and creative. Jewelry auction added to the variety of activities on a Sea Day. Rotterdam is maintaining the traditional brunch for the Mariners.Guest Services and Future Cruise offices are run efficiently. Interesting ports of Call, sorry to have missed Costa Maya. Presentations re.ports and shopping were informative.Disembarkation was a breeze. I will recommend Rotterdam and this itinerary to anyone looking for a brief vacation. The weather made it all more enjoyable. This was our fifth cruise with Holland America, impressed with this sailing, we have booked for a fourteen days European venture in 2019. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Review of Rotterdam, 14 day, Circle Caribbean cruise, March 11 - 25, 2018, in Lanai cabin 3376. We are 4-star Mariners, so the boarding process in Tampa, which is usually pain-free, was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal at 10:30 am, ... Read More
Review of Rotterdam, 14 day, Circle Caribbean cruise, March 11 - 25, 2018, in Lanai cabin 3376. We are 4-star Mariners, so the boarding process in Tampa, which is usually pain-free, was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal at 10:30 am, checked our luggage, and got our key-cards. HAL will re-use your previous ID picture, if you have a current one and your appearance has not changed much. We pre-purchased the Signature Beverage Package (SBP) online, so in the top right corner of our key-cards was printed SBP. We had late (main) seating fixed dining, table for 2, #72, upper level of the MDR. Lanai Cabin: Our cabin was a Lanai type, which we never had before. Instead of a private balcony, you have a sliding glass door (and a fixed glass door) which opens onto the very wide Promenade deck. The glass doors have extremely thick glass, possibly 1/2". That makes the door very heavy to slide. The door is held shut and locked by a magnetic lock. Very secure, impossible to open without the pass-card. There is a small white button inside the door that you press to release the magnetic lock. You have only a few seconds to slide the door open or it will re-lock. On the outside, right under the little sign showing your cabin number, is a proximity sensor. HAL provides 2 proximity cards in your room that are not marked or labeled in any way. Hold that card over the proximity sensor and a little green light will come on indicating that the door is unlocked. You have the same few seconds to slide the door open or it will re-lock. Once unlocked, a sturdy pull on the handle will open the door. It will not close by itself. You must push it closed to lock it. If you run out for a quick look at something, make sure you take the little white prox card or you will be pounding on the door to get back in. The door glass has a reflective film, making it impossible to see in from outside, even at night. I switched on all of our cabin lights, went outside, and pressed my nose against the glass. I could make out the glow of the ceiling lights, and some vague reflections. So, there's no concerns about people passing by and looking in. However, you will still need to close the drapes for sleeping, because the promenade deck is well lighted and that may affect your ability to sleep. Walkers start doing their rounds on the Promenade deck as early as 5:00 am. Some are crew members. They go as late as midnight. Very few joggers, mostly fast walking. There are 2 comfy lounge chairs outside the door. They are semi-permanently labeled "Reserved for Lanai Room". Still, even with the very obvious sign, some folks don't bother to read, or ignore it, feeling that they are somehow special, and signs don't pertain to them. One guy was relaxing in our chair during the sail-by of the Pitons in St. Lucia. We wanted to use the chairs. We politely asked him to move so we could use our chairs. He said, in perfect English, that he didn't understand the meaning of the sign on each chair that is was reserved. He did move. The chairs are made of wood, and the comfy cushions are removed each night around 7:30 and replaced each morning after the decks have been washed, usually around 7:00 am. The cabin was sized OK for 2 adults. There was a pull-out bed in the 2-seater couch. But I would not recommend a third, adult-sized person in that cabin. When the bed is opened, there is very little room to move around the cabin. The TV was on a shelf over the desk with a DVD player under the shelf. The TV is around 18" wide, and difficult to see from the far side of the bed. These TV's are the old, analog type, not the new on-demand 50" ones that are in the suites and on all Vista class and newer ships. You have 2 remotes, one for the TV and one for the DVD player. The TV does have external inputs, but they are analog, composite, component and RGB with audio. Anyone thinking of plugging a laptop into these TV's must bring their own HDMI to composite (yellow, red, white RCA plugs) adapter. There is an extensive DVD lending library and there is a catalog of movies in your room. There is a single US-style 120 volt outlet at the desk, and also a European (round prong) 220 volt outlet. Most electronic devices (including CPAP machines) will work fine anywhere from 100 volts to 240 volts. I use a CPAP machine, and I also have my laptop on the desk. I use the 120 outlet for the laptop, and with a $3 European plug adapter (not a converter) and a short extension cord, I use the 220 volt outlet for my CPAP. There are 2 USB charging outlets at the desk. The bathroom is typical, one sink, toilet, tub with shower. Only a glass shelf, no medicine cabinet. Closet space is adequate, with 3 closets. One of the 3 is less deep, and there are unmovable shelves in the closet that has the safe. Air conditioning was good, no problems. The thermostat numbers are in Celsius and adjusts in 1/2 degree increments. Easy to use, just remember that 28 C is 82 F, and 23 C is 73 F. Dining: We had fixed dining, main seating (8:00 pm), upper level of the MDR. Table 72, a 2-top along the railing overlooking the lower level. The food was very good, many selections, prepared well and properly served. Wait staff, although overworked, were prompt and efficient. Our favorite beverages, and a basket of rolls were always waiting for us when we arrived. I can usually judge the quality and variety of the menu selections on a HAL ship by the number of times I fall back to the "HAL Signature Selections", meaning the onion soup and Caesar salad for starters and the NY strip, roast chicken, or salmon for mains. I did that only twice in the 14 days. We ate at the Lido only for lunches. Generally, the lunch menus had lamb in the "carvery" too many times, but I don't like lamb, so that's a personal thing. We also really enjoyed the NY Pizza, out on the back of the Lido deck, across from the Seaview bar. They will make a personal sized pizza in any way you want, and no problems getting double-anything on your pizza. You get a pager to take back to your table while waiting for the pizza to be freshly made. Normal wait time is about 10-15 minutes. You also can request how you want the crust cooked. The Dive-In was great as usual. On this ship, the Dive-In is located at the forward end of the Lido pool area, close to the Spa. We had 2 Pinnacle Grill lunches ($10 each) and one PG dinner ($35 each). Our Mariner discount cut 50% off of those prices. The PG was great, as usual. We did not use the Canaletto restaurant on this cruise. We used the breakfast order card each morning. Yes, the selections have been reduced, but I have had absolutely no problem writing-in anything I wanted that was not on the card. Even Eggs Benedict as long as you want the version with Canadian bacon and not salmon. That will require an extra charge. I actually had more write-in items on the card than checked printed items. So feel free to write-in anything that is available at the Lido. We do tip the server who brings the breakfast tray each morning. Entertainemnt: We did not attend any of the Main Stage shows. We loved the "Mix" piano bar entertainer, Don Alexander. He was talented, good voice, and very versatile. While playing the piano, he picks up his small, alto saxophone and plays it with his left hand and continues to play the piano with his right. He will also play a harmonica along with the piano, Billy Joel style. He has bass accompaniment with a series of pedals. He constantly takes requests, interacts with the audience, and knows music for all ages. The trio (occasionally quartet) in the Ocean Bar was very good. Most movies that are shown in theater are on the cabin TV's the next day. The cabin TV's have CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, and BBC for news, and 2 ESPN sports channels. They have 2 music channels, a location/weather channel, bow camera channel, America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Country channel that alternates with PBS documentaries, 3 movie channels that repeat every 2 hours, a port talk channel and a port shopping channel. There is a guide channel providing the lineup and channel numbers. Internet: The Rotterdam has the older style, by-the-minute internet. We had an access point in the ceiling of the hallway, only a few cabins away from us, so we had a solid 5 bars of signal at the desk in our cabin. They offer different plans with varying minutes. 100 minutes was $55, 250 minutes was $100, 500 minutes was $175. 1000 minutes was $250. They also have a plan where you are billed 75 cents a minute. Considering that speeds to connect to anything is slow, the 75 cents per minute is not a good move, unless you need to connect only a couple of times on your cruise. The speed we had was sufficient for a VPN connection, and a few Skype audio calls. I didn't try any video calls. 250 minutes was perfect for our 14 days. Shore Excursions: We only did one HAL tour, the Antigua Catamaran with Lobster Lunch, 6 hour tour for $139. We did that tour in 2016 on the Oosterdam, and liked it so much, we did it again. The rest of our tours were private or DIY. Ship Condition: We last sailed on the Rotterdam in 2005, so a lot has changed. But the ship appeard to be in good condition. There is still a library on deck 5, seemed to be well stocked. Disembarkation: We arrived in Tampa early. The ship was quickly cleared, and they started calling luggage tag colors at 7:30 am. Our time was scheduled for 8:45 to 9:45, and we were called at 8:10. A little trick that works great in Tampa. As soon as you enter the huge room with the luggage, grab a porter. He will take your bags, and escort you to the special "porters only" line. That gets you to the immigration officer in minutes. We were through immigration by 8:15 and waiting for our ride home at 8:20 am. Tip the porter $10 or $20, it's well worth it to not stand in the Disney-type lines, pushing all of your luggage as you snake through. Problems: The first night onboard, just before going for dinner, we noticed a small puddle of water under the sink near the toilet. We thought we may have splashed some water out of the shower. We placed a towel on it and left to eat. When we came back to the cabin around 11 pm, the whole bathroom floor was flooded and the carpeting outside the bathroom was squishy wet. We called guest services and the cabin attendant came quickly and looked. He arranged to shut off water in the bathroom until this can be checked out. The next morning, a plumber came with representative from guest services. The plumber quickly fixed the leak (or so he thought), and they vacuumed out as much water as possible from the carpets. They placed a huge, noisy floor blower in the cabin, at the foot of the bed to dry the carpets. The fan was very loud and we couldn't use the TV or have a conversation without shouting. We left the cabin and only came back to use the bath and change clothes. We shut the blower down for sleeping. That lasted 2-1/2 days. Just when they were about to remove the blower, we noticed water dribbling down the cabin wall at the foot of the bed. It was coming from the ceiling, dribbling through one of the hanging pictures, and then dripping on the carpet. That also was addressed quickly, but the blower was put back in to dry that carpet. Another day of noise. When we docked in St. Lucia, we came back to our cabin around 10:00 am and we heard a horrible loud steel grinding noise outside our lanai doors. We went out onto the prominade deck and the noise sounded as loud as a jet taking off. Workers were cutting steel pieces of the lifeboat davits a deck above. They were using cutting torches, steel grinders, and hammers. The whole ceiling of the deck was reverberating with the noise. We went back into our cabin and the noise was deafening. We went up to the Lido deck for drinks and lunch and we could still hear it very loud. This work was happening on both sides of the ship. Guest services said it was work on the lifeboats. They wouldn't say it, but I'm guessing that this was supposed to happen in the November 2017 drydock and was never completed. There's no way they would routinely schedule such a horrible noise with passengers onboard. We couldn't hear our cabin TV, even with the volume full up. We had to shout to each other to hear. This was not routine ship maintenance. We called Guest services again at 4:00 pm, hoping the noise would stop before the sail around the Pitons of St. Lucia, because there would be narration. They promised it would stop and it did, around 4:30 pm. We had a day at sea next, and then Curacao. Sure enough, at 10:00 am after docking, they started up again with the grinding. It was so loud, that guests approaching the ship from their shore excursions could hear the grinding over 500 feet away. We complained again to Guest Services, and they sent a rep to our cabin. There was nothing they could do, they insisted the work must be completed. On our sea day after Aruba, we saw another puddle in the bathroom. I called immediately and they sent more reps from Guest Services and a plumber. He spent an hour in our bath, and finally fixed the leak. After the 3 leaks, and the horrible noise from the lifeboat work, and having to put up with the blower in the cabin, they offered us compensation in the form of cabin credit. We felt it was a reasonable amount. I cannot fault HAL for the speed in which they responded to the leak problems and the speed they fixed them. That was under control of the Hotel department. But the steel metal grinding noise was under control of Marine Operations, and Guest services could only pass along the complaints they were receiving from us and other guests. Note, when we docked in Tampa at the end of the cruise, the grinding started up again, both sides of the ship. We were sitting out on the street, waiting for our ride, 500 feet away from the ship, with the terminal between us and the ship and the grinding was still very loud. On Saturday, March 24, right at 11:30 am, a woman carrying a home-made sign, marched through the Lido deck. One side of the sign was for the "March for our Lives". The other side of the sign said "Ban all Assault Weapons". She got as far as the Dive-In, and a couple of officers approached her and she stopped. Protesting on city streets is a right and I have no problem with it. If you are offended by the theme of the march, you can just ignore it or walk away. But doing it in a closed environment, on a cruise ship, with people paying thousands to get away from the world for a few days is not appropriate. Doesn't matter which side you support, a cruise ship at sea with a captive audience is not the proper place. I am happy that HAL's officers ended it quickly. The 2 TV channels dedicated to shore excursions and shopping on shore were constantly out of date. After leaving Key West, they had a port lecture recorded that repeated 24 hours a day. It featured the next 4 ports, through St. Lucia. On our day in St. Lucia and the day at sea following, we were still being told of the wonderful things we could see and buy in the prior 4 ports that were long gone. A little thing, but it makes the EXC department look kind of silly, or lazy. They could have made a port lecture for each port, and run them all together in sequence, but delete each one as we left that port. All in all, we had a great time, the Rotterdam is still a great ship, and they did address the problems we had quickly. The only beef I has was with marine operations trying to pull off maintenance that was so offensive with passengers onboard. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Since we live in the Tampa area we were looking for a getaway type cruise to go on with our neighbors. We have been on 20 plus cruises but only one short Holland America cruise which we had enjoyed. So we thought we would give this one a ... Read More
Since we live in the Tampa area we were looking for a getaway type cruise to go on with our neighbors. We have been on 20 plus cruises but only one short Holland America cruise which we had enjoyed. So we thought we would give this one a try. It turned out to be one of our favorites. The ship is one of HAL's smallest but had small but adequate facilities including a nice casino, bars and theater. We had an ocean view cabin with an obstructed view on the lower promenade deck. It was good size for a ship cabin and actually had a bath tub. The promenade deck had an entrance near our room which enabled us to sit on deck chairs right outside our room. The food in the main restaurant was great. The Lido buffet was unhurried and featured good fresh food. There were burgers and pizza by the pool which were good and fun. The service by the mostly Indonesian and Philippian crew was attentive, efficient and pleasant. The itinerary was uninspired with the standard Western Caribbean ports where we had been to many times. The only exception being the Guatemalan port which is just being established as a cruise port. It was mostly a commercial freight type area with not much to see. The only negative was the entertainment which was mediocre at best. We will definitely book on this ship again Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
After reading all the negative reviews about the Rotterdam, particularly those following her recent dry dock, I was apprehensive about what we would find on board. I should not have worried. The Rotterdam is a beautiful, classic ship. Yes, ... Read More
After reading all the negative reviews about the Rotterdam, particularly those following her recent dry dock, I was apprehensive about what we would find on board. I should not have worried. The Rotterdam is a beautiful, classic ship. Yes, she is 20+ years old, and she shows it. But it’s through her teak decks, open railings, and other classic touches, not through neglect. Those who are looking for huge, open spaces should not book this ship. This is not an “of the Seas” experience. Our stateroom (a Neptune suite) had gone through some updates during the dry dock. New furniture and new textiles (carpets, drapes, bedding) added a more contemporary touch. To truly get the feel of the newer ships, HAL will need to do something about the abundant mirrors and blond wood. Still, it was a comfortable room and the updates were nice. The public spaces generally looked good. It was tough to find a table or lounge chairs on the Lido deck, both inside and out. I attributed this to the great weather we had, and everyone’s desire to be outside. The main dining room was nice, and less crowded during the second seating. The only space I did not like was the Pinnacle Grill. Much too dark and ornate for my tastes (but great food). Even the Canaletto Grill was nice, despite being a part of the Lido. We did not frequent the inside bars. We spent a lot of time at the Sea View Bar, which we loved. Service was excellent. Everyone referred to us by name from the very first day, and we never wanted for anything. The food was also very good (excellent in the for fee dining options, as well as Dive In). We did have a minor issue with embarkation. A HAL representative put us in the line for multiple star Mariners (which we are not), since that line was shorter than the line for suites. The woman checking in passengers for the line we were in very loudly objected to us being in that line. The original woman who told us to get in that line took the blame, but it did not appease the affronted check in person. It certainly was embarrassing and uncomfortable for us. Thankfully, it was the only bad experience we had. I also found it odd that after making it clear multiple star Mariners ranked above suite guests, the latter were allowed on board first. I guess I don’t understand HAL politics. Because we had the late dinner seating, we generally skipped the evening entertainment. The few shows we did attend were not overly professional, but were great fun. As a couple in our mid fifties, we were definitely on the lower end of the passenger age spectrum. No kids at all on our cruise (two weeks in February), which we appreciated. We met many nice and interesting fellow passengers. About the only other concern worth mentioning is related to motion sensing. The small size of the Rotterdam is positive in most other ways, but you can definitely feel motion during rough seas. If that bothers you, you should probably pick a different ship. One last comment for those who have also read all the negative post dry dock reviews. We saw no buckling carpet, buckets to catch leaks, leaks of any kind, non working toilets, or non working air conditioning. Key West We’ve been to Key West many times because we love it. We spent our time in port at our favorite restaurant (Blue Heaven), followed by a cigar, glass of wine, and great people watching at Cork & Stogie. Puerto Rico Damage from the hurricanes has been largely cleaned up in and around San Juan. We took a taxi to Isla Verde Beach. It was a pretty, uncrowded spot with cheap chair/umbrella rentals. We had lunch at a great spot right on the beach. Because we were in port late, we had a fabulous dinner in Old Town San Juan at Marmalade (not to be missed if you have the time). The people in San Juan were the friendliest of all the ports we visited. St Thomas Hurricane damage was more apparent here, mainly in land. Our group taxi (try to avoid these, we got on one by mistake) took us downtown first. This was a miserable experience. Once we got out of town, we went on to Magen’s Bay. The beach was gorgeous and uncrowded the day we were there. Chair rental was pricey, and we didn’t see umbrella rentals (found out later they were available). Food options didn’t appeal to us so we headed back to the ship for lunch. Fellow passengers went to Trunk Bay on St John, on their own. They said it was fabulous. Antigua We took a taxi to Jolly Beach. It was a longer drive than anticipated, about 30 minutes. The beach was beautiful and uncrowded (despite the many rows of chairs set up). Chair and umbrella rentals were cheap, and the little restaurant on the beach was great. Be sure to pre arrange your return taxi. There were none waiting for return passengers. St Lucia We had pre booked a land/sea excursion (not through the cruise line) with Spencer Ambrose Tours. We really enjoyed the boat tour along the coast with stops at the mud baths (we skipped those and toured the volcano instead), a waterfall, and then Sugar Beach. The power boat ride is not for the faint of heart! St Lucia is a beautiful island which we thoroughly enjoyed. The cruise ship also sailed by the Pitons upon departure. This was the best part of the cruise scenery wise. Curacao We so wanted to like this island, but did not. We found it dirty, crowded, and unfriendly. We walked along the Handelskade (cheap, tourist shops which can be skipped), and then took a taxi to Mambo Beach (crowded, not nice). I’d probably stay on board the ship if I returned here, except the cruise port overlooks an oil refinery. Aruba We thought we’d hate this island, but we loved it. We took a taxi to Eagle Beach. Chair and umbrella rentals were ridiculously high, and we found out later the vendors will negotiate (but not happily, great entertainment, though). The beach was beautiful. We then returned to the port area where we had lunch at the Paddock. Great food and view of the water. Grand Cayman We had been to Grand Cayman previously and had found it unpleasant (rows of cruise ship passengers packed onto certain sections of Seven Mile Beach). This time, we followed a tip from Cruise Critic and went to Hemingway’s. What a difference! Free use of chairs and umbrellas on a beautiful beach as long as you spend $25 minimum per person. You can also use two pools. The entire area was uncrowded and we had excellent food and service. I highly recommend Hemingway’s. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We did the last two weeks of this cruise, which was actually three weeks, but we skipped the western ports, having visited them all before and found they were not to our liking. I prefer these smaller sized older ships, having sailed ... Read More
We did the last two weeks of this cruise, which was actually three weeks, but we skipped the western ports, having visited them all before and found they were not to our liking. I prefer these smaller sized older ships, having sailed with HAL for twenty years, and having experienced all size and style of their ships. This particular Rotterdam cruise is well suited for the older crowd and that includes me. This time of year there are almost no children sailing which makes for quiet public places on board, and less hectic crowds in port. The entertainment is not Vegas style, but there is a show in the main theater every evening, and other entertainment and low level activities in other venues, but most activity comes to an early close on this style of cruising. The southern Caribbean ports are my favorite places in the world. I didn't do an excursion because the ports are walkable, and having been there so often, I know exactly where I like to go. A real plus is most of the islanders speak English and most use the American dollar. I was late to book, and the suites were taken, so this was my first time in a lanai, which is a smallish ocean-view-style cabin, but it has a sliding door that leads out to the Promenade deck, with two assigned lounge chairs positioned outside. I enjoyed it. I did miss the privacy of a balcony, but the lanai in the 3357 area (center ship) offers a much wider view of the ocean, as it isn't partitioned off like the balconies. I would stay again in a lanai. I could always find something great to eat in the Lido, regardless of the time of day or night, and I could choose exactly what I wanted and as much as I wanted. I LOVED it! The other dining venues were a disappointment. The staff is bare-bones and it took almost 90 minutes to finish dinner, even when ordering only three courses. No time for any small-talk with the waiter. No time to get a refill on a glass of water either. The food, although edible, was not the best I've had on HAL. Tough steaks, and sides that were barely room temperature. No special deserts. Even the Pinnacle Grill offered tough steaks, room temp sides, and overly slow service. Who wants to eat cold mashed potatoes? The casino was the best I've ever visited at sea. Loose slots and great attentive staff. It was remarkable in every aspect. Disembark was the best in twenty years. We left our room at 8:20 and were on the road home at 8:41. Unbelievable! We parked our car at Park4Pier and their service was amazing from drop off to pick-up. Kudos to Park4Pier. In summary, this is a nice ship and it visited interesting ports. This ship is definitely NOT for young people or children. I advise doing research and reading reviews before booking any cruise with any line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I went because it was recommended by friends. It was an RSVP chartered cruise. The crew was friendly and liked working the gay cruise. The cabin was comfortable, we had an oversized Verandah cabin. The bed was comfortable and ... Read More
I went because it was recommended by friends. It was an RSVP chartered cruise. The crew was friendly and liked working the gay cruise. The cabin was comfortable, we had an oversized Verandah cabin. The bed was comfortable and afforded a good night's sleep. The balcony was an oasis of calm where I could read and unwind. The bathroom was small, but well appointed and did what it needed to do. Our cabin was kept clean by the crew. The main theatre was very cool - the led covered walls were stellar. The lighting designer took the time to talk with me about the theatre tech (thank you!). I'm a set designer for a few local theatre companies and was curious about the theatre. Food: The food was good to great. The buffet always had good choices (vegetarian here) morning to night. The main dining room had good quality food but service was never less than 2 hours. The signature restaurants were worth the modest up-charge. Alcoholic drinks weren't as expensive as I thought, but there wasn't a drink package (I hear they are available on the non-gay cruises). Excursion: Half-Moon Cay was a relaxing place. We had a bungalow with butler service and it was worth every penny. Our butler was so helpful and engaging. One criticism is that the spa staff are all programmed to hard-sell the services. I had pre-booked a massage, which was good. However, from the spa tour through my appointment, everyone was trying to get me to spend more. My "treatment plan" would have cost >$1000. I didn't go back and avoided the spa entirely after my appointment - it wasn't a relaxing area. I will consider HAL for my future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I chose this cruise because I had never been to any of the ports except to Key West. I read that the ship recently was refurbished, but it looked a little run down, especially the rusted balconies and dirty windows throughout. The food ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had never been to any of the ports except to Key West. I read that the ship recently was refurbished, but it looked a little run down, especially the rusted balconies and dirty windows throughout. The food was above average. I appreciated that there is someone to serve you at the buffet. Anytime dining was a joke; you waited in line, and when the lobby filled up, you were instructed to go to the bar on another deck and wait there until your beeper rang. The crowd is older and going to another deck was something they were not going to do. Of course, one evening a small argument ensued. Entertainment was mediocre. No BB King which was advertised when I first booked. One night the main entertainment was a BBC video. If you wanted to listen to contemporary music, a small lounge was available. There was always a good movie in the lounge. We sat in the theater for the Super Bowl party. What was interesting was that my boyfriend bought a "package" which included a front row seat in a leather chair, unlimited drinks, "football food" not typical food that Americans eat at football parties, and Bud sunglasses and glass. What I found annoying was why everyone else ate and didn't pay for it. During the day, the usual cruise ship activities: port and shopping info, trivia, future cruises and art auctions. Good TV reception in the cabins. Cabin 7042 great location right down a small corridor from the elevator. Good sized room with lots of closet space. Bathroom with tub and a nice vanity. Room was kept spotless. Having been to Key West a few times, we just took the shuttle to Duval St. and walked around. Mahogany Bay Honduras was run-down in terms of roads and housing. We took a private tour to the Iguana, Sloth and monkey preserve; it was fun. The guide also drove us around the whole island so we saw just how poor these people are. Didn't get off in Guatemala. In Mexico we got off the ship, took the shuttle to the market. Lots of t-shirt stores and silver stores. The best thing about this cruise was that we had a Catholic priest onboard who celebrated Mass everyday for us. I think HAL should receive a commendation for this since no other cruise line has a priest. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Dining and service (staff) were first rate and "saved" the cruise. Dining in the MDR and Lido (breakfast and lunch) was outstanding for quality, choice and sevice. Entertainment was very poor. The Main stage productions were ... Read More
Dining and service (staff) were first rate and "saved" the cruise. Dining in the MDR and Lido (breakfast and lunch) was outstanding for quality, choice and sevice. Entertainment was very poor. The Main stage productions were 'High School" quality. Special individual perfofrmers were O. K. but not special. Other presentations and performers (except for Adiajo) were dreadful! Ship was fairly well appointed and clean with plenty of seating areas in inside and outside public spaces. Ports were fair with Ste. Tomas de Castillo offering absolutely nothing to do but take a ship tour that ran 3 hours late in returning. The two at seadays had very few activities except for the Test kitchen and three showings of an old second rate movie in the theatre. Carlos the CD was a very positive and always friendly presence. The Art Auctions were awaist of time. I rated the cruise (overall) with four stars but it only deserves 3.5 stars. Joel Barry Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
After pouring over reviews I was leary about our cruise expecting the worst. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ship while being older was in good condition and hearkens back to our first cruise back in the 1990's. We were ... Read More
After pouring over reviews I was leary about our cruise expecting the worst. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ship while being older was in good condition and hearkens back to our first cruise back in the 1990's. We were some of the youngest on board, in our 50's, and enjoyed the fact that there was only 1200 passengers with none of the public spaces ever feeling crowded or overly noisy. We were surprised to find cloth hand towels in the public restrooms along with real orchids! The Lido also had fresh orchids on every table with the MDR having fresh flower arrangements. There were never long lines anywhere on the ship. We ate in the Lido for breakfast, lunch and a few dinners, the food was good and a nice selection offered. The MDR also was a solid 4 out of 5, if you went away hungry it would be your own fault. After chatting with some of the older passengers the over-all impression was that HAL takes good care of their "seniors". The entertainment was enjoyable with the Juggler being the most unexpected surprise and had everyone rolling on the floor. Service was good in all areas of the ship. Now that we have been back to these ports of call we will be checking that box off the list with no need to revisit. We would sail again on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Wanted to get out of the cold and chose this cruise because if the timing with other activities scheduled in Florida. We have sailed the Rotterdam three times in the past and loved the ship. The reviews lately were about how tired she ... Read More
Wanted to get out of the cold and chose this cruise because if the timing with other activities scheduled in Florida. We have sailed the Rotterdam three times in the past and loved the ship. The reviews lately were about how tired she was and then of smelly carpet glue and shedding carpets after drydock. The ship was lovely. The staff was exemplary. Food was tasty. What more could one ask for. We are 5 Star mariners and just tried our first inside cabin. It was fine and a good value. In fact, we didn’t feel the ocean Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
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