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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are definitely not going on HAL cruises again , neither recommending HAl to my friends. This cruise has been a big disappointment to us, and from what I've heard around, to other travelers, as well. The main reason for us to ... Read More
We are definitely not going on HAL cruises again , neither recommending HAl to my friends. This cruise has been a big disappointment to us, and from what I've heard around, to other travelers, as well. The main reason for us to choose this cruise was its itinerary, but 3 out of the 10 stops were canceled. Sure one cannot fight weather conditions, but I do have my doubts about how necessary was the cancelation of St. John's. The alternative entertainmet activities offered to us ,in place of visiting St. John's and during the 3 days we were detained on board and in Akureyri , were miserable :A ping pong game, a lecture and a large screen movie ?! The stop in Djupivogur was added without prior notice, so the only available excursions were with the ship's EXC, for outrageous prices of around 300$ per person. One lady on board said that everything on the cruise seems "nickeled & dimed". She also spoke about the crew selling water in the gangways , and said that in her opinion , when a person buys an excursion for 250$, he expects to get a complimentary bottle of water. In the pier change one can see another example of this "nickeled & dimed" approach. The change created a problem to many guests that planned on arriving to Manhattan. HAL felt obliged only to guests with transfers booked through HA, as it was written in the notice: "guest with independent arrangements will need to plan accordingly" In my opinion a respectable company should have taken care to bring everybody, who needed, to Manhattan. When HAL finely organized bus shuttles t Manhattan the charges were 30 $ per person. We paid for a taxi to Midtown Manhattan 42$ (tip included)! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
All in all, this turned out to be a pretty good cruise. The itinerary got changed around a bit for a number of reasons. We had bad weather in the Labrador Sea which caused us to miss two port calls, also, on the way to St. John’s , we ... Read More
All in all, this turned out to be a pretty good cruise. The itinerary got changed around a bit for a number of reasons. We had bad weather in the Labrador Sea which caused us to miss two port calls, also, on the way to St. John’s , we needed to double back and assist in the search efforts for a person who went missing from another cruise ship that was in our area so we missed that port and finally, the dock in Manhattan suffered damage by another cruise ship so we couldn’t use it and had to dock in Brooklyn instead. Throughout it all, the Captain kept us informed and up to date on everything. The crew (especially John Clelford the CD and his assistant Liz) was fantastic and always came up with extra events and activities to fill the additional sea time. At one point, a group of officers came around the Lido Pool handing out chocolate covered bananas to make up for all the inconveniences. None of these issues were in any way HAL’s fault but as a gesture of good will, all passengers were given $50.00 OBC and 15% of what you paid for this cruise as a Future Cruise Credit! Again, none of these problems were the fault of HAL at all. In my book, that is going above and beyond. There was always a welcome back tent set up on the pier when we came back from shore visits. They served hot cocoa and chicken soup. When you got back onboard the ship, there was a person handing out warm cloths to wash your face and hands with. It was a very nice touch! We decided to get a monogramed bathrobe towards the end of the cruise…even though we ordered it with well less than the “Please allow 48 hours” time frame the ship requests, the Front Desk went above and beyond to make sure we received it in time. There was even a luggage scale set up by the front desk on the last night. We saw many whales, porpoise and icebergs. We never did see the Northern Lights but there was a phone tree set up so that if they were spotted, you would get a call. Embarkation was pretty smooth. We entered the building at 11am and were on the ship at 12 noon. The luggage was not in the cabin yet but it showed up within the next hour or so. The ship was in very good condition. The carpets in the areas outside of the elevators looked like they were brand new. Of course, there was the normal wear and tear that you could find if you looked for it but the crew was always working on fixing and cleaning things. We had a Signature Suite on deck six port side which turned out to be a very good side for this cruise. Not the least of which, you get to see Lady Liberty from your veranda during the sail in to NYC. Also, we seemed to get a lot of sun and other good scenery on that side. One drawback though was that the port side was where the tenders were lowered and recovered so it was a little noisy during those brief times. Our cabin stewards were very good and super attentive especially considering how many cabins they are in charge of. One thing though, our flowers disappeared after the first day and it took me two days to finally get them replaced. I never did figure out what happened. One night we came back from dinner a little early and our steward was right in the middle of our turn down service and he gave us a quick lesson on how to make a towel animal. That was a lot of fun! Speaking of towel animals, on one of the sea days there was a “towel folding class” being held out on the Lido deck and the entire area around the pool was absolutely filled with various towel creations, some I had never even seen before. It was very neat and fun. There were even towel animals hanging by all the tables near the windows. As far as the art work on board, to me it seems like a mish-mash. I never could detect any kind of rhyme or reason or theme to it. The art gallery is still there but now they aren’t hawking auctions all day long. They had a very knowledgeable person who worked there who did trivia events, art lectures and other fun things. I learned a lot and never felt pressured to buy anything. The entire ship, including the Casino, is non-smoking except for the area back by the Sea-View pool bar. I know this because I had a cigar I wanted to smoke so I called the Front Desk and asked. The cigar was great and no one bothered me. They turned most of the former Crow's Nest area into a revenue generating area now. The Future Cruise Consultant and the Shore Excursions (EXEC) are up there now where the Explorations Café once was. They seem to get ALOT more business with the new location. Usable space in the Crow's Nest just for "hanging out" has been drastically reduced. The very large table style computer screens are really only suitable for their intended purpose, which is to scan the world ala Google Maps style. They really don't work for anything else like card playing, board games etc. I have to admit tho...it was fun showing our newly met friends THE ACTUAL STREET we live on and them doing the same. Also, the map screens came in handy when we had to change piers in NYC because of damage to the original pier. We used the screens to see where we would actually be docking and realized we would still sail past Lady Liberty, which was a relief. The "book exchange" shelves on the port side as you entered had a few books in them but it seemed that they were all in a foreign language. The books on the other side were mostly travel books etc. The two big screens that are now placed front and center in the space do show some interesting information i.e. engine room stats, water temp, position etc. but they further reduce the previously available space for "hanging out". The "Captains Corner" area on the port side was filled with rows and rows of folding chairs and the only events that were held there that I know of were pseudo trivia events designed to whet your appetite for other cruises. The whole Crow's Nest area is still a quiet place to grab a chair and watch the world go by...IF you get there early. With all the reduced space just for "hanging out", seats go early, VERY EARLY. Bottom line: I can see where it works good for HAL but not so much for the people who liked it as it was before. The new Gallery Bar is a HUGE improvement over the old Northern Lights "Disco". The new space is very cozy and elegant with beautiful and interesting art and very inviting furnishings. Some sofas had white pillows! A lot of events and meets were held there during our cruise in contrast with the old, dark, Northern Lights that was only used for bar crawls etc. The "Sports Bar" and "Piano Bar" are now gone and the space has been opened up into the "Billboard Onboard" area. During our cruise, there were two guys who played duets together most nights. I'm not sure what "dueling pianos" are but these guys just played the same songs together. You got to sit close and request songs but were not really encouraged to "sing along" like the old Piano Bar was designed to do. It was OK but to tell you the truth, I like the old Piano Bar concept MUCH better because it was more intimate and crowd participation focused. The Lincoln Center Stage was up and running. Let me just say...I used to really enjoy the Adagio duo while having a before dinner cocktail. I would actually make a point of getting ready early and going down there to have a drink and listen to Adagio while I waited for the rest of my party to join me. I never did that with Lincoln Center Stage once on this entire 20 day cruise. Don't get me wrong, they are very talented musicians but now it seems more like an "event" that you need to schedule instead of just entertainment to watch while you are waiting for your table to get ready. In fact, during "show times", the ship actually puts out signs telling people to be quite because "A Performance is in Progress". So you come out of the MDR, just having had a great dinner with new (and old) friends, yukking it up with the "Yum Yum" man, in a great mood and you get hit in the face with the sign that says "Quiet, Performance in Progress". Total buzz kill! You want to hear something really funny? One time we came out of the MDR and were talking normally and some do-gooder who was there waiting to get into the MDR gave us the "shoosh" sign (index finger vertically over pursed lips). What this person didn't realize was, the actual musicians were ON BREAK and what we were hearing was A RECORDING! The Navigator app worked well but we didn’t find it that useful other than to check our on board account. As far as daily activities go, I preferred to carry around the paper “When and Where” instead of using the app. We did use the messenger feature a couple of times. All in all, I think it’s a good thing but we didn’t use it much. We went to quite a few of the Mainstage shows at night. Most were pretty good. The Zuiderdam singers and dancers are very talented and personable. The guest entertainers were very good also in particular a foursome of young women from the UK who have amazing voices and did shows on two different days. They are called The IDA Girls and if you get a chance to see them you should do it! On a lot of days the Mainstage was used to show the daily movie and the Screening Room was used to show various BBC Earth films. At night, the big screen movie was then shown in the Screening Room. There were plenty of movies on the in-house movie system and new ones were added all the time. The BBKing’s group was very good too like always but we never seemed to spend much time in there for some reason. A lot of times when we went in there it was pretty empty. I felt bad for the performers because they were really good but the crowds just weren’t there. In contrast, every time we went by the Queen’s Lounge (same venue) during an “America’s Test Kitchen” demonstration, it was packed! The scenic narration and cultural talks before port visits and during sail aways were very good and informative. The Military Meet was held in the Gallery Bar and was very well attended There was coffee and cookies available and as a bonus, one of the ship’s Engineering Officers who was also a military veteran attended the gathering and was a great source of amusing stories. Overall, the food was very good on this cruise. We ate several times in the MDR with anytime dining and never had to wait very long at all. We always said we would share a table so that helps with the wait times. We had three Gala nights on this cruise and two were surf and turf. The lobster and steak were very good. Most people were dressed up pretty nice for Gala nights and the Dining Room Manager did a good job sitting people together who were dressed similarly. (IE suits with suits, casual with casual etc.) We did one afternoon tea and it too was enjoyable. We ate several meals in the Lido. The soups were consistently delicious! The service in the Lido was very good and the people who work there are very friendly and nice. Tables were tough to find at certain times but most people were willing to share their table if there was room. On the last night of the cruise the Lido served a dish called “Lobster Mac & Cheese”. Sounds good right? It was horrible! Nobody at our table liked it. I’m not sure what went wrong with that one but it was definitely a miss. Made to order pasta, omelets, salads and sandwiches were all good. We ordered room service breakfast several times and it always showed up right on time and correct. I love that they use the MDR china for the room service, it’s a nice touch. One thing though, occasionally when we ordered cereal and milk, the milk came in those little boxes with the straws. It’s very difficult trying to get milk into your cereal bowl from those little boxes! We ate at the Canelleto for the first time on this cruise. What a delight! The food was superb and the service was exceptional. It was well worth the upcharge. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night. We have eaten in the Pinnacle Grill on several different ships so I’m going to be a little critical here. The past few times I have not really felt that the experience was worth the upcharge of $35.00. This occasion was no different. When we were seated, I noticed a whole bunch of salt or something similar all over my seat, I actually had to get up and brush it all off. The menu was stained and actually torn in the corner. Never saw that in the MDR. The food was very good and so was the service but again, I don’t believe that the whole experience is worth the extra $35.00 It was a better value when it was only $20.00. We went to afternoon tea one time and it was a lot of fun. We also attended the Mariner Brunch and although the food was good I never saw any officers there. I heard that the Captain did welcome the guests but we never saw him at the Mariner’s Brunch. As a side note, we did see the Captain out and about several times during this cruise and he was very good about keeping us up to date on things. There were two scheduled happy hours every day on this 20 day cruise AND, every day at the Lido Pool area, they were selling Bud, Michelob, and Coors buy one at regular price and get a second one for $2.00. all day every day. It was unadvertised except for the servers who would tout it. They were 16oz. cans. A pretty good deal. The Dive-In was very good as was the Taco Bar that was set up by the Lido Pool every day. Disembarkation was held up slightly for some reason. There were rumors going around that it had something to do with the Stevedore Union. Once we got off the ship, getting our luggage and getting through customs was pretty easy. We did get off in time to make it to our tour bus and take our ship sponsored tour of lower Manhattan. This was a great tour and it included a transfer to Newark airport. It was a great way to end a great cruise! Read Less
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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Have recently arrived back in Australia following the Viking Passage cruise on Zuiderdam. I was slightly anxious about a cruise of this length as our first cruise, but totally enjoyed the experience and my husband and I are already ... Read More
Have recently arrived back in Australia following the Viking Passage cruise on Zuiderdam. I was slightly anxious about a cruise of this length as our first cruise, but totally enjoyed the experience and my husband and I are already talking about where we will cruise next. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of our stateroom - we had a large inside room on main deck and we would happily book this type of room again, although the lack of natural light did mean that I was never quite sure if I should be getting up or staying put in the mornings!! I found that sea days have a particular appeal, especially when I had the opportunity to see whales (from a distance) and dolphins (quite close to the ship) and many icebergs over the course of a couple of days. I particularly enjoyed the mainstage shows each evening and thought the Lincoln Centre Stage performers were exceptional. The dining options were quite good, however we found that we did prefer the casual dining in the Lido over the main dining room, mostly because of the lack of tables for two in the dining room. However, I must commend the helpfulness and friendliness of all the food and drink service staff. I did have some concerns with the laundry service as on the majority of occasions we had some problems including items missing or damaged. One time we received an item that was not ours, so returned that via our fabulous cabin steward. On all but one occasion these problems were addressed, however it was slightly disappointing that I needed to regularly contact guest services about our laundry. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary, and knew nothing about Holland America. But so glad we took a chance! Friendliest crew we have ever met on a cruise- ok. we didn't meet our cabin steward till the second day, but no ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary, and knew nothing about Holland America. But so glad we took a chance! Friendliest crew we have ever met on a cruise- ok. we didn't meet our cabin steward till the second day, but no problem. Lots of things on this ship that we felt were done very well. We loved the system with sunbeds- no need for pool towels in our room- they're already rolled up and ready to use on the beds. Great retractable roof over the pool, and we were always able to get a bed there when we wanted one. Food in the Lido and restaurant was generally of a high quality- I loved the make your own salads in the Lido. Although the ship was full, it never seemed crowded anywhere. Evenings meals we had in the restaurant. We generally went down about 7, asked for a table for two, maybe had to wait 10 minutes, then straight in. Maitre d always very accommodating, as were all of the staff. Our cabin was on Rotterdam deck., towards the rear of the ship. Very comfortable, very quiet. Entertainment in the evening was ok. We enjoyed B B Kings, Trivia quizzes ( met some great people) and some of the entertainment in the theatre. Billboard wasn't for us, although they were very popular. Daytime activities on sea days we found to be very limited, but that's no different from most cruise ships we've been on. Gave me time to catch up with reading! The Crows nest area we found to have a bit of a strange layout. No library on board this ship, which was a first for us- books available to read in the Crows Nest, but we didn't find it a particulary inviting area. We did four shore excursions through Holland America- no problems with any of them, except for the price! Would recommend that people checked out independent tour operators for all the ports- we booked with Travelling Viking in Akeyuri prior to cruise. Prompt pick up at11 in a mini bus, great tour guide, and a lot less than Holland America wanted for simoilar tour. Embarkation and disembarkation very well organised- had to wait a while for coach to come to airport to pick us up for transfer to ship, but because we were the last transfer, went straight onto ship . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this Baltic cruise because we liked the 10 day itinerary, with only 2 sea days and starting and ending in Copenhagen. We thought our balcony room was in excellent condition, with fresh paint, nice bedding and carpeting and a ... Read More
We chose this Baltic cruise because we liked the 10 day itinerary, with only 2 sea days and starting and ending in Copenhagen. We thought our balcony room was in excellent condition, with fresh paint, nice bedding and carpeting and a sofa bed in good condition. In the public areas everything had been redone with blue and teal furnishings, and it all looked nice. The ship is older with not a lot of razzmatazz but we knew this ahead of time. The entertainment was mediocre at best-we liked the Billboard piano hits the best, the BBKing music was always too loud to enjoy, and the main stage events were mostly acceptable if unexciting. We enjoyed an American Test Kitchen event and went to a wine tasting. Other than that we did not pursue any onboard activities. We like the open promenade on deck 3 for walking around the outside of the ship. The food in the main dining room was just average, with a couple of good meals mixed with some rather poor options. We had two meals in the Pinnalce Grill with one halibut dinner and one steak dinner that were good but nothing especially memorable. The Cannaletto was the highlight-both our dinners there were delicious and the service was excellent. The lido breakfast and lunch were both nice. Overall I think the food is cruise ship average. Given the reputation for service on HAL we were disappointed. Our room steward twice left dirty dishes/bottles in the room. The wait staff often rushed us, hurrying us to take our orders. The wine steward was slow, and complained about having to check for our open bottle in the dining room At the Pinnacle Grill they twice sat us at terrible tables (which we requested to be changed) even though good tables were very much available. We reserved 6 pm dining over a year earlier but they gave us 8pm dining. We asked to be switched to open dining on the first night in the dining room and they said they would do that. Each time we went to the main dining room they said we had an 8 pm reservation and we had to explain the situation again. Overall, I recommend this cruise for the itinerary, and for those who are not concerned about having a new ship with lots of entertainment options, but will be content with pleasant cabins and a low key atmoshphere. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Cruised with HAL before and found them good, same service etc on this cruise. I didn’t book the drinks package and found it was cheaper to pay as you go especially as the cruise had happy hour a few times each day. (Buy one and get ... Read More
Cruised with HAL before and found them good, same service etc on this cruise. I didn’t book the drinks package and found it was cheaper to pay as you go especially as the cruise had happy hour a few times each day. (Buy one and get another for 2$) The entertainment was good from the main dancers and singers but the comedian was awful. The group ‘Five o’clock somewhere’ where good singers but didn’t really like their quirky act. The B.B. kings were great but it was the same show each night I enjoyed the Lincoln centre stage The billboard on board see,ed to be popular but I only went on one occasion The trivia was good fun and good way to meet people The food in the dining room was a little cold on some occasions Overall the food was excellent I didn’t go on any of the HAL excursions Tallin This is an easy city to do on your own - it has a free walking tour from the main tourist office at Niguliste at noon for 2 hours, although the town is pretty compact so you could easily walk about on your own. It is about 5/10 minute walk from terminal The small train that goes around the city does not have commentary St. Petersburg I completed a 2 day tour with SPB who were half the price of HAL with the same itinerary. The hermitage was packed and very uncomfortable to tour. Helsinki This is a large city, you are given a map by the tourist office on arrival, if you ask them to show you were your location and follow the sea this will take you to senate square etc. About another half hour walking will take you to the rock church and sibilieus monument. There is a shuttle bus service for about £10 Euro return. Stockholm I did the hop on hop off bus tour which was good, you could equally do the hop on hop off boat tour which will take you to the same sights or just take the ferry to all the sights which would be slightly cheaper. I went to Glama Stan to see the palace etc. Rostock The ship supplied a shuttle bus to this small town for free, easy to get around to see the huge clock in the main church. Kiel I did a free walking tour from the port at 0930 for 2 hours this was by Maggie and very good, it is also a small town and easy to get around, only about 5 minute walk to centre of town Copenhagen I got air luggage to take my case to the airport £15 Euro and then caught the number 27 bus into the little mermaid then walked into town. There is a bus number 11 takes you around all the sights but this an easy city to manage on foot. Went to Rosenberg castle to see the changing of the guard at 1130 hours I booked a city pass ticket for public transport for 80 DEK which got me the train from central station to the airport as well, you can buy this ticket from outside the terminal but I got it online. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our second time on Zuiderdam, and the dry dock has definitely freshened its appearance. We did a 10 day Baltic cruise during the height of a record setting heat wave, but the ship was always cool and comfortable and in top ... Read More
This was our second time on Zuiderdam, and the dry dock has definitely freshened its appearance. We did a 10 day Baltic cruise during the height of a record setting heat wave, but the ship was always cool and comfortable and in top condition. The Good: Very comfortable suite with great bed, nice veranda furniture, spacious dual sink. Music walk concept provided a variety of music by excellent performers. Specialty dining was very good. Staff at every level was first rate and helpful. Shore excursions were well run with interesting itineraries. Bar drinks were reasonably priced. Shops were well stocked with some designer items (Nautica, Tommy Bahama). The bad (or less than perfect): Main Dining room food was inconsistent from very good to so-so, and there were a few instances of overcooked entrees. Breakfast servings were not always as hot as they should be. Lido actually did a better breakfast, especially the omelet bar. The cabin had a great Samsung 50in TV but very little to watch, either live or on demand. Internet service was so slow as to be almost worthless. Bottled water was overpriced. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have been cruising on Holland America now for a number of years and have been on a number of ships cruising North America and all over Europe. This particular cruise departing Copenhagen and visiting Norway, Iceland, Lerwick UK and ... Read More
We have been cruising on Holland America now for a number of years and have been on a number of ships cruising North America and all over Europe. This particular cruise departing Copenhagen and visiting Norway, Iceland, Lerwick UK and the Faroe Islands was overall good but with some negatives as all cruises have. We sailed on the second half of the 24 day cruise called the ""Northern Isles Enchantment Cruise”. which already had some passengers onboard from the Baltic Sea part. The transfer from Copenhagen airport was fine with a 1 ½ hour tour of the city prior to arriving at the cruise terminal where the embarkation was a little chaotic which seems to be the norm lately. The PA system at the terminal was not functioning properly and it was difficult to understand the boarding instructions. Once onboard we noticed that the Zuiderdam was recently renovated and all of the public areas were updated to include our Signature Verandah Suite which was both spacious and comfortable. Our cabin steward quickly appeared to introduce himself and offer any assistance that he could. He did a very good job of locating and delivering our luggage which took some time as apparently it was misdirected. The encountered staff members were very friendly and professional with the exception of 2 or 3 members at the gangway entrance who seemed to be a little frazzled with the new passenger arrivals and were a little snippy with directions. After settling in to our cabin we went to the main dining room to make our “Open Dining” reservation and quickly found out that the dining room scheduling desk on Deck 2 was preferable to making reservations than the reservation telephone number as the representatives weren’t all that accommodating or informed. The overall food in the dining room was fair with some hits and some misses as should be expected. We did notice a slight decline in food quality from previous years. One point to make is to order any breakfast eggs “well done” as other Cruise Critic reviewers have noted that the eggs are served watery and undone both in the dining room and with room service as well. The Pinnacle Grill was fabulous and the Canaletto Restaurant not so much as the food quality decline was very evident. The Lido at lunch was extremely crowded with the seating limited. On the last sea day before leaving we just handed our full plates to a steward to throw away as there wasn’t even any shared seating available to include in the adjacent pool areas. We ended up waiting a half hour and picked up two chicken sandwiches from the Dine In Grill and sat at the outdoor pool lip/bench area with the food in our laps. The overall entertainment was not of any interest to us as we only enjoyed 3 of the 14 nights in the Main Stage and ended up leaving after a few minutes for the 11 performances that we didn’t care for. The “Billboard Onboard” piano/singers were fantastic but the BB King Band was not as they were way too loud for the small room and not up to the standard of other BB King Bands that we enjoyed on previous cruises. The America’s Test Kitchen activities were very entertaining and fun to attend. We purchased 3 excursions and were disappointed a bit with all of them as there were many glitches obviously with the contractors and a lack of communication with the ship. A point to make is that when trying to review the excursions on the Holland America web site the review option seems to have disappeared. Maybe I am doing something wrong and looking in the wrong place. Guest Services appeared to be “Out of the Loop” on many occasions with inaccurate information being distributed to us often with a later correction. On the plus side our final invoice was correct and billed to our credit card. The Captain was always visible around ship and gangways and was seen interacting both with the staff and passengers. There were many passengers that were coughing and sneezing all over and for the most part the personal hygiene/health habits left a bit to be desired to say the least. All in all a “fair” cruise experience with some pluses and some minuses and the cruise was nothing special. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was our first time on Holland America, which we feel is not as good as our favorite cruise line, Princess. We loved all of the ports on this cruise. The drop down boxes above didn't give ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was our first time on Holland America, which we feel is not as good as our favorite cruise line, Princess. We loved all of the ports on this cruise. The drop down boxes above didn't give me the choice to say this was the Northern Isles cruise. We visited two ports in Norway, spent 5 days in 4 ports in Iceland (overnight in Reykjavik), and stopped at the Faroe Islands and Shetland Islands. We spent a day in Copenhagen before boarding, visiting Tivoli Gardens. Boarding was smooth, and we were very pleasantly surprised that our room was ready when we arrived. The ship was recently refurbished, but we did not see much evidence of it. Our room was standard issue cruise cabin, which we expected. The bathroom needed serious attention: the toilet seat had deep scratches, as did the bathtub. It was just very tired looking. We chose Open Seating for our dining option. Our cruise consultant assured us we would be able to make 6 PM reservations, but once on the ship we found we could not. The choices in the dining room and in the buffet did not offer much variation. Room service kept bringing me decaf tea when I requested regular, so I finally gave up. Canaletto, the $15 per person Italian restaurant, was a disappointment. It's located at one end of the buffet, so it doesn't seem in any way special. The food was no different in quality or variety than the regular dining room. The entertainment in the Main Stage was okay. We've seen better on Princess and Royal Caribbean. Activities on sea days were disappointing. Talks on upcoming ports were given once, so if you couldn't make it you were out of luck. Seems like it would be simple enough to record them and give the option of watching them on the TV in one's room. Our room stewards were great! Always attentive and very helpful. The buffet staff and dinner waiters were also outstanding. Breakfast and lunch waiters in the dining room were curt and almost surly, as were some of the room service delivery persons. We took only three cruise line sponsored shore excursions because there just weren't many to choose from. All were very good. We appreciated that Holland America helped us with hearing assistive technology for my husband. One of the three tour operators had a system for him to use. Maybe Holland America could be more pro-active about this. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise very much, mostly because we were able to visit ports that we were interested in. I doubt we would choose Holland America again unless they offered an itinerary that another cruise line does not, as in this case. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise for its terrific itinerary. It did not disappoint. From Bergen and Alesund and the fjords of Norway to the tiny towns of Iceland and the lovely little city of Reykjavik, we had something to look forward to at every ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its terrific itinerary. It did not disappoint. From Bergen and Alesund and the fjords of Norway to the tiny towns of Iceland and the lovely little city of Reykjavik, we had something to look forward to at every port. Having the Faroe and Shetland Islands added was simply a bonus. The Zuiderdam was clean, beautifully maintained and as stable in the swells as one could hope for. The crew was outstanding, from the Captain, who was visible and approachable throughout the cruise, to the men who polished brass every single day! Our balcony cabin was standard, but again, cared for quickly and with pride by our stewards. We never wanted for anything. We enjoyed the Explorations Lounge on Deck 10 for scenic sailing. Dual pianists in Billboard Onboard were beyond fantastic. It was our go to evening destination! Mainstage entertainment incorporating BBC photography was a treat. I enjoyed America's Test Kitchen and pickleball; my husband visited the fitness center on each sea day while I walked the deck. There was enough variety on the Lido buffets to more than satisfy us for breakfast. The Dive In for burgers and hot dogs was an excellent lunch choice along with the taco bar. Dinners in the Main Dining Room were not always exceptional although food was always beautifully presented. The Pinnacle Grill was disappointing,, again service was lovely. Embarkation and debarkation in Copenhagen were smooth. Three ports were tender ports; the transfers were efficient and well organized. We never had to wait for a tender either leaving or returning to the ship.. We opted to do our own thing ashore - sometimes with fellow travelers whom we had met through our Cruise Critic Roll Call. We also had researched local websites extensively. We liked that we could move at our own pace; Port calls were long enough that we were able to get a real feel for each place. Read Less
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