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224 Holland America Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

Not everything about this cruise was abjectly awful. The food and service in Pinnacle Grill was good. Annette, who led the America's Test Kitchen demos, was very good. The itinerary was fairly rare. But a lot of stuff went wrong. ... Read More
Not everything about this cruise was abjectly awful. The food and service in Pinnacle Grill was good. Annette, who led the America's Test Kitchen demos, was very good. The itinerary was fairly rare. But a lot of stuff went wrong. Aside from Pinnacle Grill, the food was fit for a King. As in "Here King! Here boy! Good boy!" Food is subjective but food temperature and consistency are not. And they couldn't get the basics right on temperature and consistency. In eight dining room appearances, my wife never got what she ordered on the first try once. The Lanai room was clean, but the good points stopped there. The Lanai door did not work and was propped open or closed with wood. We could not control the stateroom temperature. This could not be fixed. The toilet clogged frequently. Passenger internet was knocked out for a week in/around Spitsbergen. Some internet worked of course, as the daily mini-newspapers kept appearing, just not for pax. A $50 credit was belatedly offered...a decent deal for those who bought the cheaper packages, but cold comfort to those who bought the more expensive/multi-device ones. The itinerary was clumsy, with too little time in too many ports. Putting Heimaey on the list of ports was ridiculous: at the best of times, the ship cannot approach the shallow harbour so it's a 35-minute tender ride to shore. These were not the best of times: It was not safe to put the tenders out so we skipped it, burning a day we could have been elsewhere. This was supposed to be an EXC cruise and after reading about the biologists and geologists brought on for the Southerly cruises we expected a treat. Instead our "expert" was a drowsy Aussie who had never been to this part of the world. His "expertise" was reading us Wikipedia. Easy enough to skip his talks, but his mumblings were blared on the outside decks, likely scaring away what little wildlife there was. They ran out of 2/3 of the wines in our package (Cellar #2). Servers eager/kind but hopelessly overworked The thermal package bought pre cruise was a grimy hot tub, grimy sauna, and six heated loungers. Layout unsuitable for this wheelchair user. Guest Services to their credit cheerfully gave Day 1 refund. We would only travel HAL again if, factoring in price, it was still a good deal after factoring in the $39pp it costs to eat in Pinnacle Grill nightly in a full balcony with working balcony door. The auto-itinerary says we were on a 34 day cruise but it was 20 days only, disembarking Aug 4. Mostly Spitsbergen and Iceland, with a stop in Norway Proper and Scotland bookending. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last ... Read More
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last lounge is only open at 10:30 casino was very small as maybe three or four tables to play on nothing for the kids to do just terrible absolutely terrible they messed up my room keys my arm board acount the money I put in my account disappeared five separate trips the customer service in two days and we still didn't get the shore excursion I would never recommend anybody use Holland America when we got back to shore and I contacted them about all the problems I had the only thing they had to say was I apologize didn't even attempt to make it right or make it up to making my disabled wife feel like she was an inconvenience these people Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose the Zuiderdam for the Baltic cruise because we wanted an itinerary that had us in St Petersburg for two days since we wanted to more fully explore that port. We also wanted a smallish ship because we don’t want to contend with ... Read More
We chose the Zuiderdam for the Baltic cruise because we wanted an itinerary that had us in St Petersburg for two days since we wanted to more fully explore that port. We also wanted a smallish ship because we don’t want to contend with the number of people on the large ships and some of the small ships get too pricey. We chose wisely. We had an amazingly experience and among our group of 6 with mixed levels of cruising experiences we all agreed we would do it again. My husband and I got off and most ports and did things on our own with the exceptions of St Petersburg and Warnemünde where we had lined up tours with TJ Travel and Harry’s Taxi respectively for our group of six. Both tours were tremendous and well worth their price which was way less than the ship. In Stockholm my husband and I got a cab so we could start at the Vasa Museum and walk back. One couple did the Hop on Hop at some ports and the Easy Excursions from the ship at other ports except Tallinn which is an easy enough walk around for them. Our remaining twosome used a combo of HOHO and just walking off the ship at the other ports. We needed a cab in Tallinn for our couple with limited walking abilities. Tallinn has a HOHO but you cannot get into old town. This same couple used wheelchairs in St Petersburg provided by TJ Travel. We were confused the first couple days by the dining but got it sorted out. The flyer we receive each evening in our cabin indicated that it was open seating (or some similar term). We thought that meant our scheduled dining time was not being honored and instead we should go anytime. Well good news is that you can go at your scheduled time OR anytime. I like this feature a lot but it was a little confusing. We did want to go at the same time and have the same servers so we figured it out on day 2 and we did that going forward. The food was always amazing and varied. The only exception was embarcation day but I bet that is a crazy day for the kitchen. Great experience had by all! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation ... Read More
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. It all went smoothly and we were on the ship much earlier than the time we had been assigned (since we transferred from a hotel). We went right to our cabin where we found the scooter and oxygen concentrator I had ordered already in the cabin. There was more than enough room for the rented scooter, my own scooter and walking around. The Lido beckoned and lunch was good. Then, there was one hitch...the drink card I had ordered was nowhere to be found. Down to Guest Services where I was promised it would be delivered in 9-10 minutes. It wasn't. It took 2 more contacts with Guest Services before they printed it for me at the desk. The only other problem was, one evening while trying to watch a movie in the cabin, there was a pop and the electricity on one side of the room was out. There was a maintenance man at the cabin in 15 minutes and it was fixed. Probably a breaker needed to be thrown. We ate in the dining room most of the time since my husband has trouble walking and the Lido is hard on him. I found, however, that the selection was not as good as on past cruises. The food was good, just the selection was poor. The main dining room was very good although, here as well, the selection wasn't up to previous cruises. The table staff and hosts were wonderful. Adi (host) and Von (wine steward) were especially wonderful. We had open seating and had the same table every evening with different companions, all fantastic people. We are not night people and only attended one show. The ports were wonderful. We only did one excursion (since we'd done this so many times before) and it was good. There was some confusion as to an ADA bus, but that got cleared up pretty quickly. The rest of the time we just wandered around...exactly what I wanted to do. There was one particular shop on Creek Street in Ketchikan (Perfect Partners) that I wanted to visit and it had just opened. I was thrilled. Disembarkation was as smooth as glass. We were on the bus before the time we were scheduled to leave the ship. Then there was the airport..... This may be our last cruise due to medical reasons. It was a wonderful week. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches ... Read More
We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches on embarkation and disembarkation. The lectures were informative and pleasing; the Kitchen at Sea was great as was the entertainment. We were the first passengers to enjoy the new carpets and the new chairs and the number of renovations on this ship! There will always be a place for these smaller ships in the industry. (1200 Passengers, but about 1000 on our crossing) the captain was all around the ship, available for questions, and very informative about the nuts and bolts of the ship and the navigaion. He was from Scotland and had the sense of humor, understated, and excellent rapport with his staff and of course the passengers! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Holland America, review of cruise 3-30 thru 4-07-19 I decided to go on a cruise for my 60th BD and chose Holland America. We drove down on Saturday with Sylvia, Michael and Mary and landed at Edgewater/New Smyrna Beach. Went to the ... Read More
Holland America, review of cruise 3-30 thru 4-07-19 I decided to go on a cruise for my 60th BD and chose Holland America. We drove down on Saturday with Sylvia, Michael and Mary and landed at Edgewater/New Smyrna Beach. Went to the Garlic for dinner, it was fantastic. The next day we drove the 3 hours to Fort Lauderdale. We made it to the ship where Heaven awaited. Rizky and Jo took excellent care of our cabin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They knew our names and worked so hard! We went to the Pinnacle restaurant that first night. The next day we were at Sea where I found that JR made me an excellent bloody Mary on Deck 10. Then we had the OCEANSIDE BAR, DECK 2 with Rommel, Jeorge, Reul, Bernardo ( the manager) take great care of us the next 7 nights.. The next day we were at Turks and Caicos where we went Whale watching. We saw 3 sets of whales! The next day was my BD, we sailed into San Juan and went to the Spanish rooftop bar at the top of Hotel Milano where we had Mojitos. That night we had dinner at Canaletto I spent all day wearing my Tiara and everybody calling me “Princess”. Thursday, we sailed into St. Thomas where we picked up our tour to Mountaintop. Banana Daquiris were amazing and the shopping was the best. Friday was a day at sea, we had breakfast on the LIDO DECK/Buffet which is where we had breakfast everyday. My husband jumped up and left his phone, but, Agung saw it and made sure we got it back. While we were having lunch, Nino, Assistant Beverage Manager asked if he could get me anything? I said I would love an unsweetened ice tea and he ended up getting me 3!! It was so kind and Jeff also helped as I am disabled, this meant a lot! Dinner at Tamarind Saturday was at half moon Cay where we spent time on the beach from 10 to 2. It was beautiful but it was HOT! dinner at Tamarind Sunday, we docked and were at the car by 9:00AM. We drove back 8 HOURS. Steak and Shake was lunch and we were back by 5:30pm. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. Check- in was a long process as those going on the World Cruise are mostly four and five star customers and the designated line for that was just as long for the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. Check- in was a long process as those going on the World Cruise are mostly four and five star customers and the designated line for that was just as long for the other guests that were new to the ship. There are a lot of seniors on this trip (who else could take off for 113 days) so don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere as that won’t happen. We had an Oceanview room on the second deck right in the middle. We would not choose this again for two reasons. The pilots that board to help the ship dock usually come in very early in the morning right below your window and then there is the cleaning of the deck (deck three is the walking deck) also very early in the morning. However if noise doesn’t bother you, the cabin was nice. It had a large picture window, plenty of drawers and closet space and ours had a renovated bathroom that had a large glass shower and a marble counter. Unfortunately the rest of the décor was aged and some of the wood on the dressers had chips out of it. The rooms on deck 6 and 7 were fully refurbished during the last dry dock, hopefully they do the same with deck two. The itinerary was the best. Top ports to us were: Easter Island, Komodo Island, all of New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, Jordan, Cadiz (Seville), Copenhagen, Oslo and Dublin. We learned a few things to pass on to others regarding ports. If you are going into a tender port and really, really want to explore that port book a shore excursion. Even though the price is double what a port excursion is, you are first off the ship. We had rough seas when visiting Easter Island and some people did not get on the tender to view this impressive place. However, we were lucky to get a couple of hours on the Island and were very disappointed in Holland America when we saw an awful lot of staff on the island before we got there. Some were helping out with the tours but most were either from the shops or officers, we assumed that guests would have first dibs on the tenders. Pros: - Itinerary was absolutely amazing. - The Microsoft Digital Workshop was a free service that had classes on how best to use Windows 10. We learned a lot - Gloeta was a biology lecturer we had on board that was fabulous. It was standing room only for her lectures on the Pacific Ocean and what was lurking below the water. - The staff was second-to-none. Big shout out to Captain Johnathan Mercer. He kept us informed about all that was going on and always had time to say hello or answer a question. Henk Mensink is the hotel director but you see him everywhere. Wishing you a pleasant day in port, helping you on to the tender, picking up after guest. Holland America is lucky to have him. The wait staff and kitchen help were happy and helpful. - The ship was amazing clean, down to staff polishing the hand rails everyday on every stairwell and even brushing the carpet. Rooms were also exceptionally clean. - The food was all you could hope for. No need to dress up for formal nights in the dining room as the same food is served at the Lido (sure saves on what you have to pack). No need to get to the speciality restaurants either as the food is just that good. I liked the fact that almost all the food is served to you from behind the sneeze guards. We assume that there would be a lot less waste and much more cleanly that way. Cons - The internet is stupid expensive and so unreliable. We paid $700 US for a plan for the whole cruise and had better luck at the ports and in McDonalds on land, than trying to get the internet either to work at all or was so slow you couldn’t connect with what sites you wanted. - Staff – the cruise director was invisible except when the captain was at an activity, otherwise you never saw him or he quickly passed you without even a nod. The shore specialist was more interested in telling you all about the history of the place or what his favourite items were (sailing and pubs) than giving you hints on what to buy, where to buy, how much to pay, etc. Very disappointing for both of these. - Library needs to either get updated books or become a digital library. Some of the books had been there an extended period of time and anything new was few and far between. - The entertainers on board were average at best. Some good, some bad. The average age looked to be around 75 so the entertainment was geared to that era. - There were two big back windows in the dining room that you could not see out of because they were shattered but were never changed out the whole trip. Also couldn’t see out of most of the windows by the end of the cruise as they were not cleaned. We had to complain in order to get our window in our cabin cleaned. Even though there were some cons (as I assume all ships have), this trip was a once in a lifetime experience and what was saw of the world was fabulous. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Week long cruise with my mom and niece. Neptune suite 7034 with shower only was perfect for my mom who has trouble getting in and out of a bathtub / shower combo. Enjoyed the piano bar, comedian, and music on board. Ports were good ... Read More
Week long cruise with my mom and niece. Neptune suite 7034 with shower only was perfect for my mom who has trouble getting in and out of a bathtub / shower combo. Enjoyed the piano bar, comedian, and music on board. Ports were good - except we did not do anything in Guatemala. Had rented a wheel chair for my mom in advance through travel agent which was in the cabin when we arrived. Food overall was very good although we could not get dining room reservations earlier than 7:45. Really enjoyed the lido market - salads made to order were fantastic! Crew and overall service was excellent throughout the ship. Internet went down on the last afternoon / evening causing none of the slot machines to work and all ship computers were down for about 4 hours. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze as was valet parking at Tampa port. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but ... Read More
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but no assistance from wait staff as to price/type of cocktail. There was none of the usual atmosphere of departure (same at every port). Only advantage was going under Harbour Bridge. Cabin was fine albeit a pretty small balcony. Whole ship needs a real freshen up/full refurb. Lido lounge food was average. Some hot foods not hot but if asked for fresh cooked steak/fish then this was done (that's the clue!). Breakfast omelette was the best choice. Entertainment was very ordinary. Magician/Comedian was good. movies were on a very small screen and sound ordinary. Cabin staff were excellent. Stern Pool Bar staff were great, especially Troy! This ship seems to cater to older travellers. I'm 58 and there weren't many younger than me. Most people we spoke to were not happy with entertainment, bar times, Lido Market food. The day time food demos were good. Trivia bar quizzes were ok as were bar happy hours (if you could work out where/times). in summary, cabin was very good, quiet. Whole ship was immaculately clean. All Bar staff and some Lido Market staff were excellent. Dining Room was top shelf, staff, ambience and food. Would I travel Noordam again? No.Have travelled Celebrity before and they are chalk and cheese apart. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My husband and I decided to take this cruise on the Koningsdam because we had been years before on Holland America and wanted to try it again. I knew it was a relatively new ship and we both thought we would enjoy the trip. Unfortunately ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take this cruise on the Koningsdam because we had been years before on Holland America and wanted to try it again. I knew it was a relatively new ship and we both thought we would enjoy the trip. Unfortunately the activities on board were practically none. On the positive side, the service was excellent and our cabin stewards were wonderful. We only ate three times in the main dining room, and decided to eat upstairs most evenings in the Lido Cafe. The food was very good, and plentiful. Also the choices for breakfast in the cafe were excellent. The entertainment on ship was also good and bad. Two production shows with dancers and a juggler, were far from entertaining. The best show was a couple who sang Beatles songs. Also the music venues included a Rolling Stones Rock Band, a wonderful piano duo, and a BB King group . These were all great. Since there was so little activities on board we watched a lot of movies in our cabin. We only went on two shore excursions since we had been at these ports several times before and could have completely done without the port of Tortola. We are experienced cruisers, who feel that overall it was a lovely ship, but was really too quiet for us. If you want to rest, great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Holland America used to be known as the cruise line where seniors would eat at 530 pm and be tucked away by nine. So not so anymore. My wife and I, veterans of more than thirty cruises took our first HAL cruise to Spain and Portugal in ... Read More
Holland America used to be known as the cruise line where seniors would eat at 530 pm and be tucked away by nine. So not so anymore. My wife and I, veterans of more than thirty cruises took our first HAL cruise to Spain and Portugal in Sept 2018 and were knocked silly by the high level of food, service,and entertainment. What mainly blew us away was the virtuoso like quality of the musicians at their Lincoln center stage, billboard on board, and Bb king area, not to mention the world stage productions. So when we heard the Nieuw Statendam was having a four day cruise in December we jumped at the chance.let’s just say they changed their A game to their A plus game by adding their Rolling Stone Rock band, which would have easily fit into the main stage at the Fillmore East or any major concert venue . Such musical genius all around. On a cruise ship yet, who knew? We now have booked a cruise for Feb 2020 on the Nieuw Amsterdam which also has these musical offerings. At our age one island blends into the next: we are here for the bands. In addition the service was excellent: any request was handled quickly and efficiently, the staff crispy dressed in grey uniforms with Dutch orange trim. The dining rooms staffs were excellent as well, calling my wife “my lady” how cool is that? I do have a small criticism: the pools are not their strongest point. While the covered pool and attached hot tubs are sufficient for the non holiday crowds, the Seaview pool and hot tubs were achingly small, with the hottubs sufficient for one person only. But never mind. Go for the ship, food, and entertainment and oh by the way if you happen on a beach or two, that is fine as well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The cruise started with the worst embarkation situatin. We need wheelchair assistance to embark because of the long walks. Holland America's Ft. Lauderdale operation to have two wheelchairs used for a significant number of people. who ... Read More
The cruise started with the worst embarkation situatin. We need wheelchair assistance to embark because of the long walks. Holland America's Ft. Lauderdale operation to have two wheelchairs used for a significant number of people. who would be taken to a table top counter, processed and assigned to a holding area to await wheelchairs to board the ship. Never, in our 50 some cruise experiences, have we had to wait 2 1/2 hours to board a ship, NOT EVEN ON A MEGA SHIP! . If anyone thought this was an anomoly, debarkation was no better -- two wheechairs. It was quite apparent, from embarkation, no handicap assistance on the ship in the buffet or other area, and debarkation, the mobility challenged were treated as 2nd Class Citizens and Holland America was doing you a favor rather than providing service. It took three days for maintenance to fix the HVAC in our cabin as it went from FREEZING when we boarded ship to a SAUNA a day later back to Freezing. We asked at one point for Holland America to send us home from the first port stop in Curacao. New Years Night found the ship in a FREEZING mode with passengers wearing parkas and shipboard staff wearing sweatshirts and hoodies. And then, at midnight, the freezing became unbearably hot. Only one more day left -- thank goodness!!! Excursion vendors were not asked to accommodate the mobility challenged or handicapped. They were not asked to provide even step stools on high access vehicles. When I asked Sydney in Excursions about this she became belligerent and offensive. I discussed this with her supervisor, Abigail, who agree that vendors should be asked to provide easier access. I suggested Sydney would make great excursion director on a container ship. We were most surprised by the lack of service and accommodaion. Holland America has historically, and still does, market to more mature audiences. They were quality conscious and most considerate of the mobility challenged. We sailed with them on a number of occasions. Not anymore! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose the Holland America Zuiderdam ship for our 2018 Christmas family vacation. The only reason I would give any stars for this cruise is for the room and dinning stewards who provided the utmost impeccable service. Cheers to all of ... Read More
We chose the Holland America Zuiderdam ship for our 2018 Christmas family vacation. The only reason I would give any stars for this cruise is for the room and dinning stewards who provided the utmost impeccable service. Cheers to all of you!!! However, Holland America Ships are severely lacking customer service, acommodations are poorly described. The cabin layout was terrible and considering this was a Holiday cruise, it severely lacked festive activities, entertainment and decorations. We were advised by Holland America the Zuideram Veranda Cabins accommodate 3-4 passengers. We had 3 in our cabin. However, to accommodate anymore than 2 passengers, access to the veranda balcony and bar fridge are "completely blocked" and they had to "remove furniture" from our cabin to make room for the 3rd person for the entire cruise. I guess the 4th person would have had a caught on the balcony because there is absolutely no room for a 4th person. This was extremely disappointing when we had paid the extra $2,000 to have a balcony cabin but couldn't access the door to get out onto the balcony. SAVE your money a book an Ocean View or Interior Cabin for a much lower rate. The Ship's Customer Service Relations were not helpful in providing any alternative nor compensation for the extra cost we paid to have a balcony we had no access to. There were minimal Christmas decorations throughout the ship not making it feel very festive for a holiday cruise. Santa came aboard the ship to visit the 40-50 children on board and gave them all a dollar store gift that broke within the day. We expected much more for a Holiday cruise considering the inflated cost for a cruise during this peak time. We would never consider Holland America for future Holiday cruises. PS to Smokers: there is only 1 smoking section on board and they refuse to let anyone smoke prior to the ship leaving port. It was a long 6 hour wait from the time we boarded to leaving port. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on ... Read More
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on the elevators , my cabin SY8081 was not accesible cabin and I found a lot of space for my scooter . I recommend it . Not many places to go at night , BB king, the piano guys and the main stage But for us is more than enough . I start to realize that mid size ships are the best . The cruise director Nathan dance amazing , he has such a lovely personality who light up the room and attract younger people . All the meals were fantastic no matter where it was The lido or the main dining room . Everything was amazing , the consistency , the flavour The quality of the food . It’s hard to describe everything . You need to try by yourself .. everything was perfect . They are detail oriented . Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Great trip – Senior Citizens will love this cruise! My DH (65ys old) and I (63yrs old) boarded Holland America’s Oosterdam on December 8th, 2018 for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale. This is an older ship, ... Read More
Great trip – Senior Citizens will love this cruise! My DH (65ys old) and I (63yrs old) boarded Holland America’s Oosterdam on December 8th, 2018 for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale. This is an older ship, that caters to an older clientele – the average age on the ship was 75+. DH and I felt like teenagers! We only saw two or three families with young children. This cruise is perfect for the older age group. Embarkation at Port Everglades was easy and very well organized. There were a lot of people in wheelchairs and scooters, and the agents made sure they were well taken care of while boarding. Upon arrival at the terminal around noon, we were quickly registered and given a “Group Number” Boarding was done by Group number and was done very fast. This was one of the best embarkation experiences we’ve ever had. We had one carry on full of water bottles and four bottles of wine. Two of the wife bottles were taken away, we were told only one bottle per person was allowed (they were returned the night before disembarkation). Once on board we were able to go to our room immediately, which was very nice. Our luggage was delivered by 2:00 pm. Food on board was good. They do not have buffets like other ships, this is more of a Cafeteria style service, where food is served to you by an attendant as you walk down the line. They will give you a small portion, but you are welcomed to ask for more if you desire. There was not a lot of selection, but what was available was usually good. Breakfast had ommlete station, waffle station, and even an egg benedict station. There is Grill by the covered pool where you can get Hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. made to order – they’ll give you a beeper, so you can pick up food when ready. For Dinner we only used the Main Dining Room and found the service to be excellent. The open seating option was great, we rarely waited more than five minutes for a table for two. We had a balcony cabin 6121, which was a nice size. The bathtub was a nice surprise, much better than the very tiny showers in most other cruise lines. Our cabin stewards were amazing, my DH and I would make bets on how long we would be out of the cabin before we returned to a fully made up bed – I miss that at home LOL. Entertainment was scarce, but very good. They only have three venues, the BBKing Night Club, two Pianos by the Casino, and the theater. They also have a stage that offers classical music most nights. Unfortunately, most of the time only one of the venues has performances, so if you don’t like what is going on you have no choice but to stay there or go to the next venue and wait for the next presentation. Because of the demographics of the group on board, this works well most of the time, but if you want variety, you will not get it. The best think about the Oosterdam is the service. Everyone on board was efficient and very pleasant. If you are a Senior citizen with limited mobility, this is your cruise ship! If you are looking for a cruise with lots of on-board activities, or you have children, try a different line. DH and I decided we are too young for this ship, but we are perfectly willing to come back in 10 or 15 years Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the back of the ship.A really big cabin with an L shaped veranda at the back. Having access to the Neptune lounge was a plus, the 2 concierges could not have been more friendly and helpful and the free capuchino was another plus! As a handicapped person I did find the long distances to other places on the ship was a problem,which was why we booked midship, but we worked around that problem by choosing room service a lot of the time.We had some problems the first few days, with cold food and missing items, but after a visit to the desk and a talk with Gilroy, the maitre d, it was soon fixed. Our main problem, which caused us to leave the cruise after the 1st section, was the ship's doctor.We had problems understanding him, and the other medical staff, and he did not seem to understand us.He seemed to be very unsure about what procedure to take, even after speaking to my own home doctor on the phone. He did not seem to have had any experience with my problem, a U.T.I. and said that he was not happy about me staying onboard for the last 2 weeks of the cruise in case the infection got worse and he would have no facilities to help if we were at sea or in the small islands that were next on the itinerary. So we had to leave the cruise after the 1st 2 weeks of what should have been 4 wonderful weeks. So much for our much anticipated month in the Pacific!! Now I have to deal with our travel insurance office and try to get reimbursed for the 2 weeks we missed. NOT how I expected to be spending my time at New Year!! This was our 1st and last cruise with H.A.L. after 27 cruises with Princess I think we will be staying with them. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We simply chose the Holland America volendam because the dates fit in with several of the party we were cruising with. We do enjoy Holland America and our only bad experience out of 7 sailings with them has been on the veendam in the ... Read More
We simply chose the Holland America volendam because the dates fit in with several of the party we were cruising with. We do enjoy Holland America and our only bad experience out of 7 sailings with them has been on the veendam in the spring 2018 so we were a bit anxious about this booking on the volendam. We were absolutely delighted with our experience on the volume down. She is well maintained. Her food is excellent. The crew was extremely friendly. when we had any issue the staff bent over backwards to help us work it out. If we submitted a common card with anything the least bit negative we got a phone call to our stateroom and if we were not in our stateroom to take the call we got a note on our door. They then followed up to make sure every little thing was perfect. of the seven sailings with Holland America in the last two years I have to say this was probably our best overall experience, even though we did enjoy all of our other sailings except on the veendam. What I'm coming to realize is that most ships seem to go through a low period, And then if the company is smart measures are taken to get its act together and correct their weaknesses and make the ship much more pleasing and accommodating to passengers. The volendam is the same class of ship as the veendam and westerdam. As beautiful as a koningsdam and the eurodam are we do enjoy the smaller ships and this class a ship that the volume down is in is somewhere between 1300 and 1450 passengers. A great experience and we would definitely cruise on her again. It was really hard to even find constructive criticism to give on our end of cruise survey. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We did this same itinerary about 9 months ago on the same ship but decided on this one because we were going with some friends and the price was right. We had not done a 21 day cruise and wanted to see how we handled it as we are looking ... Read More
We did this same itinerary about 9 months ago on the same ship but decided on this one because we were going with some friends and the price was right. We had not done a 21 day cruise and wanted to see how we handled it as we are looking at a 28 day cruise to the south pacific. Overall, the ship is in pretty good shape considering its over 20 years old. The crew and staff were excellent, as always and we have never had a complaint against a Holland America crew member. The food was pretty good although we detected a slight downgrade from the previous cruise. Mostly, the meat was a bit tougher which might be the result of cost cutting? We were fortunate and received a lot of on board ship credit when we booked so we were able to splurge on wine every night! We typically do not do excursions as we find them very costly and frankly, "touristy". We prefer to go out and negotiate a fare with a local cab driver and spend a few hours seeing the area. Sometimes, this can reveal delightful experiences and sometimes a dull, routine drive. Since we had seen all the ports of call at least one time before, we elected not to drive the areas but simply wander around whatever the ship pulled into. Mostly, these are shopping "cruise villages". The first two weeks of the cruise, we noticed a large contingent of seniors on board with very few corresponding activities. We were told by one cruise staffer that Holland doesn't do anything because the seniors only want to sleep and read. The MainStage entertainment was spotty with some excellent acts and some lame ones. Again, the result of cost cutting? Wandering around the ship yielded few things which interested us and since it is a small ship (1300 passengers), other than a pool, some hot tubs and a basketball court, there wasn't anything else to attract our attention. Our cabin was 3399 on the lower promenade deck. We picked it because we struggle with mobility issues and needed a roll in shower. It is a slightly larger cabin with a wider door for our scooter. The only real complaint was it is located under the main kitchen so we could hear someone rolling carts above us from time to time. It was also located next to a door leading to the promenade deck outside and that was slamming as people went through. It is only one deck up to the main dining and 6 decks to the Lido dining and pool so the location is pretty good. The third week of the cruise was an "add-on" as we returned to port and then headed back out. Because it was only a week and right before Christmas, we noted the passengers were much younger with small children in strollers, in some cases. This group was more "rookie" as it appeared many had never cruised before. We were told Holland offered a pretty special pricing which may have drawn so many first timers. We heard many complaining about the lack of things to do on the ship, especially for young children. Maybe they should look at Disney? Our final week took us to the western Caribbean which was Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Maya, Mexico. Mostly, we found the Guatemalan stop largely a waste unless you want to buy some things at great prices. The people are poor and desperate for US dollars so you can drive the prices down pretty low if you want. Otherwise, it was a large shopping shed with no real "town" or anything which would have drawn us out for a local cab tour. Some went out and said it was worth it and others said it was a waste. Roatan, Honduras is a "Disneyland-esqe" stop with nothing but a cruise village...a very pretty, clean sterile shopping cruise village which reminded us of something we would see in Disneyland. We tried to negotiate a cab fare for touring but found all the cabs basically run by shopping village and prices were pretty steep so we elected to stay in the immediate area and spent most of the day on the ship. Costa Maya was a much larger and more vibrant cruise village with many people and much more shopping. We took a shuttle to town and found bargaining far more enjoyable and we ate on the beach. It was our favorite stop of the three. Returning to port, the debarkation, like the embarkation was easy and smooth. We don't travel with children and try to avoid family cruises so by and large, this one worked for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I booked this cruise to see Cuba. The ship spends time in Havana and Cienfuegos. Travelers should be aware that they are required get a visa and to take a US required travel information tour in order to explore the Island. ... Read More
I booked this cruise to see Cuba. The ship spends time in Havana and Cienfuegos. Travelers should be aware that they are required get a visa and to take a US required travel information tour in order to explore the Island. Holland America assists with acquiring the visa and the "People to People" tour. The Venndam is a small ship holding around 1800 passengers. I found the size of the ship comfortably pleasant. It was my first time in a "laini" room, and I liked the access to the main walking deck from my room. While older, the ship is very well maintained. As with other Holland America ships, the food is excellent the service is always a good experience. The staff is exceptionally pleasant and accommodating. They go out of the way to please guests. Holland America entertainment consists of quality music programs, the Food Kitchen, BBC films and some traditional activities. They know how to please the older generation. I've been on a number of Holland America ships and I sometimes wish for some additional lively entertainment. Sea days on longer journey's could use some additional upbeat activities. This cruise went a;s far south as Belize and stopped at a number of ports. I' disabled and use a scooter. Some tender ports (including Belize) would not accommodate my small, very light scooter. I was disappointed to miss seeing this island. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Previously cruised the Med on New Amsterdam and had a great cruise. Sadly this did not meet our expectations. We spent 2 days in Hong Kong before sailing as my husband wanted to sail around Hong Kong harbour on a Star ferry. ... Read More
Previously cruised the Med on New Amsterdam and had a great cruise. Sadly this did not meet our expectations. We spent 2 days in Hong Kong before sailing as my husband wanted to sail around Hong Kong harbour on a Star ferry. Embarkation was very smooth and quick though we weren't asked to fill in a health questionnaire which was unusual. The hygiene on board left a lot to be desired. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines. This is the only one where passengers were able to enter the dining areas and return on board without sanitising their hands. I mentioned this to the nurse who said they would increase sanitation if there was an outbreak! Entertainment in the theatre was very poor. We left and didn't return when a pianist, supposedly having played on Broadway, started playing 'Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head' on a ukulele and singing out of tune! The Port talks were excellent and it was good to be able to go to deck 10 for more 1st hand info. Our restaurant waiter was not the happiest person and on a couple of occasions quite rude. He quickly took plates away and brought the next course before everyone on the table had finished. I pointed this out which he did not like. The food was average. Lido food was ok but a bit repetitive. A disappointment after the New Amsterdam 3 yrs ago. Despite booking a disabled cabin and giving all details to HAL stating that my husband was a full time wheelchair user, unable to walk, not 1 port had accessible transport or shuttle and many no taxis available. He travelled to Asia for the 1st time on a special holiday and couldn't go on any tours. He should have been told this when he booked. The ship was so quiet in the evening. After dinner, unless you went to the Blues Band (limited wheelchair space) or pianists which were next to the noisy casino, it was like the Marie Celeste. Sadly I don't think we will cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My wife and I are recently retired and have long wanted to cruise an "around the horn" itinerary. This Holland America cruise fit the bill the perfectly. Overall, an outstanding cruise, a decent value and a great itinerary. ... Read More
My wife and I are recently retired and have long wanted to cruise an "around the horn" itinerary. This Holland America cruise fit the bill the perfectly. Overall, an outstanding cruise, a decent value and a great itinerary. We departed from Rio de Janeiro. Our flight departed the east coast for Miami on Halloween. Many of the airport and airline employees were in costume and having a good time. We ended up,with a business class upgrade for the overnight flight from Miami to Rio. Since we have been to Rio before, we didn't do anything touristy other than stroll on Copacabana Beach. I paid for our Airbnb for the night of the 31st so we could check in immediately upon arrival the morning of the first. HAL emailed us the day before embarkation to warn us that check in was going to involve two security checks and to expect delays. Because of this, we left early for the pier. Our uber driver was completely unfamiliar with the cruise port but found it without too much difficulty. Other than confusion about where to drop our bags and where to line up for check in, things went relatively smoothly. There was almost no signage but following the heard and gentle inquiries had us on board in about 30 minutes. We were very pleased with the ship almost as soon as we boarded. Our cabin was ready for immediate occupancy and our bags all arrived shortly after lunch. We were expecting a small ship having recently cruised Carnival Horizon but the ship seemed plenty large with plenty of amenities. The public areas were all very tidy and clean and outside on the decks, conscientious maintenance was evident everywhere. We found the flow of the ship very easy to get around. As always, we selected an interior cabin for economy and for the dark cave sleeping experience. We were on the second deck so we felt almost no roll and the pitching was quite sleep inducing. The cabin could serve four passengers with two beds, a drop down bunk and a sofa bed. The beds were made up as twins, apparently our request for one bed was not received but this was fixed while we were at lunch. There was an astonishing amount of closet space for two people. The tile in the bathroom looked like a 1960s motel room but otherwise, we found the cabin spacious, comfortable and appropriately updated. Dining was very good to excellent. We tried the main dining room for breakfast once and the service was so slow, we never returned. The buffet on the Lido deck, however, had outstanding breakfast options so we went there every subsequent day. The omelette station rarely had more than three people in line, the eggs Benedict were fresher and better than the dining room and the waffles were hot and freshly made. It could get crowded around 9 am so we often ate outside by the pool. We never did try the dining room for lunch instead using the buffet every day. The salads were excellent and days we wanted to try sandwiches, soups, pasta or other offerings, everything was good except the pizza. The Dive In burgers could be a bit of a hot mess but good and the dogs were also nice. The fries were always hot and crispy. We enjoyed open seating dinners in the main dining room. The food was hit or miss but the service was usually good and we had a wonderful group of dining companions almost every night. A few nights, we did not feel up to a long dinner and ate at the buffet. We had some unbelievably tender and flavorful steaks at the buffet one evening. A friend had treated us to a dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and it was outstanding. The steaks were superb and the service perfect. There were three formal nights but we only attended one. My wife felt unwell the night of the first one and the second one was during our scenic cruising of the glacier channel. Because it was light so late and we enjoying the spectacular scenery, I think many people opted to skip that formal night and hit a buffet for late dinner. The entertainment was also hit or miss. The singers/dancers are, I'm sure, very talented and hardworking but the show was poor. I think the performers were saddled with repetitive choreography and uninspired music selection. On the other hand, it was great to see a real live band performing. A guest juggler was just so so and a guest flautist was unusual but extremely talented and a good show. The highlight of the entertainment was a spectacular combo of BBC cinematography with live music. High definition films of polar regions and animals were accompanied by the live band playing the original score. We caught a few of the other acts in the bars and lounges and all were very talented. The enrichment opportunities were one of the ship highlights for us. Guest speakers addressed topics of maritime history, ship construction, glaciers, environmental concerns and applied oceanography. The port lectures were outstanding also; real and practical information about the ports without a word about shopping. The ask the captain presentation was very informative and well done. Our absolute favorite offering was the America's Test Kitchen. Once or twice on sea days, the presenter, Allison, would demonstrate two to three recipes along with advice on kitchen techniques, cookware and gadgets. The set was completely professional, the production engineer was very slick and the entire program was perfectly executed and utterly enjoyable. We found service to be very good throughout. Our cabin steward, Edward, was fantastic. The servers in the buffet were very personable even when trying to keep up with clearing tables at busy times. The bar staffs were all excellent. No complaints about service. My wife and I treated ourselves to the Thermasuite package. For the two of us, it was $349 for the entire 16 day cruise. It gave us unlimited use of the Thermasuite in the spa area. Most of the time, we were only two there. Sometimes, there was another couple there. Only once was there more than four people. I thoroughly enjoyed the steamrooms and hot tub and we both enjoyed the heated loungers. The ports on this cruise were all great. In Punte del Este, we just did a short walkabout the port. We saw a few sights and enjoyed the sea lions but were back on board in time for a late breakfast. Buenos Aires was a first time visit for both of us and we walked several miles and thoroughly enjoyed the city. We had a scheduled tour in Montevideo which showed us the highlights but left plenty of time for lunch and exploring on our own. Our arrival to the Falkland Islands coincided with Armistice Day and we were privileged to be able to attend a church service and a military parade and memorial ceremony. In Ushuaia, we had a prearranged tour to the Tierra del Fuego National Park which was outstanding. Our third And final prearranged tour was in Punta Arenas and it was a bit disappointing. There is absolutely nothing at the port so you need to take a shuttle into town if you don't have anything set up. Our tour went to a scenic overlook, spent way too much time at a mediocre museum, then had a very brief stop in the downtown plaza. For Puerto Montt, I went ahead and paid for a cruise line tour of Petrohue Cataracts and Puerto Varas. We were very happy with this tour. At the end of the cruise, I purchased a cruise line tour/airport transfer. The tour to two wineries, lunch, a bus tour of Santiago and a shopping stop with airport drop off was very expensive at $200 per person but it was extremely well executed. In addition to the ports, the scenic cruising days were just a spectacular. We went around Cape Horn, the Straits of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, the Sarmiento Channel and the Chilean Fjords. We were privileged to see glaciers, fjords and even an iceberg. For us, this was the highlight of the cruise. As far as complaints, there were a few. During the scenic cruising, commentary was provided in the Crow's Nest, outside decks and on the cabin TV. The Crow's Nest got uncomfortably crowded and even then, the sound system was terrible and the commentary was inaudible. I think the commentary should be broadcast in all common areas so regardless of where you choose to observe the beauty, you can hear the details. Also, the ship seemed to be very poorly provisioned. We purchased an eight bottle wine program. By the fourth night, it seemed they never had anything on our wine list. To their credit, a substitute bottle was provided and usually a higher level wine but it seems silly to create a wine list, sell a program, and then be told almost every night, that your choice of wine is not available. Also, by about day three, there was no draft beer. By the end of the cruise, only a fraction of advertised bottled beers were available. I found alcohol prices extremely high. Overall, a great experience. We were reluctant to disembark and would have gladly sailed back to Buenos Aires. If you are interested in Patagonia and seeing some great scenery and exciting cities, this is a highly recommended cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
So my wife and I were super excited to get this 11 cruise that included 2 ports in Cuba and had an ADA room available at a decent price. Little did we know it would be the cruise from Hell. Background - My wife has MS and is in a ... Read More
So my wife and I were super excited to get this 11 cruise that included 2 ports in Cuba and had an ADA room available at a decent price. Little did we know it would be the cruise from Hell. Background - My wife has MS and is in a wheelchair full time. We are 4 star Holland America members and have cruised for the last 30 years. We had five ports on this cruise: Cozumel, Belize, Cuba (2 ports) and the private island. We were denied access in Belize and Cienfuegos in Cuba because there were stairs to the tender and the CAPTAIN (yes - the CAPTAIN - not a staff member) refused to allow personnel to assist me in getting my wife down the 16 steps to the tender. NEVER have we had ship personnel not help us. Note: They helped the 91 year old lady down the steps but because my wife can not lift her feet they wouldn't help us. Note: We have been the China, South America, Europe, etc. so having to use steps is not a new experience for us. It just takes awhile. We need someone to move her feet to each step. Its really not that hard. Our daughter normally does it but she was at school. When we went to book shore excursions in Cuba we were initially told that there were no ADA tours available. So Holland sold a cruise with an ADA room and you have no ADA tours????? After much discussions (hours) with the Hotel Manager and the Shore Excursion supervisor we were able to get a tour in Havana for a reasonable price. I asked Holland America for a refund based on only having 2 ports out of 5. Initial response was NO! My response was that was not satisfactory and after more time and effort (cause that is what you always want to do on a cruise) we got 350 dollars and dinner at the Pinnacle Grill one night. I will give credit to the Hotel Director and the Shore Excursion Supervisor for getting us a tour in Havana but I had to make it happen. If I had been passive we would of gotten nothing. These 2 ladies were the only ones that were helpful and without them we would of not been able to see Cuba. Note: As a USA citizen we had to take a tour not explore on our own. So in summary - Don't expect Holland America to help you. Don't expect Holland America to try to make you whole if you have problems (I don't consider the compensation received to be even close to fair for the money, time and effort spent on what was suppose to be a vacation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We previously crossed the Atlantic on the Koningsdam (west to east) and so we returned 6 months later. Nothing much had changed since my last review so it was still an excellent cruise with one big improvement. The duelling pianists on ... Read More
We previously crossed the Atlantic on the Koningsdam (west to east) and so we returned 6 months later. Nothing much had changed since my last review so it was still an excellent cruise with one big improvement. The duelling pianists on this trip were Paulina & Ivy who were outstanding.The other entertainment was also of a high standard. The food was also very good. Our cabin stewards were again top notch as were all the staff. The Maitre D in the MDR (RIAN) was outstanding. On the final night he took my wife's arm and said it was an honor to escort her to our table. I now have to be far more romantic with my spouse. The ship is very beautiful although some complained that it didn't feel like a HAL ship - not sure what they mean. We will certainly sail with HAL again as they offer a very good product at a competitive price. The cabin was extremely comfortable with excellent free movies on the television. And what more can be said about the shower? If only I could take it home with me. Dining in the MDR was again top notch, so much so that we were not even tempted to pay out for the specialty restaurants. All together another great HAL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
MS Koningsdam - A Review I cruised Koningsdam for 24 days from 10/18/2018 to 11/11/2018. She is about 2 years old and appears to be in very good physical condition and is well maintained. That said, Koningsdam is a mixed bag of good, ... Read More
MS Koningsdam - A Review I cruised Koningsdam for 24 days from 10/18/2018 to 11/11/2018. She is about 2 years old and appears to be in very good physical condition and is well maintained. That said, Koningsdam is a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly...in this writer's experienced opinion. THE GOOD By all appearances, the ship is being kept very clean. Wear and tear has not yet begun to show too much. Not much rust in sight. The theater (World Stage) is the best in the HAL fleet, and maybe in most fleets. Sight lines are excellent and there is hardly a bad seat in the house. Seating capacity is relatively generous and can fit about a third of the passengers at any one time (close to 800). That said, there were many occasions when the theater was totally filled and people were standing and/or sitting in the aisles (safety hazard?). The hi-tech stage uses a 270 degree computer controlled LCD screen as the backdrop and is the main apparatus of the otherwise sparse set decoration. Lincoln Center Stage is an outstanding plus for HAL. Koningsdam's venue for the very talented quintet is larger than other ships in the fleet and offers comfortable seating. Public seating is excellent and comfortable throughout the ship. The staterooms are a bit smaller on than most of HALs ships, but they are reasonable equipped. Electric and USB plugs are abundant and storage/closet space is good. THE BAD While Koningsdam is new and bright, HAL has done nothing to change the nickel-and-dime operation and product they offer. EVERYTHING they do is designed to get passengers to spend more money. Most of the daily on-board programs offered are for revenue and income production. Venues throughout the ship are too small for the large number of passengers, often filling an hour or more prior to a presentation. The Culinary Arts Center is the showcase venue for America's Test Kitchen, and it is very ill-suited for the purpose...very poor seating and sight angles. They also utilize this room for extra-cost dinning in the evening (much more suitable). The Mariners Program on Koningsdam appears to be treated more as necessary nuisance than as the customer building program it was originally designed to be. There does not appear to be a suitable venue on Koningsdam for a Mariners Reception, so only medallion recipients are invited, no matter how many medallions one has or how many cruise days you've logged. The multi-Star Mariners cocktail party is held in part of the Lido Pool area, while other people are in hot tubs on the other side. It's very clear that HAL management wants to change the demographic of its customers. They are looking for new, free spending blood. Staterooms are noisier than one would expect for a "new" ship. Even in slight seas there is creaking, rattling and banging...especially at night when you are trying to sleep. Fit and finish is not all that it could be. As an example, stateroom have a recessed "frame" for the wall mounted large screen TV. In my stateroom the TV was mounted well out of the center of the frame and lop-sided (one side higher than the other). There is no replay of the excursion or enrichment talks on available on Koningsdam's closed circuit TV system or on stateroom TVs. You can, however, book extra cost dining, spa and excursion options via the interactive TV system. What little "art" there is on the ship is far removed from traditional seafaring art. All is very contemporary and the artwork appears to be photo-shopped pictures. There is NO art in stateroom passageways. Passage fore and aft on public decks 2 and 3 is restricted to one side of the ship, ensuring exposure to every selling station onboard. Traffic flow is poor, especially outside elevator locations where they have planted large modern sculptures (?), creating bottlenecks. The Promenade Deck is quite narrow and there are no deck chairs thereupon. The walking gets very bottlenecked at the stern end of the ship, so if one is walking behind slow walkers or encountering walkers who insist on walking upstream, it slows everyone down. Not important enough to write Congress about...just a mention. THE UGLY Whoever designed the toilets in the staterooms should be fired immediately. One cannot sit "on the throne" straightaway. You have to sit sideways because the glass shower enclosure is in the way, and you can't get your knees to squeeze in...unless you're 2 or 3 years old. Very awkward and uncomfortable. DINING This is a very subjective area and not all tastes are alike. So offering comments about the food and service aboard the Koningsdam is treading on very dangerous ground. That said, HAL has put together a fine group of chefs in what they call the Chef's Counsel, to help Chef Rudy design a dining program for the ship's various venues. They have created offerings that, in their test kitchen, appeal to all the senses. Great food requires great ingredients skillfully assembled by craftsmen who love their work. Unfortunately, the Chef's Counsel is not on board to supervise the final product. HALs logistics program is complex and mainly designed to minimize costs and maximize efficiencies. They do not take advantage of the terrific local products as they cruise from place to place. So freshness of ingredients is sacrificed in favor of program convenience. They claim there are reasons (or excuses) for this, but others seem to be able to take advantage of local fresh product availability. That's all I have to say about this topic. Everyone has to judge for themselves. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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