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1,483 Holland America Eastern Caribbean Cruise Reviews

Wonderful ship that can handle the 1300 passengers well. Food was super and service staff is great. Ship is a little tired but well cared for. Only has one swimming pool that is quite small. Theatre is intimate and works for ... Read More
Wonderful ship that can handle the 1300 passengers well. Food was super and service staff is great. Ship is a little tired but well cared for. Only has one swimming pool that is quite small. Theatre is intimate and works for this ship. We were hoping for some test kitchen shows but apparently they are not doing those anymore. We booked guaranteed large inside cabin and got a dinky 130sf “spa inside” which was without doubt the worst cabin we have ever had. Front desk did not give two stumps about it. To add insult the cabin did not cool well so it was like sleeping in an easy bake oven each night. Again the front desk had no solution. We are unlikely to sail with HAL again soon. Highlight of the cruise was the pace and food. We especially enjoyed Half Moon Cay. It was a a beautiful day! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Bumpy, Bumpy, Bumpy! Very uncomfortable, there were people getting sick right and left, people falling and injuring themselves. We saw people who were in really bad shape from their injuries. And please keep in mind that their clientele is ... Read More
Bumpy, Bumpy, Bumpy! Very uncomfortable, there were people getting sick right and left, people falling and injuring themselves. We saw people who were in really bad shape from their injuries. And please keep in mind that their clientele is mostly elderly. The food was not that good, the wait staff was not that caring at all. It was an old rickety ship that should not still be in use. The stateroom bathroom was extremely horrible! It had a shower and a bath tub combo, the tub side was so high it was hard to get in and out of. You could tell they are only in business to take your money. It was totally evident that they did not care at all about their guests. The only good thing I have to say is that our stateroom attendants Muhammad and Putu did an excellent job! They looked after us very well. I really and truly would not recommend this ship to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The lido market was like golden corral. Dining room had serious lag between courses and slightly better food. Pay extra restaurants were not worth the money. Overall very disappointed in food and lack of activities. Most activities were ... Read More
The lido market was like golden corral. Dining room had serious lag between courses and slightly better food. Pay extra restaurants were not worth the money. Overall very disappointed in food and lack of activities. Most activities were centered around getting you to spend more money on something. Not even dance dg in evenings. Clean cabin and friendly shore excursions. We would not go again on this ship even though our cabin stewards were great. They anticipated our needs, leaving umbrellas on days rain was expected for shore days, binoculars, extra towels, etc. Difficult to get snacks after 10pm, we had to get room service and pay extra for soda even with drink plan. Good thing they had movies for our room because there isn't much else to do. Events at world stage filled up 1\2 hour before show. They needed more shows and dg dance clubs, even for us old folks. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Been on 25 cruise this my 9th on Holland America. This is by far the most boring ever on. No main show, buffet and most bars close at 8pm. They have some music shows but after first time enough. No dance DJ music at night. Really not ... Read More
Been on 25 cruise this my 9th on Holland America. This is by far the most boring ever on. No main show, buffet and most bars close at 8pm. They have some music shows but after first time enough. No dance DJ music at night. Really not much at all to do in evenings or really during the day. No band by the pool, most of fellow cruisers playing cards, checkers during day. Relaxing but not a lot of fun. Thank goodness the kids didnt come on this cruise. Service is great and food good but as for activities and excitement it's a dud. Will be sticking to Celebrity or Princess in future. Always liked Holland America and I guess if we were 75 would be fine but prefer shows and activities. If you have teens as kids take them on other line. As bored as we were teens would go crazy with nothing to do Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I wanted to experience once again the smiling and friendly service staff of a HAL ship in a reasonably sized vessel. The Veendam was the perfect choice for us. I cruised with my 86 year old father who has some stamina issues affecting ... Read More
I wanted to experience once again the smiling and friendly service staff of a HAL ship in a reasonably sized vessel. The Veendam was the perfect choice for us. I cruised with my 86 year old father who has some stamina issues affecting his mobility so a mega ship full of kids and action was not in the equation. Veendam provided the perfect setting for a relaxing and pleasant week among "friends". The ship is older but still kept in very good condition. Cleaning and maintenance were on going all week long. Out suite was in good shape, showing some age spots but with everything operational and comfy. Our toilet has some flushing issues on two morning but repairs happened quickly and effectively. The entertainment was good, but the show room productions lacked an upbeat energy and so, to my taste, were boring. The music was obscure but the singing and dancing were strong. The comedian and ventriloquist were skilled and entertaining. The lounge entertainers were serviceable except for the piano bar guy, Stryker, who was fantastic. Food was ranged from good to great. Nothing really bad except for the tough Veal (twice in two different venues). There was little that was fantastic and memorable. I did enjoy the DIVE in burgers and dogs. I found the baked good and pies a let down. The biggest disappointment was in cruise staff who were nearly invisible. The CD seemed dropped the ball at least twice. First in not staffing or providing refreshments for the Veterans meeting. Second for a lack of shown support and encouragement for the "On Deck for a Cause" event. I also must note that the bridge and operational officers should really, at the very least, nod and acknowledge guests when the pass them in the Hallways. As always the highlight of any HAL cruise is the fantastic, smiling and patient service staff. They strive remember names and preferences from the very first meeting. My comment card was filled with names of those who we interacted with the most. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because Holland American offered us an amazing, discounted price. The Veendam was by far the smallest ship we have been on so far, but because we have sailed Holland ships before, the general layout was similar. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because Holland American offered us an amazing, discounted price. The Veendam was by far the smallest ship we have been on so far, but because we have sailed Holland ships before, the general layout was similar. Really the only difference being that there were fewer ship levels and less length of the ship to walk. I did have to find the Explorations Cafe one morning, and it is on a different floor, which I knew from the signage by the elevators. What I didn't know, was that the floor was not contiguous. It took me a couple of tries to get to it, after going down to the level it was on and finding out that you couldn't get to it from the elevator lobby where I had descended to. So, then you have to walk up a level, walk over to the next set of stairs, and descend again back to level it is on. Not fun, when you are after your morning coffee. I really wish they would put this in a location on all ships more accessible. You have to pay for it, so why not promote it, where people can see it and opt up when they want? I was surprised with how great the limited entertainment was on The Veendam. We had two excellent, and very different comedians on this ship. I have usually been underwhelmed by the comedians on many different ships, but Brian Bradley and Mike Hamilton, delivered! I won't give away what they are good at ( you are welcome Mike), but believe me they are funny. Luckily for the cruisers, their approach to humor was radically different, which made both their shows special and unique. Get a good seat early for Mike's show. Just a head's up! And speaking of entertainment, I was so disappointed to find out on board that the B.B. King's Blues Club was not included on the ship, which I have thoroughly enjoyed on the others. I guess due to the smaller ship, there is not room. However, I discovered the piano singer, Stryker, who without a doubt, is the best piano singer/entertainer/comedian I have ever encountered on any ship (not just Holland ships). He truly can play that piano, sing, and work the crowd. I'm not really sure why he is on a cruise ship really with that talent, but I went to see him every night! I heard later that Holland is getting rid of the piano bars and putting in a rock and roll area to attract a younger demographic. I understand that, but I will definitely miss the sing alongs at the piano bar. And quite frankly, Stryker was so good, very few even wanted to sing along. He was that good! Most just wanted to listen and if you didn't get there early, you had to stand (which I did every night) gratefully! The accommodations were okay. The ship is older and in places looks like it, but as usual the staff made up for that. Our room was an ocean view and we opened up to a walking area on the deck with reserved chairs for us on the balcony. A nice perk when you have an ocean view. We usually have a balcony, so while it wasn't a private balcony it was right outside our sliding glass window. Actually, we loved it! The staff and crew of Veendam did not disappoint. Holland America's staff members are all well trained and friendly, courteous, many times funny, and are always what make the trip memorable for me. From our room steward, Sugi, to the Casino Host, Iggy, to the Beverage Host in Canaletto's, Noel (also our incredibly talented and funny Bar Crawl Host), to Henry and Rose, the servers at the Retreat Bar, they made the trip enjoyable, personable, and fun! Also ned to mention Rekki, the host at Canaletto's (which you have to try!) and Dewi and Phoebe, servers at Canaletto. They all went above and beyond for us, delivering our leftovers to the room for us on tow nights so we could get to the shows, and one night delivering an entire meal for us when my husband wasn't feeling well and we had to cancel our reservations. I didn't even ask. I was just walking down the lido Buffet alone, and it had closed, and Refki saw me, drew me in, and somehow managed to order me food from the Dining Room and get it it sent to my room! He was a hero that night because the time had changed and I was off an hour, salad had missed the Lido Hours! All in all, this cruise met our expectations. We had been to all the destinations before and were really just on a rest and relaxation cruise, both equipped with four books! I'm more of a night owl, so I did a lot of the entertainment on my own, which is one of the things i love about a cruise. As a woman, it's easy, safe, and no one looks at you like you are there for anything but the entertainment! The staff and meeting fellow cruisers has always been my favorite part of a cruise, and this cruise was the same. We had a fun, relaxing time, and applaud Holland for their incredible hardworking cruise staff. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Had an awesome cruise, 7 day Caribbean. ship is from 2002 but renovated in 2017/18 My wife and I have sailed primarily Royal, Celebrity, Princess, NCL, Carnival and my wife Cunard in the past, over 40 cruises. 1900 passengers and ... Read More
Had an awesome cruise, 7 day Caribbean. ship is from 2002 but renovated in 2017/18 My wife and I have sailed primarily Royal, Celebrity, Princess, NCL, Carnival and my wife Cunard in the past, over 40 cruises. 1900 passengers and 9 decks with lots of elevators. many were on 2, 3 and 4 week back to back cruises we are 65 and 68 so almost felt young!! An older mix, say average age 65-75. Very few children, saw the Club HAL kids place closed one day plus some younger couples who want a quiet cruise and have returned. The dining room food selection, presentation, service and taste I'd say would be the best similar to Celebrity. We did not go to Pinnacle dining room or Canaletto for speciality dining, but the menu looked great at Pinnacle ($39 cover) Would highly recommend HAL's renovated ships and newer ships. Had prime rib 2 nights, lots of seafood, lobster tails on last Gala night (formerly formal night) and far less formal than in the past. This is all good. Nice touch on exiting the DR, one could have mints, ginger, dates or figs. Lido buffet was also excellent. They even had crepes, super omelettes,V8 and grapefruit juice which you don't see often. Most food was served to you, similar to what Celebrity has done. Some fruit, bread and other items you could pick up on your own. I asked why they served, its to avoid cross contamination, They told me with an older crowd, if someone gets ill, can be harder on older people to recover. a good idea. Sushi and Thai, Chinese food every day. Loved Half Moon Cay, private island stop, only ship there, soft powdery beach. BBQ lunch was one of the best we;ve seen. great salad selection, gourmet hamburgers and fresh fruit and ribs and fish tacos. They also had a Lobster Shack so for extra $ can get a roll or lobster salad Even had real ice cream scooped from coolers. Also lido had real ice cream all day. Lido pool deck midship had Dive In, a hamburg/hot dog /french fries. You place the order and are given a buzzer to come pick up minutes later. Nathan's dogs and crispy fries, served in a cup. Beside Dive-in there was a mexican station all day, nachos, cheese, various additives, soft and hard tacos. A real nice touch. Workers greeted you all the time and were constantly cleaning. Just had main dining lunch once for Mariner lunch. Breakfast and lunch always in Lido, ate at the aft, nice to be in the air (we try to do this on all cruises) only minor issue smoking was allowed on the aft starboard side, so smoke sometimes blew over. Mainstage a nice size theatre, on decks 2/3 No orchestra and big stage show, instead we had 3 excellent dance shows by Step One, 7 dancers with recorded music. Get to Mainstage early and most go to the early show. Also had great comedian Ken Boyd and illusionist Ben Zabin at the Mainstage Live music in BB King's, a dance club bar which used to be the test kitchen area. This 7 piece group was tight, excellent and the place to go after dinner. 3 shows most every night. Trumpet, sax, bass and lead guitar, keyboards, drums and male/female singers. Nice dance floor. Both Mainstage and BB King's were very cold so bring a sweater and socks when you pack. Lincoln Center Stage had a string quartet with piano, 4 ladies and a fellow, young and excellent. several shows a night. room was quite small, so get there early. Now this venue was too warm !! They need some HVAC adjustments. This quintet had 2 violins, a viola, cello and grand piano. Played classical but mix of American, show tunes and modern. Version of Stairway to Heaven was awesome. There also was Billboard online with back to back grand pianos, playing various tunes. shows were after early dinner. Noted that unlike most ships there is not a venue for piano and bar. They had an electronic piano with people dancing. Casino was not big but busy and best of all no smoking. Celebrity has also gone this way Smart move. one night was orange night (the Dutch colours) and chocolate surprise, where samples of dutch goodies and chocolates were handed out around Billboard and BB King.s some trivia games. Deck 10 forward has Crow's next, easy chairs, great views lots of games/most jigsaw puzzles ever. Large reference books, regular library replaced with book exchange, so check in day 1 for best selection. Shore ex and future cruise were also in this area, smart idea. Some nice touches on HAL that we haven't seen on most cruises: - when boarding ship after port, had cool towels, water/lemonade, nice sitting area with flowers (Celebrity has similar with no flowers) Celebrity does have the nice OJ and sparkling upon first embarkation though - chocolates in your room every night (Princess also has but most have cut back) - towel animals every night in your room - bottomless fruit bowl in your room. - balcony and higher have small bathtub/shower. Save the environment with no small bottles so shower soap, shampoo, conditioner in dispensers from Elemis, Elemis lotion bottles given though -rooms were cleaned by team of 2 room stewards, there were no carts left in the hall like other cruiselines. Instead they would go into side rooms for suppliers. Amazing service, these guys were invisible -could get a mini newspaper and NY times crossword every day at Deck 1 reception desk. They had German, UK, Canadian, Dutch and various languages if you wish. US paper also had a crossword and Sudoku puzzle but a little small font, the NY times crossword was printed in good font on cardboard stock with a hyper sudoku as well. Will keep you busy for hours -outside the good sized bathroom, there was a motion activated night light at your feet, nice touch. Celebrity has a night light in the washroom - to save the environment in the room garbage can they had a slot for paper and regular garbage. Still too much paper handed out. Nice compact daily When and Where program though. Don't think they had an art auction, but art on display. Still doing group photos but less of them. No picture racks, but viewing screens like the other newer ships -room had lots of storage, balcony good size for our VA category, 2 chairs, with foot stools and small table. Balcony had a door unlike most cruises with sliding doors. Beds were very good with nice pillows - robes were in room to use for cruise or $55 to purchase with monogram -free HAL bag in each room like Princess and Celebrity - beach towels in each room to use - like the newer ships, a flat panel, very impressive TV, lots of movies, and other shows, food menus etc. TV channels about 12, Caribbean ESPN and ESPN 2, MSNBC, Fox, BBC, HGTV etc Gym had Precor equipment, I prefer Llifefitness. NO video input to machines. but 3 TV's on ceiling. Good selection of weights. Sadly people don't know to wipe machines, there was no sign to do so and no sign to keep machine use to 30 minutes, I suggested this to the gym managers In tendering to Princess Cays, had quite a wait 45 minutes to fill tender ship, returning much faster. On 2 Sea Days cruise director Stephanie made morning announcements at 9 am. Gave them feedback not to do that, can;'t sleep in CD was Stephanie Summerville from the US. An actress and professional speaker. Great voice and pronunciation. Only with HAL 7 months She gave some excellent EXC talks at Main Stage, History of HAL (150 years)The Deep Blue, Caribbean Rum Spirit, Islands of the Mind (Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet) These were highly produced excellent presentations with audio, video and using their million light LED stage panels. Made for HAL, I understand some sailings have guest presenters, but they use the CD most of the time. Forgot to mention the MainStage LED panels were used for the dance shows and these are incredible screens. Only 4 computer screens. WIFI packages were pricey and i heard not too fast. For this ship audience, they aren't connected as much. Captain Bart Vaartjes was Dutch as most are, he gave a great ship presentation and Q/A friendly noon announcements. Very casual, had a relaxed demeanor, walked about ship like most officers. Met him at Amber Cove, took a photo, he just ashore for a few hours Amber Cove in Dominican Republic, at Puerta Plata, was a nice stop, Carnival Magic was also there, so large pool/lazy river were packed. Big swim up bar, food available, hammocks available, over the water bungalows to rent, also bungalows near Zipline $20 pp all day. Lots of the usual shops. No beach, but can taxi or shorex to Puerta Plata for beaches. Free wifi just outside main store after leaving ship. Carnival Corp built this stop a few years ago, for their branded ships. A nice stop, but quite busy if several large ships are in port. Key West, always a nice stop. Interesting we had to clear US customs first thing in the morning, there were a lot of lines. Being Canadian we did not have as many line as US. Then at Fort Lauderdale, no US customs to clear, just walk off. We walked down Duvall St, down to the Southernmost beacon, endless bars and stores, found a $5 for everything beachwear. Must visit original Margaritville, Had Kermits famous Key Lime Pie. Free wifi at Starbux Overall, an excellent cruise, would sail HAL again. Put down the $100 deposit for a future cruise. Would highly recommend doing this for any cruise you are on Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
If you are looking for a glitzy Las Vegas hotel on water, with countless shipboard activities, a booming disco, and an overactive cruise director shouting at you every 5 minutes - then this is NOT the cruise for you. We chose it because it ... Read More
If you are looking for a glitzy Las Vegas hotel on water, with countless shipboard activities, a booming disco, and an overactive cruise director shouting at you every 5 minutes - then this is NOT the cruise for you. We chose it because it was a well priced cruise on a smaller ship and we enjoyed the more mellow atmosphere and the feeling of actually being on a ship. The ship is older but the public areas are classy and the staterooms are spacious with comfortable beds, and bathtubs, but could use some styling. There was also a problem in our stateroom with a faint, stale smoke smell. They brought in a small machine 3 different times (while we were out) to freshen the air, and it helped a lot. We also appreciated the unexpected credit on our bill for the inconvenience of having to freshen up our room. The food on the ship varied from good to very good, the entertainment was surprisingly good considering the size of the ship (the dancers were better than many I have seen on larger ships) and there was a quartet performing live music in the Ocean Bar who were extraordinary. They were a jazz quartet with a talented, passionate singer and phenomenal pianist who were a joy to listen to and romantic to dance to. Unfortunately one of the passengers on the cruise complained because she wanted dance tunes that she and her girl friends could all get out and boogie to. So unfortunately, whoever was in charge asked the quartet to start doing pop tunes which was really a waste of their talent. Such a shame that the person in charge wanted to appease the complaining cruiser rather than allow the rest of us to enjoy the classy ambiance that this quartet was creating. And there was plenty of music to dance to after the quartet played - the entertainment staff would play whatever anyone requested over their sound system and you could dance as long as you wanted. Hope they figure out what a class act they have in Lila and her jazz quartet. The service on the ship was very good - personable, efficient, but not in your face. Holland America seems to attract an older crowd and I think there were only about 5 kids on this ship. Probably a little tame for the cruiser who wants to party, but lovely for those of us who don't really want to be at adult summer camp. The ports were typical Caribbean ports - gorgeous blue water, some lovely beaches, pretty good snorkeling. We felt a bit rushed with the time frame on some of them, but the itinerary was nice with all the active days at the beginning, so our 2 sea days at the end were a welcome relaxation time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Easy boarding. Small ship. Mid week sailing. I had been ill for the last 2 years and was thrilled to be able to take this cruise. Food was very good in the dining room. Best fries ever at the dive bar. Staff were very kind very ... Read More
Easy boarding. Small ship. Mid week sailing. I had been ill for the last 2 years and was thrilled to be able to take this cruise. Food was very good in the dining room. Best fries ever at the dive bar. Staff were very kind very accommodating. Couldn’t do enough for you. Always there in the lido with coffee which was surprisingly good. Horrible location very front of the ship. Won’t ever do that again. I had been to all the ports before so itinerary didn’t matter. Went because the piano player Barry from Boston is so so good. He was again terrific and made my whole cruise. The only other show I saw was a comedian who I did not enjoy and a ventriloquist with the Jamaican puppet Matilda who was terrific. Ship was in very good shape for being old and my friend was pleasantly surprised how nice the ship was. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
After cruising with HAL in September to Canada, my husband and I were so impressed with the entire HAL cruising experience that we decided to book an Eastern Caribbean Cruise to celebrate 25 years of marriage. First, let me say, that as ... Read More
After cruising with HAL in September to Canada, my husband and I were so impressed with the entire HAL cruising experience that we decided to book an Eastern Caribbean Cruise to celebrate 25 years of marriage. First, let me say, that as always, the stewards, waiters, wine experts, and other support staff were incredible. Our stateroom was gorgeous and perfectly cleaned everyday. The food on the ship was impeccable and overall the ship was very clean and all of the staff extremely friendly. Despite all of those very excellent qualities, I doubt we will set sail with HAL in the future. The condition of the Nieuw Amsterdam was not disclosed to us at all until we had been on the ship for 24 hours. We were completely unaware that we were sailing on only had one propeller. There were no communications leading up to the cruise by mail, email or phone to tell us that the ship was disabled. The company did not disclose this information and therefore you took away our opportunity to make an informed decision. The ship was sent into known rough seas where we corkscrewed through the Atlantic for three days until we limped into port at San Juan. We had to skip our first port because of the slow progress of the ship and most other ports were significantly shortened. Had HAL informed us of the ship's problems, we would have rebooked with HAL for another cruise. However, because they knowingly deceived us about the condition of the ship, they have lost future revenue from us as well as anyone who asks about our HAL experience. I am truly shocked that a company with a long tradition of excellence and ethical policies has stooped so low for the bottom line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were looking for a week of warmth away from NY cold. We got a lot of wind, rain, rough seas, slow passage (due to 1 azipod) & a skipped port. This was our 6th cruise, but first HAL cruise. It was an economical choice for a Caribbean ... Read More
We were looking for a week of warmth away from NY cold. We got a lot of wind, rain, rough seas, slow passage (due to 1 azipod) & a skipped port. This was our 6th cruise, but first HAL cruise. It was an economical choice for a Caribbean cruise, but no bells & whistles. Half our passengers were from one group which made certain things difficult as they had 'whole group' activities to attend, then moved on (to dining or shows) as a cluster of hundreds! The ship is pleasant enough, if a bit dated looking in the dining rooms; the crew/service very friendly & helpful-our cabin was great, the bed comfortable, & our steward attentive; the entertainment was poor to ok (the 2 pianists could be really good or awful, depending on how high/drunk they were); the activities limited. Excursions offered seemed ok, but over-priced for what was offered. The stingray swim on Half Moon Cay was a great idea & the time with the ray in the group circle was interesting, but the other 4 stingrays were not interested in interacting or even coming out of hiding. It was a cool morning in the water, so perhaps they were too cold. Our time in St. Thomas was shortened due to the ship having only 1 propeller, so that explore was limited. We were unable to dock in Grand Turks due to high winds, so that port was cancelled. The ship could have offered a number of activities for the extra sea day, but had only a few. On & off ship goes smoothly, both at beginning & end as well as in ports. The food was fine. We have a longer HAL trip to Hawaii coming up, so it will be interesting to compare. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I previously experienced 2 great cruises with HAL in November and December 2019, thoroughly enjoyed both. I was excited to take my daughter on this cruise, albeit, we had orginally booked Cuba as our destination but had to change due to ... Read More
I previously experienced 2 great cruises with HAL in November and December 2019, thoroughly enjoyed both. I was excited to take my daughter on this cruise, albeit, we had orginally booked Cuba as our destination but had to change due to the restrictions. We chose this one because if Grand Turks, Puerto Rico and Saint Maarten. Unbeknown to us prior to sailing, the ship had propeller problems 2 weeks prior and we only had 1 working. They felt it was safe to travel however, they had to alter our itinerary because of the inability to travel at faster speed that would enable us to go to Saint Maarten. They chose St. Croix instead and gave us 25 shipboard credit. My first issue is that they knew there was a problem and did not inform us prior to sailing so we could decide whether we wanted to still go on this cruise or opt to get credit and take it when the ship was fixed. 2nd issue- Because of the slowness of the ship our port times were shorter. 3rd- St. Croix was horrible. Obviously it still has much work to be done in regards to rebuilding after the past hurricanes. It was dirty, only a few places open, the beach was too crowded . Time was short so didn't want to take a chance on exploring the island on our own and honestly without the internet, we had no opportunity to look up our options. This port was definitely not up to par with St. Maarten. 4th. Though we wanted to go to PR, we learned late morning of the 6.4 earthquake that had hit the island that morning and the decision was made to go ahead and pull into port. Along with Carnival and NCL. 3 large cruise ships docked in a city that was mostly without power. The pharmacy was open because they had a generator, and closed at sundown. Only a couple of restaurants were open. Ft. Morro was closed due to no power. Basically you could walk around the city, but at dark, no street lights etc. There were no instructions given by the Capt of the ship what to do in case of another earthquake or large aftershock if we were on land. The PR governor admitted they do not have an emergency preparedness plan for earthquakes, yet you dump 6000 passengers + crew out into the town, there wasn't even power in the cruise ship terminal. We did feel several.aftershocks while walking by the port. 5th die to unforeseen illness of a passenger we had to alter our course so the coast guard could medevac the passenger via helicopter, which took us several hours out of our travel. The next day we arrived in Half Moon Cay to do nothing. We couldn't anchor, the tenders couldn"t safely get passengers off the ship so that port was canceled. I do understand that the cruiseline does not have control over the weather. But, obviously the captain has access to weather reports etc prior to making his way there. Poor planning. The adult only area, pool and hot tub had young children in it all the time. Finally, did the cruise line consider what would happen if the other propeller went out while we were out to sea? We would have been dead in the water. Much to my amazement, we disembarked and the next set of passengers embarked. Still the propeller is not fixed. At what point will the cruiseline look beyond their pocketbook and fix the ship before another cruise? I bragged about how awesome this cruise line is to my family and friends, but after this experience I am hesitant to promote. There were good things; our cabin steward was wonderful. The food was delicious after the first night. Lunchtime at the Lido restaurant Asian station was some of the best we have eaten. I appreciate that the ship is non-smoking except on the Adult sea deck, but wished that was also non smoking. Thoroughly enjoyed Lincoln center stage, however due to the popularity, each performance had standing room only. We had to go to the venue an hour and a half prior to showtime to get a seat. The room is much too small, and the acoustics are terrible. Surely, the ship should change where these shows are performed to accommodate the passengers that want to hear without lining up down the hallway. We enjoyed the Step One dance company and the comedian. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Neiuw Amsterdam Jan 4 - 11 This was by far the worst cruise my wife and I have ever sailed... 1) We arrived onboard to find out that one of the engines(Azipods) was STILL broken and we would not be able to reach our St Marteen port, ... Read More
Neiuw Amsterdam Jan 4 - 11 This was by far the worst cruise my wife and I have ever sailed... 1) We arrived onboard to find out that one of the engines(Azipods) was STILL broken and we would not be able to reach our St Marteen port, the reason we booked this cruise in the first place, this because the boat was unable to reach the speed needed to reach the port. In fact ALL of ports times were altered/cancelled because of this mechanical issue that HAL was aware of, yet failed to inform anyone until AFTER we boarded. They knew of the azipod issue well in advance... Didn't alert of any issues or itin changes prior, didn't find out about these ongoing mechanical issues or that we wouldn't even make it to St Marteen until we were already on the ship. Didn't offer the opportunity to rebook on another cruise or maybe when the ship was 100% operational. 2) First port, San Juan. San Juan suffered a catastrophic earthquake several hours prior to our port. Power was out to pretty much the entire island and severe damage was widespread. Holland America still decides to port (albeit 4-5 hours late)and not maybe move on to a safer port, possibly because they can't again, because the boat is not fast enough given the azipod issues, I don't know. Most cruise lines would have skipped or made an alternate(and safe) port. What I do know is that they put their people(including my family) in harms way by going to a port that is under a current state of emergency. The island had no power and no services, no restaurants, nothing. Walgreens was pretty much the only thing open, on generator power. The people of PR were not at all happy that cruise tourists were meandering around looking for bars or restaurants that are open, meanwhile the people of PR are just trying to clean up and have no power. Extremely insensitive on HAL’s part. Several earthquakes occurred after(including major ones) that HAL put us in danger by porting and letting people off the ship. As you know when earthquakes strike, aftershocks follow, and in this case more major earthquakes occurred...It was dangerous to their people and insensitive to the people of PR to port and let people off the ship. At the very least they should have kept people on the ship, if they were unable to get to another close by port. 3) HAL replaceS St Marteen port with St Croix, since again, the boat I can’t go fast enough to make it and stay within schedule ....and NO staff on the ship has any knowledge or advise for this port, since none of them have been there either. Very, very unorganized. In my opinion it wasn’t really a port anyways, since we can't get on the island till after 9:30am and all aboard is at 1:30, AGAIN because of the azipod issues and we have to leave early to try and keep schedule to the next port. 4) Finally get to HMC late and can't port due to weather conditions. Not HAL’s fault, but at this point its insult to injury...and we just want out of this nightmare of a vacation. Given Holland America knew about the azipod issues for several weeks and KNEW they would have to cancel and shorten ports times for this, THEY SHOULD have at least given people an opportunity to rebook on another cruise or after the boat was repaired and fully operational. This was never offered. I reached out to HAL’s “Guest Relations” RE these issues, NO RESPONSE. Pretty much EVERYONE I spoke to while on this cruise was furious about HAL handled things. It’s really a shame...Welcome to the new HAL Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this sailing and ship because of good reviews. Big mistake. We also paid more for Club Orange and the Signature Suite. These are both a waste of your hard earned money, no priority or extra services as promised. Once boarded, ... Read More
We chose this sailing and ship because of good reviews. Big mistake. We also paid more for Club Orange and the Signature Suite. These are both a waste of your hard earned money, no priority or extra services as promised. Once boarded, we were informed the ship was sailing with only one engine/propeller, and this caused a change in the itinerary because the ship would be moving slow. Holland America was aware of this weeks prior however there was no communication to the guests. The Islands and excursions were why we chose this sailing. Big disappointment. While there was many issues beyond the control of the crew, i.e.- earthquake in Puerto Rico- no electricity/constant rain in Turks\nothing to do in St Croix due to short visit/no stop in Halfmoon Cay due to high seas and a medical evacuation ..there were many hospitality issues. Crew was ESL and needed more English classes. Overall cleanliness in Lido Buffet and comman areas- sticky tables/dishes trash, empty Lysol wipes in gym, .. the crew on the last day became overly friendly that my granddaughter asked why are they suddenly so nice? Can you say gratis? Also the Captain asked that no one go to the guest service desk as there was nothing they could do. The line was long and guests were constantly complaining. I was told "no" by several of the crew, even asking for soft bread at dinner was a no? No special orders, no remembering our names, no extra towels and a general feeling of inconveniencing the crew for anything. We traveled with our teen granddaughter, lacking teen activities, mostly a senior cruise. I work in hospitality and know what great service is and is expected. As you can read, I was not satisfied or feel this cruise was worth the money or the time. Reconsider if you have booked. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This year my family and I returned to sail with HAL on a ship we had previously loved cruising on. We were very disappointed and concerned to learn that the vessel was sailing on one azipod (having experienced electrical issues two weeks ... Read More
This year my family and I returned to sail with HAL on a ship we had previously loved cruising on. We were very disappointed and concerned to learn that the vessel was sailing on one azipod (having experienced electrical issues two weeks prior), and that no acknowledgement of the failure or explanation by the vessels officers was given as to the passengers. All we were informed of was a change in our interinery times for the ports of call (which were altered to allow the ship longer transit times between ports as she was not able to sail at high speeds). We were also appalled to discover that the promenade deck, and lido deck were filthy. Dirty dishes were strewn over the decks (no one cleaned up), and the decks were coated in a large layer of soot, debris, grease, and garbage. When I brought the issue forward to both the Staff Captain and Guest Services staff I was told (in vulgur and offensive language) that the ship simply did not have the manpower onboard to keep the vessel clean while she was oversold with passengers for the week, and that the issue would be rectified once the holiday passengers returned home and normal clientele returned to the ship (ouch!). We won't be returning to sail with HAL given our experience onboard, they clearly are not concerned with passenger and vessel safety, cleanliness or general welfare. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Seems like this ship has problems and can't reach the ports on the itinerary. No notification from Holland America before departure even when the problem has been know for weeks. See other reviews. Then the captain doesn't try ... Read More
Seems like this ship has problems and can't reach the ports on the itinerary. No notification from Holland America before departure even when the problem has been know for weeks. See other reviews. Then the captain doesn't try to avoid bad weather instead chooses to fake a port call which he knows is not staffed because tenders and the supply staff didn't even show up on their private island. A waste of Show and Time. Pretends he didn't know via Radio or via Weather Forecasts. Is he really a captain who don't know the conditions of where he is going and doesn't monitor conditions. What a waste of Money... Ships' entertainment director non engaging... Lack of DJ on a ship. No parties after 11:30PM on the ship. BARS shut Down at 11:30... Casino closes early and doesn't care if passengers wants to play... Not sure why they have a Casino in the first place if they don't want the revenue... I had three Neptune Suites so the cabins were nice and had lots of space for our family. Rest was a waste. Website says 24hour Concierge yet no one and even the special neptune lounge closed by 8 PM... calls route to normal front desk and wait queues unbearable for VIPs and Neptune Suite Occupants. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER HOLLAND AMERICA.... Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
As I am for sure one of very few german users of this cruise forum I should like to apologize in advance for my english. Anyway I would like to report of my experiences with HAL Nieuw Amsterdam from January 4th till January 11th as in my ... Read More
As I am for sure one of very few german users of this cruise forum I should like to apologize in advance for my english. Anyway I would like to report of my experiences with HAL Nieuw Amsterdam from January 4th till January 11th as in my opinion a company only will change their policy or will amend procedures if enough people give critical feedback to potential new cruisers. First of all we need to distinguish between the very disappointing and questionable HAL behavior itself and the crew, dining or cabin. Crew , dinig and cabin to make it short is really worth to travel with HAL. I never met such friendly and engaged crew members on european companies ! Dining in both MDR and Lido for my opinion is very good. The Pinnacle and Tamarind are outstanding. BUT NOW :::AND THIS IS ESSENTIAL FOR MY FAMILY ( my wife and 11 year old child) : We on no point of time felt secure on board of this ship ! MS NIEUW AMSTERDAM left the port of Fort Lauderdale with only one functional engine ! And this although the company did know since several weeks about this problem. During the trip we had sometimes rough and bad weather. Can you please imagine without any bad fantasies what would have happened if also the second engine would have failed ?? At the beginning of our journey the company means that they could compensate this risk and disadvantage with USd 50 per person !!! Please build your own opinion by considering that HAL has shortend the time schedule and the route of the complete cruise ( St Marteen as very outstanding attractive island was cancelled...other port calls were shortend to some less hours) A very old and unsightly ship of Carnival cruises always overtakes MS Nieuw Amsterdam even though this ship stood much longer in the same ports of call. so you can imagine how our ship tried to fight the elements when cruising back to Lauderdale. For me it was only a very very cheap excuse when the captain also cancelled the last highlight of the cruise "Half mmon cay".....accusing the weather conditions for not able to tendering.!!!!!!! Very cheap.......obviously happy about to return to Ft Lauderdale with a slow and technical questionable ship just in time. I NEVER WOULD RECOMMAND THIS COMPANY ! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We choose this cruise because it was going to Turks and Caicos one of favorite stops! Also a sponsored cruise by our community so many neighbors on board! We did do Rudi's Sel De Mer and for the extra charge this is well worth it! We ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was going to Turks and Caicos one of favorite stops! Also a sponsored cruise by our community so many neighbors on board! We did do Rudi's Sel De Mer and for the extra charge this is well worth it! We also did another night at the Pinnacle Grill along with the Canaletto Italian fare included by VacationsToGo. I do need to say we enjoyed the Canaletto the best maybe because we are partial to the food! My wife had the Veal Scallopini and I the Lobster Ravioli. The Langoustine-Tomato Soup is the best we ever had! Entertainment: The dance crew were excellent and we really enjoyed (the comedy) Mike the ventriloquist with Terrance his Figure! Terrance kept picking on this loser in the first row who didn't understand the humor as Terrance kept saying "What A Loser"! In Gran Turk we did the Grand Turk Exclusive Supreme Snorkeling Tour almost 4 hrs. Snorkeled the wall first and then some shallow reefs. Tasting the fresh conch was excellent and conch salad even better! The Stingray back massage was a kodak moment to be captured and remembered! Thank you Capt Gary and First Mate Marshall for a trip to be remembered! These guys need a big tip also! Nieuw Amsterdam azipod thruster malfunction forced a change in Itinerary from stopping at Saint Martin and sailing to St Croux instead! This was a welcome change and we had the best weather day at this stop! Don't miss a small bar on the nearby beach run by Shelly and Big Sexy what a hoot that was! Best drinks better than the ship and best jerk chicken! Stop in Old San Juan just after first earthquake not so great with most stores closed due to power outage! We did not make the Half Moon Kay private island stop due to high winds and poor weather! Best Martini's on the ship are made my Michael in the Pinnacle Bar midships! Give Michael a big TIP!!! Just one note on our room we had Cabin #8147 STBD side just under the Lido Deck Sea View Pool area. You will be awoken by the movement of chairs and tables every morning between 6 and 6:30 am. Noise also goes to 11pm at night depending on the weather. Do not recommend staying on deck 8 aft unless you are a heavy sleeper! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Cruise review of Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise January 4-11, 2020 About us: 40 something mom and dad, teen son, toddler daughter. 11 cruises (8 on HAL). 3 cruise lines so far. The cruise: ... Read More
Cruise review of Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise January 4-11, 2020 About us: 40 something mom and dad, teen son, toddler daughter. 11 cruises (8 on HAL). 3 cruise lines so far. The cruise: Already booked again on this same ship for a March 2020 Western itinerary we had such a good time and thought the crew were real troopers dealing with all the difficulties. The staff: They were all great, all of them, from cabin stewards to wait staff to wine stewards to bartenders. Our names were remembered, even our favorite drinks by the bar staff from when we sailed on this ship last year. There was only one exception, the one EXC guide that gave me bad info regarding Luggage Direct. The ship: Spotless inside and out. I have no idea what other guests reviewing this cruise are talking about but tables were bussed fast in the lido and the staff were super helpful when you needed dishes cleared. The ship itself has a very elegant interior and classic look. One of Holland America's strong suits is how they maintain their ships so very well. Good size ship, easy to get everywhere. This was a cruise effected by the azipod issue, one azipod was nonfunctional. More on that later. Just as one criticism, I do however miss the once adundant fresh flowers on the ship, especially the orchids in the lido. Cabins: 4166 and 4168. Standard verandah cabins with the slightly deeper balconies and both these cabins offer a double wide balcony. The divider on the balconies can be opened as well so we had a huge outside space. The inside of the cabins was very comfortable and spacious for verandah cabins, 4166 was a standard tub and shower combo while 4168 was shower only with a huge vanity and lots of bathroom storage space. Toddler had a ship provided pack n play in the cabin. Worked great and plenty of space. Unlimited laundry: $7 a day per cabin. One day service. Everything comes back spotless. I wish I could get this at home. Best money spent on the cruise as it makes packing easier. Internet: Got the middle grade package for 2 devices and it worked fine for everything we did which was check email, surf some websites. It was only slow on the last 2 days and not that big a deal. Photos: We got the unlimited package and got some great snaps. I wish we could just forgo the prints themselves and only buy the usb stick which is what we really use. But it is a good deal for as many great photos as we got. We went all over looking for the settings and backgrounds we wanted, I think there were 5 or 6 on Gala nights. It's a good idea to do that before you start getting in line. We liked some backdrops/settings better than others. The atrium one is really nice. Food: Always subjective but my husband and myself thought the food quality was the best of any cruise we have ever taken, and that would be 11 cruises now. We ate in the MDR, the Lido, did breakfast room service, NY Pizza, the Dive In 3 times, dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and 2 dinners at Tamarind. All were great. The fish dishes this cruise were especially good. Sole and halibut were excellent. The lobster tail with the Gala Night Surf and Turf was huge and perfectly cooked. Tamarind never disappoints. The steak, the stir fried lobster and the sea bass were all wonderful. Our Pinnacle Grill candied clothesline bacon, so good. PG steaks (10 oz filet and beef tenderloin) were perfection as well. Cooked exactly as we ordered. One criticism, the daily special Eggs Benedict from the Lido breakfast was no longer available. They simply had regular and Florentine everyday. That was sad. We enjoyed seeing what the special Eggs Benedict was each morning and some were especially tasty. We mentioned this change to a MDR chef who had come over from Nieuw Statendam last month and he was actually surprised by that change as it is a popular breakfast item. Also, the room service breakfast menu card is so limited, a la carte would waste less food as I don't really eat all the food they bring with the combinations they offer. Just an idea. Beverage: We both had the Elite Beverage pkg and used it liberally. Wine selection was good. They actually have a very nice whiskey cabinet in the Gallery Bar area which my husband discovered later in the cruise. Just ask the Gallery Bar bartender for the list of prices. One nice find this cruise was the pear cider. We had not tried that before and it was a really lovely cool drink. Another fun discovery for us was the Far East Legacy cocktail in the Tamarind Bar (of note, a gorgeous space on the ship). The beverage department folks are so good on HAL but they seem to need more of them in the main dining areas, the MDR and Lido. We were left going to the Lido or Sea View bars to grab our own drinks when we sat in the Lido area and not by a pool. The mixology classes are super fun. We never miss them. Entertainment: We did not get to many entertainment venues. We did hear some of the Lincoln Center Stage which was standing room only every performance we were there. Very tight, professional group. BB Kings was rocking. Caught several of their shows. Also an excellent group. Easy to sit through a couple performances sipping on a cocktail and grooving. We didn't go to any shows (not our thing) but our son enjoyed the comedian and ventriloquist very much even sitting in the lido with them after the show joking around. Really nice guys. Casino: smoke free. My husband enjoy playing slots and had several good hours there. He won $80 on a hot machine. Spa: As always, very enjoyable. Had my hair done twice for Gala nights and also had 2 massages. The hot stone massage was really wonderful. The actual cruise itinerary was changed on us as soon as we boarded as one of the ships two azipods was nonfunctional and due to be replaced the next month. We received $50 pp for the inconvenience of changing our St. Maarten stop to St. Croix and also the fact we would be getting to ports later and have less time in ports due to slower speeds. While disappointing, not a big deal for us. Grand Turk: What can you say? It's a beach day and it was super rainy there that day so half our bunch got off and went to the Beached Whale and Margarittaville and half stayed on the ship for a ship day. San Juan: We got there late but since they had just experienced severe earthquakes on the opposite side of the island all power was out in San Juan. My husband went ashore to the CVS for a few supplies and scoped out the situation. The places we wanted to go were without power so we just otherwise stayed on the ship. St. Croix: What a lovely island. Felt very unCarnivalized. I hope it stays that way. The store fronts facing the dock are lovely old buildings. The town seems friendly and the local hole in the wall eatery “Maggies Snackett” in Fredriksted served up some amazing goat stew and beans and rice. This is a place I would love to visit again and see more of the island. Half Moon Cay: 6 foot swells meant no tendering to the island. This was indeed disappointing as this peaceful beautiful unspoiled island is a jewel on any itinerary. We were already running 2 hours late due to bad weather and a medical evacuation at sea the previous day. The weather had been rocky a good part of this cruise but we made the best of it and enjoyed another ship day. Embarkation/debarkation: Outside of cruises where we had priority boarding, getting on and off the ship was the easiest ever. We checked in at 11 am and were on and in our cabin by 11:45. Enjoyed lunch in the MDR on embarkation days as well. We got off the ship, got our bags, and shot through customs in 15 mins. Airport transfer: fast and efficient. We had a 12:46 flight and we were at the airport by 10 am, checked in by 10:30 and through security by 10:45. We had lunch at Chili's on the other side of security. FLL airport: I said I would never fly out of this airport again as long as I live but we gave Jetblue a try and were thrilled. The terminal and staff were night and day better than Southwest, and I am a Southwest fan. Southwest needs to seriously up its game in FLL. I find SW employees in FLL to be the rudest most nasty anywhere we fly with them, which is very uncharacteristic, and the FLL SW terminal is very lacking in resources. Jetblue totally owned them in all categories and they will be our FLL go to airline from now on. This was our 8th HAL cruise and had the youngest cruisers we have seen. Lots of extended family groups, parents with teens, several 20-30 somethings. A fair amount of kids for a non-school holiday time. Boomers made up the bulk of the cruisers. Made for a different vibe but was nice. We heard some whining on this cruise. Truly, it did seem to be a comedy of errors cruise. If it could go wrong, it did. But complaining about stuff that simply can not be helped is pointless. The Captain said multiple times concerning specific issues that were being dealt with at the time NOT to congregate at guest services or the excursion desk as they could not help guests until the situation had been resolved. Bad weather, earthquakes, random mechanical failures, and a medical evacuation just happen. $50 pp compensation was pretty generous in my opinion. But then, if you are deadset on having a bad time and a whiner by nature, you will do just that (and probably hope they will gift you a free cruise). We are a very easy to please bunch so we had a great time despite all the craziness and will gleefully be back on this ship very soon. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Just got off the Nieuw Amsterdam 7-day cruise (12/28 to 1/4) and we had a very nice time. Currently, the Nieuw Amsterdam is traveling on 1 of 2 azipod’s because 1 is inoperative. The ship cancelled a 7 day cruise two weeks ago but ... Read More
Just got off the Nieuw Amsterdam 7-day cruise (12/28 to 1/4) and we had a very nice time. Currently, the Nieuw Amsterdam is traveling on 1 of 2 azipod’s because 1 is inoperative. The ship cancelled a 7 day cruise two weeks ago but instead of fixing the problem, the crew sailed with the ship to the Bahamas and they certified it there to run on one azipod instead of two. Because of this, our port times were reduced by a few hours at each location but the ship is safe and sound, just a little slow. Some info we placed through the Navigator “feedback” section of the app: We had a blast! Nice crew and nice passengers from around the world. Christmas decorations were still up. They were nice but there were no Happy New Year decorations like last year on the Nieuw Statendam. Entertainment is lacking, close to non-existent Muhammad in the watch shop on Board is amazing as well as Jade in the Spa. Worst men's haircut ever in the spa. (Jade fortunately tried to fix it but was not the person who initially cut it). Love Jade. Food selections and quality are outstanding. Cruise Director and Activity Director not very visible and when they were seen they were not very engaging with any passengers. Gym is awesome Whirlpool in spa is amazing. 15-per day drink package is the way to go. Adult pool area always had young children present and staff were uncomfortable getting into a confrontation with the parents of the students. Most of the ship is an older crowd so you have the run of the ship - empty after 10pm. It would be nice (for planning purposes) to know in advance which nights were the formal nights. It would be nice (again for planning purposes) knowing there was going to be an Orange Party and HAL wanted guests to wear orange. A limited supply of HAL t-shirts were available in their shops on board. I have a ton of orange items at home that I could have brought with me but we only learned of the Orange Party after getting on the ship. Why couldn't they send an email to us with this information in advance? Most people did not wear orange so the entire experience was strange and awkward. Overall, pleased with HAL and I would sail with them again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We are veteran cruisers, especially recently with this being my fifth cruise in the last year. This is our fourth(?) HAL cruise. For the first time in 25 years we cruised with old friends who were also veteran cruisers. There was so much ... Read More
We are veteran cruisers, especially recently with this being my fifth cruise in the last year. This is our fourth(?) HAL cruise. For the first time in 25 years we cruised with old friends who were also veteran cruisers. There was so much to like about this ship and we had a great time, as did our friends. Wife and I are 52 and 49. EMBARKATION was outstanding. We arrived around 10:50 and there were very few people there that early. It probably took us 10 minutes from walking in to getting our seats waiting for the ship to open. I expect the ship opened around 11:40 and we walked on with friends and headed to the deli for sandwiches and drinks. FOOD - DELI The Reuben at the deli was good but ask for extra meat on the Reuben. We had one with extra and one without and the one without was skimpy. This was our only trip to the deli. LIDO - Food here was a mixed bag. I thought breakfast here was very good with a lot of variety. I got the corned beef hash every morning and it was tasty. Lunch quality was lower than I remember on previous ships. Food in general was bland. The carved lamb I had one day was way overcooked and dry, the server even noted all they had was well done. DINING ROOM - We had six meals in there and all were good or better. Most of mine were fantastic except the Yankee Pot Roast which was too lean. The blackened barramundi was excellent but one part of it had scales and was inedible. A recent trend we have noticed is putting all the great dishes on the menu on the Gala Night, leaving the other nights a little short on really great dishes. Yankee Pot Roast night was one of these. SPECIALTY - We had two lunches in Pinnacle Grill. Both were outstanding and a great value at $15 pp, especially considering the lackluster lunch quality in the Lido. Dishes there included salmon, seafood soup, and tenderloin. Apps and desserts were also outstanding. I requested the key lime pie off the dinner menu and they obliged. It was big and great. We also had an outstanding meal in Tamarind. They went to another bar to get it when they did not have my liquor of choice. I thought there would be a discount for the first night, but it was full price. Keep this in mind if you are seeking a first-night discount. The Dutch Cafe is the best kept secret on the ship. Rarely a line, great food, drink and service. Don't skip this place. SERVICE - I would love to give 5 stars here because it was generally outstanding, but there were a few notable exceptions. Interactions with the staff were always 5 star. They were kind, polite, and interested in you. They would do anything you asked even if it wasn't their job. However, there were a few issues. One night in the dining room we had particularly slow service from both the waiter and wine steward. It seemed as a table for six we were the lowest priority for this crew. I finally spoke to a supervisor when we were there for 70 minutes and still had appetizer dishes on the table. Service in the Crows Nest was also hit and miss. Too often you would try to get the waiter's attention and they seemed to be in their own world, not looking to see if anyone around them needed service. Other than these exceptions, service was outstanding. BARS - Service and quality was generally very good, but again a few drinks came out not quite right. John in the Panorama and Rolling Stone Rock Room served some strong drinks, and we sought out "Double John" for service whenever we could. ENTERTAINMENT - We really enjoy BB Kings and this cruise was no exception. The female lead had a slow start to the week but warmed up as the week went on and was right on by mid-week. Everyone else was top notch start to finish. We also enjoyed the Rolling Stone Rock Room. One of the two comedians was very good, the other good. We enjoyed the dance troupe who made good use of the video technology. We also enjoyed the Planet Earth show. Daytime activities was weak and there was very little live music during the day. We saw two string quintet shows and both were outstanding. Pop-up game show on the unexpected sea day was fun. SHIP - The ship had a good vibe with a mix of younger and older passengers, with most being between the two like us. Weather was windy all week but almost no rain. Our stop at Half Moon Cay was cancelled for high seas and as we sailed away we had the highest seas and ship rocking we have ever experienced on a ship. At one point outside decks were closed because of the high winds. PUBLIC ROOMS - Very well kept up and all set the right mood. The quality and quantity of art throughout seemed a little lacking. As usual I enjoyed the fresh flowers. CABIN - see below GUEST SERVICES - Prompt, quality service when needed. VALUE - We are bargain hunters and got a great deal on this cruise. 5 star here. EXCURSIONS - We did not take any ship excursions. FITNESS and REC - We did not do the spa or fitness center. DEBARKATION - We had a 1:50 flight so we stayed on the ship until last call and carried our luggage off. I love not packing the night before and having a full, enjoyable evening on the last night without worry of packing or bags. We met friends for dining room breakfast at 8:20, had an enjoyable last meal, then waited in the lounge until last call around 9:40. Fairly short line getting off, but long line at customs. We probably got through customs around 10:10. OVERALL - We all had a very enjoyable week. Four of us had the drinks package and made good use of that with alcoholic, non-alcoholic, coffee, and bottle waters all free. That was a value-added freebie for us and we booked because of it. Highly recommended cruise, especially at less than $100 pp, per day. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My husband and I are in our mid-30's/early 40's. During the holiday season, we always take a cruise. For the past four years, we've taken NCL cruises. This year, we decided to take a cruise on the Koningsdam. We already had ... Read More
My husband and I are in our mid-30's/early 40's. During the holiday season, we always take a cruise. For the past four years, we've taken NCL cruises. This year, we decided to take a cruise on the Koningsdam. We already had 3 HAL cruises under our belts, but those were all out of the Pacific Northwest. We were unsure about a HAL cruise in the Caribbean because the ports are less of a feature than on an Alaskan itinerary. What did we think? We absolutely loved the Koningsdam!! I'm mystified why there are so many low reviews. So far, this is our favorite HAL experience. Cruise Info: 7 Day Eastern Caribbean - December 15-22, 2019 Embarkation: We spent 2 nights at an Airbnb in Fort Lauderdale. We took a Lyft to Port Everglades and arrived around 11am. Embarkation was smooth. Check-in went by quickly, and there was plenty of space to wait in the terminal. By noon, we were on the ship and enjoying lunch in the main dining room. Ship: This is a beautiful ship! The decor manages to be both classic and modern. HAL seems to be moving in a new direction with this ship, and I like it! The atrium spans three decks with the Ocean Bar and Grand Dutch Cafe on two of them. On previous HAL cruises, I thought the atrium was too small and too dull. This one was bigger and had more energy from all the nearby areas. The ship was always clean and tidy. The promenade on deck 3 was more narrow than on previous ships, but it was still a great place to walk around and enjoy the sea air. We avoided areas on the starboard side because the ventilation for cigarette smoke was there. The BB King Lounge is 2 decks high, so there was always lots of seating. We didn't spend much time by the lido pool, but it did feel stuffy here. The only opening for the 2 deck area was the retractable roof. Cabin: We had originally booked a guaranteed inside cabin. Less than a week before the cruise, we were offered an upgrade to a veranda for $79 per person! Needless to say, we quickly got on the phone and got our new cabin. Please see my cabin review below for more details. Main Dining Room: The dining rooms on older HAL ships are dark, but the Koningsdam's MDR is bright, modern, and welcoming. We ate all our dinners and some of our lunches here. I also enjoyed afternoon tea a couple times, which is a fun treat. We had open seating, and we usually arrived around 7pm. On both gala nights, we were given a pager and had to wait 20-25 minutes, but the time passed quickly. The food was very good and offered a nice variety. The MDR staff is friendly and willing to fill special requests (e.g. extra vegetables, no sauce). There was only one dish I did not enjoy, and I was able to receive a new entree quickly. Drink service was extremely fast! I hope HAL eventually ends set dining times. When I looked at the deck above, I saw many empty tables. This seems inefficient. Also, I wish there were bathrooms in the dining room because you have to go through the people waiting to enter in order to reach the toilets. Grand Dutch Cafe: What a great addition!! Every staff member is from the Netherlands, and the menu consists of Dutch foods. We ate many lunches here. We especially enjoyed the quiche and the pickled herring. The coffees were excellent. The highlight of this area was the extremely friendly staff. They always made us smile. Room Service: Each day, we ordered room service for breakfast. It always arrived on time or a little earlier. We requested items not listed on the menu (e.g. grapefruit, plain yogurt), and these items were always included. It's very relaxing to enjoy breakfast in the cabin before venturing out on the ship. Signature Beverage Package: When we booked our cruise, HAL was running a great deal on the SBP ($140 per person for the entire week). This is such a wonderful perk! It covers all drinks priced at $11 or less, and this includes bottled waters and specialty coffees. (I should note that you can only get bottled waters that are 500mL or less. This seems to be a recent change.) Each day, we enjoyed a couple coffees, many bottles of water, a few glasses of wine, and a digestif. We definitely got our money's worth! If you can get the SBP at a discounted rate, go for it! Entertainment: The Music Walk is a great concept! Lincoln Center Stage and BB King are both amazing!! They are filled with talented musicians. I loved relaxing to classical musical before dinner and then dancing the night away after our meal. The nighttime music is loud. My husband and I both wore earplugs when dancing at BB King. We were still able to enjoy their music without getting headaches. We were unable to listen to the rock band for long. Even with the earplugs, they were still way too loud. They need to either turn down the volume or move to a bigger venue. We went to the main stage shows twice. We saw the BBC Earth presentation and a comedian. Both were good. Daytime Activities: This is an area HAL still needs to work on. There is not a lot going on at this time, so we usually entertained ourselves by walking the promenade or playing cards. Computer classes and spa seminars are not for me. I wish there more active options (e.g. dance classes). We did attend the presentation about HAL's history. This was fantastic and very interesting! Service: As always, HAL's service was top-notch. Our room stewards were wonderful! They took care of everything, and our room was always clean and tidy. Every staff member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The cruise director (Karlijn) was a real standout! She puts her heart and soul into her job. Guest Services: On day 2, we noticed a billing error. We had been charged for a few items that should have been included with the SBP. We visited guest services, and the issue was quickly resolved. We had no more issues the rest of the cruise. Great job!! Ports: The only port that stood out was San Juan. There is so much to see in the Old Town! Due to rough seas, we were unable to visit Half Moon Cay. On the morning of arrival, the captain announced the change. By 10am, the cruise director had planned several new activities for the day and had a new schedule printed. I was very impressed! Please read my port reviews below for more information on each stop. Disembarkation: We were able to enjoy room service breakfast and then wait in our cabin until our luggage group was called. Getting off the ship was easy. We took a Lyft to Pompano Beach and spent the next few days relaxing by the sea. Overall: We loved the Koningsdam!! Yes, HAL is moving in a new direction with a larger ship, new concepts, and more modern decor. I think the low rating on CC has to do with these changes. In order for HAL to go forward and gain new cruisers, it needed to change. The Koningsdam shows the company is looking towards the future. I can't wait to cruise with them again!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I loved loved loved this cruise. I have been on many cruises and have sailed on most of the mainstream cruise lines – Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Carnival, Costa, MSC, Celebrity, and other cruise lines as well. The Koningsdam ... Read More
I loved loved loved this cruise. I have been on many cruises and have sailed on most of the mainstream cruise lines – Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Carnival, Costa, MSC, Celebrity, and other cruise lines as well. The Koningsdam was really a surprise, I have sailed on Holland America Lines (HAL) before and I expected this ship to be similar to the other two HAL ships I previously traveled on. Embarkation was slow but this is because Port Everglades have not upgraded the port facilities. The terminals in Port Everglades are antiquated and to small for the size of todays cruise ships. Two days before sailing I received an email from Holland America offering me an upgrade to a balcony cabin. I decided to take advantage of the offer and loved the balcony cabin. The food on the Koningsdam was excellent. In the lido market the staff serves you the food, this is a nice touch as other passengers are not touching the serving utensils which helps to prohibit the spread of any viruses. Food in the main dining room was also very good and was in general the food on this ship was by far superior to that of other cruise lines. For example, every morning there is a nice selection of berries, something I did not see on Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival…….etc. Staff on this ship was also very accommodating, polite, and professional. Our cabin steward, wait staff, etc were all very friendly. The biggest surprise for me was the entertainment on this ship. There is a music walk that was a lot of fun. Rolling Stones Rock Room was outstanding! Loved the music, and the musicians, especially the guitar players were exceptional. The lead singer Michael from Virginia (I did not get his last name) is so talented with an amazing voice. The BB King Blues club was also outstanding with a wide variety of music. The BB King Blues club turns into a disco late at night. There is also Billboard onboard which is two pianos with singers performing popular hits. Billboard onboard was the only entertainment venue that I did not enjoy. The performers Sam and Ivy were consistently off key and did not resonate with the audience. The absolutely best best and I mean the best entertainment on this ship was performed by the Lincoln Center stage! This music was amazing and consisted of two violinists, one cello, one viola, and one piano. Alexander Lee on the violin and Ashley Green on the cello were fantastic. This group played a wide variety of music ranging from Masterworks i.e. Beethoven to movie classics to pop. Even if you are not a fan of classical music you will enjoy observing this group perform. The shows and entertainers were ok, not great. The dancer’s performance of “Humanity” was very good with an excellent use of graphics. Planet Earth II in concert was also very good. I enjoyed the origin story of Holland America Line was very interesting. The comedians were average, I’ve seen better on other ships. The Orange Party was a lot of fun. We dressed up in Orange clothes as did many other passengers, the music was fantastic, and the dance floor was packed. Loved it. The Captain – Darin Bowland provided very informative announcements regarding where the ship was located, navigation speed, information about the ship, etc. Never met him but I enjoyed his announcements. The cruise director was outstanding. Karlijn Verpalen was visible and made the cruise so much fun. She interacted with the passengers, danced with us at the Orange Party and was so friendly. She is very personable, and I think she has a great future with HAL. Now the bad - I had booked three shore excursions on the HAL website two months prior to sailing, yet the tickets were not delivered to my stateroom nor were they placed outside my door. I had to make numerous visits to the shore excursion desk to get this issue resolved. On our first port – Grand Turk, I had reserved the Segway excursion, yet I had no ticket. I was told to speak to a shore excursion specialist on-shore. I hunted him down and he gave me a handwritten ticket which the shore excursion person was reluctant to accept. Finally, I insisted that they re-print the shore excursion tickets which they did. I attribute this to my upgrading of cabin two days prior to sailing. I assume the shore excursion tickets were floating around on deck 8 which was where my original cabin was supposed to be located. This was a mess and caused me to waste a lot of time trying to locate these shore excursion tickets. I selected anytime dining, a big mistake. I assumed that once on-board I could reserve the time I wanted to eat, no, once on-board I was told dining room times were reserved and that only 5:30 or 8:30 were available. We ate in the main dining room on the first night and only one other night. I would not do this again. Finally, we had to skip our port of call at Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas due to rough seas. This is not acceptable. We were right next to the island and I could see the beach, the pirate ship bar, and everything Half Moon Cay has to offer. I had reserved the jet ski excursion and of course I was disappointed. I have been on three Holland America Cruises, all in the Caribbean, and all had Half Moon Cay as a port of call. I was only able to visit Half Moon Cay on one of the three cruises. A few years ago, I was on the Prinsendam and we skipped stopping at Half Moon Cay due to the tenders not being able to transport passengers as a result of high seas. Come on Holland America (and parent Carnival Corporation) - if you are going to continue using Half Moon Cay - BUILD A DOCK SO THE SHIPS CAN PULL UP AND PASSENGERS CAN DISEMBARK ON THE ISLAND. Royal Caribbean built a dock at their private island, and MSC has a dock at its private island. Tenders are going out of style, so HAL build a dock at Half Moon Cay! Finally, I really loved this cruise, despite the few negative issues listed immediately above, this was memorable cruise and I will be sailing on Holland America again real soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose this Holland America cruise to avoid the shopping mall atmosphere on bigger ships where passengers need to be constantly entertained. This is a traditional sailing type atmosphere not an amusement park, there are plenty of mega ... Read More
I chose this Holland America cruise to avoid the shopping mall atmosphere on bigger ships where passengers need to be constantly entertained. This is a traditional sailing type atmosphere not an amusement park, there are plenty of mega ships that fit that profile. If you prefer a relaxing schedule enjoying sunsets on deck rather than rock climbing then Holland America is for you. Sometimes less is more. Ship overall: Among the best contemporary cruise ship, perfect size and amenities. Embarkation: The embarkation process was relaxing and well-orchestrated. My wife and I arrived before noon and only waited 20 minutes before embarking. Unlike other ships, the on board welcoming experience was like the Orient Express where bellmen great you in lavish attire, elevator porters and take you to your floor and staff available everywhere to assist. Dining overall: Food portions are small, quality is good. Main dining room takes a long time, Lido buffet is always crowded. Dining room Breakfast: We only went twice since it usually takes an hour for breakfast which ends too early by 9:30 AM so the Lido buffet was our best option. Lunch: Seldom available. Dinner: Best for days at sea since wait times are long and food quality was comparable to the buffet. Afternoon tea: We waited over 30 minutes before anyone served us, I finally had to ask for service. Lido Buffet Good food quality but too repetitive daily menu items and always crowded with long lines and the Lido on both sides of the ship were rarely open despite being a full sailing. Why not open both sides including specialty dining venues especially during breakfast and lunch when they are empty? The menu placards were so small you couldn’t even read the menu items and the variety was limited with lack of international varieties. The eggs Benedict were served with raw English muffins! We could never fine seating unless we looked at Lido on both sides of the ship since one side was always closed. NY Deli The pizza was terrible-inedible. The Reuben and tuna sub were good. Dive In The best for burgers and chicken sandwiches, the fries were great. Room dining service: We cancelled twice since it took twice as long to get (over an hour) and the only time we did get it, they forgot the coffee and toast for breakfast, pass. Staff overall: All venues especially the cabin service was outstanding, they were all professional and polite. Best part of the cruise was the friendly staff. Everyone says hello no matter where you are. Entertainment: BB Kings and Billboards were the best with something for everyone. The Main stage is the most sparse and uninviting of any ship, it felt like a high school auditorium. Muster drill: Among the worst experience on any ship. Passengers never went to the deck to our assigned station instead wasted an hour sitting in the main stage while they called out our room numbers often repeatedly. No one had a clue where their assigned station was, bad and unsafe practice. Debarkation: Just as uneventful as the Embarkation process allowing everyone time for breakfast. However we disliked a staff member having to interrupt us while packing just to count the fridge items we never used, it should have been done the day before. Overall rating: Due to the staff, it was among the best cruise experience we have had despite room for improvement especially dining options and issues. The passenger survey emailed after the cruise was only good for a few days, we never had a change to participate. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose this cruise because of the good reviews. I will never do that again. The ship never sailed. Apparently catastrophic engine failure. Compensation so far seems fair, but need to wait on hotel and flight change compensation for final ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the good reviews. I will never do that again. The ship never sailed. Apparently catastrophic engine failure. Compensation so far seems fair, but need to wait on hotel and flight change compensation for final verdict. Its a very big hassle factor. Holland America took 24 hours to decide to cancel cruise. Wifi and tv were a 1 out of 10. Not good at all, so don't count on it. Even when paying the in room wifi charges, it was still less than awful. The cruise seemed doomed from the start as none of our partys key cards worked when we got on the ship. All three room keys had to be reprogrammed at guest services. Another hassle as guest services was always terribly busy. We were trapped on the ship for over twenty four hours not able to leave or disembark. All the crew and stewards were excellent though. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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