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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We choose cruise based on ports of call. Entertainment was very poor as to compared to other cruises i have been on (over 80). The activities on board were similar most days. The computer classes were scheduled the same time as dinner ... Read More
We choose cruise based on ports of call. Entertainment was very poor as to compared to other cruises i have been on (over 80). The activities on board were similar most days. The computer classes were scheduled the same time as dinner 5:30, Test Kitchen sessions were great and so was the BB Kings show times. The ship did have a wonderful in room selection of movies to watch in the evenings, since there was poor shows. The cruise director was average at best. Food in the dining room and lido was great. Service was wonderful. Purser office staff were average. Ship captain and staff were wonderful. I have never had a Captain think of passenger safety during a thunderstorm and advised guests to stay indoors and safe. He also backed the ship up from several islands and i have never seen this before. He was a great Captain. The ports of call for the 24 days were GREAT, that was reason we choose this ship. We were unable to go to Gozo due to rough seas for tendering. Venice, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Katakalon, Greece; Athens, Greece; Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos, Herakilon, Crete; Chania, Crete; Malta, Naples, Sicily, Civitechia (Rome). 21 stops in 24 days and each stop was wonderful. The ship tours were very expensive and we choose to do on shore excursions on our own. Hop on Hop Off buses were in most cities at around 20 Euro to 25. City tours were plentiful in taxis and minibuses. anywhere from 10 to 15 Euro. We did take one ship tour in Corfu to 3 cities and is was average and we felt rushed during this trip. I would have rather found a local tour person and done it on our own. Be prepared in each city you visit to walk on uneven, cobblestone streets and cracked pavements, so a good walking shoe is necessary as well as a good hat to shade you from the sun. Staying hydrated is very necessary while walking in the cites and restrooms are far and few and they charge a Euro or more to use, but they are clean. So the cities are wonderful, beaches great and seas beautiful. It was the ship that i found to be average at best. The Med. is beautiful place filled with ruins, history and beautiful scenery. Enjoy the Med just think twice choosing Oosterdam. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife and I booked this 12 night cruise because of the interesting itinerary. It was heavy on our much desired Adriatic coast, but also included great and/or new destinations for us such as Kotor, Montenegro, both Valletta and Gozo, ... Read More
My wife and I booked this 12 night cruise because of the interesting itinerary. It was heavy on our much desired Adriatic coast, but also included great and/or new destinations for us such as Kotor, Montenegro, both Valletta and Gozo, Malta, Dubrovnik, Split, and Korcula, Croatia, and Slovenia. The cruise ended in Venice. As stated, a great itinerary. However, our experience on board was far from satisfactory in several key areas ... and we have Holland America experience since 2007. We are 4-Star Mariners with 213 actual sea days on HAL as we write this review. Our ship, the MS Westerdam, is among the first of the HAL fleet to undergo an extensive renovation/modernization that will fit the new image for all their ships over the next couple of years. (1) The Library is gone. (2) The Ocean Bar dance floor is gone ... all carpet now. There is in fact only one dancing venue on the ship ... the B.B. King's Blues Club. That club is excellent if you like that kind of music ... we enjoyed it and danced to a great live band ... all terrific musicians. They played 5 out of 7 nights, as I recall, with 2 nights off per week and no other music/dance on those nights there. They did not start until about 8PM. However, for those that don't care for blues, there was no other dance venue. The Ocean Bar had a classical pianist ... excellent ... but don't expect to hear any popular numbers that you can dance to ... and that would be on carpet. So, the once great Ocean Bar with the cocktails and dancing to a trio or quartet is gone! (3) No Crow's Nest for dancing and music anymore. The entire Crow's Nest has been transformed into EXC, or Explorations Central. (4) Conventions and/or groups allowed to reserve and take over "common areas". On three evenings that we personally experienced, about half of the Ocean Bar, the part with the pianist, and where most of the chairs and tables are, was closed off to all guests except for the group/convention. Therefore, there was no seating for many guests. We were told by a couple of officers that "all HAL ships are now doing this". What next for a surprise? (5) Sick/extremely ill two times on board ... myself and several days later my wife. Each time that we were sick we only ate on board that day ... and late those nights we were vomiting, etc. in our stateroom (symptoms of food poisoning, but no proof). We spoke to the ship's medical officer/nurse. After 24 hours we were each mostly recovered, but it did ruin that day's ability to go ashore. In general, over the past few years HAL is not what it used to be. Service in general has declined, sharp attention to detail is no longer present. The crew/staff for the most part are, in our opinion, over worked and too few. Many times one is left waiting. Where are the officers to supervise and see that the guests are taken care of in a timely manner? Lastly, we wrote and mailed a letter to the President of Holland America Line in early December, 2017, regarding our experience and suggestions for improvement (HAL has always said that they want to hear from we "Mariners") ... and we have never received a response. Apparently, they do not care how we, as loyal and good customers/guests/Mariners feel! That is our experience. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We have cruised on other lines. This was the first cruise in Holland America and will also be the last. By comparison to Princess, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean this ship was a disappointment. The stateroom steward was excellent but the ... Read More
We have cruised on other lines. This was the first cruise in Holland America and will also be the last. By comparison to Princess, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean this ship was a disappointment. The stateroom steward was excellent but the other service on board was not nearly as good as what we have experienced before. The Guest service desk seemed very inexperienced and did not live up to commitments made. The booking agent also did not provide us with the same deal they gave our travel companions. The tour groups were very large and tour guides could not be heard. Not all wore microphones which were definitely needed with 50+ people in one group! The disembarkment process was clearly a message that Hollland America was no longer engaged with theur customer. They had us to the airport 2 hours before the line was even open for check in. We were dropped off and had to walk about 15 minutes (with our luggage and no porters) to get to the terminal. We were told a Holland America rep would be inside to assist. There was no one there to help us. Very disappointing. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We were informed this voyage was the 2nd voyage for the ship since coming out of dry dock for restoration and refresh. While the company certainly did a brilliant job with the refit of the ship, they appear to have fallen far short of ... Read More
We were informed this voyage was the 2nd voyage for the ship since coming out of dry dock for restoration and refresh. While the company certainly did a brilliant job with the refit of the ship, they appear to have fallen far short of expectations in terms of customer service and dining. We had a truly awful experience on our cruise from Venice in early May, and based on this experience would not choose Holland America again. Embarkation was quite easy in Venice. However, I should point out that we had a baby with us, and we were therefore expedited through and placed within boarding group 1, so we boarded rather quickly and without issue. From what we heard from other fellow passengers, our experience was not the "norm" for that day, as many folks stated their experience in the groups behind us was truly disorganized, slow, and painful. It should be noted that it was unclear as to whether Holland America or the local authorities were responsible for that pain, but what is clear is that Holland America clearly wasn't front and center to assist. The fun began the instant we walked onto the ship. With our stateroom keys in-hand, we went straight to our cabin so that we could drop our carry-on bags and start to get settled. Unfortunately, we discovered our stateroom keys were not functional, and when we went to the Customer Services desk, we asked if they could re-issue our keys since they weren't working. To my amazement, the person at the desk rudely snapped back and stated: "well, I don't know what is wrong with your keys. They should be working. Please go back and try again." Astonished at this response, I stayed put and reminded her that we had just been "trying again" at the door for over 10 minutes, and they needed to fix the situation. FYI, this theme of Customer Service not taking responsibility will be consistent throughout this review. The woman then decided to take my keys and attempt to reprint them, only to find that her machine at the desk was not working and could not print new keys. She then told me to sit in the lounge area while she tried to fix the situation. Over the course of 30 minutes, several other cruisers came to the desk with the same situation, and once the desk realized this was a systematic issue, they clearly started a triage type arrangement to deal with it. Unfortunately this meant that all of us had to hang around the lounge for over an hour until Customer Service realized they could start letting people into their rooms via the master key cards the Stewards have, at least allowing one-time access to the rooms for everyone. It ended up that 75% of the people on that cruise suffered from the systematic problem with the keys, and it took over 5 hours for it to be completely resolved, with people being forced to hang around the lounge area to receive keys in lieu of enjoying the amenities of the ship. Not once did we get an apology for the situation, only stressed out Customer Service agents literally tossing the keys to us when they were ready. Then there was the baggage situation. Most cruisers know to expect it will likely be a couple of hours before bags start to arrive at staterooms. However, at the 5 hour mark, we started to question what was going on, especially considering the keys fiasco. Once the Customer Service desk had thinned out from the key situation, I walked over and simply asked if they knew the status of the baggage and when they expected the delivery of all bags to complete. The reply from the person at the desk, yet again rude, was: "how should I know?!?!". The Manager standing behind her must have seen my facial expression, as he quickly jumped to push her aside and calmly state that they expected all bags to be delivered within the next 2 hours. That's how it should have been handled to begin with, and I certainly did not appreciate the tone of that Manager's staff through the first 5 hours of the cruise. All of the other cruisers I spoke with during that period, and throughout the entire cruise as it turns out, had the same feedback about that desk. On to the dining experience. I've had airline economy class food and service that blew these guys out of the water. Our first experience was with in-room dining. Our infant daughter had fallen asleep, and my wife was looking for a solution to grab some dinner without waking her. My wife decided to walk to the Customer Service desk down the hall (already on edge from our previous CS Desk experiences), and ask them if they could help her order "in room" dining, but have the food delivered to the lounge area instead of the cabin so as to not wake the baby. Happily, they actually jumped in and helped her, assuring her that the order was placed and specific instructions had been provided to the dining service to deliver to the lounge and not to the room. 1.5 hours later, the food had not yet arrived, so my wife went back to the desk to ask about status and to confirm again that the food would not be delivered to the room. They assured her it was coming soon, and it definitely would not be delivered to the room. 20 minutes later, I received a giant series of thumps on the cabin door, followed by "in-room dining!". Our daughter was instantly awakened and scared, so she of course began to scream out. I couldn't believe it, so I picked up my daughter and opened the door to find the dining guy standing there with a tray of food. I demanded to know why he was here and not at the lounge down the hall with my wife, and he just shrugged and left the food on the floor. No apology of any kind. I ran down the hall with my screaming baby, collected my wife from the lounge and we all headed back to the room to calm the baby and allow my wife to eat after nearly 2 hours. As it turned out, the order was incorrect and wife received nothing that she had ordered, and the ticket on the tray clearly indicated "DELIVER TO CS LOUNGE. BABY SLEEPING. DO NOT DELIVER TO CABIN". Once the baby was down, I went straight to the CS desk to inform them of the situation and demanded to speak to the Dining Manager. The desk agents just stood there and looked at me stunned as if they had no idea of how to handle the situation. One went and got the CS Desk Manager, so I got to re-explain the situation again, and again ask to speak to the Dining Manager. The response I got was: "the dining manager is very busy and not available. I will send him a message regarding the error. Have a nice night". No apology, no resolution. Simply amazing. The next night, we decided to try a different approach. During our appointed dining room seating, we all went up to the dining room. The baby was fussy, so my wife decided she would order, and then ask the dining room to send the food straight down to our cabin, prior to our baby going to sleep. The waiter happily stated they could enable that, took her order, and came back to the table stating that they had placed the order with in-room dining manager, and they were in the process of preparing the delivery. Content with that, my wife headed straight down to the cabin. Two hours later, I returned to the cabin, only to find a sleeping baby and my wife sitting there reading with no food remnants in site. The food had never arrived, and she was starving and unable to leave or make calls to inquire without waking the baby. Stunned again, I went back up to the dining room to inform our waiter that my wife's food had never arrived, to which his initial response was: "Are you sure?!". Of course I was sure!! He scrambled back to the kitchen, and emerged with the Dining Manager. At long last, I was able to see this mystery man face-to-face! The manager's initial statement to me was: "Sir, our records indicate your wife's food was delivered. I don't know what to tell you." I replied by asking if he would like to accompany me back to our stateroom so that he could physically see that my starving wife indeed has no food. Realizing the stupidity of his comments, he scampered back to the kitchen, and re-emerged with two things: (1) the food which I could hand carry back to my wife, and (2) a confirmation that they had mixed up the cabin, and the food was delivered to the wrong place. I took the opportunity to inform him of how poorly his team had performed the previous night, and that this performance on the present night was equally unacceptable. Finally, someone on the boat took responsibility, and he personally apologized and stated that he was taking my feedback seriously, but it was after we had personally been challenged as to the validity of our claims. Now to the food quality itself...dog food is the best way to describe it. On the first night, our group got up from the dining room table and left mid-meal due to how awful the food quality was. It was cold, disheveled, some plates were missing entire ingredients, and there was no flavor. We all went to the buffet market upstairs, which comparatively had superior options. The second night (the night of the botched dining room delivery), was equally bad. After that, the group decided never to return to the dining room due to the atrocious quality. On day 5 of the cruise, some fellow cruisers had indicated that they had just come from the dining room and they felt the quality standards had come up since day one, albeit only marginally, so we decided to return to give them one last chance. We agreed that the quality had come up since days 1 and 2, however, our opinion was that it was now only on par with the buffet upstairs, and far short of what we had come to expect from previous Holland America quality. Overall, the customer and dining services came across as though the teams were total rookies and were not yet fully trained to handle a ship full of customers. 100% of our interactions with both teams yielded some kind of error or poor performance (messages not delivered, rude personnel, missed kitchen quality, incorrect orders, excruciatingly slow wait staff, watered down drinks, etc, etc), mostly coming from a lack of listening to the customer, and execution. Our fellow cruisers shared the same feedback. There were a few bright spots to the cruise: (1) The room Stewards were fantastic. Very friendly, attentive, engaging with our baby, and the rooms were always in perfect form. They checked in with us often, but not too often, and were a pleasure to work with. Kuddos to that team! (2) The ladies in the group reported that the Spa was an excellent experience. Great masseuses and high quality massages. Nice relaxation pool and changing rooms. (3) Ports arrivals/departures were well handled. We docked in 3 of 4 destinations, and were on tenders in Santorini (standard). Dubrovnik was a stunning place, safe, and plenty to see (recommend the wall walk and exploring the side alleys for food and shops). Kotor (Montenegro) featured a stunning fjord approach and departure, and the small ancient town was fun to walk through, including the hike up to the old fortress (1500 steps each way). Ravenna (Italy) was a pleasant surprise, as it was a quaint, relaxed town with ample historical sights and an overall non-touristy feel. Tenders to/from the ship in Santorini were frequent and efficient. This was the one day we chose to sign up for a shore excursion, as we wanted to get to the far town of Oia straight away. We paid $50/adult for the bus ride and tour guide to Oia, had 2 hours of open exploring time, and then rode the bus back to Thira where the excursion ended. The value in that excursion was entirely in the time saved by having a dedicated bus instead of tendering to shore and finding a cab. At the end of the day many folks complained of only having 2 options for getting back down to the tenders from town, but anyone who researched or read the Holland America notice about Santorini knew this would be the situation, and it has nothing to do with Holland America. Either a 2-hour wait for the cable car, or 400 paved steps (with donkey droppings) down the cliff. We chose the latter, and it was just fine provided you are in decent enough physical shape to descend the steps. It took us about 35 minutes to walk all the way down. Note of caution though: we did come across an out-of-shape gentleman who was rushing his way down and ended up slipping and breaking his ankle. Care should be taken all the way down, with deliberate steps, especially towards the bottom when you are more fatigued. Also, a note about Santorini overall: Based my experience from a previous dedicated trip to the island, 9am-5pm is not nearly enough time to get the full/true experience of the island, and you'll only get the "cruise ship" experience of having only enough time to explore the two main walkways with shops and restaurants in Thira and Oia. That has everyone in port that day (at times as many as 5 cruise ships at a time!) crammed into two small areas, so it's overly crowded, and not really enjoyable. Try to find a cruise that gives you the time to explore away from the main streets (ex: the beaches, the ancient ruins, the wineries, etc), or perhaps just choose to make a dedicated trip to Santorini...it's worth it. Overall - very disappointed in Holland America on this cruise, and we have no plans to return to them soon. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
After an excellent short Alaskan cruise on Holland America's Zuiderdam a couple of years ago, my wife and I decided to choose HA for a 12 day Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise in April | May this year. The voyage route and port ... Read More
After an excellent short Alaskan cruise on Holland America's Zuiderdam a couple of years ago, my wife and I decided to choose HA for a 12 day Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise in April | May this year. The voyage route and port stopovers from Venice to Rome were fine, but the cruise itself was a letdown. The Oosterdam is a tired ship, badly in need of a serious facelift. While some of the more visible public areas appear to have been fairly recently upgraded, the passageways are dull and gloomy, paint is peeling off the walls in the elevator cars, and in several instances we found bar and restaurant furnishings sagging, uncomfortable and desperately in need of replacement. Our stateroom was pretty glum as well. Badly scratched and chipped bath and flooring, depressing furnishings and colours. Not at all the kind of uplifting feeling we had experienced in the USA and were expecting. Some of the staff were excellent but others (particularly in the main restaurant) just clearly didn't want to be there and made that abundantly clear. The Captain's Lunch (for returning voyagers) was a complete joke. One tiny glass of wine, awful food and lousy service, and they couldn't get us out of the restaurant fast enough. So here's the message on that one, guys: if you're really not interested in your customers then don't pretend you are. That just makes it more disrespectful. Apart from that the food was okay ... but not particularly exciting either. As we left Venice we were attracted by the invitation to join fellow passengers on the deck for a Sunset Drink... Nice idea, we thought... until we found out the objective of this exercise was to get everyone to pay US$9.95 for some crappy bright pink drink. Needless to say we left, as most everyone else did also, leaving hundreds of unsold cocktails languishing on the bar tables. You really wonder whether these people understand anything about hospitality let alone sales psychology. Then there was the travel advice team up in the Explorer Lounge who really weren't interested in providing any destination advice unless it related to your buying a clip-the-ticket Holland America tour. It wasn't a complete disaster but we were certainly left with the feeling that Holland America's only objective is to try and wring the very last dollar out of their ships and their passengers by minimizind maintenance, cutting standards and quality (and probably wages) with no genuine concern for their reputation or brand. There were other issues as well. All pretty minor, admittedly, but they all add up to a lasting impression and it's not a good one. So would we travel on Holland America again.... No thanks! You've lost us. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Based on my experience with the Veendam and now the Westerdam, Holland America Corporate doesn't give its ships enough time in drydock to finish repairs and modifications. That caused major problems for some passengers from broken ... Read More
Based on my experience with the Veendam and now the Westerdam, Holland America Corporate doesn't give its ships enough time in drydock to finish repairs and modifications. That caused major problems for some passengers from broken glass in uncleaned rooms to no electricity in the room or no water or no ability to raise the temperature above 58f. (We were relatively lucky. Our key cards didn't work, but our steward let us in the room until the locksmith came. Our veranda was repainted 2/3rds into the sailing, so we could no longer use it b/c of fumes, but upon asking, they provided us with a fan, so there were no fumes in the room.) Lines of angry passengers were long at first, and it seemed like, with numerous workers hammering away at modifications to Deck 10 and taking up crew beds, that the Westerdam was short staffed and unable to handle issues quickly. Nevertheless, good weather and good ports improved spirits and this was a good sailing. The quality of the food was adequate though people thought changes to the buffet were odd. There's very little that's self-serve now, and the variety of options seems to have diminished. Entertainment and enrichment were also adequate. Classical music in the Lincoln Center Stage venue was exceptional. The dueling pianists in the piano bar were loud and off-key, but hugely popular. They must have been doing something right, but what it is, I'm not sure. Trivia with Jake was fun. Tom, the port lecturer, did a great job helping people NOT on shore excursions figure out how to get around the various destinations and learn about what to see. By the end of the cruise, his talks became more akin to sales pitches, but he was available to answer questions mid-day. That was good because people complained his talks were scheduled in the middle of dinner. He was highly knowledgeable and an asset to the ship though this sailing could definitely have used more in the way of enrichment. The condition of the ship was less than stellar. A fair amount of mess created by the new carpet, a crop of technical difficulties, leaks causing minor floods in several areas, and inadequate replacement venues for the unavailable Observation Deck all led to furrowed brows. Hopefully, all that can soon be fixed. On the other hand, flow felt counter-intuitive. Why must people tramp through the spa to get to the Lido? Lack of staff led to confusion at disembarkation, too, and made it harder for people with limited mobility. Good things about the ship: The refurbishment means it's not at all smoky. Elevators are plentiful. The beds were comfortable, and in our room at least, the air flow was excellent. This was my second HAL cruise and compared to Princess, HAL seems much better about not creating a high-pressure sales environment for jewelry and art. Pre-cruise arrangements (airport transfer, hotel stay) with HAL were organized and efficient. After the initial hiccup, service was great. They did a markedly better job than the Veendam of keeping track of my dietary restrictions - really impressed. Stand out crew members include Wisnu in the buffet, Rirus in the dining room, Darius at guest services, and our stewards Eko and Juns. Overall, a cheerful and earnestly friendly crew. Fellow passengers were mostly friendly and, after the first three or four days, smiling and having a good time. Most ports were excellent and considering the crowds we've heard to expect in Croatia in the summer, going to the Adriatic in late April/early May, before high season, was a good idea. Enjoyable overall, and I'd sail with HAL again, but if at all avoidable, not right out of drydock. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I chose this cruise for the destinations especially Dubrovnik and a chance to relive memories of Malta and Gozo. On arrival at the embarkation I could not believe how simple and easy check in went - on board within 30 minutes of ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the destinations especially Dubrovnik and a chance to relive memories of Malta and Gozo. On arrival at the embarkation I could not believe how simple and easy check in went - on board within 30 minutes of arrival. Apparently the ship had been in dry dock and some work would continue during the cruise. A benefit of $200 each for the inconvenience was added to our onboard account as a gesture of goodwill. Some noise was evident but as the cruise only had a single sea day this was not a problem. Part of the ship were out of use but this did not hamper our enjoyment. Valletta - choose the hop on hop off bus tour which is value for money . Red route in the morning ,blue route in the afternoon. Gives a good impression of Malta but having revisited Bugibba ,St. Julian's etc. I don't want to see them again. Gozo - very pretty on arrival but unfortunately I damaged my meniscus on alighting the tender in choppy seas and lasted only 15 minutes on Gozo. On return to Westerdam I made my way to the Ship's medical centre and was seen by the excellent Dr Dupreez and his team . We were given the option of early disembarkation,not a nice situation to be in. Having weighed up the options this seemed to be the way forward having now been fitted with a full leg brace and on crutches . The next day being a sea day gave me a little more thinking time before our arrival in Corfu where I spent most of the day in a clinic for more X-rays etc. We made our way back to the ship with 20 minutes to spare. The option of leaving the ship was discussed but the only suitable flights were some 19 hours duration with a couple of stops on the way. Faced with recovery at home or on the ship we chose the later and we were allowed to stay on board. I missed out on Dubrovnik and a couple of destinations as I couldn't board the tenders but having said that we managed to get a lot of enjoyment out the cruise and the kindness of the ship's company due to my lack of mobility. Kotor - very pretty and fairly easy to get around. Busy market Korcula - tender transfer so unable to vist. Split - Probably the best location for my limited mobility . Very busy with many market stalls and numerous ferry passengers. Koper - Sunday visit so most things closed but pleasant ambling around. Venice - misty arrival but very busy with at least three cruise ships in dock. Always a memorable place to visit and this was no different. Cabin 7015 - well tended by Bagus and Sugiman , well sited for Lido breakfast . Not so for the main dining area when on crutches. Dining - always a good standard in the Lido. The main Dining room served by Alip and Fauzi , a good choice throughout the courses and superbly tended by the afore mentioned gentlemen. However the best meal was served in the Pinnacle Grill. I have never seen prawns so large and the filet mignon was outstanding. It was unfortunate that there was a ' bright star ' medical emergency during our dinner and suddenly reality bites. I hope the lady in question has now fully recovered. I will revisit on our next cruise with Holland America. B.B.Kings club is always to our taste rather the shows on the main stage but from the small amount of viewing the performers were very capable and professional. One small gripe , why have music trivia quizzes at 9:00 when most people are still in the late dinner sitting. 9:30 would have been better from our point of view. Service - throughout our cruise,through the ups and downs of medical problems this has been the best cruise I have been on . We didn't t get the feeling that everything as a cost and suffer the perception that you have to pay for every thing, however small. Congratulations to the Hotel staff. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We are equal opportunity cruisers…we will consider almost any line and choose based on itinerary, schedule, and price. As an example, our last four cruises have been Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and most recently Holland ... Read More
We are equal opportunity cruisers…we will consider almost any line and choose based on itinerary, schedule, and price. As an example, our last four cruises have been Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and most recently Holland America. Our next cruise is on Regal Princess so maybe we're repeating the cycle, who knows? We were on the first Westerdam cruise following dry dock at the end of April. Our cruise was extremely port intensive. It was a 12 night cruise with only one sea day. My husband and I thought the ship was an excellent choice for such a port intensive itinerary, but I don't think we would choose it for an itinerary with a lot of sea days. For a cruise with a lot of sea days, we prefer a larger ship with a wider variety of venues and activities. We didn’t do too much in the evenings because of the type of cruise…we were worn out after full days of touring! One change that was made during drydock was the addition of Billboard Onboard, a dueling piano bar that packed people in every night. That venue and Lincoln Center Stage were always crowded and had loyal followers. We appreciated the smoke-free casino but didn't spend too much time there. I was lucky enough to hit a decent payout on a slot machine early in the cruise and thought it prudent to lock up the cash and stay out of there! I can't tell you much else about the nightlife because our days were so long and tiring we became early to bed cruisers! In my opinion, the food in the dining room and Lido was very good. I liked having items served in the Lido, and the limited hours were not a problem for us because we usually had lunch on shore. We had any time dining and never had to wait for a table. The burgers and fries at the "Dive-In" window were excellent! We also enjoyed specialty dining in the Pinnacle Grille and Canaletto. We were in a Neptune Suite which had been beautifully refurbished during the dry dock. Service throughout the ship was exceptional, and we had no problems that were related to the drydock. The Crow's Nest was closed during our cruise due to continuing construction. We were given a $200 OBC each for that inconvenience. I thought the ship was a great choice for the ports that we visited. My preference on this kind of itinerary is for a "smaller" ship, which ruled out quite a few options. My other requirement was a minimal number of sea days since I can get those closer to home without spending the money to fly transatlantic. Believe it or not, I actually could have used an additional sea day! We loved the places that we visited, but it really was very tiring. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of planning. I read/heard complaints about a lack of things to do in several of our lesser known ports, but we had a great time on the independent excursions we booked. We thought variety was important…you can only walk around so many ancient walled cities without a plan! I would put HAL at the top of my list for this kind of cruise, and I would visit again at the same time of year. Because it was early in the season the ports weren’t too crowded and we were able to dock in ports we had anticipated would be tender ports. We wanted a ship to truly be our floating hotel on this trip, and the Westerdam did the job perfectly! Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which included two Turkish ports. Sadly both were cancelled due to the problems recently. Instead we did Nafplion and Rhodes, both of which were lovely in their own right but the loss of Turkey was a ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which included two Turkish ports. Sadly both were cancelled due to the problems recently. Instead we did Nafplion and Rhodes, both of which were lovely in their own right but the loss of Turkey was a big disappointment. Not much one can do about the sad state of the World though. The ship itself was beautiful and bang up to date in every aspect! However, if you expect to experience the same décor and atmosphere as other HA ships you will be disappointed. There's more polished steel and modern art than Oak panels on this ship. Still lovely in its own right, but very different. The cabin (7045) was as expected, no real difference between this and most other ships we've been on recently. Enough room to swing the proverbial cat plus adequate hanging and draw space for the average couple on a two week holiday. The air con system worked well, heat when needed (as the weather was cold the first week) and cool enough for sleeping. The bathroom was also adequate space-wise with a large walk-in shower. A night light would be very useful though HA! The balcony was larger than on our last cruise on The Rotterdam. We took the free-time dining option and had little problem getting a table somewhere within a few moments of arrival. The food was of a good standard but, as always in my experience, never hot enough. This seems to be the norm on cruise ships these days. The buffet was brilliant! I love the layout of the buffets on HA ships. Much better than the wide open style of the newer Celebrity ships. 'Enough' choice of food and served by the staff, which keeps the floors cleaner and less hazardous than allowing the guests to serve themselves in my experience. An Orchid on every table is a nice touch! The number of restaurants on the Koningsdam is astonishing! (Most have an extra charge of course) but offer every choice one can think of. We only tried the Canaletto Italian, which was fabulous as the food elsewhere was OK for us. The entertainment was a little contentious. We understand from feedback received from a few people that they were unhappy (or worse) with the music on board! Well it IS more 'modern' than on most ships we've been on. We loved most of the music on offer overall. The addition of B. B. King's venues on HA ships is, in my view, a step forward from the usual MOR dross that we've experienced on most cruises. But it IS loud and proud as it should be. A great eight-piece band providing soul, pop and rock music from across the decades. Well done the B B King all star band! A great sound system in that venue too. There was a solo pianist in one of the lounges doing a couple of early evening spots, he was brilliant too. A wide range of music on offer from him. Classical music lovers were catered for by a talented group (Piano, two Violins, Viola and Cello) who did a couple of sessions a day in the Lincoln Centre Stage area. A mixture of pure classics plus other show tunes etc. The Billboard On-board lounge, also on deck 2, was a multi-purpose venue used for quizzes etc. occasionally but was generally hosted by two piano players/singers who offered a range of pop music from the days of the Beatles and beyond. Both performers were very talented but the female of the duo was a bit heavy-handed on the old Joanna at times and tended to over shadow the guy. Pity as they both were entertaining. The World Stage theatre is a WOW!! LED panels almost surround the auditorium. These display images in keeping with the performances on the unusual shaped stage. The sound system is awesome! THE BEST sound we've experienced on a cruise ship ever! The cast and singers were of the highest quality and the production shows were fabulous. Well done guys! The 'guest artistes' were pretty good overall but not quite as entertaining as on other ships perhaps. The Juggler was brilliant but we've seen him about three times before. The service? Well apart from one instance excellent! When the ship arrived in one port (I can't remember which) the port authority was supposed to supply shuttle buses to get us into town. They didn't! No reason was given only that 'there will be no shuttle buses' over the PA system. Well it was a long walk and one of our party has MS so walking distances is a prob. I asked if they could supply transport, NO was the reply. How about a wheelchair? Only if you 'hire' it for the week!! Sorry HA not good enough!! I must mention also, why do HA ships have the sliding roof over the swimming pool? It takes up space on the deck about plus it's seldom open when required. I really can't see the sense in it. One other niggle is the lack of sun beds around the pools. Too many tables and chairs and not enough beds. The ports of call were well chosen and enjoyed by all in our party. Shame the weather was cold the first week but that's the chance you take going early in the season. We only took one of the ships excursions, to the Santorini town of Oia. The trip was well organised and well-priced. All other ports of call we did our own thing, usually a Hop on Hop off bus was perfect. One big disappointment for us was the recent smoking policy change. On our last HA cruise last year we were able to smoke on our balcony, this time the ONLY space was on the open rear deck!! NO other space was allocated to smokers. This is rubbish guys! We pay the same as other guests and should be granted at least a couple of options on the open decks and not forced to have to walk the length of the ship and up to deck 9 for ciggy. We really enjoyed our cruise on Koningsdam and would recommend the ship if you are prepared for a different experience to other HA ships. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at ... Read More
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at our room. I couldn't believe it was a Neptune Suite it was so much smaller because about a fourth of the room was taken up with a handicapped bathroom. It had a shower you for wheelchair person to sit and be hosed down, and lets the water get on the floor-slippery, dangerous to us. The bathtub was so deep we had to hang onto the handicapped rails to actually climb into it. We both almost fell a few times, made this a problem for us as well. The curtains were on electric button so you had to keep them either closed all the way or open all the way. With the sun beating down it made the room too hot when open during the day, and the view was basically tunnel vision so you could watch the water move from the engine. The cruise itself was good but the room was a nightmare for us. Read Less
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