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245 Holland America Entertainment Cruise Reviews

It was a family reunion. Nine of us sailed with N.S. on my strong recommendation. I had good experience with Massdam years back. This time nine of us were so disappointed. And I was the only one to be blamed to take this ship. I was ... Read More
It was a family reunion. Nine of us sailed with N.S. on my strong recommendation. I had good experience with Massdam years back. This time nine of us were so disappointed. And I was the only one to be blamed to take this ship. I was not happy for the entire cruise holiday and now. My brother-in-law said he would not come back to this ship even it is free. 1) Lido Buffet - there was ALWAYS long line-up for food as most of the time there was only ONE server. Those servers only put a little food on the plate and thus made guests to line up again for food. We ate the same type of food for 15 days - just BORING. I remember vividly that one time I sailed with another cruise line on Asia route, the day I was in Thailand I had Thai food, while I was in Vietnam I had Vietnamese food. 2) Entertainment - very weak casts and artist/s usually repeated in two nights in such a tiny stage of the WORLD THEATRE. 3) Cruise Director - I have been cruising for 13 times. Justin had an easy job. He showed up at the WORLD THEATRE only on the 3rd night of the cruise. Through the 14-night cruise Justin only showed up for about 7 times. At one time he was watching the show with his friends and enjoying drinks. When the show was over Justin just left without going to the stage to greet the audience/guests informing what activities for the night, and for next day. I seldom saw him nor heard his announcements about activities on board. Guess he was paid very little, so he did just that little. 4) Sea Days - it was particular boring on sea days. I did not notice any activities on the pool side but only those seniors taking sun bathing. It was dead quiet. There were NO talks about history of the next ports. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Pick this cruise based on its Baltic itinerary, which was all that was expected.. Plus * Music offerings both in variety and quality was great * Food was good both in dinning and buffet( had very good variety) * Staff was very ... Read More
Pick this cruise based on its Baltic itinerary, which was all that was expected.. Plus * Music offerings both in variety and quality was great * Food was good both in dinning and buffet( had very good variety) * Staff was very friendly * Excursion personnel were helpful * Had a wide variety of things to do on the ship from Microsoft training to art and alcohol informational sessions * Was compensated for the negative cabin experiences, but could have been better, i.e. they provided free dinner at premium restaurants, but made use pay for our individual (1 each) pop/drinks Minus * Cabin was underneath pool area and it was miserable, ship crew rearranging chairs and washing area, late night and early mornings * Movie's volume in pool area was so loud, could hear it in my cabin one floor down * To get answers from service desk staff had to ask 2 or 3 different persons to get an accurate answer * Pop/soda cards was for bar pop only, can of pop cost more and charged to room * Had frustrating experience playing Texas Holdem in Casino..in short was winning!, then dealer got full house, I got four of a kind, winner again..dealer called pit-boss over, they both looked at each other for a several seconds .. pit-boss said count the cards..then he said replace the deck... All of this was to affect the flow of the game and re-establish the casino's odds of winning..bad gaming sportsmanship... Again protecting the ship's profits.. I walked away.. General Observations * Ship is new and understated, wonder what it will look like/hold up in the future * Ship was overall the nosiest ship I have been on * It felt like the ship and personnel where there/measured to make a profit Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose this cruise as it seemed to be one of the few to visit Glacier Bay. With climate change we found the glaciers disappointing especially after seeing the ones in Argentina. The Volendam is a small ship and we were again ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it seemed to be one of the few to visit Glacier Bay. With climate change we found the glaciers disappointing especially after seeing the ones in Argentina. The Volendam is a small ship and we were again disappointed by the entertainment, it wasn't a patch on larger ships ( as you might expect), but was outshone by Fred Olsen which is a similar size. We found the drinks expensive and didn't like the 15% on top for service when we had already paid a general daily service charge. We had freedom dining and for the most part it worked, except when we made a booking for a certain time on a formal night and we still had to wait for a table. However the food was quite good. In spite of what they say in the dress guidance, they do not enforce the formal dress code and when we took the trouble to dress formally it was a shame that many passengers didn't and arrived as if it was a casual night. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have recently made a Mediterranean cruise with koningsdam from 21 August 11 days. My tourism agency had recommended koningsdam. They said ”new ship, it is very clean and the food is very good” I believed of course. But unfortunately ... Read More
I have recently made a Mediterranean cruise with koningsdam from 21 August 11 days. My tourism agency had recommended koningsdam. They said ”new ship, it is very clean and the food is very good” I believed of course. But unfortunately as soon as I got on board I realized that this was not what I expected. Because I traveled with many different companies I can compare very easily. I have been cruising last 10 years with several different companies and ships. This time is my first time with Holland America. I wish to share my experience for the sake of other customers and as well as your benefit. (Actually I am very busy person who works 10 hours a day but I hope it will be appreciated that I spend my resting time to write this.) I have a very serious complaint about the reception manager (or chef) his name was M...... He made me angry so much. He treated me very unpleasantly. We are Turkish but since we are high level civil servant (We are professor doctor working in university) we were given a “special passport” which we don’t need any visa in EU countries. In every cruise, in check in desk they understand it and they don’t keep our passports. They know special passports or they can easily understand when they look at the pages there are plenty of stamps of many countries but there was not any visa. In Rome port they did the same. They checked the passports and gave them to us. The first day was sea day we would be in Cartagena following morning, But at night I found a note someone calling me to the reception. I went there a girl in the reception wanted me to give our passports to them. It was so strange. She said “my manager wants them”. I refused of course. The explanation was not adequate. She called the manager He said “Turkey is not EU country that is why I want to keep your passport”. It should not be a personal preference. I tried to explain why we did not need any visa. But he was person who cannot understand the situation. His attitude and words were very very annoying and irritating. He insist to take it. (Be honest even if we are not obliged to give it. Since I am a mature and respectful and respective person, If he had asked nicely and kindly I would give it right a way). I said no. Finally he wanted to scan them, I said “I have a copy I can give it”. In that case he dared to insist to get them before 7 am in the morning!!!!(Look at his personal caprice) I was even angrier he had to understand that I was a guest and on my vacation no one has a right to force me to do something. I said “I don’t want to get up very early in the morning”. Following day I ask an appointment for “hotel manager” to discuss this issue and the other issues related with crew behaviour. No one responded. I asked total 3 times for an appointment in different days. He didn’t even send a message to me. I know he must be very busy (actually I am one of his businesses) but even dough he should have had arrange someone else to meet me. He totally ignored me (as many of them). He didn’t give any value and credit to me as a human being who actually prefer and trust them to spend her holiday on his ship. There are plenty of issues to be mentioned: But I will briefly tell. First of all the behavior of the crew (most of them) was the most unacceptable. It seems almost all of them don’t like their job. Or even they hate with what they are doing. No smiling at all. They don’t make eye contact with you they don’t even say hello or any other greetings. From the barmen to the waiters, from the officers to simple mariners every one was tossing out you. I was shocked . (none of the ship had not had such a crew like that). First day as soon as we settled, we wanted to have a drink. We approached to the bar (opposite to “guest relation”) no one cared. I asked for a menu. He didn’t even move and looked at me very unwillingly and showed the wall (there were some writings on the wall). We didn’t drink anything. We went up to the restaurant (self-service) in deck 9. For lunch There were some stations with different type of food and there was one person in it as if they were in prison (They were looking at you as if somebody forced them to stand unwillingly). It was so strange that the self-service restaurant was not self-service. All stations were covered (protected from the customers) by glass. At dinner in the 2. floor is another story. It takes ages to wait for a dish. I had to speak to restaurant chef to attract the attention to be served. The most important thing is security. In the gang way going out and coming back, IN all other ship companies they ask to take off sun glasses and hats. It is very important to recognize the people. But in Koningsdam most of customers were wearing glasses and hats !! No one asked them to take off. Crew were only concentrated if there was an alcohol in the bags. All other companies they serve water and wet cold towels in the gangways in every port they make a tent. But in koninsdam we had nothing. Even water. No one greeted and no one welcomed us. Only last day in Livorno a couple of officers were standing in front of gangway and told “welcome”. And no entertainment at all.. There are many more to tell but these are facts. I have no intention being rude I didn’t mean to offend anybody. Because I respect everybody who does their job properly, I spent my time to give this feedback. I am sorry to tell these perhaps they reevaluate the issues to please their customers and consider them as "guest" Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
As we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary it had all the places we wanted to visit. Very disappointed with the entertainment in the World Stage theatre nightly. We expected live cabaret/Broadway type shows. It was a 23 ... Read More
As we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary it had all the places we wanted to visit. Very disappointed with the entertainment in the World Stage theatre nightly. We expected live cabaret/Broadway type shows. It was a 23 night cruise and we had to endure some of the pitiful acts/artists i.e. juggler, magician, comedian. People left the theatre every night after a couple of minutes as it was so boring and headed to other entertainment lounges which were very good. A noticeable lack of activities during the day for the older age group apart from computer courses.. We thought there would have been more outside activities such as deck quoits, mini golf or carpet bowls. The Cruise director was incompetent and lacked initiative. When approached about anything he always had an excuse and said would get back to you but never did, NOT good enough. For these concerns we would not recommend Koningsdam and would not book with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First time sailing Holland America. We a frequent Celebrity and RCCL cruisers, but liked the HA Alaska itinerary, plus there were some pricing specials that made this cruise very affordable. We booked a category VD balcony cabin ... Read More
First time sailing Holland America. We a frequent Celebrity and RCCL cruisers, but liked the HA Alaska itinerary, plus there were some pricing specials that made this cruise very affordable. We booked a category VD balcony cabin (guarantee), and we were assigned our cabin 10 days before sailing. Location was pretty good....all of the VD cabins are either in the front or towards the rear of the ship. We had a cabin towards the front of the ship. Long walk to the dining venues (as they were on the other end of the ship), but we got used to it. The pros.....spacious cabin, quiet, large shower/bathtub combo, nice balcony. Service was first class and very friendly. Embarkation and disembarkation was so incredibly fast....HA blew away their competition on this aspect of the cruise. A nice choice of shore excursions, but pricey (as all Alaskan shore excursions tend to be). The highlight for us was the Tracy Arm Fjord/Sawyer Glacier excursion in Juneau. A long day (7 hour excursion), but well worth the time and money (tour is run by Allen Marine...wonderful tour folks). The one day we were cruising Glacier bay was an experience Holland America does best. This was the main reason we chose this cruise and HA did not disappoint. Had several other shore excursions which were ok....fortunately we got into Victoria before nightfall and got to Bourchart Gardens while it was still light. Had about 2 hours to visit and by the second hour it was nighttime. You cannot get the beauty of these gardens if you only have the night time to visit...so if you can't see the gardens during some daylight time, it is not worth going to (in my opinion, if you are a first time visitor). The not so good stuff had to do with the food and entertainment. The Lido restaurant is where the buffet is and we found the food selection and quality adequate, but nothing compared to the quality and selection you find on RCCL and Celebrity. We ate in the main dining room twice and the good was good in that venue (the gala night surf and turf was excellent.....probably the best we have had on any cruise ship). Service was fine. No quick way to get a slice of pizza or a quick hamburger/hotdog. HA does not do this part of their food routine very well. Also deserts were so so; cookies were lousy. Not much in the way of entertainment, but HA is not known for their big productions that RCCL and Celebrity have. We booked the premium wifi package ahead of time, as it was priced attractively but it was somewhat slow (but expected), and stopped working completely on our Apple devices that had IOS software under 10.0 (because of an HA wifi upgrade while we were at sea). So if your IOS software is not 10.0 or higher, their wifi will not work on those devices (primarily older Ipads). Very easy to catch a taxi from the cruise terminal back to the airport. They all charge a flat fee of $42. Lots of taxi's available despite two large cruise ships arriving at about the same time. Hope this info is helpful to any of you taking the Alaska inside passage cruise on HA. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl ... Read More
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl (Miraki(Sp?)-from Japan but living in Manilla). Our room was beautiful and the gentlemen that serviced it were quick and efficient. The ship was clean and everything was top notch. The entertainment was great! I can't rave about it enough. The spa package was awesome. Seaweed wrap a must. The girls in the spa were lovely and informative. Mary our morning dining room person was so nice and helpful. She helped us start our day with JOY! The BBKing review was great. We enjoyed the special music provided by WayFM every night. The wine tastings we attended were very informative. Everyone was fabulous! A TRIP FOR THE MEMORIES!!! I am recommending Holland-America to everyone I tell about our trip and I will book again.*** Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My partner and I, 55 and 58 gay men, decided pretty last minute to do this Alaska Explorer 7 night charter. We were able to get a good deal booking with the charter as we are alumni with many past cruises with them, and there were many ... Read More
My partner and I, 55 and 58 gay men, decided pretty last minute to do this Alaska Explorer 7 night charter. We were able to get a good deal booking with the charter as we are alumni with many past cruises with them, and there were many cabins to fill.....our luck. Also, we had never cruised with Holland American Line before and have wanted to for years, so a win-win all around! We flew in to Seattle arriving around 1pm for a 3pm at the lasted boarding time. We had thought we would simply grab an Uber or Lift to the pier, but after getting our bags, time was running out, and we discovered HAL had a service to transfer us by bus to the terminal....so we used that (both ways as it turned out).... Check in was easy as we were getting they later in the day and most had already boarded. Our veranda cabin on the 8th floor starboard was decent. Definitely could use an upgrade as there were repaired holes and such in the bathroom. The deck really needed to be washed, as it was all a mess and dirty. The beds were quite comfortable, slept well all 7 nights. The TV served up some good movies OD, a few TV channels, access to the bridge cams.....nice. I liked how the closets had shelves that could be swung up to make more room for hanging clothes....every cruise line should have this great idea. Cabin steward was efficient and did not see much of him. As for dining, we ate most meals in the main dining room and had mostly above average luck with our meals. We are mostly Celebrity Cruisers so that is what we are comparing to....I think Celebrity does food better, my partner thinks HAL is just a bit better. The Lido Market is not a bad place for snacks and small meal. Overall, the service onboard is wonderful. The staff seems to enjoy what they are doing and we enjoyed having one waiter all week who treated us great. I would say the general overall service seems a bit warmer on HAL that Celebrity. Also, the Oosterdam has a warmer feel to it than most of the Celebrity ships. The design is obviously night and day, with Celebrity more modern and HAL a bit traditional. I like the change and the size of the ship. As a charter ship, the on board entertainment was quite good. A few let downs, but over all some great comedy, music and dancing were well done. The ships own dancers did an awesome job the night I saw them, using the huge screens on stage to interact with....something new to me and fun to watch! Something else HAL does is the Lincoln Center Stage, with a string quintet and pianist play a huge variety throughout the cruise. I wish I was able to see more of them, but what I did hear was top-notch..... OK, the internet! I thought I would take advantage of buying a weekly package before boarding as I would save about $50 for the 'Premier' package and be able to stream shows if I would like. Well, the internet on the Oosterdam is a joke. I was never able to stream....downloading pictures from Facebook took many seconds, and often,,,,very often, the whole thing stopped and needed to be restarted.....not fun....the front desk passed on my concerns.....but while I was there at the front desk,(and every time I was there, btw) other passengers were also complaining and some were rather irate. I just put down my iPad and did not let it bother me. But just don't expect much in terms internet on the Oosterdam. We had been to Alaska a few times before, so did not do many excursions, but LOVE seeing Hubbard Glacier....always my favorite part of an Alaska cruise! We would certainly consider HAL again....we like the 1900 pax load. Not too small, not too big. The food was good and service great. While this review was a little boring, the ship was not! I would suggest this to those who like music, relaxed atmosphere and a ship not geared up with bells and whistles of all the newer ships like RCL and Norwegian and Carnival. I almost forgot my favorite place on the ship, the Crows Nest on the top deck.....great place to sit and stare out watching the world go by with the panoramic windows....and a bar and coffeeshop..... Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last ... Read More
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last lounge is only open at 10:30 casino was very small as maybe three or four tables to play on nothing for the kids to do just terrible absolutely terrible they messed up my room keys my arm board acount the money I put in my account disappeared five separate trips the customer service in two days and we still didn't get the shore excursion I would never recommend anybody use Holland America when we got back to shore and I contacted them about all the problems I had the only thing they had to say was I apologize didn't even attempt to make it right or make it up to making my disabled wife feel like she was an inconvenience these people Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. ... Read More
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. Food good. Only disappointment was lunch in the Pinnacle Restaurant. Not worth the extra $. Not sure why a Coconut Trifle would gave 2 layers of rich chocolate that overpowered the taste of anything else...inedible. Strawberry pavlova...better pavlova in the Lido. Crab cakes for appetizer were excellent. Entrees (mains) pretty ordinary. Dinner may have been better. Santos and Otto did a great job in looking after us in our stateroom on Deck 10. Recommend this Stateroom, in particular location. Great service with a smile everywhere. Plenty of updates from the Captain. Smooth sailing. Embarkation was easy and we were able to board earlier than designated. Disembarkation needed more signs for lines of group colours. Easy to look up everything on TV in cabin, e.g. account and dining menus for the day. Good movies too. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff ... Read More
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff "Herman" any time dining located on floor 2, Herman was a wonderful server with a big smile, very helpful and tentative to me, the bartenders were wonderful. The candy man who was the greeter he always had a smile. The pasties were delicious and nicely displayed; Oliver in the bar was excellent he knew what I wanted to drink before sitting down. Oliver works in the Crows Nest. The towel staff and the pool area was supreme. The piano bar and BB King great music and dancing all night long. I learned a lot during the cooking demonstration well presented and demonstrated. The crew members who help you on and off the ship are great. The photographer Andrew was wonderful and Wayne in the Jewelry shop was full of hugs and smiles. Sung who worked in the perfume store beautiful girl. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose the cruise in large part because we wanted to experience the still-new Niew Amsterday just a few months after it had been christened. Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless and user-friendly. Once aboard, where we had a ... Read More
We chose the cruise in large part because we wanted to experience the still-new Niew Amsterday just a few months after it had been christened. Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless and user-friendly. Once aboard, where we had a standard verandah stateroom, we enjoyed almost every moment of the cruise from Fr. Lauderdale to Amsterdam in late-April, early-May 2019. The stateroom was fresh, nicely decorated, clean and comfortable. Our stateroom was at the very front of the ship and yet we never felt any untoward motion despite some rough seas along the route. Much to rave about: 1. Public spaces are beautiful and punctuated by public art so plentiful we seemed to discover something new every day. 2. Entertainment options were outstanding, as seems to be consistent across all of Holland America's ships. Great singers and dancers, two marvelous pianists, sizable casino (at which I won a $1200 jackpot (playing a penny slot machine, at 300 pennies per pull), duplicate bridge on every sea day and many more activities too numerous to detail. The main stage featured a new 270 degree screen, which utilized technology in ways that greatly enhanced not only lectures but also integrated technology into singing and (especially) dancing in a mesmerizing way. 3. The ship moved rapidly yet smoothly. Even in the English Channel, with some awesome swells one evening, the ride remained smooth. We never saw, experienced or heard of anyone being seasick. 4. The water in the two swimming pools was about 84 degrees, very comfortable, and each pool had multiple jacuzzi's, with water cascadomg from the top ones to the middle ones and then the bottom ones, a pleasant sight to see and experience. 5. The retractable roof over the main pool and largest outdoor sitting area was open in the daytime, weather permitting, and closed at night so free full length movies could be shown outdoors 6. Free popcorn topped off the free movie and blankets were plentiful on the chillier nights. 7. Food was outstanding in Rudi's Sel de Mer (upcharge) and also in Tamarind (upcharge), which we enjoyed two and three times, respectively, on this two week cruise. Two other upcharge restaurants (Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto) were good, but not great. We tried each one once, and ate in the main dining room the other nights. Main dining also was good, but not great food. Service was excellent, however. 8. Serving staff and cabin stewards were friendly, wore genuine smiles, and unfailingly wanted to please. Service was excellent everywhere on board. Little to criticize, but here is a short list: 1. With just two swimming pools, one mid-ship and one aft, the ship allows smoking adjacent to the aft pool, and of course the smoke wafts everywhere. Consequently, the main pool (non-smoking area) was much more heavily used than the aft pool. Moreover, the prime outdoor viewing/sightseeing area is aft, around and behind the aft pool, and it effectively has been co-opted by smokers (a minority of total passengers) at the expense of non-smokers (the clear majority of passengers). 2. Similarly, the casino apparently allows smoking on alternating days, which is just as unpleasant and just as silly (catering to the smoking minority of passengers) as is the smoking area by the aft pool. On the no smoking days the casino still reeked of tobacco smoke. One suggestion: All employees wear their name badges on the left sides of their clothing, chest high. Which means that when the shake hands (always right-handed), their name tag is turned away from the one whose hand they are shaking, making it difficult to read the name tag. Employees should wear their name tags on their right sides, so that when shaking hands they are turning the name tag closer to the other person and making them much easier to read. Simple suggestion, powerful results, I can assure you. In Washington, D.C., where everyone wants to meet everyone else (in power, but that's another story) and know their names, almost everyone has learned to wear their name badges on their right sides. Holland America should check it out and make the same small but significant change. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and ... Read More
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and beautiful new ship. The food was probably the most consistently delicious throughout the vacation. We dined in the main dining room, the lido cafe, Tamarind and experienced the food from the Pinnacle Grill. Everything was delicious. The drinks from the bar were excellent and the bar staff were knowledgeable and interactive. We took in shows from the piano quintet and from the main stage such as the mentalist and the comedian. All shows were entertaining and engaging. I have two critiques to share. Our first stop was in Turks in which we encountered some delays in approval for disembarking. For some reason, the crew only opened 1 exit at the front of the ship which made getting off a nightmare. My wife and I waited an hour to get off the ship waiting in the stairwell with literally thousands of other passengers all trying to get out single file as well. Fortunately we were the only ship in port at the time and although we booked our shore excursion through a different company than the cruise ship, they waited as our ship was there only business. It is my understanding that others were not as lucky and missed their tours. Something to be said about booking through the cruise company. This came to in handy as the weather was rough for our stop at Half Moon and we couldn't get off the ship. This time we had booked through the cruise ship and got our shore excursions refunded as they were unable to ferry us to the island. Another issue was the pre-purchase of the cellar master package. There was much confusion between us and the ship about which package was purchased. Unfortunately this came to a head on the 6th night of our cruise which was our anniversary during out dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. So much so that we ended up leaving the restaurant prior to enjoying our meal. The staff rectified the situation, but the event was really unfortunate. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with my elderly father. We knew Holland America typically caters activities and meals to the more mature crowd, so we thought it would be a good fit. My father enjoyed his cruise. But we had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with my elderly father. We knew Holland America typically caters activities and meals to the more mature crowd, so we thought it would be a good fit. My father enjoyed his cruise. But we had to work at it. Starting with positives.... Holland America has disembarkation and customs down to a science. I would give this a high five star rating. The concept of staff serving guests at the buffet line is genius. Our cabin was pretty clean, after we asked the steward to come back and get the soap scum off the soap holder. Mixology, martini tasting, and bar hop were the highlights of our cruise. No, we are not alcoholics. This is the first cruise I have ever taken where I actually lost weight! But there were problems. -THE DINING ROOM SERVICE was very slow, and inaccurate. When we questioned the length of time we were waiting, or tried to get what we had ordered, we were told the kitchen was backed up. We tried three times, two dinners and a lunch, and gave up, eating the rest of our meals at the overcooked and tasteless buffet. Dining room meals were always cold. FOOD ALLERGIES and dietary restrictions were totally ignored until Day 5 and a LOT of complaints to guest services. My hubby printed a card in four languages stating I had a life threatening allergy to shrimp. Only shrimp. I pointed it out to every waiter, at every meal, and laid it on the table. Only the servers in the Lido seemed to pay attention and cater to our needs. My dad gained 14 pounds in three days due to the excess salt in the food. The evening of Day 5 on our 7 night cruise the cruise staff finally addressed these issues. -there was NO WHEELCHAIR AT THE PORT for embarkation as promised. After a lengthy walk, we sat for literally two hours waiting for a wheelchair to assist us the rest of the way through the ship to our cabin. Hubby and I were discouraged from being on the elevators with my dad. We had to hike up the stairs with luggage in tow to leave elevator room for “those who really needed it”. -there was NO PREBOARDING for Mariners as promised. We arrived at the port as directed at 11 am. It turns out it’s not ANY mariner status, as we were told on the phone, but only 3 star and above that get priority boarding. It’s the same for most every “mariner “ function on the cruise. 1 and 2 star mariners are only allowed to attend the luncheon at the end of the cruise. The port staff in Tampa was not helpful at all. They kept pointing to the stale cookies and water to pass our time. -PORTS OF CALL. Even the cruise staff would caution about getting off the ship if you weren’t on an organized tour. Organized tours with “handicapped accessible “ options did not include getting from the ship to the tour, often a 10 minute walk. We were instructed to stay in the designated areas (aka shopping areas). Why did the ship even stop here? -there’s NO MAINSTAGE ENTERTAINMENT. They put lounge caliber entertainment (A magician, a comedian, a pianist, and a doo whop a cappella group) on the main stage as “featured entertainment”. Movies shown were old. Classes were taught by untrained crew members. -my fathers BATHROOM TRASH WAS NEVER EMPTIED during the 7 day cruise. Our hallway smelled like a sewer, but our room was ok. Obviously, Dad’s smelled. And, we may never stop teasing my dad about the ladies’ panties than ended up on his balcony on Day 4 that were never removed. Throughout the ship there are raised “speed bumps” as we nicknamed them. Just enough height difference to trip an older person walking. Most public space chairs do not have armrests. I would not have noticed, until watching my father try to get in or out of a chair. For a ship that boasts catering to mature clientele, they might try to accommodate better in the public areas. We had travelled on Holland America a decade ago. We were very disappointed with what we witnessed on this cruise. ADVICE TO FUTURE TRAVELERS: bring a cane, and steady walking shoes. Keep expectations low. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Thoroughly enjoyed Dave Koz and Friends and the entertainment package!! The actual cruise ship, Noordam, is pitiful. It is dated, worn out, and in need of complete remodeling. The furniture is tired, and the bathroom in our suite never ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed Dave Koz and Friends and the entertainment package!! The actual cruise ship, Noordam, is pitiful. It is dated, worn out, and in need of complete remodeling. The furniture is tired, and the bathroom in our suite never looked clean. There is plenty of closet space in the suite which we appreciated. On other cruises when we had a suite, we had concierge like service. On this ship, you need to go to the Neptune lounge for concierge service. The staff on the ship are kind. I can’t say enough about the quality of the entertainment and the host of this cruise. Dave Koz is thoughtful and caring for his clients. His cruise is well planned and complete. They have more for one to do than you can even get to in a day! Would definitely recommend a Dave Koz cruise. However, I would not recommend that he utilize Holland America in the future. This ship, the Noordam, is ready for retirement Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We've generally had good cruising experiences on HAL. Our first cruise with the line was more than 10 years ago on the Eurodam, which we sailed on again more recently after its refurbishment. We've sailed the Koningsdam, ... Read More
We've generally had good cruising experiences on HAL. Our first cruise with the line was more than 10 years ago on the Eurodam, which we sailed on again more recently after its refurbishment. We've sailed the Koningsdam, Westerdam and others as well. Overall, each provided us a solid, enjoyable experience that kept us wanting to stay with Holland. This cruise experiences on the Nieuw Statendam was different... some good, some not so good. THE GOOD: As expected, the ship was beautiful. It's new, so - as expected - public areas and the cabins were clean, fresh and sparkling. HAL's newly expanded music theme was evident in its interesting hallway art and with its new Rolling Stones venue. BB King Blues band rocked the house. Good, energetic vibes. The overall demographic was much different too. Not sure if it's because it was Spring Break, or because of expanded music entertainment choices, but there was a different (and, IMO, better) "population" mix on this cruise. The passengers on most previous HAL's we've been on seemed quite old/elderly. No so at all on this cruise. THE BAD: Service on the Lido Deck has slipped noticeably. We often had to track down staff to get: tables cleared, silverware, coffee, water, etc. Not good. The food on Lido seemed to decline in quality too. Glad I like Asian/Indonesian food because that became my "go-to" choice pretty much every day. Desserts looked pretty, but weren't all that tasty (except in the Dutch Cafe - mmmm). Another oddity: the ship was full, yet invariably food in Lido was only available on one side. The other side was closed completely. Led to long lines on occasion. Also, it seemed odd to us that a Lido would close entirely after lunch until dinner. I believe HAL used to offer at least fruit and small sandwiches for those wanting a mid afternoon snack. No longer! Cocktails in the BB King Blues Club were a joke. We ordered a drink ONCE because the quantity of liquid in our drinks barely coated the bottom.of the glasses. We had a cabin with a balcony. It was nice, though it sermed smaller than the same class of cabins we've had before on Holland. We had to walk through the Casino to get to various places on the ship and the smell of cigarettes was nasty. I thought that Holland was a non-smoking line. Wrong. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is HAL's newest ship in the fleet for the Pinnacle Class series of ships. The performances in the panoramic World Stage Theater were amazing, You had to get to the theater at least 30 minutes before showtime or you ... Read More
This is HAL's newest ship in the fleet for the Pinnacle Class series of ships. The performances in the panoramic World Stage Theater were amazing, You had to get to the theater at least 30 minutes before showtime or you couldn't find a preferable seat for 2 or more guests. The dance production team One Step was so professional. Also a BBC Earth show called Blue Planet was just like being underwater in a submarine watching all around you fish swimming and enjoying their underwater adventures, The Music Walk of Stones Rock Room, Billboard (double pianos) and of course B.B. King's Blues Club. A wonderful experience for all ages. Something for everyone. The dining rooms were very modern with very adequate lighting and decor. The service staff in the dining rooms were always happy and couldn't do enough to try to make you happy and very satisfied. The food was very good also with many choices and you could always ask the wait staff for any advise on your choices. In the Lido Buffet, we enjoyed the morning pastry of sticky buns. The day always had to start off with a sticky bun and coffee, then breakfast. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We love the Caribbean destinations and have had good experiences with HAL. The ship is beautiful with art and flowers everywhere. It sails smoothly and with great comfort. Our Vista Suite was a great choice and only slightly more money ... Read More
We love the Caribbean destinations and have had good experiences with HAL. The ship is beautiful with art and flowers everywhere. It sails smoothly and with great comfort. Our Vista Suite was a great choice and only slightly more money than a Veranda Cabin. Embarkation was fast and courteous. From the start we knew that the food was the best we ever got on a cruise ship. The crew was friendly and efficient. The entertainment was mostly good with a new theater in the round main showroom and super dancers. The comedian act was unfortunate but that can be fixed. Music everywhere with something for everyone. An Adults Only pool along with a main pool with a glass roof in case it rains. Nice lectures and Country Kitchen events. The usual Shore Excursions and ports of call. We didn't much care for Ocho Rios but no big deal because we're not much for shore excursions. Many dining options but food in the Main Dining Room was so good we didn't go to extra charge offerings. Easy disembark wheeling our own luggage. If you miss the Skeet Shooting or the Baked Alaska waiters marching around the dining room this ship is not going to provide that. Good value and worth going. Passengers tend to be more Seniors. I'm a Seniors and I believe everyone wants to be one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We normally sail with Royal Caribbean but this cruise opportunity came up at a thousand dollars less expensive for a similar itinerary so we gave HA a try. We were not disappointed. Nieuw Statendam is a brand new vessel which carries ... Read More
We normally sail with Royal Caribbean but this cruise opportunity came up at a thousand dollars less expensive for a similar itinerary so we gave HA a try. We were not disappointed. Nieuw Statendam is a brand new vessel which carries around 2700 passengers. There are not a lot of superfluous amenities (from a 60+ perspective) so mostly 50+ passengers. Our ocean view cabin was small but laid out such that nothing was in your way getting around. The bathroom/shower were surprisingly large with a glass walled shower with nice amenities (shampoo, conditioner and body wash). Our cabin was between midships and the bow and was very quiet with quick access to the theater and also to the fabulous Music Walk which included a Rock bar, a Blues bar and a double piano bar which alternated sets throughout the evening. The music was varied and outstanding. There were classical music show in the afternoons as well. The stage shows were new as the ship does not have a traditional stage with an orchestra pit. Only massive screens that surround the whole venue. The first dance show was cutting edge featuring six dancers with no singing in an elaborate presentation showcasing the dancers' talents as well as the advanced technology of the theater. It drew standing ovations from the attendees. The second show was less spectacular but enjoyable. An illusionist wowed the audience with his skills in another show and a comedian also performed. Food was excellent at the general Lido buffet with numerous choices for all tastes. Some food kiosks prepared fresh hot food (Thai wok, omelets, pizza, hot dogs, deli sandwiches) for those willing to wait a bit. We dined only once in the main dining room and it was excellent. We did not try the specialty restaurants. Shore excursions were well organized with departures from the ship well supervised by the crew/cruise director such that we always knew where to go and what to do for our excursion. First visit was to the private beach leased by HA, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. A lovely spot with lots of beach chairs available. A complimentary buffet was offered to the passengers at the beach. In Jamaica (Ocho Rios) we did river tubing which was excellent! In George Town, Grand Cayman, we did a short trolley tour and then went to Seven Mile Beach using the local bus service which was reliable and inexpensive ($5 per person return). Lunch at a beachfront café was about $75 US but great view and WiFi. Last stop was Cozumel. Just a beer and some shopping there. Transfer from Port Everglades to FLL was well organized by HA and stress free. We will definitely seek other occasions to sail on Nieuw Statendam again. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale can be harrowing given the traffic at cruise departure times especially if you're trying to return a rental car. Make sure you fill up well outside of downtown as getting to a gas station in the rush hour traffic could take an hour there and back. Because Nieuw Statendam has a casino which allows smoking, the smell of smoke can permeate other public areas such as the Music Walk. Why the casino wasn't hermetically sealed and separately vented on this brand new ship is beyond me. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We went on a Panama Chanel Cruise in March 2019. Here are our good and less impressive experiences from our trip. Stateroom: We lived in a veranda on the 10th floor. Beautiful view. The stateroom was really nice. We were supposed to be ... Read More
We went on a Panama Chanel Cruise in March 2019. Here are our good and less impressive experiences from our trip. Stateroom: We lived in a veranda on the 10th floor. Beautiful view. The stateroom was really nice. We were supposed to be 4 people in our cabin why they arranged 4 beds the first evening – 2 regular beds, one bed coming down from the ceiling and the sofa was changed to a bed. The last bed made it difficult to get to the veranda but it was only arranged as a bed at night time – not optimal but I prefer that solution compared to the solution with 2 beds coming from the ceiling as we have experienced before as you almost need to be an acrobat moving back and forth in the stateroom. As we were only 3 they only arranged the bed from the ceiling at night and moving around even at night was no problem at all. The bathroom was great and big with a nice bathtub. There was a nice TV with plenty of both life TV, movies and more available. The TV was somewhat small but did it’s purpose. The staff was friendly but not very effective e.g. they never removed dirty dishes from the room – we needed to put them outside the stateroom to avoid the smell and have our small stateroom properly organized. Dinning: The food was generally okay – great during gala nights but below expectation other nights. It was a big disappointment we were charged extra on gala nights to get an extra serving!! We ended up with anytime dinning but ended up eating most night at the same section i.e. getting the same servers which was nice. The afternoon tea in the dining room was really nice The buffet on the Lido deck was nice but that section was severely under dimensioned. At most meals we had to walk around for a long time to find a table. It was also understaffed, or the staff was not properly trained – you were lucky to get a drink 5 minutes after asking. Resulting in us going after our drinks our self. The drink section was poorly arranged making it difficult to get a drink – had they swapped the drink machines and the glass/cups then more people would have been able to get drinks at the same time!! In our opinion then they utilize the boat poorly – there are many areas where there was almost nobody – why not remove many of the redundancies at the buffet, make more tables and then more food options other places on the boat?? My son went many times disappointed to get an ice cream – the ice cream shop opens and closes with the rest of the buffet – why??? The had a great Dive-In shop with fantastic burgers and hot dogs – my oldest sons favorite. Unfortunately, the Dive-In was next to the buffet so no seats Entertainment: We were disappointed by the entertainment. Some of the shows at the main theater were spectacular others were okay but disappointing they substitute an evening with a movie shown in poor quality – really!! The varieties of activities were below expectations – everyday was almost the same which is nice if you like bingo, trivial and cooking show but … They had some sport activities which we liked to join – some of them were great and some of them – yeah it seems like they forgot – nobody showed up to organize. We somehow got an activity going but … We knew Zuiderdam is a smaller boat, but the entertainment director could have done better e.g. ice sculpturing, magic show, parrots, juggler and a lot more. Amenities: The two pools were nice and deep enough to swim and play though small. There were many hot tubs which we enjoyed as well They had a giant chess board – we played it once risking our health – the board was not properly fastened and very slippery – again one of the many small but important details which would not cost them much to ensure was proper, but it was not taken care of Two nice table tennis located in a corner giving as little wind as possible – very nice The Explorations Central on deck 10 was impressive. Great view, games, books, monitors showing details about the boat and how it was operated. Large interactive touch screens showing highlights of the destinations and tour description. We really enjoyed that a lot. The HAL club was nice – fairly small but there were less than 10 kids on the boat so it did its purpose at our trip – not sure how it would work on a trip with more kids?? The staff there were amazing. My boys did not spend much time there, but they were always in the middle of some activities they were excited about when I picked them up. I enjoyed staying there for a little while following the activity waiting for a good time to break off – big respect for the staff there They could easily have utilized areas almost vacant throughout the cruise for more exciting activities – a strong recommendation from us. Overall: A nice trip with interesting destination but too many shortcuts from Holland American making the trip overall disappoint and not worth the money – we will search other cruise lines for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Our trip consisted of a group of 8, all arriving from different destinations across Canada. We had a house rented in Fort Lauderdale for 3 days before the cruise, a lovely home within walking distance to the beach. Good thing we had 3 ... Read More
Our trip consisted of a group of 8, all arriving from different destinations across Canada. We had a house rented in Fort Lauderdale for 3 days before the cruise, a lovely home within walking distance to the beach. Good thing we had 3 days, because of weather we where delayed by over 24 hours. We embarked the ship in groups and met up in the buffet for lunch. Our bags arrived quicker than expected, so we sorted ourselves out, then went for a group party in one stateroom. We where on decks 4, 6,8. And we where very happy on deck 4. Turns out to be a good location to scoot out for the safety drill, a nice walk around deck 3, and also easy to run up to deck 3 if there was something to grab a photo of. We kept the tv on in our room when we where there, tuned to the forward cameras. Loved the option of viewing the Canal crossing on the TV, that was a long hot day. Every morning we enjoyed the buffet. You can’t go wrong, everything you can imagine plus some extra surprises. Lunch was by the pool at the burger place, or pizza. We only attended tea in the afternoon one day, but it was a very nice treat. Dinner we had a group table in the dining room for 8. We didn’t dine there every night, but made sure we all attended the gala nights. Other times we tried some of the different specialty restaurants available. The Pinnacle was a dinner that made you feel like you won the lotto. But our true favourite was the Tamarind. The staff made the dinner fun, and you felt truly welcomed. Plus the exceptional food, and presentation, made it a feast for the eyes. Most days, pre dinner, we attended the martini tasting, or the happy hour in the various bars. But be pre warned, the happy hour bars get full fast. We had beverage cards, so we didn’t worry about happy hour pricing. And I am glad we did, the cards where good for everything we wanted to drink, from sparkling water, to special coffees ,and drinks all around. Every day we had wonderful coffees made in the exploration area, the staff there knew your name and coffee within days. Days we didn’t go on excursions, we spent at the pool, loved the unobtrusive music. But there does need to be more shady areas. We found often people pulling chairs into doorways for shade, but that made it very inconvenient for others. Our group had all been at most of the locations on this cruise, so we didn’t depart at every port. But we really enjoyed the small markets they set up by the ship, for those who just want to purchase a souvenir. The casino was very quiet the entire trip, we did go to the bar there and lost some money at the machines. They did have some very nice piano players there as well . After dinner, it was usually a walk around deck 3 , before seeing what was on the show that night. Most nights we didn’t stay, we all found the entertainment to be lacking, the jazz band was not a group to dance to, so most just sat and listened. We all loved the national Geographic show, with the live performance. Disembarkation was a slow process, they called groups by colour, and there was even colours called that were not on the list, we where close to last. The whole finding your suitcase thing and getting in line , seemed confusing for some. Enjoyed a lovely night in San Diego before flying home. Staff who made this trip memorable: Jerry and Jenny in the martini bar. Janny in the exportation cafe. My perfect mocha. Abdul and Made who made our cabin home. Miguel and Joel who had the wine knowledge. Wayo, Davee, who served table 91 with grace. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
WE sailed the Feb 24 sailing. We had sailed this ship in 2016 in Alaska and were pleased. This ship has since been thru a refurb and I noticed all new carpet, they reconfigured a few areas but basically seemed the same. We basically ... Read More
WE sailed the Feb 24 sailing. We had sailed this ship in 2016 in Alaska and were pleased. This ship has since been thru a refurb and I noticed all new carpet, they reconfigured a few areas but basically seemed the same. We basically were looking for the least expensive balcony cabin during Feb and came across this one and chose it. The weather the week we went was fantastic. What we noticed was an older crowd which we were expecting. WE are 62 and 67 so not teenagers but we seemed ALOT younger than most of the passengers. Everyone we encountered were friendly passengers and crew. We ate dinner in the Main Dining room. WE found the portions to be smaller than we remembered and you cannot order 2 entrees without an additonal $10 upcharge. THis is fine with me as I dont think anyone will go hungry on a cruise! 3 people at our table one night all had to send back the red snapper as it was literally like a piece of rubber and we could not even cut it. THe deserts were average. The entertainment was sub par in the main theatre but the BBKing band saved the cruise for us. They were fantastic. They announced this was their first week together so I can only imagine how they will evolve over time. WE found no music by the pools not even any piped in which made for a very "non festive" atmosphere. We were happy to get out of the Midwest for a week but will probably not sail Holland America again unless there is a deal we cannot resist. This was our 17th cruise and we find pros and cons on all the lines we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have sailed with Holland America previously and were not disappointed so we decided to give their newest ship, Nieuw Stantendam, a try. The ship is beautiful, larger than the other ships we have been on in the Holland America Fleet but ... Read More
We have sailed with Holland America previously and were not disappointed so we decided to give their newest ship, Nieuw Stantendam, a try. The ship is beautiful, larger than the other ships we have been on in the Holland America Fleet but still very similar in design and overall feel and concept. We had a Vista suite and it was well appointed and roomy considered it wasn’t the largest suite available. While the bath was small, the shower was nice and there was a roomy sitting area to use since the restroom vanity would not hold many essentials. We had a queen bed which was relatively comfy. Nice balcony. Service was terrific. The only drawback of the room was that the climate was controlled and I found it warm very often and would have preferred a cooler temperature. We ate in the dining room once and the dinner was very good as well as the service. I am not a sea food fan so we ended up eating at the Lido Deck which was amazing! Service was friendly and such a wide variety for picky eaters!!! We did purchase the spa package for the pool and beds which we did enjoy. We also purchased the 10/20/30 spa special where we purchased two massages and a facial. They were all amazing. The only negative thing I have to say is that during my facial the specialist was way too pushy about selling products and trying to get me to see their on-site skin rejuvenation specialist even when I repeatedly said no. I did not appreciate the pressure when I am paying for a service. Embarkation was easy and was cleared we were able to go to our state rooms. They did take the majority of our bags the night before which was nice and made disembarkation easy. The most difficult part wasn’t a Holland America issue but was attempting to get a taxi. If you do this expect a wait!!! We tried Uber but it seemed there was a bit of confusion so we just went to the taxi line. There are two pools on this ship. One is an adult only pool. On this cruise, it seemed to cater to an older age group (we are in our 40’s) so there we not many children. Entertainment on the ship, what they offered was good. I felt they did lack in this area especially at night. Overall a very nice cruise to awesome destinations!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are a couple in mid 40’s with 2 teen girls, our 10th and 11th cruise. Previously sailed with: Costa, MSC, Holland America, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity. Have already explored about 90% of Caribbean islands, so now mainly sailing for ... Read More
We are a couple in mid 40’s with 2 teen girls, our 10th and 11th cruise. Previously sailed with: Costa, MSC, Holland America, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity. Have already explored about 90% of Caribbean islands, so now mainly sailing for the ship, not for destination. Year and a half ago, we decided to check both ships (being under construction at that time), and booked them right after the tickets become available. We were so excited to cruise again with our 2 favorite cruise lines, and check both brand new vessels back to back. Expectations were set very high. We sailed on Nieuw Statendam first. Best food ever, including buffet, Dive-In, and MDR with delicious lobster, prime rib dinners, and mouthwatering desserts. One of the nicest looking MDR we ever saw (see pic), our waiter Sudiatmika was above and beyond. Great laid out buffet never crowded, so many healthy options to choose from, individual deserts or fruit portions (no mess). We did not try up charge restaurants, Grand Dutch Café, or New York Deli & Pizza, no casino, or spa. There are tons of great music venues: performers at Rolling Stone Rock Room were the best, best, best we have ever seen, great couple at Billboard on Board, talented Lincoln Center Stage and BB King Blues teams! Nieuw Statendam is very easy to navigate ship. We would like to re-christen her to “Nieuw Cozydam”. The most friendly and most professional crew, mainly Indonesian / Filipino. Very polite passengers, and yes, bit older, but worked perfect for us. Most technological advanced theater with LED screen around. Areas around both pools never crowded, several free loungers. Here are other small premium touches not found on competition’s vessels: orchid plants on every single table in the buffet, live flowers in MDR, tons of live floral arrangements through out the ship, our cabin has 2 bathrooms (family ocean view stateroom 1030), received beautiful “diploma of finished cruise” signed by Captain on the end of journey. For disease prevention no self service in the buffet (very smart). Thinking about any room for improvement.... and simply can’t find any. Right after disembark from Nieuw Statendam, quick stop at the garage’s rooftop where we parked (see pic), exchanged clothes and supplies, and hopped on the Edge. I must say that Celebrity built a state of the art terminal (yes, matching Edge design), and it is the most beautiful terminal we’ve ever sailed from. Since we did all the paperwork in advance, the embarkation took 5 min. We had a blast from the first moment we stepped on board and were welcomed with champagne. Better name for this cruise liner would be “Celebrity WOW”. Very modern, stylish, impressive, spacious vessel we’ve ever been on, or we’ve ever seen including futuristic computer mock ups found online. Well-designed contemporary ship inside and out. Impressive atrium, theater, beautiful pool area and Rooftop Garden. We actually love the controversial infinite veranda concept (had 2 Concierge Class Infinite Verandas 11131, 11133 – it was a free upgrade from Celebrity, had originally 1 ocean view quad cabin booked – thank you Celebrity). State of the art cabin/bathroom/infinite veranda, all these light years ahead of any competition (seriously). Shows were great, food too. We did not try up charge restaurants, no casino or spa. We loved our waiters at Cosmopolitan Suphawan & Bundhoo, they worked in tandem, and were the most professional, quickest and beautiful looking team ever served us (see pic). Stateroom attendant Tania, she worked by herself, and also I would say she was the best, and very hardworking room keeper out of all 11 cruses. “Next generation” elevators, so modern and very efficient, biggest we’ve ever seen. There were so many new things for cruise industry we loved: non stop playing “mysterious” music on the stateroom hallways, two story high ceiling in the buffet, extra large staircases, multiple decks running track, amazing chandelier in the atrium, bizarre Eden, and even more bizarre Eden’s performers (we actually liked the controversial smell there), silent disco experience, professional and dedicated cruise director, spacious public areas, every single furniture well made and designed, very high quality materials allover, specially loved premium velour fabrics used on almost all chairs in all food venues. Tons of beautiful art and décor through out the ship. Since this is a band new product, there are minor things we would like Celebrity to polish: all shops on board are on high end side. Deserts and cakes at buffet some times were tasteless. There are designated areas with sink vases when entering the buffet, but no crew posted to encourage passengers to wash their hands. Sticky tongs in the buffet. Cakes were not individually portioned on plates, caused bit of mess at dessert stations. Too many restaurants located directly in the atrium area made this impressive space very loud (kitchen noises), and food smells. Final conclusion: Both these cruise lines, and both these ships are our favorite to date. As we mentioned earlier, our expectations were set very high, and we waited with a heart beat 1.5 year to both these sailings. What happened was we ended up with best vacations ever! Celebrity Edge is unique, most beautiful and most modern, truly a ship of the future. We really enjoyed photographing and exploring her. We had 3 stops, but in the event we have zero port of calls during 7 day cruise, we wouldn't complain. On the other hand, when we are looking from the distance at Nieuw Statendam, what we immediately see, it is an icon of premium and quality. Nieuw Statendam offered best music experience, best food quality, and the most friendly crew in the industry. This cozy ship makes us feel so special, like we were guests at our own resort. If you are not paying attention to all the bells and whistles other lines offers to attract families with children and younger crowd, both above vessels will fit you perfect. If you love dancing, great music, relaxing atmosphere, great food and service definitely do Nieuw Statendam. If you are décor person, would like to sail on the most modern ship in the world, sleep in “next generation cabin”, definitely Edge is a must to see! Now Scarlet Lady, and Edge’s and New Statendam’s future siblings are on our radar. Happy sailings! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This is a review of a recent trip on the new Holland America Line (HAL) ship Nieuw Statendam (a Pinnacle Class ship). Our trip was not a typical HAL cruise, but rather a week-long musical event that happened to take place on a cruise ... Read More
This is a review of a recent trip on the new Holland America Line (HAL) ship Nieuw Statendam (a Pinnacle Class ship). Our trip was not a typical HAL cruise, but rather a week-long musical event that happened to take place on a cruise ship. It was the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise (LRBC) #32, a celebration of several related musical styles (boogie-woogie, blues, zydeco, etc.). If you are not a fan of these types of music, this trip is definitely NOT for you. NOTE: Our overall rating does not reflect our true opinion of the ship, because we travelled under completely different conditions than we would expect to experience on a typical HAL cruise, and some of the facilities were not available (for example, Lido Pool aft). Consequently, although we would have expected to award maximum points for a trip on a ship that has been in service barely 8 weeks we believe we would be disingenuous if we did so. We are NOT going to review the LRBC; we will just mention some of our observations, where appropriate. Embarkation Very smooth and efficient. We were asked to sign a release form allowing the LRBC organisation to use any images that included us as part of their activities during and after the cruise. Not a big deal really. The Ship Nieuw Statendam is the most recent addition to the HAL fleet (first cruise Dec 18, 2018). It is a large ship, possibly the largest in the fleet, and obviously everything onboard is new. We were disappointed to discover a change in the SOLAS Drill procedure. Having praised previous HAL ships for conducting (in our opinion) a proper drill in which passengers must report to their muster stations on the promenade deck, we were not impressed to be shepherded into the Main Stage theatre and sent to our allocated sections where we sat for 30 minutes until all of the designated passengers had arrived. We have criticised another line for this method of conducting the drill, because at the end of it we still didn’t know which lifeboat we should use in an emergency. HAL lost some credibility for this change. Deck 3 is a full promenade deck, and you can walk all the way around the ship. However, the lifeboats are not suspended overhead here, but occupy a substantial amount of deck space. This reduces the available walking area considerably, and explains (we believe) the changed SOLAS procedure. It may also explain why there are no Titanic style deckchairs on the Promenade Deck (it would get uncomfortably crowded). For exercise enthusiasts one lap of the promenade is about 1/3 of a mile. Public washrooms are not always easy to find, often being hidden very discretely in out-of-the-way places around corners, in cul-de-sacs, and at the end of short corridors, and there seems to be little if any logic to their locations. In some locations the Ladies and Gents are side-by-side, in others the Ladies might be located on one side of the ship, while the Gents is on the other! Décor Art works are everywhere, mainly emphasising music (our hallway carpet featured a musical instrument pattern). Every landing displays something that catches the eye, although none of the pieces is labelled yet. TIP: you can learn more about the artwork by joining an interesting tour led by the Art Curator, or pick up a collection of explanatory notes from Guest Services. The well-chosen selections for sale in the Art Gallery are also a step up from the pieces normally seen on cruise ships and are worth a close look. The Crew Cheerful and friendly crews seem to be a feature of HAL ships. Many people from Indonesia (which used to be the Dutch East Indies, but also crew members from Europe, the Philippines, and from India. Food We found no reasons to complain about the food in any of the restaurants onboard the Zaandam. The Lido Market serves a range of interesting dishes from all over the world including Asia and Italy. It tends to get a bit hectic at times, especially when people are lining up to get served at the buffet stations. We usually ate dinner in the Main Dining Room and never regretted any of our menu choices. One menu featured calves’ liver and when it arrived it was cooked to perfection (grilled outside, pink inside). Unless cooked properly, liver can easily become leather, which is probably the reason most people tend to shun it. The menu is always very inventive, and every day it lists some dishes that you might call standards for the less-adventurous diners (for example, salmon and strip-loin steak). The normal 1st and 2nd seating arrangements were suspended for this trip, so everybody was considered to be an open-seating diner. TIP: you will enjoy faster service if you can avoid sharing a table with a large group. Dutch Café We enjoyed an excellent brunch of Dutch pancakes here. The venue was quiet when we visited, and our food was prepared very quickly. Pinnacle Grill We were offered a lunch special deal of $10.00 pp in the grill, so we decided to take up the offer. The food, service and presentation were all first class, and we were amazed to be offered such an excellent deal. Fellow Passengers A much younger demographic (our opinion) than those we have met on other HAL voyages. The number of passengers using walking frames, wheelchairs, scooters, or sticks was minimal. Most passengers seemed to be experienced LRBC patrons. Perhaps not surprisingly, the largest group of travellers came from America. Most passengers seemed to represent the Baby Boom generation; some appeared to have just returned from Woodstock. Smoking HAL has decided to allow people to use electronic cigarettes (vaping) in cabins. Some passengers must have misinterpreted this to mean smoking was also OK, as our hallway reeked of cannabis. There was generally no enforcement of rules for this particular cruise. We wish at least one cruise line would introduce a No Smoking At ALL Anywhere On Board policy – we’d be loyal supporters! TIP: smoking is NOT allowed in the casino, which means you can walk through to get to the Main Stage Theatre without getting gassed. Entertainment Venues Entertainment was almost continuous during this trip and many of the usual facilities were converted into musical venues. There are several notable areas: Main Stage This is very different from the Main Stages we've experienced on other ships. It is a large, open, ‘theatre-in-the-round’ design where (our opinion) every seat is a good seat (because it is not obstructed by a pillar). There are six huge pillars, but all are located in such a way that they do not obstruct the sightlines. Seats are organised into upper and lower areas, (decks 3 and 2 respectively) but without the typical balcony seating that overhangs the lower rows. In this respect in resembles the arrangements of a Roman amphitheatre. B. B. King’s Blue Club Compared to its equivalent found on the Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam, this is a much enlarged venue that now occupies 2 decks (2 and 3). It has more seating, better acoustics and better lighting. Billboard Onboard A very intimate venue where the audience can get close to the performers. Rollingstone Rock Room See comments for Billboard. Elevators The frequent movement of passengers from one music venue to the next may have been a factor on this particular cruise, but elevator capacity and speed seemed markedly lower than on other HAL ships and was a constant annoyance. The cars felt smaller and the doors took ages to close unless done manually. People must have been pushing call buttons, giving up waiting and taking the stairs as there was frequently no one there when it stopped on a floor. There are no glass elevators mid-ships. Disembarkation Smooth and very efficient, as we have come to expect from HAL. Would We Sail the Nieuw Statendam Again? Possibly. We still want to get an impression of the ship under typical HAL conditions, so we can report on its more typical routines. Of course, much will depend on its itinerary – we really don’t need to see the Eastern Caribbean again for a while. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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