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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This was a very last minute cruise booked within one week of travel. Got a decent price for a partially obstructed stateroom, which was actually larger than I expected. Having just gotten off RCL's Mariner of the Seas one week ... Read More
This was a very last minute cruise booked within one week of travel. Got a decent price for a partially obstructed stateroom, which was actually larger than I expected. Having just gotten off RCL's Mariner of the Seas one week earlier, I was worried that the Eurodam was going to be boring by comparison. But our experience was better than I expected. For this cruise, it was just my 6 yo & me (late30s). We normally travel as a family of 4 (my husband & our 9 yo), plus grandparents. In complete honesty, this ship would probably have bored my 9yo who has become accustomed to our previous cruises' "bells & whistles" from the likes of Disney, Norwegian, and Royal. But my 6yo & I enjoyed the slower, more relaxed pace. I think the more "chill" vibe was very fitting for the serenity of Alaska. Compared to our most recent cruise on the Mariner, Eurodam 's food at the Lido & MDR was much better, although HAL needs to have more vegetarian options. Service in Lido was hit or miss. I often had to get my own drink or clear my own table. I appreciated that servers served portions, versus allowing guests to handle the tongs. Entertainment was good, especially the magician show as well as BB Kings. I do think HAL needs to up their entertainment options, compared to their rivals, who have more lively entertainment often. Fitness Center was sufficient and I even saw whales a couple times while I was using the elliptical. My 6yo enjoyed the kids club, but compared to Disney, Royal, & Norwegian, I thought HAL could do a better job with kiddie activities, playroom, and hours. Excursion & Guest Services did a good job addressing my questions and I appreciated being able to use Port Valet service. Overall, I recommend the Eurodam for an Alaskan itinerary. I'd consider cruising HAL again given the right itinerary and price. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland ... Read More
In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland America expressing my concerns about the poor service and food quality on the ship. It felt like I was on a training voyage for most of the staff. Let's start with the Dining Room. On my first night I asked my server what my complimentary drink options were with dinner and he could not answer the question. Same result when the Wine Steward was asked. I was a little taken back when I was told a can of Coke would be $2.50 with dinner. Really? Seems like nickel and diming when I can get a nice steak for dinner but have to pay for a soda. (Carnival got this right!). I had numerous experiences where the staff had to clarify simple orders several times (I do not have an accent), and several occasions where the wrong meal was served. I had steaks that were way overcooked, I had fish & chips where the fish was still a gelatinous mass and totally inedible. Diner was served without cutlery, steaks served without steak knives, a nearly empty bottle of ketchup provided for the whole table and everyone had fish and chips and wanted to have some. The waiter disappeared when asked for a full bottle and never came back. Another server had to be asked. In general, the Dining Room staff seemed untrained and confused most of the time. The fish & chips lunch special was a farce. We were one of the first tables seated, and yet 45 minutes later, while most other tables were already on to desert, we hadn't been served yet. And when we finally were, the fish was extremely under cooked. My daughter was ill after eating her first bite. We ended up leaving and finding some food on the Lido deck. On to the Lido deck buffet. In general the food on the Lido was OK. It was not exceptional by any means. Many of the preparation staff were obviously untrained with under and over-cooked food, and improperly prepared food. I've had better food at cheap buffet restaurants. My previous Carnival cruises far outperformed Holland America's Lido Deck offerings. Many of the table staff were non-responsive when thanks were given for their service. The hot water dispenser was constantly running out of water, and the milk dispenser for tea and coffee was also often empty. I had staff disappear and never return when I asked for the for more the milk to be refilled. I had one server tell me to go to the other side of Lido deck when the ketchup dispenser was empty instead of sourcing some for me. My food was getting cold as I wandered around trying to find ketchup, and in the end the dispensers on both sides were empty. The server seemed miffed when I approached her and asked again. In general there didn't seem to be any pride or ownership in the food preparation, and the staff didn't really seem to remember why they were there. Guest Services also dropped the ball on more than one occasion. I decided to have a movie night with my daughter and ordered a couple DVDs to our stateroom. 30 minutes later the wrong DVD was delivered. I asked for the correct ones and was promised he'd be right back. 30 minutes later, with no calls from Guest Services and no delivery, I called again and was told they would call me right back with a status. 45 minutes later I went to Guest Services and the DVDs were still sitting there, and one was not the selection I had requested. So 1 3/4 hours after my initial call I finally had the DVDs. When Guest Services was made of aware of my email to Holland America head office, they addressed 1 of the issues and had no comment on any of the other issues. I had been relating my issues to one of the staff, and they passed the info to one of the ship's officers who later tracked me down. We had a long conversation about the issues I'd experienced and he agreed that most of the issues I'd experienced were totally unacceptable and they had dropped the ball on multiple occasions. He promised to speak with the various department heads and ensure the rest of the trip would be issue free. Unfortunately this was not the case as there was no change in the service for the rest of the trip. On the 2nd to last night in the Dining Room we were presented with a couple of complimentary glasses of Prosecco, which neither of us drink. The better option would have been to come up and tell us that they would like to offer us a complimentary drink and ask us what we would like. We never bothered going back to the Dining Room after that. The last drydock did make some nice upgrades to the stateroom bathrooms, but they should have replaced the old tube TVs while they were at it. Our TV looked like Alaska in winter. Almost not worth trying to watch anything on it. Certainly not the quality we'd have expected based on the cost of the room. We did have some great service from our room stewards, and 1 Lido deck server whom I recognized personally at the end of the cruise. I also had Guest Services remove all the gratuities from my final bill as they were definitely not earned. The cruise itself was great, and despite all the service and food issues we had a good time, however the added stress of dealing with my feelings of being shortchanged by the cruise line did put a damper on a lot of the cruise. I don't get a lot of opportunities to take vacations like this and to pay this much and then be so let down after being sold that Holland America was a premium cruise line. Never again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I travel extensively and this was the most expensive and one of the worst trips I’ve ever taken. We upgraded to a suite and executive lounge. The lounge service was good but the food stale, pedestrian and you had to pay for liquor. ... Read More
I travel extensively and this was the most expensive and one of the worst trips I’ve ever taken. We upgraded to a suite and executive lounge. The lounge service was good but the food stale, pedestrian and you had to pay for liquor. Dining Room and Lido deck food lacked quality, taste and freshness. We ate burgers and hotdogs because they cooked to order. The only free beverage was lemonade and tea. A coke was $2.50, latte $3.50 + tax, tip. We brought 2 bottles of wine and they charge $18 corkage fee at the restaurant! After spending $7000 (2 people) for this 7 day trip Holland America Eurodam continued to have unexpected costs. The better restaurants cost more to get in and if your wanted a good steak there was an up-charge! The excursions on average cost $150 a person. $30 per person to play Bingo. I’ve been to many around the world the cost for what you did was exorbitant. Also frustrating was the daily schedule was placed in your room the night before. They constantly changed the restaurant open and closed times. We missed breakfast because they close at 8:30am. This was confusing for many people. The most frustrating was the big day to see the Glaciers. They limited the amount of chairs on the top deck, did not offer to set out more and left many of us standing for hours or had to sit inside and only have partial views. The Ranger talk was at 7:30am. We missed it. The day was so unproductive and unorganized because we did not have a central place for the family to enjoy this spectacular event. I was beyond disappointed! I would not recommend this for big family groups or handicapped person. It was difficult to keep organized, most tables only had 2-4 tops that you can’t move. Limited seats for the classical music nights, shows were set at 7:30 or 9:30 which were on top of dinner timelines. Not much activity during the day unless you want spa and workout time. Overall, not worth the money and I would highly recommend NOT using Holland America Eurodam to see Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I had cruised with Holland America to Alaska with my father ~10 years ago. I wanted to now share the experience with my son and my wife, so I picked Holland America again. My expectations were high, especially for the food. When I ... Read More
I had cruised with Holland America to Alaska with my father ~10 years ago. I wanted to now share the experience with my son and my wife, so I picked Holland America again. My expectations were high, especially for the food. When I cruised with HAL before, the food was fantastic. Every meal at the MDR was excellent. Unfortunately, the food was the most disappointing aspect of this cruise. MDR food quality was exactly the same as buffet quality (the MDR selections were also available from the Lido). Both were average for the most part. It appears they are looking to force people to eat at the specialty dining restaurants to get high quality food and have let MDR food quality devolve. Lido was ok as a buffet, but food quality was also just average. And the lines! Be prepared. The hours of Lido were limited, so be prepared for lots of lines and lots of waiting. It wasn't unusual for us to take 20-30 minutes or more to get all the food after stopping and waiting at multiple stations. The Dive In had good food, but it closes at 530? Why??? And the minimum order time for food was 25 minutes, at one point got up to 45 minutes. For a burger. Pizza was good, but again, be prepared for waiting. Most times wait for a pizza was 25 minutes, and it closes at 1130. So if you're looking for a late night snack options become limited, and lines and waiting are likely. Entertainment was great - i enjoyed the Billboard pianists, the mainstage acts (magician and comedian), and the blues club. I wish they would bring the movie theater back, the mainstage setup for movies isn't great. Crow's nest is beautiful - make sure you spend time there. Gym machines were ok - many treadmills don't work. On one treadmill the machine just stopped while i was running, luckily i didn't fall. My family and i had cruised on Princess last year. I was telling them how much better this cruise would be, in particular the food, having cruised with HAL before, but it appears that my expectations were set too high. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We wanted a cruise that our daughter and son-in-law wanted to take, and they liked the idea of taking their first Alaskan cruise. We had been once, and had bad weather in the Northern stops. This time, the weather was reversed, with ... Read More
We wanted a cruise that our daughter and son-in-law wanted to take, and they liked the idea of taking their first Alaskan cruise. We had been once, and had bad weather in the Northern stops. This time, the weather was reversed, with great weather in Juneau, Glacier Bay, and Sitka, and rain and cold in Ketchikan and Victoria (B.C.). The ship itself has been recently refurbished, with nice new furniture in the suites (and elsewhere), and large flat-screen TVs with free movies. The service has always been exceptional, and this cruise was even better. We also enjoyed the Lincoln Center string quintet, with excellent young musicians playing a wide range of lovely music from Baroque through Broadway, tangos, and jazz. The main dining room's food was the best we've experienced, with great choices and lovely presentation. Free room service, with a good selection of choices throughout the day, was a nice touch as well. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a great time on our first cruise on Koningsdam, cruising the Adriatic in late July/early August. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The service on board was excellent. The ports of call were plentiful on this 12 day ... Read More
We had a great time on our first cruise on Koningsdam, cruising the Adriatic in late July/early August. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The service on board was excellent. The ports of call were plentiful on this 12 day itinerary and although most ports were too crowded due to the dates we were traveling, we appreciated that this itinerary included ports like Koper and Korcula which are a little less popular and hence much more inviting. The entertainment was much better than expected with the music venues available on board offering a wide variety of live performances. Even some of the shows at the main theater were good which was a pleasant surprise compared to our prior cruise experiences. Due to the time of year, the demographics of the passengers included passengers of all ages and from all over the world but was heavy on big multi-generation family groups. The food on board was very good. We dined a number of times in Club Orange because we booked a suite and thought they did a terrific job there. We especially enjoyed the specialty dining at Rudi’s and Tamarind (which remains our favorite cruise ship restaurant on any line). We also tried the special Indonesian night at Tamarind but didn’t care for it as much as the regular Tamarind menu. We did not enjoy the Pinnacle Grill as much as we did on another HAL ship in the past. We ordered room service once and they sent us the wrong food so we didn’t try it again. We purchased the couples spa pass and enjoyed using the hydrotherapy pool and steam room there. The only negatives which I think are worth sharing as they may be helpful to others to know in advance: The main dining room, Lido buffet, and the main theater are too small for the number of passengers when the ship is at capacity. It seemed that anytime dining often included very long waits, the buffet was generally an unpleasant experience unless you visited at off peak times, and the better theater shows often had no seats available at all by the time the show was about to start. The family pool and loungers were too crowded on the two sea days and since staff did not appear to remove any towels/personal belongings from loungers left unattended for hours, there were rarely loungers available. The adult pool usually had space available but the area was full of people smoking. I anticipate that if you sail at off peak times of the year, your experiences would vary considerably on these specific issues but I think they are worth noting so that one can go in with realistic expectations. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is ... Read More
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is average. I will say the service especially in the dining room was outstanding. Our waiter was Nadi, assisted by Ed and Janela. These three people were the highlight of the trip. Very attentive and aware of everything. I hate being nickeled and dimed but that’s what this cruise line is all about. We paid a small fortune for our suite. One would think WiFi would be included....not. If you want to use a spin bike in the gym, nope.....unless you take an 8 am class for 15.00 per person. In the spa, be careful. They will ask you if you like this or that. If you say yes, they will upcharge your bill. Many people will look at the base price of a cruise line like this and think I’ll save money vs Regent. When you add up all the add in charges: Drink package Excursions Mini bar in the room (not included in drink package) Automatic small print tips of 16.00 per day per person and compare to the price of Regent, you’ll come out pretty close on total cost. All these things are included on Regent. I’ll not take another Holland America cruise and I recommend you look at Regent. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
No one told me it would be impossible to change large Euro notes. Guest services warns against taking large notes on tour excursions yet refused to change my 200 Euro note so I could have smaller notes. The person at guest services went to ... Read More
No one told me it would be impossible to change large Euro notes. Guest services warns against taking large notes on tour excursions yet refused to change my 200 Euro note so I could have smaller notes. The person at guest services went to plead my case to the purser. The purser opened the door, looked at me from the doorway, then went back in and the guest services person returned to say the purser had refused my request. I saw they had plenty of change, so this was unreasonable. They did say I could buy Eu200 on my credit card for 3% commission. The next concern I had was with the service charge which now appears daily on our account. No one told me it would cost US14.50 per day, per person. I have always left what I thought was a generous tip to those that gave me exceptional service but have never been forced to tip. For a family of 4, this means you need to budget US580 for tips. This has resulted in the crew not needing to try so hard with their service. For example, I drink tea instead of coffee. Every other cruise, staff have recognised me and automatically remembered this, but not on this cruise. In fact they even tried to keep topping me up with coffee. We tried to book The Dining room several times and the only time available was 5.45pm. Much too early. We tried to walk up and were told nothing was available. On our second last day another passenger said that if we walked up and said we were willing to share a table, they would give us a pager and we could wait in a bar. This should have been communicated to us on at least one of the occasions we tried to book. But when they are assured of a ‘tip’ their service standard drops. Also we did not make use of all of the facilities, so why should our service charge go to those areas when we wouldn’t normally tip them. And why do they put an additional 15% service charge on drinks and coffee? We also had a problem with IT where it could not properly print one of our stateroom cards. This was going to prevent us leaving the boat as the name would not print on the card due to its length. Three times we had to go to customer service and explain our situation all over again, despite them saying they would bring a new card to our room. They kept forgetting about us. The poor customer service really impacted on my holiday. Also I travelled with my sister and they gave us a double bed when we had asked for a twin. I asked for bottles of water on arrival and had to wait until the following day for it to arrive. Then we had a $37.50 beverage charge appear on our account by mistake. This was removed. We took a four meal dining package and the steaks in Pinnacle were nice but not as tender as the wagyu in Chops on the Ovation, but we would have had to pay a surcharge for that. Also included in the meal package was sushi but it didn’t compare to the 5 star sushi on the Ovation, where the soft shell sushi was amazing. The one on the Koningsdam was mostly rice and no shell that I could see. I was told they brought the crab in from another restaurant so it was not cooked by the sushi chef. The barramundi in red curry sauce that I ate in Tamarind was delicious. We returned to Tamarind on the last night to have rijstafel which cost US$30. I saw the menu which had about ten dishes on it and looked very traditional. After soup and salad starter, the other eight dishes were served together on one plate. Not very traditional and not the ‘rijstafel experience’ we expected. To top it off after this meal, I needed the toilet. The cleaner followed soon after and wouldn’t leave until she had serviced my toilet. She banged on the door three times in two minutes, despite me acknowledging her. The Planet earth show with an orchestra playing background music was excellent but too short (40mins). The rest of the entertainment was average. The free movies available in our cabin were recent and plentiful. The food in the complimentary areas was excellent although the msg used in the Asian Fusion area disturbed my sleep. We loved The Grand Dutch Cafe and returned several times for their coffee and croquettes. The shore tours are expensive but very good. We had a nice holiday but it will have to be a very good sale price to get us to try Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship ... Read More
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship coughing, sneezing, congested and worn out. Long land transports were ideal pathogen breeding grounds, and HAL was invisible with any contagion prevention. RCL does a much better job in this regard. Also, stayed in a real dive along the way. If you're lucky enough to be healthy at ship embarkation, you will see some gorgeous scenery, and, hopefully, some wildlife. But, wildlife viewing was sporadic at best. Other aspects of the cruise were about what you'd expect: very attentive service by stewards/waiters, good food (but specialty restaurants had the really good food), good entertainment, some good excursions/some to be avoided. If you can afford it, get a room with a veranda. The extra space and additional viewing area was great for relaxing and taking in the scenery. We had to have the steward fix a squeaky door leading out to the veranda, but he was very accomodating and got it done right away (along with fixing a slow drain in the bathtub). We usually dined with the other people in our 16-person group. The wait staff quickly became familiar with our group. We celebrated a couple of birthdays during the trip, and the staff entertained us with some birthday cakes and renditions of Happy Birthday. Food was good but did not blow us away. The ship was an enjoyable size--not so large that it took a long time to get from one end to the other and not too small as to be lacking in venues. Hot tubs were actually hot and not too crowded. Didn't get a chance to use any of the several pools but those that did looked like they were enjoying it. Overall, we were a little underwhelmed by the land portion of this tour. Didn't see much wildlife, smoke was everywhere due to the forest fires, and we're still trying to get better two weeks later. So, avoid that leg of the tour, stick to the cruise and you'll enjoy it more. Don't bank on Alaska being the "trip of a lifetime". It certainly isn't--especially the way HAL operates. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances ... Read More
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances and flew to Seattle the day of the cruise. We arrived before noon and our shared shuttle driver had us to the pier in no time. Check in was fast and our cabin was ready for us. Muster drill was held outdoors. We had a Vista suite and it was similar to what Norwegian calls a mini suite. There was nothing special about the cabin. No butler, sparking wine or afternoon treats. We had a walk in shower instead of a tub and we were grateful for that. Except for the lack of water pressure! The cabin was tight for two. A larger person would have to walk sideways to get around the bed. We had a sofa, glass top coffee table and and end table. The lamp on the end table had a single USB port. The lamp can be switched on and off from a wall switch. More than once, the wall switch was off and our device didn't charge. The refrigerator was inside the end table. It functioned but was completely iced over. The desk area held the 32" tv, DVD player, ice bucket, a make up mirror that once lit up and more drawers than we could use. A handheld hair dryer and another mirror were in one of the drawers. The tv had horrible resolution and more often than not, no satellite reception. The ship does have an extensive DVD library for just this very reason. The balcony held 2 chairs and ottomans along with a tiny end table. We sometimes brought the ottomans inside the cabin so we could watch a movie a little more comfortably. The room darkening drapes were a necessity in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Also, one person could sleep while the other watched tv, with the additional drape adjacent to the bed pulled closed. Food is always subjective but after 50+ cruises, I wasn't impressed. Food was often cold. How can pancakes be cold and hard when you are one of the first guests served in the dining room? Buffet food was not at all appetizing. I did appreciate buffet items being served to you but the selections were very limited as were the times the Lido was open. Don't expect to stop for a snack after attending a show in the theater as the Lido is closed from 8pm til 10:30pm. If the show on the main stage isn't your cup of tea, a movie is shown nightly in the much smaller Wajang theater. America's Test Kitchen shared this space. If you want a seat for ATK get there 45 minutes before the program starts. It is one of the few activities available on sea days. Other activities included Microsoft and photography workshops and several EXC pesentations. Mahjongg was offered every afternoon but at strange times. The casino is small but was never crowded. As a non-smoker, it did not seem smoky. The shops were constantly trying to sell old stock from the 2019 World Cruise. We had been to Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait, Sitka and Victoria on previous cruises. Weather was not on our side so our rain gear came in handy. One morning, I did a load of laundry before we went ashore. $2 to wash and the dryer was free. Best deal on board the ship. They even provide the detergent. We enjoyed walking around Anchorage and Kodiak Island. Our friends have a summer home in the Homer area so we spent the day with them. A highlight was visiting the Kilcher homestead from the Discover program Alaska: The Last Frontier. We also cruised Dawes and Hubbard Glaciers. Amazing! We purchased the Victoria shuttle through Holland. We could've purchased the exact shuttle from the provider at 2/3rds of the cost. We should've known better. We do enjoy cruising Holland America but the Amsterdam was too small for us. My husband was quite bored, especially during the day time hours. Our past experience was on the Eurodam, so we'll stick with a similar size ship in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We have a big family reunion come all of the world. before this cruise the biggest worry for me was the condition of the ship, I saw many reviews that people talking about how bad the ship was. First the embarkation went smoothly, even ... Read More
We have a big family reunion come all of the world. before this cruise the biggest worry for me was the condition of the ship, I saw many reviews that people talking about how bad the ship was. First the embarkation went smoothly, even was raining that day at Seward, there were umbrellas available for walking up the ship, no long line at all, took us about 15-20 mins to get on ship. The ship was clean and well maintained, even it was an old ship from the décor I could tell, but it was tasteful and nice. we had various rooms from balcony to inside cabin, I visited all and they were nice and clean. Only first day one of our cabins had issue with hot water and they were moved to an ocean view from an inside room, One room had plumbing issues and was handled right away. The staff were very polite and helpful, the cabin-keeper introduced themselves to us and most impressed was Vista Dining room server, they are not only professional and also very friendly. As we expected the onboard activities was not much but the main stage show were fine, Lincoln Center performance were delightful, we did not attend any other shows. The food at Vista Dining Room were excellent, meet our expectation. Buffet had good days and some day were par. We bought some excursion on board, but we did find the price for similar tour were cheaper at the port off the ship. Unfortunately due to weather, they canceled helicopter glacier landing and dog sled. We did White Pass train ride, that was ok, I enjoy the ferry ride from Haines to Skagway better than the train ride. Over all, we really enjoy this cruise, HAL showed us great time. Disembarkation was little mess due to taxi line issue, so took us long time to get out Port Canada. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was a wonderful vacation with siblings. The food was amazing! I tried Duck for the first time and absolutely loved it. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The Cannaletto was awesome! I did feel there was a bit of downtime during the ... Read More
This was a wonderful vacation with siblings. The food was amazing! I tried Duck for the first time and absolutely loved it. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The Cannaletto was awesome! I did feel there was a bit of downtime during the day, but that was okay as I was able to go to the spa and do the hydro-pool and thermal lounge suite which is the best way to relax. The Billboard Onboard was great as Kiersten and Will did a great job on the pianos and singing. The Lincoln Center Stage was amazing and I absolutely loved to hear them play. Be prepared to wait awhile for your food if you order the pizza or from the Dive In. The Lido had good food as always and yes, it is busy during the peak times, so choose when you want to go. The in-room dining was nice as well. All of the staff was very friendly and helpful. I loved the casual portrait nights in addition to the formal (gala) pictures. When we looked through all the photos, the casual ones actually came out nicer and better than the formal ones. This was my 4th cruise with Holland America (my first 3 were on the Amsterdam), and I can honestly say it didn't disappoint and I'm ready to go on another cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This July the family decided to go on a cruise to Alaska on the Holland America Amsterdam. We had 7 people in our group and had 2 rooms. Everything on our cruise was absolutely perfect. The ship was very comfortable and up to ... Read More
This July the family decided to go on a cruise to Alaska on the Holland America Amsterdam. We had 7 people in our group and had 2 rooms. Everything on our cruise was absolutely perfect. The ship was very comfortable and up to date. The food was excellent and the service was perfect. Holland America gave us a perfect 7 day vacation and we’ll be looking forward to our next cruise on holland America’ We frequently hear how Holland America is the over 90 crowd but this trip the ship was filled with families and lots of kids. We had 2 18 year olds in our group and they enjoyed Holland America so much that they have been next summers family trip on Holland America. We decided Holland America gets the over 90 reputation from their world cruises as the only people that can take a 100 day cruisr are retired. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We were part of an 18 member family party on a cruise from Vancouver BC to Anchorage AK. The staff were generally helpful, the facilities fine, the Alaskan scenery amazing, the food ok, yet my experience was largely negative. We brought ... Read More
We were part of an 18 member family party on a cruise from Vancouver BC to Anchorage AK. The staff were generally helpful, the facilities fine, the Alaskan scenery amazing, the food ok, yet my experience was largely negative. We brought our three small children with us. Mistake. The marketing literature implied “child friendly” but that is misleading. The kids center “Club Hal” was fun for older kids (mostly they watched movies) though occasionally with limited hours, but unfortunately not available to toddlers. But THERE WAS NO SAFE PLACE ON THE SHIP FOR OUR TODDLER. Lots of ways he could get hurt. For example, on Glacier Bay day we rented a cabana and we were on high alert (hard to enjoy) because he could easily slip thru the bars and fall 11 stories to certain DEATH. Deck 2 was the floor with the entertainment on it, and it included a Casino with sounds and lights which seem designed to attract toddlers. CASINO STAFF (manager Tom) WERE MILITANT ABOUT NO KIDS. So I spent endless hours in the evenings going up and down the stairs and elevator, trying to keep our toddler entertained, safe, and out of the casino. BEING TRAPPED ON THE WESTERDAM WITH A TODDLER WAS A FRUSTRATING, STRESSFUL, and EXHAUSTING EXPERIENCE. Never again. For the most part, with the exception of the casino staff, the WESTERDAM staff were empathetic and helpful to our situation, but still a horrible way to spend a vacation. In retrospect we should have just told the family we were not going with them. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
The Good - 95% of the workers are lovely & incredibly hard working. They make up for the ship's many flaws. Embarkation/Disembarkation was smooth, swift & without issues. We had a balcony cabin, & the size of the ... Read More
The Good - 95% of the workers are lovely & incredibly hard working. They make up for the ship's many flaws. Embarkation/Disembarkation was smooth, swift & without issues. We had a balcony cabin, & the size of the balcony was impressive. Ports were also fantastic & the reason we chose this cruise line to begin with. This was our first cruise with HA & sadly will be our last. We have traveled over a dozen times with cruise ships & have used various cruise lines repeatedly, so we had the same expectations for HA. We've never had prior issues/concerns with other ships, so we believed HA would be a repeat cruise line for us as all others have been in the past. Not the case or even close. It seems a lot of corners have been cut from HA & the clients & the hard working employees are the ones suffering. So on to the bad... The unfortunate bad... First, our room was the smallest we have ever stayed in for 3 people. The pull out bed is meant for a child/adult under the size of 5 feet. If you are 5'1+, you will get bruised, scratched & woken up daily because the bed hits right into the desk in front of it & you WILL hit the desk with your feet, etc. The bed also blocks the door to your balcony completely. You must climb over the pull out bed to get in/out of it (ie: to go to the restroom, change, etc) or to get in/out of your balcony (which are all fire/emergency hazards). I would not recommend this room for 3 people, 2 would be perfectly fine (the bed remains a couch the entire time), but definitely not 3, even with a small child as you will have no space or easy access to your balcony. Second issue with the room was the cleanliness. The gentlemen who were in charge of our rooms were as sweet as could be, however, they were also responsible for countless hallways of rooms. It would be physically impossible for these 2 hard working men to completely service/clean the rooms to their fullest. They were both being tirelessly overworked. On arrival, the shampoo/condition/soap dispensers in the showers were all near empty (an oversight & an understood one as these guys could barely get to all the rooms). Additionally, we had nail clippings in the bathroom & balcony, dust in the cabin & no tissue. Clearly, these workers just don't have the manpower or time to do a full on thorough cleansing & this was on our arrival. On 3 separate occasions we were given replacement towels with various stains on them & were unusable. On multiple occasions, we were without towels & had to ask for the dispensers to be refilled. Smoking & noise issues were also a problem with one neighbor (the walls are paper thin) & we reported our concerns repeatedly, but nothing could really be accommodated (we asked to switch rooms), even after 2 separate occasions of cigarette butts on our balcony, I took photos & brought it to the attention of guest services, but they just ask you to let our servicemen be aware & they refer us right back to guest services. It was a joke all the different finger pointing of who to speak with for various issues. None of the employees want to handle or address concerns & refer you elsewhere constantly. We also opted to pay for the unlimited LAUNDRY deal during our stay. This for the most part was a nice option, however, they did lose a laundry item on one occasion & on another instance, we had to wait for 3 days for our laundry return, when it is supposed to be returned within 48 hrs. Again, we were referred to guest services twice to get an update. PHOTOS are another thing - buyers beware. We purchased several & were given wrong photos - definitely check before leaving. Our photos had wrong templates with different dates/locations of a cruise we weren't even on. Last of interest was the FOOD. The taste & quality were fine & not better or worse than other cruise lines. We did the additional pay for Italian Canaletto restaurant & the Asian-fusion, Tamarind. Tamarind was far better than Canaletto (service & food wise). Canaletto food is actually cooked in the Lido buffet area & was a step below an Olive Garden. We had the dine on your own time dining & had no problem getting a table. However, the service in the own time dining is horrible. I believe these workers may be in training because every night we had an issue with incorrect orders (not just us, but many tables around us as well) & lengthy times to be served. Dinner took 2-3 hours for a 3 course meal. We were eventually told (by mistake, perhaps), that the main dining food was the same as what was being served in the buffet's Lido's. An employee brought me a chicken dish & actually admitted HE picked it out for me himself. Lo & behold, the next evening, we decided to opt for the Lido buffet & sure enough the same soup, main entrees & desserts were exactly the same being offered in the main dining menu. We were able to hand pick the food ourselves & eat/finish within an hour, not 3 hours. A few differences on the menu, but 90% was exactly the same, including surf & turf. Lastly, the wine stewards & beverages. We have never been more hounded to drink or pay for soft drinks like we were on the HA. I think because these employees are so overworked, they are really looking to make extra money via tips. We were constantly being bombarded throughout the cruise to purchase alcohol or soft drinks. The stewards would come by multiple times, even after declining & trying to get you to buy beverages (alcohol or otherwise). It was annoying & unnecessary after the first decline, especially, when drink orders, like the meal orders, were being delivered incorrectly to various patrons Our experience about HA vs all the other big name competitor cruise lines we have taken, is that they do all they can to nickel & dime their customers at the sad cost of their hardworking employees. Where other cruise lines provided complimentary toasts at departure, HA passed out beverages (with the aim you believed it was complimentary) & then asked for your key card & said your beverage cost $. No thanks. Chocolate party night - on other lines, was magnificent, creative & worth waiting for. HA had 15 or so servers walking around for 5 minutes at 10pm at night that you had to actually chase down for a thumb sized chocolate sample bite. It was a joke (I took photos to show family/friends because it was comical). Reminded me of the samples people line up for at Costco. Same could be said for their alcohol samples. A complete joke. HA is no value - they are after one thing & it's your money which unfortunately doesn't go into these hard working employees, but the corporate headquarters. The Koningsdsam was a sad disappointment & lacks great service because they are so overwhelmingly understaffed. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first cruise ever and we didn’t quite know what to expect. We chose it because we wanted to reach beyond the Arctic Circle and into the Midnight Sun, and had a limited time availability. We stayed into a Neptune Suite - ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and we didn’t quite know what to expect. We chose it because we wanted to reach beyond the Arctic Circle and into the Midnight Sun, and had a limited time availability. We stayed into a Neptune Suite - Mozart deck, Aft corner. We absolutely loved the suite. Top of the line, modern and elegant dual sink bath with oversized shower, all in travertine. Ultra large screen TV, and lovely wrap around balcony. King bed was best ever. The personnel was without reproche. All were just trying to go beyond the call of duty. We went to the restaurants - Tamarind was our favorite, with the Mango Posset desert being a killer. Rudy’s is also very good. Great atmosphere. Sophisticated food. The Orange Club was a very convenient way to have a more intimate environment for dining, and Neptune Lounge handy and well stuffed. The World State venue is just extraordinary. Music program onboard video was diverse and we could find our preferred tunes with Hyperion Knight piano, Dual piano performance, blues and rock bands. Shore trips - did do the job. We enjoyed them and used them to the fullest. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship ... Read More
This was my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship where one could settle in with a good book. The only time it felt crowded was peak times in the buffet. I liked having breakfast and lunch in the dining room. They served steak and lobster on the 2nd gala night and it was very good. Other Dining Room menu items for dinner were hit and miss. The buffet was typical. I noticed they didn't have trays and the staff dished up most of the food for you, which I didn't really like but apparently it reduces the incidence of illness. Unlike some other cruise lines I've been on, there didn't seem to be any theme nights in the buffet. We dined in Canaletto, the Italian specialty restaurant, one night and the food and service were first rate. I liked the films and talks showcasing Alaska. There were none of those dreadful "Vegas type" shows. There was an illusionist one night and a comedian. There was a dance group but it didn't appeal to me and I left. I loved the Lincoln Centre Stage featuring a piano quintette from Hungary and also the B.B. King Blues club. We had lots of fun at Trivia and Music Trivia. The staff were helpful, friendly and service oriented although I found sometimes there was quite a wait to get a drink. Speaking of drinks, I discovered the Ginger Mule and will ask for that next time. I didn't get off the ship in Juneau but took the White Pass and Yukon trip in Skagway and the Wilderness Exploration and Crab Feast in Ketchikan. Both through the ship and both very expensive. Converted to Canadian funds the cost was around $500.00. Our party included a 12 year old and a 16 year old. The younger one had a blast but we worried there didn't seem to be much for the teen. However, she said at the end that she would love to do another cruise. I had wheelchair assistance embarking and disembarking as I am on supplemental oxygen and the batteries don't last too long. I really appreciated this service. Disembarking was really well organized, probably the best I've ever experienced. All in all, a lovely week with family and friends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Very comfortable cruise overall. it's a fair size ship so it can be crowded so if you prefer a more intimate experience this is not for you. Having said that, we were able to find our own space and keep our privacy when we chose. Dine ... Read More
Very comfortable cruise overall. it's a fair size ship so it can be crowded so if you prefer a more intimate experience this is not for you. Having said that, we were able to find our own space and keep our privacy when we chose. Dine as you wish worked a treat! We did room service breakfast alot and it was great. We work out and the gym more than satisfied our needs. plenty of food and dining options, specialty restaurants if you want spend a little more. My only negative critique would be that drinks and wine expensive together with bev packages. 26 days cruise would be steep if we indulged. We would prefer that gratuities be included in the price but you can have them removed at the start of the cruise if you so wish be registering it with guest relations. We prefer to be more personal with our gratuity and know where and who it is going to. All up, a more than pleasant experience with awsome destinations. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Just a qualifier to start ... this is my first cruise, so I write this review lacking other benchmarks. I'm essentially rating and evaluating this cruise relative to other vacation experiences and the expectations from reading prior ... Read More
Just a qualifier to start ... this is my first cruise, so I write this review lacking other benchmarks. I'm essentially rating and evaluating this cruise relative to other vacation experiences and the expectations from reading prior reviews. That said, I don't see how this experience could have been much better than it was. Here are some highlights. Dining with dietary needs: One of my sons was gluten-free and dairy free. We found the main dining room and the specialty restaurants (Canelatto, Pinnacle Grill) to be particularly confidence building in terms of how they handle allergies. This was true for both dinner and breakfast (we never happened to eat lunch in the MDR). My son generally pre-orded his dinner for the next day at a current days dinner and the chefs were able to prepare it according to his needs. Dive In and the NY Deli also handled special dietary needs well. The Lido Buffet was a little more chancy as nothing was labeled, so we rarely ate there. Dining quality and experience: I don't see how it could be much better. Food was delicious and served at appropriate temperature. Range of choices in MDR and specialty restaurants was excellent. Service was phenomenal. Ambiance in the 2nd floor MDR was solid -- even better at times when we got a seat by the window. One observation was that one needs to allow about 1 hour for breakfast and 1.5-2 hours for dinner. In other words, it's European dining speed. That was quite acceptable. I loved the fact that you could get food until midnight. Evening entertainment: The Music Walk (BB King, Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard Onboard) totally exceeded expectations. The Rock Room cover band was very good as was BB King (the bass player was phenomenal) and they hide quite a bit of variation from show to show and night to night. But the two pianists in Billboard Onboard stole the show. They were engaging, exceptionally talented, and quite entertaining. We chose Nieuw Statendam for their emphasis on music so we had high expectations. This surpassed them. Only nit might be that many shows were very crowded, but if you were willing to stand, you never missed a beat. Other observations: -- The appearance of the boat was spectacular. It still had that "new boat" smell. :-) -- I personally liked the walking path around the exterior of the boat on deck 3. One of my sons really liked the basketball court on deck 11. -- I liked the fact that the hot tubs were kept at about 100F. That means that you could relax and not have to worry about leaving and 15-20 minutes. -- They seemed to have very good judgment as to when to close the roof on the Lido pool and when to keep it open. -- Entry and exit on the boat at port was well organized. Some minor nits: -- Sometimes the wait at the Guest Services desk could be a bit long -- up to 15 minutes. -- I had a few times where I was trying to get information and got different answers from different people. For instance, I could never figure out what time the pool closed. -- The Navigator app was OK ... but it did not consistently notify me when I received a chat message. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as ... Read More
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as were the quality and condition of all facilities on board. The activities organised daily were well organised and allowed more than enough time to fully experience them. We enjoyed the overall experience. However, the dinning services inclusive of can be deemed terrible. There were no multiple vegetarian food options and we were stuck with no choice all throughout the various meals everyday and had to succumb to whatever was served. Additionally, there were absolutely no dessert options without egg content. To top this, the food tasted awful and often was inedible, not meeting the lowest expectations of food cooked by an Indian chef. It was very well informed that our dietary requirements were vegetarian not including both egg or fish. Despite this, the staff was not considerate and was often seen using the same tongs/gloves to serve sausages/meat and baked potatoes, contaminating the only obvious vegetarian food choice. When this was brought to their notice, the staff was impolite and discourteously disregarded our concern. Moreover, the staff, especially at the buffet counter was also not informed enough and served us lobsters as a part of the salad saying it was vegetarian, neither did they have the knowledge of the cheese served containing rennet, which made us avoid it altogether. Satisfactory food is essential and our experience with the Holland Cruise made our journey which could’ve been great, below average. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Our son and our nephew both graduated from high school this year. We wanted to get my husband's whole family together, and since several of them live out west, Seattle was a good meeting point. Our family (we don't live out ... Read More
Our son and our nephew both graduated from high school this year. We wanted to get my husband's whole family together, and since several of them live out west, Seattle was a good meeting point. Our family (we don't live out west) flew in one day before the cruise. It was a good thing because our flight was delayed. I would suggest, if you are coming from a long distance, fly in a couple of days ahead and explore Seattle. Uber rides from the airport only take 15-20 minutes to where our hotel was. We stayed in the Sheraton Four Points due to its great location. It is walking distance to the Space Needle. We got an Uber to the port and it was a very quick ride from the hotel. We got onto the ship pretty quickly. We had a bit of a wait before checking in but were on the ship by 12:30. And, our room was ready when we got on. Things were smooth for embarking. The ship itself was clean and easy to navigate. It is an average-sized ship, I would say. We liked walking around the deck on a daily basis, although at times, it got rainy or chilly. The public spaces were nice and comfortable. We especially liked the crow's nest area. It was just down the hallway from our room and was a perfect meeting spot for family members. This ship is very similar to other HAL ships we have been on. Our son works out a lot. He was not impressed with the fitness area. And, the lady who works in that area was rather rude to him. So, he didn't spend much time in there. The pools and hot tubs were nice. The pools never were crowded. And, you could get into a hot tub if you wanted, although they were very small. They closed very early in the evenings, perhaps because of the weather, I'm not sure. Smoking was allowed in an area by the aft pool. We don't smoke, so we avoided that area. No smoking was in the casino. The casino got fairly crowded, depending on what was going on there. Our son discovered that he is a good poker player on this trip; that was exciting for him. I didn't participate in many ship activities. There wasn't a huge amount of entertainment. The music was good that was performed. It was very loud and crowded in the Blues Club; I don't think that the space is large enough for the people who want to hear the music there. The comedian was pretty funny, and he was clean, so the kids were able to join us. Our nieces went to the children's activities and seemed to really like them. There were a good number of teenagers; between two of our families, there were 6. The teens met several others on the ship, and they seemed like nice kids. I don't know how much they had provided as far as organized activities for the teens, but our teens did have a wonderful time. Service on the ship was very good. Our stewards did a consistent job of tidying our room, although we keep a clean room. And, the dining room service was nice, as well. Our waiters were friendly and did an excellent job each night. We dined in the main dining room every evening. Even our teenage kids wanted to dine in there each night. It was a fun experience for them. We had a couple of nights where all 21 of us ate in there together. Although we had late dining, because the sun barely sets at that time of year in Alaska, it wasn't a bad time, really. Lunch meals were nice in the dining room, too. The menu was varied, and the food was of good quality. I especially liked the main courses. The Lido often got busy and it could be hard to find a seat sometimes. They have some nice stations in there at lunch time, so the days the MDR was closed, I would walk around and see what was available before getting food so I didn't overeat. Dive Inn is a good place for sandwiches and fries; I just ordered from there one time and shared my food with a daughter. Our cabin was on the tenth floor. It was a balcony but might have been a little smaller than some of the balcony rooms. It had a tub, a real plus on a cruise ship. This had less storage than other balcony rooms I have stayed in, but there were four of us. We had two beds together (king), a pull-down bunk above, and a pull-out loveseat. Beds were comfortable with nice linens. The balcony itself was pretty narrow, I think due to the location on the ship. The pull-down bed actually rattled a lot, until I finally stuck a rolled-up towel into part of it. We had the wall between our balcony and the ones beside us opened up because there were three family rooms beside each other. I would recommend closing them back at night because they can make some noise. One night, there was a huge amount of fog, and the foghorn was going off all night. At first, I thought someone had fallen overboard. Once I realized it was the fog, I fell asleep. it is nice having the balcony when going to the glacier and also when in port. But, it gets cold and windy when traveling. And being on the tenth floor is close to the Crow's Nest, which is a nice spot. Each port was good. Seattle is a lovely city. We enjoyed the Seattle center with the Space needle, fountain, museums. Just a great place to walk and see the sights. And, the mountain views are gorgeous as you leave port. We booked a last-minute whale watching tour in Juneau. The kids LOVED it. It was fun and we saw a lot of sea creatures. We booked it when we got off the ship and so we got a nice discount. I recommend NOT booking on the ship for these if you can avoid it. Better deals for the same thing onshore. Hubbard Glacier was incredible. One couple in our group had booked a suite, and they had a wraparound balcony, so we spent a good bit of time there during our Hubbard Glacier stop. We got close to the glacier, saw some calving and had great weather. The port for Sitka is 6 miles from town, but the shuttle gets guests back and forth quite well. It was about 12 minutes to get there, and the wait for the shuttle was just a few minutes. If you get a Sitka map online, you can just follow that and walk around town. Our group enjoyed the sea walk and spent a lot of time out along the sand in the sound area. We saw starfish, eels, crabs - the kids LOVED it. There were seals swimming in the sound, too. There are pretty green spaces and flowers on the walk, as well. We walked to Sitka National Historical Park's Totem Trail. We walked to the river; it's a very pretty, but also fairly easy walk. You can get nice views of St. Michael Cathedral along Lincoln Street. And panoramic views can be seen from Baranof Castle Hill. You will take several flights of stairs to get up, but it's worth it. At the end of town is the Pioneer Home, some type of retirement home. It sits on a big square with a giant totem pole and is a good photo spot. our time in Ketchikan was short - only five hours. I suggest getting up very early so you can see it all. It's not a big town. The waterfront promenade is nice, and there is an interesting tunnel that is good for photos. We got some nice street views right beside the tunnel...after walking up several dozen steps. Creek Street is fun to check out. There was an eagle down by the creek eating fish, and we saw cute little marmots. Married Man's Trail was pretty; my son and up took the stairs up to the Civic Center. It was a pretty walk. We also took a walk along Park Avenue, by the creek. After crossing the bridge, we found a paved path among the trees. We then found a spot where we could walk down to the creek banks; my kids loved that area. The waterfront shops are good places to buy souveniers. Victora was really lovely. We walked quite a ways and just got lots of pictures. We were there in the early evening. I would love to have been there during the day. But, we all had a great time at each stop, so I cannot really complain. Disembarkation was pretty quick. Really, if you need to change your time, they will work with you. It was easy finding our suitcases. You have to walk a little way to get to the Uber area, but once you get there, booking a driver is very simple. We loved this cruise. The stops were great. Our time with family was delightful. Typically, HAL cruises have a huge number of senior citizens. This cruise had a wide array of ages. There were many, many family groups, and it was a festive enjoyable feel overall. Our son (18) wasn't crazy about the onboard experience and would probably like RCI a little more, or Carnival, with its party atmosphere. But our three kids did have a fabulous time with family and this cruise allowed us to all gather together and that was what was so special about it. We have gone out of Whittier before, and getting to Alaska by plane is exhausting. Going to Seattle was a little tiring, but much easier than all the way up to Alaska for the departure. Yes, I would go again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Had never been to this area before and wanted to see it. Lovely views, scenery was great. Dropped our car in Boston and flew to Montreal to catch ship. Boarding was straight forward and done in no time. We rented a car for the day and the ... Read More
Had never been to this area before and wanted to see it. Lovely views, scenery was great. Dropped our car in Boston and flew to Montreal to catch ship. Boarding was straight forward and done in no time. We rented a car for the day and the process was easy. Pickup at airport, returned downtown; Enterprise took us to cruise port. Ship was smallest that we have ever sailed on. We liked it. Room 1844 was nice size with plenty of storage. Perfect location for getting on and off ship at ports. Food was good at all restaraunts, but selection did not appeal to all of us. Entire staff that we dealt with were friendly and helpful. We love HAL and were not dissapointed at all on this cruise. Entertainment was just a tad off, we blame content not cast. Disembarking was the easiest ever experienced. Right off and out. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Pros: Ship rarely felt like it was near capacity, even though it was Generous amount of time ashore in ports Embarkation and disembarkation was the best/fastest/easiest I've seen; also very good for going ashore/coming back ... Read More
Pros: Ship rarely felt like it was near capacity, even though it was Generous amount of time ashore in ports Embarkation and disembarkation was the best/fastest/easiest I've seen; also very good for going ashore/coming back in ports Secondary Eateries (Grand Dutch Cafe, Dive In, Pizza) are quite good and very convenient Sanitation taken seriously Cons: MDR food quality has noticeably dropped since cruises 5 & 15 years ago Waitstaff/wine stewards in MDR and lounges are stretched too thin and cannot serve timely; they need more staff Specialty restaurants touted, but the expense and space should be devoted to the MDR This was a mid-June 25-day sailing combining two "legs"-- western Med and Adriatic. We (H&W + 2 teens) selected it for number and variety of ports; if you were more interested in life aboard the ship than ashore, you need a less port-intensive itinerary. The variety of ports was awesome, and we loved the itinerary with only minor quibbles. This was a great cruise, so please take the critical comments below as constructive criticism meant to be helpful for others considering this ship or a similar itinerary; overall, we would rate the cruise a solid A. It was nice being on a new ship--the more modern touches (LED lighting, better bathrooms) were great. Embarkation in Civitavecchia was a breeze; far easier than any previous onboarding regardless of cruise line or location. Very organized; we showed up around noon for our "suggested" 1pm boarding and were in our cabin not 15 minutes after dropping our bags. Luggage was delivered before we even had a chance to step out for lunch. Cabins (Vista + Inside) were nice, and the stewards were good at keeping up with what looked to be a heavy load. More below. We got the unlimited laundry for $225 and got our money's worth for sure! Note that although the service is nice in that clothes come back folded or hung, the washers are not always thorough and they surely don't pretreat for stains. Excursions: we booked our own for each port, as well as transfers for two reasons. First, on simple transfers and excursions, we saved both time and money. But more fundamentally, we'd done enough with HAL to know that in Europe we would be better off booking our own so we could go faster and do and see a better variety of things. The median passenger age seemed to be about 65. From what I heard, those who took EXC excursions were happy, and I do note that in one port (Livorno, I think) they held the ship for several buses of EXC tours that had been stuck in traffic. Comments on the ones we used: Spain--SpainDayTours and had good luck with those. Gibraltar--Carl at Inside-Out Rock tours, and he was excellent. Malta--Joan Sheridan, best guide of the trip. Split--tour via AirbNB, excellent (and particularly good value) Trieste--ToursByLocals to Slovenia: not good, requested partial refund (enervated guide) Naples--AmalfiCar: fiasco, do not use, ever Catania--cooking class at a local's house via Expedia: excellent. Cadiz (paragliding; canceled due to wind direction), Split (canyoning; canceled due to timing), Dubrovnik (sea kayaking; hard but excellent), Corfu (parasailing; excellent), Rijeka (rafting; nice but a bit slow), Kotor (paragliding; awesome): all but the last booked through Adrenaline Hunter. All but the last had some problem. Adrenaline Hunter is convenient, but I would use it as a research tool to see generally what adventure activities are available in an area, but then I would book directly with the outfitter so that you have better control of the communication and can be specific about times and locations. Specifically, we had issues with all of our excursions mostly related to communications/location/pick-up and timing (we had to cancel canyoning when we found out the night before that the transfer took 2 hours and thus would return us after all-aboard; the website disclosures were ambiguous at best (note further that the outfitter tried very hard to accommodate us, but we just didn't have enough time in port for this one). In general, the operators were all helpful, but AH didn't add anything, and my advice is to pin down every detail before you embark. Transfers: we booked various ones through KiwiTaxi (good/very good), MyDayTrip (mixed) and Taxis For Cruisers (very good). Main Dining (late seating) was a bit rough on the first leg as we had an awful table by the waitstation. Compounding matters, the service often had long gaps between courses (with no beverage/water service, either). This improved on the second leg of the cruise, but was still less consistent than expected and not what you could call "excellent service". Four or five nights we had to let the kids leave early to get dessert at the Lido because the meal dragged on past 10pm (we would be seated at 8:15). Making sure we were seated right as they opened helped some...usually. Sadly, the only way to get more than a garnish serving of vegetables was to go to the Lido. Allergies: daughter has an almost absurd array of food allergies. We had alerted HAL pre-cruise, but it was unclear who should know. Answer: if you have food allergies, see the MDR manager AND let your servers know as soon as the MDR opens. They took the allergies VERY seriously and took great care to ensure her safety. Wine service was poor. Stewards seemed to have gaps in training, and were required to serve far too many tables to be able to provide proper service. One steward we had seemed puzzled that we would have more than one wine open at a time (a white, a rose and a red), as though we should always finish what we had the night before regardless of that evening's meal choices. They also had a hard time managing wines brought aboard...which is pretty frustrating given the corkage fee and the fact we were cruising through great wine regions. (Bottles were "misplaced" for several days, and not stored at proper temperature.) Specialty dining: We ate at Pinnacle and Tamarind, both of which were excellent and nice as a treat...although if they are letting MDR decay as they have they should lower the price point on these. Other dining: I would have to say that I think the Lido food is better than on our last cruise, and generally good to very good. The Grand Dutch Cafe, Dive In, NY Pizza are even better and very convenient. Sanitation: I've read many reviews and heard grumblings from passengers about the Lido food being served by staff (rather than self serve) and that causing lines/crowds/delays. So be it. Indeed, if you are bothered by such things, I invite you to travel on a line that is less serious about sanitation so that you won't ever be in front of me. (One good example I witnessed was when I came up to a Lido station as meal service was winding down. The server was wiping down the service area, and when he noticed me, he didn't stop, but rather said "please wait a minute" [or some such], and then finished the wipe-down AND washed his hands (thoroughly) before serving me. Good training and discipline there.) Club HAL (kids club): we expected our kids to be bored recluses and that there would not be many teens aboard. Wrong. There was a good scrum of teens who mostly got along very well, and my kids had a lot of fun with their peers aboard. They often were the last back to the cabin...and hard to wake in the morning. They had a blast! Bars: meh. Service is average, some drinks better than others, but prices a tad higher than deserved...as usual. Entertainment: We really enjoyed Billboard (dueling pianos) and Rolling Stone (rock band). We wish they could have played a wider repertoire, but we assume they were making valid assumptions about their audience. The BB King and Lincoln Center Stage performances were also solid, although we saw fewer of those. Saw only a few World Stage acts; seemed fine, not great, but we're really not their audience. Fitness Center: Quite good IMHO. Good equipment and only a few were out of order. Enough equipment that few people waited (that I saw), and even then not for long. Happily, a courteous group of pax in there, too. Art: I'm far from an art snob, but I really liked the art on the Koningsdam! It was clever and different, and kept with the musical theme...in sharp contrast to the generic but garish and trying too hard art on every other cruise ship I've been on. Ports: All were good. Rijeka (swapped for Ravenna at the last minute) was a downgrade, but OK. Corfu was just OK. Malta was spectacular. Some of the smaller Spanish ports (Cadiz, Malaga) were a bit sleepy, but that was fine with us. Again, we chose the itinerary because of the variety, and we definitely got what we expected! Read Less
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