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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Wanted to get out of the cold and chose this cruise because if the timing with other activities scheduled in Florida. We have sailed the Rotterdam three times in the past and loved the ship. The reviews lately were about how tired she ... Read More
Wanted to get out of the cold and chose this cruise because if the timing with other activities scheduled in Florida. We have sailed the Rotterdam three times in the past and loved the ship. The reviews lately were about how tired she was and then of smelly carpet glue and shedding carpets after drydock. The ship was lovely. The staff was exemplary. Food was tasty. What more could one ask for. We are 5 Star mariners and just tried our first inside cabin. It was fine and a good value. In fact, we didn’t feel the ocean Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We are 5 Stare on HAL and typically cruise to warm weather climates for about a month + in Jan and Feb. This was our first time on the Koningsdam. Overall it was a very positive experience and in fact we are booked for 42 days on her in ... Read More
We are 5 Stare on HAL and typically cruise to warm weather climates for about a month + in Jan and Feb. This was our first time on the Koningsdam. Overall it was a very positive experience and in fact we are booked for 42 days on her in Jan/Feb 2019. The entertainment was much better than other HAL ships, food was excellent and the crew was the typical outstanding HAL crew. We had an outside cabin on the main deck. Everything was fine with the cabin with lots of storage and really like the new interactive TV system. The main dining room was noisy but the food was excellent and service was good but varied depending on the waiter and time we went to eat. We ate in the Tamrind and the Pinnacle and found the food excellent and the service also excellent. We will be visiting them both again in 2019. The America's Test Kitchen program needs some modifications. It was too crowded and as a 5 star we were supposed to get a free hands on cooking class but that did not happen. The World Stage is amazing and the singers/dancers doing the shows were excellent. The best we have had on a HAL cruise. The "Music Walk" provided entertainment all night at 5 different venues. The pools were smaller than on the other HAL ships which is surprising since this is the largest ship in the fleet. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Really enjoyed the Trip. Although a little aged, the ship is very easy get around and to feel comfortable. The deck 8 renovations have opened up the space but you can still find a quiet corner to relax or have a cocktail. Food was ... Read More
Really enjoyed the Trip. Although a little aged, the ship is very easy get around and to feel comfortable. The deck 8 renovations have opened up the space but you can still find a quiet corner to relax or have a cocktail. Food was better than expected both in the restaurants and lido cafe. My only complaint was I booked an ocean view cabin 337 on lower promenade (deck 6) knowing it’s location etc,. Unfortunately it was the only cabin on this deck that didn’t have the reflective glass to prevent passerby’s from seeing into the cabin when the lights were on and even the sheer drapes were not totally effective in blocking viewing into the cabin. When I complained about this they apologized and offered another cabin on a lower deck because unfortunately they did not have any reflective film to correct the problem. Because I specifically chose the location and was traveling with other friends in nearby launi cabins I opted not to move to the cabin offered but kept the drapes closed more time then I would have liked. The women at the front desk knew exactly which cabin I was in as soon as I mentioned the problem. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Excellent value and an excellent ship. We opted for a Signature Suite 6045 which was well worth the money. Room Stewards (Nyoman and Yusep) were attentive and always accommodating with a smile. We had thoughts of opting for the upscale ... Read More
Excellent value and an excellent ship. We opted for a Signature Suite 6045 which was well worth the money. Room Stewards (Nyoman and Yusep) were attentive and always accommodating with a smile. We had thoughts of opting for the upscale restaurants, but elected not to do so since the regular food service and quality were very good. Our Wine Steward, Yohan, was exceptional and most helpful. Being that the cruising itinerary has almost 7 sea days, the entertainment and ship-board amenities have to be good. The Lincoln Center Stage quintet was excellent, and, although we did not see all the stage presentations, the few that we saw were very professionally done. Land tours were good, and the bus lines were not long, given that there were several handicap people on board. The several tour guides that we experienced all spoke with different levels of English competency, which is to be expected. All in all, they were knowledgeable and had good senses of humor. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises ... Read More
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises immensely. The trip started positively, embarkation was quick and friendly. Things went downhill from there. Cabin (and ship) decor is very dated and years overdue for a refit. Furniture and fittings are of low quality, and this was especially evident in the bathroom. Main dinning room was mediocre, decor again dated, dark and stuffy. Worst part was the food, despite an effusive menu littered with culinary terms, the food was basic, low quality, dumped on the plate and served lukewarm. We ate there twice and then never returned. Lido dinning was even worse. Very limited choice, mostly pizza and pasta, and poor process for dishing out food, leaving people waiting ages for their order to be filled. Worst was the service times, if you wanted food outside their designated times, only dried up pizza was available. Not a vegetable in sight. At 8.30pm most stations were closed, and I have a picture of staff coming through vacuuming while diners still eating ! By day three, we reverted to eating all meals onshore when in port. On sea days we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, which was excellent, but at an xtra cost of $35 per head each time. Enrichment program was limited and focused on selling stuff. Entertainment stage shows were okay, but cruise director was clearly just coasting and did not bring any energy or interest to the cruise. Officers were rude and uninterested on the rare occasion we saw them or spoke to them. The only redeeming factor was the general staff, who were worked so hard to make up for the inadequacies of the ship, the processs and the lack of leadership. They were without exception, cheerful, helpful and engaging. To all of them, our sincere thanks. Other passengers we spoke to had mixed views, many shared our views, but others were very happy, so maybe it’s a matter of expectations. For us, this was our first experience with HAL and based on this we would not book them again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania ... Read More
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was round trip from Sydney. I normally cruise on Silversea but have also cruised one time each on RCCL, Paul Gauguin, Celebrity and Azamara. HOTEL: We stayed for 3 days pre cruise at Hotel Intercontinental which is a fantastic location and beautiful hotel. I have been to Sydney 4 times and this was by the best location. Circular Quay really is the heart of Sydney and is the easiest location to venture to other parts of the city. Definitely will stay here again or Marriott which is also right there as well. EMBARKATION: very easy. Porters met us as soon as we exited limo. We went inside, filled out health questionnaire and proceeded to desk to check in., No lines, very nice staff. In a matter of minutes we were on board. FIRST IMPRESSION: I had low expectations honestly . Having read cruise critic before trip and I had googled photos. But much to my dismay, the pictures I had seen actually made it look nicer than it really was. I knew it wouldn’t be modern and shiny like Silversea and Celebrity but was shocked the second I walked on. It was terrible. Ugly dark blue carpeting, with bright red accents and the lighting was literally yellow with ugly brass sculptures and trim. I know this ship was built in 2006 but cant imagine it was even stylish back then. We made our way to deck 6 and as we walked aft to our room , I couldn’t believe how ugly even the hallway was. Ugly wall covering, peeling in most places, cabin doors that looked like cork and ugly blue funky carpeting. My heart sank..The ship is so dated and worn. I know it’s going in to dry dock for a refurbishment in May....but I’m not sure HAL will do enough to make this ship really competitive in the industry. There are so many new ships out there and ships being remodeled, I would think HAL must be losing ground. I noticed when I got home they are advertising a lot and wonder if they are beginning to have trouble filling up ships with all the stiff competition out there. CABIN: See below on cabin review...but we had a Neptune Suite 6177. LOVED LOVED the huge wraparound veranda. DINING: i prepaid 6 specialty restaurants ,,,3 for Pinnacle and 3 for Canaletto. I was happy to find out that we had the same 2 top reserved for the whole cruise in the Main Dining Room . I dont know if that is normal, a suite perk or our travel agent set it up for us, but it was a lovely surprise. I loved the food on this cruise. I thought it was better than Celebrity and not too far off from Silversea. There were lots of choices every night. After eating one night each in Canaletto and Pinnacle, we decided that although very good, I dont think they are worth the upcharge as the MDR was so good and I dont think they were better than the MDR in my opinion, so we canceled the remaining reservations at specialties. We also had very good service in the MDR>. Loved our waiter and asst waiter and we felt the service was quicker in the MDR and a bit slow in Pinnacle and Canaletto. I dont like to linger at the table for hours on end during dinner, so I appreciated the quicker service in the MDR. Every meal I had was good (except room service). The only thing we didnt like at the restaurants was a ginger chocolate cake one night for dessert. Had no flavor, seemed a bit “wet”...just blah. It wa like a major ingredient was left out . We only ate at LIdo Buffet twice as I hate buffets. We did salads for 2 lunches and they were good. LIdo Buffet dining room was always packed and hard to find a place to sit. Decor looked straight out of Golden Girls episode. ROOM SERVICE: Definitelly needs improvement. Without going into detail on each item we ordered....just seemed like it lacked someone doing quality control. Missing or short ingredients in salad, food not to temperature, omelette bathed in butter/oil, only hot milk brought for cereal, Every time we got it, we were disappointed. Fortunately, we had access to Neptune’s Lounge and there are always snacks and sweets there all day long. ENTERTAINMENT: I dont normally like cruise ship entertainment, so i didnt go to any shows , so I cant really comment . I can only say that friends I made on the ship didnt have anything good to say about the shows. SERVICE: Noordam really shined here. Everyone from our cabin stewards, to our waiters, to bartenders etc, were all excellent. Everyone was so nice and friendly and even though it’s a larger ship than what I m used to, i was surprised at how many workers knew my name and used it frequently. The only place where employees werent friendly was Explorations Cafe....I felt like I was in the “soup nazi: episode of Seinfeld. Order quickly then move down counter to collect your coffee and pastry. They didnt smile, didnt seem like they enjoyed their job, seemed annoyed if you didnt know what you wanted right away. OVERALL: It was such a mixed bag of experiences. While I loved the service and the food and the passengers were pretty social (unlike Silversea sometimes). The dreariness of the ship tarnished the experience. I loved the pool aft, big open space and never crowded. I never did the midship pool because it seemed like every time I walked through it, the roof was closed and they were doing some type of sidewalk sale from the shops and there were tons of people clogging up the space and being noisy. I loved that HAL has happy hour from 4-5 and 9-10. The bars were packed and a lot of fun and dare i say a great value for dinks on a ship! I got 2 gin and tonics or old fashioned s for $11 total including gratuity. Celebirty is outrageous...so I was very pleased. SPA: so while i dont do spa treatments on cruise ships as I think they are way too expensive, my mom loves pampering herself and so I encouraged her to enjoy. What I will say is that on day one, we did a tour of the spa and fitness area and was totally turned off/irritated. There was such a hard sell on this ship like I have seen on no other. I dont like when they wont take no for an answer. I had to get pretty curt in order to overcome their hard core selling pressure. My mom did 5 spa services and after the first one , she came back to the cabin with hundreds of dollars of unneeded and overpriced products. She’s very soft and easily influenced and the spa crew definitely knew her number. I was furious...feeling like they take advantage of an older person. GYM: old equipment and too small of a free weight area. PORTS: SYDNEY...MY FAVORITE CITY IN AUSTRALIA...BEEN 4 TIMES, LOVE IT! MELBOURNE: feel like it is overrated. Surprisingly, I didnt care much for it. We did our own thing...lots of locals at port to help with tourism advice. We uber’d Everywhere and it was easy. We did the Royal Botanic Gardens...Amazing!! It’s huge and gorgeous. Probably the best I have done anywhere. Then we went to St Kilda Beach. A great beach town south of town. Beach not as nice as many in Sydney, but clean. The village there has lots of local boutiques, restaurants etc...kind of a funky, hip town. Had a good lunch there in one of the many sidewalk cafes. Then we went to city center for some shopping. Ugh, what a mistake. Felt like just another huge city, with too many cars , people etc....it was claustrophobic....didnt feel like it was unique or interesting. General consensus of my happy hour friends that night was the same....Melbourne was a bit of a disappointment. ADELAIDE: we overnighted here. However, it’s a 45 min train ride into the city, so not as convenient. Train was free that weekend....it isn’t usually, but for whatever reason, that line was free. We loved all the beautiful architecture in Adelaide. It’s a smaller city which I liked and easy to walk. We also did the botanical gardens there which were very nice as well. Shopping is good ...they have a huge pedestrian mall/street there with anything and everything you would want...and lots of restaurants. Seemed to be the hub of the city. . Would definitely go back. PORT LINCOLN: small town of about 15k. Did a ship excursion that gave us a bus tour of the highlights of this fishing village. Then we walked around the town, poked in some shops. Some might not like it since its small and not a lot to do, but i love small towns and enjoyed the slower pace very much! KANGAROO ISLAND: wow....this was probably everyone’s favorite destination. Anyone we talked to , raved about this island. You go here for wildlife. We did a ship excursion..but you could easily do it with a rental car as my friends did. It’s a sparsely populated island and easy to drive around and see the same sights we did on ship tour. Its gorgeous, the seals are amazing, seal lions, koalas, birds , kangaroos etc...it was a very long day, but absolutely stunning and magnicient. PORT ARTHUR TASMANIA: We did a ship tour. It was an eco cruise along the coastline for about 3 hours. It was a wild crazy fun ride. Swells were huge.....but it was such a gorgeous ride. A couple people got seasick...but the rest thought it was exhiliarating! HOBART TASMANIA. We did ship tour here to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They only gave us 1 hour here which was disappointing. Lots of kangaroos to feed and pet. But lots of other Australian wildlife. This place isi great and no one wanted to leave. Then we went to historic town of Richmond....no tour...just dropped us off the bus and gave us an hour to walk around. Town was boring...even the shopping wasn’t very good. My big purchase there was a Red Bull to keep me awake. Once back to Hobart, we walked over the city. REally cute quaint city...in particular the trendy area of Salamanca....beautiful old buildings turned in to cool restaurants and shops...loved it. DISEMBARKATION ...super easy and quick....took the ship arranged bus to Sydney airport for flight home. We had an amazing vacation and loved our trip, our time together, the food , the amazing new friends I met on the ship...just wish it had been on a beautiful ship where I felt more upscale and special. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary. My wife and I have been to several of the places around the world that HAL travels and this one has certainly been on my bucket list. I gave this particular cruise 4 stars rather that 5 ... Read More
Chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary. My wife and I have been to several of the places around the world that HAL travels and this one has certainly been on my bucket list. I gave this particular cruise 4 stars rather that 5 specifically due to some disappointment with the ship. As usual the crew, the service, and food were excellent but I was a little disappointed in the ship particularly since it had just been in dry dock for refurbishment within the past few months. We had expected some of the upgrades (ie: on demand television services, etc) from other ships and did not find them,. It appeared the what was primarily done was some paint, paper, and furniture. Not a grave disappointment but nevertheless below our expectations. As for the specific services everything was as we continue to expect on HAL cruises. Since we are 4 Star Mariners the embarkation and disembarkation was flawless as well as the priority tendering and other amenities that go along with that status. I was particularly impressed the new decoration, meals and service we encountered in the Pinnacle Grill and the Caneleto. Both beyond what we have come to expect. On the downside the on-board internet service leaves a lot to be desired. I have read many, many reviews from other passengers complaining of this and it seems they have fallen on deaf ears. Also, I was not aware until we got on board that this ship did not have the BB King Blues Club and band, big disappointment particularly since the regular on board entertainment was somewhat lacking. Overall I was pleased with this particular cruise and would certainly consider taking it again!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
My mother chose this line as she had travelled with Holland America previously. It is a good way to see countries in Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and then stop in Hong Kong. The ship itself was comfortable. The food in the Lido ... Read More
My mother chose this line as she had travelled with Holland America previously. It is a good way to see countries in Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and then stop in Hong Kong. The ship itself was comfortable. The food in the Lido was so so, but the dining room food was better. It would be nice if there was a breakfast bar for smoothies, etc as a healthy alternative to fried bacon, eggs, sausages. The staff on board is, as I have always found, very nice and helpful. Lovely people. I was disappointed with the state of their tennis court - every day there was activities “meet for tennis”, but the court was always wet and sometimes the net was down. If you could not find any staff about the decks, you had to take pool towels and dry the court yourself. The tennis balls available were terribly old and in really bad shape. Pickle ball was also offered and the equipment for that was in better shape. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Warning, if you're not a foodie the first few paragraphs will bore you! FOOD & DINING VENUES I am a lowly two-star mariner, but know the ropes of HAL cruising and had been going to the specialty restaurants to reduce my meals in ... Read More
Warning, if you're not a foodie the first few paragraphs will bore you! FOOD & DINING VENUES I am a lowly two-star mariner, but know the ropes of HAL cruising and had been going to the specialty restaurants to reduce my meals in the MDR on past cruises. After reading so much about HAL's cost-cutting measures I thought I'd be disappointed with my meals, but instead was pleasantly surprised. Certainly the portions are small, but not when it counts. On steak and lobster nights, it was more then enough (though I think some were ordering a second lobster tail -- and good for them!). My steak was perfectly medium-rare, and this was the first cruise it came out perfectly. Most of the lunches in the MDR, were even better than dinners. I was surprised to like even the chicken strips which appeared to be hand-breaded with a coating containing crispy almond slices. I loved them so much and knew my (12 year old) daughter would actually want to eat in the MDR if she could have them, so asked for it to be arranged, and no problem -- she had them for dinner that same evening. Curries, were mild and the lamb was fork-tender, and delicious. I usually don't order any ethnic food on HAL, because I mistakenly thought it would be food-fair quality. Shame on me! As for the paid dining venues, we had 3 dinners in Canaletto, 2 dinners and 2 lunches in Pinnacle Grill. Pinnacle was excellent (as had been our previous experience), and the menu also included a page of selections from Tamarind (which I had tried on the Eurodam previously). I had not liked Canaletto on a past cruise, but due to recent reviews here gave it a try again. It was really tasty. Not every dish was to my liking, but we did get to try most of the selections over the 3 meals, as there were 3 people sharing -- lots of food to choose from each evening. The service in Canaletto was just as attentive and kind as I've had in Tamarind, and I feel like I'm getting better value as the price has crept up over the years for PG. Breakfasts for us were primarily in the Lido. I liked the quiet atmosphere of MDR breakfasts, but the hours didn't always work. With my jetlag I was up early and waiting for Lido to open most mornings. I also seemed to have a better chance of getting my eggs done perfectly (for eggs benedict) as they were made to order instead of having the poached eggs reheated. I think the food in the Lido starts out very good, but if it sits there it tastes terrible. There was a huge difference between getting french toast made to order, vs. them taking it out of the warming drawer. The waffles also suffer under the heat lamp, so my main trick to the Lido was to pick anything they would make in front of me. Prime lido breakfast times were terrible to get a seat. People were circling watching for any sign that you might be finishing, and if you were 4 people (at a table of 6 for instance), you could bet another couple would come to sit with you. Next cruise I think I will take those extra steps out to the pool deck -- it is such a quiet spacious atmosphere in comparison. Tea time wasn't as good as I remembered, they serve Bigelow teas (English Breakfast, Darjeeling and Early Grey primarily -- not sure if they have herbal choices) and can't really manage to get you milk for your tea like they do the silver cream jugs. They will bring milk in a juice glass (which you can then spill all over the table when aiming for your teacup). The hot water comes to you in small metal-ish pots, but is often not quite hot enough to really brew well (which is done in your cup not a teapot). That aside, there were a couple of tasty deserts and sandwiches -- most were rather bland but pretty. My husband and daughter raved about the tuna salad sandwich, so when I asked for one they were already done. The next batch of sandwiches to come out did not include the tuna -- so be warned, they are a good thing and will be gobbled up! Despite the great onboard food, don't fill up on a big breakfast for your days in port on this itinerary. Vietnam (in particular) is a treasure of AMAZING food! Eat in the lido on your day in Cambodia (you'll understand when you go!). Okay, enough about food. ENTERTAINMENT (or lack thereof) I will start by admitting my husband and I are in our mid 40's and do not fit the HAL demographic they are trying to serve. We LOVE Trivia and pretty much centered our schedule around it. The BBC Earth presentation to music and EXC talks about the ports you're seeing are also very good. The mainstage shows were often cringe-worthy (as my daughter and husband decided), and we walked out of many. Those talented Volendam dancers and singers are poorly choreographed, have old music, boring sets and some awfully ugly costumes to deal with. I hate to be negative, but only one of the 3 special acts they brought in were really enjoyable right to the end and kept me in my seat. I don't really want to mention the acts I didn't like, everyone needs to form their own opinion. The venues often did not hold the crowd adequately -- standing room only (uncomfortably crowded) at the Test Kitchen presentations, the one good movie they showed we couldn't get a seat at. There were scheduling blunders so trivia got moved to a bar (yes, people had to leave the crows nest and head to The Mix, and there were hardly any seats for everyone. If you like classical violin, the couple who plays in the Explorers Lounge are excellent. As for our beloved Crow's Nest, the DJ request nights were awkward. When you have such a spread in ages wanting to dance, each song could have a whole new set of people going to the dance-floor or not at all. The disco set got a few tunes and was getting in their groove, when all of a sudden a ballroom dancing type song comes on and there is a complete change of the demographic. Same with 80s-now music -- a whole new crowd would come on. It made for a disjointed evening, and who wants to sit around and listen to 10 songs from a decade they don't related to, just to get to the ones they do like. They need another dance club on this ship and have a theme IMO. I'm not sure if wine-tasting counts as entertainment -- it was a paid event. It was a fun enough event but mostly mediocre wines. There was only one that I ended up purchasing for dinner, but it was a good way to spend a bit of the afternoon. People were relaxed and chatty -- it was quite social even though I attended solo. STAFF I love them. I had a list of names at the end of the cruise to make sure they got formally recognized in my review sent to HAL. I hope it helps them -- they are a wonderful crew. My room steward San, was amazing and predicted my every need. SERVICES This is the first cruise I purchased the unlimited laundry. OH MY WORD. Lovely and clean pressed clothing, bagged and folded neatly. It was almost the highlight of the day to get my clothes back! Also with this hot itinerary, I really needed those linen shirts more than I thought -- it was fantastic to have the laundry and I won't go without it on future cruises. SHORE EXCURSIONS I had 3 HAL excursions, and only one of the guides had fluent enough English that he was great to listen to. One of them practically shouted and kept spelling out words (to make up for her accent no doubt). It was very slow with such a large bus of people. I highly recommend going to the Sanctuary of Truth (it is stunningly beautiful, a marvel). However, I would have been much happier taking it at my own pace and hiring someone to get me there and back. The ships tour was too long and the guide appointed to us was loud and annoying to be around. I had 1 excursion with a group from Cruise Critic, and it was a smaller group for Ha Long Bay. I think that was much better, the smaller group made it more relaxed and this tour included an amazing seafood lunch. Three other tours we did were arranged privately for our family of 3. Now I know this is absolutely the way to go. We had amazing fun with our guides in Vietnam. On the back of scooters in Saigon, with insane traffic, driving into districts where they rarely see foreigners is really fun. They were very curious about us. It was food/sightseeing tours we had arranged and we had the most amazing food experiences. Things I can't get at my local Vietnamese restaurant for sure. And the ones I had tried at home were different there, and so delicious. It is shockingly cheap outside the tourist areas, we had a feast at lunch for 6 of us (3 guides and 3 in our family) and it came to the equivalent of $12 CDN. Getting off the beaten track, in to back-alleys and cooked in front of you almost primitively. Not something I would have experienced without a local guide for sure. Do not miss Hoi An. It is an absolute treasure and not to be missed. If you can stay into the evening, it is very beautifuol and atmospheric with the lanterns lit throughout the streets. Great shopping there too. If you need souvenirs in Vietnam, they are much classier in Hoi An. IN CLOSING Overall, we loved this cruise. It was an amazing itinerary, the ship was in good enough shape for us, food was great as were the kind gracious staff. I had a good book and a deck of cards so can entertain myself anywhere -- I didn't need HAL to do that in the end. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We have sailed with Holland America in the past and chose this cruise for the itinerary. it was my husband and myself. We are in our mid 40's and enjoy this cruise line because it's quiet with few children. We chose a late hotel check ... Read More
We have sailed with Holland America in the past and chose this cruise for the itinerary. it was my husband and myself. We are in our mid 40's and enjoy this cruise line because it's quiet with few children. We chose a late hotel check out the day of embarkment and arrived at the port at 1. The process to check in at this time was less than 15 mins. There was no line at security or check in. The staff at Port Everglades staff was friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable. The ship had recently been refurbished and was elegantly decorated. The ship was clean and set up similarly to other ships. The atrium was the smallest we have ever seen, but was comfortable and beautifully decorated. We were a disappointed in the food selection on this cruise. We typically eat all meals in the dining room , but ate most nights in the Lido as there were no choices we wanted. The Lido served A LOT of pork. The food was tasty just not good selection. They had great fruit. Desserts were disappointing, but the ice cream was good. We ate 1 evening in a specialty restaurant, the pinnacle Grill. The food here was great. We chose the crab legs and had the biggest shrimp we have ever seen in our shrimp cocktail appetizer. We ate breakfast in our room several morning which was ok. the selection is a little better than during previous cruises. The food temp was fair and the milk was always warm. The production shows were typical with average singing and dancing. The comedian was great and the highlight of the evening shows. The illusionist/magician was pretty self absorb and proud of himself. The staff was all friendly and helpful. Our room stewards were hard to understand but did a great job in our room and was friendly. They knew our names. We were pleased with them. We loved all of the ports. We missed Half moon Cay as the water was to rough to tender in. We have visited this island before and is beautiful. It was definitely disappointing we missed it. We love to snorkel and had our best experience in Grand Turk and Bonaire. We booked all of our excursions our self except in Dominican Republic. We like to avoid the cruise ship crowds. in the Dominican Republic we booked a catamaran snorkel tour through the ship. It was a rainy day and the water rough, but was a better day than we would of had in cold Iowa. in Gran Turk we booked a snorkel trip with Exclusive Escapes Tours. We would highly recommend them. We took a water taxi to Klein Bonaire in Bonaire to snorkel. This was awesome. You can get a water taxi ticket int he tents located by the cruise pier. At Aruba we got a day pass to the Barcelo Aruba hotel. Great beach, good food, lovely place. We used the cruise line transfer service to get from the ship to the airport. This a pretty smooth process. We also used luggage direct which is well worth the small fee. Using this service the cruise line checks you in for your flight, and takes your luggage to the airport. it's nice to not have to check in luggage at the airport. We have never had an issue with our luggage not getting to our final location. We like Princess cruise line better, but would not avoid Holland America if the itinerary was good. Read Less
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