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9 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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and were not disappointed in any way. The refurbished ship is beautiful, clean, and everything looks brand new. The staff were all friendly and helpful, and the food in the MDR was very good. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and were not disappointed in any way. The refurbished ship is beautiful, clean, and everything looks brand new. The staff were all friendly and helpful, and the food in the MDR was very good. We ate in the Pinnacle once; it was OK but we enjoyed the MDR more. Entertainment was good if not excellent; there were some but not many activities during the day, but most everyone was off the ship anyway, as we only had one day at sea, and on that day there were many activities at all times. Embarkation was easy, as was disembarkation at the end of the trip. The Veendam is a small ship, so the staff/guest ration is much better than on the larger ships. It is comfortable, and we much prefer the smaller ships for this reason. Sailing up the Adriatic into Venice was an amazing and beautiful ending to our voyage. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
In 2015, we did our first Alaska trip, which was an HAL Land/Sea Tour, where we did a land based tour of the Yukon first, and then did a short (4 night) cruise on the Volendam to finish off our tour. This week long cruise on the ... Read More
In 2015, we did our first Alaska trip, which was an HAL Land/Sea Tour, where we did a land based tour of the Yukon first, and then did a short (4 night) cruise on the Volendam to finish off our tour. This week long cruise on the Westerdam, from Vancouver to Anchorage, paled in comparison to that experience, for a number of reasons. On this trip, my husband and I also brought along my mother in law, who had never been on a cruise or to Alaska, and who stayed in an inside cabin across from our balcony cabin. See detailed cabin comments, below. FYI, if you have never cruised out of Vancouver, there is a pretty extensive "check in" process. Not only are you checking in for your cruise, but if your cruise is heading to Alaska, your first port is the US = customs. So, you actually go through the US Customs process in Vancouver, before you even leave the cruise terminal!! This saves time when you do get to your first US port (which probably doesn't have the capacity to handle customs for so many arriving passengers at once). So, plan for extra time before boarding the ship in Vancouver - you can get to the port around 10:30 or 11:00 am and not be early! The public interior areas of the ship appeared to us to have been recently refurbished. The carpet appeared newer; the seating in the theater was actually comfortable (we have been on several cruises where we had backaches getting up after a show in the theater!). The refurbishment did not seem to extend to the artwork/walls of the hallways and lobbies of the ship. As a matter of fact, that was one of the weirdest parts of this ship - I couldn't figure out the "theme" of the decor - what it was trying to be: a classic elegant cruiser; a ship that featured Greek or Baroque type of art/display; an Asian inspired vessel (there was some brightly colored Asian furniture in the lobbies of the elevator bank closest to our room). It needs some cohesiveness in design. Also, there were no activities or entertainment in the atrium area, as there are on many ships - and again, there was a modern light fixture/chandelier hung above the area, but the rest of the atrium looked more traditional. But, the "artwork" on the walls in our hallway was especially atrocious - it looked like prints that had been installed on the wall when the ship was built and never updated or changed since then, no matter what new carpet was put down, etc. Like prints my grandmother might have framed as "art" in her house. So, we could never get a handle on what the vibe of the ship was supposed to be, which has typically been pretty easy to figure out on any other ship we've cruised on. The exterior of the ship looked fine, to us, and the refurbished parts of the interior were also nice - but there was no consistency in decor, which just made it weird. The theater itself was more intimate feeling than other ships we've been on - not sure how many it seated, but we got good seats for the shows we saw, and had a good view of the productions. Unfortunately, the number of theater shows on this particular cruise was disappointing. We saw one production show with the onboard singers/dancers on night 2, and nothing afterwards. I found out on our last sea day that there were some technical and staffing issues with backstage/tech crew, which meant the normal shows could not go on - which was really disappointing for us, as that is one of the things we look forward to most on cruises - the onboard entertainment. They had also brought onboard an illusionist (who focused on sleight of hand magic) and a pianist/singer/comedian who was a very talented piano player. The illusionist did two shows one night; the piano player did two shows one night, and they did a show together one afternoon or evening (I think to make up for the lack of a second or third production show by the onboard singers/dancers). I am not a huge fan of either of their type of entertainment, but I went to the first magic show (he is very talented at what he does) and the first piano show (again, excellent pianist) but skipped their joint show - just didn't need to see more of either one. The first night we skipped the show in the theater - there was only one at 7 pm, and it was an introduction to Alaska preview (movie?) hosted by the cruise director. The fourth night was a BBC Earth movie about Alaska, with live music playing as accompaniment to the movie - again, only one show that night, at 7 pm. The fifth night was an EXC presentation about Iconic Whales of the Northwest - I think it was a talk by the cruise director - again we skipped it. So, this was, unfortunately, not enough "entertainment" in the main theater for us, and was a major disappointment. We barely heard/saw anything from the Cruise Director onboard. This has not been our experience with other cruises we've taken, so not sure if this is an HAL thing, or if it's just because he is new at the job & with HAL. However, the entertainment in the smaller venues was a highlight for us. The quintet that performed in the Lincoln Center Stage were all young people (20's or 30's) and very accomplished musicians. That small venue was full every time they performed, I think, and they also had a unique themed set of music for each performance - I think their performances were each approximately 45 minutes long (maybe an hour). The Billboard Onboard venue featured the "dueling pianos" concept which I love, and there were even some opportunities for sing-alongs with the crowd. I also liked those two performers and thought they were talented, as well. The BB Kings Blues Club was where we spent almost every evening - there was a great band in there, fronted by both a male and a female lead singer. We really enjoyed their sets, and cruisers were often dancing, too. However, the band themselves seemed to have a lot of technical issues with the sound techs - I think sometimes their monitors weren't working, sometimes a keyboard wasn't working, sometimes a mike or two wasn't working - they just seemed extremely frustrated with the tech crew. It didn't affect the sound quality/performance for the audience, fortunately. And, I know, from walking by in the afternoons, that the band rehearsed earlier in the day, so I'm not sure why the tech team couldn't get the sound right when it came to performance time. But, again, BB Kings was a highlight of entertainment for us on this cruise - we often stayed for all 3 sets they played nightly! For dining - we ate all but our first night's dinner in the Main Dining Room on the "Anytime Dining" program. We were fortunate to be assigned a table that was in the back of the dining room (so, at the back of the ship) with a gorgeous view of the wake of the ship out the huge window. It was a perfect location for us, and we had the same waitstaff each night, who were outstanding and remembered our preferences for drinks, etc. We thought the dinners in there each night were delicious, and had everything from apps through dessert almost every night. I would give the dining room 5 stars! We also enjoyed eating lunch either in the Lido (buffet) or out at the Dive In or the Taco Bar near the main pool. For some reason those burgers and fries just taste better than at home! In the buffet, they offer a pizza/pasta bar, as well as a custom made salad bar - which we chose several times - they prepare it for you, and then add the dressing and mix it up for you, if you like. There was also a dessert area that featured about 5-6 ice creams, frozen yogurts, gelatos, etc. per day, in addition to other individual dessert selections. We also ate breakfast in the Lido each morning, mostly because of the omelet stations - made to order omelets each day, along with many other buffet options (Eggs Benedict, etc.). Our first night, we decided to treat ourselves to the Pinnacle Grill at the special "first night" pricing (note, you need to book this in advance when you board - don't just show up for dinner there and expect to get the discounted price). Although my mother in law and I both had excellent dinners featuring perfectly cooked filet mignons, my husband's entire dinner there was a "fail". He had been wanting King Crab Legs forever, so went for that; but his crab was so awful that he asked to have it replaced with a filet mignon like we had. Then, they brought him his steak, and it was uncooked in the center - like not even warm. So, he asked for it to be cooked more, and they instead brought him a different steak (looked like NY strip) which was tough and overcooked. They also make a big deal about their lobster bisque, which features one tiny piece of lobster in a bowl, then poured over with the bisque - which, as my husband observed, tasted a little bit like gravy. But, the worst part of the meal was that our server was continually looking at other tables he was waiting on, even when he was taking our orders/serving us! And, he never really got the severity of how badly my husband's entire meal service was going. We asked for the manager, who tried to make up for it; but it couldn't really be saved, by that point. We got MUCH better service from our waiters in the Main Dining Room than we did in the Pinnacle Grill. Again, when we went on the Volendam 4 years ago, we had a lovely dinner in the P.C. with excellent service. so, this was a disappointment, and was the reason we couldn't give dining a 5 star rating. The only shore excursion we booked through HAL was in Skagway - the White Pass Yukon RR trip, because the train literally pulls up next to the ship for boarding. I'm not sure it was HAL's fault, but for some reason we had to stand outside for a very long time prior to boarding the train, which was sitting right there! And, each cruise ship is assigned cars, which are labeled for the guests to find! So, not sure why there was such a long delay getting us boarded onto the train and on our way. All other ports/excursions we did on our own. Other random observations: The Lido Pool (under the retractable roof) seemed to be filled with kids on our trip. If you are interested in a more adult pool experience, I would suggest signing up for the Spa experience and using the therapy pool in there - it looked lovely; wish I would have used it at least 1 day onboard! The America's Test Kitchen demos were held in the Blues Club and did have TV screens so you could see what the chef was doing. Unfortunately, there were only 3 demos; one on the first sea day, and two on the last sea day. I had the impression there would have been more. And, I thought the recipes selected were weird - one was Asian Dumplings; one was a take on Tomato Soup and (gourmet) Grilled Cheese Sandwich. I didn't get it...This was something my mother in law was looking forward to, and thought there would be more of throughout the trip. Based on the totality of this cruise, compared to other cruises we have been on (Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival) we probably would not choose to cruise on HAL again (unless it was on one of their newest ships - and not sure why we would choose them over any of these other cruise lines, anyway). Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
3 couples (brothers & sister & spouses) took this trip for the Glacier Bay stop. 2 of the couples had been to Alaska previously--but never had seen Glacier bay. Our age grouping is late 60's to early 80's. My wife ... Read More
3 couples (brothers & sister & spouses) took this trip for the Glacier Bay stop. 2 of the couples had been to Alaska previously--but never had seen Glacier bay. Our age grouping is late 60's to early 80's. My wife & I had never been to AK and after reading many reviews on CC, decided to select the Eurodam for the GLacier Bay stop. We flew in to SEA the day before and stayed at Cedar Brook Lodge near Sea-Tac. Very nice facility--nestled in a woodsy--outdoor setting. Would highly recommend this facility. Free morning buffet included in the price ($215) Hotel had free shuttle from SEATAC. We used Seattle Express to travel from hotel to Pier 91 and Pier 91 to SEATAC --they were prompt & had nice vans. Got to Pier 91 around 945 am and got stuck waiting outside terminal building as folks from the ship were still disembarking. Got congested outside terminal (people & bags).They started letting people inside around 1045 am. Once we were inside and dropped off our luggage--we were processed quickly and sat in the upstairs waiting are until our group # was called. Princess Ruby was also boarding at the same time, from the same waiting area, Got on the ship around 1115 am, dropped the carry on's off in the cabin and headed to the Lido buffet Got our lunch and then went outside on the Lido deck to watch the activity on the Ruby Princess & Eurodam. We had the Signature Beverage Package as part of our Explore 4 promotion, got some drinks and watched the people and ship activity--went to the Lifeboat drill at 315 pm. and then went back up to the Lido deck to watch cast off of the Ruby & Eurodam. Ruby left first @ 4 pm. Eurodam left 445pm. Delay was never explained--not a big deal. One comment about the SBP drink package--it also included the 15% Service charge as long as the total for the drink & SC together was under $11, not $9 as I was led to believe. To buy the package separately was $363. Cheaper than on Royal Caribbean. 15 alcohol drinks per day was the limit. I never exceeded that limit and I tried hard. "Miami Vice" was our favorite drink. Our previous cruise was July 2018 on Oasis of the Seas (6000 passengers), that is our basis of comparison for this cruise. Wife does not like seafood much and complained about lack of menu options, but I found the MDR menus varied. Lot of Asian/Indonesian items on the menu--wife would not try them. Sigh. Ate in the MDR six nights and Pinnacle Grille one night (part of our Explore 4 package). Good food & service in the MDR & Pinnacle. Our table servers in the MDR were outstanding. Food portions on Eurodam were smaller than Oasis, but adequate for most folks. I sometimes had an appetizer size second entree Wife thought the French Onion soup on the Oasis was better than Eurodam. Very little cheese on the soup on Eurodam vs Oasis. Shrimp cocktails on Eurodam were of better quality & size than Oasis. Steak, salmon, French Onion soup, Caesar salad were offered every night. Eurodam has a late night (1030--1130 p) buffet in the Lido, was always too full to try it. We had SY7078 (Signature suite) and my siblings had SA 7061 (Neptune suite) & PS7036 (Pinnacle Suite) Our suite was adequate in size, but not as roomy as the JR Suite we had on the Oasis. Lighting for the closets was lacking somewhat. Shower stall in the bathroom was tight. We had a shower tub combo in the bathroom as well. I never used it, USB ports and 110/120 outlets by the bed were adequate. Went to BB King performance several nights--they were V good. Female singer was combo of Aretha & Tina Turner and has some powerful pipes on her. Got the club jumping. The group played late 70's & early 80's hits & disco type tunes. Saw the magic & comedy shows--good--but G rated. Saw the BBC Alaska wild life movie in the main showroom--good but short--less than 45 minutes. Short clips from other films. Casino had $6 Blackjack table--spent several hours in there. Wife tried the slots and was happy with that activity. We did not partake of other offerings on the ship. Lincoln Center chamber group played several afternoons & evening. I attended one performance and that was enough--very dry, odd ball classical (IMO) music. 2 violins, a bass & piano. Lots of scooters & walkers & canes on board--beware when moving about. They are dangerous. We lucked out with the weather. Cloudy leaving SEA, Juneau was misty & cloudy, but bearable, it cleared later in the day. We found a taxi that took us to the Mendenhall Glacier & picked us up again at our time, for $27 /ea., I had a National Park pass that saved us $5 each (Entrance Fee to Park Visitor Center). Walked to Nugget Falls & back (1 mile each way). Easy trail. Glacier Bay was cloudy, but were able to see clearly. Margerie glacier was calving while there. Sitka was clear & sunny. Took ship excursion (4 & 1/4 hrs) out on the bay looking for Otters, Bald Eagles, Whales. Saw lots of Otters, Eagles, a few whales in the distance and stopped at the Raptor Center. Only had about 15 minutes to look at the Eagles & Owls, etc under rehab--not long enough. Tour was SI10 $160/ea. After getting back to ship, we sat out on the Lido deck and watched Eagles sitting in trees near the harbor watching for fish. That was neat. Ketchikan--sunny--walked around downtown ( very close to ship pier), shopped and got T shirts, etc. My 26 year old son who came along on cruise did an ATV ship excursion into the forest area and was pleased-- $200 for the trip. Got back on board and again watched Eagles doing their thing. Bar service on Lido deck was V good. My son is a social animal and hung out with the bar crew after hours and as a result we got V good bar service from those people when they were on duty. Victoria--arrived 6 pm. (sunny) took shuttle bus ($15 RT) to town and walked around. 4 ships were in port, so DT was crowded. Arrived in SEA 6 am Sat. left the ship at 845 am., on SEA Express and at the AP by 930 am. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise because it spent the day in Glacier Bay (which did not disappoint). We had 2 cabins one for our 3 kids (21, 18 and 17) and one for my husband and I. Both had verandahs. We booked through a big box store and had quite ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it spent the day in Glacier Bay (which did not disappoint). We had 2 cabins one for our 3 kids (21, 18 and 17) and one for my husband and I. Both had verandahs. We booked through a big box store and had quite a bit of onboard credit which was nice. My complaints were minimal and the cruise was way better than I had anticipated. The Greenhouse Spa was kind of chaotic. It is close to the Lido Market and I was trying to relax and be in the moment in my robe and there are people wandering around looking for a restroom. Or coming in the spa dressing room looking for the buffet. Really poor signage and not super relaxing. The Lido Market was also pretty chaotic every time I went there. We stuck to the main dining room for our dinners and had breakfast and lunch in there a few times also. Just did the Lido for grab and go sandwiches and quick salads. There were several issues with us and other guests getting on the Navigator app. People were still asking about how to use it 3 days into the cruise. They should have a quick session on how that works. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Where do I begin...To me, HAL is how cruising is supposed to be. The ship was very elegant and classy, like you would picture an old-time cruise ship, but not antiquated at all. It was also very "green" and environmentally ... Read More
Where do I begin...To me, HAL is how cruising is supposed to be. The ship was very elegant and classy, like you would picture an old-time cruise ship, but not antiquated at all. It was also very "green" and environmentally conscious and that's something that is very important to me. I never saw a single paper towel or napkin (even in the public restrooms you dried your hands on little washcloth-sized towels) and no disposable plastic ANYWHERE. The drinking glasses in the buffet area were a really heavy plastic that we thought were glass at first, but the plates are all glass/stoneware and the bowls were a very heavy resin type material. In the buffets, you don't serve yourself, you just tell them what you want, so there aren't a thousand people touching the spoons and messing with the food. The food here was remarkable, considering the amount that's served each day. The main dining room was fantastic (atmosphere, food and service) and in the afternoons there were little happy hour specials at different bars on the ship where you get your second drink for $2. We actually had a TUB in our cabin and the bath towels were huge. They even provided blankets for the balcony and up on the outside decks. It was all just amazing. Yes, HAL is sometimes referred to as the "geriatric cruise line", but that is a misnomer. I have been on at least a dozen cruises, and this one was by the far the busiest, but it wasn't geared towards keeping children entertained. (This was my first time on HAL so I can't speak regarding their other ships). That said, they do have a kids' program and I can't imagine that a kid would get bored, (I would be delighted to take my grandchildren on this cruise) but there were no water slides or rock-climbing walls or things like that other than whatever they have in the dedicated kids' area. One thing I was a little afraid of was that it was going to be a more formal atmosphere than we wanted, but that wasn't the case at all. Even on the Gala nights the wardrobes ran the scale from formalwear (but not much) to jeans and everything in between. In a nutshell, we are new HAL fans and are already thinking about our next cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Embarkation and disembarkation went as smoothly as we could have ever dreamed. No problem until you are at the Civitavecchia port trying to get anywhere, but that is not the cruise company's fault. The ship is classic and elegant, ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation went as smoothly as we could have ever dreamed. No problem until you are at the Civitavecchia port trying to get anywhere, but that is not the cruise company's fault. The ship is classic and elegant, and not too big. It was easy and quick to get everywhere from anywhere on the ship. The cabins are well appointed, nicely decorated, spacious, with lots of storage space. There was fine dining in the very attractive dining room, and lots of choices in the Lido Buffet. However, it closes early, and although some sections are open longer, it really limits the choices and it gets crowded. Service was excellent everywhere. Entertainment was very poor. You can read a more extensive review in Trip Advisor. We didn't take any ship shore excursions which are outrageously priced, so we booked three on our own, in Katakolon (Olympia), Kusadasi (Ephesus), and the Amalfi Coast with Pompeii. The only disappointment was in Olympia, not with the places we visited, but with our "guide". We hired Manoussis Tours, with a total of 7 people in our group. Adriana wasn't really a guide but a driver who would pick us up at the port, take us to the different places, and return us to the ship. She was not were she was supposed to be and we were expected to find her. Then she gave us instructions to meet her at a parking lot in Olympia which resulted in two of us getting lost and making everyone late because there were two possible ways to go and we forgot which was the right one. It would have been much more professional to meet us all right outside the museum and walk us together to her van. Then she kept us waiting after lunch to pick us up which didn't matter much because we were all having a really good time. We then drove by and got out to see a beach, more to please her than anything else. None of us really cared to go to a beach. Mr Manoussis really tried to accommodate our wishes, and I don't know that it is his fault that things didn't work out very well with our driver. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have been cruising to Alaska many times because as resident in Vancouver, it is an easy trip for us. One hour leaving from our house, we will be sitting at the ship's top deck eating lunch. Volendam, compare to other ships I ... Read More
We have been cruising to Alaska many times because as resident in Vancouver, it is an easy trip for us. One hour leaving from our house, we will be sitting at the ship's top deck eating lunch. Volendam, compare to other ships I have been on, is a much simple in decor(but has interesting art works in their corridors), aged, and small, but a good ship. The advantages is less walking from one end to the other, the buffet area is not crowded even in the busy time, plenty of closet spaces in our room, good service and foods. We stayed in the picture window , a good size, suite on level one, our first at such low floor, but we discovered it is less rocky during an odd rolling sea day. The disadvantage was the dining room on the four level is complicated to find if one don't take the very end elevator, I took the mid elevator and got lost twice and ended in the front of the theatre twice. Good thing the ship was not too long to walk ,even twice. Second disadvantage was our room safe required a credit card with a magnetic strip (any magnetic strip). lucky we have a Starbuck card, otherwise we had to carry our credit card around (bring along an expired credit card, the third disadvantage was, in the buffet, most food are served by a server and the foods was not label clearly. So you have people asking what each dishes were(one asked what is liver and rather the beef was from a grass feed cow) and then take a minute of so to decide what to have. So in busy hour, the line up was long and the server was frustrated from repeating answering the same question. Entertainment: we like the Concert in Alaska, a beautiful video accompany with live music play by the ship's band. I also attained and enjoy the lesson on computer on how to use Windows 10 to edit and create videos from photos. Food: HAL always have a high standard for its food and that is the reason we choose this ship. Take in mind that the ship is cooking for thousand of passengers, so it could not compare to those of the top restaurant, but I did enjoyed their foods, the dessert has the right amount of sweetness. (As an Asian, I love their breakfast congee which I have it with smoke salmon or left over roast beef). Also,as a repeated HAL cruiser,we were invited to a Thank you lunch in the dining room on the last sea day heading home. The foods were delicious. Don't miss this invitation. Port: Juneau, the price of dedicated bus to Mandenhall glacier increased to $45 which is only 6 miles away. If you arrive the port early, say 9am, you could take the local bus, $3, which take one hour then and walk a mile or so to the park. Then walk another half mile to the big waterfall. The glacier itself is ok since you will see a lot more specular glaciers in Glacier Bay. I walk toward the bridge to see the new whale sculpture, wait for the water spray, it made it all the difference. I also recommend doing the counter or clockwise around the edge of the town. Lots of interesting things to see up the hill. Glacial Bay, it was perfect weather (overcast at first to bring out the blue in the ice, then turn sunny to bring out the white, saw many otters and some seals along the way. On the way out, over the speaker, the ranger told us an island which we passed was full of sea lions and seagulls, thousand of them, but you need binocular to see them. Play attention on your exit to the park. Skagway, walk thru the town to the waterfall, a short walk pass the old cemetery. Ketchikan, walk along the creek to the hatchery, the park is quite nice now. Along the cruise, we saw otters, whale, dolphin/porpoise, and bear, some even saw mountain goal, but all from far distant. Bring a good binocular. Also, if you want an unobstructed front view of the ship, walk to the front of deck 6 and go out on the door marked exit. Actually both side of exits are good, but one marked for emergency exit only. For a good enjoyment, it is about talking to other guests and be respectful. Treat people the way you want them to treat you, even if they are the workers. Life is like throw a ball to a wall, wherever you put out, it will come back at you. Enjoy. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. ... Read More
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. Food good. Only disappointment was lunch in the Pinnacle Restaurant. Not worth the extra $. Not sure why a Coconut Trifle would gave 2 layers of rich chocolate that overpowered the taste of anything else...inedible. Strawberry pavlova...better pavlova in the Lido. Crab cakes for appetizer were excellent. Entrees (mains) pretty ordinary. Dinner may have been better. Santos and Otto did a great job in looking after us in our stateroom on Deck 10. Recommend this Stateroom, in particular location. Great service with a smile everywhere. Plenty of updates from the Captain. Smooth sailing. Embarkation was easy and we were able to board earlier than designated. Disembarkation needed more signs for lines of group colours. Easy to look up everything on TV in cabin, e.g. account and dining menus for the day. Good movies too. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Holland American Alaskan cruise. Very disappointed. Have taken other cruises on Carnival, Norwegian etc.. but this was the first cruise we've ever taken that had no activities. No entertain to speak of. We spent three out of seven ... Read More
Holland American Alaskan cruise. Very disappointed. Have taken other cruises on Carnival, Norwegian etc.. but this was the first cruise we've ever taken that had no activities. No entertain to speak of. We spent three out of seven days sitting on the lido deck staring out the windows. There's nothing else to do!! We finally accept the fact that this was just a vessel/transportation place to sleep and eat while going to Alaska. Thank goodness Alaska was worth the price of the cruise. The food was pretty good on the ship also the servers were helpful and friendly.I give then both 4 stars. The room we had for three people was actually set up for two people. It had a fold out that blocked the entire walk way to the cabin door and to the restroom. Anyone having to use the restroom during the night once the bed was folded out had to wake up who ever was sleeping in that fold out. It was a nightmare all week!! We complained to our steward we complained to customer relations. They already had our money. This is an issue that Holland America is aware but refuses to fix. Alaska was great but this cruise we could have done without. NEVER AGAIN HOLLAND AMERICA NEVER AGAIN!!!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I were on the Rotterdam for 55 day in 2015 and liked it very much. The ship is very different now. There appeared to be a reduction in staff that resulted in frequent poor service in the Lido and often poor service in the ... Read More
My wife and I were on the Rotterdam for 55 day in 2015 and liked it very much. The ship is very different now. There appeared to be a reduction in staff that resulted in frequent poor service in the Lido and often poor service in the main dinning room. Seldom refills in the Lido and two and a half hours in the main dinning room. The employees in the main dinning room worked hard but there weren't enough of them. Many of the employees in the Lido appeared to be poorly trained and lacked proper supervision. The cabin boys were excellent and did every thing they could to make our stay as good as possible. The Food was often very bland and lacked proper seasoning. There were a lot of desserts with varying quality. When I ordered lamb chops I received only two which were quite small. Of the 21 days there were only two entertainers that were good. There was no duplicate bridge, no craft lessons, almost no expert speakers, The lectures on upcoming ports were obviously for selling excursions, It was a boring cruise Fellow cruisers read a lot of books and played games in the library. The price of the internet was outrageous with no reception most of the time. The ship shows its age with warn carpet with poorly chosen carpet colors. The design is confusing with an odd layout. We missed the two most important ports of the cruise. The excuse for for missing Flam was that several of the tenders were in operable. How did several tenders have problems at the same time? What happened to preventive maintenance. We had doubts about the life boats. The ports were advertised over two years ago, why had docking reservations made then. There were four other cruise ships in the port. We have well over 200 days of cruising but will never take another cruise on Holland American again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Due to the weather ( which was awful) we were not able to stop in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I did enjoy Quebec and our private tour with Tours By Locals, Claude was our guide and he was beyond ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Due to the weather ( which was awful) we were not able to stop in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I did enjoy Quebec and our private tour with Tours By Locals, Claude was our guide and he was beyond excellent, I would recommend Clause to everyone going to Quebec . I also enjoy a private tour to the Bay of Fundy in Halifax by Bruce's Tours, I recommend him to all, he also was excellent. The weather is Bar Harbor caused trip to Callilac mountain to be cancelled. We were told o free bus service until July to the national park, but weather was an issue.Back to the ship. The service in the dining room was very slow, each and every night. Food was just ok. To get a good steak or fish dinner you needed to go to the speciality dining which they charge extra for. One good night in the dining room, the second gala night, the food was very good. Our room steward was excellent, always a clean room and kind friendly service.The test kitchen is located in a small room if you don't get there early you are out of luck. Same room for bingo same problem. I do not recommend going on this cruise in May weather is not good. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no mean feat. Add to the fact there’s another cruise ship, different line, loading for the same departure time. These folks do a marvelous job, the Port of Vancouver is a great place to depart from. I am totally amazed by the comments of folks doing reviews for Cruise Critic. Fortunately you can read all the comments, and sometimes wonder “did these folks travel on the same ship?” How can one person be so positive and another negative. Well that’s the way it is, we are all different and we all see things through different eyes. But with the Cruise Critics’ review, you can at least sort out the wheat from the chaff. every review was negative, then the cruise line has a problem - a mixture gives each line a chance to iron out the negatives. Our fifth cruise, this time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, went without a hitch. Embarkation was as smooth as the previous four trips. Our cabin was ready and we met our cabin stewards. Now, these folks meet several people each trip, how do they remember our names? Holland America trains these stewards to do their job, and part of that is getting to know your clients (and that’s what we are). Our Veranda stateroom was everything we’d expected. There is plenty of room for two and the outside deck is an added benefit. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, wandering around you get to appreciate the effort in making this ship. If your only efforts take you from your stateroom to the Lido or Main Dining Room, you are wasting your travel time. In many reviews I have read that critics have said the trip is boring, there’s nothing to do. HAL regularly prints daily schedules of activities and events. Should you chose to ignore those, then yes, you will have a boring do nothing cruise. Food, does that interest anyone - the Nieuw Amsterdam has every type of venue available, and I had to say they are all top notch. From the Dive In and Pizza place to the Main Dining Room and the pay extra dining. You can have whatever you may wish, you will not be disappointed. On this trip at each stop, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan there were three other cruise ships, all arriving and departing at similar times. That’s somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 cruisers joining the locals. And yet it doesn’t seem excessive. There was a little sea movement between Ketchikan and the northern Vancouver Island, this was to be expected, but had very little effect on us. Weather forecasting sometimes is misleading. If we’d planned our trips on two-week forecasts, we’d never travel. On the week 18-25 May 2019, the weather gods blessed us. Arriving back in Vancouver, our disembarkation was as smooth and our embarkation Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were ... Read More
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were saying and they didn't even know the answer to our question so make sure your staff who works on the ship knows everything about it like where's the nearest bathroom . While going down the hall to my room it smelt like sewage that was just not normal and it wasn't just my hall... we made a shore excursion n Ketchikan as soon as we were down we had 2 go back 2 the ship we had no time to explore Ketchiken cause we only hade 4 hours to stay. Now the food in the restaurants were EXCELLENT but n the lido deck buffet u couldn't serve yourself , same food every day , when they served you they gave you little portions . Now my main concern on my list is the ENTERTAINMENT !!! To talking to some of the other passengers there was nothing 2 do. Sure they had the comedian which who was hilarious and the magician which who could of had did something more than what she did if Lance Burton is her idol. Every day u should have some kind of ENTERTAINMENT it doesn't have to be something big but just something. Hope this helps cause I will not be recommending this cruise ship 2 anyone Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers with Platinum Plus status on NCL and Black Card status on MSC. NCL was our go to company for N.A.cruises and MSC was our go to company for everywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, both companies ... Read More
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers with Platinum Plus status on NCL and Black Card status on MSC. NCL was our go to company for N.A.cruises and MSC was our go to company for everywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, both companies have adopted strategies of bigger and bigger ships and more fees beyond the cruise fare. After our last cruise on the 5,700 passenger MSC Meravigilia, we decided bigger is not necessarily better. This led to our selection of a smaller ship with a new company for us: Holland America's Oosterdam to Alaska. Cabin: We selected a Neptune cabin, because we were travelling as a family of four. The cabin is spacious with a king bed, sofa bed for two and large balcony. The cabin had a large screen 55" T.V. and a bathroom with an independent shower and independent shower/tub combo. Overall a very nice cabin, and the balcony is excellent for Alaska sightseeing. Dining: We dined at the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast, the Lido market for lunch and the MDR for dinner. All meals were excellent, and better than similar offerings in NCL and MSC's buffet and MDR. Embarkation: Embarking was smooth. We arrived at 11 a.m. and walked on the ship after check-in. Disembarkation was a bit more crowded, but we were off the ship in about twenty minutes. Entertainment: We saw the comedian Tim Kaminsky twice. Very funny shows. We also went to the dance company show. Fairly typical dance fare. We missed the magician because dinner ran late one night. Overall, Kaminsky was the star of the show. Fitness Center: I used the fitness center several times. A bit smaller than the larger ships, but had similar amenities to those ships. The center was crowded in the early a.m., but wide open in the p.m. Onboard Experience: The onboard experience was where you notice the difference between big and small ships. It was much easier to get around the ship, elevators, dining room, etc. No waves of people even after shows. Definitely easier to move around the ship compared to the 4,000 to 6,000 passenger mega ships Service: Service was excellent. Our room steward figured out early in the cruise when we went to breakfast and dinner. The room was made up and turned down during those times. The ship, although older, is in excellent shape and the crew keeps it spotless. Shore Excursions: We did our own excursions. Easy to do in Alaska. We drove to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. We took the Raptor/Bear shuttle in Sitka. We walked the Downtown area in Ketchikan which was mostly a shopping stop. Value for money: Holland's price for a Neptune suite was 50% less than a similar NCL Haven suite. NCL continues to raise it fares. Value for money is hands down in favor of Holland. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked this cruise at the last minute (just a few weeks before sailing) since I realized our three college-age daughters would be available for the week before starting summer jobs. We had two ocean-view cabins, which were midship and ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute (just a few weeks before sailing) since I realized our three college-age daughters would be available for the week before starting summer jobs. We had two ocean-view cabins, which were midship and had a connecting door between the rooms. This was our first cruise on Holland America. It definitely was an older age group than we had sailed with on prior cruises, but that was OK for all of us. We are not party people or big drinkers, nor do we do a lot of group activities (such as bingo or trivia). So having the chance to see some new cities in New England and Canada was our main goal, while at the same time having some nice meals. The food in the main dining room was above average for a cruise line (our last cruise had been on Celebrity.) Two of our daughters are vegetarians, and they enjoyed having a separate menu of interesting items (in addition to the vegetarian items on the daily menu.) Our one item of contention in the main dining room was the inconsistency of service, both at breakfast and at dinner. Frankly, out of six nights, we only thought that our service was good once. The wait times seemed to be unexplainable for the most part (we did not have set dining times, but made reservations once we got on board). The specialty Italian restaurant was very good. We dined there one evening and both the food and service were very good. We also all thought that the buffet was a little nicer with a better selection than on Celebrity. The cabin itself was a little outdated, but it had a wonderful bathroom with the largest shower we have ever had on a cruise. My main complaint was the TV...it was tiny! It was difficult for us to see what was on TV. Also, along those lines, we were happy that movies were offered in a "theater", but actually it turned out that there was not even a big screen -- just two slightly larger TVs on each side of the room. While it may not be easy to replace all TVs in the cabins, certainly HM can buy a larger screen TV for the "theater"! The evening entertainment was nothing special--but it was something to do for the evening and gave us all something to talk about and critique (I do not mean this as a put down to HM because we have said the same thing about the entertainment on even higher end ships.) The real gem of an entertainer for my husband and me was Stryker the "piano man" in the piano bar. He was WONDERFUL. HM needs more seating in the piano bar. It was standing room only each night. Our daughters enjoyed the Test Kitchen presentations, and wished they would do one daily. It would have been nice if there had been some additional "game shows" or something at night in addition to the main theater shows for some of the "younger" people. And for Catholics who are considering HM, I need to tell you why we will be sailing with Holland America again: there was a priest on board who celebrated daily Mass. This was a wonderful benefit for us so that we did not need to figure out how to find a Catholic Church in one of the ports on Sunday. Keep up this practice, Holland America, and we will be back on board with you! Bar Harbor and Quebec were definitely our favorite ports. We scheduled a tour of Acadia National Park directly with the Park in advance via the internet (the bus was an easy walk from the port.) We also purchased a Hop on Hop Off bus tour of Quebec once we were in Quebec (there is a tour desk in the Fairmont Hotel lobby, which you will want to see anyway.) You can skip the Funicular up the hill in Quebec -- it truly was a waste of money. Halifax was a nice stop, and an easily walkable city. I must give a shoutout to Avis in Montreal We rented a car for our family to return to Boston in (an easy drive of about 7 hours with stops for lunch and ice cream). Avis was the only car rental agency that we found which would permit us to take a car across the border and leave it in Boston. And Avis sent a van to pick us up at the cruise port! The weather during the week was colder than we had hoped, but overall it was an enjoyable week on Holland America, even for our 20-something daughters who love to explore the world and have interesting food along the way. I would recommend Holland America and look forward to sailing again with them. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 ... Read More
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 younger members of our party might enjoy the less formal atmosphere on Princess versus Holland America. We are well aware of the differences as we have sailed both many times. However, HAL offered a year end sale that was difficult/impossible to turn down. We flew into Vancouver the morning of the cruise and took the SkyTrain from the airport to Canada Place. Highly recommend this means of getting to the dock (very straight forward, about 30 minutes travel time at just C$9.50pp). Would also highly recommend a few days in Vancouver ahead of the cruise as it is a beautiful city with so many things to see and do. We passed on this as we have family in Vancouver and have been there dozens of times before. Embarkation was the longest we can remember experiencing but cannot blame this on the cruise line. The problem is going through US Customs and the interminable lineups. There were 3 cruise ships sailing that day which didn't help matters. The cruise lines should really put some pressure on the port authority to improve and shorten this process. Overall, we enjoyed our week long cruise. We had done an Alaskan cruise a number of years ago so the ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were not new to us. We did our own excursions. Our inside cabin was adequate, the service received from our cabin and dining room staff was exemplary and the food was good. However, there were a couple things that disappointed. The entertainment offered in the small venues was good (quartet in the Ocean Bar, Adagio Strings) but the entertainment in the main theatre was quite poor. While the service from crew who dealt with us every day (cabin, MDR) was excellent, we ran into a number of one-off situations where it wasn't. This included bar staff, the cooks behind the Lido counter, Lido serving staff, staff in the retail shops and staff in the spa. We have never encountered this level of malaise from crew on our previous 9 HAL cruises. The overall morale was not high and we are hoping that the new Hotel Director (Simon Tanner) can improve matters. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff ... Read More
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff "Herman" any time dining located on floor 2, Herman was a wonderful server with a big smile, very helpful and tentative to me, the bartenders were wonderful. The candy man who was the greeter he always had a smile. The pasties were delicious and nicely displayed; Oliver in the bar was excellent he knew what I wanted to drink before sitting down. Oliver works in the Crows Nest. The towel staff and the pool area was supreme. The piano bar and BB King great music and dancing all night long. I learned a lot during the cooking demonstration well presented and demonstrated. The crew members who help you on and off the ship are great. The photographer Andrew was wonderful and Wayne in the Jewelry shop was full of hugs and smiles. Sung who worked in the perfume store beautiful girl. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw ... Read More
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. Embarkation and Disembarkation: Flawless, speedy and very well organized. The Ship: Fabulous is the first word that comes to our minds. It is well laid out, lots of space to sit and chat. Plenty of places to find food and drinks. Servers everywhere and they even have call buttons on the tables for ordering drinks. The ship was very smooth during sailing even in inclement weather - never really felt any vibration due to her advanced operating systems. Cabin: Vista Suite with Veranda - outstanding is the first word that comes to mind. Lots of storage, elegant, both 110/220 volt outlets, large shower, lots of in-room comforting accoutrements, and a really great selection of current movies. The cabin attendants knew your name from the minute you got on the ship and they get a 100% TOP score for doing such a great job - children loved the different daily towel animals!!! Food: Main dinning room - no table reservations before 8.00 p.m. this we found to be not good especially when you have children. Service was fabulous but food delivery was very slow. Food choices are varied on the menu each night with fixed options each night (steak, chicken, etc) in case you did not like daily menu. Lido Cafe - it was without doubt always a choice for any meal of the day with something to suit any taste or desire. The Dive In - although little in space they pushed orders out very fast and this was outstanding food. The New York Deli - was also good with great sandwiches although, some of the pizza toppings ran out. Dutch Cafe- great coffee and sweets! We did not like the fact that we had to pay for the Gelato Ice cream. Drink Package: We chose the Signature Drink Package which allowed us all types of drinks under $10. This proved to be sufficient for us, unless you are a "high-end top shelf drinker" most people would be fine with this package. We did not like the 1 drink order limit restriction. Children's Activities: ZERO here because anything outside the kids play room was non-existent. Prior to the cruise we read lots of "chat" about HAL being a "retired persons cruise line". Although many people had written that HAL changed its mentality and was gearing more towards families rather than older crowds - this was not the case on our cruise - children were bored due to the lack of "kids activities and amenities". Pools: The mid ship pool is very small and the rear pool had an adults only restriction on it. OK, we get this, but then why were all the adults gathered at the mid-ship pool. So, this meant that the kids had to share the only pool with the adults - but the adult pool did not share with the kids - this was absolutely unfair in our opinion. While the children frolicked in the pool - "adults" complained about being splashed - sorry, then move your old butt to the adult pool! The Crew: Tip-Top perfect service by the crew in all areas of the ship !!! Entertainment: Yes they offered 4 types of music, but after a week of the same 4 types of music and nothing new, it gets old. Crows Nest: Great place to chill out and watch the surroundings. Bad part is all the "retired folks" hogged up the loungers at the big front overlooking windows and then fell asleep for hours. That was a bit unfair for those of us who actually wanted to sit there for their intended purpose because these seats had the best view on the entire ship. Activities: We found the "ship info, kitchen tour & the captain's talk" the best part of the activities offered. These three activities were very informative and really great leaning for all. The Captain was fantastic, and very friendly. Besides that, it really seemed like the same entertainment and activities each day. For families it was a bit boring in our opinion. OK, you had basketball, shuffleboard, ping-pong, card games, and swimming, but with short ports of call, and 2 days at sea - it got a little boring after a few days with only the same options. The cruise director could have offered much more as we have seen from our prior cruises with other companies. Overall Cleanliness: Extremely clean ship - we loved having a place to wash your hands at all the entrances at the Lido Cafe. Great job by the service crew to keep the ship in such a clean and fresh environment. Public Toilets: absolutely perfectly clean all the time. Casino: Lots of play choice - although smoking permitted - 1 day at sea was no smoking allowed - that was refreshing! America's Test Kitchen: Sorry, only one word to say here - Boring! No participation allowed just watching someone cook. Port of Calls: Found them all to be well organized, and very quick to get everyone on and off the ship. The Security team did a great job to ensure our safety, kudos to them for all they did for us! Recommendations to HAL: Offer daily info sessions about the specific ports of call. Make an area on the ship where you play some Caribbean / local music rather than the same stuff we hear at home. The weather did not permit us to make one port of call, therefore we found that we had to entertain ourselves because the Cruise Director came up with card games, and other non-fun things for us to do as a family - when you cannot make a port of call then you should be prepared ahead of time to entertain the passengers to off-set the disappoint of missing out on a port of call. Lastly, please think of ways to entertain children a little more - and I do not mean like Disney or Carnival -- we purposely do not travel on these lines because the adults need to have fun also. A big thanks to the HAL Captain and his fabulous team for a very wonderful vacation! Signed, 7 HAL passengers (mixed USA & Europe) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, ... Read More
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, Princess, NCL, Carnival, Royal Carib.I'm mid 50s but it was like an Alaska Cruise, I felt young and thin Manicure/pedicure was great. Young gal said this was actually the youngest group she'd seen in 4 months. I did miss the energy of the other boats but Everyone was super friendly, staff and cruisers. Room was large. Ship is going in for refurbishment and that is good. It's needed. Now to food. Honestly, it was ok. I didnt like the Lido because there was a line for everything. I get cutting down on germs but it was a pain waiting to ask for most anything hot. Not just omelettes and waffles. Dining rooms always better. My favprite breakfast dining room is still Carnival, go figure. Dinners were nice, but not as good as Princess, Carnival or Royal. Similar to Norwegian. Workout area was also subdued machines weren't individual tv/music, so not at nice. Would I go again. Entertainment was nice. Not as lively again and not as much to do, but you can only do one thing at a time anyway. Would I go again. Sure. What's not to love about doing whatever you want , someone cooking for you and chocolates at night. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Love this ship. The fact that they haven't changed alot of the public spaces made me pick this ship. I like the crows nest as is....not a coffee shop.... The casino was smokey all the time e en tho they kept announcing it was a ... Read More
Love this ship. The fact that they haven't changed alot of the public spaces made me pick this ship. I like the crows nest as is....not a coffee shop.... The casino was smokey all the time e en tho they kept announcing it was a smoke free venue... except for one corner...that corner filled the place with smoke. I woulda stayed longer but for that. The food was good as usual...the service was better that we had on the statendam. The entertainment was adequate...not great,but not bad.... I met several people that had pretty bad cabin problems...I hope they were rectified...our cabin was awesome...I also noticed they were bigger than the larger ships.. I did also notice the staff was less stressed out on this ship than on the larger ships. The level of service in the Neptune lounge was incredible and quit helpful with any request that we had. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it was the last but one out of Tampa. We had a Neptune suite which was a perfect size for 2 folks,which by the way had a massive Balcony. Neptune Lounge was a great spot to get snacks and drinks and the staff ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was the last but one out of Tampa. We had a Neptune suite which was a perfect size for 2 folks,which by the way had a massive Balcony. Neptune Lounge was a great spot to get snacks and drinks and the staff were on the ball every day. We did not enjoy Formal night in the Dining Room because there where long lines if you did not have a reservation.Although we have been to all the stops several times we fulfilled our ambition to have a relaxing time.The ship in our minds is a well looked after vessel with some fantastic art and furniture. Lots of Quite areas to relax in, and loud ones if you like. The entertainment Staff 5 Stars, Food 5 Stars, entertainment 4 Stars.Cabin staff 5 Stars.All round a great little Cruise. Getting on board EASY getting off Easier. We will miss this shipping line because i don't like going to Miami to go Cruising or Cape Canaveral. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Second spring break in a row doing this particular cruise, same ship, with two of my three kids (this time my 8 and 5 yr old boys) while my wife and daughter attended to family business elsewhere. Picked it again for the same reasons ... Read More
Second spring break in a row doing this particular cruise, same ship, with two of my three kids (this time my 8 and 5 yr old boys) while my wife and daughter attended to family business elsewhere. Picked it again for the same reasons we picked it last year: classic ship feel of the Rotterdam; quiet, clean familiarity of the surroundings; low hassle way to get out on the open sea. Crew did even one better by getting a live feed of the NCAA regional finals, and then doing the muster drills in port in between the two Sunday games. The only downer: Devils losing to Sparty during our first two hours at sea . . . My boys loved it (my 8 yr old's first time aboard, my 5 yr old's second), particularly the pool, and the towel origami from our stateroom attendant Rifky. Ate Lido the entire cruise - given the number of different main courses each night, it is possible to go a seven night cruise and not eat the same thing twice for dinner - and the food as always was top flight for us. Did dolphin watch and snorkel in Key West - got a good up close look at a pod of 6-8 dolphins then did some snorkeling with my boys; we did the waterfall hike and splashed in a couple freshwater pools at the Cerro San Gil Nature Reserve in Guatemala (kids ended up playing with frogs and snails); spent the day at Mahogany Bay Beach in Honduras (my five year old caught what I thought was an eel - till he put it back in the water and it turned back into a sea horse); and did the Mayan adventure water park in Costa Maya. My wife was amazed at how uncrowded everything looked both on the ship and during our excursions. Biggest crowds in fact were in Clearwater, where we spent Saturday doing the marine hospital (made famous by the Dolphin Tale star), then cycling to Clearwater Beach. Spent Sunday before the cruise cycling the Tampa Riverwalk from the Barrymore Hotel to the cruise ship terminal and then back before boarding. Embarkation and disembarkation in Tampa is always easy. Scuttlebutt is that Rotterdam is being repositioned back to Europe at the end of April, and that HA has nothing out of Tampa scheduled for the time being for 2020. I sure hope that changes, because these weeks aboard the Rotterdam have become a true highlight for my children and myself, and I dread having to haul down to Ft. Lauderdale, which I understand is the total opposite of Tampa in terms of ship sizes and crowd density. Read Less
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