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1,459 Holland America Family Cruise Reviews

They sent as a coupon. 1) My husband booked me a 2 hours spa treatment. I was taken in late for my treatment, while i did the seaweed wrap the therapist left the room , and never bothered to come check on me, and ask how i was doing. ... Read More
They sent as a coupon. 1) My husband booked me a 2 hours spa treatment. I was taken in late for my treatment, while i did the seaweed wrap the therapist left the room , and never bothered to come check on me, and ask how i was doing. The massage was probably the worst massage i have ever had. Once the treatment was done, she was trying to sell me $ 350+ worth of products, and trying to talk me into purchasing additional treatments, by pointing out my skin is sagging, my eyes are puffy etc.....very intelligent:) They put a bottle of water in your room, but there was no label or warning that they were going to charge you $ 5.75 for it! When we got the final bill they raised the daily mandatory tips at $ 14.50/person. The food in the buffet was same every single day, without a fail. As far as entertainment, not much , there was only one show worth the time in the whole week. In the day time , the ship was like a dormant boring place, unless you had plenty of cash to spare you would keep yourself entertained because all they did , tried to sell you anything. The library had no books, other than speciality travel books and such. To conclude, I think I am pretty much done cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
new ship. noisiest doors i've ever experienced. can't rate the rest of the cruise. feel like i'm in the gulf war war with daisy cutters dropping by the minute. INSTALL DOORS THAT CLOSE WITHOUT SHOCKING HALF THE BOAT!!!! ... Read More
new ship. noisiest doors i've ever experienced. can't rate the rest of the cruise. feel like i'm in the gulf war war with daisy cutters dropping by the minute. INSTALL DOORS THAT CLOSE WITHOUT SHOCKING HALF THE BOAT!!!! can't even opine on the rest of the cruise it's probable fine. i've developed a horrible fear of returning to room. i own the best earplugs and the vibrations penetrate them. for a new ship the fare was surprisingly low, you get what you pay for i guess. need to upgrade my cruises i suppose, the guests are surprisingly blue collar and a little rough. one guest exploded and threatened a passenger for touching his stuff by the pool. pretty rough trade. good portion of the guests are here to exploit the unlimited food and the location of the gym is not known to these folks. nuff said Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We loved the music venues at night! We loved the ship! It was beautiful, our balcony room was amazing on the 11th floor. The showers with glass doors are revolutionary..mostly we loved the lido market! We NEVER usually eat in the buffet ... Read More
We loved the music venues at night! We loved the ship! It was beautiful, our balcony room was amazing on the 11th floor. The showers with glass doors are revolutionary..mostly we loved the lido market! We NEVER usually eat in the buffet on cruises but we ate there very often ! We actually enjoyed the food choices there more than the dining room..... which means I think they need to work on the menu in the dining room. The boat was very quite ... everything started early and ended pretty early. We would’ve liked a little bit more excitement on the boat but they cater to an older clientele. I have to say it was the most well run for getting on and off the boat ! Absolutely no lineups at any of our ports ... in hindsight we wondered if the majority of the cruisers didn’t get off the boat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very accommodating to our 8 year old grandson and even made him an origami animal each night, showed him magic tricks and made sure he had something to eat from the kids menu that he liked at each meal. Our grandson adored him! The ventriloquist and comedy shows were very good and we enjoyed the Discovery Earth production (warning - if you don't like snakes, don't watch the first segment - could be scary for young children - our grandson did not attend). My husband enjoyed the Lincoln Center performances. The other music shows were fair - we passed on the second performance. BB King's nightclub and performances were very enjoyable. The "chocolate surprise" evening was very disappointing. It lasted about 3 minutes and if you were not in the right place at the right time you didn't get anything! Club Hal for children was fair - there were games and arts and crafts. There were video games available and my grandson enjoyed that. He attended about 3 times but quickly became bored and stayed with us the rest of the time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our ... Read More
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our expectations were exceeded. We had a wonderful table and staff on Deck3 and Rudy's Fish premium dining to celebrate our 52 Wedding Anniversary. Compared to Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Viking it was at least equal. Our balcony suite on Deck8 was larger than expected. The cabin steward was very friendly but unobtrusive, keeping our cabin spotlessly clean every day. We had our breakfast served in our cabin each day at no extra cost so we could eat in our pajamas and avoid the crowds in Lido. All this would have earned a 5*. Now the negatives. Poor communication between Call Center staff on shore and ship staff resulted in our group of 6 being split up for dinner if I had not escalated it, and then we got a nice table together. Poor organization resulted in a very late start of our Cozumel shore excursion and then we were rushed through the Chocolate, Glass bottom boat and Rum part of the tour. We had wonderful fellow passengers except for a couple of weird ones who showed up 20 mins late for a shore excursion and then demanded their money back when the only seats left were in the back of the bus. Another situation was when a family with 5 children considered it OK to let their kids aged 3 - 6 monopolize the BB King dance floor at 9 pm. preventing adults from dancing. They said there were no signs that said no kids! Another family seated their 3 young kids in the first row at the Comedienne show when they knew she would be telling adult jokes. There is no accounting for poor taste and lack of common sense. Apart from these examples, the fellow passengers were very urbane and cultured. In general the shows were OK - not as good as Norwegian. But I guess the bigger ships can afford higher quality/cost entertainers. I have yet to see any shows like "burn the floor" The Jersey Boys, Beatles, etc that we saw on Norwegian. But we prefer the quieter and more cozy atmosphere of smaller ships. So bottom line, a 4* experience! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a tailor made holiday to Brazil and ended with the cruise from Bueno Aries to Santiago. The facilities were fine. Food in buffet was excellant but in restaurant I was underwhelmed. Tendering was a shambles. Missed my private ... Read More
This was a tailor made holiday to Brazil and ended with the cruise from Bueno Aries to Santiago. The facilities were fine. Food in buffet was excellant but in restaurant I was underwhelmed. Tendering was a shambles. Missed my private pre booked trip because the steward would not allow me off the ship although I explained I needed to leave to meet my tour. Even when I booked a ship tour I had to ask permission to leave to make tour. Also price of tours are now so expensive . Not good value. Entertainment on main stage was O.K. Some shows were excellant ,others were not suitable for the main entertainment. Staff were friendly but there was not many on dockside to help when going ashore for trips. This was my second cruise with Holland America , I chose them because last cruise I was very happy with them. This time I felt the standard had fallen slightly, However I would cruise with them again if cruise itinerary was what I required Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Our family chose the Panama Canal 10 day cruise with Holland American. We had 6 adults and 3 children. We planned this cruise a year in advance. When we got to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale 2 of us had passport cards and were not ... Read More
Our family chose the Panama Canal 10 day cruise with Holland American. We had 6 adults and 3 children. We planned this cruise a year in advance. When we got to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale 2 of us had passport cards and were not allowed to board the ship. The passport cards would not work, so if you are planning a cruise that requires a passport do not get the passport card and note you can not fly internationally with the card. Holland America does not post passbook cards are not accepted for international cruises. There were a least 5 couples that had this issue and were not allowed to board. If this situation happened with just myself and husband we would have cancelled and got 100% refund for the cruise. This totally ruined the cruise for us. We had to go to Miami Passport Agency the next day with a 8 hour wait for emergency pass port book, then fly to Aruba to catch the boat there. With hotel expenses, fees for the pass books, air fare $1600 later. We got assistance from the Port Director not Holland American. It was on a Sunday and you could not get a hold of anyone at HAL. It was very frustrating. The Port Director was fantastic, she told us step by step what to do, so we follow her directions to the T. She called us everyday to check our progress. We did not hear one word from HAL, at that point they had our $6,000 and did not care at all. When we got to the Port at Aruba we still were not listed on the manifest to enter the ship. We had to wait for the Port to get all the information to them. Never again will we cruise with HAL. The ship was clean, the crew was fantastic but the management at HAL could care less once they got your money. Buyer beware. Also make sure you check your bill after the cruise.We found discrepancies, so unless you check thoroughly you will be billed for additional items or not get refunds from drink cards. Also we were charged $14.50 per day for gratuities that we were not aware of. I felt like we were nickle and dime for everything. Just include it in the cruise price. Holland American totally ruined cruising for us in the future. Very sad because they were a great company 6 years ago. I am a very positive person and I always shake off any hurtles I experience, but this one was more than I could gut. Aruba was beautiful, safe, very friendly and the family had a great time there. We will do a family vacation there. Please be very aware if you plan a cruise with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We went on a Panama Chanel Cruise in March 2019. Here are our good and less impressive experiences from our trip. Stateroom: We lived in a veranda on the 10th floor. Beautiful view. The stateroom was really nice. We were supposed to be ... Read More
We went on a Panama Chanel Cruise in March 2019. Here are our good and less impressive experiences from our trip. Stateroom: We lived in a veranda on the 10th floor. Beautiful view. The stateroom was really nice. We were supposed to be 4 people in our cabin why they arranged 4 beds the first evening – 2 regular beds, one bed coming down from the ceiling and the sofa was changed to a bed. The last bed made it difficult to get to the veranda but it was only arranged as a bed at night time – not optimal but I prefer that solution compared to the solution with 2 beds coming from the ceiling as we have experienced before as you almost need to be an acrobat moving back and forth in the stateroom. As we were only 3 they only arranged the bed from the ceiling at night and moving around even at night was no problem at all. The bathroom was great and big with a nice bathtub. There was a nice TV with plenty of both life TV, movies and more available. The TV was somewhat small but did it’s purpose. The staff was friendly but not very effective e.g. they never removed dirty dishes from the room – we needed to put them outside the stateroom to avoid the smell and have our small stateroom properly organized. Dinning: The food was generally okay – great during gala nights but below expectation other nights. It was a big disappointment we were charged extra on gala nights to get an extra serving!! We ended up with anytime dinning but ended up eating most night at the same section i.e. getting the same servers which was nice. The afternoon tea in the dining room was really nice The buffet on the Lido deck was nice but that section was severely under dimensioned. At most meals we had to walk around for a long time to find a table. It was also understaffed, or the staff was not properly trained – you were lucky to get a drink 5 minutes after asking. Resulting in us going after our drinks our self. The drink section was poorly arranged making it difficult to get a drink – had they swapped the drink machines and the glass/cups then more people would have been able to get drinks at the same time!! In our opinion then they utilize the boat poorly – there are many areas where there was almost nobody – why not remove many of the redundancies at the buffet, make more tables and then more food options other places on the boat?? My son went many times disappointed to get an ice cream – the ice cream shop opens and closes with the rest of the buffet – why??? The had a great Dive-In shop with fantastic burgers and hot dogs – my oldest sons favorite. Unfortunately, the Dive-In was next to the buffet so no seats Entertainment: We were disappointed by the entertainment. Some of the shows at the main theater were spectacular others were okay but disappointing they substitute an evening with a movie shown in poor quality – really!! The varieties of activities were below expectations – everyday was almost the same which is nice if you like bingo, trivial and cooking show but … They had some sport activities which we liked to join – some of them were great and some of them – yeah it seems like they forgot – nobody showed up to organize. We somehow got an activity going but … We knew Zuiderdam is a smaller boat, but the entertainment director could have done better e.g. ice sculpturing, magic show, parrots, juggler and a lot more. Amenities: The two pools were nice and deep enough to swim and play though small. There were many hot tubs which we enjoyed as well They had a giant chess board – we played it once risking our health – the board was not properly fastened and very slippery – again one of the many small but important details which would not cost them much to ensure was proper, but it was not taken care of Two nice table tennis located in a corner giving as little wind as possible – very nice The Explorations Central on deck 10 was impressive. Great view, games, books, monitors showing details about the boat and how it was operated. Large interactive touch screens showing highlights of the destinations and tour description. We really enjoyed that a lot. The HAL club was nice – fairly small but there were less than 10 kids on the boat so it did its purpose at our trip – not sure how it would work on a trip with more kids?? The staff there were amazing. My boys did not spend much time there, but they were always in the middle of some activities they were excited about when I picked them up. I enjoyed staying there for a little while following the activity waiting for a good time to break off – big respect for the staff there They could easily have utilized areas almost vacant throughout the cruise for more exciting activities – a strong recommendation from us. Overall: A nice trip with interesting destination but too many shortcuts from Holland American making the trip overall disappoint and not worth the money – we will search other cruise lines for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had AFT suite which had the perfect outlook as a panoramic view including the side. Vibration can take a little getting used to during the night but this only occurred when we were making up time or docking. Steward service was hit ... Read More
We had AFT suite which had the perfect outlook as a panoramic view including the side. Vibration can take a little getting used to during the night but this only occurred when we were making up time or docking. Steward service was hit and miss for a suite as we were surrounded by non suite staterooms and the allocation to each steward would be higher. Rarely did we see a child(I think there were 2 on board), most passengers were American Australian UK then South African average age 65. Loved the free laundry and staff in Neptune lounge were fantastic. Shows were nothing like the big ships so were a bit hit and miss. Pinnacle restaurant was great especially their degustation but MDR food was also great and service perfect. Always hard to compare different ships particularly of different size. Suite benefits vary dramatically in different cruise lines so check what suites you. As a 1900 passenger ship it is less crowded with fast elevators less queuing but the trade off is less shops and activities and shows of a lower standard. Tours in china and Japan were poor value with communication issues with the guides but they were well organised. Internet even on the premium package was hit and miss. Would definitely recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this ship because it was newer and we lived the itinerary and not too many sea days. (We have been on about 26 cruises) This is what we loved: 1. The ship is beautiful 2. Staff is attentive and friendly 3. Dinner in ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was newer and we lived the itinerary and not too many sea days. (We have been on about 26 cruises) This is what we loved: 1. The ship is beautiful 2. Staff is attentive and friendly 3. Dinner in dining room doesn’t seem rushed 4. Itinerary 5. Very clean 6. Despite reviews that say they don’t have an “unlimited” internet package they actually did. On our 10 day cruise it cost $179. This is what we did NOT love: 1. Theatre so small it does not accommodate guests. We showed up 40 minutes early for two shows and there was not one seat left 2. Formal night, a dance show is about to begin, ONE show, really? It starts at 9pm and we are waiting outside the theatre standing here at 7:50pm, we have a 1 hour 10 min wait. It’s day 9 of our 10 day cruise and we love the dance shows and this is the third one and if we get a seat it will be the first one we get to see. I think the theatre holds 300 people, I may be wrong. Smallest theatre on any cruise ship I have ever been on. They need 3 shows per night for the dance shows to accommodate the guests. Tomorrow night is the last dance show and they also have ONE show. So nope we won’t sail with them again. 3. Eating in the lido buffet is exasperating. You can basically not get any food by yourself, maybe you can serve yourself some fruit or a cinnamon roll AFTER they hand you a plate. What I’m trying to say is that the buffet is a lot of work. You have to wait in line. You can’t grab your own plate. There is say one person maybe two behind the glass at each food station. At one food station this one girl has to make crepes, spoon out oatmeal and cream of wheat into bowls, put bacon and sausage on your plate..it’s pretty crazy and slow. Then suppose you want toast or a bagel, now go to the bread food station wait in that line so that one person that’s runnjng that can take care of it. Then find a table and try to get coffee, it’s just an ordeal. 4. Then they close breakfast most days at 9:30am. 5. The food has been good but some meals better than others. Not every meal has been amazing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I am HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED in what I describe as a lack of concern in the area of customer care! I would like to review the excursions: Half Moon Cay: We had a blast. This was definitely one of our favorite spots. We chose to do the ... Read More
I am HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED in what I describe as a lack of concern in the area of customer care! I would like to review the excursions: Half Moon Cay: We had a blast. This was definitely one of our favorite spots. We chose to do the Jet Ski excursion (I believe it was called the Aqua Trax....). We were somewhat apprehensive since we had never been on a Jet Ski. The guides were incredible. Our daughter was much more apprehensive than even my wife and I; she moved very slowly, but one of the guides stayed with her for the entire hour!!! My wife and I were able to go at our speed, have a great time and not worry about our 19 year old daughter. Ocho Rios: We went on the Dunn Rivers Falls and Dolphin Encounter excursion. This was a blast!!! The Dolphin Encounter was so worth the money. The trainers and life guards were incredible. They made this a very memorable experience. The only thing I would caution against is the PRICE on pictures! We paid $200 for a group of 3 (aprox 197 pictures) that was on a disc. If we had it to do all over again, we WOULD NOT do the pictures...or we would have negotiated price (we heard some people negotiated). Dunn Rivers Falls was INCREDIBLE, however my wife and daughter did not climb the falls; they watched from observation decks. If you have physical limitations DO NOT climb the falls! Georgetown: We went on Land and Sea Excursion. This was very nice. Not the highlight of our cruise, but I would say it was worth it. The getting to see, hold and learn about the sea turtles was neat. My wife enjoyed the Submarine. This was our first cruise with Holland America. We chose to give the cruise line a try under the recommendations of friends who have cruised multiple times. I would say that overall we really enjoyed our trip; however there were a few things that left us with mixed feelings and reviews. The ship was beautiful and very easy to get around in. Our cruise was March 10-17, 2019. We were in a suite, Cabin 6119. Overall, we were satisfied with our cabin steward. He was very friendly and did a fairly good job (not the best...not the worst). We did notice that as the week progressed, it seemed that the quality of the cleanliness diminished. Although our cabin was extremely crowded when we let out the couch sofa for our daughter, the cabin was comfortable at other times. The restroom was great and the shower was excellent. The balcony was very nice and comfortable. A MAJOR concern pertaining to our cabin was that we had $400 go missing!!! This money was in the safe, but we are 99% certain that the money went missing from our cabin!!! We do not want to falsely accuse anyone, but we feel that this matter should be looked into; especially if other guest have reported similar concerns! Dinning: We chose to eat at the Lido Market; overall the food was very good. However, there was some things that disturbed us. We found it almost impossible to get service. We had to ask for drinks, ask for refills and many times never received what we asked for. We felt that the overall cleanliness was sub-par at times. Tables that had been cleaned were still dirty; in fact I took a few pictures of tables we sat down at; one actually had hair on the chair. It seemed that the chairs never were cleaned between guest. We were EXTREMELY troubled by the fact that the servers would take silverware and glass ware from tables that had not been cleaned off and give them to us to use. We watched several guest examine their silverware and glass ware for cleanliness. THIS IS AN AREA THAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT! Entertainment: We THOROUGHLY enjoyed the ship entertainment. The highlight of our cruise was the performances on the Lincoln Center Stage! We also enjoyed the BB King Blue's Club performances and the the performances on the World Stage. Guest services / Explorations Central: This was another area of concern for us; we felt that the ball was dropped. On the second day of our cruise, we went to Guest Services and expressed our concerns in the area of customer service (i.e. things mentioned already in this review); in the process I inquired about gratuities. I expressed that we did not feel that we were receiving the quality of service worthy of $45 a day in gratuities. After not receiving a satisfactory explanation from the agent at Guest Services, I requested that gratuities be removed from our bill. I explained to the agent that it was not my desire to not pay gratuities, I simply wanted some explanation. On the form that I filled out, I requested that someone contact me concerning the matter; unfortunately, I was never contacted. In an effort to ensure that I did the right thing, I did go back to Guest Services the day of disembarkation and added $350 gratuities to our bill. However, we still have a negative impression in this matter. I will say that we had other encounters with Guest Services and all of those encounters were very positive! Two different times we went to Explorations Central to inquire about shore excursions. Prior to our trip, we had purchased excursions in every port except Cozumel. We were having a hard time deciding about Cozumel. So both times we were inquiring about Cozumel excursions; we WANTED TO PURCHASE a Cozumel excursion! We felt that the agent (young lady with long blond hair) was less than helpful in this area. All that she did during both of our visits to Explorations Central was open a book and say here are the excursions. No recommendations, etc! Needless to say, Cozumel was our biggest disappointment when it came to ports. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The ship is very elegant, with beautiful artwork throughout. The crew was very friendly, seemed happy, and we’re always willing to help. The cabins were relatively roomy with lots of drawers for storage. The food was excellent in the ... Read More
The ship is very elegant, with beautiful artwork throughout. The crew was very friendly, seemed happy, and we’re always willing to help. The cabins were relatively roomy with lots of drawers for storage. The food was excellent in the dining room. The shops were understated and there was not merchandise present in the aisles. The entertainment was not as good or as varied in the mai theater as on other ships. However, there were many styles and locations for music on the ship. There were five hot tubs on the ship for which were the smallest I’ve ever encountered. Those four would not hold for adults comfortably. The ports were excellent. Grand Turk was almost like a private island. The private island was excellent. Surprisingly, we were the only ship in port at Saint Thomas which made for a surprisingly uncrowded visit. San Juan seem cleaner than the last time I visited. I would definitely sale on the Nieuw Statendam again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have always wanted to see the Panama Canal, and this cruise checked all the boxes. We embarked the ship at Fort Lauderdale, the process was quick and efficient. We went to our room, cabin 5013, dropped our carry-on and proceeded to the ... Read More
We have always wanted to see the Panama Canal, and this cruise checked all the boxes. We embarked the ship at Fort Lauderdale, the process was quick and efficient. We went to our room, cabin 5013, dropped our carry-on and proceeded to the Lido deck. On our Alaska cruise, we purchased the hydrotherapy spa; we again purchased the hydrotherapy spa on this trip. After our muster station and safety review, we departed from Fort Lauderdale on time. Our overnight sale was smooth and uneventful, we decided to eat at the Lido restaurants as we had been traveling since 2 AM. There were a lot of options to choose from. We arrived at the Half Moon Cay, Bahamas on the second day and took a tether to shore. We purchased a Clam Shell Lounge, a good Investment to have a shaded area during the day. After a full day on the beach, we returned to the ship. We enjoyed dinner in the main restaurant; we purchased a bottle of wine, if you do not finish the wine, the will cork the bottle and provide it to you at any restaurant on board. The next day we were at sea and enjoyed the day at the hydrotherapy spa and exploring the ship. The next day we arrived in Aruba, we booked the CATAMARAN SNORKEL & BEACH GETAWAY. An enjoyable experience. We returned to port, and my wife said she wasn't feeling well. We returned to our cabin, and my wife fell ill. By the late afternoon, she was in full gastrointestinal distress. We had planned a dinner on the island, however, due to the gastrointestinal illness, we were unable to visit the island. The following day, we arrived in Willemstad, Curacao, we had planned to go on the CURACAO BEACH EXPRESS, my wife was quarantined to the room and insisted I go by myself. The resort location was beautiful and I was able to do some snorkeling off the beach. I return to the ship and again tended to my wife. Another day at sea and we were unable to use the hydrotherapy spa due to gastrointestinal outbreak on the ship. We learned the ships was in the midst of a novirus outbreak; many passengers were affected. I too became ill, experiencing vomiting and explosive diarrhea. Day 7 brought us to the entrance of the Panama Canal. Fortunately, we were cleared and we're able to enjoy our THE CANAL EXPERIENCE FROM GATUN TO COLON experience. Our guide was excellent and we spent time in Old Panama City and time at the Gatun Canal. On day 8, we arrived in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. We booked the Jaguar Rescue and Rain Forest trip. An excellent trip and extremely rewarding. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and patient. We returned to the ship. We arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled all aboard timeline. The next two days were at sea and we're less than optimal. During our trip, we were unable to participate in the gala dinners and lost several days of enjoyments due to the novirus outbreak. Buffet were restricted; one morning, we waited 20 minutes for toast. That same evening, 30 minutes at the pasta bar in the Lido. On the last night, the Lido Bristo ran out of shrimp and beef tenderloin. Never have we experience this on any other cruises. The Alaska cruise on Holland America was the exact opposite of this trip. The thermal spa package was an additional $306 for 11 days, due to the novirus outbreak we were unable to use the package for 6 days due to quarantine. No refunds or credits were offered. We made the best of a bad situation; our memories of our Panama Canal cruise will be of gastrointestinal destress and many trips to the washroom facilities. I'm not sure how many people were affected by the outbreak, i did drop off my questionnaire at the medical center and there was approximately 30 people waiting for assistance. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were terribly disappointed with the entertainment. The worst in all the cruises I have taken. This was our first with Holland American and never again. This was a cruise suitable for very old people. The best entertainment was the ... Read More
We were terribly disappointed with the entertainment. The worst in all the cruises I have taken. This was our first with Holland American and never again. This was a cruise suitable for very old people. The best entertainment was the Filipino cruise members show. They put up a voluntary show. I must also mention one of Lido restaurant staff Amelia, she was helpful and very nice. She also did a great show. There was a lack of entertainment for younger people. We never met a single young person from the entertainment team beside the cruise director. All in all not a happy experience. The staff in our allocated dining area were absolutely wonderful and helpful. I found quite disrespectful to be called by my Cristian name by the cabin steward. In Europe we are not used to that or at least I am not. Not very good room service at all Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This line was the only line that offered the first 10 days with stops we had not visited before. The ship and crew were great. HA schedulers suck. When we received our flights (booked through HA) there were two sore spots. We depart out ... Read More
This line was the only line that offered the first 10 days with stops we had not visited before. The ship and crew were great. HA schedulers suck. When we received our flights (booked through HA) there were two sore spots. We depart out of MSY at 8 am and arrive FLL ONE and a HALF hour before ship departs. The return leg is airport for 10 am, departing flight at 7 pm and not arriving at MSY till midnight. As i write this, our plane is delayed 1/2 hour with beautiful weather. Good ole Delta. We called HA months in advance to express our concerns. Was told that was within their guidelines. Well, we were slid onto the ship 2 of the last 4 people after security was closed and the ship was late departing. Virtually did not screen us so we could make departure. We missed the first afternoon of our cruise which we always look forward to. No remorse from the ‘desk people’ on board. The rest of the ship’s crew (98%) were wonderful. I wanted to write reviews for the excursions so other people can plan their trips but there is no place in HA website to create these. Dining experience was very good. Service was excellent in all areas of the ship. However, the food was good but bland - no extra seasoning available such as Tony’s, Zatarains, Slap ya Mama, etc. We ordered breakfast in cabin all but 3 days. No complaints, on time, coffee and selection was acceptable. Cabin crew was very helpful with the small needs such as cabin menus, fruits and snacks. Cabin was spotless each day twice a day minimum. The nightly live band on Deck 2 was awesome. Great talent and popular music enjoyed by standing room only crowd each night. There are no art auctions like Norwegian or Carnival which is strange because HA is owned by Carnival Corp. There is an art gallery where u can purchase but thats it. Nothing we liked. We booked ooked snorkeling excursions through HA all stops except The Dom Rep and Curaçao which were average experiences. We completed the Coffee experience at The Dom Republic which we are still talking about. You travel up into the mountains to learn, taste and help the local coffee farmers bring back their coffee industry. In Curaçao, we did the ATV tour which takes you through and across the island. Dusty but a lot of fun and a learning experience all booked through HA. We were fortunate enough to see Carnival in Aruba and dine at Lucy’s (nachos). Awesome experience - we are from Louisiana and experience Mardi Gras every year. Carnival in Aruba was very colorful and very close to our home experience. The ship’s photography dept is not what we expected. We wanted to take a pic and have them place it on the embarkation background. We were told that they would take some pics of us but it would be black & white. We arrived for our appointment at 7:30 pm and was advised that the first pic (if purchased) would be $450.00! No thanks - see ya! Rip off artist but we are smarter than that. In this digital world, there is NO one on that ship that can make us believe that they couldn’t fulfill our request. We paid $19.95 for a dock photo and that’s it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My family and I went on this cruise last minute. As in, we weren't even on the manifest. We cancelled our NCL Epic, and hopped on the Nieuw Amsterdam. What a delight! Check in was pretty easy, considering we were not checked in at ... Read More
My family and I went on this cruise last minute. As in, we weren't even on the manifest. We cancelled our NCL Epic, and hopped on the Nieuw Amsterdam. What a delight! Check in was pretty easy, considering we were not checked in at all. Our luggage was delivered in a timely fashion. Our room was an inside cabin, last minute. However, our room steward was always on top of everything. He was professional and friendly. All the staff a board the ship were the same, always there for directions or help. The food was amazing! We ate filet, lobster tail, osso buco, lamb chops and leg, a variety of Asian dishes. This was in the MDR or the buffet. We ate at Canelletto's, the Italian place, it was perfect. A family style dining experience. There were always pool chairs available. There are 2 pools and they are both heated! That is a plus if you have ever been on Carnival or NCL. The biggest bonus for me is the no smoking in the casino! It was great! The only smoking spot on the ship, that I saw, was top deck near the pool. We were also pleased with the tendering process. Easy to follow directions. Also, like I mentioned before, there are staff on each deck to help. I will say, I travelled with 2 teens. They really enjoyed the teen club. There are no water slides, video games or giant movies screens on this ship. However, there were a group of 10 teens that hung out and had fun. They played chess, ate lunch together, had scavenger hunts, and played bingo! We will definetly book again with HAL. We had a fabulous vacation! The staff, food and the effortless fun, make the decision to travel with them easy! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
best cruise of more that 25 beautiful ship music thruout main auditorium awesome not a bad seat entertainment was good 10s for the cabin stewards and 10s for the waiter staff excellent fresh omlettes and eggs for ... Read More
best cruise of more that 25 beautiful ship music thruout main auditorium awesome not a bad seat entertainment was good 10s for the cabin stewards and 10s for the waiter staff excellent fresh omlettes and eggs for breakfast tea time was super and not a supplement fee ate one time at specialty and it was same time one and half hours as MDR the music was good if you like rock and roll in one part of the ship chamber music on another part of the ship dueling pianos in the middle of the ship and they take "requests" late night the room service each morning was right on time and everything came as ordered the Dive in had specialty dogs and burgers. the NY deli did a great breakfast sandwich and later in the day they had build your own pizza which was awesome. we chose antime dining and made a reservation each night in MDR. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are a couple in mid 40’s with 2 teen girls, our 10th and 11th cruise. Previously sailed with: Costa, MSC, Holland America, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity. Have already explored about 90% of Caribbean islands, so now mainly sailing for ... Read More
We are a couple in mid 40’s with 2 teen girls, our 10th and 11th cruise. Previously sailed with: Costa, MSC, Holland America, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity. Have already explored about 90% of Caribbean islands, so now mainly sailing for the ship, not for destination. Year and a half ago, we decided to check both ships (being under construction at that time), and booked them right after the tickets become available. We were so excited to cruise again with our 2 favorite cruise lines, and check both brand new vessels back to back. Expectations were set very high. We sailed on Nieuw Statendam first. Best food ever, including buffet, Dive-In, and MDR with delicious lobster, prime rib dinners, and mouthwatering desserts. One of the nicest looking MDR we ever saw (see pic), our waiter Sudiatmika was above and beyond. Great laid out buffet never crowded, so many healthy options to choose from, individual deserts or fruit portions (no mess). We did not try up charge restaurants, Grand Dutch Café, or New York Deli & Pizza, no casino, or spa. There are tons of great music venues: performers at Rolling Stone Rock Room were the best, best, best we have ever seen, great couple at Billboard on Board, talented Lincoln Center Stage and BB King Blues teams! Nieuw Statendam is very easy to navigate ship. We would like to re-christen her to “Nieuw Cozydam”. The most friendly and most professional crew, mainly Indonesian / Filipino. Very polite passengers, and yes, bit older, but worked perfect for us. Most technological advanced theater with LED screen around. Areas around both pools never crowded, several free loungers. Here are other small premium touches not found on competition’s vessels: orchid plants on every single table in the buffet, live flowers in MDR, tons of live floral arrangements through out the ship, our cabin has 2 bathrooms (family ocean view stateroom 1030), received beautiful “diploma of finished cruise” signed by Captain on the end of journey. For disease prevention no self service in the buffet (very smart). Thinking about any room for improvement.... and simply can’t find any. Right after disembark from Nieuw Statendam, quick stop at the garage’s rooftop where we parked (see pic), exchanged clothes and supplies, and hopped on the Edge. I must say that Celebrity built a state of the art terminal (yes, matching Edge design), and it is the most beautiful terminal we’ve ever sailed from. Since we did all the paperwork in advance, the embarkation took 5 min. We had a blast from the first moment we stepped on board and were welcomed with champagne. Better name for this cruise liner would be “Celebrity WOW”. Very modern, stylish, impressive, spacious vessel we’ve ever been on, or we’ve ever seen including futuristic computer mock ups found online. Well-designed contemporary ship inside and out. Impressive atrium, theater, beautiful pool area and Rooftop Garden. We actually love the controversial infinite veranda concept (had 2 Concierge Class Infinite Verandas 11131, 11133 – it was a free upgrade from Celebrity, had originally 1 ocean view quad cabin booked – thank you Celebrity). State of the art cabin/bathroom/infinite veranda, all these light years ahead of any competition (seriously). Shows were great, food too. We did not try up charge restaurants, no casino or spa. We loved our waiters at Cosmopolitan Suphawan & Bundhoo, they worked in tandem, and were the most professional, quickest and beautiful looking team ever served us (see pic). Stateroom attendant Tania, she worked by herself, and also I would say she was the best, and very hardworking room keeper out of all 11 cruses. “Next generation” elevators, so modern and very efficient, biggest we’ve ever seen. There were so many new things for cruise industry we loved: non stop playing “mysterious” music on the stateroom hallways, two story high ceiling in the buffet, extra large staircases, multiple decks running track, amazing chandelier in the atrium, bizarre Eden, and even more bizarre Eden’s performers (we actually liked the controversial smell there), silent disco experience, professional and dedicated cruise director, spacious public areas, every single furniture well made and designed, very high quality materials allover, specially loved premium velour fabrics used on almost all chairs in all food venues. Tons of beautiful art and décor through out the ship. Since this is a band new product, there are minor things we would like Celebrity to polish: all shops on board are on high end side. Deserts and cakes at buffet some times were tasteless. There are designated areas with sink vases when entering the buffet, but no crew posted to encourage passengers to wash their hands. Sticky tongs in the buffet. Cakes were not individually portioned on plates, caused bit of mess at dessert stations. Too many restaurants located directly in the atrium area made this impressive space very loud (kitchen noises), and food smells. Final conclusion: Both these cruise lines, and both these ships are our favorite to date. As we mentioned earlier, our expectations were set very high, and we waited with a heart beat 1.5 year to both these sailings. What happened was we ended up with best vacations ever! Celebrity Edge is unique, most beautiful and most modern, truly a ship of the future. We really enjoyed photographing and exploring her. We had 3 stops, but in the event we have zero port of calls during 7 day cruise, we wouldn't complain. On the other hand, when we are looking from the distance at Nieuw Statendam, what we immediately see, it is an icon of premium and quality. Nieuw Statendam offered best music experience, best food quality, and the most friendly crew in the industry. This cozy ship makes us feel so special, like we were guests at our own resort. If you are not paying attention to all the bells and whistles other lines offers to attract families with children and younger crowd, both above vessels will fit you perfect. If you love dancing, great music, relaxing atmosphere, great food and service definitely do Nieuw Statendam. If you are décor person, would like to sail on the most modern ship in the world, sleep in “next generation cabin”, definitely Edge is a must to see! Now Scarlet Lady, and Edge’s and New Statendam’s future siblings are on our radar. Happy sailings! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
there was many disappointing things on the cruise. And a lot of excellent things. The staff was amazing her room stores were exceptional everyone seemed very friendly. The food was very average gnome memorable meals. We had prime rib one ... Read More
there was many disappointing things on the cruise. And a lot of excellent things. The staff was amazing her room stores were exceptional everyone seemed very friendly. The food was very average gnome memorable meals. We had prime rib one night was very good, had steak it was tough and seasoned odd. Breakfast want anything special. The entertainment on mainstage was OK the comedian was excellent only there one day, he was an improv comedian working off the audience which was excellent. Then to piano players a young woman and a young gentleman that played the duration of the cruise they were amazing unbelievable very enjoyable to listen to. it seems like most of the day planned activities during the day on the ship were trying to sell you some thing a spa treatment or shoe inserts. The most disappointing thing was for afternoons our cabin had a strong paint smell which they were painting in different parts of the ship and it went to do the air conditioning system . And there was a couple days they were working on the electrical system outside the cabin banging away. We called and voiced our concerns and were told they were trying to improve the ship for future cruises, didn’t seem to care about us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Holland goes above and beyond to make you as comfortable and welcomed as possible. By far it is the BEST cruise line around. The food was great. The entertainment was great. All staff personable. Our room attendants went above and ... Read More
Holland goes above and beyond to make you as comfortable and welcomed as possible. By far it is the BEST cruise line around. The food was great. The entertainment was great. All staff personable. Our room attendants went above and beyond. As did the waiters. Love everything about Holland America Cruise Line. The ship was spotless. You are treated like royalty everyday. On our last day we had a bar-b-que on the private island. It was wonderful. You would think that you would be given hot dogs and burgers. We had that plus steaks, chicken, fish tacos plus multiple salads, fruits, cupcakes and hand dipped ice cream. It was a nice change and we enjoyed it. I just wish that there was a little more shopping on their island. On the ship you never had to wait in lines. Everything moved quickly. Also you can’t forget about the bread pudding +++++++. OMG what a treat. Thank you again for a wonderful, relaxing time. I can’t wait to do it again... Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Dh and I (mid 40's) and ds (teenager) are seasoned HAL cruisers (all three star). This cruise was a family cruise that included us, our newest addition, a one year old baby girl, and both of our mothers, 6 total. Baby girl is a ... Read More
Dh and I (mid 40's) and ds (teenager) are seasoned HAL cruisers (all three star). This cruise was a family cruise that included us, our newest addition, a one year old baby girl, and both of our mothers, 6 total. Baby girl is a toddler so we had to make some special arrangement for her. My mother in law has some mobility issues, so again some special arrangements. We embarked in Ft Lauderdale on Sunday 2/3/2019. Our itinerary was sea day, Grand Turk, San Juan, St Thomas, sea day, and Half Moon Cay. We stayed at the Embassy Suites ($385 per room a night) in Ft. Lauderdale as we have 3 times before but this will be our last time there. Despite getting there at 1:30pm we were not allowed into our room until 5pm (4pm is check in) and the utter chaos of embarkation morning with the 5 tiny elevators being crammed full constantly and no help for those with mobility issues was too much. We will make other arrangements when cruising out of Ft Lauderdale next year. We used GoShuttle's private van service in Ft Lauderdale for all our transport needs as they were able to accommodate our whole family, all our luggage and they were very good with my mother in law and daughter. Embarkation: Once at Port Everglades at approx 10:50, embarkation was a breeze. We are 3 star Mariners so no special priority boarding but we still only waited until 11:45 to board. Our cabin was ready immediately. Ship: The ship is a great size. The decor is very HAL, more subdued and elegant, which is our speed. We do not care for Joe Farcus' designs as on Carnival and Costa. The layout is also very much like the Vista class. The HAL wrap around wide promenade is a favorite of ours. The retractable lido pool roof is great. We never felt crowded on the ship though the lido could get really busy at lunch. Cabin: We had three deck 4 aft starboard cabins. Ours was 4155. Great cabins. We had the stewards open the balconies up for us which was very nice. The balconies on this deck are deeper and we loved being nearer the ocean. Plenty of storage. Bath is small but has a tub which is nice for the toddler. We requested a Graco Pack n Play for the toddler and it fit next to the couch with plenty of room to spare. We also needed an extension cord for dh's cpap which the steward provided and set up. 2 normal plugs on the desk. 2 usb on the desk and 1 usb near each night stand. The bathroom counter was small but we had room for all our stuff as well as a bottle drying rack for the toddler. Cabin stewards: Great!! They were there when we needed them, took our unlimited laundry everyday, they exceeded our expectations. Food: Lido... good quality, great selection all three meals. The whole roasted suckling pig with crispy skin was a nice meal. The curry and chili crusted lamb chops were even better. High chairs WITH TRAYS available on request though we did have one attendant that had to go ask someone else where they were MDR... food was very good, service was too. We ate 4 dinners and 2 lunches there. Our table stewards were always on the ball. The meal did not feel over long. A highchair with a tray was available as soon as we sat down. The toddler was catered to. Her milk and fruit appetizer was there asap. The kid's menu was very kid friendly. Mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, french fries. For the older, more culinarily advanced kiddo, you can get a half portions of ANY mdr entree for your youngins. We even ordered her a crab cake appetizer because she ate half of mine. Gala night entrees were exceptional. The veal dishes and guinea with gnocchi were stand outs as were the baked crab cakes. Room service... great all around. We did at least continental breakfast with ample string coffee everyday. Write STRONG next to "coffee" if you like it that way and it will be that way. Good stuff. If you want something not on the nightly breakfast door tag, just write it on there. Other room service ordered by our group was great. The stuff from the mdr dinner menu was hot and just as tasty as that served in the mdr. Dive in burgers and dogs.... Mmmm, great burgers and dogs, FANTASTIC french fries. Get the Dive in sauce. Pinnacle Grill.... Good as always. I know some have said they see a change in the meat quality over the years and I don't doubt their observation but my 10 oz filet was almost tender enough to cut with a fork. We paid the $70 supplement for caviar (you only live once) and it was worth it to us. Blini, egg yoke and white, chives, red onion, and shiny brown teeny tasty fish eggs. When mom, mil, and son went they tried the the vegetarian (eggplant and ravioli) options and enjoyed them very much. Tamarind.... this was the best meal of the cruise for us. Service was great as well. As a group, we tried all the soups, all good but the laksa was the favorite. We tried satay sampler, the duck, and the rib appetizers and loved them all though I was partial to the ribs. We had a sushi sampler as well as tempura lobster and dragon roll. Again all were excellent. One of us has the Korean duck breast and the rest the wasabi crusted tenderloin. The tenderloin were perfectly cooked and all but one realy enjoy the crust. The other person just scrapped off some and enjoyed the rest. The duck was tender and good as well. The mushrooms and bok choy as sides were really top notch. So much flavor. Dh and I enjoyed a flask of sake each during our meal which was indeed included in our Elite beverage package. The only miss was the dessert, we all got the Tamarind chocolate at the suggestion of our server but the ginger flavor was too bold for us. It was alright though because we were all so full and we went for ice cream in the lido later that night. Staff/crew in general: Regardless of location, they were great. They loved on our daughter and made our moms feel so welcome. There was one grumpy bartender in the Pinnacle Bar but he made the best drinks on the boat so he is excused. Holland America really does pick the best people. It is their strength. Entertainment: Main Stage:First night was the Super Bowl which was presented minus commercials on the Main Stage complete with waiters taking beverage orders and attendants with trays of yummy game snacks. We saw a bit of one of the shows in the Main Stage but we are not big production people so that was really not a focus. What we did see seemed far more professional than what we have seen on HAL in the past. BB Kings... THIS is the place to be. The BB King All Stars were unreal. Candy Graham, the lady singer, could really bring the house down. The gentleman singer, I didn't catch his name, did a Marvin Gaye medley that was out of this world. 3 sets a night, first 2 were better attended but even the last set had plenty of folks dancing the night away (I am guilty as charged) Billboard Onboard... caught a couple of these sets. The pianists are very talented but I am just not the fan of this style as opposed to the old style single piano man type (think Jimmy Maddox or Stryker). But it was a good time and very very popular. We never made it to the Lincoln Center Stage though we are very much fans of classical music. But with the toddler, not the easiest thing to manage. We did miss having a jazz trio in the Ocean Bar. HAL has had some great jazz musicians there in the past. All in all though there was more than enough great music to keep us completely entertained. Drink package: First time with a drinks package. We did the Elite package as it offered a better wine selection. We were not disappointed. We never reached the 15 alcoholic beverage limit and we did get quite a few non-alcoholic beverages too; coffees, bottled water, milkshakes at the lido bar. It was worth every penny to us. We could upgrade to top shelf liquors in our mixed drinks as well or add a shot of Bailey's, Kahlua or Frangelico in our milkshakes. We also used one of our drink allowances to do a Mixology class which I highly recommend. They never fail to be fun. We did the Quench package for mom's and son. Very good choice. Never had to worry about bottled water or soft drinks plus all the mocktails at any bar and the special coffees at the Crow's Nest were covered too. Spa: First time without the Thermal Suite package. I missed it but knew with the toddler I would not have time for it. I did get an updo for both Gala nights. The stylist did a great job both nights but do go into your appointment with an IDEA of what you want or you risk looking like Tina Turner in Thunder Dome. I always peruse the daily spa specials and wasn't disappointed this time. Mini-facial, full body massage by a very strong/talented masseuse. I got my monies worth. Good experience. Ports: Standard Eastern Caribbean. Grand Turk is no longer a favorite sadly. The port area is too crowded and Margarittaville's DJ started getting vulgar pretty early in the day. We headed back to the ship at noon for lunch. We might try Jack's Shack for longer next time or just stay on the ship. I will say though that the cruise port staff were kind and the complimentary wheel chairs they offer are much appreciated. My mother in law has difficulty with long distances and that pier is a bit of a hike. The lady that helped her was a real sweet lady. We tipped her well. San Juan was very pleasant though very crowded. We got there early thankfully. Mom had never been to the forts (mil had years ago so she stayed on the ship until later) so we walked there and did that. Then we stopped in Old Town for shopping and back to the ship by 4:30pm. It rained all night so no more venturing out. St Thomas was very nice. We got a van cab to downtown. We went to Palm Passage and ate at Amalia Cafe. The food was great. Tapas, olives, gazpacho, sangria, paella, zarzuela.. fresh fish, very very good. I recomend this place. Email them for reservations though. It gets crowded. Half Moon Cay... we had the cabana with butler. It's worth it. The food was excellent and more than we all could eat. Unlimited drinks included is a very nice perk. But even without the cabana, HMC is idyllic. It is the perfect beach day. Disembarkation: Smooth. We were off by 8:45. A porter helped us with luggage and mil wheelchair. He whisked us through customs. We were on our transfer bus by 9:15. The kids: Our son who is a teen met up with some other teens onboard. The teen club is pretty free flowing and stays open on their schedule. He had fun. We also bought him the Quench Package which is unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. He used this very well on coffees and mocktails. We will buy it again. Our 1 year old daughter was too young for any shipboard activities but she was catered too and loved on by the crew and even many of the passengers. She was the "Rock Star" and we were merely her staff. I think the whole crew greeted her by name by the time we disembarked. She was very spoiled. Of note, FLL airport is a pit. I am sorry for those that like the airport. It is the worst international airport I have been in and I have been in some bad ones. It has been horrible for years but now it is intolerable. It is a quarter the size it needs to be to comfortably handle the number of travelers that move through it several days every week all fall and winter long. We will never go through FLL again. The staff are rude, the help for those with mobility issues is nil, the seating and food options are completely inadequate. We will fly into MCO (Orlando, a great airport with tons of options and cheaper flights), rent a car, and stay at a less expensive hotel north of Ft Lauderdale, do our pre-cruise shopping in comfort, and drop off the car embarkation day and take an Avis/Budget shuttle to the port. We will do the reverse when we disembark. In summary, everything HAL this trip was great. FLL airport, Embassy Suites, and Grand Turk were the only downers and things we will change in the future. We are already booked on Nieuw Amsterdam for next year we enjoyed the ship that much! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have been loyal Oceania passengers for many years. We looked for a winter Caribbean cruise to our liking. We preferred a maximum of 10 nights, because after that the novelty starts to wear off. And we don't like to leave our pet ... Read More
We have been loyal Oceania passengers for many years. We looked for a winter Caribbean cruise to our liking. We preferred a maximum of 10 nights, because after that the novelty starts to wear off. And we don't like to leave our pet cat for extended periods of time. Oceania's winter trips were skewed towards longer voyages. Friends had recommended HAL, and this itinerary had a great balance of beautiful islands and the right number of sea days. (We sailed for 10 nights; the last 3 were a separate Oprah fan cruise.) We had followed the maiden voyage of this ship via the LIVE reports on Cruise Critic. The photos and narrative filled us with anticipation. We had not been on a "new" ship in many years. Once onboard, we were awed by the beautiful decor, furniture, and art. Usually I yawn when reading about onboard art, but we were impressed by many of the paintings and sculptures. The cabin was very comfortable and importantly, there was more than ample storage space. Our only complaint is that there was a charge for the bottled water replenished in the cabin, about $5.00 per bottle. And no pitchers of regular water was available. We ate most dinners in the MDR. (The menus of the specialty restaurants were not appealing to us.) The dinners were among the BEST in any MDR we experienced on any cruise line! And having 3 courses was just right. We were accustomed to 5 course Oceania meals, which sometimes seemed too much and too long. I liked that each dinner included a special regional entree, which I relished more than once. And it was a good sign that I never had the need to select from the 'everyday" menu. There was so many enticing dishes to choose from. When we are up early enough, it is always a pleasure to have breakfast in the MDR. And HAL had a wonderful selection of menu items. It was especially pleasing that there was more than one type of French Toast, and egg dished like huevos rancheros. My only negative is that the croissants were not as fluffy and delicate as the ones on Oceania. The outdoor NY Deli and Pizza served up tasty sandwiches and made to order pizzas. The system where you were given a pager for picking up your order was very efficient. The entertainment was a nice alternative to the production shows we were accustomed to on Oceania. All the venues were conveniently on the same deck in a central location. The Billboard club had a talented married piano player / singer duo, who told interesting anecdotes between songs. The B.B. King lounge had one of the most talented band with vocalists that I have heard on any ship. As a fan of classic rock, the Rolling Stone venue was pitch perfect, though I wish the volume was at a lower decibel level. There were also two shows with very funny comedians. No need to say much on the ports, as this was a beach vacation for us. Suffice to say we found many beautiful beaches to visit via taxi, with chairs and umbrellas available for rental. I would note a shortcoming in that we liked having a daily newsletter that listed public transportation availability, distance to points of interest, and estimated fares - which Oceania provided. One more point is that our last cruise was trying Viking Sea, which was more expensive and generally inferior to this HAL experience. All in all, we loved our HAL cruise and the many friendly passengers we met at our shared dinner tables. And we will be on this ship again in June, which we look forward to with great anticipation! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We love Tim Timmons & Mercy Me so we went on the Mercy Me at sea cruise it was awesome except for the Holland America cruise line. The service in the main dining room was horrible they were not friendly at all. The menu was bad except ... Read More
We love Tim Timmons & Mercy Me so we went on the Mercy Me at sea cruise it was awesome except for the Holland America cruise line. The service in the main dining room was horrible they were not friendly at all. The menu was bad except for 3 nights out of 7 nights. The buffets are bad because you cannot take what you want you have to wait inline and be served. There is nothing to do on the ship thank goodness we had special events all week. The ports we did not get to go to the ports we were expecting to go because they claim that it was too rough waters. It was not rough except for 1 night but we were at sea that day. The fitness center is very small and the staff is not qualified. I would never go on Holland America if they did not have the Christian Cruises. I like the ships and how they look but they need more activities. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship ... Read More
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship is in need of some desperate overhaul as it is looking very old and run down. Their was no sail away party on any deck, only soft music which no one could hear on the back Lido deck. The bar staff on the Lido deck were outstanding and made the cruise a little more enjoyable with their outstanding service. ( maybe other staff members could look at them and learn something) Many thanks to Edwin,Leonard and Ed for their outstanding service. Lido restaurant was very blend with their food night after night. Same food just with different names often Luke warm served on very hot plates. My wife had a good talk with the Lido management one night about having different theme night for dinner EG Asian,Indian,Australian international type dinners. To the managers credit they did do Asian theme for one night only then went back to the old ways. The only entertainment on the back Lido deck was a music trivia every afternoon. A band playing music would have been a lot better. We had nothing but trouble with our cruise accounts being blocked by the front desk day after day, and we weren’t they only ones with this issue Maybe when HAL travel in Australian waters in the future the should accommodate fit the Australian market a bit more as 80% of guests are either AUS or NZ. best advertising in by mouth for any business and myself and my wife and other guests will not be doing any advertising. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and ... Read More
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and the staff are wonderful. The main issues were the food, entertainment and the Loft (lack of). Firstly, the food in the main dining room for the first few days of the cruises was very uninspiring. It was hard to find something to eat. The food did improve. Cannot fault the wait, wine and front of restaurant staff, they were very friendly and always smiling. The entertainment was very poor, the entertainment that did come on to the ship were very good (in particular Patrick McMahon) but there wasn't enough. In one week they had two guest artists that played individually and then together one night. Also, on two nights they should movies. We don't get the chance to see live entertainment much because of children so in the past the cruise night time entertainment was something to look forward to. There is BB Kings that play 3 times a night. They are good but unfortunately both singers got sick at the end of the cruise so they weren't able to sing and the head office wouldn't let anyone else stand in for them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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