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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I was worrying before the cruise due to many negative reviews and feedback here regarding the ship and the cruise line itself. I think if someone is "hardly American or Canadian" should be a different category in the reviews. ... Read More
I was worrying before the cruise due to many negative reviews and feedback here regarding the ship and the cruise line itself. I think if someone is "hardly American or Canadian" should be a different category in the reviews. These people usually cannot recognize any kind of food but hamburgers and fried things. Every other food is just an "unknown thing" for them and after, they write a really negative review, mostly complain about the food. European cruise lines (HAL, MSC, Costa, NCL) are really different then Princess, Celebrity and especially Carnival. If you hate European food and don't like the European vibe and style - stay away from there companies and don't mislead others with your negative reviews. Zuiderdam is a little bit old ship and you can see some signs of her age (Carpets, walls in the elevators), but the staff tries their best to keep it clean and good condition. There is a lots of elderly person on board, not such much child you can see on MSC or Carnival. However HAL doesn't focus on families with children, there is enough activities and programs for children. My kids ( 8 and 11) loved the Club HAL and the pool area. Dining room staff entertained kids during every dinner, made their dining time funny and unforgettable. Embarkation and the check in is very well organized, it was very quick and smooth with only few minutes of wait. Our room steward was excellent, but I can say the whole crew on board was extremely nice and helpful. I have not experienced this kind of service before. The only negative I can say is the hotel service charge. HAL charges the same amount for kids and adults ($14.50 per person for a balcony stateroom). But, you can ask the customer service to reduce this amount or even remove every hotel service charge. We decided to make it zero and we gave cash for our steward and our dining room waiters. It was out first cruise with HAL, but not the last. I have already booked a new one on board for the summer break and I definitely recommend this cruise line for everyone who is not afraid of the European things. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Rotterdam Christmas 2018 We left Pennsylvania Sunday morning, Dec. 23 with a 6:05 flight time on Southwest. Arriving at the airport (after being delayed at the car park) at 4:30 with the line to check bags we were a bit concerned. We ... Read More
Rotterdam Christmas 2018 We left Pennsylvania Sunday morning, Dec. 23 with a 6:05 flight time on Southwest. Arriving at the airport (after being delayed at the car park) at 4:30 with the line to check bags we were a bit concerned. We did get the bags checked in about 25 minutes and then headed up to security. The lines were huge but fortunately we all had TSA pre-check and we breezed right through security. We even had time to get a breakfast at McDonald’s right by the gate. Just as we finished breakfast boarding began. The flight was absolutely fine and on-time. We landed in Tampa at 8:45 and had our luggage by 9:15. A pleasant Uber driver had us at the port at 9:45. We quickly checked our bags and got in line for the terminal to open at 10:00. It was a cool morning in Tampa (about 50 degrees) so they opened the terminal early to get folks “In out of the cold.” We had a nice conversation while waiting in line for security to open. We were quickly checked in and shown to the 4 & 5 star waiting area. There was nothing special about it, just a smaller more private room, and when boarding began at 11:30 we were the first to board. We have not been on the Rotterdam before but immediately felt very comfortable. We found Job, a dining room manager, at a desk on deck 4 where we were the first to discuss special dietary needs and a wish for fixed dining. He said they had just received a cancellation that morning and we were able to join a six-top, table 55, right at the aft windows. He also took all of DW’s special diet needs and promised to stop by our table (which he did) to make sure everything was good. We enjoyed embarkation lunch in the dining room. We showed our DS around the ship and attended the mariner’s welcome back reception before the muster drill. After the muster drill we found our luggage delivered and we unpacked and prepared for dinner. We visited the tour desk and arranged for an ATV adventure in Honduras for our DS. Dinner was okay, not great, but service was excellent and rather prompt. We attended the EXC guide talk at 7:30 but after that the 2:30 start to the day was taking its toll and we called it a night. Monday, December 24, 2018 – Christmas Eve in Key West DS was up early and we found him reading on the Lido. We enjoyed breakfast together in the dining room. After breakfast we went to talk to the EXC guide about Honduras. He told us that there was expected to be several local tour options offered once off the dock in town. At 10:00 a Dutch Shuffleboard tournament was held and I ended up winning with 156 points. We docked a little early and the ship was cleared at 10:50, ahead of our stated 11:00 arrival. We left Rotterdam to explore Key West. We are docked right at Mallory Square, so that is very convenient. We took photos of the old customs house, Milepost Zero, the southernmost point (but did wait in the block-long line for our own photo), the southernmost beach, and the ‘sand snow-man’ at the beach. We took the free “Duval” bus back towards the ship, stopped at CVS for a few necessities, and then headed back to Rotterdam. We enjoyed a light lunch in the lido and I had a burger from the Dive-In. The burgers are very good. DS and I enjoyed the pool and hot tub. The pool was too cold for this northerner. I guess that doesn’t bother the young folks on board. We rested up a little bit and loaded the photos onto my computer before getting ready for the evening. We made it to happy hour in the Ocean Bar. Dinner was a special Christmas Eve menu and it was good. There was a little delay with DW’s special order. We went to a special “Sheridan’s” tasting at the shops and the Piano bar at the mix started at 8:00 so we enjoyed that. We caught part of the 9:00 show, a comedian, and returned to the Piano bar until 10:45. The special crew Christmas Eve service was wonderful. That went to 11:50 and a late night Christmas Eve buffet was available in the lido. Several Dutch specialties such as Ollie Bollen and Dutch Apple Pie were available. Tuesday, December 25 – Christmas Day at Sea We tried to sleep in but even so were in the dining room for breakfast by 8:30, partly helped by an hour time change to Central time. At 10:00 we attended the “Santa comes to Rotterdam” festivities in the main showroom. That was a lot of fun, especially the video that was put together of Santa exploring the ship before he appeared in the rear of the showroom. We had made reservations for lunch in the Pinnacle. Service was challenged likely due to a combination of the venue being popular and one of the chefs being ill. Lunch ended up being quite nice but it took them bringing my meal twice. The Pinnacle manager ended up comping our meal. We were really tired after staying up last night but attempts to nap failed. The pool and hot tub were enjoyed for a while. We enjoyed happy hour in the Ocean Bar and the drinks were perfect. The special Christmas Dinner menu included roast Turkey as well as a variety of surf & turf. Christmas Ham was also an option. We attended the show, ____ Jukebox. The performers were very good although most of the songs were not know to us. After the show we were just too tired and called it a night. Wednesday, December 26 – Trujillo (Banana Coast) Honduras We enjoyed a dining room breakfast before heading out to this largely unknown port. DS has an “ATV adventure” booked through the ship and we tendered over at the same time. After he checked in for his excursion we headed out to explore. A short walk past the port gates found us at a series of restaurants lining the beach. One of these looked clean, had a sign saying “English spoken,” along with other signs “$5 chair rental; $3 ice cold beer” and others. A friendly person waived us in and after looking the place over we decided to stay here. $10 for two beach loungers and an umbrella is a good deal nearly anywhere. We enjoyed a drink each, a couple of swims, watched other cruisers brave the “Banana boat,” and had a very nice 2 ½ hours. A total investment of $22 including a generous tip was well spent. We talked with our waitress who told us Rotterdam was only the second ship to call here this year, and only two or three more ships were scheduled to call. She said the town would love to become a regular cruise stop as they had a lot to offer and port calls create employment. Their biggest local concern is the lack of employment for young people. After leaving the beach we headed to town to walk around a bit. We ran into Abrie, the travel guide who was on his way back to the tender pier. We saw several stands selling local crafts on the main square, a large Christmas tree, a manger scene, and lots of locals out enjoying the day. We headed back to the tender pier and were back on board Rotterdam at 1:30. I enjoyed a Dive Inn burger (excellent on Rotterdam) and cooled off in the pool a little. We went to the Ocean Bar happy hour and the Mai-Tai’s were not made well this day. Way too strong and attempts to make them better failed. Went to dinner and all was well. The show was a Magician and he was very good. The piano bar is ‘off’ tonight so we called it a night after the show. Thursday, December 27, 2018 – Santo Thomas de Castilla, Guatemala. It is said that sometimes “You can’t do it over again.” That was certainly true here in Santo Thomas. We were here in 2009 and had a wonderful day visiting the Las Escobas River and waterfalls, swimming under the falls, and then enjoying the afternoon at the Green Bay resort. In fact, I have two photos of this in my office at work, some nine years after the visit, as the memories were so fond. I found out before the cruise that the Green Bay resort had gone under, but the waterfalls were still there. So we arranged taxi service for $25/pp round trip, and paid $14 entrance fee to the national park for each of us at the entrance. They have certainly improved the entrance area with nature displays and our trail guide was very pleasant. The experience was such a letdown however. Since our 2009 visit, they have now built two additional pipelines taking water out of the river from above the falls for the local towns. Okay, but this leaves just a trickle of water going down the river. We did swim at the lower falls and it was refreshing, but this was nowhere near the 2009 experience. At the upper falls we didn’t even go into the pool. We walked back down to the entrance and headed back to the port. On the way back to the port we had a brief tour of the town of Santo Thomas de Castilla. We were happy to be back to the port shortly thereafter. We did peruse some of the vendors at the port market and bought some ladies sandals, men’s belts, and a gift item. Back on the Rotterdam we enjoyed lunch and some pool time. Some of the tour providers did put on a little farewell presentation on the pier; however it was nothing like the all-out sendoff we remember from nine years ago. Dinner was enjoyable and after dinner we walked around a while before calling it a night. Friday, December 28 – Costa Maya, Mexico – NOT! Rotterdam was scheduled to dock at Costa Maya at 8:00. At 7:15 we could see we were just offshore with two large ships settling into port. Going out onto deck 3 the wind was strong enough to ‘blow you over!’ We went to the dining room for breakfast and right about 8:00 we closely approached the dock. The Allure of the Seas was at the outer dock and yikes that is some huge ship! We heard the engines and thrusters straining and quite suddenly they stopped and we were slowly drifting away from the dock. I said “I guess we are not going to Costa Maya” and 15 minutes later the captain came on and made the announcement that due to the gale-force winds and Rotterdam being assigned the inner dock there was no way to safely make port. We finished breakfast and headed to the lido where we grabbed a table near the pool. We enjoyed some pool time in the “Wave pool” and then attended an 11:00 “Coffee chat” with the magician entertainer. That was a lot of fun but the assigned Explorers Lounge was overflowing and a larger venue would have been better. We checked the menu for a dining room lunch and opted to head to the lido instead. That was a great call as slow roasted turkey was featured in the carving station! We were very tired and all three of us ended up taking an afternoon nap. We went to the Crow’s Nest happy hour, and then enjoyed our second gala dinner. The evening show was the jukebox and it was okay. After the show we enjoyed the piano bar until he took his break at 10:00 and called it a night. Saturday, December 29 – At sea, gulf of Mexico Breakfast in the dining room began our day. At 9:30 was “Ask the captain” and the captain began with a slideshow of the attempted docking in Costa Maya. It was very clear from the slide show that there was no chance to safely dock, but the weather report was extremely wrong as the winds were double what had been forecast. The captain also did a virtual tour of the bridge and engine room, and then answered questions from the floor. At 10:30 was the mariner’s reception in the Explorer’s lounge. This was nice with about 10 folks receiving their copper medallion. We opted to pass on the Mariner’s lunch after looking over the menu. We enjoyed lunch poolside and a surprise lunch time happy hour was enjoyed with lunch. No “Wave pool” today as the ocean is flat and there is no wind. In fact, Tampa port has a fog problem and despite a very early arrival at the pilot station, we dropped anchor there. We packed most of our luggage late in the afternoon. We should have at least kept bathing attire for the carry – off bag but failed to think ahead enough. Dinner was in the Pinnacle Grille and we enjoyed that very much. After dinner I wondered around a little before calling it a night. Sunday, December 30 – Disembarkation? Eventually! We woke to find we were still anchored at the Tampa bay pilot station. Fog had closed the port. Yes, there was certainly fog. But why close the port? In the spring of 2017 we cruised New England and Canada and every port was fogged in each morning, and much thicker fog that what we witnessed here in Tampa. We made every port on that cruise early, despite the fog. In any case, we had a dining room breakfast. We watched a movie, Crazy Rich Asians, in the showroom. We had lunch in the dining room. We started to watch a second movie, the latest Mission Impossible in the showroom but then the captain said we had been cleared to begin our approach and we would soon pass two outbound cruise ships and sail under the sunshine skyway bridge, so we went up to the observation deck to take photos. We certainly have never passed so close to other cruise ships moving at speed as we witnessed here! The channel is not very wide so they passed less than 200 meters portside of Rotterdam. It was fun as all the passengers were waving at each other. We led in a parade of three cruise ships and eventually docked at 6:00 PM. Despite being in the first color group to be called it was 7:30 before we were clear to disembark. They did feed us dinner in the lido, and the prime rib was excellent! After dinner we waited in the showroom where an NFL game was on the big screen. We had very little wait at customs and caught a cab to the airport to pick up our rental car. We are spending a couple of days in Florida before flying home New Year’s day morning, so this is the end of the cruise log. Summary: While we’ve done lots of Holland America cruises, this was our first on Rotterdam. I really like the ship. The décor is classic, the size is convenient, and the service generally superior. We had no “Bad meals.” Some meals were really great. In fact, Job and Wayan in the dining room went above and beyond in taking care of DW’s special dietary needs. For our adult son, this was his first HAL experience. After about two days he said “I feel like I went back in time.” I asked why? He said you just don’t ever get this kind of service anywhere. His room steward remembered all our names after the first introduction! He had a really great time. There were a few issues that were never really addressed. One was the temperature in our cabin, #3431. A few times it did go down but then it would go back up again. In any case, the thermostat had little (if any) effect. Our son’s cabin (#2588) was always comfortable. Likely due to the holiday crowding with many 3rd and 4th berths occupied, there were a few times it just seemed to take a little longer to get service. On the other hand, some of the bar staff really went out of their way to take care of us. I thought the captain really went out of his way to explain why our port call in Costa Maya needed to be aborted. I also think it’s a real shame that the Tampa port closes due to what seemed like not very bad fog. I can assure all the readers that we will have to think very long and hard before booking another cruise from Tampa. For us, this was a minor inconvenience until the 90 minutes from docking until our priority luggage tag color was called (which was just far too long). We were not flying that day, but usually we do fly immediately home! Overall I give this 7 night Christmas cruise on Rotterdam 3.5 stars out of five. I hope to cruise again on the elegant Rotterdam. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose this ship because we had a great experience 8 years ago on their cruise to Alaska. This was frankly very disappointing. Unlike the previous cruise most everything besides meals is extra. I mean like diet cokes , even WATER! They try ... Read More
Chose this ship because we had a great experience 8 years ago on their cruise to Alaska. This was frankly very disappointing. Unlike the previous cruise most everything besides meals is extra. I mean like diet cokes , even WATER! They try to up sell you on everything you do. Even Bingo.. They charged $2.50 for a pen! Outrageous. Then, in the gym, 3 out of 5 bikes worked. Stuff was not working. Also, more maddening than anything.. The wifi was useless. It barely worked and they charged 128 for premium! It was dial up speeds if any. Will never do this again with them. Excursions were ok.. Standard stuff. Room lighting was abysmal.. Couldn't read very well and again wifi non existant. 5 TV channels.. Wow. Pool and deck are fine, food lines very slow. No self service anymore probably due to health risks.. Dining room is again an upsell.. Lobsters 20 extra with no meat on them. Would rather eat dinner in Lido deck. The whole thing was very nickel and dime.. Not what I was thinking. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The embarkation process in San Diego was the easiest I have ever experienced. It may be because it is smaller and we were the only ship loading, but security, registration and boarding took 15-20 minutes in total. The Ship: As ... Read More
The embarkation process in San Diego was the easiest I have ever experienced. It may be because it is smaller and we were the only ship loading, but security, registration and boarding took 15-20 minutes in total. The Ship: As usual, HAL does a great job with decorating for Christmas in a classic, tasteful way. A gingerbread village was on Deck 1 in the Atrium and smelled so good when you were anywhere near it. I did notice a few less decorated trees this year (this is the 6th Christmas cruise my family has taken). The ship itself was in good repair, and we noticed some upgrades in the public areas from our last cruise on the Eurodam in March of 2018, including carpeting and seating in all public areas. They had reinstituted a book exchange in the Crow’s Nest and games, including 2 permanent Danish large wood games, can now be found in the Gallery Bar adjoining the casino (puzzles were still upstairs in the Crow’s Nest). I have always loved the Gallery Bar for the quiet atmosphere since it is tucked away, although it was less quiet on this cruise when the extra children and families on board for the holidays used it as a hangout. Still it was nice to have a place to go and they have many more games available than before. I have been fortunate/blessed enough on all my cruises to have had at least a balcony cabin and many have been in suites, but for some reason the balcony (class VF) on the Eurodam seemed smaller than usual to me. However, it was clean and comfortable. The cabin stewards were friendly and efficient, and we always enjoy having adjoining cabins so the balcony portion can be opened to allow travel between the rooms. It allows us to use an open/closed curtain system to know when others are willing to be disturbed. Our first two days were at sea, including Christmas Day, which was very relaxing on board. Ports: This was our first cruise out of San Diego and to the Mexican Baja Peninsula so we enjoyed the new places. San Diego is as beautiful as I heard. The hills, water and walkable streets were a feast for the senses and we especially enjoyed our time eating our way through Little Italy. There is a beautiful Catholic church there where we attended services. I was excited to visit the old Love Boat route, having grown up watching that show and always wishing I could be Julie McCoy. Our first stop at Puerta Vallarta was entertaining as we booked a walking food tour in the old part of the city (vallartafoodtours.com/food-tours/). Our tour guide Bernardo was knowledgeable and friendly. It was 3 ½ hours so a lot of walking was involved but all pretty much on flat ground- just wear good walking shoes. We stopped and 8 places sampling 9 types of food and drink. I can’t name a favorite because I enjoyed the chocolate shop, agua fresca, tuba water, street tacos and everything so much! I highly recommend this tour that was a 10 minute ride from the ship, which included history, a visit to the historic church and across the bridge to the island. The iguanas roaming the streets were entertaining. Note: the taxi from the ship areas was $24 for 3 of use to the meeting place at the end of the boardwalk. The ride back from in town was only $8 for all of us. I am sure there are risks with walking outside the ship area to get a taxi but it would be considerably cheaper. On the way back we had our driver drop us at the Walmart that was across the street from the cruise port. We always enjoy walking into foreign grocery stores to see the different products and we struck gold here, buying a liter of Kahlua for $8.50 USD! We were less thrilled with Mazatlán. After reading about State Department warning, we only briefly walked outside the cruise ship area here, not venturing into the old town. It requires a tram ride from the ship to the cruise terminal area where many shops and vendors await, as it is a working, busy port. I did buy something at an ice cream stand ($3 minimum purchase) so I could obtain wifi and get email from work. We also enjoyed margaritas and spicy chips and homemade salsa at the bar in the center of the plaza. The next stop was Cabo, which was a clear favorite. The areas we visited (historic, shopping and port areas) were clean, felt very safe and we enjoyed a visit to Cabo Wabo Cantina for delicious, spicy fajitas and ceviche, as well as delicious tequila based drinks. The food and drink prices there and at the bar we stopped at on the waterfront were very reasonable. Cabo was beautiful as we entered and beautiful as we left. It was definitely a place I would come back and visit for a longer period of time. We would have liked more time there than the 6 hours we had, since we had to be back on board at 2:30 and really be prepared even earlier to head back since it required a tender. We then enjoyed a final day at sea before arriving back in San Diego on Sunday where the disembarkation process was easy as well. We waited in our cabin after a quick breakfast (a welcome benefit for HAL who lets you do this) until our time to exit was called. We quickly found our luggage and exited the terminal. Again because it is small, it is easy to get beyond the secured area to pick up an Uber or taxi to the airport. Food and Drinks: Although HAL has a pretty clear brand, over my many voyages there has been variability as to the quality of the food, really meaning between good and great. This trip fell into the great category and is a testament to the Hotel Director, as well as the head chef and chief bakers. Perhaps because Hal caters to an older crowd who may be more conscious of a lower salt diet, I have found food on other trips to be a little bland. Not so on this trip, where the proper use of salt in all items, including bread made the products more flavorful. The desserts had a fresher, more vibrant taste, as did our entrees in the dining room and food from the Lido Market. We enjoyed all of the specialty restaurants at least once (using our newly acquired Mariner discount) and all were enjoyable. Canaletto in particular was a better experience than on prior trips as the food quality was good and the service was at least twice as fast on prior visits. A major concern about this venue to the time it takes to order and receive different courses. This was a much improved experience and they have now added an additional entrée as a special of the day. I would like to see that at all of the specialty restaurants as it adds something different if you have dined there many times. We did attend afternoon tea on two occasions, one with plated services and one with waiters walking around serving. The food, consistent with the other dining venues, was better on this cruise. The Lido Buffet was very good (an effusive thank you to Rouisa who served us breakfast at the Lido most mornings we ate there- the friendliest employee HAL has). Denada was another roving server in the Lido who was always welcoming. Beverage service on this cruise was some hit and some miss. They had 5 specialty holiday cocktails we enjoyed trying, both throughout the trip and at a $15 bar class where we tried 3 of the specialty cocktails and took home the recipes. One pour note (sorry for the bad pun but I couldn’t resist): they have a new Dale DeGroff cocktail menu and we were excited to try some cocktails. However, it was only 2 weeks old and they did not have all the correct ingredients listed so the bartender liberally used substitutes. However, you cannot substitute cinnamon syrup in a drink with ground cinnamon and think it is the same. Other substitutions were for cheaper brands of liquor, or leaving out ingredients altogether. The bar tender apologized and we actually asked him to remake one drink because he didn’t measure and it tasted awful. I was disappointed to pay anything for these drinks and believe they should have told us upfront that they could not make the requested items. Also, for new drinks, measuring ingredients is necessary, even for experienced bartenders. As mentioned, we enjoyed the holiday drinks, particularly one called the Christmas Cookie and other HAL menu staples such as the Tropical Cable Car, but found significant variations from bar to bar as to taste and alcohol level. In another instance, we were given two wine lists in the main dining room and had no problems ordering from both (the older one being much more extensive). However, at the Pinnacle the next night, the wine steward did not want to give us the old menu, stating that most of the wines in it had been discontinued. In fact, our choice of a bottle was not available. To her credit, she did substitute a similar type that was a few dollars more for the same price. All in all, some consistency from bar to bar is still needed. Entertainment and Other: My only other comment is regarding Internet service. The HAL app is very useful and I like being able to see events, my shipboard account and keep track of ship time using my phone or iPad. However, when I purchased the Internet package (mid-tier so I could keep in touch with work), it would download the message line of emails, but never download the content so I could read the body. These were not emails with large attachments, and my sole visit to the customer service desk on this trip was to ask if there was a problem with the Internet. The response was that we were at sea so it could be slower. Clearly never getting an email to fully download (even after 20 minutes) is more than being slow. However, they promptly refunded the full charge to my account when I asked for a refund due to the service issue. Although I stopped and listened at BB King, Billboard and Lincoln Center a few times I did not partake in any scheduled nightly entertainment. I did want to see the comedy show that only had one viewing, but by the time we arrived at the theatre, it was already standing room only. It seemed there were a few more activities scheduled, including dance classes and we enjoyed the EXE talks about Mexico’s history and geology. I remain a loyal HAL cruiser and continue my journey towards 4-star before I retire and take my 30+ day cruise as a reward. This trip was better than most, and our next cruise was already booked several months ago so my new countdown has begun! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was a family Christmas Vacation Cruise sponsored by my Mother, Step Father, Sister and my 13 year old Daughter. Words can't describe the entire experience from the moment our Taxi dropped us off at the Port Everglades to our ... Read More
This was a family Christmas Vacation Cruise sponsored by my Mother, Step Father, Sister and my 13 year old Daughter. Words can't describe the entire experience from the moment our Taxi dropped us off at the Port Everglades to our ten minute total check in time!! The ship looked perfect size from outside. AS soon as we got off elevator our Steward walked us to our room, his name was Amin and his partner was Ray Ban! The cabin had a balcony and plenty of storage!!! The space on balcony was perfect! Bedding was so very comfortable! The Dining was varied and perfect everwhere...our Dining Room Steward was YanMar and he walked us to our table each night and pushed the wheel chair for us!! Activity room for teens was active and safe! Service was friendly and prompt at ALL times!! We took tender to Grand Caymen..loved the public beach. Did Dolphin Swim at Ochos Rios.....Beach Park at Cozumel and Beach at Moon Cay. My favorite was water temperature and clarity of water at Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach. My least favorite was the taxi ride rip offs to the beaches in Cozmel which were very rocky! Cozmel seemed like a hustle...all other desitinations were more relaxed Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoyed a 14 day Caribbean cruise (it turned out to be 2, 7-day back to backs) from Ft. Lauderdale for the Christmas and New Years holidays. Overall, an excellent experience. This was our 13th cruise since we started sailing 8 years ... Read More
We enjoyed a 14 day Caribbean cruise (it turned out to be 2, 7-day back to backs) from Ft. Lauderdale for the Christmas and New Years holidays. Overall, an excellent experience. This was our 13th cruise since we started sailing 8 years ago. We've taken cruises on Carnival (5), Princess (2) and Celebrity (5) in that progression. Our last 5 cruises have been on Celebrity (typically Aqua class which is nice). We thought Celebrity was very good (but with declining conditions on their Solstice Class ships) and had heard good things about Holland. We were worried that the demographics may be a too old for us (our average age is 55 and we're very active). Since this was a holiday cruise, there was a mix of ages and we had no concerns about demographics. We saw very few motorized scooters and certainly no more than on other ships. We booked a 21 day Baltic cruise on the same ship for this summer. The Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship - not only because of it's new but also the quality of materials and the thoughtfulness in design. The Veranda staterooms, while a bit smaller than the Aqua Class on the Solstice ships, are very efficient with more storage and the bathroom ergonomics more than make up for the slightly smaller footprint. The public spaces are very attractive and exude a warm feeling - not a cold, austere, "heavy on the chrome" design that we've experienced on some other cruise lines. Lots of interesting, original (and nice) artwork. The staff was courteous and the cruise director, Ross, was excellent. The captain made one, and sometimes two, announcements each day with details on our progress, weather conditions, etc. very informative. Once again, even better than we've experienced on Celebrity, which we thought was quite good. The ship is active in the evening with the "Music Walk" on deck 2 hosting "Billboard 100" (two accompanying, singing pianists - good fun), Lincoln Center Stage (a classical quintet with 3, 40 minute offerings that vary daily - not to be missed), BB King Blues after 9 PM and the "Rolling Stone Rock Room" from 8 PM onward. The World Theater hosts very accomplished dancers with a visual arts presentation beyond that on other ships. We usually retire about 10:30 each evening - but there is much more to these venues later on. A note - because of this would not recommend booking a room directly above these venues. We were on deck 6 mid-ship and it was very quiet :) The food in both the Lido (9th deck) and Main Dining Room (decks 2 and 3) is good. We did not try the specialty restaurants. The Lido is by far the most attractive and well appointed "buffet" area that we've experienced and we like that the staff serves the portions onto our plates. The coffee is a bit strong for me, but hey! Since we've had several Caribbean cruises we did not disembark at each port. San Juan was good - the "Old Town" and the 16th century Spanish fort "El Morro". Charlotte Amalie did not offer much beyond the usual jewelry shops. Half Moon Cay (a private island in the Bahamas) has a beautiful beach with an extensive barbecue served by the ships crew. We had an Everglades tour (coupled with bus service to the airport) that was quite convenient. The alligators swim up close to the air boats and not to be missed (keep your hands in the boat). The gymnasium is smaller and less inviting than we're used to on the Celebrity Solstice ships, but adequately equipped for a good one hour session. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Our family (14 of us) headed out on a cruise to celebrate a major birthday over the Christmas holiday. We did well overall. Balcony staterooms (category SY, cabin 8054 and similar) are lovely, spacious and very attractive. Bathrooms are ... Read More
Our family (14 of us) headed out on a cruise to celebrate a major birthday over the Christmas holiday. We did well overall. Balcony staterooms (category SY, cabin 8054 and similar) are lovely, spacious and very attractive. Bathrooms are particularly comfortable for this class accommodation. The ports were unexceptional. Of the four scheduled ports, the stop for Holland America's cay was cancelled, attributed to windy conditions. Food was satisfactory although main dining room service was slow. The ship converts a portion of the breakfast buffet to a specialty restaurant in the evenings.. Having small fry along and wanting to hold a quicker event than dinner in the main dining room, we scheduled the big birthday celebration there. We reserved the space at the very start of the cruise (the earliest reservation allowed under the Holland America playbook). A big mistake! The dinner really dragged on: After two hours we had not reached coffee, tea or dessert. The children became itchy (adults too), our requests for better service got us nowhere, and so we left without beverages or the pre-ordered birthday cake. The restaurant staff agreed to send the birhday cake to one of our cabins. But that was clearly not part of the Holland America master plan for that dining room. The cake never came. A post-cruise extra: six months after paying for the cruise and three months after it ended, Holland America discovered a four-figure mistake in our favor the amount taken from our credit card, and insisted on payment. My bottom line: Holland America offers a nice product for its price, but don't expect anything to be customized. You get what the brochure offers and that is that! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We were going on a family vacation with twelve people in 7 cabins including 4 teenagers and wantedall ages to have fun. The ship’s public spaces were tired looking and needed repairs. The breakfast, lunch and pool areas were ... Read More
We were going on a family vacation with twelve people in 7 cabins including 4 teenagers and wantedall ages to have fun. The ship’s public spaces were tired looking and needed repairs. The breakfast, lunch and pool areas were understaffed. Our cabin had ongoing problems with the shower that they could not seem to fix. We could not use our cabin for 3 days while they were trying to fix old plumbing and so we could not relax in our cabin during the day. The management shrugged their shoulders at our discomfort. When we wrote to the head of Holland America after the cruise, they said we had a minor inconvenience and offered us 4 bottles of wine and an upgrade on a future cruise. No one ever said “sorry”. We will never sail on Holland America again. To us, it was not minor. We spent a substantial amount of money taking our family away and expected a relaxing, good quality cruise, not what felt like being on a cargo ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise specifically for the stop in Cienfuegos and the dates worked with our kids winter breaks. Embarking on the cruise was very easy, our cabin steward was great. We signed the kids up for club HAL but they never ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically for the stop in Cienfuegos and the dates worked with our kids winter breaks. Embarking on the cruise was very easy, our cabin steward was great. We signed the kids up for club HAL but they never went. I guess they have outgrown it (ages 10, 12 and 13). Everything seemed well maintained and we didn't have any plumbing issues although I met a woman who did. We spent a good bit of time relaxing at the lido pool playing ping pong or in the exploration lounge playing board games. I found the lights in the main dining to be too bright. They seemed much brighter than the lights on the Rotterdam or Zaandam. We did not see any of the shows. One complaint I have is the timing of the shows/movies. The movies tended to start at 7pm and the shows were at 8 or 10pm. We had the late seating for main room dining so unless we wanted to stay up super late it wasn't practical to catch the entertainment and with 4 ports stops most mornings we needed to be up for a shore excursion. On other cruise lines they've had an early show that you could see and then do dinner after. I also there had been more educational talks about Cuba. We did the South America/Antarctica cruise a couple years ago and I loved all the various talks about Wildlife, exploration, etc. Overall a great and relaxing cruise, but the only stop that we really enjoyed was Cienfuegos. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not ... Read More
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not sure if this is peculiar to the Westerdam or a trend for HAL. 1) No self service laundry any more - only valet service. 2) No separate disco anymore; has been converted into a games / TV area. 3) New Years Eve celebrations had been confined to Lido instead of multiple options across the ship. 4) The number of hand sanitizers around the ship were far fewer. 5) No prizes anymore for daily activities. 6) Trivia and happy hour no longer located on Observation Deck. No reason to go there any more. 7) Entertainers had far less interaction with the guests than previous cruises. I still rated the service aspect very highly for our cabin staff and waiters in the Main Dining Room. The food was excellent too. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. The Visa costs for Vietnam and Cambodia added a lot to the cost of our trip. This was handled well by HAL but guests need to be aware of these charges before booking the cruise. On previous HAL cruises we have felt like Royalty. On this one, we felt like a number. I hope these reductions are only on the Westerdam but I fear it might be across the fleet? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
4 of us took a family trip on the Westerdam from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore. Excellent value for money -- the food and service was great and we enjoyed all the ports. There was a good mix of people on the ... Read More
4 of us took a family trip on the Westerdam from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore. Excellent value for money -- the food and service was great and we enjoyed all the ports. There was a good mix of people on the cruise and it was a nice change to experience Christmas and New Years on a ship. Our rooms were between mid-ship and aft on deck 4, and we didn't have any issues at all. On shorter port days we took some of the excursions organized by Holland America, which worked out well. And on the overnight stay in Laem Chabang we organized a round-trip taxi at the cruise terminal and stayed the night in Bangkok. For many of the ports, you can find reasonable taxis and tours when you get off the ship, if you're willing and able to negotiate. Looking forward to another cruise with Holland America! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I've been on quite a few cruise line ships. This ship sets the bar .. !st the big stage theater is a technical surprise..amazing.. have to see and experience it. I lack the words. Next the cafeteria food court has individual chefs ... Read More
I've been on quite a few cruise line ships. This ship sets the bar .. !st the big stage theater is a technical surprise..amazing.. have to see and experience it. I lack the words. Next the cafeteria food court has individual chefs making for example your pasta dish with the ingredients you select.. Salad stations similarly; carving stations with an incredible selection of sides, and eastern food stations with made to order dishes.. AND THE FOOD IS GREAT The food wherever we ate was great. My better half is a vegan and they actually had a separate menu with dishes for vegans and vegetarians.. "A pleasure not to have to track down chefs to order a vegan meal" Next and very important to everyone WALK IN SHOWERS..That's right regular showers you don't have to step out of to wash your lower body.. excellent. Oh and there is a retractable roof above the pool so when the weather gets a little inclement they can close the roof either partially or all together.. great feature At the main pool loungers with comfortable cushions. AND sectioned off places on the deck above the pool where couples could share a full length couch. The service by the staff 2nd to none Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
HAL has greatly raised their level of cruising with the NIEUW STATENDAM. My family of four sailed on this new ship for a four day Bahamas cruise on 12-19. Our cabin was one of the Vista Suites on deck 6, not really a suite, but plenty of ... Read More
HAL has greatly raised their level of cruising with the NIEUW STATENDAM. My family of four sailed on this new ship for a four day Bahamas cruise on 12-19. Our cabin was one of the Vista Suites on deck 6, not really a suite, but plenty of room for 4. Shower in bathroom very large. Excellent TV in room, with plenty of free movie choices. Cabin service was first rate. The standouts on the ship are 1) Food and 2) Entertainment. We only ate dinner in the extra charge dining rooms, we wanted to experience them all and this was only a 4 day cruise. The extra fees were well worth the cost. I would give extra accolades to the Pinnacle Grill where the whole experience was must better than I have seen on the HAL ships. We also greatly enjoyed the Tamarind , which offered unique menu choices. The free outdoor deck lunch choices were also excellent...New York Pizza and a Burger Stand. Very few cruise ships get pizza right, but this one did. Extra cost ice cream shop was also a popular choice with our group. Service in all dining venues was excellent. HAL offer a wide range of live entertainment on this ship (and KONINGSDAM) . The Rock Room was enjoyed by all of us, even if it was somewhat cringe to watch older baby boomers still dancing to rock music. BB King blues club and Lincoln Center Stage also were top notch choices. There was a large production show that offered good dancers, but the music here was prerecorded which turns me off. For the price paid I don't see how you can beat NIEUW STATENDAM. Excellent food, good service , and fun first rate live entertainment. Highly recommended. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We loved the food and the food staff and cleaning staff!!!! They were most excellent! The private excursions were wonderful! I know whoever is reading this may not feel the need to know how much effort it takes to save up enough money to ... Read More
We loved the food and the food staff and cleaning staff!!!! They were most excellent! The private excursions were wonderful! I know whoever is reading this may not feel the need to know how much effort it takes to save up enough money to take a family vacation for 6, however more than the cost is the expectation of having a fun experience, and not having any worries. After all that is what a vacation is for most of us. That being said, the last think we ever imagined was being awoken by rushing water flooding our bathroom and cabin at 6 am the first morning of our cruise. My husband told me to get up and call the desk for assistance. I immediately told the receptionist that we had ( Rushing! Water! ) coming out of the wall and toilet! She calumny said okay I’ll send someone down to your room. As gallons of water continued to rush in for several minutes my husband told me to call again as he was looking for a some shut off valve or a solution to stop the water. I called again and received the same receptionist who than said “ can you put down a towel ?”) I literally laughed at her and said we need plumbers and engineers for the water is gushing and a towel is not going to do anything! We threw down all the towels we could find and gathered all our items off the wet ground and left our room. We finally found someone in the hall way and they said “ wow “ we have a broken pipe we need someone quick” in broke. English he said “ I call my boss!”. We left and went to the reception area where they told us they were taking care of the situation. At several times through out the day we asked for updates which we received all kinds of conflicting information. Our kids room down the hall had no water and several guest did not have cold water only extremely hot water and flooding too, not as bad as our room for the leak was next to us in a utility room. This was the gala night and we missed it for we had no way to take showers or change. Around 5 pm my husband got very upset and demanded to speak with someone. The receptionist then said “your room is ready now you may go into it”. We went to our room and the floor was soaking wet for they never even looked around the Coach area or the bed area. All that water settled. So again we went back to the reception desk where we finally talked to Byonka. She said she would have the room ready that night . We wanted another room but they insisted the ship was booked. Byonka said that the room would be shampooed and disinfected and deodorized the next day for we they said they could not shampoo the floor wet. The next day we got ready and left the ship thinking we would return to a dry room. No! We returned to a room that had a horrific smell which Byonka refereed to as a “ wet dog smell” she laughed thinking we would find that funny. No, it was not funny. She said she would have the room serviced while the ship treated us to the “ pinnacle grill” and that she would have some type of compensation for the hassle. Thinking once again that we would return to a room in which was decent the floors were still wet and did smell better . We asked for Byonka again but they kept saying she was on break... several times they said she was unavailable throughout the next few days. The next morning the smell was back and we literally had to cover our noses with the sheets to breath comfortably through out the night. The food and the lower staff ( room cleaners and food staff were phenomenal!) we understand things happen but the way the upper officers and the front desk treated us was horrible! No communication, miscommunication and promises unkept. The whole cabin stay was horrible! The ship is old and in need of so many repairs! The thing that really made us upset was the nonchalant attitude and a mediocre compensation of a $300 credit! Really, we had to use public showers and bathrooms and we were without our a room for half the time on the ship and the other half we had to endure smelly rotting drywall, wet carpet and wet dog smell! Having no rooms available to cover unexpected incidents on such an old dilapidated ship is a poor management decision. Then not compensating adequately, and treating us as if this is a normal expected occurrence have us feeling infuriated and never trusting this line again. We have been on 7 cruises ( not a lot compared to many) but we will stick with the lines that treated us well and with a sense of urgency. We want a reasonable compensation for all the stress and inconvenience and not being able to use our cabin. Called customer service relations and they would only give $200 future cruise credit with them. No thank you! Never again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is NOT your typical HAL cruise. We have cruised HAL many times before and this entire trip was different and not in a good way. If you want an extremely affordable cruise, I think we paid $1600 for four in one room, then go with no ... Read More
This is NOT your typical HAL cruise. We have cruised HAL many times before and this entire trip was different and not in a good way. If you want an extremely affordable cruise, I think we paid $1600 for four in one room, then go with no expectations and you will be fine. UNDERSTAND THERE ARE NO ACTIVITIES or SHOWS ONBOARD - Ill talk about that below.. Please note, on this ship the Rotterdam is old and small. Not a big deal at all for us but its not your typical newer fancy ships, more of classical midsize cruising. Pro, as always, is the food. We were happy with the selection on the Lido for all meals. The Dining room was pretty good and had good selections as well but we found ourselves going to the lido for dinner towards the end of the cruise because we didnt want to deal with the wait. Ice Creak was a huge hit and the asian/sushi was as well. The pool deck had a great Hamburger/Hot Dog and Fries station made to order as well as a huge fully stocked taco/nacho bar. It was fantastic. Cons: Service: Attendants were not your typical friendly HAL staff. They seemed annoyed and overworked. Only a few we encountered were genuinely happy to see us. Activities: HAHA!! What a joke. Rare was the time we saw or heard from the cruise director. There was no pool activities, no sail away shows, no performances in the main theater - just really nothing to do. They had a comedian in the main theater on two of the days and he was great but the other days were so disappointing. The night we set sail the only thing they offered was a Q&A session about excursions in the main theater. No shows. They had Bingo , some string quartets and a piano guy around the ship but that was it. The Kids club was a let down and there were not adequate enough activities to keep the kids entertained that you would end up seeing kids roaming the decks unsupervised in packs because they didnt want to go to the kids club and their parents obviously didnt want to supervise them. it was chaos. I still cant believe how little there was to do on the ship. Ports were Ok but NEVER book through the ship ever. Book your own excursions and save 90% Overall we will most likely not seek out a HAL cruise first like we used to do. This one really was disappointing in so many ways and our family is not high maintenance - but you expect certain things on cruises and entertainment is one of the most important categories - major let down, cant believe anyone could leave that cruise with a positive experience. Unfortunately we know HAL can be excellent - not sure if they are cutting back to save money or something but it was pretty bad. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We took our 5 children on a Christmas Cruise. It was our first time on Holland America. As far as the Rotterdam is concerned, I have fallen in love. The classic ship is elegant, well thought out, impeccably cleaned and maintained. The ... Read More
We took our 5 children on a Christmas Cruise. It was our first time on Holland America. As far as the Rotterdam is concerned, I have fallen in love. The classic ship is elegant, well thought out, impeccably cleaned and maintained. The entertainment was amazing. we enjoyed a very funny comedian, Planet Earth is done with a live orchestra, violins, cello, piano, first-class. A musical- Post Modern Jukebox was delightful. We did reserved dining and it did not disappoint. Food is top notch, service was kind and entertaining, we had so much fun meeting the staff. we felt spoiled and lucky and content each evening. The ship's art is amazing. I loved the decor. It was Christmas and the Dutch gingerbread houses were adorable. There is an amazing fitness Center and Spa up on floor 8. There are 2 pools and they never felt crowded. You can eat inside, outside all day long if you wish. This was our 6th cruise. It is our favorite ship. Much better than Royal Carribean! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the Holland America Zuiderdam ship for our 2018 Christmas family vacation. The only reason I would give any stars for this cruise is for the room and dinning stewards who provided the utmost impeccable service. Cheers to all of ... Read More
We chose the Holland America Zuiderdam ship for our 2018 Christmas family vacation. The only reason I would give any stars for this cruise is for the room and dinning stewards who provided the utmost impeccable service. Cheers to all of you!!! However, Holland America Ships are severely lacking customer service, acommodations are poorly described. The cabin layout was terrible and considering this was a Holiday cruise, it severely lacked festive activities, entertainment and decorations. We were advised by Holland America the Zuideram Veranda Cabins accommodate 3-4 passengers. We had 3 in our cabin. However, to accommodate anymore than 2 passengers, access to the veranda balcony and bar fridge are "completely blocked" and they had to "remove furniture" from our cabin to make room for the 3rd person for the entire cruise. I guess the 4th person would have had a caught on the balcony because there is absolutely no room for a 4th person. This was extremely disappointing when we had paid the extra $2,000 to have a balcony cabin but couldn't access the door to get out onto the balcony. SAVE your money a book an Ocean View or Interior Cabin for a much lower rate. The Ship's Customer Service Relations were not helpful in providing any alternative nor compensation for the extra cost we paid to have a balcony we had no access to. There were minimal Christmas decorations throughout the ship not making it feel very festive for a holiday cruise. Santa came aboard the ship to visit the 40-50 children on board and gave them all a dollar store gift that broke within the day. We expected much more for a Holiday cruise considering the inflated cost for a cruise during this peak time. We would never consider Holland America for future Holiday cruises. PS to Smokers: there is only 1 smoking section on board and they refuse to let anyone smoke prior to the ship leaving port. It was a long 6 hour wait from the time we boarded to leaving port. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise as friends took it last year and really liked it. I cruised with my parents whom did not want to take this trip by themselves; they are in their 70's, I am in my early 50's. I have cruised in the past with ... Read More
We chose this cruise as friends took it last year and really liked it. I cruised with my parents whom did not want to take this trip by themselves; they are in their 70's, I am in my early 50's. I have cruised in the past with Celebrity and this is my first Holland America cruise so wasn't sure what to expect. The ship was always very clean and all of the staff was very friendly! We were on deck 7 Forward cabin 7014. Our stewards were wonderful; always friendly and very service oriented. We enjoyed watching the Mexican Embassadors performances several times during the cruise. They sang, danced, gave a few talks and gave dance lessons, it was very fun! The food was always very, very good! We chose 'anytime' dining and it turned out to be a good decision as we were never in the dining room at the same hour. We did notice however that the staff was always very, very busy and although everyone was very service oriented, happy and friendly, sometimes it seemed like we were an afterthought once they had completed all other tasks. One evening we waiting for a long time to catch someone's attention to get coffee and refill our water. The food however was excellent! I can not say enough good things about the food. I love poached eggs and the ones in the main dining room for breakfast were EXCELLENT and perfectly cooked! The reason I gave them an 4 and not a 5 is that in my opinion they did not have a enough activities. I do not want the Royal Caribbean activities, but more activities and shows. On port days they had a movie at 8pm! We saw the same magician twice and a show with the dancers. We are used to better shows, entertainment and more enthusiasm on Celebrity. The cruise director was ok, she was was an MC at times, nothing that made an impression. The ports were very nice and we truly enjoyed our cruise, I plan to take it again with my husband (who was not able to go this time due to work). Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
From the moment we boarded this ship until we left we were treated so well on this cruise. All of the staff members went out of their way to provide top notch service. The cabin was clean, bright and spacious for a cruise line. We had a ... Read More
From the moment we boarded this ship until we left we were treated so well on this cruise. All of the staff members went out of their way to provide top notch service. The cabin was clean, bright and spacious for a cruise line. We had a partial view cabin but we were not disappointed as we could see the ocean every morning when we woke up. The cabin stewards did a great job keeping our cabin clean, put cute towels on our bed along with chocolate. When we were in the hallways our cabin steward always greeted us by name and asked if we were having a good time.The dining at night was excellent and the staff went above and beyond to ensure we had a great experience. There were many choices of food during the daytime, I really liked the homemade pizzas.There was plenty to do on board, the 2 pools, games, bars, casino, shows, trivia, bingo and even a 5k walk. We took advantage of so many activities throughout this cruise. The ports and shore excursions were so much fun. We traveled with our 21 year old son and he had so much fun, and he met quite a few people around his age. This is a top notch cruise line and not a party boat. We appreciated it being a little more on the quiet side versus some of the other cruise lines. We will definitely be back. It was a great cruise for older children and adults. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on ... Read More
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on the elevators , my cabin SY8081 was not accesible cabin and I found a lot of space for my scooter . I recommend it . Not many places to go at night , BB king, the piano guys and the main stage But for us is more than enough . I start to realize that mid size ships are the best . The cruise director Nathan dance amazing , he has such a lovely personality who light up the room and attract younger people . All the meals were fantastic no matter where it was The lido or the main dining room . Everything was amazing , the consistency , the flavour The quality of the food . It’s hard to describe everything . You need to try by yourself .. everything was perfect . They are detail oriented . Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise to not only visit Havana ( I had been there before)) but mainly Cienfuegos. There was an announcement the night before that due to irregularities with one of the 5 generators, we would not be stopping at Cienfuegos. I ... Read More
I chose this cruise to not only visit Havana ( I had been there before)) but mainly Cienfuegos. There was an announcement the night before that due to irregularities with one of the 5 generators, we would not be stopping at Cienfuegos. I had persuaded 7 other family members to go with me. Amazingly, Holland America did not substitute a port or extend our stay at one of the scheduled ports. Instead we had to endure anther day at sea. Their compensation was a $100 room credit and free drinks one of the afternoons. We were kept in the dark about details of the cancellation for about 2 days until the Capt gave his explanation over the public address system. The ship is very much in need of an overhaul. Our room phone quit working 3 times, the elevators are extremely slow (5 to 10 minute waits). One elevator was permanently out of service. Our room was showing signs of wear. There was only one electrical outlet for the entire room. There was not any outlet in the bathroom. We had to purchase extension cords in Key West. The internet plan we purchased went out for about 9 hours. I asked staff members if there would be any credit given towards a future cruise and the answer was No. That behind said, the dining room and house keeping staff were wonderful. My wife and I have cruised almost 30 times and the last show performance with the dancers and singers was the best we had ever heard on a ship. The Cruise Director was also excellent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Avoid accepting cabins 131 & 133. Located over Ocean Bar. Music from Ocean Bar heard in room from 9:30 pm to 11:45 pm most nights. (We could hear every note, every thump and even the voice of the singer!) This is a known problem on ... Read More
Avoid accepting cabins 131 & 133. Located over Ocean Bar. Music from Ocean Bar heard in room from 9:30 pm to 11:45 pm most nights. (We could hear every note, every thump and even the voice of the singer!) This is a known problem on this ship. They moved occupants of both cabins to another suite the following day and gave a $70 credit. It took both cabins' occupants going down to complain to get moved. (They initially tried to play it off like saying some occupants are just "more sensitive" than others to the music when they are well aware they have had this problem for many cruises with these cabins!) Holland America operates smaller ships, less crowd, no drunk and rowdy passengers. The staff is always pleasant and smiling. The room stewards remember your names and are eager to please. They take care of 29 or so rooms. They work very hard and deserve a personal tip at the end of the cruise. The time in port could be longer. Most ports had to be back on ship 3:30 pm. Only one small swimming pool that was too cold to go in for our taste. The Lido Restaurant was good with a variety of foods each day. The salad bar was nice. However, was closed for several hours between meal change overs. Desserts were good. Pizza required placing an order. Pizza was not what I call pizza. Preferred previous arrangement to request a slice. Hamburger, hot dog and fries were excellent, required placing an order. Taco bar very good. All three close at 5:30 pm. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We are a family of five with three young people aged 19, 17 and 16 and chose this cruise to celebrate our son's completion of high school. He wanted to visit Hong Kong and go on a cruise from Hong Kong. We spent 6 days in Hong Kong ... Read More
We are a family of five with three young people aged 19, 17 and 16 and chose this cruise to celebrate our son's completion of high school. He wanted to visit Hong Kong and go on a cruise from Hong Kong. We spent 6 days in Hong Kong prior to boarding the ship. This was a good amount of time to explore Hong Kong. Embarkation was smooth although the customs process onboard, before leaving port was slow and tedious. Our passports were retained by cruise staff at this time. We received a receipt and a photocopy of the passport was provided for each visited country which was something I hadn't experienced before. Passports were returned prior to disembarking the ship back in Hong Kong. The cruise took us to two ports in Japan, Naha and Ishigaki, two ports in Taiwan, Keelung (Taipei) and Kaohsiung, and Manila, Philippines before returning to Hong Kong, total of 10 nights. The balance of cruise days, 4 and ports, 5 was good. There was plenty to do in each port. Our cabins were excellent, the food terrific and provided entertainment fabulous. The only negative was that our 19 year old son's drink package was not honoured. This was despite prior written confirmation. He was not impressed! Otherwise everything went well and we would definitely travel on Holland America again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Interested in visiting Islands not visited before. Party of four, two were elderly parents. Embarkation was a hassle. Brought several bottles of Vintage wine, champagne and port on board including bottle of vermouth(wine) as I had ordered ... Read More
Interested in visiting Islands not visited before. Party of four, two were elderly parents. Embarkation was a hassle. Brought several bottles of Vintage wine, champagne and port on board including bottle of vermouth(wine) as I had ordered gin and vodka delivered to room. Vermouth was confiscated at embarkation. Excuse was higher alcohol content, @ 15% alc. (In a martini? This policy is inept. Why spend $100 for the gin and vodka?) Yet they allowed two Bottles of vintage port at 18% alc. (One oz each with dessert.) All except vermouth was to be consumed in restaurant with meals. As my wine was better than any they had on board, corkage fee was irrelevant. Assigned #18, to embark.. Numbers were called in order except called #19 first which was a large group, then #18 which put a smaller group behind them. Sent directly to the adjoining balcony cabins (previously reserved) to drop off carry-ons before joining the crowd at the Lido to eat lunch. Rested 'til dinner on balcony with bottle of sparkling wine as gift. (Late 8 PM seating). Table for the four of us. Chose instead of open dining to have same dinner staff. Knew few phrases of Indonesian which broke the ice and we had a wonderful time with them at dinners. Food and presentation was excellent. To accomplish that for thousands of meals daily is a feat I can't comprehend. My major complaint about dinner is that it conflicted with the show times. Eating late dinner, there was no way to get to the theater shows. This is a major fault as far as my family was concerned, and should be corrected. We never had this problem with Holland America before. Another issue was drinking water and ice bucket. Hierarchy between stewards and in-room dining staff. Couldn't order water and Ice refill together. Got carafe of ice water. Had to order separately. Ice from steward and water from in-room dining. Didn't choose to drink $5 per liter bottled water in cabin. Final issue was a/c in room was sporadic. On packing day, a/c failed completely, and we called to have it repaired. This was done after hour or two, but we really suffered until it was repaired. . We enjoyed the cruise as a whole and the ports. On the whole it is a fabulous cruise if you avoid the pitfalls we experienced. Finally disembarkation. Elderly parents and us were initially assigned different colors. This wasn't feasible and we corrected to black#2, (last off). Mix up in shuttle service handling baggage. Somehow, unnoticed, my bag wasn't loaded, and arriving at hotel, my bag was missing. Shuttle took me back for bag but it was gone. Attempts to find it contacting Holland America personnel was usless. They were loading passengers like robots. Knew there job assigned and that was all. Couldn't or wouldn't help. told to stand over ther and wait. Waited an hour with nothing.Left terminal and finally found heplful porter you called supervisor, who found bag in 10 minutes. Unfortunately this delay caused elderly parent to miss her plane. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop ... Read More
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop .Next to the casino is billboard 2 pianos and vocalists playing requests, old hits , some sing along.Casino is friendly not bad for a cruise ship. Lincoln Center on stage is the place for classical music. Cello violin and such.The main stage has a different act every night, although this is where HAL needs the most improvement The ships singers and dancers and show just ok. Acts such as comedian and or magician not very good. Four ports of call not bad for a seven day cruise. On this particular cruise we were unable to tender to their private island because of rough seas, but we have been there before it’s a great beach day with free bbq. Private beach set up really nice. They also have beach houses for rent which I never thought would be worth it for a half day outing. Read Less
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