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Sail Date: August 2019
We upgraded on HAL Mediterranean cruise, to include the services of a concierge. It was very poor value for money. The quality of the food was very poor - numerous errors in the menu. The kitchen staff are better than the passengers!! ... Read More
We upgraded on HAL Mediterranean cruise, to include the services of a concierge. It was very poor value for money. The quality of the food was very poor - numerous errors in the menu. The kitchen staff are better than the passengers!! Couldn’t reach the customer service after being on hold for 10 mins - simply disconnected. The concierge service was only avail till 8pm then just no response. The Neptune lounge was in the interior of the boat no view of the water. The concierges main goal was to know our names but beyond that couldn’t offer anything additional! Very disappointed in our upgrade... really didn’t see any value for money, no significant improvement in cabin, service, or assistance from concierge. Nightly entertainment shows were poor as were the choice of movies. For a “newer” ship no real wow factor. Limited photo ops. Dining room service was also very slow until we spoke to several staff members. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I had cruised with Holland America to Alaska with my father ~10 years ago. I wanted to now share the experience with my son and my wife, so I picked Holland America again. My expectations were high, especially for the food. When I ... Read More
I had cruised with Holland America to Alaska with my father ~10 years ago. I wanted to now share the experience with my son and my wife, so I picked Holland America again. My expectations were high, especially for the food. When I cruised with HAL before, the food was fantastic. Every meal at the MDR was excellent. Unfortunately, the food was the most disappointing aspect of this cruise. MDR food quality was exactly the same as buffet quality (the MDR selections were also available from the Lido). Both were average for the most part. It appears they are looking to force people to eat at the specialty dining restaurants to get high quality food and have let MDR food quality devolve. Lido was ok as a buffet, but food quality was also just average. And the lines! Be prepared. The hours of Lido were limited, so be prepared for lots of lines and lots of waiting. It wasn't unusual for us to take 20-30 minutes or more to get all the food after stopping and waiting at multiple stations. The Dive In had good food, but it closes at 530? Why??? And the minimum order time for food was 25 minutes, at one point got up to 45 minutes. For a burger. Pizza was good, but again, be prepared for waiting. Most times wait for a pizza was 25 minutes, and it closes at 1130. So if you're looking for a late night snack options become limited, and lines and waiting are likely. Entertainment was great - i enjoyed the Billboard pianists, the mainstage acts (magician and comedian), and the blues club. I wish they would bring the movie theater back, the mainstage setup for movies isn't great. Crow's nest is beautiful - make sure you spend time there. Gym machines were ok - many treadmills don't work. On one treadmill the machine just stopped while i was running, luckily i didn't fall. My family and i had cruised on Princess last year. I was telling them how much better this cruise would be, in particular the food, having cruised with HAL before, but it appears that my expectations were set too high. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is ... Read More
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is average. I will say the service especially in the dining room was outstanding. Our waiter was Nadi, assisted by Ed and Janela. These three people were the highlight of the trip. Very attentive and aware of everything. I hate being nickeled and dimed but that’s what this cruise line is all about. We paid a small fortune for our suite. One would think WiFi would be included....not. If you want to use a spin bike in the gym, nope.....unless you take an 8 am class for 15.00 per person. In the spa, be careful. They will ask you if you like this or that. If you say yes, they will upcharge your bill. Many people will look at the base price of a cruise line like this and think I’ll save money vs Regent. When you add up all the add in charges: Drink package Excursions Mini bar in the room (not included in drink package) Automatic small print tips of 16.00 per day per person and compare to the price of Regent, you’ll come out pretty close on total cost. All these things are included on Regent. I’ll not take another Holland America cruise and I recommend you look at Regent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances ... Read More
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances and flew to Seattle the day of the cruise. We arrived before noon and our shared shuttle driver had us to the pier in no time. Check in was fast and our cabin was ready for us. Muster drill was held outdoors. We had a Vista suite and it was similar to what Norwegian calls a mini suite. There was nothing special about the cabin. No butler, sparking wine or afternoon treats. We had a walk in shower instead of a tub and we were grateful for that. Except for the lack of water pressure! The cabin was tight for two. A larger person would have to walk sideways to get around the bed. We had a sofa, glass top coffee table and and end table. The lamp on the end table had a single USB port. The lamp can be switched on and off from a wall switch. More than once, the wall switch was off and our device didn't charge. The refrigerator was inside the end table. It functioned but was completely iced over. The desk area held the 32" tv, DVD player, ice bucket, a make up mirror that once lit up and more drawers than we could use. A handheld hair dryer and another mirror were in one of the drawers. The tv had horrible resolution and more often than not, no satellite reception. The ship does have an extensive DVD library for just this very reason. The balcony held 2 chairs and ottomans along with a tiny end table. We sometimes brought the ottomans inside the cabin so we could watch a movie a little more comfortably. The room darkening drapes were a necessity in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Also, one person could sleep while the other watched tv, with the additional drape adjacent to the bed pulled closed. Food is always subjective but after 50+ cruises, I wasn't impressed. Food was often cold. How can pancakes be cold and hard when you are one of the first guests served in the dining room? Buffet food was not at all appetizing. I did appreciate buffet items being served to you but the selections were very limited as were the times the Lido was open. Don't expect to stop for a snack after attending a show in the theater as the Lido is closed from 8pm til 10:30pm. If the show on the main stage isn't your cup of tea, a movie is shown nightly in the much smaller Wajang theater. America's Test Kitchen shared this space. If you want a seat for ATK get there 45 minutes before the program starts. It is one of the few activities available on sea days. Other activities included Microsoft and photography workshops and several EXC pesentations. Mahjongg was offered every afternoon but at strange times. The casino is small but was never crowded. As a non-smoker, it did not seem smoky. The shops were constantly trying to sell old stock from the 2019 World Cruise. We had been to Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait, Sitka and Victoria on previous cruises. Weather was not on our side so our rain gear came in handy. One morning, I did a load of laundry before we went ashore. $2 to wash and the dryer was free. Best deal on board the ship. They even provide the detergent. We enjoyed walking around Anchorage and Kodiak Island. Our friends have a summer home in the Homer area so we spent the day with them. A highlight was visiting the Kilcher homestead from the Discover program Alaska: The Last Frontier. We also cruised Dawes and Hubbard Glaciers. Amazing! We purchased the Victoria shuttle through Holland. We could've purchased the exact shuttle from the provider at 2/3rds of the cost. We should've known better. We do enjoy cruising Holland America but the Amsterdam was too small for us. My husband was quite bored, especially during the day time hours. Our past experience was on the Eurodam, so we'll stick with a similar size ship in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as ... Read More
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as were the quality and condition of all facilities on board. The activities organised daily were well organised and allowed more than enough time to fully experience them. We enjoyed the overall experience. However, the dinning services inclusive of can be deemed terrible. There were no multiple vegetarian food options and we were stuck with no choice all throughout the various meals everyday and had to succumb to whatever was served. Additionally, there were absolutely no dessert options without egg content. To top this, the food tasted awful and often was inedible, not meeting the lowest expectations of food cooked by an Indian chef. It was very well informed that our dietary requirements were vegetarian not including both egg or fish. Despite this, the staff was not considerate and was often seen using the same tongs/gloves to serve sausages/meat and baked potatoes, contaminating the only obvious vegetarian food choice. When this was brought to their notice, the staff was impolite and discourteously disregarded our concern. Moreover, the staff, especially at the buffet counter was also not informed enough and served us lobsters as a part of the salad saying it was vegetarian, neither did they have the knowledge of the cheese served containing rennet, which made us avoid it altogether. Satisfactory food is essential and our experience with the Holland Cruise made our journey which could’ve been great, below average. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
In 2015, we did our first Alaska trip, which was an HAL Land/Sea Tour, where we did a land based tour of the Yukon first, and then did a short (4 night) cruise on the Volendam to finish off our tour. This week long cruise on the ... Read More
In 2015, we did our first Alaska trip, which was an HAL Land/Sea Tour, where we did a land based tour of the Yukon first, and then did a short (4 night) cruise on the Volendam to finish off our tour. This week long cruise on the Westerdam, from Vancouver to Anchorage, paled in comparison to that experience, for a number of reasons. On this trip, my husband and I also brought along my mother in law, who had never been on a cruise or to Alaska, and who stayed in an inside cabin across from our balcony cabin. See detailed cabin comments, below. FYI, if you have never cruised out of Vancouver, there is a pretty extensive "check in" process. Not only are you checking in for your cruise, but if your cruise is heading to Alaska, your first port is the US = customs. So, you actually go through the US Customs process in Vancouver, before you even leave the cruise terminal!! This saves time when you do get to your first US port (which probably doesn't have the capacity to handle customs for so many arriving passengers at once). So, plan for extra time before boarding the ship in Vancouver - you can get to the port around 10:30 or 11:00 am and not be early! The public interior areas of the ship appeared to us to have been recently refurbished. The carpet appeared newer; the seating in the theater was actually comfortable (we have been on several cruises where we had backaches getting up after a show in the theater!). The refurbishment did not seem to extend to the artwork/walls of the hallways and lobbies of the ship. As a matter of fact, that was one of the weirdest parts of this ship - I couldn't figure out the "theme" of the decor - what it was trying to be: a classic elegant cruiser; a ship that featured Greek or Baroque type of art/display; an Asian inspired vessel (there was some brightly colored Asian furniture in the lobbies of the elevator bank closest to our room). It needs some cohesiveness in design. Also, there were no activities or entertainment in the atrium area, as there are on many ships - and again, there was a modern light fixture/chandelier hung above the area, but the rest of the atrium looked more traditional. But, the "artwork" on the walls in our hallway was especially atrocious - it looked like prints that had been installed on the wall when the ship was built and never updated or changed since then, no matter what new carpet was put down, etc. Like prints my grandmother might have framed as "art" in her house. So, we could never get a handle on what the vibe of the ship was supposed to be, which has typically been pretty easy to figure out on any other ship we've cruised on. The exterior of the ship looked fine, to us, and the refurbished parts of the interior were also nice - but there was no consistency in decor, which just made it weird. The theater itself was more intimate feeling than other ships we've been on - not sure how many it seated, but we got good seats for the shows we saw, and had a good view of the productions. Unfortunately, the number of theater shows on this particular cruise was disappointing. We saw one production show with the onboard singers/dancers on night 2, and nothing afterwards. I found out on our last sea day that there were some technical and staffing issues with backstage/tech crew, which meant the normal shows could not go on - which was really disappointing for us, as that is one of the things we look forward to most on cruises - the onboard entertainment. They had also brought onboard an illusionist (who focused on sleight of hand magic) and a pianist/singer/comedian who was a very talented piano player. The illusionist did two shows one night; the piano player did two shows one night, and they did a show together one afternoon or evening (I think to make up for the lack of a second or third production show by the onboard singers/dancers). I am not a huge fan of either of their type of entertainment, but I went to the first magic show (he is very talented at what he does) and the first piano show (again, excellent pianist) but skipped their joint show - just didn't need to see more of either one. The first night we skipped the show in the theater - there was only one at 7 pm, and it was an introduction to Alaska preview (movie?) hosted by the cruise director. The fourth night was a BBC Earth movie about Alaska, with live music playing as accompaniment to the movie - again, only one show that night, at 7 pm. The fifth night was an EXC presentation about Iconic Whales of the Northwest - I think it was a talk by the cruise director - again we skipped it. So, this was, unfortunately, not enough "entertainment" in the main theater for us, and was a major disappointment. We barely heard/saw anything from the Cruise Director onboard. This has not been our experience with other cruises we've taken, so not sure if this is an HAL thing, or if it's just because he is new at the job & with HAL. However, the entertainment in the smaller venues was a highlight for us. The quintet that performed in the Lincoln Center Stage were all young people (20's or 30's) and very accomplished musicians. That small venue was full every time they performed, I think, and they also had a unique themed set of music for each performance - I think their performances were each approximately 45 minutes long (maybe an hour). The Billboard Onboard venue featured the "dueling pianos" concept which I love, and there were even some opportunities for sing-alongs with the crowd. I also liked those two performers and thought they were talented, as well. The BB Kings Blues Club was where we spent almost every evening - there was a great band in there, fronted by both a male and a female lead singer. We really enjoyed their sets, and cruisers were often dancing, too. However, the band themselves seemed to have a lot of technical issues with the sound techs - I think sometimes their monitors weren't working, sometimes a keyboard wasn't working, sometimes a mike or two wasn't working - they just seemed extremely frustrated with the tech crew. It didn't affect the sound quality/performance for the audience, fortunately. And, I know, from walking by in the afternoons, that the band rehearsed earlier in the day, so I'm not sure why the tech team couldn't get the sound right when it came to performance time. But, again, BB Kings was a highlight of entertainment for us on this cruise - we often stayed for all 3 sets they played nightly! For dining - we ate all but our first night's dinner in the Main Dining Room on the "Anytime Dining" program. We were fortunate to be assigned a table that was in the back of the dining room (so, at the back of the ship) with a gorgeous view of the wake of the ship out the huge window. It was a perfect location for us, and we had the same waitstaff each night, who were outstanding and remembered our preferences for drinks, etc. We thought the dinners in there each night were delicious, and had everything from apps through dessert almost every night. I would give the dining room 5 stars! We also enjoyed eating lunch either in the Lido (buffet) or out at the Dive In or the Taco Bar near the main pool. For some reason those burgers and fries just taste better than at home! In the buffet, they offer a pizza/pasta bar, as well as a custom made salad bar - which we chose several times - they prepare it for you, and then add the dressing and mix it up for you, if you like. There was also a dessert area that featured about 5-6 ice creams, frozen yogurts, gelatos, etc. per day, in addition to other individual dessert selections. We also ate breakfast in the Lido each morning, mostly because of the omelet stations - made to order omelets each day, along with many other buffet options (Eggs Benedict, etc.). Our first night, we decided to treat ourselves to the Pinnacle Grill at the special "first night" pricing (note, you need to book this in advance when you board - don't just show up for dinner there and expect to get the discounted price). Although my mother in law and I both had excellent dinners featuring perfectly cooked filet mignons, my husband's entire dinner there was a "fail". He had been wanting King Crab Legs forever, so went for that; but his crab was so awful that he asked to have it replaced with a filet mignon like we had. Then, they brought him his steak, and it was uncooked in the center - like not even warm. So, he asked for it to be cooked more, and they instead brought him a different steak (looked like NY strip) which was tough and overcooked. They also make a big deal about their lobster bisque, which features one tiny piece of lobster in a bowl, then poured over with the bisque - which, as my husband observed, tasted a little bit like gravy. But, the worst part of the meal was that our server was continually looking at other tables he was waiting on, even when he was taking our orders/serving us! And, he never really got the severity of how badly my husband's entire meal service was going. We asked for the manager, who tried to make up for it; but it couldn't really be saved, by that point. We got MUCH better service from our waiters in the Main Dining Room than we did in the Pinnacle Grill. Again, when we went on the Volendam 4 years ago, we had a lovely dinner in the P.C. with excellent service. so, this was a disappointment, and was the reason we couldn't give dining a 5 star rating. The only shore excursion we booked through HAL was in Skagway - the White Pass Yukon RR trip, because the train literally pulls up next to the ship for boarding. I'm not sure it was HAL's fault, but for some reason we had to stand outside for a very long time prior to boarding the train, which was sitting right there! And, each cruise ship is assigned cars, which are labeled for the guests to find! So, not sure why there was such a long delay getting us boarded onto the train and on our way. All other ports/excursions we did on our own. Other random observations: The Lido Pool (under the retractable roof) seemed to be filled with kids on our trip. If you are interested in a more adult pool experience, I would suggest signing up for the Spa experience and using the therapy pool in there - it looked lovely; wish I would have used it at least 1 day onboard! The America's Test Kitchen demos were held in the Blues Club and did have TV screens so you could see what the chef was doing. Unfortunately, there were only 3 demos; one on the first sea day, and two on the last sea day. I had the impression there would have been more. And, I thought the recipes selected were weird - one was Asian Dumplings; one was a take on Tomato Soup and (gourmet) Grilled Cheese Sandwich. I didn't get it...This was something my mother in law was looking forward to, and thought there would be more of throughout the trip. Based on the totality of this cruise, compared to other cruises we have been on (Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival) we probably would not choose to cruise on HAL again (unless it was on one of their newest ships - and not sure why we would choose them over any of these other cruise lines, anyway). Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Due to the weather ( which was awful) we were not able to stop in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I did enjoy Quebec and our private tour with Tours By Locals, Claude was our guide and he was beyond ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Due to the weather ( which was awful) we were not able to stop in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I did enjoy Quebec and our private tour with Tours By Locals, Claude was our guide and he was beyond excellent, I would recommend Clause to everyone going to Quebec . I also enjoy a private tour to the Bay of Fundy in Halifax by Bruce's Tours, I recommend him to all, he also was excellent. The weather is Bar Harbor caused trip to Callilac mountain to be cancelled. We were told o free bus service until July to the national park, but weather was an issue.Back to the ship. The service in the dining room was very slow, each and every night. Food was just ok. To get a good steak or fish dinner you needed to go to the speciality dining which they charge extra for. One good night in the dining room, the second gala night, the food was very good. Our room steward was excellent, always a clean room and kind friendly service.The test kitchen is located in a small room if you don't get there early you are out of luck. Same room for bingo same problem. I do not recommend going on this cruise in May weather is not good. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 ... Read More
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 younger members of our party might enjoy the less formal atmosphere on Princess versus Holland America. We are well aware of the differences as we have sailed both many times. However, HAL offered a year end sale that was difficult/impossible to turn down. We flew into Vancouver the morning of the cruise and took the SkyTrain from the airport to Canada Place. Highly recommend this means of getting to the dock (very straight forward, about 30 minutes travel time at just C$9.50pp). Would also highly recommend a few days in Vancouver ahead of the cruise as it is a beautiful city with so many things to see and do. We passed on this as we have family in Vancouver and have been there dozens of times before. Embarkation was the longest we can remember experiencing but cannot blame this on the cruise line. The problem is going through US Customs and the interminable lineups. There were 3 cruise ships sailing that day which didn't help matters. The cruise lines should really put some pressure on the port authority to improve and shorten this process. Overall, we enjoyed our week long cruise. We had done an Alaskan cruise a number of years ago so the ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were not new to us. We did our own excursions. Our inside cabin was adequate, the service received from our cabin and dining room staff was exemplary and the food was good. However, there were a couple things that disappointed. The entertainment offered in the small venues was good (quartet in the Ocean Bar, Adagio Strings) but the entertainment in the main theatre was quite poor. While the service from crew who dealt with us every day (cabin, MDR) was excellent, we ran into a number of one-off situations where it wasn't. This included bar staff, the cooks behind the Lido counter, Lido serving staff, staff in the retail shops and staff in the spa. We have never encountered this level of malaise from crew on our previous 9 HAL cruises. The overall morale was not high and we are hoping that the new Hotel Director (Simon Tanner) can improve matters. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, ... Read More
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, Princess, NCL, Carnival, Royal Carib.I'm mid 50s but it was like an Alaska Cruise, I felt young and thin Manicure/pedicure was great. Young gal said this was actually the youngest group she'd seen in 4 months. I did miss the energy of the other boats but Everyone was super friendly, staff and cruisers. Room was large. Ship is going in for refurbishment and that is good. It's needed. Now to food. Honestly, it was ok. I didnt like the Lido because there was a line for everything. I get cutting down on germs but it was a pain waiting to ask for most anything hot. Not just omelettes and waffles. Dining rooms always better. My favprite breakfast dining room is still Carnival, go figure. Dinners were nice, but not as good as Princess, Carnival or Royal. Similar to Norwegian. Workout area was also subdued machines weren't individual tv/music, so not at nice. Would I go again. Entertainment was nice. Not as lively again and not as much to do, but you can only do one thing at a time anyway. Would I go again. Sure. What's not to love about doing whatever you want , someone cooking for you and chocolates at night. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my first time on Holland America and it will be my last. Not because of anything the cruise line did but because of the caliber of cruiser on board. If you are a senior citizen, you will love this cruise, it seems to be geared ... Read More
This was my first time on Holland America and it will be my last. Not because of anything the cruise line did but because of the caliber of cruiser on board. If you are a senior citizen, you will love this cruise, it seems to be geared more toward an older crowd. Shipboard activities leaned towards retirees I think. Games were bridge, majong and bingo. We played team trivia one day only to not play it again. The old crotchety lady who joined us and 2 other older cruisers, complained and shushed and berated us the whole time for being too loud and giving other teams the opportunity to hear our answers. And, she didn't contribute a single answer just bitched to us about,,"that's probably not right" Hello, our team got 12 out of 15 no thanks to her. The ship itself is absolutely beautiful, the artwork throughout the ship is sublime and we were always finding something new tucked away in another area of the ship. I am not sure if this is the norm for HAL but there were an awful lot of cruisers who were pushy, entitled, elitist and generally rude on our sailing. I saw several times where people with walkers or wheelchairs pushed there way into an already crowded elevator and push a floor several floors away so that the people already on the elevator had a difficult time getting off. When asked to let them through, the former, scoffed and got upset as though they were the only one on the elevator and it was for their own private use. I also witnessed at least once a day, someone berating or belittling the staff with very stupid and rude questions at the Lido Market. One lady got mad at the pasta server saying" Do you even know what your doing? You ARE going to cook that?!" Even the older gentleman in front of me rolled his eyes at the comment and said that "These are the things that give my wife and I comic relief over the next few months." The staff on board went above and beyond with their kindness and generosity and overall friendliness when ever you came across them. Half Moon Cay was gorgeous but...there were 2 HAL ships there on the same day and probably around 3000 people on the beach. Too overcrowded. If it hadn't been so overcrowded I would have spent the entire time on shore instead of just an hour. America's Test Kitchen was a fun experience and I wish they would would do it everyday instead of just twice during the cruise. Entertainment wise- the dance troupe I felt did a beautiful job, the magician was very funny and the comedian was not. I was disappointed with the Main Dining Room food. I felt that the 2 times I went there my seafood and poultry were both way overcooked and under seasoned. My creme brulee (my favorite) did not have a hard shell and barely any sugar to make it the hard shell. Tamarind is a must to anyone going on this ship. It was delicious and the servers and staff went above and beyond to make it the best dining experience we had the whole time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids ... Read More
Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids activities and hanging out at the pool. My husband and I like to have a good time too, and the quality of food and service is important to us. Our HAL experiences are generally a win win for all four of us. While the Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship, it is quite apparent that HAL is reducing staffing levels. For example: For the whole of embarkation day, it was nearly impossible to get a drink on the pool deck. Instead of smiling servers attending to our needs, we had to stand in line at the bar for every drink. For the remainder of the cruise, tables in these areas were equipped with a service button to call a server over to you table. Let's just say our bar bill was higher on previous cruises. The dining room staff at our assigned table were very pleasant and really made an effort but the service was not nearly as good as previous cruises. It is obvious that they are understaffed to maintain the wonderful dinner service that we have come to appreciate. We dined with friends in open seating a couple of times and the service was really frustrating. I'm not sure why that is but, after raving to them about the food and service on HAL, we were embarrassed. The real failure of this cruise was the last day of the cruise on Half Moon Cay. We have been there before and loved it. This time, HAL booked the two largest ships in the line in and out of the Cay at the same time, totally overwhelming the island. There was a long wait for the tender ride to shore. Once ashore, there was absolutely nowhere to sit or shade to be found. The shade we had booked in advance was oversold and we had to stand in line back on board later for a refund. The beautiful beach was absolutely packed and the lines for the lunch buffet were unreasonable. We just didn't eat. When some angry cruisers gave up their shade chairs, we simply took their spot. We got in line about an hour ahead of departure to return to the ship. The shaded tender lines were assigned to returning passengers for the other ship, and we had to stand in line in the blazing sun for over an hour, to then sit atop a crowded tender back to the ship. Not once were we offered shade, water, cold towels or sunscreen. We were all sunburnt from the experience and no one was happy. It was a horrible experience on what should have a been a beautiful final cruise day. With few, exceptions, the food on the Nieuw Statendam is wonderful and keeping to the high HAL standard. Our cabin was lovely and the cabin staff did a great job. The entertainment was very good as well. We will likely cruise HAL again but hope this and other feedback encourages them to restore elegant service and experience that we so enjoy. * Note to family cruisers * On HAL spring break cruises there are plenty of kids for your kids to befriend and interact with, but not so many as to overwhelm (or annoy) the adults. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
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
9 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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
7 Helpful Votes
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This will be my first review on Cruise Critic, but after meeting some CC people aboard MS Maasdam (Jan 6 2019 Freemantle-Singapore), I thought I’d contribute. This was a birthday/Winter getaway with apparently interesting stops, our 20th ... Read More
This will be my first review on Cruise Critic, but after meeting some CC people aboard MS Maasdam (Jan 6 2019 Freemantle-Singapore), I thought I’d contribute. This was a birthday/Winter getaway with apparently interesting stops, our 20th cruise and 4th on Holland America. We loved our previous HAL cruises (Zuiderdam and Prinsendam X 2). Sadly, this trip did not meet our expectations from HAL. The question is whether it is this particular ship or a new marketing model. Overall, the first impression is nickel-dime’ing. Quarters to use the laundry washers and dryers? Second impression, max effort to ‘sell’ something/profit incentive (I’ve never seen a captain appear and host a jewelry store sale event, speaking to shoppers - more so than at various Mariner events and meet-the-captain galas). This begins with surprisingly high excursion fees, often over double the cost for the same excursion online. Particularly galling is contracting with a local operator to sell ONLY through HAL excursions, i.e. blocking independent online or walk-up bookings; example - Dili East Timor: Hop On Hop Off is advertised at $45, with a stop at the cruise port. HAL contracted to do the booking for $79.95. They were not allowed to sell tickets to anyone not on a HAL excursion. Entertainment: cruise director was brand new (reportedly third in recent months). There were no “shows/productions”. There were individual entertainers, some quite decent, but not every night. Some ‘science/wildlife’ lectures were informative for those interested. Event scheduling seemed haphazard, e.g. captain’s reception and festivity at 7:55 PM, show start at 8:00 is only one example. There were many. Seems they are trying to appeal to a ‘younger’ clientele (average age still appears to be 70, with lots of older folks with walkers/canes/wheelchairs). The introduction of Zodiac inflatable excursions is new, and from reports (can not verify), some were disasters, acknowledged by the zodiac drivers that a monetary adjustment should be expected. Selections of cruise stops - sounded off the beaten track, and they were, not necessarily all bad but certainly raise some questions. Geraldton, Exmouth, Broome? Interesting introduction to relatively barren Western Australia (Exmouth often the hottest spot in the world - we saw 113* F). Komodo Island was a highlight and a big factor in selecting this cruise. It was worth the effort. Assumed (wrongly) that th Bali stop was the ‘known tourist destination. Actual stop was at a North Coast port, out of reach of any better known or advertised sites (e.g. Ubud). Probolinggo? Surabaya? O.K. Expensive, long excursions to Mt. Bromo were highlights available, but not sure how many took advantage. We did not, arranging our own private tours. An advertised 10 hour excursion from Semarang to the ancient temple of Borobudur was offered, and many booked it. They arrived back at the ship almost an hour late. Mixed reports,some loved the visit, but all mentioned huge crowds and difficulty getting pictures (including a professional photographer). The ship: getting OLD. Our vista suite had numerous wooden shims in the sliding glass door, presumably to stop it from creaking/rattling. They did work, if looking a little flakey. No complaints about our cabin/Port side. starboard side Vista suites had water (strong rains puddled on verandas) seep under sliding doors, wetting carpeting and personal items/luggage on the cabin floor. Food: no issues, and generally decent. Some local/Indonesian offerings were excellent. Very little local fruit offered - small plates purportedly put out at 11:30 were gone by 11:45, too bad if you weren’t there. Almost none in the evenings. We are not picky or demanding foodies, and more often than not eat at the Lido/buffet. Surf and turf (one night) in the dining room was very good. Overall, mixed emotions. May or may not give HAL another try (not on Maasdam). A little disappointed with this cruise, being a HAL fan. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no ... Read More
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no music to signal the start of the journey, although there were drinks available, you had to guess if they were alcoholic or not. There was no photographer taking photos for international tourists to capture the harbour sights either. The ship is in urgent need of upgrade and looks tired and dated. It is due for a refit towards the end of the year - this is only internal. There were issues with the airconditioner being cold, so they ran the ship on four generators to warm it up and when the swell got bigger, turned the fifth generator back on. When running on the lesser generators they also experienced electrical and power issues. Food in the Lido Market was below par and what was there for lunch appeared at dinner with a different name. We asked what the temperature of the food bays were set at and the reply " I don't know it isn't my area". I had yoghurt for breakfast and could almost pour it into a cup to drink. The desserts were in this same fridge and were never at the correct temperature. The meals from the hot bays were luke warm, the plates on the other hand were extremely hot and at times unsafe to carry back to the table unless you brought your napkin. The serving staff were hit and miss with personality.Our cabin was a verandah and adequate for the two of us and our stewards who cleaned it daily were accommodating and . The entertainment we found to be enjoyable and the people we met also had mixed views about the staff and overall appearance of the ship. We had 4 shore excursions - Port Arthur, Hobart, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. As these are all in US dollars research if there are companies that provide similar tours that can be booked from Australia to avoid the exchange rates. We enjoyed all our tours and only had one bad experience when in Kangaroo Island. Our 9 hour tour was uncomfortable as the airconditioning on the bus packed in 45 minutes into the tour and there were no other coaches available. The temperature inside the bus got to around 38 degress. The driver attempted to do all he could to make the best out of the situation, but by the end all us passengers couldn't wait to get of the coach and board the ship and get cold drinks. When we complained we were advised we would received a 15%refund that only equated to $60 dollars from a tour that was more than $300 USD. Should have pushed for a full refund. The only port where we felt welcomed was in South Australia were there was a bush band singing at arrivals and volunteers waiting to direct us to the buses, taxis or train to the city. The disembarkation at the ports was well managed and even the days we needed to use the tender boats. As I have used HAL prior, I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my son for his first cruise. Overall, regardless of the flaws mentioned, we had a relaxing time, but next time we cruise, will look at another company to compare the service and atmosphere. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my 23rd cruise, and I like to offer my insights. I like to start with positives so here we go: Staff is amazingly helpful. Ship is immaculate. Storage is amazing on this ship. Closets, cabinets, shelving, compartments. ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise, and I like to offer my insights. I like to start with positives so here we go: Staff is amazingly helpful. Ship is immaculate. Storage is amazing on this ship. Closets, cabinets, shelving, compartments. Everything was terrific. Elevators are really fast and never crowded. Cabins have a great amount of USB ports so you don’t have to lug charging bricks with you. Loved the makeup mirror they give you in the cabinet. The LED reading lights are terrific. The free movie selection in the room was unparalleled! Truly the best ever offered on a ship. For once, the pictures were lovely. No hard sell, very good value and the best, they had REASONABLY priced photo gifts that the produced right on the ship. BB Kings location and music was terrific! It’s enclosed and the acoustics are lovely. Much better than the Konigsdam which was wide open and had no ambiance of a club. Now for the real issues: This was our 3rd New Years cruise on HAL and the first time there was NOT ONE table to put your drink on while you were enjoying the New Years party near the pool. I looked at pictures from the Konigsdam and saw all of the high top tables around the deck. We had the 8pm seating for dinner and were NOT offered ANY New Years party favors. The ship has horrible plumbing issues. We had standing water in shower and backed up toilets constantly. Other people had brown water in bathroom sink and was told at first that it was ok to use to brush your teeth. Then Later, was not to use it. This ship doesn’t have a “sports bar” per-se but there are so many TV’s around and they just didn’t have enough viewing locations for all the college bowl games and NFL playoffs Some smaller issues: no laundry bags in room. If you make the mistake and take the bag marked “laundry” bag, you will be charged $15. The daily activities were pretty much non-existent. If I had not been on three other HAL cruises, I would have just chased it up to the “target” demographic but I must tell you, I think this is a direct reflection of the “middle aged” cruise director who just doesn’t necessarily care about making the shop have varied activities. On deck 11, there’s an area where they do all the cultural talks. I don’t know why they don’t utilize the same seating area and show movies so people don’t have to stay coupes up in their rooms if they want to watch a movie. There should be scheduled movie times crwatingvan atmosphere of socialization! It wasn’t until the last day at sea that I saw coloring pencils in the Fugi craft area. Why the ship didn’t let people know there was an adult “coloring ” time is beyond me. The food was ok. Nothing special and certainly nothing like other Holland ships. When they say “rack of lamb” but serve two pancake thin lamb chops, this is NOT rack of lamb. The food in Lido was mediocre to say the least. The bakery selection for breakfast was terrible and the eggs (scrambled) were just inedible. I don’t understand why the “daily menu” selections were not printed in the menu every day considering the menu was not very good. Ships should move over to paper straws rather than discontinue straws (on request only) Port of San Dirgobwas very easy for both embarkation and disembarkation. There were over 280 kids this week but the ship didn’t change anything on the daily program. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were so excited to be back on a Holland America Line (HAL) ship after a few cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We missed the classic European charm of HAL. The little Dutch/European touches -- fine dining at breakfast -- ... Read More
We were so excited to be back on a Holland America Line (HAL) ship after a few cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We missed the classic European charm of HAL. The little Dutch/European touches -- fine dining at breakfast -- with classic European or Asian breakfasts, the ginger served after dinner, escargot on formal nights etc. Oh, we were so disappointed. We were 11 people on the cruise and each of us felt the food was sorely lacking. Marinara sauces watered down so that it was like adding thick pink water to your pasta. It was absolutely flavorless. Granted I am vegetarian and so assumed it was just me. So, when my carnivore son also complained about the food -- I knew the problem was real. Even the cappuccinos and lattes that cost $5+ each -- tasted of weak poor quality coffee. I spent so much time hungry on this cruise -- literally hungry. The salad bar was a good solid bet. The poached egg station in the morning was nice. The oatmeal was made palatable by adding nuts from near the yogurt station. Each meal on the Lido deck was a matter of hunt and gather -- hunt for the base of your meal -- then gather items to make it flavorful and tasty. Actually felt hunger pangs on the cruise and left the ship on Sunday ravenous. Body was literally craving nutrition. I will applaud almost every member of the crew. They never failed to smile or greet you. The only one who seemed apathetic was the girl not excited about making our pasta with extra spinach or gluten free -- even though we fetched the spinach from the salad station ourselves. We have truly enjoyed the elegance and high standards on HAL prior to this cruise and selected it because an elderly family member was traveling with us. As a large group, we felt it was the best cruise line to get a quality experience. Sorely disappointed on so many fronts but mainly the food front. 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
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
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