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1,460 Holland America Family Cruise Reviews

We cruised to the Norwegian Fjords My experience is that every cruise is a joy, some more or less in a category. I therefore rate against average and do not feel comfortable at guessing at what the stars really mean. This cruise was ... Read More
We cruised to the Norwegian Fjords My experience is that every cruise is a joy, some more or less in a category. I therefore rate against average and do not feel comfortable at guessing at what the stars really mean. This cruise was above average for crew friendliness and helpfulness. Even the mostly hidden kitchen crew and below deck engineering crew were happy to smile and greet you The food was average. I would have rated it higher except that it went downhill after the 2nd day only to recover at the end. Hint, used the extra cost dining in the middle of the cruise. Their $10 extra Italian dining is not worth the visit as it is no better than their dining room. The embarkation was the most unorganized that I have ever experienced and for that alone I will never take another HAL cruise. On one hand they suggest boarding at 1pm, only to find that their published daily activities in the cabin for the passengers have already started at 10am. Be prepared to stand in lines during embarkation for well over an hour with no seats. I pity the senior citizens or disabled. The entertainment on-board was average for all bars but the major shows were so far below average that 60-70% of the seating remained empty each night. I watched a couple of shows and if this was an American Idol TV competition they wouldn't have made it past the first level. I tend to rate the ports visitation separately as they apply to all cruise lines. However I will comment on one port that may have been unique to this cruise only. That port was Haugesund Norway. The cruise line and port itself did what they could to welcome us. Marching band and free bus transportation to shopping streets in town. However the docking is off the tourist path and there isn't even a HOHO bus to take you around to see any sites. Certainly a wasted stop compared to the other ports of call.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My cruise started on May 1, 2013 and would go on until May 8, 2013. We would board the ship in Vancouver and sail up to Alaska. I sailed with my parents, my older brother and my younger sister. This will have been my seventh cruise. A week ... Read More
My cruise started on May 1, 2013 and would go on until May 8, 2013. We would board the ship in Vancouver and sail up to Alaska. I sailed with my parents, my older brother and my younger sister. This will have been my seventh cruise. A week beforehand, we got an email saying that the ship was coming Asia and there had been a gastrointestinal outbreak on the last trip. 0_0 Yikes. They delayed boarding and going into your rooms for 2 hours. Normally in HAL, I heard that your rooms are always reading as soon as you board. Due to the gastrointestinal disease, they also had a 48hr period which banned people from serving themselves. This made lining up take FOREVER. Ship: Elegantly decorated ship, it was nice and spacious. Had very nice live music at night which were cleverly located so the music in your ears never overlap. Food: Hit and miss. Some food was really good, and others weren't. Mint chip ice cream there tasted like toothpaste (and I like mint chip). I disliked the prime rib, it didn't taste like anything. I didn't even want to finish it ïOE Cherry Burghandy ice cream was awesome though, served in a waffle cone. Best thing about the trip was the hard ice cream available all day. They were SO good. Afternoon tea was lovely, attended nearly all of them. There are special ones too ex. Royal Dutch, Indonesian and Cupcake. I liked them all (since I have a sweet tooth), as they all had delicious snacks. Activities: Nearly nothing that interests me on board. Only things would be meals & afternoon tea & chess. Not many activities at all. Port: My third time to Alaska, Ketchikan still my favourite, others are boring and small. Glacier Bay was beautiful though, very cold. They served Dutch Pea Soup at the Bow & Outside decks. Room: Beds were SO comfy. Every time I lied down, I fell asleep, even during the daytime. Room was spacious and a lot of storage space. Irritating handle-less drawers. Not enough hangers. Amazing smelling body soap in shower. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Outstandingly fast. Fastest disembarkation I have ever had. They just scanned your card and you left. Boarding was really fast too. To read my extensive review (Live from Trip Report) with MANY HD pictures (1080p+) depicting every single thing I did on board, please visit my thread on Cruise Critic Message Boards at: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1841439 Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Our family of seven headed to Port Everglades through a massive traffic jam in our rented minivan. Port security asked two of us for identification which we provided and we slowly made our way to Pier 19. Boarding at Fort Lauderdale Pier ... Read More
Our family of seven headed to Port Everglades through a massive traffic jam in our rented minivan. Port security asked two of us for identification which we provided and we slowly made our way to Pier 19. Boarding at Fort Lauderdale Pier 19, you must have passports and boarding pass and health survey to board. Unfortunately, husband had my passport and he was returning the rental car at FLL. I was able to be seated in the terminal to wait for his return. In about one hour, he returned by taxi through the traffic jam at the port. We got into the line and moved quickly to the registration desks. Because we had sailed before, they had our photos from the previous trip in 2008. Our son had his photo quickly taken and our sea passes were issued. We were now on board and after dropping our hand luggage off in our room, we headed for the Lido deck for lunch. It was about 2:30pm and the Lido was crowded but we found lunch and a place to sit. Our ship was scheduled to depart at 4pm. We returned to our cabin located mid ship. It was more spacious than a standard balcony and the sofa converted to a single bed for our son. Our bed was a queen size bed. The bathroom had double sinks, a small shower with detachable shower head and a jetted bath with another detachable shower head. The shower was so tiny that the pan filled up with water so we found it better to shower in the tub. There were three small closets, one with shelves and safe, one where you can hang long items, and one that you can hang shorter items. There was a vanity with the hair dryer in the top left hand drawer. The remaining drawers you can use for small items. There is a media wall with TV and DVD player. There was a second desk area that my son used for his suitcase. He chose to live out of his suitcase instead of unpacking. We went down the hall to my daughter's cabin, category SB. Her cabin is larger than ours. They had a king size bed and a large sofa that converted into a bed for two persons. She had a dressing area before you entered the bathroom. The bathroom seemed to be the same size and configuration as our bathroom. The amenities include Neptune Lounge and laundry. They enjoyed the Neptune Lounge located on 7. They really liked the Concierge. The laundry was very handy for her family of 4, including two young children, ages 1 and 3. They generate a great deal of laundry. They really appreciated the extra room and bathtub for the children. Dining: We used the Lido Restaurant almost exclusively because of the young children. The menu for the Lido is different from the Vista Dining Room. There may be a couple items from the Vista that are served at the Lido. We ordered room service for a couple breakfasts and one dinner when surf and turf was on the Vista Room menu. My daughter and her family never entered the Vista Restaurant but my husband and I enjoyed the Mariner's Brunch and the final night in the Vista Room before we returned to Fort Lauderdale. The Lido Dining Room was adequate for our needs. The pasta station was excellent serving a terrific meat sauce. We found the Lido was crowded mostly at breakfast and lunch and less used at dinner. In fact they close down half the stations at dinner. We also found it inconvenient that the main buffet lines close at 8pm and because we are from the West Coast, head down to dinner late and almost missed dinner completely. After 8pm, there are limited offerings of pizza, pasta and drinks from 10:30pm until 11:30pm. After that you have to order room service with another limited menu if you are hungry. Room service for breakfast isn't that tasty. The best meal we had for room service was from the Vista Dining Menu; Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail with Escargot for appetizers. It was delicious! The service was great and they called to make sure we received our order. Room service tray had a small vase of flowers with the meal. I found that to be a nice touch. Appearance of Cabins and Rooms: The cabins were kept clean by Joko and Dewa. The cabins were well maintained and the balconies had sufficient room and furniture. We have absolutely no complaints about our cabins except we couldn't use the balconies when our neighbors smoked. Because I am allergic to smoke, I had to retreat to my cabin. I am grateful I didn't get second hand smoke inside the cabin. I wish Holland America would have a no smoking policy on balconies like other cruise lines. Appearance of the Ship: Outside of the ship, there were rusty areas but inside the ship, it was clean and well maintained. The rugs were clean and the areas kept very tidy by the staff. I did not use the exercise room but my son did and he said it was good. The public restrooms were very clean and consistently so. I appreciate the terry hand towels to wipe your hands. I have been on ships where the public restrooms were dirty and not kept up. There were potted orchids at every table at the Lido Restaurant. The staff was constantly cleaning tables so tables can be made available for other guests. Pool Area: The hot tubs were usually filled and the swimming pool outside the Lido Restaurant had children swimming. Small children aren't allowed in the pool but there is a perimeter around the pool with overflow and the grandkids waded and splashed happily. Amenities: The library is one of the better ship's libraries with some good selections to check out. There are magazines and newspapers also. The ship's computers for guests are located in the library. Outside the library is the Explorations Cafe for specialty coffees and desserts. We did not check out the DVD's or used the DVD player in our cabin. Shows: We did not attend any shows since we were sleepy after dinner. I had heard from other guests that the pianist and comedienne were very good. Final Comments: We do not agree with Cruise Critic posts that criticize Holland for bad food and a dirty ship. The food was on par with other lines and the facilities were far cleaner than other ships. This is our 14th sailing. In 2008, we sailed on Holland as part of a cruise tour and the food was superior. However, the overall experience on the Westerdam was more than adequate. It is a smaller and older ship and seem to vibrate or creak sometimes. However, we had no need for sea sickness patches that we brought because it was not that rocky where we were midship on 6. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
From the time of boarding the Zaandam to leaving her, the staff of this ship found many ways to please us with great service and courtesy. For the first time ever we never went in the main dining room, which is really unusual as on most ... Read More
From the time of boarding the Zaandam to leaving her, the staff of this ship found many ways to please us with great service and courtesy. For the first time ever we never went in the main dining room, which is really unusual as on most ships the best meals and service are found there. With the first meal at the Lido the selection and variety were so great that we thought that we would just make this our regular meal stop and not worry about eating at set times. The salad selection was varied and fresh, the Asian dishes were tasty and having the pasta bar service was tops. Confidence in health was provided by having the staff serve the plates to you and not having to hold implements handled by the person in front of you. Given the lack of proper hygiene by some guests, this is a great way to stay healthy. The pork roasts, roasted turkey, baked chicken dishes and steamed vegetables all were terrific. It was great to see the Chef around checking on his staff and talking freely with the passengers. The cooking demonstrations with the staff were not only great at sharing tips but were actually funny. The Company Men playing in the Theatre were really a high energy group that challenged the older crowd to come alive. They were fun and their talent promised long and successful careers. The ship is well maintained and carries an air of eloquence from the teak decks on the promenade deck to the intriquing artwork on display everywhere. The Hawaiian speaker really knows the Pacific and provided a great way to learn and enjoy the trip. The maritime history speaker was excellent as well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
I have come to the conclusion that when your expectations are not met on a cruise ship the crew are almost always The Saving Grace as they were on the Veendam. Thank you wonderful crew. I took my 12 yr. old grandson, Dillon, on the ... Read More
I have come to the conclusion that when your expectations are not met on a cruise ship the crew are almost always The Saving Grace as they were on the Veendam. Thank you wonderful crew. I took my 12 yr. old grandson, Dillon, on the Veendam June 3rd-10th out of New York City. He has been on four cruises and loves cruising. I have been on six and wanted him to experience HAL as I had an outstanding cruise on the Noordam.I had booked an inside cabin 784, low deck and mid ship as he sometimes has motion sickness. Pre-cruise - we are from Virginia and flew into LaGuardia and took a taxi to the hotel. We stayed at Hotel 31, a quaint, clean and very reasonable hotel on 31st. This was a great location, friendly staff and each night we viewed the Empire State Building out our window all lit up. Embarkation - smooth. We took a taxi to the cruise terminal at 11:00 am and were in our cabin within the hour. We had lunch in the Lido - limited selection. Our bags arrived 2 hours later. We unpacked and I mentioned to Made, our cabin steward, that the cabin felt hot. He said he had already called it in. Welcome to the Veendam! Sigh. Someone from the front desk came up and told me they would send maintenance to check the air. Night came and no one had come so I called front desk and was told a fan would arrive immediately. That never happened and we spent a sweltering first night. Tues am Made brought us a fan. Tues pm Chona from front desk came and informed me the air could not be fixed during this cruise. She was helpful and said we could move to another cabin as a couple had cancelled - cabin 520 forward. She showed us the cabin and told us we had a time limit to decide as others were experiencing problems and wanted the cabin. Apparently the ship was filled to capacity. It was obvious to me that they knew the air did not work in this cabin but they put us in it anyway. We had no choice but to take this cabin. I was told someone would bring us a cart and effortlessly move us. They never came and Made and Gede moved us carrying everything piece by piece. This whole ordeal was insensitive and handled very unprofessionally. Come on HAL you can do better. I am a past guest. The ocean crossing was rough and Dillon stayed seasick in this forward cabin. Thursday I received a letter of apology, a bouquet of flowers and beverage credit of $50 which I changed to on board credit. They later changed it to $100. At least they did something which I appreciated. Dining - We ate dinner in the Rotterdam on formal night. The service was very slow and we were there two plus hours. Food was good. The Canaletto restaurant was booked with a wait list so we settled on the Lido. Food was just o.k. Pizza good. Public Rooms - The ship was easy to navigate and relatively clean. Entertainment - The Adiago Strings quartet from Romania were excellent. Dillon takes violin lessons and we both enjoyed listening to this talented group every night. The band on the Lido were very good as well as the other music throughout the ship. We went to a show we enjoyed, watched a movie, played the big chess game, and swam when we could inch in. Spa & Fitness - N/A Family and Children - N/A Shore Excursions - We did not book any as the weather was not good. PROS - Our cabin stewards Made and Gede in cabin 784 and Sauli & Minto in cabin 520 were wonderful. We met so many special people from all over the world and enjoyed our times together. A kind couple from Canada found and returned my camera and sun glasses and I was grateful for their honesty. The dessert extravaganza was awesome. The chefs did a super job with delicious cakes, etc. etc. on 3 decks. CONS Only one swimming pool which was always overcrowded. The retreat is not worthy of any comments. When they painted the outside of the ship the chemical smells were overwhelming. They did go around and spray cabins with air fresheners if you asked. BERMUDA - The weather was very windy and rainy but we made the best of it and enjoyed all our adventures. Bermuda is a beautiful, colorful, clean island with friendly and helpful people. We took the bus to St. George and walked around but it poured so we took a ferry to the Dockyard. We got on a bus to sea glass beach and the sea glass covered the beach. The sun came out and we swam and collected unique sea glass for two or more hours. We went to Horseshoe Bay - lovely setting. Dillon snorkeled in the cove and I swam. We visited the cast iron lighthouse, took a tour of Bermuda on the ferry and shopped some in Hamilton. We also visited the exquisite cathedral and Fort Hamilton where we met up with a family from London also on the Veendam. Disembarkation - smooth. Our plane did not leave until 7:30 pm. We took a taxi to the Hotel, dropped off our bags and walked to central park and St. Patrick's Cathedral for the afternoon. Would I try HAL again???? It would have to be something exceptional and certainly not the Veendam. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Second time on Holland America. 10 times on Princess. 8 Carnival. 3 RC. We choose this cruise for the itinerary (7 day inside passage, in/out of Vancouver, and Glacier Bay). Colleagues recommended against HAL as perceived not kid friendly. ... Read More
Second time on Holland America. 10 times on Princess. 8 Carnival. 3 RC. We choose this cruise for the itinerary (7 day inside passage, in/out of Vancouver, and Glacier Bay). Colleagues recommended against HAL as perceived not kid friendly. HAL assured us that summer Alaska would have families on board, but agreed that other sailing not good for kids. HAL rep even said that they warn clients to expect kids on summer Alaska routes. Very smooth and efficient boarding in Vancouver and staterooms were ready at 1130 am. We were very impressed. As returning guests we were invited to dinning room for lunch. First impression of overall appearance was so so. Carpets and tiles need to be cleaned or replaced in many areas. Not very fancy interior. I'm sure it was nice in 2002, but I think the only upgrade since were flat screen stateroom televisions. We had open seating, but requested the same table and time every night. Dining room service was slow, slow, and slow. Perhaps assigned seating was better. We had one waiter and never saw an assistant waiter as on all other cruises. Very bland menu and poor quality steaks and food often cold. Kids menu very poor. Would not recommend this line for families. On three occasions, our food sat out for 15 minutes while we waited. Carnival menu and food quality was at least twice as good, and Princess and RC were both better quality than Carnival. On positive dining note, we ate at Pinnacle Grill and had a lively dinner. If we ever take HAL again, we would pay the $20 every night as the service and food quality is worth it. Show quality was poor compared to all other lines. Magician was good, but unfortunately hawked his magic kit (which he sold after show and in gift shop) throughout show which was unprofessional and annoying. Inside passage and ports were great, but we will travel on a more kid friendly line with better service next time. On positive note, ship never appeared overcrowded, we could always get deck chair, and most passengers were asleep by 11. Casino was usually quiet. Once again, very efficient disembarkment in Vancouver. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The cruise, in my mind, was an A. The ports were splendid; the crew members were top notch; entertainment was pretty good; and the food was excellent. The only downside is that this boat is beginning to show it's age. The maiden ... Read More
The cruise, in my mind, was an A. The ports were splendid; the crew members were top notch; entertainment was pretty good; and the food was excellent. The only downside is that this boat is beginning to show it's age. The maiden voyage was in early 20006 and I understand that these lovely ladies of the sea take a beating but there were some items that were less than appealing. Broken A/C that took forever to fix... in 95 degree heat that stinks. And it never really performed well the entire time. Shower stall wasn't really clean. Had to point out to get cleaned. Many wear and tear marks throughout the ship. I was a bit startled when the cruise director told us they just did a major upgrade on her recently... thank goodness cuz I wonder what it looked like before. So I may be a bit picky but for what we paid I was a little let down. Would I recommend this ship to others? YES... but it would be qualified. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Holland America's 10-day western Mediterranean is a port intensive cruise that takes you to eight ports and six countries (Italy, Vatican, Monaco, France, Spain, Tunisia). The ship is a wonderful way to travel the Med. HAL tries to ... Read More
Holland America's 10-day western Mediterranean is a port intensive cruise that takes you to eight ports and six countries (Italy, Vatican, Monaco, France, Spain, Tunisia). The ship is a wonderful way to travel the Med. HAL tries to bring you to as many ports as possible, for as long as possible each day. It succeeds! Perhaps it was too successful. We found ourselves wishing for an extra day at sea to relax, recharge and enjoy the ship. This cruise only has one sea day. We splurged on one of those large aft balconies that wrap around the room on deck 7. We opted for a Deluxe Verandah Suite (SB) that entitled us to many extra benefits, which may have been a mistake for such a port intensive cruise. We didn't take advantage of many of the benefits (special suite guest luncheons, parties), because we were so busy in port. However, if you like to spend time on the balcony, this was an incredible luxury. We fit 15 people on the verandah for a Cruise Critic sail away party the first night. We would enjoy a nightcap in our bathrobes and watch the sun rise some mornings. A note of warning, these balconies do not offer complete privacy. They have slanted roofs, so people on decks above can see part of your deck. We had a small problem with trash blowing down from the pool deck, but nothing major. The two sided balcony meant we always had a spot in the shade on the warm afternoons. The cabin was large, although smaller, inside, than other SB cabins. They give you the extra balcony space, but take it away from the inside. We still had plenty of room. The bed was quite comfortable, as was the pull-out couch. There was plenty of storage space for three. We packed four large suitcases, and could not use all of the cabinets. Suitcases fit easily beneath the bed. This room comes with a nice bar, which we took advantage of. We pre-ordered several bottles of liquor and wine. The stewards made sure we had plenty of ice and clean glasses. The bathroom had double sinks, a shower and a whirlpool tub. I used it several mornings. The Neptune Lounge, which is reserved for suite guests, has a constant variety of snacks and beverages available in a quiet club-like setting from 7:30a-8:30p. The two concierges knew our names within the first day and always greeted us with a friendly smile. We used their services to book spa treatments and dinner reservations, exchange dollars to euros, and order hoers d'oeuvres for parties on that gigantic balcony of ours. I can't say enough about how nice Reyan and Doris were. One benefit of the suite life we took advantage of often was breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. This is the ship's upscale steakhouse. It serves breakfast to suite guests in a relaxed setting. The menu is the same as in the Vista Dining Room (MDR). The service was far superior. We ate dinner at the Pinnacle twice. The food and service are comparable to any fine steakhouse in the USA. Just as in the MDR, you can order as many appetizers, soups, salads, as you wish. BUT I suggest you save room for those steaks! Well worth the $20pp surcharge. We found service in the MDR a bit lacking this cruise. The food was great and the variety wonderful. However, service was slow. We missed shows the first three nights because we did not leave the MDR until close to 10:30. Show time is 10:00 for late seating. When I brought it to our waiter's attention, he apologized. He said he had a high maintenance table of nine that included one woman who loved to complain to ships officer, who was dining with them on formal nights. Service improved dramatically, once we explained we wanted time to see the shows. There are three formal nights on this cruise, so if you want to dress up, you'll have plenty of nights to shine. For planning purposes, our formal nights were after Monaco, the sea day, and after Sicily. Lunch in the Lido was great. We'd head there around 2:30 on port days for a lunch. Salads, burgers, pasta, and remarkably fresh fish. They do shut down late afternoon. One day we got back on board and settled for pizza and pasta. The demographics on this cruise skew to the older side. By that, I mean over 70. Much of the entertainment was geared to those folks. The comedian was funny, but G-Rated. The piano player in the piano bar loved tunes from the 50s & 60s. The feature singer knew all the OLD songs. There was a cute act, featuring dueling violinists. I'm not complaining about the entertainment. Just letting you know what to expect. I thought the shore excursions were also skewed to older folks. There were not enough active excursions for our family. We booked a lot of private tours. On board asctivities were also a little geriatric for my taste. I don't want this to sound like I'm bashing the cruise line. I'm not. I'm just telling you wnat to expect so you can plan. That much said, there were 90 teenagers (13-17 year-olds) on board and the teen director Jeremy rocked! I suspect many of those teens managed to sneak into the Northern Lights Disco when it opened at 10:00pm. I saw a lot of young faces the night I visited. Overall, my daughter (17-years-old) had a blast. The casino was decent, and never crowded. We actually won a couple hundred bucks. Nice array of slots, craps, roulette, video Texas hold 'em, and blackjack. Be careful, they have several blackjack tables that feature funky variations. My daughter had a massage, hair-do, facial and pedicure in the Greenhouse Salon. She liked the massage so much, she opted for a second one! It's the first time, ever on a cruise, I spent more on spa services than anything else! I settled for using the gym five mornings. There were plenty of aerobic machines available with TV screens to watch the tube. I preferred to look out the windows at the horizon. Decent variety of weight machines too. They offer chilled had towels after your workout, which was a great way to end a workout. The ships photographers were not intrusive, as on other ships. We usually buy several photos. They were expensive. The $39.99 sheet included a couple of wallet size, 5x7 and 8x11. We found so many photos we liked, we sprung for a $299 package that gives you every photo of you taken on board. My daughter took advantage and will have plenty of Holiday photos to give out. We literally walked off the ship with 100+ photos. We used the aft pool, which is supposed to be for adults only. The ship does not enforce this policy. However, the few children who used the pool were supervised by their parents and well behaved. Summing up, the Noordam is a clean comfortable ship. The staff is friendly and efficient. You will see a lot of Europe in 10 days. You will probably not see as much of the ship as you may want to. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We(2 adults & 1 child) recently returned from another HAL cruise. This time is was a 12 day Baltic cruise from Dover, GB. We were attending a conference on board (lectures just on the sea days)and flew on our own into London 1 1/2 days ... Read More
We(2 adults & 1 child) recently returned from another HAL cruise. This time is was a 12 day Baltic cruise from Dover, GB. We were attending a conference on board (lectures just on the sea days)and flew on our own into London 1 1/2 days early but had arranged a transfer by HAL from there base hotel of Marriott Grosvenor House in Hyde Park for the morning of departure. We a half a block away at Hilton located at the Hyde Park Corner. 5 buses took fellow cruisers from Hyde Park to Dover aboard a bus. We left at 9:30 am and arrived by noon. Dover is a small terminal; we were checked in and given colored boarding passes. When our color was called we walked to the gangway and went on board. First thing, checked out the stateroom. We were assigned a Superior Veranda (SY) 5001, which is starboard and to the fore. This is designated as a handicapped equipped room. This stateroom is large and spacious. The patio is double sized due to being all the way to the front of the ship. Nice. This was our second cruise so we knew to go up to Lido and eat while luggage was being loaded on board. After a huge lunch we walked around and discovered the rest of the ship. This ship has another premium restaurant located mid ship on the 11th floor called Tamarind, a Asian themed restaurant, along with Canaletto in the Lido and Pinnacle Grill. Get your reservations in early. Tamarind is no additional cost for lunch but reservations do fill up quickly. This cruise is a Baltic Cruise that heads out of Dover to Copenhagen then to Warnermunde, Tallinn, Saint Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and back to Dover. The seas were calm and on our trip at the end of June into July the weather was varied. We had warm days of 90+ and most days in the 60-70's. I did order a expensive Internet plan to stay in touch, but found that the port of Copenhagen has free WiFi dockside. In addition Tallinn had free Wifi at the port near the shopping booths near the docks. Keep in mind that you have to share with others and it could be difficult to log on because of the crowds. We arranged tours through HAL and liked the tours, although a little pricey. But this is vacation and we travelled half way around the world to get here we should see the sights. Warnermunde/Berlin was memorable because of the tour guides. We had Jay for the train ride from the port to Berlin, a German student home for summer but studying in Colorado, who was great. In Berlin we were lucky enough to have Berlin resident/actor/tourguide Burkhart. He was excellent and made each stop interesting, fun and educational. Highly recommend going into Berlin. We ate most dinner's on board in the Rembrandt dining room in open seating. Because of the jet lag we always ate early. We found that the meats were cooked to perfection, unlike a year early in Alaska were we ate later. We think that in serving thousands those who eat early get better choice in doneness of the meats versus coming in for the huge rush at 7-8 pm. As always the room stewards were great, we went to a few shows at the Mainstage and found the dancers, singers, performers thoroughly entertaining. Our 10 year old we especially looking forward the Club HAL. She spend most days there in the mornings,afternoons and evenings playing with other kids her age. She had a great time and therefore we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We recently returned from the eastern Caribbean cruise aboard HAL's Nieuw Amsterdam which sailed from Ft. Lauderdale January 23rd for seven nights. I would like to offer my comments about this vacation trip. For the record; we have ... Read More
We recently returned from the eastern Caribbean cruise aboard HAL's Nieuw Amsterdam which sailed from Ft. Lauderdale January 23rd for seven nights. I would like to offer my comments about this vacation trip. For the record; we have cruised approximately 14 times in the past on several cruise lines, mostly on medium sized ships such as the Nieuw Amsterdam. These cruises have included various destinations around the world, including a transatlantic trip. We had sailed once before with HAL on the Noordam in 2010 and loved it. We have always elected a verandah stateroom or mini suite as our accommodation, and spend a lot of time on the verandah for activities such as coffee and juice early in the A.M., reading, relaxing, socializing with the group that we generally cruise with, and taking photographs of scenery, ports etc. (I consider myself an advanced amateur photographer.) Just to be fair to HAL, we had originally booked a 14 night back to back cruise departing earlier in January, but reduced it to a seven day cruise to be in synch with our cruising group, who booked the seven night cruise. We had changed these accommodations at least five months before the cruise, and were assured that we would receive the same cabin class (superior verandah) that we had originally booked. I began to get suspicious when we were not given a room assignment until around 2 weeks before embarkation. Our travel agent had been checking with HAL and assured us that there would be no problem. Finally, we received an email from HAL allocating us a VQ stateroom on Deck 11. On the internet, it appeared to be a Spa stateroom with a verandah, but I called HAL just to confirm, because Deck 11 was a little isolated with only 10 similar rooms on that deck. The first person we talked to said that the verandahs on deck 11 were only "viewing verandahs" and didn't have room for seating etc. When I called our travel agent to complain, she also called HAL and was told that on the Nieuw Amsterdam, the Spa VQ verandahs were standard size, and not to worry! I also called and was told the same when I gave the agent our cabin number. She even asked me to hold while she confirmed that fact with her supervisor, who did indeed confirm a "regular" verandah. When we finally boarded, we found the VQ room to be fine, but the verandah on deck 11 was much smaller that other verandahs on the ship, or the VD cabin we had originally booked. Our cruise mates who were in VD rooms confirmed this observation. The two small chairs and tiny table barely fit. If you sat in a chair facing the water, your feet were practically in the drain gutter at the front of the verandah. Needless to say, we did not spend a great deal of time on our verandah and missed out on one of the prime reasons we cruise. When we registered a complaint at customer service, we were told that "you got what you paid for" and the ship was full. Technically, the service representative was legally correct, as with all the legal disclaimers in the contract, we probably could have been put up in a storage bin! My beef with HAL is that even after inquiring, we were misled about the balcony, and we could have been told when we changed our arrangements months before that we could wind up in such a cabin. I would caution anyone getting a cabin on Deck 11 to check with HAL about the verandah size before accepting a reservation there. Deck 11 otherwise is a neat location, being somewhat isolated but containing the Explorers Cafe and Crows Nest, one of our favorite places on the ship. Having been rather critical so far, I think in fairness to HAL (I wish they were as fair to me,) I should state that: The entire crew and staff including those in the cabin areas, food locations, venues etc. were all above excellent and helpful. The food and service in the main dining hall and Pinacle Grill was excellent. The food in the buffet areas was quite satisfactory. The ship itself was very elegant and ergonomically laid out. If it weren't for our verandah issue, we would have had a great time. Unfortunately, the cruise left us with memories of a poor experience, and a negative opinion about HAL. We did mention these complaints in out exiting comments document, but we have yet to hear from HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
My last cruise before this was a Princess ship to Alaska. As I said, a lot has changed since 1998. The Noordam was bigger and fancier than what I remember of our Princess ship, it was also a lot fuller with guests and staff. Embarkation ... Read More
My last cruise before this was a Princess ship to Alaska. As I said, a lot has changed since 1998. The Noordam was bigger and fancier than what I remember of our Princess ship, it was also a lot fuller with guests and staff. Embarkation was very smooth, we did not have a long wait to get our ID cards nor a long wait to get on the ship. Our first objective once aboard was to get lunch, which seemed to be the idea everyone else had too. Not being familiar with the ship, we went to the Lido Restaurant. It was very crowded with the only available tables next to the isle where people were constantly moving. Our first lunch was less than appealing. It also turns out that the only tour of the ship was offered on our departure day. I was somewhat rudely told that I missed the tour after we were at sea. I should have paid more attention! Our room was an upgrade to a Superior Verandah Suite which had plenty of space. The one thing I noticed right away were all the chairs in our room. There were three chairs, one stool, and one couch for 4 in the room, a table, two chairs and two sit-tees with foot rests on the balcony. Did I mention the coffee table in the room too? We didn't bring enough family to make use of all this furniture. A TV and DVD player were located in the room on a counter that sat at 90 deg to the bed, you could sit on the side of the bed to watch TV or on the couch at a sharp angle but there was no comfortable place to put one of the many chairs to watch tv. I was not comfortable to watch TV while in bed. The cabin staff were friendly and made up the room twice a day. Room service was prompt and friendly, however my breakfast was a little cold. There was always plenty to do on the ship. The entertainment was enjoyable, we had good singers and dancers, a good magician and a great comedian. The entertainment supervisor was good at this job and kept thing moving during the entire cruise. The trivia contest was a lot of fun and held at the same time as 2 for 1 drinks. The best part of the cruise! I found and read a great book in the ships library and read it during the voyage. My wife and I also took an offer to use the spa for 10 days for a price of $199, I thought that was a worthwhile deal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We sailed this August on the 14 day "Gaelic Legends" cruise on the HAL Prinsendam. This was far and away the worst cruise we have ever taken on HAL (3 previous cruises) or the three other cruise lines we have cruised on -- by a ... Read More
We sailed this August on the 14 day "Gaelic Legends" cruise on the HAL Prinsendam. This was far and away the worst cruise we have ever taken on HAL (3 previous cruises) or the three other cruise lines we have cruised on -- by a very wide margin. Right from the start, there were problems. It did not sail from Greenwich as advertised, supposedly because they could not get a water barge. This seriously inconvenienced many arriving passengers. Instead they sailed from tilbury and sat there for a day with nothing for people to do (could go ashore, but very little to see there). After finally sailing, we then had 4 (of the 10)more ports cancelled, supposedly all due to weather. However, we have been on previous cruises in worse weather with no problems. One factor appears to be that they scheduled 5 tender ports, and the crew did not seem adequately trained in operating the tenders (driving them parallel to waves, causing the tender to rock violently back and forth, and several times slamming into the ship on return). The most disturbing incident here was on return from East Dunmore to the ship, where the tender slammed into the gangway opening, narrowly avoiding crushing a crew member, who jumped back just in time. At the port for Londonderry Ireland, we anchored and then the captain decide not to operate the tenders. So, we sat anchored about 200 yards off shore. A report from the BBC quoted the harbor master as saying that the captain had not correctly sailed in on the tides, and quoted the captain as saying that he did not let the passengers off "due to the age profile of the passengers". Several tours were cancelled during the days we actually did get off the ship, many of the rest were overpriced for what we did get, and some didn't do several stops on the itinerary. On the ship, service in the main dining room was very slow, and the quality of food in the Lido was well below previous HAL cruises. Given the small size of the ship, there was very little to do on the unplanned days at sea. We didn't spend money on a cruise to play an extra game of bingo or team trivia! In the end, HAL initially offered a 15% discount on a future cruise, and then upped it to 25% after the final port (Edinburgh) was cancelled. some people did seem to feel this was adequate (those who sail only on HAL and had already booked another trip, so they could apply the discount), but for the rest of us, given all the issues, this seems totally inadequate. I would point out that you have to spend more money on a future HAL cruise to use the credit (i.e., no refund offered). On the positive side, the Pinnacle restaurant was very good -- both food and service, the wine list was impressive, and the library, although small, was quite nice (with all the extra days at sea we spent plenty of time there). So, our experience was very negative and seemed to be a combination of worse than normal weather, an over cautious captain, and what appeared to be an inexperienced crew. We will never sail on the Prinsendam again, and our next couple cruises will not be on HAL. Maybe a river cruise next, then back to Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Just got back off the HAL Zanndam Alaska.. Took my husband and 2 sons. 10 and 15.   HAL just emailed me same cruise for a lot less $. How tacky! Must say this cruise is a snoozer!! We had a cute elderly lady in a wheelchair tell us how ... Read More
Just got back off the HAL Zanndam Alaska.. Took my husband and 2 sons. 10 and 15.   HAL just emailed me same cruise for a lot less $. How tacky! Must say this cruise is a snoozer!! We had a cute elderly lady in a wheelchair tell us how board she was!      The day schedule never seemed to have much on it. I know it is a cruise usually for an older crowd. I don't think that was the problem cause they were a lot of fun!!  My son also loved the Hal kids club. He spent a lot of time there. The food in the Lido was awful!! I felt like they were trying to be creative with yesterdays leftovers.. And we had a hard time catching them open anyway..  The poor workers worked so hard to serve up the nasty crap! I spent a lot of our trip feeling sorry for them and how hard they tried!  My kids called it the "Pig troff slop"  Pinnical grill lunch was good but small servings. We also tried to order room service twice. Both times they never answered the phone. When I called the front desk they told me "they must be busy"    I spent a lot of time and money on this trip for my men.. I felt from the get go I was getting ripped off! I was a past cruiser with them which got me nothing! They dropped the price 50 bucks a person and upgraded to a window room after we booked  which I didn't get and no break on my kids staying in the same room.. Sorry HAL... cant say your corp made me very happy!   We also waited 4 hours to disembark. I guess a problem with luggage unloading.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
To start with first impressions:-slow embarking-sterile atmosphere and mainly old passengers-entertainment not suitable for younger age ( disco nearly empty ) .... and all from above was not written by a teenager but a middle age ... Read More
To start with first impressions:-slow embarking-sterile atmosphere and mainly old passengers-entertainment not suitable for younger age ( disco nearly empty ) .... and all from above was not written by a teenager but a middle age personBefore real crising has sterted our 20 years old son reported alergic rush to the medical staff on Noordam ( the first day of the cruise ) skin change looked like rush or insect bites and we were given a cream to treat them and some pills.We enjoyed couple of days cruising, sightseeng, swimming in the top deck pool... After the  follow up visit to the doctor ( when the changes were majorly less visible ) the decision was made to lock the whole family in the cabines so we spent  2 days in carantine with no room service. After arrival to the next port we were submitted to the hospital ( on fake signatures ) as noone felt sick. There we were reffered to the wrong specialist (  cannot believe that doctor on the ship expected dermatologist to establish if we were contageous). we spent  12 hours in the hospital not accompanied by anyone from the ship, with no water of food offered for that time. Lots of visual and blood tests were undertaken although no high temperature was recorded or anyone felt ill. With no tests confirming any medical problem was evident the capetan of Noordam decided to not allow us to continue the cruise and we had to be disembarked in Barcelona and fly back home from there. Even after nearly a year from the event we still cannot beleive the lack of common sence ,profesionalism, etics and lawfullness around the whole event and it is only Noordam top management to be  blamed.. The staff was completely unresponsible not reacting on our first visit in case that something was really not right. No action was taken on the ship for 3 full days!!!! The whole event looks rather like a criminal story but we live too far from Sietle to address it with the authorities.Needless to say that Holland America never got back to us to check up on our helth after we were left in the port of Barcelona in the midle of the night with very little orientation where to be accomodated while waiting for our air tickets to be booked and medical file completealy cleared by hospital that was supprised to see us there at the first place The same hospital issued a bill to one of the USA insurance companies for more than $30000 as a result of the Capetan's expencive exercise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
I travel extensively and this was the most expensive and one of the worst trips I’ve ever taken. We upgraded to a suite and executive lounge. The lounge service was good but the food stale, pedestrian and you had to pay for liquor. ... Read More
I travel extensively and this was the most expensive and one of the worst trips I’ve ever taken. We upgraded to a suite and executive lounge. The lounge service was good but the food stale, pedestrian and you had to pay for liquor. Dining Room and Lido deck food lacked quality, taste and freshness. We ate burgers and hotdogs because they cooked to order. The only free beverage was lemonade and tea. A coke was $2.50, latte $3.50 + tax, tip. We brought 2 bottles of wine and they charge $18 corkage fee at the restaurant! After spending $7000 (2 people) for this 7 day trip Holland America Eurodam continued to have unexpected costs. The better restaurants cost more to get in and if your wanted a good steak there was an up-charge! The excursions on average cost $150 a person. $30 per person to play Bingo. I’ve been to many around the world the cost for what you did was exorbitant. Also frustrating was the daily schedule was placed in your room the night before. They constantly changed the restaurant open and closed times. We missed breakfast because they close at 8:30am. This was confusing for many people. The most frustrating was the big day to see the Glaciers. They limited the amount of chairs on the top deck, did not offer to set out more and left many of us standing for hours or had to sit inside and only have partial views. The Ranger talk was at 7:30am. We missed it. The day was so unproductive and unorganized because we did not have a central place for the family to enjoy this spectacular event. I was beyond disappointed! I would not recommend this for big family groups or handicapped person. It was difficult to keep organized, most tables only had 2-4 tops that you can’t move. Limited seats for the classical music nights, shows were set at 7:30 or 9:30 which were on top of dinner timelines. Not much activity during the day unless you want spa and workout time. Overall, not worth the money and I would highly recommend NOT using Holland America Eurodam to see Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This cruise on the Maasdam has managed to achieve what no other HAL cruise has managed to achieve, make us regret booking it. With well over 75 cruises under our belt, this cruise scores the highest in its ability to underachieve and show ... Read More
This cruise on the Maasdam has managed to achieve what no other HAL cruise has managed to achieve, make us regret booking it. With well over 75 cruises under our belt, this cruise scores the highest in its ability to underachieve and show indifference to guests. What more can I say other than when we got to Yokohama after the first segment, if we could have changed our air ticket we would have left the ship two weeks early and prepared for our September voyage on the RTDM. Aside from our DR steward Jaka, wine stewards Dave and Von, Lido manager Budi and his staff, Assistant Maitre'D Yudi, coffee gal Amee, our cabin stewards Roby, his assistant, Yusuf and Nicks and all of the other Indonesian, Filipino and Thai servers and stewards who were all terrific, serviceable, friendly and a delight to be around like most HAL crews we have experienced, I can honestly say the management, especially officers, have been the most uninterested, least receptive, least hospitable, unresponsive and aloof that we have ever had. Following is a review that I sent on one of the “Let us know how we are doing” (sic) cards": We just had the second of our complimentary dinners at the Pinnacle Grill, after which we decided the food was so below the level of the main dining room, we are choosing to give up our complimentary Pinnacle dinners to eat in the main dining room. On our first dinner, notwithstanding the salads which any mediocre cook can prepare, I ordered a petite filet, medium rare and fries, my wife ordered the Cioppino, almost two hours later I received a charred and grossly overdone, cold, flavorless steak and my wife received a Cioppino who’s broth was nothing more than hot water flavored with ketchup with a few measly pieces of seafood. Today’s dinner was as appalling, salad again, lamb chops medium rare for me with a side of hashed potatoes and my wife not wanting to risk it ordered a double portion of crab cakes for her entree, I received two lamb chops, grossly overdone again, tough as nails, grisly, cold and no flavor, the hashed potatoes were soggy and cold, my wife’s baked potato was half baked and inedible (because baking a potato takes real chef artistry maybe), the “crab cakes”, well, they were really bread crumb cakes, you would be hard pressed to find any crab, imitation or otherwise. If these dinners had not been free, it would have been catastrophic, the fact that you have the courage to charge $39 per person for food that is not as good as the Lido Market is outrageous. You would think that a restaurant that has “grill” in it’s name would have a cook that can cook a steak. Apparently you took a third level tier cook from the Lido and have him as a cook at the Pinnacle Grill hoping that the razzmatazz and glamour of the room would fool people into thinking they are eating something good. Perhaps this works for a few who really have no idea what decent food is, but from hearing people talk about their dinners there, perhaps not. Let’s not lose sight that a trained monkey could cook a steak medium rare, hot grill, two minutes per side, hot oven for one or two minutes and serve, tough huh? We will never attend the Pinnacle again even though it’s free. If possible, change our two complimentary Pinnacle Grill dinners on our next segment to two complimentary Canaletto dinners, otherwise we will just eat in the main dining room. The Pinnacle Grill is an embarrassment. You chose to raise the prices in all premium dining rooms and lowered the quality drastically, REALLY? Amazingly, You would think that such a review from a five star gold mariner would elicit some comment, any comment!, maybe a defense for such poor dinners or a response from somebody on board, anybody, maybe a cleaning person, perhaps Thomas the F&B manager, Sylvie the ROM or some Maitre'D, how about the PGM who sat there staring blankly at my plate with all the food remaining uneaten? As I show him the disastrous meal to which he acknowledged was prepared horribly. Perhaps: “ bury my head in the sand and pretend it did not happen and it will go away” is a poor management strategy. Clearly nobody could have cared less. Management (anybody with more than one stripe who is not Indonesian or Filipino ) shows an incredible arrogance, aloofness, invisibility and air of superiority. The food quality and prep in general on the entire ship was nothing short of terrible. The food was of poor quality, ill prepared and tasteless. How much more proof would you need than to realizie that while we get two complimentary Pinnacle dinners per cruise, we did not exercise that right because the food is so poorly prepared in that venue, and quite frankly not better than the main dining room and cannot hold a candle to the Canaletto food. To add insult to injury, on the 15th of August, most food stations were close to empty, apparently Thomas didn’t think he needed to think about food for the day after he left the ship. Interesting since we were docked in Yokohama on the 14th for almost 24 hours and then anchored in the bay for two days due to the Typhoon. Further, I would venture to bet that other than the executive chef all the chefs were apprentices or close to it. Aside from the inability to properly cook a simple piece of meat, we had braised short rib Stroganoff on buttered noodles which was nothing more than greasy brisket tossed with regular boxed spaghetti all doused in the same fake jarred stroganoff sauce, Caesar Salad made with Iceberg instead of Romaine lettuce, on the 14th the only greens in the salad bar at lunch were Iceberg, on the 15th and 16th no greens at all ( a salad bar with no greens whatsoever), Thomas leaves this mess for Ali and Ali continues on the same program. French Onion soup with no onions and a broth that is just salted warm water, mashed potatoes which were clearly instant potatoes prepared with water, always undercooked veggies as sides to all dishes, stuffed cabbage leaves served with raw (blood red) beef, Chef Rudy’s special roasted chicken was basically a dried hockey puck, roasted beet salad served with basically raw beets, advertised morel mushrooms when you serve button mushrooms, not even criminis, baked potatoes that are hard as bricks because they are grossly undercooked, If you would like I can keep going, honestly, I can fill a book with how bad the food and this cruise was. Your only saving grace was Budi in the Lido Market/Canaletto, he tried his butt off. Budi does a great job of managing The Lido Market and Canaletto. Budi is jovial, efficient and very hard working. As is true of all companies, the staff takes on the attitude of management. His staff works hard, are very friendly and highly efficient. Continuing with management principles, this addresses the Hotel management in general. From Florin on down, all officers on the Hotel side are aloof, arrogant and invisible especially the new F&B manager Ali and the new ROM Tony, I know for a fact that Tony was left a note from Sylvie to offer us a complimentary dinner (Sel de Mer) for the night of August 18 (Kochi) sent to us by an HD from another ship (Colin Jacob on the WEDM). we never heard from him. We could not accept this offer from Sylvie on our first segment (she insinuated she would be dining with us and said sadly she would not be there on the next segment since she was going home) because we were booked at various places already and the only dates left were on special dinners nights which were not part of the offer so she had to leave it for the second segment. Sylvie called our cabin on or about August 3 and told us that the offer would be forthcoming from Tony, for the night of the 18th when he came aboard, she would leave him a note to that effect. We never heard from him, or anyone else so we had dinner in the main dining room that evening. By some miracle on August 24, while at lunch, the PGM walked by us, waved and said “see you tonight”. I asked what he meant? He mentioned that tonight we had a complimentary dinner for Sel de Mer sent to us by our friend Colin Jacob, HD on the WEDM. We were dumbfounded, nobody had mentioned it or sent us an invitation. This is not a big deal except that for a chance meeting, with three days to go on the cruise, we would have never known about this very kind offer from a wonderful man who we have the pleasure to call friend. This is yet one more example of the right hand not having a clue what the left is doing on this ship. The HD is unresponsive and indifferent, we tried with three letters sent to him placed in his box by us, no response from him or anyone on his behalf, maybe 28 days is not enough time. Leaving the food situation, our cabin’s interior temperature measured 80 degrees (by guest services measure with digital thermometers) for five days! Exterior temperature was 107 with the heat index. I begged the guest relations desk every day, many times a day for help, the excuse was that the ship just came from Alaska and was set up for cold weather. Really? So you have 20 engineers on board scratching their butts, weather radars blinking everywhere, direct connection to NOAA and yet nobody knew we were going into oppressively hot weather which has been the case at this time of the year for several hundred years? Or maybe this was everyone’s maiden voyage and knew nothing! The geniuses at guest relations offered us a fan! How about we put Orlando Ashford and Stein Cruse in a cabin that has an interior temperature of 80 degrees and offer them a fan to keep them comfortable? Any bets on how many people would still have jobs? The immigration situation on our return to Otaru from our second Russian port was handled like beginners were doing it. We docked at 8:00 a.m. and all aboard was 5:00. Some people did not disembark until 2:30! We received a number 3 for disembarkation. For the second round. I approached “Guest Services”, which should actually be named the “Go to Hell Department”. The gal with the shaved head and the little blond with braids on both sides of the head are both nasty and condescending. I was informed that as a five star gold Mariner I had no priority in disembarkation, only in tendering. Priority was given for other reasons ( many to people who never intended to go ashore or just wanted off in the afternoon to use the internet had number one) I was told Disembarkation is when you leave a ship. Nowhere does that benefit get qualified, disembarkation is anytime you leave the ship there should be some benefit for supporting HAL for 15 years and spending almost 700 days cruising on HAL ships. At the very least, I should expect to not walk away from “guest services” feeling like some little girl told me to F off. Due to the Typhoon we had to anchor in the bay for two days (August 14 docked, 15 & 16 anchored) Did anybody think to politically maneuver with the Japanese government so that we could stay in the Yokohama mooring since other ships could not come in, allowing us to at least go ashore since we were going to be “at sea” for three unscheduled days? How about reversing the itinerary where the Typhoon had no impact? How about maybe going to an alternative port Northeast since the typhoon was tracking northwest? I am not questioning the Captain‘s call on safety, God bless him, but there had to be alternatives. You only need to look on Cruise Mapper and see all of the other ports schedules where weather was not impacting them and no other or at most one other ship was there on any alternative day. On the second round in Korsakov we know for a fact that the captain put on a show by lowering a tender into the water and announced that it was too rough and we would not be tendering there. I know he had a meeting the night before and announced to upper management that he had no intention of tendering but he would put on a show so as to justify his decision. Liar! On the 16th of August we departed our anchorage in Tokyo Bay and made our way to Kobe. As we left Tokyo Bay we received the tail end of the Typhoon experiencing 40 knot winds, driving rain and 5 meters seas. Apparently, some brainless wonder thought that this would be a good time to have a crew of Filipino workers go out to scrape and paint deck railings and some of the ladders going up to the tenders. So let’s see, let’s take a guy that weighs 85 pounds, give him a bucket filled with tools and have him climb up a wet metal ladder while wearing rubber soled shoes during a rainy, howling wind while the ship feels like you are on a roller coaster. Humm.. you certainly didn’t see that officer out there supervising or climbing the ladder in those conditions! You couldn’t wait until tomorrow, when we are docked, so that if the poor bastard falls into the sea he can at least swim to a dock instead of dying? On the 20th of August, they decided to repair the rails and various sections of the railings and exit gates to the tenders (in case of emergency, deck 6) along the starboard side. This was an area about 40 yards long. The wood rails were taken off, as were the gates in order to sand, zinc oxide, prime and paint. Everything was left off unattended for about four hours. You have wet decks (raining), three meters swells and large gaps left open along the railings for a few hours (I have photos if you care to see them, they are date stamped and obviously not shopped). You must admit, under the kindest of opinions the supervisor who ordered this and then did not have a watch person there while whoever was working on this and leaving it unattended is a moron. The old paint scrapings, rust and debris was hosed off into the sea! Having just paid a huge fine for polluting Glacier Bay, can you imagine the reaction of the environmental agencies if they were aware of this!. “Sea of Japan polluted by Holland America Line” reads the headlines. Future cruises? That was something. We tried to book three cruises, 54 days in total. We had received a private sale offer and wanted to take advantage of it. We approached Joanne to book it for us wanting to take advantage of the price and the onboard booking credits. Joanne could not make the offer discount code work or “see” the price we could see on the internet so we left her with all the information and trusted it would suffice, after all, she is a HAL corporate employee. Five days later, not hearing anything, we went to future cruises to find out what was going on. Joanne said that she was unable to book it. Mind you, these offers do not last long. She could have called and let us know what was happening. My wife said “How is that possible? I can do it on my iPad, why can’t you?” No response. My wife asked if she called Seattle (right in front of her at her desk) and was able to book it would she (Joanne), be able to get us the onboard booking credits? She said she should be able to was the reply. My wife called Seattle FROM THE SEA OF JAPAN! She booked the cruises in ten minutes and emailed Joanne the confirmations to try to get us the onboard credits and her commission. The incredibly helpful gal who helped us in Seattle is named Lisa Mayette who actually should get the commission, she was friendly, realized the problem and solved it with great efficiency and speed. Put her on a ship if she is willing. Except for a couple, most onboard future cruise consultants are generally not very efficient and uninterested in getting the job done, if it works, great, if it doesn’t, great. For basically being order takers within a target rich environment, you would think that their ability to book a cruise would match a guest’s ability since they have direct access to HAL and we go through the internet site. In addition to the three cruises we booked, three days prior to leaving we submitted a request for future cruise deposits (3). Having not heard anything, we stopped by as we were preparing to disembark and asked Joanne if she had processed them. Her reply was she didn’t recall ever receiving our request. We then waited while she sorted through about 50 unprocessed forms until she found ours - hopefully it will get processed sometime. I could go on but it would be beating a dead horse, I am sure you get the feel of how unimpressive this cruise was! No question, this was the worst managed cruise we have ever been on. We like to think that they transplanted the ms Jakarta or ms Manila (the training schools) and put it out to sea and we are the guinea pigs for the students. Apparently this must be your worst rated, lowest scoring, least revenue producing ship. WORST CRUISE EVER!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
No one told me it would be impossible to change large Euro notes. Guest services warns against taking large notes on tour excursions yet refused to change my 200 Euro note so I could have smaller notes. The person at guest services went to ... Read More
No one told me it would be impossible to change large Euro notes. Guest services warns against taking large notes on tour excursions yet refused to change my 200 Euro note so I could have smaller notes. The person at guest services went to plead my case to the purser. The purser opened the door, looked at me from the doorway, then went back in and the guest services person returned to say the purser had refused my request. I saw they had plenty of change, so this was unreasonable. They did say I could buy Eu200 on my credit card for 3% commission. The next concern I had was with the service charge which now appears daily on our account. No one told me it would cost US14.50 per day, per person. I have always left what I thought was a generous tip to those that gave me exceptional service but have never been forced to tip. For a family of 4, this means you need to budget US580 for tips. This has resulted in the crew not needing to try so hard with their service. For example, I drink tea instead of coffee. Every other cruise, staff have recognised me and automatically remembered this, but not on this cruise. In fact they even tried to keep topping me up with coffee. We tried to book The Dining room several times and the only time available was 5.45pm. Much too early. We tried to walk up and were told nothing was available. On our second last day another passenger said that if we walked up and said we were willing to share a table, they would give us a pager and we could wait in a bar. This should have been communicated to us on at least one of the occasions we tried to book. But when they are assured of a ‘tip’ their service standard drops. Also we did not make use of all of the facilities, so why should our service charge go to those areas when we wouldn’t normally tip them. And why do they put an additional 15% service charge on drinks and coffee? We also had a problem with IT where it could not properly print one of our stateroom cards. This was going to prevent us leaving the boat as the name would not print on the card due to its length. Three times we had to go to customer service and explain our situation all over again, despite them saying they would bring a new card to our room. They kept forgetting about us. The poor customer service really impacted on my holiday. Also I travelled with my sister and they gave us a double bed when we had asked for a twin. I asked for bottles of water on arrival and had to wait until the following day for it to arrive. Then we had a $37.50 beverage charge appear on our account by mistake. This was removed. We took a four meal dining package and the steaks in Pinnacle were nice but not as tender as the wagyu in Chops on the Ovation, but we would have had to pay a surcharge for that. Also included in the meal package was sushi but it didn’t compare to the 5 star sushi on the Ovation, where the soft shell sushi was amazing. The one on the Koningsdam was mostly rice and no shell that I could see. I was told they brought the crab in from another restaurant so it was not cooked by the sushi chef. The barramundi in red curry sauce that I ate in Tamarind was delicious. We returned to Tamarind on the last night to have rijstafel which cost US$30. I saw the menu which had about ten dishes on it and looked very traditional. After soup and salad starter, the other eight dishes were served together on one plate. Not very traditional and not the ‘rijstafel experience’ we expected. To top it off after this meal, I needed the toilet. The cleaner followed soon after and wouldn’t leave until she had serviced my toilet. She banged on the door three times in two minutes, despite me acknowledging her. The Planet earth show with an orchestra playing background music was excellent but too short (40mins). The rest of the entertainment was average. The free movies available in our cabin were recent and plentiful. The food in the complimentary areas was excellent although the msg used in the Asian Fusion area disturbed my sleep. We loved The Grand Dutch Cafe and returned several times for their coffee and croquettes. The shore tours are expensive but very good. We had a nice holiday but it will have to be a very good sale price to get us to try Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were part of an 18 member family party on a cruise from Vancouver BC to Anchorage AK. The staff were generally helpful, the facilities fine, the Alaskan scenery amazing, the food ok, yet my experience was largely negative. We brought ... Read More
We were part of an 18 member family party on a cruise from Vancouver BC to Anchorage AK. The staff were generally helpful, the facilities fine, the Alaskan scenery amazing, the food ok, yet my experience was largely negative. We brought our three small children with us. Mistake. The marketing literature implied “child friendly” but that is misleading. The kids center “Club Hal” was fun for older kids (mostly they watched movies) though occasionally with limited hours, but unfortunately not available to toddlers. But THERE WAS NO SAFE PLACE ON THE SHIP FOR OUR TODDLER. Lots of ways he could get hurt. For example, on Glacier Bay day we rented a cabana and we were on high alert (hard to enjoy) because he could easily slip thru the bars and fall 11 stories to certain DEATH. Deck 2 was the floor with the entertainment on it, and it included a Casino with sounds and lights which seem designed to attract toddlers. CASINO STAFF (manager Tom) WERE MILITANT ABOUT NO KIDS. So I spent endless hours in the evenings going up and down the stairs and elevator, trying to keep our toddler entertained, safe, and out of the casino. BEING TRAPPED ON THE WESTERDAM WITH A TODDLER WAS A FRUSTRATING, STRESSFUL, and EXHAUSTING EXPERIENCE. Never again. For the most part, with the exception of the casino staff, the WESTERDAM staff were empathetic and helpful to our situation, but still a horrible way to spend a vacation. In retrospect we should have just told the family we were not going with them. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last ... Read More
terrible experience nothing to do on this ship they were horrible with my disabled wife even canceled excursions that we booked for handicap accessible people never ever again all the activities on the boat close at 10 at night the last lounge is only open at 10:30 casino was very small as maybe three or four tables to play on nothing for the kids to do just terrible absolutely terrible they messed up my room keys my arm board acount the money I put in my account disappeared five separate trips the customer service in two days and we still didn't get the shore excursion I would never recommend anybody use Holland America when we got back to shore and I contacted them about all the problems I had the only thing they had to say was I apologize didn't even attempt to make it right or make it up to making my disabled wife feel like she was an inconvenience these people Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
They sent as a coupon. 1) My husband booked me a 2 hours spa treatment. I was taken in late for my treatment, while i did the seaweed wrap the therapist left the room , and never bothered to come check on me, and ask how i was doing. ... Read More
They sent as a coupon. 1) My husband booked me a 2 hours spa treatment. I was taken in late for my treatment, while i did the seaweed wrap the therapist left the room , and never bothered to come check on me, and ask how i was doing. The massage was probably the worst massage i have ever had. Once the treatment was done, she was trying to sell me $ 350+ worth of products, and trying to talk me into purchasing additional treatments, by pointing out my skin is sagging, my eyes are puffy etc.....very intelligent:) They put a bottle of water in your room, but there was no label or warning that they were going to charge you $ 5.75 for it! When we got the final bill they raised the daily mandatory tips at $ 14.50/person. The food in the buffet was same every single day, without a fail. As far as entertainment, not much , there was only one show worth the time in the whole week. In the day time , the ship was like a dormant boring place, unless you had plenty of cash to spare you would keep yourself entertained because all they did , tried to sell you anything. The library had no books, other than speciality travel books and such. To conclude, I think I am pretty much done cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
new ship. noisiest doors i've ever experienced. can't rate the rest of the cruise. feel like i'm in the gulf war war with daisy cutters dropping by the minute. INSTALL DOORS THAT CLOSE WITHOUT SHOCKING HALF THE BOAT!!!! ... Read More
new ship. noisiest doors i've ever experienced. can't rate the rest of the cruise. feel like i'm in the gulf war war with daisy cutters dropping by the minute. INSTALL DOORS THAT CLOSE WITHOUT SHOCKING HALF THE BOAT!!!! can't even opine on the rest of the cruise it's probable fine. i've developed a horrible fear of returning to room. i own the best earplugs and the vibrations penetrate them. for a new ship the fare was surprisingly low, you get what you pay for i guess. need to upgrade my cruises i suppose, the guests are surprisingly blue collar and a little rough. one guest exploded and threatened a passenger for touching his stuff by the pool. pretty rough trade. good portion of the guests are here to exploit the unlimited food and the location of the gym is not known to these folks. nuff said Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We love Tim Timmons & Mercy Me so we went on the Mercy Me at sea cruise it was awesome except for the Holland America cruise line. The service in the main dining room was horrible they were not friendly at all. The menu was bad except ... Read More
We love Tim Timmons & Mercy Me so we went on the Mercy Me at sea cruise it was awesome except for the Holland America cruise line. The service in the main dining room was horrible they were not friendly at all. The menu was bad except for 3 nights out of 7 nights. The buffets are bad because you cannot take what you want you have to wait inline and be served. There is nothing to do on the ship thank goodness we had special events all week. The ports we did not get to go to the ports we were expecting to go because they claim that it was too rough waters. It was not rough except for 1 night but we were at sea that day. The fitness center is very small and the staff is not qualified. I would never go on Holland America if they did not have the Christian Cruises. I like the ships and how they look but they need more activities. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Attracted to cruise because it visited Cuba - first time on Holland America after approximately thirty prior cruises - Ship was in total disrepair - Booked four cabins near elevator bank to accommodate ninety year old birthday celebrant - ... Read More
Attracted to cruise because it visited Cuba - first time on Holland America after approximately thirty prior cruises - Ship was in total disrepair - Booked four cabins near elevator bank to accommodate ninety year old birthday celebrant - By end of ten days only one elevator cab was running for passengers resulting in extremely long waits to move around ships - Crew has to use one elevator as theirs were out of order - One day elevator opened and we saw crew member with carts of filthy linens! We were told they were waiting for parts - Public bathrooms on pool deck 11 were out of service from first day until last day - waiting for parts. We were directed to use facilities on same deck at rear of ship through buffet area - One stall only - filthy - no towels to wipe hands - Complained but to no avail - Leaking safety sprinkler valve on 12th deck down onto pool deck for entire length of cruise - Pool deck was always wet and slippery - Cone saying “caution wet floor” with no attempt to repair - Food was inedible with exception of breakfast - Too little personnel - family style trays of food were not refilled when empty - Italian specialty restaurant was disgusting at best - Entertainment crew shows would have been okay as high school productions - Cruise director wore same decrepit suit and dirty shoes nightly - Commented it was a uniform! Sent complaint letter to President and CEO of Holland America about all occurrences - Received response from customer service (not from Pres. or CEO) - Surprise! She claimed all issues were related to awaiting spare parts - Offered $100.00 discount per person on future cruise - Insulting at best - As repeat cruiser on Oceania they offer 10% discount on cabin which works out to hundreds of dollars and well worth every penny - Will never sail with Holland America ever again and neither should you Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This started poorly with the embarkation process. Very unorganized and SLOW. once onboard, no music (Usually a calypso band playing on other cruise lines), no welcome drink. To top it off, we didn’t leave Port for four hours waiting ... Read More
This started poorly with the embarkation process. Very unorganized and SLOW. once onboard, no music (Usually a calypso band playing on other cruise lines), no welcome drink. To top it off, we didn’t leave Port for four hours waiting for the meat delivery! Holland did nothing to compensate for this late departure. Most lines will serve drinks or snacks or SOMETHING to ease the pain of inconvenience. Thie ship was nice, but the availability of entertainment was far less than mediocre. Also, the service was almost nonexistent at the pool and on deck. Had to keep going to the bar. The main pool was like a sauna because they didn’t fully open the roof! Forget about late-night - no food and not many entertainment options. The Main Stage Theater had less than average entertainment and the showtimes did not coincide with the dining. 2nd Dinner seating was at 7:45 and the last show was at 9:00. The staff was so slow that we had to skip dessert in order to see a show. There were two bands and a dueling piano bar. Nothing available after their last sets at 11 pm. I always felt like the staff was doing me a favor by doing their jobs. I will stick with Royal Caribbean or Carnival for guaranteed fun and better service. Holland America is not for me. Read Less
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
Sail Date December 2018
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