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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff ... Read More
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff "Herman" any time dining located on floor 2, Herman was a wonderful server with a big smile, very helpful and tentative to me, the bartenders were wonderful. The candy man who was the greeter he always had a smile. The pasties were delicious and nicely displayed; Oliver in the bar was excellent he knew what I wanted to drink before sitting down. Oliver works in the Crows Nest. The towel staff and the pool area was supreme. The piano bar and BB King great music and dancing all night long. I learned a lot during the cooking demonstration well presented and demonstrated. The crew members who help you on and off the ship are great. The photographer Andrew was wonderful and Wayne in the Jewelry shop was full of hugs and smiles. Sung who worked in the perfume store beautiful girl. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We took our 5 children on a Christmas Cruise. It was our first time on Holland America. As far as the Rotterdam is concerned, I have fallen in love. The classic ship is elegant, well thought out, impeccably cleaned and maintained. The ... Read More
We took our 5 children on a Christmas Cruise. It was our first time on Holland America. As far as the Rotterdam is concerned, I have fallen in love. The classic ship is elegant, well thought out, impeccably cleaned and maintained. The entertainment was amazing. we enjoyed a very funny comedian, Planet Earth is done with a live orchestra, violins, cello, piano, first-class. A musical- Post Modern Jukebox was delightful. We did reserved dining and it did not disappoint. Food is top notch, service was kind and entertaining, we had so much fun meeting the staff. we felt spoiled and lucky and content each evening. The ship's art is amazing. I loved the decor. It was Christmas and the Dutch gingerbread houses were adorable. There is an amazing fitness Center and Spa up on floor 8. There are 2 pools and they never felt crowded. You can eat inside, outside all day long if you wish. This was our 6th cruise. It is our favorite ship. Much better than Royal Carribean! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
2018_11 Holland America Oosterdam Caribbean cruise Our first cruise and we were excited in the weeks before but once we boarded, we were awed way beyond expectations by the ship and our cabin. Everything was fantastic ! I think our ... Read More
2018_11 Holland America Oosterdam Caribbean cruise Our first cruise and we were excited in the weeks before but once we boarded, we were awed way beyond expectations by the ship and our cabin. Everything was fantastic ! I think our Signature Suite 8055, which was way larger than we expected, was largely responsible. There was *nothing* wrong with this cabin - wonderful air conditioning around the clock, the most comfortable beds ever, 3 lockers, a shower and jet tub in the bathroom, and a generous balcony - it was fantastic and we loved every minute of it. I guess the one issue was - we were under the pool deck (I think) and there was a lot of sound from lounge chairs being setup in the morning - but it did not bother us - and I am someone who is sensitive to sound. The fitness center was fantastic - large with lots of machines and great views over the bow. I stuck to dumbbells and the Precor upright bikes which offered lots of resistance. The $20 "fill a bag" laundry service was fantastic - I thought they would just wash and fold - but they pressed - and well! Pinnacle Grill was great - beautiful decor and great food although my steak was a wee bit overcooked. Lovely service. Cannaletto - the other premium restaurant - seemed like it was just a money grab. It's merely a carved out section of the Lido Market - not a separate restaurant - and TBH I think they're serving the same food you'd get in the Market. Get a salad and a build-your-own-pasta from Lido Grill instead - there I just saved you $15. Speaking of Lido Market - we thought it was pretty good generally but there were some real misses such as the filet mignon which was quite a disappointment, and the soups which never were that good. The salad bar was great, the "build your own pasta" was great, the asian section was great. Here's the thing tho - HAL mentions "legendary service" on their website. When it comes to the eating and drinking areas, I'd call it "questionable service". We were served water/tea only about 30% of the time in the Lido Grill. The bartenders were noticeably not pleasant - not angry or anything - just sort of procedural. In the 'fancy' dining room, I watched waiters traverse back and forth by our table for 15 minutes before I raised my arms to get one to stop for a bread refill. (Apart from that, we did enjoy The Dining Room on 3 different nights including Thanksgiving dinner which was quite good). Our cabin stewards were delightful and never failed to greet us by name from the moment we boarded. If all of the mandatory daily tip went to them, I would be ok with that. We didn't attend much on-board entertainment - we were too tired by 9pm! The trivia games were fun, and the casino, tho small, was enjoyable. The lounges / bars / common areas were mostly gorgeous. The Lincoln Center venue was good, tho small, and there were only brief performances here and there. The Digital presentations were pretty good - good instructor. The "Onshore Shopping" presentation was merely a diamond sales pitch, I'm willing to bet by employees of the diamon sellers. The shops were meh. The pool areas always seemed to have chairs and pool space available. I thought they would be chock-full but they weren't. We bought the thermal suite 7-day pass for $219/couple (we paid $250 in advance but they reversed the charge to $219 altho as I think about it they may have double-charged us - need to check). Thermal pool is great but wish it was a degree or two hotter. Never crowded. We enjoyed the Thermal Suite altho we used it only 4 or 5 times so next time, maybe just pay the daily fee. Couple gripes I have with their Navigator smartphone app. Missing/Incorrect information is a pet peeve of mine, especially when it is so easy to get it right, to everyone's benefit. - it says there are no ATMs onboard. This is wrong. There is one adjacent to customer service. Which I learned after waiting in line at customer service. BTW customer service charges 3% for cash advance, the ATM is flat $6. - I had to go to Infirmary one day. Navigator says *nothing* about infirmary. Turns out, it is open only certain hours, and you have to go to the *front* of the ship to get there. Navigator offers all sorts of ways to buy dining and excursions, but zero about a possible necessity like the infirmary. Disembarkation was annoying (is it ever not?) - the printed instructions were not clear - and we did not appreciate seeing a HAL employee bark at everyone, roll his eyes and shake his head at guests (who were paying his salary), when they failed to follow the routine, quite likely due to the poor/incomplete printed instructions. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to explore New York for 3 days prior to embarking on our cruise. Embarkation did not go smoothly as we had to utilize Brooklyn Terminal instead of the original Manhatten terminal as the Zuiderdam had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to explore New York for 3 days prior to embarking on our cruise. Embarkation did not go smoothly as we had to utilize Brooklyn Terminal instead of the original Manhatten terminal as the Zuiderdam had sustained some damage and had to be repaired in the Brooklyn Terminal. This made our cab fare more from our hotel where we stayed for 3 nights to the terminal as we had preplanned our hotel bearing in mind we were going to sail out of Manhatten. We were promised an upgrade to an ocean view cabin when we booked our cruise. That never happened despite many visits to Customer Service. Holland America staff were hard to deal with. There were no laundry coin- a-matic machines, so laundry was taken away from your cabin and washed and returned to your cabin for an additional cost dependent on how many bags you had! With respect to dining, food was very good; however, they would not allow us to put our filled plates on a tray, we had to carry our food in our hands and at times this was awkward as other people were doing the same thing till they reached a table to sit down. This was in the Lido room where there is no service at tables except for beverages. In the other dining rooms where we were served by waiters, service was very good and the food was excellent. Entertainment was o.k., have seen better on other cruiseships. Their excursion fares are very pricey! We took mini buses and cabs to see the tourist attractions and saved a lot of money. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The crew were exceptional. Especially in the Lido restaurant. They were attentive and willing to assist you with everything; whether it was to find a table, get condiments, more coffee etc. We have not had this kind of service in a ... Read More
The crew were exceptional. Especially in the Lido restaurant. They were attentive and willing to assist you with everything; whether it was to find a table, get condiments, more coffee etc. We have not had this kind of service in a very long time. It used to be the norm on most cruise ships but were surprised that this wasn't the case any more. But, on the Koningsdam, you truly felt special. They even remembered your names. The food was good from the pizza, deli sandwiches, hamburger and food in the main dining room. We always get room service in the mornings for some hot coffee and danishes. The coffee was always hot and danishes very flaky. We've had luke warm coffee with most other ship's room service. If you enjoy staying in your room to watch some TV or movies, there were so many choices from the news, movies, sitcoms etc. We've never seen so many choices. The guest services stafff were always helpful and friendly; unlike some other ships we have been on. Everything else was up to standard. Will definitely try to find more cruises on the Koningsdam that we can take. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are Australians who were in Europe visiting family so we added this cruise to Norway leaving from Amsterdam. We were a little taken aback by the size and number of passengers but the public spaces are many and we didn't feel ... Read More
We are Australians who were in Europe visiting family so we added this cruise to Norway leaving from Amsterdam. We were a little taken aback by the size and number of passengers but the public spaces are many and we didn't feel crowded except at breaksfast in the Market at 0900 or thereabouts. We loved the quality of the food - far superior to what we have had on cruises before - especially the rib filet steak and lobster tails - supurb. The dining staff were friendly, attentitive and efficient. The quality of the entertainment suprised and delighted us. Particularly the Lincoln Centre Stage classical quintet and BB King's jazz room. The cabin staff were wonderful and kept everthing tidy and clean. We took the cycling tour in Oslo and can highly recommend it. Only medium fitness is needed - we are both in our late 60s and found it easy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Dear all My room no. Is 8012 in ms nieuw amsterdam. 23rd June departure from vancouver There are several issues. Let me point out each one 1. I am pure Hindu vegetarian traveller. Before booking I had clearly asked that I need ... Read More
Dear all My room no. Is 8012 in ms nieuw amsterdam. 23rd June departure from vancouver There are several issues. Let me point out each one 1. I am pure Hindu vegetarian traveller. Before booking I had clearly asked that I need Indian vegetarian meal. I was clearly told yes Holland America is best vegetarian friendly. On coming the same turned to worst nightmare On first day of lunch it was told that there were less supply as new supply is being refilled and from tommorow you will get variety of food. Told ok no problem. Let's manage a day while all other had there full option to eat. From 2nd day the same is situation till day 6.either something is over or we will do tommorow but there is no tommorow than. Had Worst experience where I had taken a naan and just yogurt to each and tried to break naam with hand and in couldn't and than with teeth than too it was unbreakable. Given it to chef MR mani who told me this is hard one requested by guest but no guest request a UNBREAKABLE NAAN as it is to eat and not a sovenier at the room I was told daily to contact Mr mani and he will make seperate but my simple question is why we are not provided quality food and substandard is done between guest who complains and some they are normal and no complain gets the unbreakable naan. Matter reported to charnea guest manager at lido market. Most Indian on cruise if asked are satisfied than you can see the reply 15 are there in my group. The best person who eats in to most item in our group it wss also now fed up. There are no variety. I had complained on day 3rd breakfast where I had waited 1 hrs for a menu item before the steward came to me and told item is wrongly written and had complained to Denise who was manager for in room dining and she called chef Mr siva Kumar who says he is only one Indian chef and have 120 people to handle alone. There is no fault of him seems and so called Denise in front of Mr siva Kumar and told her what Mr siva said as this is fault of Holland America side that enough staff was not provided though clear booking was done with passport details nationality and even telling our food preference to booking agent. Even in Indian item. Name tags are not being put and the same counter is mixed with non vegetarian. 2nd greenhouse spa Offered hydro pool and thermal suite package at 219 per couple and was booked by me immediately on the day of embarkation and was told only last 4 space left 35 couple. 70 person is the max allowed. All good for 2 days and than came the day of skagway where board was kept for the same thing of 130 dollars which was only for skagway joining passengers but to my surprise they took booking from all the guests who boarded from Vancouver too and with bargained price of 90-100 dollars for couple. Right now there are much more than 70 persons and had told first day that I would only do it if the max cap of 70 is maintained. It is like public pool now and also with this bargain thing totally dissatisfied with working and demand a strong refund for the same. Also all general public is entering the hydro pool as the door is not kept closed 3rd room shower had fallen when it was turned on leg on first day of cruise which can't be allowed as it was not checked 4th room ac not working properly complained on first day is not resolved till date. 5th highly overcharged from exc tours. Don't buy they don't care for us Team to my surprise I found that white pass railway done by me through exc tours is also price higher than the price given on its official website Matter report to Mr lyron who was not ready to agree the fact first that it's overpriced. After giving him proof he have taken time and than comes with terms and conditions no where published. Mr lyron says this offer is only for online purchase and sent letter of terms which wasn't available online. no where that terms are published online Also if its for online only it should have been clearly written on main page This is program with Holland America that you try to earn 10 dollars more for anything and everything after normal profit and than just tell to read terms where nothing was told to us like this. Point 1 reported to Denise and charnea as well as guest manager Mr Jorn Point 2 reported to mr jorn who committed me to get back to me within next 24 hrs. Point 3 and 4 reported to housekeeping Point 5 reported to lyron exc manager on board Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We live in RI & had not yet visited Bermuda. I had been watching HLAV “deals” out of Boston, published by HLA, in the past and then heard the ship would be changing their IT BOS-Bermuda out of Hamilton. We grabbed the last sail ... Read More
We live in RI & had not yet visited Bermuda. I had been watching HLAV “deals” out of Boston, published by HLA, in the past and then heard the ship would be changing their IT BOS-Bermuda out of Hamilton. We grabbed the last sail & spent a wonderful 3 full days, 3 nights on this lovely island. The Bermudians are kind & friendly, Hamilton is near center of either end for convenience & the Veendam has wonderful staff, clean & well maintained, nice variety of entertainment throughout the evening (DJ in Crowsnest late night, classical in Explorer lounge day & evening, jazz in the Ocean lounge and popular/sing along in another. The shows in the comfortable, soft seating theater were very well done & included fantastic magician, comedian, singing & dance broadway caliber which I did not expect for a smaller ship. We dined on the main dining room every night and always had a very good dinner with extensive variety to choose from. Everyone at the table seemed pleased with their order. The Lido Market buffet is served by servers and there was very little wait to get anything in any amount you desired. I feel strongly that the buffet servering keeps ships illness down. The buffet has plexiglass in front of the food choices so that passengers do not handle or breath on the food. Great way to do it. Hand sanitizing dispensers all around the ship! Our inside cabin was quiet & plenty of room for 2. We did not have food down beds on the walls so that opens it up. Shower was fine with shampoo, conditioner & body wash on the wall. Upon arrival the phone in the cabin was on the blink & was changed out. There was plenty of lighting, a TV with a few news channels, ship’s related channels, movie channels, etc.. A book in the room listed 200+ Popular movies you could plug into the DVD player. You got your next days ship’s IT nightly (with a little chocolate & animal towel design). Wonderful robes ready to use, plenty of closet space and I brought a combo of at least 25 outfits! Not that you need it but was not sure about the weather & wanted to be comfortable on ship’s promenade deck where we lounged on the traditional teak chairs (which could use thicker cushions). We did 1 excursion & toured Bermuda & beaches by bus. Embark & disembark well organized. Captain very personable. Fitness room state of the art, programs free & interesting. Veendam has a dedicated card table room for bridge & other table games which I have not seen on larger ships. I was very happy my husband could find a few bridge games. There is also a large open room dedicated to games, puzzles & CHESS already set up 4 chess tables not to mention a GIANT CHESS game set up in the large pool area! An adult hot tub area is on ship’s AFT as well with a bar, seating & handmade NY style thin crust pizza! Delicious! Given it’s an older ship, it is well maintained, great size to navigate around and stylish. Ready to go with you to Venice Italy when you get there! Veendam has all the small ship personality you could hope for plus big ship activities & entertainment. It’s a classy operation & the passengers love Holland. No, We so not work for or with them, yes We paid for my trip and absolutely gave our fabulous stewards a healthy tip (on top of the mandated ship’s tips) because they were in that cabin 2-3 times a day making the cruise a very special experience! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We have never seen the new england, eastern canadian coasts and thought this cruise would be a good starting point, and it was. We enjoyed the ports so much we would like to eventually plan a land trip to this area so we had more time to ... Read More
We have never seen the new england, eastern canadian coasts and thought this cruise would be a good starting point, and it was. We enjoyed the ports so much we would like to eventually plan a land trip to this area so we had more time to explore. The Maasdam does show some signs of its age, but for us the small size and outstanding service trumped the age. We had no plumbing or other mechanical issues during our one week stay. This was our 8th cruise, our first with Holland, and this was the smallest ship we have traveled on. We did love the convenience of being close to everything - decks, library, dining room, casino, gym, spa, etc. We also enjoyed the other passengers, and felt like we belonged (ages 60 & 65). The entertainment was as good as any we have had, we especially love the trio who performed nightly in the island bar, and the nightly shows in the auditorium were outstanding because of the talented performers. We had a significant snafu with our booking, we booked with another couple through a local travel agent. On the day we booked the travel agent confirmed that the 2 rooms we selected, 124 & 126 had a balcony "wall" that could be removed so that the 4 of us could be together on one shared balcony. Unfortunately the petitions separating our 2 balconies was permanent, and we were sorely disappointed. We were offered a "free" dinner at the italian restaurant which we declined as we felt we had paid for eating in the dining room, and were pleased with our table, wait staff, food selection, etc. If some type of room credit had been offered we would be booking another Holland America cruise for the fall, but it is hard to wrap our head around the company's unwillingness to compensate us for their mistake. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Excellent accommodations in Neptune Suite 8162 (aft). Room stewards Agus and Putu were awesome! Concierge perks with Neptune level accommodation worth the extra money. Main dining room food was excellent. Dined at a table of 6 with ... Read More
Excellent accommodations in Neptune Suite 8162 (aft). Room stewards Agus and Putu were awesome! Concierge perks with Neptune level accommodation worth the extra money. Main dining room food was excellent. Dined at a table of 6 with great tablemates from Canada and Louisiana. Don't ask for a table for two. The experience of meeting other passengers is worth breaking out of your comfort zone for. Servers Libra and Hendri were also excellent. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The filet mignon was perfect. Worth the extra surcharge for dinner. We chose Holland America Line for the classic cruise line atmosphere and adult settings. Ambiance was great with the decor and art pieces throughout the ship. Don't miss the BBC Planet Earth live performance accompanied by the Lincoln Center Stage musical performers. Wish it was more than once. Took advantage of breakfast room service on the veranda every morning before shore excursions. No searching for a table in the Lido Market during peak hours. Seas were too choppy to take the tender boats to Half Moon Cay, so that was the only dissapointment of the trip. We had heard so many good things about the island and were looking forward to the excursion. Looking forward to future cruises on HAL exploring other itenieries. Signed, Future 5 Star Mariner Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Hello everyone, Welcome to my review of the Nieuw Amsterdam. This is my cruising history: Cruise lines – 16 Ships cruised (size) – from 5,000 GT to 225,000 GT Ships cruised (capacity) – from 300 to 5400 Ships ... Read More
Hello everyone, Welcome to my review of the Nieuw Amsterdam. This is my cruising history: Cruise lines – 16 Ships cruised (size) – from 5,000 GT to 225,000 GT Ships cruised (capacity) – from 300 to 5400 Ships cruised (ratings) – from 2.5* to 5* We have not been on the Nieuw Amsterdam for a while. The more exciting it is to see the ship again – after recent refurbishment. Our itinerary this time – Eastern Caribbean in March. MS Nieuw Amsterdam This ship is one of a few most significant landmarks in the world of cruising. Some comments on the general situation in cruising are necessary to understand our vision of this ship today. 2010 The year of its construction, glorious 2010, was the highest peak that the cruise industry ever reached. The Queen of all ships RMS Queen Mary 2 ocean liner was already in service. Royal Caribbean launched the Allure of the Seas - a slightly improved sister ship of their unique giant Oasis of the Seas. What must be emphasized: all these ships were in their original design in 2010 (some unpleasant modifications have been done since then). The opulent Queen Elizabeth was launched in 2010. MS Nieuw Amsterdam (NA) joined her sister ship MS Eurodam (built in 2008). These two cruise ships weren’t the most expensive ships ever built. However there was something special about them. The stars, or the gods that govern shipbuilding were in their good mood when these ships were designed. Neither fastest, nor largest, they have accommodated an exemplary list of luxury features within the size that allowed the economically reasonable number of passengers (2,100) to enjoy high quality cruising in its fullness on the most spacious and comfortable resort ship. In the other words, intentionally, or just as a matter of luck, these ships designers created a pair of the best resort cruise ships ever built. Different ships were built; different people were managing cruise industry in 2010…. Redefining Luxury The NA is a fairly large ship, but not crowded as opposed to some mega ships. Not “officially” luxury, NA is packed with luxury features that leave so-called “luxury ships” far behind (from Silversea to Regent). Really? What is luxury at sea? To know that we need to open a glossy cruise brochure at the page called “Luxury cruises”. It will tell us that, for a few thousand dollars, you can get an unparalleled personalized service and enjoy first class dining at sea in the most sophisticated environment (of course marbled bathroom included). The highest numbers of space ratio and crew/passenger ratio will complete the picture. Wow! Now please recycle this brochure properly. Passenger space ratio (to make it simple) is ship’s internal volume divided by the number of passengers. It does not include the open space (sun decks, pools, promenades). Unless you limit your cruising experience to what a luxury nursing home resident may dream about (eating, sleeping, talking, bedside nurse with a tray of canapés 24/7), you’ll need much more on a cruise ship to call it luxury. People live under heavy pressure of various stereotypes. Say “resort cruise ship”, and a harping echo will bring “we don’t need climbing walls”. Why climbing walls? Who is talking about climbing walls? Why does it need to be climbing walls if it’s not a “luxury” ship?! Lack of experience feeds stereotypes. The sleep of reason produces monsters. Lack of cruising experience & blind cruise line loyalty feeds cruising stereotypes. What is it really like? “Luxury ships” is a label that is commonly associated with club style cruise ships. Most people have no idea of what cruise ships really are. Various ads are their primary source of “information”. Club style ships are relatively small (up to 50,000-60,000 GT). Indeed, they offer personalized service and great food. The prices are kept so high that only those who can afford (and like this type of cruises) can be seen on board. No “strangers” that may hurt delicate feelings and habits of the “members only”. As explained above, the price tag does not necessarily mean “luxury”. “Luxury” is rather confusing, heavily overused, and distracting marketing word. Therefore I prefer star ratings. Due to the limited size (but not for this reason only) club style ships are lacking some amenities that are available on larger, higher-class ships (like Nieuw Amsterdam – a real, not “brochure” luxury). A special note to remember about the higher class ships: this is the quality of the ship, not passengers. I review cruise ships, not passengers. Let’s go back to 2010 and overview the new ship. Tonnage: close to 90,000 GT (a mid-size cruise ship) Passengers: 2100 (double occupancy) Nieuw Amsterdam from bow to stern: observation deck, observation lounge, full circle promenade, two swimming pools (adult only aft sea view pool deck), large sports court, first class spa with a real hydrotherapy pool, modern gym, spacious private feel sun decks with sweeping vistas, choice of specialty restaurants, elegant art deco interiors, fresh flowers everywhere, artwork collection that fills the ship with a flavor of classic sea travel and more than 100 years history of the cruise line, good to excellent food and service, daily afternoon tea – something that goes without saying. a classic ocean liner vibe on a modern cruise ship Any “official” (in the brochure meaning) “luxury ship” to fit this list from A to Z? None! Wait, how about “being close to the sea” on a large cruise ship? This is not an exclusive feature of the small ships. It’s a matter of talent and taste of the shipbuilders (and those who order the ships of course!) Needless to say that on the Nieuw Amsterdam one can feel as close to the sea as if it was a private yacht with added feel of being on a powerful ship that sails majestically across the waives. This is what the Nieuw Amsterdam was at the time of leaving the shipyard in 2010. Who is NA for? The 5* luxury cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam welcomes everyone who can pay from let’s say $500 pp for a 7-day Caribbean cruise, while a 10-day Caribbean cruise on a 3.5* club style ship is likely to start from $3,500 pp. MS Nieuw Amsterdam today A $100 note today is not what it was in 2010. We have to admit this. And we also have to admit that the stars of a cruise ship rating in 2010 are not exactly the same weight in 2018. The cruise industry standards have deteriorated since then and continue to do so. More water is being added into cruise lines cooking pots (literally – food and service, and figuratively – new ships design). Bean counters have more say nowadays. However different cruise lines/different ships have made different progress going down. Some did more, some did less, some did not (rare exception). How did the Nieuw Amsterdam survive this period and how is she doing today? A special note for the first timers (please read carefully). There will be a fair amount of critical notes below. But… Please understand that we are reviewing the most comfortable cruise ship available at the moment. Much attention has been paid to some fine details that may be important only to those who know this ship, love this ship and cruise a lot. It’s the uniqueness of the ship that justifies the amount of time I spent on the critical notes. Disaster and disgrace: someone has misplaced diamonds in the King’s crown jewels! This is what it is about. Nothing more. No worries. Even with a somewhat damaged crown, this cruise ship is still #1 at sea. Major refit: 2017 Cruising in March, 2018 The Ship After recent revamp: immaculately clean, fresh and shiny like an amber drop. God forbid, the ship did not suffer any major hardware design changes (like added cabins, ruined open decks, etc.) Changes were made to the layout, décor, and functionality of some areas only. Interiors The ship retains its original elegant décor and layout in general. Changes: the good, not so good, the bad, the ugly. The atrium staircase has been removed completely. IMO this is a clear improvement. The atrium is more spacious now. The ship is still easy to navigate: there are three major staircases and 14 elevators. The panoramic sea view elevators are as beautiful as they used to be. The unique art deco chandelier in the atrium (a rotating stylized model of New York City skyline) is in place but for some reason it is not rotating. Is it temporary or permanent? I don’t know. If it’s permanent…. Well, it can be a bad omen - like a clock that stopped. Very bad. Holland America, don’t let anyone stop your clock! Some strange toponymic changes have been made. The Queen’s Lounge has lost its original name. Now it’s a BB King’s Blues Club & America’s Test Kitchen …. with Queen of Netherlands Beatrix’s statue bust and the Royal Family portrait at the entrance! It seems to me that this “kitchen” has no taste… Could BB King’s continue to perform in the Queen’s Lounge? The former Nothern Lights Disco/Dance Club has become the Gallery Bar. The space is completely redesigned. Now it’s a small lounge that opens directly to the casino. We can say that the former Casino bar has moved here. A single most visible change is the conversion of the Piano bar. The bulkheads have been removed. Casino bar removed (moved to the former disco club site). Now is an open space board to board. The space includes the newly installed “dueling pianos” on the redecorated starboard side and the casino itself (no smoking) on the port side. At a glance this area is somewhat “carnivalized”. Those who cruise on Carnival ships may remember musicians performing near the casino - across the main passage way. The noise of the casino is mixing up with the beauty of the singing pianists. Can we dream about something? What a wow ship would there be if the casino goes overboard, or at least being reduced to the size of the one on the Queen Elizabeth and separated by a nice bulkhead… The Explorer’s Lounge has been reduced to a faceless area with a few chairs and an empty wall (where the podium for the String quartet used to be). The purpose of the change is to create a more appropriate space for chamber music concerts. The stage is now on the opposite (forward) end of the former lounge. A light partition separates the performance area from the main passage. It’s a good idea. However the implementation is a lazy work. Do these people know (or just pay attention to) why this lounge was called Explorers’s Lounge? What artwork belong to this lounge and why? Zero attention was paid. Rushed changes? Half artwork left in the new chamber music lounge. They forgot to relocate the installation (thus an empty wall). The other one remains in the dwarfed Explorer’s Lounge. However the author name plaque (now invisible) was found attached to the wall upside down behind the couch seatback. The worst part of this change is that the view of the largest artwork displayed on the ship, the Panorama of Manhattan, is now obstructed. The awkward location of the decorative set of flowers completes the damage. The counter should have been on the other side of the open space (exactly where the podium was) so that at least a part of the view of the beautiful Panorama remains open… Not the most visible due to its location away from the main traffic, but the most painful change is…. Yes, it’s the Crow’s Nest. I welcome the removal of the stairs in the atrium. I see the benefits of the new dueling pianos. The new Gallery bar seems a good spot at times (if the casino is quiet). I can smile looking at the ignorance related to the Queen’s Lounge situation. I see the benefit of the new partition that separates the chamber music area. But the Crow’s Nest! The area of the former Exploration café is now an excursion office. A few touch screen tables indicate that the digital world has found it’s way here. Touch the screen and get information on the ports of call and other destinations worldwide. The thing is that these screens are total waste. Two of them display the minimum info on the ports of call (a map with a few “points of interest”). The other ones display “cards” – selections of colored pictures, etc. This is a good stuff to look at while waiting in a doctor’s office, i.e. something that you would look at and put aside in a few minutes. IMO this is a useless decoration, waste of space and equipment. The area where the library was, is now hosting a big screen with ever changing views of tourist destinations – pure decoration. Think of electronic wallpapers. In front of it – another screen table that may attract your attention for a minute before you get bored with its primitive “interactive options». A huge double screen installation takes the central part of the panoramic view forward. Again. I will repeat it because the readers are likely not to imagine this. The Crow’s Nest is a forward observation lounge. By definition the beauty of this venue is a panoramic view forward. This is a luxury feature on a cruise ship. What happened? As a part of the “improvements”, a monstrous two-screen installation is placed right in the middle of the panoramic view. Does it block the view? Yes. It’s like a melanoma spot on someone’s nose. The screens display current navigation information. It’s basic but interesting. Good to know. But why here? Why in the middle? There is so much wasted space, so many useless screens nearby… This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Another thing in the Crow’s Nest that turned my face red. Port side. The original SS Nieuw Amsterdam bell and the beautiful model of the liner are gone! Can one imagine that such unique memorabilia can be replaced with an IKEA-inspired tour office lecture room with a few rows of seats and a digital screen displaying colored pictures (again, another one!!)… The whole area of the Crow’s Nest has been sterilized as if it’s ready for rent: no links to the Holland America Line, nothing to remind where you are … Very strange. Explorations Café That is amazing. Viking Cruises have followed the New Amsterdam planning (in general) for their new ships. They put their Mamsen’s café in the observation lounge exactly on the spot where the Explorations café used to be on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The Mumsen’s has more options to choose from (think of the Dutch café on the Koningsdam). While another cruise line is copying the best of Nieuw Amsterdam, HAL is getting rid of it! At the same time. The Explorations café has been removed and replaced with that excursion desk. Specialty coffee is now available from the bar some 50 feet away from the crash site. No dance floor any more. That’s it about the changes. I do not owe this cruise line. This is not my business. I am only a paying guest there. I don’t make decisions. I only review the ship. What has survived? The library is not exterminated completely (as it was done on the Koningsdam). There are several bookshelves here and there in the lounge with some very interesting books. The lounge is still available to serve its primary purpose as a forward observation lounge. This is a luxury feature, and one of the most beautiful spots on the ship. Nieuw Amsterdam Food Let’s start from…. the food. The buffet food on this ship used to be excellent. One would look for and never find freshly squeezed orange juice and some 10 kinds of eggs benedict as a standard feature on any other large ship (non-HAL). Today these features exist in memories only. Juices are from standard vitality dispensers now. There is only one kind of egg benedict as a feature of the day. Crab meat benedicts are available in MDR. The quality of desserts in the buffet was not consistent. It varied from very good to rather boring (late snack). Gone are pastries from Explorations Café as the café itself does not exist any more. Coffee is available from the bar in the Crow’s Nest lounge. This is it about the losses. Let's continue wuth the cruise... The buffet in general was good to very good. Excellent meats. Excellent bread pudding. Omelets-made-to-order have uncountable number of ingredient to choose from. Salad bar is great with options. Enormous variety of juices/juice drinks for breakfast. Excellent muesli. Fruits – good selection during the cruise, but not everything available every day. Service – outstanding. Waiters provide reasonable amount of assistance in the buffet – not annoying, just effective. Main Dining Room Cruises is our vacation time that is short and precious. We are flexible as to where, when, and with whom to eat, and the Nieuw Amsterdam provides great opportunities for freestyle dining. However we have preferences as well. As the cruise time is short, we try to have the best of it. We do not follow the MDR ceremonial dining routine every night. We are in MDR for Gala dinners, and for quick visits on the other nights to see what is going on, to try something good… and of course to take pictures and review menus. I am pleased to report that the food on Gala nights was simply excellent in selection, taste and presentation (lobsters, foi gras, excellent meats, amazing cold soups…). Other days – good to very good. Specialty restaurants We never skip the Tamarind. This is the most popular specialty dining venue on the ship that never disappoints. We did not do Pinnacle Grille this time – just too much food. We did not do Sel de Mer event at the Pinnacle Grille. We tried it on the Koningsdam and did not like it. It was not worth the money IMO. The Canaletto (an area in the buffet that is converted into a specialty venue each night) was pretty full every night. But their menu has never been to our liking (tastes differ). A few more words about public rooms Interiors retain the elegance of the original design. No closed-in feel. The ocean view panoramic elevators are magnetic. A three-deck high Atrium is relatively small yet charming, with the famous NY skyline chandelier. The Atrium continues to the spacious (board to board) central elevator foyers with the panoramic elevators on both sides. The new carpeting is a piece of art. The ornament of the carpet is now matching the luxurious ornate elevator doors. We enjoyed both observation lounges: Crow’s Nest (Deck 11 forward) and Tamarind (formerly Silk Den Lounge - Deck 11 midship). The Nieuw Amsterdam is a ship of artwork and fresh flowers. Open decks The Nieuw Amsterdam (along with the sister ship) is the most spacious cruise ship at sea (internally + externally). It features the iconic full-circle teak promenade, the forward view deck, and astonishingly vast (yet private feel) sun decks. There are two swimming pools on the ship. The central pool has a sliding roof The aft pool area (adults only) is a fantastic open panorama of the sea. No crowds. Extra charge service: cabanas for rent. Spa and Fitness It’s amazing that the sports court on the mid-size Nieuw Amsterdam is larger than on many mega ships. The spa is top class at sea: thermal suite (thalassotherapy pool, three steam rooms, heated tile beds), relaxation room, and various treatment rooms. This is something for you to know about the spa on the Nieuw Amsterdam. All the cruising passengers know that “food is included” in the price. But all cruising passengers (I believe) know that this fact says nothing about the food quality (from mediocre to excellent). Thalassotherapy pool (AKA hydropools) are relatively rare, so most cruisers have little idea of what they are. Some people believe that a hydropool is somewhat standard. In fact, the hydropool quality varies as wide as the food quality – from the imitations to the real ones that are extremely rare. The hydropool on the Nieuw Amsterdam is one of those real that are extremely rare. This is $$$ and worth every penny if you want to have an effective hydro massage, not just a fun time in an enlarged jacuzzi. There are also two free separate saunas for men and women. The forward-looking gym is well equipped. Design deficiencies? Yes, there is one that is pretty obvious: a wasted space above the bridge that could have been a much more appropriate place for the forward viewing deck (rather than on Deck 5 forward). Cabins There is a wide selection of cabins for different budgets on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The most typical is a standard balcony cabin. The cabins are reasonably spacious for the category, have a good storage space, most cabins have tub/shower combos rather than shower stalls. The balconies are very spacious, with unobstructed views (except for the substandard balconies on Deck 5 midship). The ocean view cabins (most of) follow the layout of the balcony cabins. The ones on Dec 4 (so-called “obstructed view” – behind lifeboats) feature large floor to ceiling windows. The cheapest inside cabins has two main configurations. Both are rather compact with amazing amount of storage space. These cabins on the luxury ship deliver outstanding value for money. Outstanding means o-u-t-s-t-a-n-d-i-n-g. The large insides category “J” and “I” is a pinnacle for families of four. The largest insides at sea combined with the price - is a miracle. Many cruisers make huge mistakes searching budget cruise lines for a “value-for-money” cruise vacation, not knowing that a luxury cruise vacation may cost them less! A big step up in balcony cabin size are mini-suites (“Signature Suite”). Although not full suites, the “Neptune Suites” are very pleasant spacious cabins with extra large balconies. The ones on stern are absolutely beautiful, with huge balconies (think of a private open deck). The ship features two very expensive full suites (“Pinnacle” category). The Nieuw Amsterdam is a one-class ship, no ship-within-a-ships, no obnoxious segregation. The Nieuw Amsterdam provides a ship-within-a-ship quality experience (actually above that) for all on board. A Nieuw Amsterdam – within – a Nieuw Amsterdam, so to speak. Holland America Line is still doing many things right. The suite perks are set up in the most civilized way that does not affect the cruising experience “for the rest of” the passengers (about 87%, i.e. the whole ship). HAL ships remain the most egalitarian (only Viking Cruises and Costa Cruises compares) among the major cruise brands that makes credit this respectable cruise line. “Many classes” means “No class”. Entertainment The theater is fully capable modern entertainment venue. From RCI to NCL, I have not seen any production show that cannot be repeated on “The Main Stage” as it’s now called. It only depends on the cruise line intention and budget. The best show IMO was the BBC Earth footage accompanied with a live orchestra. Some may or may not like the concept, but it’s without a doubt a top-notch professional performance. The production shows performed by the resident troupe (canned music) were full of energy but …. Canned music is like plastic food. We respectfully skipped the guest performers. There was a lot of discussion on how Oprah’s O magazine would affect the cruising experience. It was absolutely harmless. We were able to avoid any interactions easily. B.B.King’s performances were well attended. Not my cup of tea though. The dueling pianos performances were very entertaining. We could attend a little bit a few times, and it was very well done. The chamber music concrts were probably the most professionally done part of the entertainment program. Fellow cruisers Is “HAL demographics a good fit for us”? Here you go. Be aware that a ship called “HAL’ does not exist. HAL ships have their names and differ like day and night from 3*+ to 5*. Never say HAL. Say what ship. There were many young people on board. This ship, this itinerary, and the short duration of the cruise attract the youngest clientele. There was visible number of kids on board. Nieuw Amsterdam cruise tips Believe me or not, many cruisers still don’t know… how to cruise! Take time to study the whole ship and identify the best features for you to enjoy. Don’t go where and when most people go. Life at sea is different. Leave your habits on land. You’ll go back to the boredom of them in a week or two. A cruise ship is not a floating hotel. Don’t book a cruise if want to stay in a hotel. Start you day early. Morning is the most valuable time on a cruise. See how the sea and the sun wake up. Enjoy your early breakfast in the buffet while everything is for you only. The single most important thing on a cruise ship (after hand wash): the buffet. Sometimes you can have better food than in the Main Dining Room – right from the stove. Eggs benedict with crab meat – try MDR breakfast one time (two times max). You don’t have to have full dinner in the MDR every day. Be flexible. Save time. Combine MDR and the buffet. Walk! The Nieuw Amsterdam is a ship far active cruisers. You didn’t know that? Wow! Don’t miss Gala dinners in MDR. Have a dinner at Tamarind – a must. Try wasabi crusted filet mignon. Check out the buffet daily for lunch and dinner. You are going to find something you will like. Ask if lobsters will be available in the buffet on Gala night. Best Thermal Suite at sea – book for the duration of the cruise as soon as you get on board. Need a table for the party of one or two? Contact cruise line in advance, and see Maitre D as soon as you get on board. Any time dining is good way to get a table you want for the time you want. Be quick. What unique place is found nowhere else but on a cruise ship? Promenade deck – this is where you start your day. Yes you do. Do all cruise ships have promenade decks? No. It’s a luxury feature. Don’t forget about the gym. Don’t order room service. Food in the buffet is much better. Is it a good idea to book an inside cabin? Yes, the best. Book an inside and save money for the spa if you cruise on a budget. Is a beverage package waste of money? Yes. Came across something tasty? Grab it and save for later in the fridge. The food will not be waiting for you to come back. Don’t forget that you are cruising on a romantic ship. Check out the very top private sun decks forward and midship. Don’t forget that the Nieuw Amsterdam has a large sports court. Sounds of charm – go to the Silk Den Lounge (now called Tamarind bar?) The Nieuw Amsterdam is not a ship where sun lounges have to be placed in rows “cheek to cheek”. Take an advantage of this. You are on the most spacious cruise ship at sesa! The ships will supply sun deck towels –unlimited. Your part is to bring clips to fix them on the loungers. Mark you packing list. What if I don’t want to go to the gym, but want room service, have breakfast in MDR, don’t have dinner in the buffet, don’t swim in the pool, stay away from thermal suite, watch for trivia sessions… ? Then it’s time to book a cruise on the Maasdam. But you are on the Nieuw Amsterdam my friend! Itinerary The itinerary was the crème de la crème of the 7-night Caribbean cruises. Fort Lauderdale – Grand Turk – San Juan – St.Thomas – Half Moon Cay – Fort Lauderdale. Paradise islands Paradise cruise ship Paradise weather We have waited until all three points are in line. And that was the Chocolate of the Seas cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. My cruise blog collection: cruiseadmiral.com Happy cruising! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was my 63 cruise. I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Hotel Info: We flew down one night early and stayed at Bahia Mar Fort ... Read More
This was my 63 cruise. I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Hotel Info: We flew down one night early and stayed at Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach – a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. This was our second time at this hotel. The employees are very nice. Ship Info: We haven’t sailed on this cruise line since 2004. We enjoy this cruise line because it is geared towards adults and not a drinking crowd. The average age group was probably Baby Boomers (with most being retired). I loved how this cruise line didn’t give you the option on their beverage, dining, and fitness receipts for “additional gratuities” like other cruise lines do. If you enjoy classical music, reading, relaxing, great conversation, and hardly any children, this is for you. The ship was extremely clean and new. If you are looking for a cruise with a lot of night life (disco and pool parties) and people spending time at the bar or getting buckets of beer by the pool, this cruise line didn’t have that. Activities: Their spin classes in the fitness center are $20 each and they hook you up to equipment that keep track of your heart rate, etc. They also offer yoga and Pilates (for a fee). They offer several complimentary fitness classes too like meditation, abs, and stretch classes. They do not offer dance classes. They do an amazing job with their afternoon tea (includes food served by the employees). They do not have karaoke at night. They do not do pool contests/games during the day. They do not have bands playing by the pool during the day. This ship did not offer “family actives” like water slides, rock climbing walls, etc. Service: Service was great in all areas. Shore Excursions: We booked the Snorkel trip in Bonaire with the cruise line (Seacow), and it was excellent. If you like to sit on the beach with shade, I recommend booking the chairs with the shade on their private island several weeks before you cruise because they sell out (you can book it on their website). Stateroom: We originally booked an outside cabin, then a few weeks before our cruise, we received an email from the cruise line asking if we wanted to upgrade to a balcony for $125/person (total for 10 nights), so we took it. They offer complimentary shoeshine service. They had Elemis shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body lotion in the bathroom. The water pressure in the shower was outstanding; probably the best shower at sea. Out of all the cruise lines, they offer the best complimentary movies available to watch on your TV. As a matter of fact, they don’t charge you for any movies (like some cruise lines do). They offered a package for unlimited laundry and pressing that was $70 per cabin for the 10 nights, so we purchased that and loved it. The balcony did not have lights on it, so if you wanted to sit out there at night and read, this was not an option. Dining: Before you order your meal in the main dining room, ask the waiter what they recommend. If you do not like crowds, eat in the main dining room for breakfast and lunch instead of the buffet. This cruise line has the dining room open for lunch on embarkation day, and we really enjoyed that so we did not have to go to the buffet. We purchased their dining package so we could experience all their specialty restaurants. It cost $95/person for five restaurants, and I felt it was well worth it. We purchased it online a few weeks prior to the cruise, and then when we got on board, we made the reservations. Our favorite restaurant was the Asian restaurant. I recommend eating in a specialty restaurant on the first night because some main dining rooms can be a bit unorganized because all the guests are trying to figure out where they sit, etc. When you eat in the Asian restaurant, make your reservation near the window during the sunset. Their buffet had the best food options I have seen in years. They also serve everything to you, so other guests are not touching the buffet lines. Dress Code: They had two formal nights, and most men were in a dark suit. I wore a cocktail dress on the formal nights. On the other nights, everyone dressed in business attire. I enjoy dressing up. Entertainment: I loved their entertainment, especially the Lincoln Center Stage and the dancers in the main show room. Their main shows are three times per night (6:30, 8:00, and 9:30 p.m.). Disembarkation: If you want to carry all your bags off the ship by yourself, they will let you off starting at around 7:30 a.m. We had a 10:15 am flight and opted to carry our bags off. Other: I prefer Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, and Princess when not traveling with children or young adults. I like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line when traveling with a younger crowd. Overall: 5 out of 5 stars. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was my second time on this ship, but my third time on a cruise ship. I don't quite remember the first time I went on this ship, but I certainly remember the second. I went with my family and my friend's family. The ship ... Read More
This was my second time on this ship, but my third time on a cruise ship. I don't quite remember the first time I went on this ship, but I certainly remember the second. I went with my family and my friend's family. The ship departed 24-12-17 and er came back 31-12-17. First of all, the service was excellent. Not only were the crew members all very nice (they greeted us every time we crossed one of them and always remained polite), but they also did their job properly. The room stewards (I was in room 4030) cleaned my room twice a day and in the evening they would leave two pieces of chocolate, the next day's activities and an adorable towel art. They also remembered my name on the second or third day (thank you Mantri and Ari!). I would also like to mention the staff in the dining room. Because we were 9, there weren't many tables for us (compared to the rest of the tables, for example, for 4 people). We sat at table 205 everyday, for we ate at the dining room every evening. Because my grandparents could not drink cold water, we asked for some hot water on the first night. On the second night, the assistant dining steward (we had 2 dining stewards) remembered us and specifically served hot water for them. This is to point out that they care about the guest and pay attention to us. My dining stewart, Agung, was also very patient when I asked him about the different items on the menu. When you walk out of the dining room, there is a guy named Ferry who could give you mints or dates to refresh your mouth after you've eaten dinner. He is a really sweet guy and I encourage you to talk to him. The buffet (Lido Market) is very big and full of great food. It has a variety of bread, meat and different kinds of food for different cultures. They have rice, sushi, pasta and even a salad bar! All you have to do is to ask a person to prepare it for you. All this to say that their service is fantastic. As for my cabin, I lived alone. For one person, it was plenty of space to move around (I was living in a cabin with windows). We had a TV where we can watch a lot of movies. The bed is really big and could easily fit two people. They have shampoo, conditioner and body wash already prepared so you don't need to pack any. Same thing goes for soap. You can deliver food for free and you can also get someone to deliver you breakfast in the morning. The Eurodam offers many entertainment and activities. During the night, they have entertaining shows. I went to the piano show where a pianist combined many different songs/music into one and it was absolutely magnificent! There are also many other shows that you could watch, but I personally preferred that one. You are also given a pamphlet "When and Where" by your room steward with all the activities that will occur the following day, their time and places. You can receive a lot of free stuff if you participate in them. I also particularly liked the late night trivia game, although I wasn't really good at it. The ship itself is very big and not so crowded because we are only 2000 people, unlike other big ships who have more guests on them. It has two pools on the 9th level, a small puzzle/board game/trivia game/computer room on the 11th floor, a casino, an art gallery, shops, a stage, a spa and a gym. Overall, it's pretty "spacey" and you won't bump into someone while walking around. The embarkation was pretty quit and the waiting time wasn't too much. The way they organized it made people avoid uselessly standing around and was pretty efficient. We had four destinations: Half Moon Cay, San Juan, St Thomas and Grand Turk. We first went to Grand Turk. My family and my friend's family went to the beach. The beach wasn't particularly the best. It had a lot of rocks near the shore, but we saw a lot of fish! We used the towels the ship gave us. The second destination of San Juan, located in Puerto Rico. We decided to not take a tour and walk around by ourselves. The old part of the city is extremely beautiful with its colourful buildings. We found, by chance, one of the old fortresses and went in (free for 15 and under and 7$ for each person 16+). The view was simply magnificent! Same thing goes for St Thomas, except we payed for a tour (18$/person because we made a deal). We took a lot of pictures at those two destinations. The last destination was Half Moon Cay. Apart from the fact that we had to use a small boat to get there, I'd like to call it "Heaven on Earth". The sand is as white as snow, as soft as a baby's butt and there weren't no rocks! The water was clearer than any I have ever seen and was as blue as a bright summer sky. You would think i am exaggerating, but I am only speaking the truth. That was my favourite destination. The wait to disembark the boat was almost nada, except for Half Moon Cay because we had to wait for a smaller boat (but the beach makes up for it). The disembarkation for the other three destinations took no time at all because we are only 2000 people. All in all, this was an amazing experience and I'd 10/10 go back there again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our 8th cruise. Previously we have cruised with Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, and Holland America. This was my 3rd Holland America cruise. I had a good experience in the past. The service was superior and the food was ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise. Previously we have cruised with Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, and Holland America. This was my 3rd Holland America cruise. I had a good experience in the past. The service was superior and the food was fantastic. But I was disappointed by my recent experience on Koningsdam. To be fair, the boat is quite new. The bathroom was an upgrade with glass sliding door and more spacious shower room. The shower water pressure was very good but the toilet had bad smell all time even with frequent flush and closed lid. The actual stateroom was smaller than other Holland America ships. Good in room movie selection. The buffet services was good. The dining room selection was limited and the service was slow and not very diligent. Two nights the server skipped a course of our dinner without informing us. The fitness center was small. No space for people working on mats by themselves. The studio room was always busy with classes to sell people skin care or shoe inserts. The evening performance and performance during the day was subpar. No comparison to what we saw on Celebrity and Princess ships. The casino staff was non-ethical. They kept soliciting my 74 year old mother to gamble more. One night after losing over $1,000 they solicited her to charge to her room another $1,000 at 2:30AM. Of course my mother is an adult and responsible for her actions, but it was non-ethical of the casino staff to keep soliciting a senior with obvious health conditions to gamble more. There was no educational materials to help people with gambling issues displayed in the casino. Most casinos have something educational displayed. Making money is certainly important but it is more important of being a conscientious human kind to not take advantages of the elderly. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I just returned from a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Eurodam. Bottom line: this was one of my favorite cruises ever. Service was excellent across the board, HAL's ships give me all the amenities I care about, and my fellow ... Read More
I just returned from a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Eurodam. Bottom line: this was one of my favorite cruises ever. Service was excellent across the board, HAL's ships give me all the amenities I care about, and my fellow passengers were very friendly. Weather was outstanding. First me: I'm a 50-year-old single guy, a “confirmed bachelor” if you will. I work for a municipality, so I'm not the richest guy in the world, but I get crazy amounts of paid leave. I used to sail primarily with NCL; more recently I've been sailing a mixture of HAL, P&O and Princess. I booked 15 months in advance, and I paid a pretty substantial single supplement. I booked in an MM interior and sailed in a beautiful VE verandah stateroom on Deck 8 due to price drops. I loved my cabin; the only drawback was the occasional movement of furniture up on the Lido at odd hours that woke me up from time to time. Frankly, a verandah is wasted on me as I never use the actual verandah. My sweet spot is definitely an ocean-view stateroom. But everything worked (no plumbing issues), the on-demand TV system was perfect, and there were more electrical/USB outlets than anyone could possibly use. I had a Lido Cabana the whole week. E-Jay and Juvill were the two dedicated “cabana boys.” They were super friendly and made me feel like a minor royal for the week. I would have preferred a cabana a little closer to the center, but that's a minor complaint. I was also worried that the Lido Cabanas didn't provide breakfast and lunch options, but they did! The sparkling wine and chocolate dipped strawberries were appreciated every afternoon. Spa/Gym: I also booked the thermal suite for the week. There was a discount offer of $149 for a single for the week ($249 for a couple), and I jumped on it. As the sales lady in the spa pointed out: “it's easier just to say yes.” Again, everything in the spa worked. I used the gym six of the seven days and always had easy access to the equipment. Lido Pool: I used the pool and hot tubs every day. The pool was warm; the hot tub was hot. Folks were generally polite, as were their manyfold children. So many kids for the second week of December! Loungers were plentiful. HAL's marketing is paying off, and this was a very diverse, relatively young cruise. Dining: I ate breakfast in the MDR every morning. I had lunch in the cabana every day (except for the very well attended Mariner Lunch.) Cabana options came from an abbreviated Lido Market menu, Dive In or NY Pizza. I ate dinner in the MDR every evening. The quality of the food and the service was very, very good. I never lacked for choice, and service pacing was generally very good. The last two days saw some substantial gaps in service; I cannot account for why. (Dinner the last night every table around us was empty and cleared; we still had a table full of empty dinner plates. I had to wave over our server and gesture to all the empty plates to get him to clear them and serve us dessert. WHY?) I'm finding I really enjoy dinner roulette, or sharing meals at a group table. I had open seating and never had to wait to be seated. Quench Beverage Package: This is the perfect package for me. It does cost a little more than $20 per day ($144.48 for the week), but I think I got my money's worth. Double espressos in Explorations Cafe and after dinner; bottled water for the gym; bottles of San Pelegrino and cans of diet Coke and Sprite Zero by the pool and in the bars. HAL also offers a one-day Signature Beverage Package just for use at HMC. It was about $27 after gratuity, and that afforded me my one day of consumption of too-sweet cocktails, wine, and the aforementioned soda. Entertainment: HAL's entertainment is perfect for me. BB King's Blues Club was very well attended and very enjoyable. There was much dancing, albeit not ballroom dancing. That ship has sailed, I think. I also enjoyed Billboard Onboard, and it also was very well attended. I walked by Lincoln Center Stage throughout the cruise and it was always crowded. Finally, I saw two excellent production shows: Billboard Hits Rewind: Off the Charts (on the 3rd night) and 1,000 Steps (on the 6th night), which was a ballroom dance inspired show. It's the sexiest thing I've ever seen on HAL, and I highly recommend it. I missed BBC Earth Live, but folks told me it was excellent. I also chose not to see two of the three comedians. Ports: This cruise visited Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and HMC. We had beautiful, warm weather at all the ports. Old San Juan is in remarkably good shape. I snorkeled in St.Thomas. And I spent a lot of time in the water at HMC, or at my clam shell. I also experienced an impromptu stretch class with the ship's trainer, Laru, and another passenger. The class was excellent, and Laru was so kind to make the offer. Excellent Crew: Overall, everyone I encountered was so lovely. From E-Jay and Juvill at the cabana, the bar servers around the pool (one of whom hugged me goodbye), my excellent cabin steward Andi, Jamie who greeted me every day in the spa, and trainer Laru, everyone was just fantastic. I don't know how everyone knew my name from day one? But the officers were another story. I think they need to be more engaged around the ship,enforcing standards, and making sure that crew aren't being asked to do too much. Case in point: I mentioned to an appropriate officer at HMC that the bar servers were overwhelmed; he replied that a “second wave” was coming. I don't think this was true as I saw no increase in staff. In summary, this cruise affirmed that HAL is now my line of choice. They give me everything I want and nothing I do not. And I think I am the exact type of passenger HAL is seeking. I love the entertainment, the service, the amenities and I partook thereof mightily. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
For older individuals and easier cruising. Not as many children on board quieter and easier on me. Enjoyed the food and towns we visited. Picked up gifts for all family at stops along the way. Due to Sept travel had end of year ... Read More
For older individuals and easier cruising. Not as many children on board quieter and easier on me. Enjoyed the food and towns we visited. Picked up gifts for all family at stops along the way. Due to Sept travel had end of year clearances everywhere. Had breakfast, lunch, English tea, dinner we seemed to be eating all day. When I wanted pizza there was a shop open making pizza. Dive in served great hamburgers, fries in many varieties. Bring a water bottle and fill up in the buffet area for your use and you won't have to pay for water on the cruise. Cola and liquor is costly but you can bring one bottle of wine each adult person and cola in carry on bag just remember to bring a wine opener since uncorking is expensive. The crew is so helpful you get used to it and when is over you will miss them. Your steward will leave you animals made of towels each night. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We celebrated our 40th anniversary on this trip. We only went on 7 days of this 14 day cruise from Amsterdam to four cities in Norway. Several of our group did, however, take the full 14 days. We spent a week in Amsterdam before and loved ... Read More
We celebrated our 40th anniversary on this trip. We only went on 7 days of this 14 day cruise from Amsterdam to four cities in Norway. Several of our group did, however, take the full 14 days. We spent a week in Amsterdam before and loved that city! We traveled with a group of 40+ people and found it extremely frustrating to communicate with each other. We wasted a lot of time looking for each other. Bring stick up notes so you can post messages on each others doors or better yet, bring walkies! Their internet service is expensive and spotty so that was not really an option for communicating. The ship is their newest, built in 2016 but the decor is cheap and dated looking compared to other ships we've traveled on. We were surprised to learn that this ship was so new. There is no beautiful focal point on the ship. Very minimal and European. The fine dining restaurants are worth every bit of their extra costs. We visited 4 differents restaurants (Culinary, Tamarind, Canalettos, Pinnacle). They cost about $15-$20 more each. Worth it! I especially loved Culinary. It was like watching a cooking show on TV and then getting to taste the food. Everyone in our group loved them. Make reservations if you have a large group! The Lido dining (buffet) is ridiculously disappointing. We thought because this was a higher end cruise line, we might expect their food service to be better. It was not. Altho, i did appreciate that the staff served us rather than watching other guests dig around in a dish, leaving it unappetizing. It was always crowded and there was no organization as to ordering food. People stepped in front of you as there's no clear lines which turns your dining experience into a competition. Finding an available seat was next to impossible so most of the time we had to bring our food back to our room and eat it on the bed as there's no table or chairs in the staterooms unless you have a suite. The dining room was fair but crowded as the food here is free (included) and you can eat as much as you'd like. We ate here once. The shore excursions are an expensive joke. They basically herd you into a boat or bus and drive you around. They're both overly crowded and restrooms or refreshments are not available. It was a waste of time and money. Don't be fooled by the fancy names of their excursions. I wish i could've read my review before we traveled on this trip. Flam - We loved this city. It was small and quaint with the most stunning views. What a fun way to wake up in the morning! The shore excursion we took in Flam was called "The Naeroyfjord Cruise & Scenic Drive - $130.@) you will spend half the time driving from Flam to Gudvangen going thru many tunnels (which is a nice place for a nap). Then in Gudvangen, you'll hop on a boat and take a slow ride around the Naeroyfjord & Aurlandsfjorden back to Flam. Very beautiful but if you don't board the boat first, you may end up like us, without a seat during the entire ride. People leave their things on the seats to claim them then go up top to look around so you never get an opportunity to have a seat in the lower deck unless you were lucky enough to get one at the beginning. They do have a few decent restrooms and our tour guide here was somewhat informative. Some of the folks in our group took the train tour and pretty much said it was a good long nap. It was a lovely sunny day, which i know you cannot plan for but if we would've known, there was a kayaking company, a fjordsafari.com, a fun fast boat tour, as well as a small electric car rental company right there that would've been waaaay more fun and less costly. There's several shops, a few restaurants, a cafe, a bakery and some street vendors that were fun. We were able to taste Reindeer meat balls and fish soup prepared by the locals. We also loved the little pub there: Ægir Bryggeri where they brewed their own beer and had coffee at Bakkastova Cafe up on the hill. Stavanger - Lysefjord: Pulpit Rock Cruise - $135@ was interesting as we had a wonderfully personable tour guide who told us interesting facts and even legend about the Fjords, Trolls and the area. Had we known then what we know now, we'd only have done this excursion. The town on Stavanger is big so you'd have to cab to get there unless you felt like a 15-30 minute walk uphill to get in town. We were there the shortest time so when we returned from the excursion, we didn't have time to tour further. The Lillesand: The Jewel of Sorlandet ($170@) was the worse. We were jammed on a boat, 8 people squished into a booth. Some folks had so place to sit and ended up standing along the wall or sitting on a step. They slowly drove around showing us the homes of unsuspecting locals for 2.5 of the 3 hour trip. They stopped in Lillesand for 40 minutes which gave you only enough time to use the restroom (another line) and grab a bottle of water. That excursion cost the most and was the worse. In Oslo, there is Sooooooo Much to see and Sooooooo little time. There's a "Hop On & Off Bus" that will take you to all the touristy places you might want to see. We met friends who live in Oslo there and they took us on a personal guided tour and then back to their house for lunch and Norwegian specialties. Other folks in our group complained that we needed to stay longer. We would've liked to have stayed there for a couple days but the cruise line pays a hefty fee to dock there so they cannot stay too long. There were two stage entertainers on the ship. #1. A lady that sang and played the harp and #2. a magician. Both were not entertaining but maybe to some? We didn't manage to sit thru an entire show. It seems like they mostly just try to sell you more things, spa sessions, their Elemis line, another cruise, Jewelry, Art work, your own photos.... Because we didn't already spend enough money on the cruise? We had a couples massage which was lovely and i had a facial while my husband had a shave at the Greenhouse Spa. 15% gratuities are included but we still tipped them $20@ They try to sell you the Elemis product in a matter of fact way. You need to be good at saying no if you're not interested. It can ruin your relaxing massage at the end, if you let it. We didn't but others in our group did. We didn't buy the drink packages and we did drink about 4-5 cocktails each day (bloody marys, wine, beer) and we didn't spend the $900. we would've spent if we had bought one of the drink packages as both members in room need to buy the full package. Drinks were $7.50 up. Finer wines ranged from $24 to $99 per bottle. Different bars on the ship had different liquors. I love Aperol and was able to find it in the Pinnacle bar. Norway was beautiful and we're happy that we went. We would probably not go back as you need to go in August in order for it not to be too cold. I believe our cruise was one of the last ones for the season. We live in Michigan so leaving in August is difficult for us as we only have summer weather here ourselves for a few months. Holland America - Compared to other cruise lines was not as nice as we had expected it to be but 1000x better than a Carnival cruise but not as nice as Viking or Royal Caribbean. We won't go on another Holland Cruise. Did you know that Carnival Cruise Line owns Holland America? Let that give you a hint... Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This is our third cruise. We sailed with Raphosy of the seas and celebrity reflection both were really good and far superior to westredam in any aspect. The Celebrity was the best. We are not fussy in any sense and don't mind if ... Read More
This is our third cruise. We sailed with Raphosy of the seas and celebrity reflection both were really good and far superior to westredam in any aspect. The Celebrity was the best. We are not fussy in any sense and don't mind if things are not perfect but this was just a poor experience. And the sad things is it cost us more than the celebrity cruise. We paid quite a lot of money for this cruise but got nothing in return!! We are a couple in our mid-40s with 2 girls 15 and 9. The average age was probably 70. So many old, unfriendly and grumpy couples that don't seem to like younger people and kids. They just everywhere you go on the ship. Entrainment was non-existent. Poor shows that lasted half an hour. Celebrity had the tenures of rock on for 2 amazing shows and 4 live bands playing all day all over the ship. We sadly had to go to bed at 10 every night and just watched a movie. No discos or parties to go to. No bands in the pool, no pool parties, no activities for younger the crowd. The BBKING band was good but played the same oldies songs every night. The whole place was like sedated. It felt like old age home rather than a cruise ship. The daily activities were mostly talks and seminars about how to fold towels, how to diet and bridge card game. Old people staff all day long. Great basketball court but no activities on it. Food was repeatable. Sma every night. For instance, the celebrity had a theme night. If we docked in Greece they had Greek food and so on. Nothing like that on the Westerdam. Food was always the same. Eating time are very short especially for lunch which was 12-14. If you missed the time then no food! so if you onshore you have no chance of making it back for lunch. How stupid!! Celebrity had the dining room open till 4 for lunch which made life much easier. Not enough staff to clean the tables. They did not have one BBQ party on the pool deck for the whole 10 days!! It felt like the whole ship is running on a really tight budget. The ship is also built really funny. It's an old ship very poorly decorated. Felt like in some sort of a rundown 80s hotel. No central area. Unless you are penthouse VIP passenger. you cannot access the front of the ship at the top deck so it was impossible to watch the ship entering ports from the front ogf the ship. The back of the ship there is a pool, and a bar it was always flooded with water and people were smoking there the whole time which made it really unpleasant. The Gym was but only strech classses which full of old ladies . Destinations were fabulaous. Especially kotor and venice. Bot the ship dont giver you much time onshore. The had to back on the boat by 16:30 and some days it was 15:30! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
What a wonderful cruise. We went to Corfu, Santorini, Sicily, Croatia, Turkey, Athens, Rome. So many wonderful places. Used Viator.com for shore excursions and was terrific. They guarantee to get back to the ship on time. Private ... Read More
What a wonderful cruise. We went to Corfu, Santorini, Sicily, Croatia, Turkey, Athens, Rome. So many wonderful places. Used Viator.com for shore excursions and was terrific. They guarantee to get back to the ship on time. Private tours with experts in history made for an awesome tour. Holland America was outstanding. Service was great and food, entertainment was wonderful as well. The flight to Europe was good and Holland America provided transportation to the hotel and then onto the ship, no problems with all the connections. We were able to board the ship early and get settled in the cabin and have lunch before the ship even sailed. Highly recommend getting to Rome, our departure city a couple days before so you can explore it. Did use the ships shores excursions for some trips and they were very good. I would highly recommend this cruise and would definitely do this same cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We have cruised on other lines. This was the first cruise in Holland America and will also be the last. By comparison to Princess, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean this ship was a disappointment. The stateroom steward was excellent but the ... Read More
We have cruised on other lines. This was the first cruise in Holland America and will also be the last. By comparison to Princess, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean this ship was a disappointment. The stateroom steward was excellent but the other service on board was not nearly as good as what we have experienced before. The Guest service desk seemed very inexperienced and did not live up to commitments made. The booking agent also did not provide us with the same deal they gave our travel companions. The tour groups were very large and tour guides could not be heard. Not all wore microphones which were definitely needed with 50+ people in one group! The disembarkment process was clearly a message that Hollland America was no longer engaged with theur customer. They had us to the airport 2 hours before the line was even open for check in. We were dropped off and had to walk about 15 minutes (with our luggage and no porters) to get to the terminal. We were told a Holland America rep would be inside to assist. There was no one there to help us. Very disappointing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This is my third time on this exact same boat, and my grand kinds seem to enjoy it tremendously. This year one of my granddaughters is thirteen, and was in the teen program, The loft. She had the absolute time of her life and has made ... Read More
This is my third time on this exact same boat, and my grand kinds seem to enjoy it tremendously. This year one of my granddaughters is thirteen, and was in the teen program, The loft. She had the absolute time of her life and has made friends she's still super close with months later. The crew is polite and excellent, and food is delicious. The shows were enjoyable, especially the comedians. The pots were fun, and I truly got to see part of Canada. the ship however is a little older than the others, but still works perfectly fine. The ship is a perfect size, not to small, and not to big. I rarely got lost, and when I did there was always crew members nearby willing to point me in the right direction. getting off the ship and disembarking was an easy and smooth journey, and made getting back home easier then expected. Best cruise I've ever been on! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
First of all I want to say about the Pro's and then the Con's Pro's 1) Good quality of food 2) Most of the staff were friendly. 3) The cabin was ok. 4) The dinning experience was good. Con's 1) ... Read More
First of all I want to say about the Pro's and then the Con's Pro's 1) Good quality of food 2) Most of the staff were friendly. 3) The cabin was ok. 4) The dinning experience was good. Con's 1) Doesn't have a dance club or a place for dancing. 2) 24 days and we only enjoy two shows. 3) The entertainment is only for older adults doesn't have dancing music, karaoke or any other kind of entertainment. 4) The gym is a joke, too tiny and close too early. 5) Only have 12 days variety of food. 6) The sports desk is too limited and only have two ping pong tables. 7) I try to organize a dancing space but the entertainment director was very rude. 8) The sauna is so tiny that only have space for two people and close early. 9) No free steam room, you need to pay for thermal pool package that it is not worth it. ($149 for single person, $299 for couples for 12 days). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
the family decided to go for baltic region this time and i think zuiderdam is the HAL ship that cruises to baltic. this ship is not unfamiliar to us. we have boarded this ship before to europe. it was not a bad ride... satisfactory to our ... Read More
the family decided to go for baltic region this time and i think zuiderdam is the HAL ship that cruises to baltic. this ship is not unfamiliar to us. we have boarded this ship before to europe. it was not a bad ride... satisfactory to our liking..majority of the staff were friendly and professional. our cabin server, formal dining waiters, bistro servers and most lido waiters and waitresses were deligent of their duties. however, we did not like the set up of the drinking glasses and coffee cups being ready at the table, because sometimes it mixes with the dirty utensils that passengers just damp on the table. i think they should change that set up. The food was satisfactory. the shows were acceptable but ABBA Rav was excellent and both house bands were excellent too. the location of our cabin was good. during the big current, you can feel the bad motion on the upper level of the ship, but in our cabin's location the movement was minimal.. 1 day to embarkation, i felt a flu like symptoms. and as we headed home on the plane, i felt so terrible and having sore throat. and finally when i got home, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed of a virus i contracted in my journey..I was bedridden for two days taking antibiotic and cold tylenol. Im ok on this 4th day.though im still a little oozzzie...... Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
The Japan to Vancouver 16 day cruise was our fourth on HAL. Volendam is the smallest of the four ships we have been on, but it has all the characteristics of the larger versions and we felt right at home from the outset. The crew is ... Read More
The Japan to Vancouver 16 day cruise was our fourth on HAL. Volendam is the smallest of the four ships we have been on, but it has all the characteristics of the larger versions and we felt right at home from the outset. The crew is probably the biggest plus - as with all our other HAL experiences, with minor exception, all crew members were friendly, polite and could not have been more helpful. The cruise itself was exactly what we had expected - and with the six sea days it was a relaxing way to recover after two months travelling in SE Asia. While the northern Japan ports were for the most part largely forgettable, the Alaska portion was very memorable. The Ship. The ship is very well laid out, and although small, still has most of the amenities one would expect. However, while some will say the ship is in great shape - it is really not, and the upcoming refurbishment (this fall?) should spruce things up considerably. The crew works very hard to keep it clean, but there are many examples where age is creeping in. The chairs in some of the bars are tattered and ripped in places. Carpets are getting old and worn, The bathroom in our stateroom needs an upgrade. Some of the public rooms need repainting. To name a few. Nothing significant enough to ruin a cruise - but things that do need to be upgraded. Stateroom. We had an inside cabin (older ship - very few balcony cabins put their price at a premium - for this type of cruise inside worked just fine). It was well laid out, lots of space for storing belongings and was very quiet. Bed very comfortable. Dining Room. We tend to eat most of our meals in the MDR but this time for the reasons below we ended up taking many breakfast and lunches elsewhere. All the dinners in the MDR were either very good or excellent. However, breakfasts were - to be blunt - abysmal. Service was exceptionally slow and the impact on temperature was as to be expected - warm to cold. The lunch experience was not a great deal better - slow - cold and often not quite what one had asked for. I have no idea why (maybe two different supervisors) but whatever it was there was a hugely noticeable difference between breakfast/lunch and dinner. Lido. On the whole, quite good once you can get by the herd mentality of buffet dining. The approach of having staff serve (ie no self serve) has certainly slowed things down a great deal - particularly for the popular "cooked to order" stations. But on the whole - the food was warm to hot, relatively fresh, and usually refilled quickly. If a HAL rep reads this - one suggestion for the Lido - why cannot there be a toaster station where people can at least do their own toast? Nothing is more frustrating then getting cooked eggs (or whatever) and then having to find the station where toast is made (it is not the egg station by the way) - and then waiting while one of the staff has to cook the toast (it normally takes three times to get it brown), while serving other customers? There has to be a better way. Pinnacle Grill. A huge disappointment! We have been to the PG twice before and this time we were not impressed with the steaks or the King Crab. In fact, we had steak and crab legs two days later in the MDR and both were superior to what we had had in the PG. Menu could use a change once in while as well. Caneletto (sp?). The Italian extra charge (minimal) was Outstanding - no other way to put it. Signature Drinks Package. We received this as a perk for early booking. On the whole it was fine, although the selection of wines covered by the package available by the glass in the MDR was extremely limited. Not sure why they could not offer a bit better selection there. Also, when we tried to address this by asking if we could upgrade our Signature Package to Premium (at our cost) we were told we could not. I don't really get the "no, we don't want your money" and if you are not happy, too bad", approach. Bar tenders were, without exception, fabulous. Entertainment. The entertainment on this cruise was probably the best on ANY cruise we have been on. Lots of activities programmed each day, including interesting talks, bridge, games, port visit talks (and not endless attempts to sell excursions), movies etc etc. The entertainers ranged from good to outstanding. No complaints here at all. Gym. Good, clean, well laid out with sufficient apparatus. It did get tiresome when working out to have to constantly listen to the gym rats trying to sell the benefits of eating seaweed, cleansing or using specially designed insoles. The promenade deck is outstanding for walking. Dress Code. Ah yes - the dress code. HAL has abandoned formal nights and adopted Gala Nights at about the same frequency of the old formal night. However, the definition what constitutes "Normal" and/or "Gala" dress is not well laid out and subsequently the result is confusion and inconsistency. HAL has to get a grip on how they define gala or they will continue to confuse guests, cause embarrassment and potentially lose business. In summary, this was an enjoyable cruise, good value for money and reflected exactly what we have come to expect from HAL. There were a few areas where our expectations were not met, however this has always been the case regardless of the line we have chosen. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our third cruise with HAL. Previous cruises were on the Niew Amsterdam (upgraded to Neptune Suite) to the Mediterranean several years ago (originated out of Venice but once past Dubrovnik we ran into severe weather eliminating ... Read More
This was our third cruise with HAL. Previous cruises were on the Niew Amsterdam (upgraded to Neptune Suite) to the Mediterranean several years ago (originated out of Venice but once past Dubrovnik we ran into severe weather eliminating the ports of Corfu and Kotor and later, Florence). We had a great cruise, non-the-less, as the Niew Amsterdam was lovely, clean and the staff, wonderful! Last September we cruised out of Vancouver sailing through the stunning "inside passage" and later traveling by train to Anchorage, Denali (3 nights) and finally Fairbanks. This cruise was WONDERFUL. The Noordam was a nice ship and we again, stayed in the Neptune Suite. We did miss the Tamarind restaurant, however everything else was fine! This past month we sailed on the beautiful Koningsdam! I wasn't sure what to expect as I had read so many reveiws by those who were disappointed by the Koningsdam new 'look' and amenities. I'm here to tell you.....My husband and I aren't spring chickens (I am in my mid-sixties and he is in his early 70's) but we're open to updates and changes. The Koningsdam is a gorgeous ship! The changes in decor are lovely with the MDR airy, light, and spacious! The Lido has changed a bit with fewer access points from one side to the other, which isn't that big of a deal. The other change was that servers would, for the most part, serve each passenger's requested foods from behind the glass partitions. This eliminated passengers from handling the ladles or serving utensils which would encourage passing of germs, etc.. So, that was a good thing, we thought. And, it didn't seem to take any longer to get your food. We signed up for the "Ultimate Dining Experience" which included a dinner in the "Sel De Mer", the Pinnacle Grill; the Tamarind, the Caneletto; and the Culinary Arts dinner/presentation. ALL of these meals were absolutely delicious and the service was second-to-none! We especially enjoyed our all-time favorite; the Tamarind. The atmosphere there is so relaxing; the decor, beautiful and the host is the same welcoming gentleman we encountered at the Tamarind while cruising on the Niew Amsterdam! This gentleman and the servers are top-drawer and aim to please! The food.......absolutely delicious! Our reservations for the Tamarind were on our last evening and we said several times that we should have begun our cruise with dinner there as we would made a point to schedule in more dinners there! The Pinnacle Grill is always a sure-fire winner with their tender and juicy steaks! Once again, the host there was the same gentleman who was our host on the Niew Amsterdam (and congenial and welcoming) three years ago! Quite the coincidence to have two, former hosts now on the lovely Koningsdam!!! The Sel de Mer was a new experience for us! The food was very good and we felt pampered with all the servers tending to our needs! The Canelleto has improved substantially! The restaurant is still attached to the Lido but the visual design of the restaurant has improved considerably. There is more of a division (somewhat of a see-through wine storage wall) between the walkway next to the Lido and the restaurant so you feel you are in a separate restaurant. The food served was wonderful and again, the service was outstanding! We were pleasantly surprised by the Culinary Arts meal and I really hope more people take advantage of that offering! It was very interesting to watch the chef/assistants prepare the entire meal plus give us an idea of how to do the same at home. The food presented was so delicious and at the end we were given the recipes for the entire menu. It was a wonderful evening of great food; great service (it comes with many glasses of your choice of wine) and a chef who knows what he's doing! The MDR meals were varied and quite tasty! If we hadn't of chosen to purchase the "Ultimate Dining Experience" package, we would have been content with the choices offered through the MDR menu. We always ask to be seated with other cruisers as we find this to be a chance to meet/ talk with others from other parts of our country and other parts of the world! The ship itself is quite beautiful! And, as others have said, you don't feel that there are as many other cruisers on board that there actually are! Some have been quite vocal about the absence of the library and we were told by the captain (at a ship gathering early on in the cruise) that HAL is listening!! There will be changes to the Koningsdam and to the new ship being built. That being said, there are still plenty of quiet spots on this ship where one can curl up and read a book. A library is a nice touch, for sure! Our room stewards were always smiling and willing to serve! "Paul" was our main steward and was always courteous, gracious and smiling! I am always amazed that these hard-working souls know our names by the end of the very first day! The ONLY negative comment I have about the Koningsdam (and I am VERY picky!!) is about the bed. Our beds on both the Niew Amsterdam and the Noordam were so comfortable and almost identical in comfort to our Tempurpedic at home. Both my husband and myself are sensitive to the comfort of a bed due to back issues and unfortunately, the bed on this ship was very uncomfortable. We could almost feel (what we thought to be) the springs through the top of the mattress. The ridge between the two twins were also very apparent. Watching the tv from the bed was out of the question due to the uncomfortable bed. Otherwise the room was fine with the bathroom shower nice and roomy and the water pressure/temperature great! The room was located aft on the back end. We had NO problems in this location and enjoyed viewing the wake and surrounding sea and shore throughout our trip. We used the treadmills almost every day. Never had any issues with not finding an open machine! I had my nails done on the first day and the lady there was super nice and did a great job on my nails! She even massaged my arms first with an apricot cleanser followed by a lotion-oh my! That was heavenly!! ;0) One other thing (besides the bed) that HAL can improve upon are the two comedians that they hired for our cruise. I guess we are spoiled by the wonderful comedian we saw on our first cruise on the Niew Amsterdam. He was terrific and the two on this cruise just paled in comparison. :0( All in all, however, I'd still give this ship/itinerary/accomodations/food/staff etc...a solid "A"! Read Less
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