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69 Holland America Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it ... Read More
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it was wonderful. It looked as though all the carpet and furniture in all the public areas had been replaced. The furniture was comfortable and inviting. And, like all Holland America ships, they absorb people well - I never felt like I was in the middle of a huge crowd. It's a relaxing and very pleasant environment. The food, as with our every other HAL cruise, was really excellent. We had two occasions that were a disappointment, though. One evening in the Main Dining Room, I ordered lamb kabobs. They were terrible - cold, hard, dry. I immediately told our server that I wasn't happy with the dish and he very rapidly brought me something else I chose. So, it really was no problem at all. The replacement was paella, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The other less-than-lovely experience was in the Pinnacle Grill, which is HAL's premium added-cost dining venue. We usually go twice during a cruise because we really enjoy it. This time, however, we cancelled our second reservation. We waited 20 minutes for our appetizer, and about two-thirds of the way through my appetizer I found a 10" hair. The manager was mortified. Then we waited over and hour for our main dish. I was ready to walk out, but it was too late to go to the Main Dining Room. The manager was extremely apologetic, and confessed that they had been having difficulties in the kitchen. Needless to say, despite the excellent food, it was an unpleasant experience. The manager called our room a couple days later to apologize again and to say that he hoped we would come back so he could show us a better time. We didn't return. None of this should be taken as a review of all the Pinnacle Grills fleet-wide. Each restaurant is it's own, sort of like a franchise. Every other experience we've had in the Pinnacle Grill on other ships was top-notch. The embarkation in Lisbon wasn't what we expected. We stay in a Neptune Suite, and on every other cruise, as soon as we check in we're told "feel free to board any time". This didn't happen this time. It was a decent length wait. I don't mean this as a complaint, but as an observation that if they say priority boarding is one of the benefits of having a suite, then they should make sure that happens. One notable enrichment activity: on the sea days, they have America's Test Kitchen, which is a cooking instruction - just like there might be on t.v. Each of them were excellent. As a side note: we are a same-sex couple. We have never had one second of a negative encounter/service because of it. (In fact, for the cruise we took for our 25th anniversary, they decorated our door with balloons and streamer and a huge sign. They also brought a decorated cake to our table.) Our 12 days on Veendam were simply great. I would readily choose this ship to sail on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My partner and I, 55 and 58 gay men, decided pretty last minute to do this Alaska Explorer 7 night charter. We were able to get a good deal booking with the charter as we are alumni with many past cruises with them, and there were many ... Read More
My partner and I, 55 and 58 gay men, decided pretty last minute to do this Alaska Explorer 7 night charter. We were able to get a good deal booking with the charter as we are alumni with many past cruises with them, and there were many cabins to fill.....our luck. Also, we had never cruised with Holland American Line before and have wanted to for years, so a win-win all around! We flew in to Seattle arriving around 1pm for a 3pm at the lasted boarding time. We had thought we would simply grab an Uber or Lift to the pier, but after getting our bags, time was running out, and we discovered HAL had a service to transfer us by bus to the terminal....so we used that (both ways as it turned out).... Check in was easy as we were getting they later in the day and most had already boarded. Our veranda cabin on the 8th floor starboard was decent. Definitely could use an upgrade as there were repaired holes and such in the bathroom. The deck really needed to be washed, as it was all a mess and dirty. The beds were quite comfortable, slept well all 7 nights. The TV served up some good movies OD, a few TV channels, access to the bridge cams.....nice. I liked how the closets had shelves that could be swung up to make more room for hanging clothes....every cruise line should have this great idea. Cabin steward was efficient and did not see much of him. As for dining, we ate most meals in the main dining room and had mostly above average luck with our meals. We are mostly Celebrity Cruisers so that is what we are comparing to....I think Celebrity does food better, my partner thinks HAL is just a bit better. The Lido Market is not a bad place for snacks and small meal. Overall, the service onboard is wonderful. The staff seems to enjoy what they are doing and we enjoyed having one waiter all week who treated us great. I would say the general overall service seems a bit warmer on HAL that Celebrity. Also, the Oosterdam has a warmer feel to it than most of the Celebrity ships. The design is obviously night and day, with Celebrity more modern and HAL a bit traditional. I like the change and the size of the ship. As a charter ship, the on board entertainment was quite good. A few let downs, but over all some great comedy, music and dancing were well done. The ships own dancers did an awesome job the night I saw them, using the huge screens on stage to interact with....something new to me and fun to watch! Something else HAL does is the Lincoln Center Stage, with a string quintet and pianist play a huge variety throughout the cruise. I wish I was able to see more of them, but what I did hear was top-notch..... OK, the internet! I thought I would take advantage of buying a weekly package before boarding as I would save about $50 for the 'Premier' package and be able to stream shows if I would like. Well, the internet on the Oosterdam is a joke. I was never able to stream....downloading pictures from Facebook took many seconds, and often,,,,very often, the whole thing stopped and needed to be restarted.....not fun....the front desk passed on my concerns.....but while I was there at the front desk,(and every time I was there, btw) other passengers were also complaining and some were rather irate. I just put down my iPad and did not let it bother me. But just don't expect much in terms internet on the Oosterdam. We had been to Alaska a few times before, so did not do many excursions, but LOVE seeing Hubbard Glacier....always my favorite part of an Alaska cruise! We would certainly consider HAL again....we like the 1900 pax load. Not too small, not too big. The food was good and service great. While this review was a little boring, the ship was not! I would suggest this to those who like music, relaxed atmosphere and a ship not geared up with bells and whistles of all the newer ships like RCL and Norwegian and Carnival. I almost forgot my favorite place on the ship, the Crows Nest on the top deck.....great place to sit and stare out watching the world go by with the panoramic windows....and a bar and coffeeshop..... Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
After 14 cruises with this storied line, I was disappointed with the Copenhagen-Copenhagen sailing that stopped in Norway, Iceland and Scotland:(Lerwick, Inverness were pleasant surprises) All the ports met expectations and more. ... Read More
After 14 cruises with this storied line, I was disappointed with the Copenhagen-Copenhagen sailing that stopped in Norway, Iceland and Scotland:(Lerwick, Inverness were pleasant surprises) All the ports met expectations and more. Holland's receptions had no music; first ship I've been on that had no orchestra; no appetizers, Bloody Mary's had no celery. B-B King's seemed to forget that they were there to play jazz and blues, not 90% rock n roll or whatever it took to get people on the dance floor. If it hadn't been for the Lincoln Center classical performers, there would have been No entertainment. There were no production shows, only a comedian, some signer and a local group that got on in Iceland for one evening that no one understood them or their music. There was an abundance of food that was either tasteless, undeterminable or the chef was left to make whatever he/she wanted. Salads had mushy substances instead of recognizable products(tuna, chicken)???pizza slices had virtually no cheese on them; sandwiches consisted mostly of bread, mayonnaise and mustard(cold cuts, chicken or salads composed less than 10%.) Hardboiled eggs served in room service had turned gray from age. I'd rate the food OVERALL: one level below fast food! Excursions were pricey and in one instance one bus had 64 people on it with one guide in Iceland. Needless to say, it was not worth it! The ports sold themselves in terms of their beauty, offerings and ability to get around on your own. I would recommend future passengers secure their own tours. Disembarkation was efficient and could not come fast enough. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My (German Jewish) family escaped Nazi Germany in 1938, thanks to Holland America's ss Statendam, so we HAD to be on the maiden voyage of the Nieuw Statendam, both to "close the circle" on our family history but also to ... Read More
My (German Jewish) family escaped Nazi Germany in 1938, thanks to Holland America's ss Statendam, so we HAD to be on the maiden voyage of the Nieuw Statendam, both to "close the circle" on our family history but also to personally express our gratitude to this next generation of Holland America. That said, by any metric, the maiden voyage was an overwhelming success and we feel sure that this great new ship - with its great new crew - will provide enormous joy and enrichment for all who sail with her. If you know/like the Koningsdam, the Nieuw Statendam is its (almost) identical twin, but with some revisions: the Crow's Nest/Explorations Central (deck 12) has been re-imagined into a giant, gorgeous, and inviting "living room" offering an intimate environment, to chat, watch the ocean, check the stats of the engine, ship location, etc., and engage in puzzles, cards, and much more. Moving Lincoln Center Stage to the Queen's Lounge put these great classical musicians in an environment fitting to their artistry and charisma, and the new Rolling Stone Rock Room (with its great band) is a HIT! Holland America crew's legendary warmth and dedication to excellence are evident in this hand-selected crew of 1,000 - for us, cruise veterans yet making our first ocean crossing - we couldn't have asked for anything more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Preface: I'll preface my review by saying that my partner and I are both 29 and 33 respectively and we were some of the "younger" passengers. Albeit, I did read plenty of reviews before sailing and knew that Holland ... Read More
Preface: I'll preface my review by saying that my partner and I are both 29 and 33 respectively and we were some of the "younger" passengers. Albeit, I did read plenty of reviews before sailing and knew that Holland America (HAL) was geared towards a more mature crowd so we knew what we were booking. We planned our trip in May 2018 for an Eastern Caribbean itinerary when we first discovered HAL. I traveled on NCL, Carnival, and Disney previously. We were looking for a more refined and relaxed atmosphere (without the hairy chest and belly flop contests). This is a review for the 7 day journey: Ship 5/5: Beautiful ship from the moment you step on to the moment you disembark. Nieuw Amsterdam is one of their newer ships with modern amenities with millions of dollars worth of artwork throughout. I always found something new regardless of how many times I walked the same path. I felt like the ship had a great layout and I never had difficulty finding my way after day 2. It just made sense where points of interests were located. I also seen that this ship is under constant upkeep. I always see crew either painting or cleaning, always making sure the ship is looking new and in great condition. It was also a perfect size being not too large at only 2,000 guests. Sure I've seen the same people over and over again which I loved but I never wondered why is it so crowded as crowds didn't exist except for day 1 at embarkation at the buffet which is expected. Cabin 4.7/5: We stayed in an AFT verandah cabin which I absolutely LOVED! The room was very well appointed for two people and we never felt like we didn't have space either for clothes, belongings, or just two people living together. The room was a great size and the bed was super (and I mean overly) comfortable bed. We never had a problem sleeping at night which could be a combination of not having internet or just the full days we had. We had the perfect room stewards Marko and Suko. Both were so quick at making our room up and cleaning it (albeit we aren't messy people and I actually clean before I leave the room as I feel bad for the long days most workers work...more on that later) and always worked around our schedule. The only downside of the room is it did feel a little outdated. I would love to see the bathroom and a few things updated. Again, how often are you in the room?! Although they did have a plentiful on demand selection of movies to watch. Dining 4.5/5: No matter what restaurant we went to we always had a great meal. The one restaurant that really stood out was the Pinnacle Grill. You may hear a few things about this restaurant, and the positive you hear is true! The service and food was phenomenal. The Pinnacle Grill restaurant is not included and costs $35 per person BUT I will say that price is justified. I included some photos of how many crab legs were included with my meal. We also ate at Lido Buffet and the Main Restaurant in addition to the pizza and burger place and I can honestly say I never had a bad meal. All of the food was very good! I do wish they had more Asian dishes. Why I rated it a 4.5 out of 5 as the food was a 5/5 is because whenever you go to a restaurant they really want you to buy drinks because the person selling the drinks gets an 18 percent tip. So when you order a glass of wine they will try to upsell a bottle. It just got a little pushy sometimes as I get they are just trying to make money but I don't like to be second guessed when I make a choice as "why don't you want a bottle as it's only 23 dollars more?". Overall they will leave you alone if you say "I'm fine" but I just don't like the high treasure sales tactics when I am on vacation. Entertainment and Activities 4.9/5: Now hear me out...we are on a ship in the middle of the ocean, how entertained do you want to be? I won't be critical of the entertainment on ship as I know for a fact the entertainers really gave it their all every night for several months. So into the review...The entertainment on board for the nighttime mainstage ranged from Billboard dancing to Latin Night which I found very entertaining. They also had a comedian and magician. I missed the comedian so we went to the magician with very low expectations and my face hurt from laughing so much. He was hilarious. Throughout the day the had other entertainment for all such as Windows 10 classes, floral arrangements, towel animals, piano request entertainment, and more! I'll be honest there wasn't a time on the schedule where I looked and didn't see something going on that I could attend. I just chose not to go to somethings as I wanted to relax. To end the review there is something for everyone on board and especially during At Sea days. Service 5/5: I work professionally in hospitality where we always use the 10ft rule. If someone is within 10ft of you, you acknowledge them. HAL must use the 25ft rule. When they either see you coming or approach they immediately focus on you and say hello and stop what they are doing. It was totally unexpected but something very small that made a huge difference. I felt like royalty on this ship. I still remember even the smallest request where we asked our room steward can we have ice on the first day for drinks. In the morning and at night they always made sure to refill our ice. Sure, I don't know if they did this for everyone but it was appreciated. Also we always order the same drinks when we go to the Billboard On Board bar and the staff always ask if they can get us the same drink. It was this that out of 2000 passengers made us feel like we were the only ones. Ports and Shore Excursions: I will review each port with a very small snippet review Grand Turk: 3.7/5 Maybe it was the excursion we picked or I don't know but I feel like when I wasn't on the tropical island that was raved about. Instead I felt like we were on a small private island that was commercialized. I would recommend snorkeling!! Puerto Rico: 4.8/5 Such a nice island! I been hear many times and even coming back multiple times there is just so much to do. This is a location where you don't need to book an excursion and just walk around if you are able. St. Thomas: 4.9/5 This island was my ultimate favorite on this entire itinerary! The island is just beautiful every way you look at it. What I would recommend is booking a Jeep or car and exploring the island yourself. There is so much to see and do but with a car you can do what you want to do. Why I took off such a small amount is because I been planning for us to dock at a certain port (Havensight) for months and constantly checked daily and even the ports calendar said we would dock at a certain location. Up until the moment we arrived we docked at Crown Bay which took quite a bit of logistical planning to get to Havensight for our Jeep. I would definitely book come back here. Half Moon Cay: 2.7/5 Sigh...and breathe. Now that I got that over with let me write my review. Let me say that this port had my biggest expectation which may have swayed my review. When we arrived we were made aware that the Koningsdam and us were the two ships that were docked at this port this day. Side information is that Half Moon Cay is owned by Carnival as their private island. The Konsingsdam holds a good amount of passengers and our ship holds a good amount of passengers. The island just felt very overwhelming and I didn't find it relaxing at all. We booked a Clam Shell three months in advanced which is an umbrella with two chairs. Since our ship was delayed by an hour for a medical emergency (no fault to anyone, things happen) we found it very difficult to find a chair. Every person we went to told us to go somewhere else. Finally we found a clamshell in front of a very loud family. We just head back to the ship after being on the island for 2 hours. The food on the island was very good and the staff that pulled the meal off was very good! Other: The crew is what makes the ship a solid 10/10 as they work such long days and are always looking for ways to make you happy. We booked a Retreat Cabana for the At Sea days and Korn and Raymond work such long days but always had a smile. I would say the crew is what makes Nieuw Amsterdam the ship that it is. My very minor (is he really complaining about theses things?) complaint section: Some very minor things that didn't change my trip at all but I thought I could always add it below. - I found the bathrooms to be adequate size but the toilet seats to be very small. I am by no means a big guy being 5'7 and 145 pounds but they just seemed small. - There was no midnight buffets or late night dining options past 11:30pm except for room service. I wish they had a buffet at midnight or maybe a specialty snack station. But knowing the demographics of the ship maybe midnight really is too late. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The staff was the staff that answers your call from your credit card company. Staff: poor attitude, does the least Food: redundancy - bland, fried, salty, boxed, canned and not labeled with ingredients. Lots of nuts everywhere and ... Read More
The staff was the staff that answers your call from your credit card company. Staff: poor attitude, does the least Food: redundancy - bland, fried, salty, boxed, canned and not labeled with ingredients. Lots of nuts everywhere and same tongs for near multiple items. Food stations: salad bar, pasta bar & omlet bar: only one person one station and have you waiting for food for over 20 min. Why not add an additional station to actually accommodate guests? Salad bar was wilted and old veggies. Expreso bar: paid, also waiting Bartenders: no pep in the step to handle more than two people at the bar. Our bartender was 100 years old and working / sharing the same well with another bartender, so they would wait for each other to make drinks....so it was like having only one bartender, since there was another unused well in the same bar that could have been used to increase efficiency. They need a food & bev manager to regulate the staff, since they do whatever they want. One time we waited over 30 min to BUY our coffee from the expreso bar bc the front desk girls came up with an order for the front desk crew of 5 or 6 drinks. And they are on island time when it comes to tasks. Internet is per person in the room and is very expensive for being so crappy and it doesn’t disclose that it doesn’t work in all ports. Overall the staff really was bad. In attitude, in performance of job duties and in customer service. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Well, this is my 5th cruise, and 2nd time sailing Holland America and believe it or not, my second time on Ms Rotterdam. I had my first ever cruise with her and I loved it and had fond memories of the ship, however this time not so much. ... Read More
Well, this is my 5th cruise, and 2nd time sailing Holland America and believe it or not, my second time on Ms Rotterdam. I had my first ever cruise with her and I loved it and had fond memories of the ship, however this time not so much. I’ll try to just stick with the basics and facts. First, the cleanliness of our cabin was horrendous. One of the first things we had to do upon getting into our cabin was pee, and that’s where I noticed blood on the shower walls from my view whilst on the leu. After that, I entered the main cabin and lamented to my gf there was blood on the shower / tub from the previous guests and that’s where I noticed stained walls from what looked like dried Coke that had sprayed all over the walls behind the couch. And I mean all over, like how could you miss that cleaning crew. So we called to have our room cleaned and that led to a whole other incident where we were locked out of our cabin for 3 hrs. mind you we just got there, wanted to shower and change after a 10 hr flight. So it was not ideal right off the bat. The staff was very laid back about everything, and not in a good way. No hustle to get us situated (that will also come up later) During the process having to walk back and forth over 10 times to the front desk - to see if this key worked and if that key worked they finally resorted to call a locksmith that leasurley came 3 hrs later. Our toilets backed up daily and our room smelled like poop well because there was poop floating in our toilets that wouldn’t flush. At the first port I went to buy some Lysol wipes and wiped the cabin down myself. Being grossed out from everything upon arrival. The blackness that came off everything was nauseating: the phone, the switches, door handles, all black and filthy. I was trying to be a good sport and not complain bc it was my girlfriends first cruise and I wanted her to have a good time. But it just continued to disappoint. The food was not great. Everything was heavy, fried and very salty. The staff in the lido deck didn’t really interact with you and didn’t listen to any requests. Like go light with the salad dressing, they would drench the salad anyway and hand it over miffed and just want to move on to the next person. Customer service in all the food areas were bad, staff had a bad attitude and pretty much just lazy. they had lines at certain stations for 20 minutes or longer, when they had plenty of staff and should have made adjustments for the busier stations, like open another omlet section or salad station. So when having dinner with your companion that ate something different than you, they would be done with their meal by the time you got yours. Never saw any food managers, either. The only thing healthy was the salad bar and the lettuce was often the “last day of lettuce” if you know what I mean. So cleanliness- very poor, food not great, staff - pretty over it and other things like the internet package is 100 bucks for 5 days, but they don’t tell you the internet doesn’t work if you’re in the fjords (that happened to be about 24 hrs or more) and your guest in the cabin has to buy their own internet so it goes by person - definitely felt ripped off that - and when I told them they should have a disclaimer when buying the internet that it wouldn’t work docked in the fjord, she just looked at me like I was speaking another language and had this expression like “oh well” and didn’t do or say anything else. So. Customer service also pretty bad. All in all I was very disappointed with the “management” of the ship. The last thing they messed up was our debark- we didn’t receive luggage tags and had to get them from the long line at guest services. Then they were late delivering our luggage to the luggage drop off center and it caused us to miss our transport bus, that we had to now wait for another bus that in turn had us RUNNING to catch our flight. We debarked the ship at 7:45 am and had a 8:30 am bus, but had to take the 10:30 am bus. So while we waited and waited- we watched the luggage handlers just take their time like no one had anything else to do that day. Very disorganized and very over their “jobs”. New management and new crew ASAP. The ship itself had a lot of cool artwork, and I liked the “antique” vibe - but that’s the best thing I can say about the ship itself and Holland America. There were just a handful of delightful people that do work there with a smile on their face but it kinda sucks the 95% of the bad staff was so bad that those 5% don’t really get the review. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was a charter of a group I belong to. I had been on land vacations to Norway twice & enjoyed the country very much. Thought a cruise would be another way to experience it. The best way to see Norway is on a land vacation w/day ... Read More
This was a charter of a group I belong to. I had been on land vacations to Norway twice & enjoyed the country very much. Thought a cruise would be another way to experience it. The best way to see Norway is on a land vacation w/day trips to the fjords, not a cruise. We only did 4 ports, Bergen, which we did not get to see because of extreme rain & wind, Geirangerfjord, if you have done New Zealand’s fjords this is very similar scenery, and 2 smaller villages. Did two ship excursions which were expensive & not worth while. The best excursions were taking the tourist trains in the towns on your own. There was a ships tour to an acquairium which was a waste of time & money. The ships tour on a speed boat through the fjords was also a waste as you saw the same scenery as you did from the ship although closer. The staff was great, the food very good, room service great & free. We had an aft balcony, 7067. If you look on the ship’s deck plan it appears this is the 2nd room in. It is not. The space next to it is a stairwell which staff uses. Therefore the balcony is much larger than usual and you only have one room on one side of you. The room was quiet. Our charter had its own entertainment for the most part so cannot comment on that except to say, the Adiago violin & piano duo was really great each evening. The casino did not have any of the newer machines so was boring & did not pay out often. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because we knew the Panama Canal is not something that many people get to see. We weren't disappointed in the cruise. She may have a few scratches here and there, but the ship is in great condition with cleaning ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we knew the Panama Canal is not something that many people get to see. We weren't disappointed in the cruise. She may have a few scratches here and there, but the ship is in great condition with cleaning and repair on-going but not in passengers' way. Weather was wonderful--not too hot or humid. Everyone said we had the best weather in the last couple of months. We were pleasantly surprised by the food. It was wonderful in all the venues. We only ate in the dining room twice because we prefer less time spent on dining and not dressing up every night. The Dive In had perfect hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. There was a taco bar that we used several times for taco salads. We got the salad bowl and lettuces from the Lido buffet. We also appreciated that there are servers--not everyone handles the utensils at the different areas. The quality was quite good as was the variety. I think I saw more actual variety at breakfast than I have on any other line I've sailed with. And, the Lido manager brought me a cherry crisp that I had seen on the dining room menu! Pasta bar was great. Many kinds of pasta and add ins were available. We had room 6129 on the Upper Verandah deck. Andri and his assistant did a wonderful job of cleaning, bringing ice, setting a mood for evening after dinner, and making towel animals. Zuiderdam is on the smaller side with 1800 passengers on our trip. I wasn't sure about the arrangement of the decks when I got on and started looking around. Guest services is on deck 1. But it all turned out well. We could get around quickly. I always like a promenade deck that goes all the way around. It was particularly nice for Canal viewing. The entertainment was amazing. I think it's best total package I've ever seen for entertainment. BB King's Blues Club, Billboard Onboard, comedian, classical entertainment, dancers and musicians, especially Steel Drum Island Magic, were all top notch as evidenced by the large audiences for each. America's Test Kitchen was interesting. The lecturers brought onboard for the ports and the Panama Canal were very informative. I'm not at all including the shopping guide. That, to me, is always a waste. All they want to sell is jewelry. Zuiderdam has a Navigator app for your phone to use. It's very handy to get around the ship, schedule your activities, and contact your family. I do wish it would ding though when you have a text. We booked all tours through Holland simply because I like the convenience and they cover what most all the tours do although with a bit more expense. For Bonaire and Curacao, the shopping areas closed early so there wasn't much time for browsing. A bit more time in port would be good. Bonaire was interesting for the salt flats and slave huts. I thought we would stop to see flamingos, but we didn't. We saw some but at a distance. Curacao is a beautiful area. Be sure to see the Kukunu Museum. The guides do a super job of showing you how the island functioned years ago. The town is beautiful. Be sure to go across or at least see the swinging bridge. Free wi-fi is hard to come by. We chose to stay on board at the Panama Canal. The long tours were more than we wanted to do this time, but I think we will make another trip and see the other side of Costa Rica. One tour was 3 hours late returning because the canal doesn't work on strict timing. All the deck areas were open to accommodate everyone who wanted to see what was going on. We got to see the sun come up over the canal. You'll want to get up early! I got off in Colon and walked about 3 blocks through a chain link tunnel to the "mall". There was a military helicopeter and a large police presence there. You'll want to stay onboard I think. Costa Rica was beautiful--another reason to go back so that we can see more of the island. We did the Rainforest Preserve. The rainforest is the most magnificent thing I've ever seen. I love the desert, beach and mountains, but the forest has to be seen to be believed. We did not see many animals which was a bit of a disappointment, another reason to go back. Be prepared to walk whichever tour you take. There's a great market at the port with many booths and crafts people. For sea days, there were many new movies in the room. There were many activities to attend and lots of deck chairs all over the ship to relax in. Shopping was all high end except for small things in the shop that sells candy, t shirts, etc. Why is there always so much high end shopping? Embarkation was pretty smooth. Rooms were ready by 12:30. We got on at 11:30 and had lunch. Debarkation was easy too. We paid $25 for Holland to collect our bags and get them to the airport and print our boarding passes. It was worth it. Hassle-free trip to the airport. Customs was 45 minutes--a long wait. If I could have gotten the Mobile Passport to work, we could have saved a lot of time. I'm not sure what the issue was. We will definitely choose Holland again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
For clarification - our cruise departed Ft. Lauderdale on 3/18 as a 10-day Southern Caribbean cruise and was actually the first leg of the 24-day cruise. We disembarked after the 10 days and did not continue on to Rome. We picked this ... Read More
For clarification - our cruise departed Ft. Lauderdale on 3/18 as a 10-day Southern Caribbean cruise and was actually the first leg of the 24-day cruise. We disembarked after the 10 days and did not continue on to Rome. We picked this cruise, in large part for the itinerary (Holland America/Carnival’s private island in the Bahamas, Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba). were spectacular and were every bit as amazing and beautiful as we expected. Our poor customer service experience with Holland America began well before we ever got anywhere near the ship. We booked a full ocean-view veranda room. Roughly 2 weeks before our sail date, we received an email offering us an upgrade to a full ocean-view veranda room for a nominal sum (roughly $99 I think). I immediately called. The first person with whom I spoke was unpleasant at best. Needless to say, there was no upgrade available to a full ocean-view room since that's what we already had booked. It took another call and an eventual request to speak with a supervisor to confirm that we were in fact already booked for a full ocean-view room. It took another phone call on a separate day with a lengthy hold time to straighten out our transfer (they had the wrong airport listed on our documents even though they promised us on the phone that everything was correct in the system). I'm still not sure it was ever corrected but we were able to board the bus at the airport. In retrospect, I wish that were not the case. The treatment that we endured onboard for 10 days was horrendous. Over and over and over for the duration of our cruise, we dealt with blatant mistreatment. This was at the hands of the employees of the ship, from the lowest level staff in the dining areas all the way up to literally the ship’s captain. I can assume only that they were offended by an openly gay couple. Rather than bore you with the details of everything that we went through, I will give a couple of examples that illustrate what we experienced and how it impacted our trip. In the informal dining area (buffet style), you go through and get your food and then sit at any open table. The workers come through with pitchers of water, iced tea, etc. Almost without fail, we would watch as they would go to the tables all around us and bypass us. It became a running joke about which of us was going to go and get our drinks for the meal. On the 8 nights that we chose not to eat in the formal dining room (a whole other ordeal unto itself), we almost always chose to have food delivered to our room (from a very minimal menu) because it was simply less agonizing than going to the dining room. On the next to last full day of the cruise, there was an event called “Meet the Captain” (or something similar). I am keeping track of my personal nautical miles, and wanted to find out how many we would be covering on the cruise so we decided to go. The first part was a canned presentation. There was a short “ask the captain” portion at the end, where the audience could ask questions. Following that, a line formed to talk to the captain as well as the “hotel director” of the ship. After waiting in line for quite some time, I eventually got to the very front of the line for the captain. I was no more than 2 feet away from Captain Darrin Bowland. He didn’t look at me, acknowledge me, or speak to me. Instead, he had a conversation over my head with the man in line behind me. At first I thought that the man was perhaps one of the frequent cruisers and therefore knew the captain. Unfortunately, when they had finished their conversation, Captain Bowland continued not to acknowledge my presence and instead had another conversation with the next guest behind me. When this happened for the third time, I gave up. That really was the last straw for me. After 8+ days of being made to feel like second class citizens, to be so blatantly disrespected by the captain was infuriating, degrading and humiliating. If I could have gotten off the ship that day, I would have. Unfortunately, we were somewhere (I think) off the coast of Cuba so I had no options. Prior to getting on the ship, at the cruise terminal in Ft. Lauderdale, for some inexplicable reason, they had quite a large portion of the terminal blocked off. This led to several hundred people crammed into roughly 60% or so of a large room while we waited for them to begin calling our boarding groups. There were a LOT of chairs in the portion that was blocked off, while meanwhile literally dozens of people had to stand around for quite some time (from the time we arrived at the terminal until they even began calling the very first boarding group, there was a wait time of at least 45-60 minutes). There were many elderly and physically handicapped people waiting in the room. We went to one of the HAL personnel standing at the stanchions blocking off the section and were specifically told we could NOT sit on the other side of the room. Aside from that, once our boarding group was finally called and we were able to board the ship, we were able to go right to our state room even though it was before the time they said the rooms would be ready. Once we returned home (literally the day we got home), we got a survey from HAL. We answered it honestly. My other half received a very generic "we're sorry to hear about your bad experience but we have a no discrimination policy and treat everyone equally and fairly" email. I never heard back from anyone at all. I think it's pretty clear that I won't. Now for the good stuff. The ship, which is pretty new (2016? I think), was clean and obviously well-maintained. The room was smaller than some other ships we have been on and the bed was more uncomfortable than expected, but there were movies and TV shows (and some VERY limited music that no one born after 1910 has ever heard) that was available on demand. The bathrooms in the staterooms were very nice. The itinerary was great. The islands we went to were everything we expected and hoped for. We enjoy snorkeling, and found Bonaire, Aruba and Grand Turk (Bonaire in particular) to be amazing. The waterfall excursion (Damajaguas) in the Dominican Republic was one of the more unique experiences I have ever had and really enjoyed it. The gym onboard was comparable to other ships we've been on in terms of size, equipment and class offerings. There was a spin class available for $20. This seemed a little high to me, so we did not do that. Equipment was well-maintained and hours were good for the gym. There were a decent number of live entertainment options each night - a variety of types of shows in the main theater such as comedians, singing/dancing shows featuring the onboard talent etc. Pretty much what we expected there. In other areas of the ship, there was a blues-type band, a string quartet and live piano players that sang most nights. There was only one night where smoking was not allowed in the casino. There were several stores on board, selling jewelry, high-end watches, perfume and some other lower-priced items. With the exception of trivia, I found there were very few other options for entertainment, particularly if you weren't willing to pay to do things. The food was good, and there were plenty of options regardless of whether you were a picky eater, preferred a certain type of food or wanted to eat at a specific time of day. Food was available 24 hours a day, although options were limited during certain times of the day. Room service, while very limited as to the options, was completely free (no gratuity added as I have seen on some other lines for example). There was a mini fridge in the room, but you couldn't use it to store anything as HAL stocked booze etc that you could purchase. You can bring alcohol on, I think it was on 750-ml bottle of wine per person. The HAL literature says any bottles in excess of that are subject to an $18/bottle fee, although we didn't run into that issue. I think it's obvious that I will never again patronize HAL. This experience left such a bad taste in my mouth that not only will we never again set foot on a "dam" ship (Holland America's boats' names all end in "dam" - Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam etc) again - we won't even consider Carnival since they're owned by the same parent company. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I was on a 12 night cruise from New Zealand via Tasmania finishing up at Sydney Australia. The cruise was to include New Zealand North Island, New Zealand South Island, Tasmania, Melbourne and Sydney Australia. Embarkation in ... Read More
I was on a 12 night cruise from New Zealand via Tasmania finishing up at Sydney Australia. The cruise was to include New Zealand North Island, New Zealand South Island, Tasmania, Melbourne and Sydney Australia. Embarkation in Auckland was bad. Their boarding ramp broke and this added a few hours to the ordeal. Not a great start. The room (see below for cabin description) was very poor, dated and with quite a few issues. The ship itself was quite dated and in need of a lot of attention. Hit and miss on reception staff. I took pictures and videos which I presented to the reception staff who did a lot of nodding, agreed to do things and then didn't do anything. Needed constant chasing. That said, eventually one reception person did sort me out and was very good. (they are on shifts so quite hit and miss). I had also had a problem where my door didn't close at all. This was quickly sorted out. The other staff on the boat were very good (restaurant etc) and very friendly. I approached Holland America head office with these issues, offered to show them the evidence in the form of pictures and videos I took of the knocking noises, and of the poor customer service on the ship regarding this. They were not interested and all I got from them was a dismissive "Sorry you feel that way" type response, to quote them "extend our apologies if you feel their response was unacceptable". Very poor response. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak ... Read More
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak highly of their experiences. We spent two days in Auckland before departing to Gisborne, Wellington, Akaroa (Christchurch), Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne and Sydney. Boarding problems delayed our departure, but before long we were on our way. Being my first cruise, I wasn't really aware of and didn't pay attention to the fact that we were circling an island for several hours after we left Auckland and I am still unsure why we changed course. Atlantis Events and/or Holland America diverted the ship from making the planned stop in Akaroa (Christchurch) due to weather. Hard for me to believe that since Akaroa is a protected harbor. If you look on a map, the cruise was to go from Wellington to Akaroa and then south around the south island of New Zealand. Instead, we were stuck for three days at sea while we lumbered along at a leisurely pace to keep on schedule (i.e., not get to Hobart before we were scheduled). This significant change in schedule was, in my estimation, unnecessary, and definitely infuriating. The change in course lead to Holland America and/or Atlantis Events saving tens of thousands of dollars in fuel. We didn't get so much as a credit toward a future cruise. Keep in mind that many of the staff on the ship were lovely. Very attentive, happy to help and genuinely appeared to enjoy their jobs. Most were from Indonesia and the Philippines, and they were outstanding. Unfortunately, there were 20-25% of the employees that absolutely hated their job (or hated us). You could tell because they didn't smile, make eye contact or go beyond the minimum of what they were required. I have heard for years about how great the food is on cruises. Not being someone who enjoys eating large amounts of food (read, all-you-can-eat buffets), I wanted quality over quantity. I also don't eat a lot of meat, but there were plenty of hunks of unknown meats under heat lamps that didn't look particularly appetizing. The salad bar (not self-serve) on our cruise was ALWAYS busy and very understaffed. It was frustrating. You could go to a sit-down restaurant with table service (rather than the buffet-style food served on the lido deck), but this food was only marginally better. There was, of course, the extra-special option of going to a restaurant and actually paying for a high-end meal. Since I wasn't impressed with the food on the lido deck or the sit-down restaurant, I didn't bother. The number of deafeningly loud announcements through over-driven speakers by the crew at all hours was very disrupting and usually sounded like the adults on Peanuts. I felt like an announcement that loud should have been left for "abandon ship!" instead of "we're having a sale on (overpriced) watches on the lido deck" or whatever equally silly announcement they were making. It was ridiculous. The 'drinking' water on this ship tasted like it had been stored in a plastic container in the sun for a day or two, making it taste horrible. The upside was that we could drink the four $5 bottles of water (12 oz) left in our room every day when attendants came in to make our bed. If you're a coffee drinker, you'll need to lower your expectations considerably since the swill they served for coffee made instant coffee taste like Italian espresso, but you can go to their 'espresso bar' and pay $4.50 for a latte, so you aren't totally screwed. If you ask me, it takes a lot of chutzpah to provide undrinkable water and coffee, and then essentially force you to pay their outrageously over-priced bottled water and coffee. In the end, we paid an outrageous $1,354--almost all in drinks and one $100 bottle of wine for my birthday dinner. Holland America also enjoys using only US Dollars as its onboard currency and does not recognize the currency of those countries whose ports they frequent, so you won't enjoy any 'deals' on exchange rates. Buyer/cruiser beware! Take note of the year your ship was built. Read recent reviews of it so you know what you're getting yourself into. Ultimately, I don't think I would ever do another Atlantis Events cruise, and I would NEVER do another Holland America given this experience. Good luck! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the ... Read More
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the rooms had blasting a/c and the other half were saunas. Constant plumbing issues, power issues, and the fact that the maintenance staff were either so overworked or just past the point of caring that nothing seemed to get fixed. When i realized that part of why my room was so warm was that a prior passenger had squeezed a cruise daily into the a/c vent, i called and knowing that i wouldnt get much help i begged the person to bring a phillips head screwdriver so we could get it done rather than have them look, evaluate, and schedule. The promised they would...they brought a corkscrew. They called another staffer who brought a broken leatherman with a phillips bit so worn it was an icepick. They were discussing what to do and i grabbed the leatherman and used the flat head to get it open. That and the televisions on the ship are widescreen tubes that can only be watched in a totally dark room with tylenol for the static. Rooms were caked in salt and dust and mold. There are much nicer and newer vessels out there. Do NOT pick this one. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I went because it was recommended by friends. It was an RSVP chartered cruise. The crew was friendly and liked working the gay cruise. The cabin was comfortable, we had an oversized Verandah cabin. The bed was comfortable and ... Read More
I went because it was recommended by friends. It was an RSVP chartered cruise. The crew was friendly and liked working the gay cruise. The cabin was comfortable, we had an oversized Verandah cabin. The bed was comfortable and afforded a good night's sleep. The balcony was an oasis of calm where I could read and unwind. The bathroom was small, but well appointed and did what it needed to do. Our cabin was kept clean by the crew. The main theatre was very cool - the led covered walls were stellar. The lighting designer took the time to talk with me about the theatre tech (thank you!). I'm a set designer for a few local theatre companies and was curious about the theatre. Food: The food was good to great. The buffet always had good choices (vegetarian here) morning to night. The main dining room had good quality food but service was never less than 2 hours. The signature restaurants were worth the modest up-charge. Alcoholic drinks weren't as expensive as I thought, but there wasn't a drink package (I hear they are available on the non-gay cruises). Excursion: Half-Moon Cay was a relaxing place. We had a bungalow with butler service and it was worth every penny. Our butler was so helpful and engaging. One criticism is that the spa staff are all programmed to hard-sell the services. I had pre-booked a massage, which was good. However, from the spa tour through my appointment, everyone was trying to get me to spend more. My "treatment plan" would have cost >$1000. I didn't go back and avoided the spa entirely after my appointment - it wasn't a relaxing area. I will consider HAL for my future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was ... Read More
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was round trip from Sydney. I normally cruise on Silversea but have also cruised one time each on RCCL, Paul Gauguin, Celebrity and Azamara. HOTEL: We stayed for 3 days pre cruise at Hotel Intercontinental which is a fantastic location and beautiful hotel. I have been to Sydney 4 times and this was by the best location. Circular Quay really is the heart of Sydney and is the easiest location to venture to other parts of the city. Definitely will stay here again or Marriott which is also right there as well. EMBARKATION: very easy. Porters met us as soon as we exited limo. We went inside, filled out health questionnaire and proceeded to desk to check in., No lines, very nice staff. In a matter of minutes we were on board. FIRST IMPRESSION: I had low expectations honestly . Having read cruise critic before trip and I had googled photos. But much to my dismay, the pictures I had seen actually made it look nicer than it really was. I knew it wouldn’t be modern and shiny like Silversea and Celebrity but was shocked the second I walked on. It was terrible. Ugly dark blue carpeting, with bright red accents and the lighting was literally yellow with ugly brass sculptures and trim. I know this ship was built in 2006 but cant imagine it was even stylish back then. We made our way to deck 6 and as we walked aft to our room , I couldn’t believe how ugly even the hallway was. Ugly wall covering, peeling in most places, cabin doors that looked like cork and ugly blue funky carpeting. My heart sank..The ship is so dated and worn. I know it’s going in to dry dock for a refurbishment in May....but I’m not sure HAL will do enough to make this ship really competitive in the industry. There are so many new ships out there and ships being remodeled, I would think HAL must be losing ground. I noticed when I got home they are advertising a lot and wonder if they are beginning to have trouble filling up ships with all the stiff competition out there. CABIN: See below on cabin review...but we had a Neptune Suite 6177. LOVED LOVED the huge wraparound veranda. DINING: i prepaid 6 specialty restaurants ,,,3 for Pinnacle and 3 for Canaletto. I was happy to find out that we had the same 2 top reserved for the whole cruise in the Main Dining Room . I dont know if that is normal, a suite perk or our travel agent set it up for us, but it was a lovely surprise. I loved the food on this cruise. I thought it was better than Celebrity and not too far off from Silversea. There were lots of choices every night. After eating one night each in Canaletto and Pinnacle, we decided that although very good, I dont think they are worth the upcharge as the MDR was so good and I dont think they were better than the MDR in my opinion, so we canceled the remaining reservations at specialties. We also had very good service in the MDR>. Loved our waiter and asst waiter and we felt the service was quicker in the MDR and a bit slow in Pinnacle and Canaletto. I dont like to linger at the table for hours on end during dinner, so I appreciated the quicker service in the MDR. Every meal I had was good (except room service). The only thing we didnt like at the restaurants was a ginger chocolate cake one night for dessert. Had no flavor, seemed a bit “wet”...just blah. It wa like a major ingredient was left out . We only ate at LIdo Buffet twice as I hate buffets. We did salads for 2 lunches and they were good. LIdo Buffet dining room was always packed and hard to find a place to sit. Decor looked straight out of Golden Girls episode. ROOM SERVICE: Definitelly needs improvement. Without going into detail on each item we ordered....just seemed like it lacked someone doing quality control. Missing or short ingredients in salad, food not to temperature, omelette bathed in butter/oil, only hot milk brought for cereal, Every time we got it, we were disappointed. Fortunately, we had access to Neptune’s Lounge and there are always snacks and sweets there all day long. ENTERTAINMENT: I dont normally like cruise ship entertainment, so i didnt go to any shows , so I cant really comment . I can only say that friends I made on the ship didnt have anything good to say about the shows. SERVICE: Noordam really shined here. Everyone from our cabin stewards, to our waiters, to bartenders etc, were all excellent. Everyone was so nice and friendly and even though it’s a larger ship than what I m used to, i was surprised at how many workers knew my name and used it frequently. The only place where employees werent friendly was Explorations Cafe....I felt like I was in the “soup nazi: episode of Seinfeld. Order quickly then move down counter to collect your coffee and pastry. They didnt smile, didnt seem like they enjoyed their job, seemed annoyed if you didnt know what you wanted right away. OVERALL: It was such a mixed bag of experiences. While I loved the service and the food and the passengers were pretty social (unlike Silversea sometimes). The dreariness of the ship tarnished the experience. I loved the pool aft, big open space and never crowded. I never did the midship pool because it seemed like every time I walked through it, the roof was closed and they were doing some type of sidewalk sale from the shops and there were tons of people clogging up the space and being noisy. I loved that HAL has happy hour from 4-5 and 9-10. The bars were packed and a lot of fun and dare i say a great value for dinks on a ship! I got 2 gin and tonics or old fashioned s for $11 total including gratuity. Celebirty is outrageous...so I was very pleased. SPA: so while i dont do spa treatments on cruise ships as I think they are way too expensive, my mom loves pampering herself and so I encouraged her to enjoy. What I will say is that on day one, we did a tour of the spa and fitness area and was totally turned off/irritated. There was such a hard sell on this ship like I have seen on no other. I dont like when they wont take no for an answer. I had to get pretty curt in order to overcome their hard core selling pressure. My mom did 5 spa services and after the first one , she came back to the cabin with hundreds of dollars of unneeded and overpriced products. She’s very soft and easily influenced and the spa crew definitely knew her number. I was furious...feeling like they take advantage of an older person. GYM: old equipment and too small of a free weight area. PORTS: SYDNEY...MY FAVORITE CITY IN AUSTRALIA...BEEN 4 TIMES, LOVE IT! MELBOURNE: feel like it is overrated. Surprisingly, I didnt care much for it. We did our own thing...lots of locals at port to help with tourism advice. We uber’d Everywhere and it was easy. We did the Royal Botanic Gardens...Amazing!! It’s huge and gorgeous. Probably the best I have done anywhere. Then we went to St Kilda Beach. A great beach town south of town. Beach not as nice as many in Sydney, but clean. The village there has lots of local boutiques, restaurants etc...kind of a funky, hip town. Had a good lunch there in one of the many sidewalk cafes. Then we went to city center for some shopping. Ugh, what a mistake. Felt like just another huge city, with too many cars , people etc....it was claustrophobic....didnt feel like it was unique or interesting. General consensus of my happy hour friends that night was the same....Melbourne was a bit of a disappointment. ADELAIDE: we overnighted here. However, it’s a 45 min train ride into the city, so not as convenient. Train was free that weekend....it isn’t usually, but for whatever reason, that line was free. We loved all the beautiful architecture in Adelaide. It’s a smaller city which I liked and easy to walk. We also did the botanical gardens there which were very nice as well. Shopping is good ...they have a huge pedestrian mall/street there with anything and everything you would want...and lots of restaurants. Seemed to be the hub of the city. . Would definitely go back. PORT LINCOLN: small town of about 15k. Did a ship excursion that gave us a bus tour of the highlights of this fishing village. Then we walked around the town, poked in some shops. Some might not like it since its small and not a lot to do, but i love small towns and enjoyed the slower pace very much! KANGAROO ISLAND: wow....this was probably everyone’s favorite destination. Anyone we talked to , raved about this island. You go here for wildlife. We did a ship excursion..but you could easily do it with a rental car as my friends did. It’s a sparsely populated island and easy to drive around and see the same sights we did on ship tour. Its gorgeous, the seals are amazing, seal lions, koalas, birds , kangaroos etc...it was a very long day, but absolutely stunning and magnicient. PORT ARTHUR TASMANIA: We did a ship tour. It was an eco cruise along the coastline for about 3 hours. It was a wild crazy fun ride. Swells were huge.....but it was such a gorgeous ride. A couple people got seasick...but the rest thought it was exhiliarating! HOBART TASMANIA. We did ship tour here to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They only gave us 1 hour here which was disappointing. Lots of kangaroos to feed and pet. But lots of other Australian wildlife. This place isi great and no one wanted to leave. Then we went to historic town of Richmond....no tour...just dropped us off the bus and gave us an hour to walk around. Town was boring...even the shopping wasn’t very good. My big purchase there was a Red Bull to keep me awake. Once back to Hobart, we walked over the city. REally cute quaint city...in particular the trendy area of Salamanca....beautiful old buildings turned in to cool restaurants and shops...loved it. DISEMBARKATION ...super easy and quick....took the ship arranged bus to Sydney airport for flight home. We had an amazing vacation and loved our trip, our time together, the food , the amazing new friends I met on the ship...just wish it had been on a beautiful ship where I felt more upscale and special. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
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
Sail Date December 2017
Husband and I rate this trip is one of the best we have ever taken. Mostly because of the service of the Holland America staff was amazing? All staff including our Captain to the carpenters who built last minute dock with a Chief where ... Read More
Husband and I rate this trip is one of the best we have ever taken. Mostly because of the service of the Holland America staff was amazing? All staff including our Captain to the carpenters who built last minute dock with a Chief where there was none on the Amazon River's edge. We met wonderful people we now consider friends. Our cruise had its fair share of mishaps which of only added to the cruise experience. There was propeller concerns in Martinique, extra five hours. We drifted in Alantic ocean for 10 hours, our captain kept us informed at all times what was going on and then bough the entire ship drinks for an hour. The presentations were of professional quality and we learned a lot. I would say this was not recommended for children. On our entire ship there was one child. For those who do not do well with traveling with advanced age people, you might want to consider something else also. I will say it was embarrassing when 80 and 90-year-olds were doing far better than my husband and I who are in our 60s. This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us. The Amazon itinerary might not be for everybody, but we sure enjoyed it. We are going to be spending many times and years talking about this journey. I would recommend to do this one at least once. Like I said in the beginning this was the best trip we've ever taken. We would not change a thing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Koningsdam is the newest and largest ship of the HA fleet. We were aboard 31 nights sailing from Amsterdam to Ft Lauderdale. I greatly enjoyed Koningsdam. HA has kept much of its traditional wood trim but decor features colorful, ... Read More
Koningsdam is the newest and largest ship of the HA fleet. We were aboard 31 nights sailing from Amsterdam to Ft Lauderdale. I greatly enjoyed Koningsdam. HA has kept much of its traditional wood trim but decor features colorful, attractive and somewhat eclectic furnishings throughout. The bright, modern and airy appearance of the Dining Room was a most welcome change for me. Our verandah stateroom was comfortable and very well organized. The bathroom features a large, wonderful shower. Our first cabin on Deck 4 was above/adjacent to the BB King venue. Thumping base noise and loud vocals were evident until after midnight on nights when the venue is active (most of them--it's popular). Cabins on Deck 4, midship should be avoided if noise is a problem for you. Isobel, of the Front Office, was very responsive to our situation and relocated us to Deck 5 for the second second segment of the cruise when another stateroom was available. The noise issue was completely resolved! Koningsdam provides an excellent variety of entertainment venues. There's something for everyone's taste. We were very impressed with the young, extremely talented musicians at the Lincoln Center Stage. They were wonderful! We liked the World Stage venue which is spacious and well designed. We greatly enjoyed the classic pianists; the opera singers were good but their performance is diminished by the required use of synthesized music. The musicians are talented but this type music doesn't accompany opera voices well. I enjoyed the dance show--my husband didn't. We avoided the comedians and stage productions. We don't enjoy this type entertainment but appreciate that others do. Sel de Mer and Tamarind are outstanding specialty-dining venues. Food quality was excellent, service was friendly and professional. Pinnacle Grille appears to be more spacious than on other HA ships. Pinnacle is attractive and very comfortable. Pinnacle food and service were excellent and matched or exceeded our experience on other HA ships. The Culinary Arts Center experience was interesting, the food was very good. We purchased the dining package. It was an excellent value! Service was generally excellent throughout the ship. Staff is well trained, responsive and friendly. Smiles and a willingness to be helpful were clearly evident by the hard-working crew. Our cabin stewards (Ketut & Putu on second segment; forgot names of first two) did a wonderful job keeping things neat and clean. The towel animals were a creative surprise each evening. Andy & Ady were friendly, professional and provided excellent service in the Dining Room. Things are a bit rushed in the Lido during peak periods. It takes a while to ascertain where different food items are offered. The assortment is excellent and food quality is very good to excellent. The food-line staff were always smiling and responded quickly to requests. The wait staff seem a bit overwhelmed at peak times. Most are friendly, smiling and do their best to keep up in spite of their hard work and long hours. Furnishings are bright, attractive and comfortable. However, the beautiful carpeting shows some stains/spotting, especially in light-colored areas. There were a large number of LGBT people aboard both segments of the cruise. After some initial confusion, we got cruise management to relocate our meeting venue from the Panorama Bar to the Crow's Nest Lounge. The Crow's Nest provided a much more comfortable, quieter venue that permitted us to rearrange furnishings to promote conversation among the large group; we averaged 20 to 30 people each night. Surabh (the beverage manager) willingly authorized a happy hour for our group which was greatly appreciated. Ryan & Phoebe provided outstanding service and assured we had a more than ample supply of hors d'oeuvres every night. I appreciated duplicate bridge games offered during the transatlantic portion of the cruise. Ellen did an excellent job running games of 11 to 15 tables every afternoon at sea. She held beginner and intermediate lessons each sea-day morning. Feedback from people attending the lessons and bridge games was very positive! Cruisers who enjoy walking or relaxing on the Promenade Deck will be a bit disappointed. Placement of lifeboats and equipment make for a narrower deck area which doesn't permit use of the comfortable wood deck chairs available on other HA ships. The deck narrows to a one-person passage on aft port/starboard sides. People trying to maintain an aerobic pace need to slow down in these areas because it's not easy or safe to pass others here. Signs say "no jogging," which is appropriate, considering constrictions on certain areas of the deck. However, a few passengers insisted on jogging and sometimes jostled people in the narrow spaces or startled slower walkers by coming up from behind too fast. People: be courteous, be safe!! Another note: people, please don't occupy a table for an hour or more in the Lido during peak hours while you read books, knit, work on your tablet, etc. There are many lounges which are nearly empty at meal times. You can read or work there, or return to your cabin. This will assure others have an easier time getting seated in the Lido when its very busy. Again, be courteous! A hallmark of HA ships is ongoing maintenance. Koningsdam is new but crew members are constantly touching up paint, refinishing varnished surfaces, scrubbing, rinsing and a host of activity that reflect a well-maintained ship! All interior areas are in immaculate condition through constant cleaning and maintenance. Captain Derek can be very proud of his hard-working, dedicated crew. HA customers who enjoy smaller ships may find Koningsdam a bit daunting. I was very impressed! Koningsdam signals a change in direction for HA which I support. We've sailed on Noordam, Oosterdam and Westerdam. I believe Koningsdam provided the best overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date August 2017
Always wanted to do a gay cruise - and always have wanted to see Alaska. Got the chance to do so last week - and was pleasantly surprised. The ship is really nice, the food was SURPRISINGLY good, and the itinerary (Seattle-Juneau-Glacier ... Read More
Always wanted to do a gay cruise - and always have wanted to see Alaska. Got the chance to do so last week - and was pleasantly surprised. The ship is really nice, the food was SURPRISINGLY good, and the itinerary (Seattle-Juneau-Glacier Bay-Sitka-Ketchikan-Victoria) was wonderful. Best part of the cruise was having National Park Rangers narrate on the ship PA as we toured Glacier Bay National Park. Worst part of the cruise was the Spa. Avoid at all costs. High Pressure sales like nothing I've ever experienced (they even cancelled my appointments and re-booked 3 more without my consent). Who knew I needed $1700 in facial creams? I already look 10 years younger than I am ... but I need $1700 in product PLUS a dermatologist consult (who was conveniently onboard and ready to take my money)? The spa day passes are over-subscribed so the spa was always too busy for me to enter (no lounges, pool was over-full). There really was no reason to go in the spa anyway - every spa I've ever been too includes grooming supplies. This one didn't even have soap or shampoo in the showers, and no sinks for grooming, shaving, etc. Our stateroom was nice, albeit slightly snug (I've only done one other cruise, and that was on the Oceana Riviera - this room was considerably smaller, it seemed). The TV entertainment offerings were very good (and free!). AMAZINGLY soundproof. The premium restaurants are all worth a few bucks additional, with the exception of the Tamarind, which was a bit of a let-down (and the ONLY restaurant that wouldn't let you order more than a single main course). The service in that restaurant was wonky (our meal was half-done before our cocktails were delivered, and the meal was nearly over when the Sake arrived). We got a bit weary of the Lido Buffet, and some instructions as to which direction the line moved would have helped with crowd control. The ship is immaculate and maintained beautifully. Friendly and competent staff everywhere we went. Embark and Disembark was painless. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We visited most major ports in Alaska except Glacier Bay and Skagway/Haines. Embarkation was better than average with minimal waiting, and the port in Seattle was very easy to navigate. Holland allows 3 bottles of wine per adult ... Read More
We visited most major ports in Alaska except Glacier Bay and Skagway/Haines. Embarkation was better than average with minimal waiting, and the port in Seattle was very easy to navigate. Holland allows 3 bottles of wine per adult which can be placed in regular luggage, but bring your corkscrew if you will drink in your room. Corkage in the dining room was $18 plus tax in Washington :-( . Once out of Washington, no tax. Wine steward service was very good with our bottle always waiting for us at dinner, and each bottle lasted 3 dinners for us. Mildly upsetting was that Holland initially tentatively charged our credit card account $1,499.82 on embarkation (per our bank) while our final bill was only $32.20, overestimating the final amount by 4,657.8 percent. Seems to me that they should have disclosed this to passengers so that they would know what to expect since many banks now inform their customers of each charge made. The ship appears to be old and desperately needs renovation with SD TV's with poor reception in the staterooms (even for the usual onboard sourced programming) with noticeable wear in the bathroom and cabin and dated ship decor. There was substantial deferred maintenance In our stateroom, the bottom desk drawer didn't function well (other passengers said theirs did not work at all) and when I decided to take a bath (I am used to the tiny showers on other lines) there was ring around the bathtub. Yuk - showers on out. I also noticed that the grout had brown stains and the toilet seat showed signs of wear. The bathroom had ample shelf space with toiletries bags and reading material going under the sink and a closing corner vanity cabinet with three levels, There was a hair dryer mounted on the wall as well as a corded hair dryer in the desk which we did not use. A magnifying mirror was mounted to the desk and there was another in the desk as well. Two bathrobes were provided. During our cruise, they were apparently sanding and varnishing outdoor stairs between decks (we were pretty far aft). The strong smell permeated the hallway and rooms and caused both my wife and I to become nauseated. This continued for a substantial time. At one point, someone propped up am outdoor chair in the exterior doorway, but that was soon removed. They were also varnishing the railing on the top deck. Unfortunately, their "Wet paint" signs were placed on small labels facing the sea twisted somewhat around the railing structure. I found out that there was wet varnish the hard way. In another area of the top deck, the top wood rail was completely missing and remained missing throughout the two week trip. Others complained of smoke odors in public areas (purportedly no smoking allowed) and we noticed curry smells near the stairwell once or twice - we presume that the crew must have been cooking in the lower decks. Clean windows appeared to be a low priority on this ship. Besides the stateroom windows which is understandable due to their inaccessibility, windows for public areas, particularly the dining room, were filthy substantially blocking the view outside. Even accessible windows (like the windows on doors in public areas were filthy). Stewards were very polite, as were most personnel on board - much better than we have experienced on competing lines, while shop personnel were typically hard sell as on other lines. Food service in the dining room was good though food sat too long and was too repetitive. With a few exceptions, soup was placed in pitchers and poured into bowls at the table which helped to keep it hot, but most everything else was lukewarm. Portions promoted good health but seemed small. They served Alaskan crab at one dinner which consisted of two segments of a single leg. Dinner fare was unimaginative and repetitive. Souffles were sparse, and the variably prepared creme brulee was available every day. The one time I tried a souffle, it was very cupcake-like. The dinner rolls were likewise the same for the whole trip while other cruiselines provide different variations and styles. I was surprised when the surf and turf night did not include a baked potato. Interestingly, this cruise featured demonstrations by America's Test Kitchen, but it did not appear that anything was communicated to the cooking staff. Eating at the Lido Buffet was similarly unimaginative. Breakfast was substantially the same everyday. There were several stations with different types of food, but the food was generally unchanged and if one wanted different things, several stations would have to be visited. There were separate stations for fried eggs, omelets, waffles, poached eggs/congee, one for juices/milk, ... If one wanted poached eggs/eggs benedict and sausage, that would require a trip to two different stations, or even more if one wanted toast, with each having a separate queue which became very long at times. The stations generally did not have any additional assistance when the queue grew. Potatoes were cooked the same throughout the trip - no variations like potatoes o-brien, hash browns, etc. were offered. Fruit was sparse, and there were no smoked fish like salmon\ or trout, nor a large variety of sliced meats like those offered on other cruiselines. The servers were apparently instructed to work fast, but in their effort to serve the next person, often failed to provide what the prior person wanted. Once, and elderly gentlemen in front of me wanted a couple of different items. When he politely repeated what he wanted, the server became visibly peeved, finally responding to him and filling his request. Things similar to this were often repeated and it appeared that the servers either didn't want to listen or did not understand the people they were serving. It appeared that their failure to listen resulted in longer delays in the lines, though by the third or fourth day, I gave up and took whatever they scooped. Beverage service (coffee, water, tea, lemon syrup water) was spotty, depending on what personnel were present. Even though we were generally approached fairly quickly, beverage speed ranged from immediate to times when after finishing my food, I went to get iced tea from the dispenser myself. Even the supervisors (in suits) were variable - sometimes they would be helpful, sometimes they were busy talking amongst themselves and didn't care, and there were times when the dining area was relatively empty - they served a single diner, but refused to acknowledge other diners who wanted refills, even turning around and walking away after seeing diners wanting service. Lunch at the Lido was similar. There were multiple stations with a few variations (whatever was left over from a prior meal). Pizza, relegated to one regular station, was the worst I have had on a cruise, in part because it generally sat around for a long time (I don't know if the older passenger demographic was a cause). It was refreshing to be offered sushi, but there was only a very few variations of mini rolls (surprising since this cruise served lots of salmon), so after the second day, meh. They were small enough that people often got several, poured the sushi onto one plate, and abandoned the empty dishes. Many also gave up on waiting for the server - they just reached over and grabbed what they wanted. The buffet closed between meals though the food was placed in warming ovens quite early. The food, having sat for an extended time, lost its freshness by the time it was offered. An example - one station had small plates of pasta. I did not encounter any fresh plates. The plates had been sitting around long enough that the outside was dry and hard. Very few people partake. For lunch, sparcely filled small sandwiches were often available in small paper bags. Unsealed, these sat around long enough that the bread was often hard and dry. Lido provided snacks 10:30p - 11:30p. Comfort food such as wings, fries, tortilla chips, potato chips and other leftovers were offered. The wings, though not real fresh, were pretty tasty (unlike the other fried chicken which could have come from a frozen TV dinner. The fries were the best I have had on a cruise ship with two variations, one well done and one regular, provided. The chips, probably coming from bags, were typical. Guacamole was provided, but typically went very quickly without replenishing and at other times, stayed, the surface clearly discolored from sitting too long. The Lido dining area was not well maintained. The tables were often a little sticky (They need to replace the cleaning buckets more often) and it appeared no one bothered to vacuum the carpet, particularly noticeable near the windows. Desserts where typical - nothing fancy - but were not replenished quickly enough. Ice cream service was exceptional, extensive queues not withstanding. There were several choices of real ice cream (eg: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, chocolate chip, cookie dough, etc., sherbets) as well as soft serve, served in regular cones, waffle cones, or in bowls with a selection of toppings such as marshmallows, syrup and chocolate chips. This started near lunch and ran throughout the day. The Pinnacle Grill provided a quiet experience with attentive service though the food was unexceptional. The Italian restaurant was a cordoned off part of the Lido. It had attentive service and good portions, though the food was not up to par and was not close to what we consider good authentic Italian food. It tasted the same as the dining room although with a little different spice mix. Since there were very few people there, it was very quiet. Their written confirmation was off by a couple of hours for us as well as another diner, but with few patrons, it did not matter. The only Cioppino I ever had before this was San Francisco Cioppino and this did not compare. I appeared that the ingredients were boiled separately with Italian inspired broth poured over. The seafood had little flavor. Entertainment was next to the worst we experienced in the over 10 cruises we have been on. The ship's personnel's shows were karaoke style with mostly recorded instumentals accompanied by a lone violinist. There was good one male singer who apparently also worked the restaurant while the others attempted a reasonable facsimile of a high school musical. Dancers included one woman who clearly had some ballet training, but the others were not so graceful. The troup's attempt at a county western bar motive was, with obviously non-native English speaking backgrounds, was entertaining, but not in a good way. The guest performers were better than the onboard musicians and dancers, and they were often accompanied by a live band which appeared to be professional. There were also the requisite lounge musicians. Stateroom TV's provided old NTSC(?) standard definition analog video of very poor quality with lots of distortion, NOT caused by degradation of satellite signal. Last time I watched video that bad was close to 20 years ago. Although the TV appeared to be a first generation stereo set, all signals going to it were mono. This was a 14 day cruise covering just a few more ports than shorter cruises and allowed extensive time in each port, so there was no hurry to get off the boat or rush back to the ship. Unfortunately, at least for us, when we returned to the ship, it was often after lunch hours and there was no food available. For extended hour ports, we arrived after dinner hours, so no food either until snacks at 10:30. This was the first time we were left hungry on a cruiseship, and after 11:30 pm, no food (although room service was still available). It would have been nice if they coordinated the buffet, but no such luck. It was surprising that many halls, stairwells and elevators and outside decks were empty after hours. It was refreshing and comfortable, if a bit spooky, to be able to walk the halls of a cruiseship without seeing another human. This contributed to the slowness of the environment. Maybe because young families cannot always afford to take a 14 day vacation, this cruise attracted an older crowd and we sexagenarians appeared to be among the younger of the crowd. This is NOT a cruise for young people though there was one pack of less than 10 millenials wandering around the decks. Our adult child would have been miserable. The whirlpool on the pool deck closed at 10pm (the pool closed earlier) which was disappointing (we like to linger later) though after 9, there were very few people on deck. Well before 10, the retractable roof over the pool area was closed. Some ports were small enough that unless you paid for a shore excursion, there was very little to do. One port provided a short shuttle to the other side of the spit where there were only a few shops catering to cruise passengers. This being our fourth cruise to Alaska, we did not go on any shore excursions. Embarkation was the best we have experienced. Port Valet service allowed passengers to check in their luggage on the ship and obtain boarding passes for their flights FREE of charge. Luggage fees were charged to our onboard account at cost ($25.00). It made it very easy and comfortable to disembark without having to deal with luggage, and made disembarkation the easiest and most efficient we ever experienced (They or our overbooked airline did lose our seat assignments, but we were able to get new assignments at the airport). I do not know whether it is a Seattle port program or a HAL program, but the ability to transfer our luggage and check in was much appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date July 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
Sail Date June 2017
This was my first 30 day cruise - which I assumed would be a little too long - but wanted to go because of the places it went LOVED the cruise - MOST locations - the ship is showing it's age the crew was fantastic - best ... Read More
This was my first 30 day cruise - which I assumed would be a little too long - but wanted to go because of the places it went LOVED the cruise - MOST locations - the ship is showing it's age the crew was fantastic - best crew I have ever seen on a ship - best after nearly 10 other cruises I will gladly take another cruise again - there were few younger people on the ship but most were so friendly and enjoyable - Open dining is a great feature and I will only EVER use that - it gives so much freedom the entertainment was quite good - some better than others as you would expect = but all in all pretty good - the ship was steady - but had leaks so many times - with buckets standing 1/2 full of water seen all over the place Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Special mention right away to my friend i n THE RETREAT!! Jeffrey, Michael, Jomarie and Joseph And to Richard in the Crowes nest for doing a lovely job during my cocktail party for group Izamani at guest relations who made it ... Read More
Special mention right away to my friend i n THE RETREAT!! Jeffrey, Michael, Jomarie and Joseph And to Richard in the Crowes nest for doing a lovely job during my cocktail party for group Izamani at guest relations who made it possible to have a special quick gathering for my group to meet the captain and a photo op. And of course our rm stewards Roman and Ramat..job well done!!!! **I had not sailed with HAL for quite a while and was I ever impressed with the new style, ambiance and overall look and details with their newest class of ship. The Koningsdam is still in inaugural year ( ends April 2017). The size is still very much in line with Holland America's motto of keeping their ships within a manage size for guests in order to appreciate the "intimate" cruise ship ambiance within an 80,000-100,00 tonnes size. This has been a hallmark of the Holland America line over the years and very important to returning guests. A reason why they are such loyal clients. The new " Pinnacle class" -means high point-will bring former traditions of this line into a new era. **The ship was light and airy feeling with massive architectural details in the main dining rooms and the hallway on each deck seemed to be wider too. The cabins were much lighter in colour in choice of wood and bedding linens. **The public areas consisted of new style seating options like, over sized chaise sofas around upper and lower lid pool decks, far more over sized chairs and sofas in and around outdoor ding areas and still plenty pf regular deck loungers for the traditional sun worshipers. This style seating is much easy to sit and stand up from then the older style on previous ships. **The ship is musically themed and the touches can be seen from the carpets to the deck floor vestibules showcasing instruments from days gone by which attracted many conversation while waiting for the elevator to arrive. Along with musical icons such as Mozart, Schubert, Gershwin and many others allowed passengers to became intrigued to read the details of each person's place in history provided on each deck with photos and musical contributions over the years. **The main atrium is magnificently over sized taking in 3 decks in centre of ship where you can find beautiful public areas such as the Dutch café serving breakfast pastries and lunch sandwiches, soups and of course pastries along with specialty coffees and teas throughout the day and evening. **Easy access kiosks beside the Guest services area to print off your account to sty updated at any time. No line to wait as before. They even have scale beside to weigh in if you need an update in that area too!! **I was beyond impressed with the many a la carte dining options available on this ship- and I booked many in advice for myself prior to arrival to be sure I had dining time slot I preferred. **Lido Market --indoor and outdoor on deck 9 was again so much lighter and airy then other ships and so much more modern looking. Food station and now HAL serves each guests which helps with many things from over portions to hygienic issues. **Main dining room offers traditional 1st and late dining options along with choice time dining which we had and worked out great. You can pre book times too in advance if you wish but we had no trouble and didn't mind wait if required. **Culinary Art Centre, Sel de Mer $ per items), Canaletto, Tamarind along with Pinnacle grill offered fabulous choices to consider instead of traditional dining room choice. We also loved the NY deli and Pizza, Dive in for dogs and burgs and gelato for ice cream!! **Notes bar offered scotch tasting and many libation options to indulge in on board. Spa was beautiful and you can pre book before boarding a stay during cruise in the relaxation lounge for a quite spa getaway feel during the sail. **My great indulgence was the RETREAT area on deck 14 forward. This gem offers 20 cabanas to book daily or in advance for your cruise. The deck also has sun loungers, table service for breakfast and lunch and of course bar service. Knowing I had the comfort of not worrying about my deck lounger each day was a dream!!! **Lastly the Koningsdam new style entertainment venues such as World sage, BB kings blues "Billboard Onboard", Lincoln center stag and Queens lounge offered intimate space for different musical options throughout the cruise. Each musical event was full so smart to have 3 times slots daily for all to enjoy!!! *****Define must to re-visit Holland America cruise lines again!!***** Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
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