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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at ... Read More
Well you have heard it before, reading all those negative reviews and then discovering that they were not even closely accurate. This will be the case with this ship. The ship is in very good to excellent condition- cannot understand at all what others are seeing in their overly negative reviews. The food is very good to excellent- the best dining room food we have ever had at sea, and I have cruised 4 other lines. I am a foodie and saw no need to go to any specialty restaurants. The entertainment is limited, but excellent- BB Kings played jazz to blues to dancing music, and the band and singers were outstanding. Billboard 100 which is a duel piano sing along type bar/ club- was by far the most attended just for good old fun. The shows were also great- the dancers all could be on dancing with the stars. Piano player/singer, opera etc. were all excellent. Crew were all genuinely attentive and friendly- and in talking to them can see they love working for Holland. The only thing people need to learn is to book their excursions privately, as the cruise lines rates are absurd. One caution- if you go to book "Landscapes and Sheepdogs"- you will pay $200 pp to be taken to a gift shop (Called "Scottish Woolen Center"- its a gift shop) that has Free, I repeat Free sheep dog demonstrations. We felt deceived and grossly overpaid for this. Other than that one negative experience- we loved Holland, loved this ship, and loved the crew from the Captain to the waiter. Book this trip with confidence that you will love it. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose the Kongingsdam last year when we were in Rotterdam, on the Rotterdam and saw the new Ship leave for the first time. It seemed bigger than we might want but smaller than the mega cruiseliners. So we booked on board at the future ... Read More
We chose the Kongingsdam last year when we were in Rotterdam, on the Rotterdam and saw the new Ship leave for the first time. It seemed bigger than we might want but smaller than the mega cruiseliners. So we booked on board at the future cruise consultants. It is a beautiful ship, nicely appointed, lovely artwork even in the stairwells. I did notice the differences and yes I too miss the library, however there are so many lovely things, I think one just has to go with the flow. There are other HAL ships to love if this is not your cup of tea. We book Neptune suites and on the Koningsdam these are wonderful places. In the suite my wife misses the little changing area which was replaced by a separate room for sink and toilet, personally I found it not great use of space. The room is beautiful, color soothing, flat screen on the wall over the couch. Loved the room. And always love the Neptune Lounge. Changes here include a different presentation of food which I didn't love as one has to take the plates as they are presented. Other ships let you choose as you like. Small thing. To us a suite is worth the price. Main dining room just beautiful, every meal was just wonderful. The staff just lovely. Specialty restaurants: Sel de Mar, a wonderful addition to the Pinacle Grill and Tamarind. Sea food perfectly fresh, perfectly cooked, perfectly presented. Farm to table restaurant was also worth a visit. Dive, NY Deli and Pizza, Lido...I never understand people who are not pleased with their meals onboard. We travel and visit restaurants around the world. It is very VERY hard to beat the food on board. Last night we went to Ruth's Chris in LA...the steak was much better at the Pinnacle Grill. As to room service: very prompt, hot coffee,but every breakfast order was incorrectly filled. A small item but still. The room stewards always excellent and this time no exception. The new show rooms are all different, all good. Loved the face to face sing along piano(s) bar, spent a lot of time with the duo there. The main stage is a wonderful space, we don't love the production numbers but others do. The classical music strings very good, the BB King group, one of our favs, is now two stories. I didn't love this iteration of musicians, liked the ones on other ships but...oh, well. These folks were good. Just personal preference. This was our 13th HAL cruise and we are planning our 14th. To each his/her own. We feel like family on these ships and couldn't imagine a vacation on any other line. They are also very good to loyal customers and we appreciate that. Being a four star Mariner gets one a certain amount of perks and they add to the experience. We like that we have different size ships to choose from, each has its own strengths and drawbacks but all in all we are fans. This ship is big, no doubt. So the kind of smaller "family feeling" is harder to find. But my wife and I learned that smiling and saying hello, learning a few words of Indonesian and Tagalog, even Dutch go a long way. People like to be treated like people and not functionaries. I wish more people would take time to get to know the staff and ask them about their lives, their countries, their families. It will enrich one's life in unexpected ways, and perhaps restore some faith in the goodness of people (stepping off my soap box). We had been to most of the ports before from Rome to Amsterdam. We used a portion of HAL excursions and outside excursions, all worked just fine. We tried a few other lines, some are good some not so good. Personal choice of course. We always have great vacations with HAL. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We started our cruise of 10 days with some concern due to the harsh reviews that have been posted on this site. We quickly came to the conclusion that either HAL had suddenly righted the ship, or that a tremendous number of nit-pickers ... Read More
We started our cruise of 10 days with some concern due to the harsh reviews that have been posted on this site. We quickly came to the conclusion that either HAL had suddenly righted the ship, or that a tremendous number of nit-pickers post reviews. Simply, this was one of the best cruises we have taken. Not perfect, but nothing is and the imperfections were relatively minor. The ship was sold out but never felt overcrowded or burdensome to maneuver. We had great weather the entire cruise, the ship was elegant and beautiful, and the food far exceeded prior HAL experiences. More about this later. We booked a standard verandah cabin (6045) that was nicely decorated and well designed with plenty of storage space. We did not realize until well into the cruise that there are 2 large drawers at the foot of the bed that would have been perfect to stash the dirty clothes. The bathroom was average size but the walk in shower was larger than normal and plenty roomy. In the nothing is perfect category, the toilet is at an odd angle but did not bother us. Also, we were at the back end of the schedule for making up the room so that was not usually done until early afternoon. Live TV was rather limited (CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC News, and 2 ESPN feeds). Food was excellent in MDR and the specialty restaurants. We bought the ultimate dining package 0f 1 night in each of the 5 specialty restaurants for $119 pp. It saves $27 over individual bookings and each meal was excellent. The Tamarind and Sel de Mer are also beautifully decorated and you have no sense of being on a cruise ship as you dine there. We would not have missed any of them. The first night we tried reserving a table under open dining in the MDR for ourselves and our 2 friends traveling with us but were only offered availability very early or very late. The next night we just went when we wanted and were immediately seated, and this was repeated the other 3 nights we ate there. Portions were generous and service was very good. The Lido food was not at the same level but was adequate for breakfast and lunch. Despite critics, we always could find a table either indoors or on the pool deck. HAL attendants would offer to find seating if they saw someone having a problem. Yes, the chairs are heavy but the problem is not the weight but that they don’t easily slide on a carpeted floor. Dive-In served tasty chicken sandwich, burger, fries, etc., all cooked upon ordering. Never a line of more than 2 or 3 people. NY Deli had non-NY type bagels, but the lox spread was delicious. The pizza was the best I have had on a cruise. It was crowded at lunch on sea days. Grand Dutch Café always had tables available and served nice pastries and sandwiches, but service was slow. They charge $2 for a small coffee. Entertainment was a cut above other recent cruises we have taken. The BB King Blues band was fabulous. Great musicians playing mostly R & B, blues and classic rock. We took in part of their shows every night and they developed a loyal following of repeat viewers including several tireless dancers. Contrary to some critics, they did not repeat the same sets over and over. We saw 3 shows in the World Stage and they were above average. The Lincoln Center Stage had a quintet of 5 young women who played a mix of classical and more mainstream music. Only one show, on a sea day, was SRO. The Billboard piano bar seemed the most popular and was out least favorite. It was usually very hard to find seats at the early shows. Shopping was somewhat limited for such a large ship: the usual watch/jewelry store, liquor and sundry items, some dress clothing (women’s nostly) and branded HAL merchandise. One design defect was the narrow passageway on deck 3 infront of the shops. They would put out tables with special sale items but that cut into the ability to easily move around. A few brief observations on ports: Half Moon – We shared the day with the Nieuw Amsterdam, but plenty of room on the beautiful beach. The barbeque lunch was not up to previous standards. Grand Turk – Great beach just off the front of the ship. Took an island tour but not much to see. Amber Cove – Great pool complex and surprisingly uncrowded. Did my first zip line ($20 for unlimited trips). No beach. Bonaire – Not much if you don’t snorkel/scuba. Took a glass bottom boat trip that was very interesting and informative. Curacao – Very scenic and interesting town walkable from ship, but hot. Many high end shops. Avoid the tour to the caves which are not very interesting. Aruba – Wanted to do day trip to the beach but warned by HAL not to because it was Carnival Day and access to port would be restricted after 12 noon, and shops were to close. Shops did close at noon, but the Parade didn’t reach the port until 4PM. Wasted day. A few negatives that did not spoil our vacation: Staff needs to be better trained and not give wrong information. For example, in Aruba the Guest Relations gave wrong information about the timing of the Carnival Parade which caused us to unnecessarily cancel our beach plans. The casino staff misinformed me as to the schedule of the Blackjack Tournament. Guest Relations also mistakenly charged me luggage fees for Luggage Direct that I had indicated were waived by the airline as a perk for my affinity credit card. (However a request for a refund was quickly arranged after our return home.) The excursion desk had a female employee who lied about availability of trips in Bonaire, trying to steer us to the most expensive one. She was reported to her manager when we found this out the next day. Food at Half Moon has deteriorated in quality, but the number of tables has increased so there was plenty of availability. Too many activities are scheduled at same time, between 11:00 and 2:30 and then there are dead spots in the mid-afternoon. Internet service was pricy (I took 100 min. for $55) but speed wasn’t too bad. In summary, this was an excellent cruise with a beautiful ship, great weather, and wonderful food. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
What an experience = met some of the past winners of the show and three of the juniors all of whom were very friendly and spent a lot of time talking with guests. The food was beyond excellent. The main dining room offered some of the ... Read More
What an experience = met some of the past winners of the show and three of the juniors all of whom were very friendly and spent a lot of time talking with guests. The food was beyond excellent. The main dining room offered some of the master chef choices to passengers not on the Master Chef portion of the cruise, it was nice for them to get a chance to enjoy the treats. We had a nice balcony cabin with great room stewards, they took care of our every need. We were unable to dock at Grand Turk due to high seas and wind, but we never felt it on the ship. We were always comfortable although it was a bit rock and roll sometimes when we were walking. All in all a great ship, wonderful crew. The mid size is also very nice, no long lines for the main dining room. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I had never been to Alaska and always wanted to go. This was a good opportunity at the right time. The restaurants are very comfortable, the food is terrific, and the service could not be better. One of the things that I really liked ... Read More
I had never been to Alaska and always wanted to go. This was a good opportunity at the right time. The restaurants are very comfortable, the food is terrific, and the service could not be better. One of the things that I really liked was the ability to walk around the ship on deck 3. During the week-long cruise, I managed to walk about 45 miles and returned home without gaining any weight. The day spent in Glacier Bay was a very memorable experience. The glaciers were magnificent, and some were very noisy (much to my surprise). The ability of the ship to get right up close to the face of the glaciers was almost beyond belief. I was able to get many photos that day, and will never forget the experience. All in all, this was right up there with the most enjoyable experiences that I have had, and I'm looking forward to another trip on the Westerdam in Jan, 2017. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
This was an outstanding cruise . The ship , which is the newest in the Holland America company is marvellous for couples and families that like finesse and relaxation . Our cabin was an interior one below the big lounge and a bit noise so ... Read More
This was an outstanding cruise . The ship , which is the newest in the Holland America company is marvellous for couples and families that like finesse and relaxation . Our cabin was an interior one below the big lounge and a bit noise so they changed it right away and we also received compensations for the inconvenience . This treat , the exquisite food in the restaurants , the service everywhere in the ship , the abundance of fine activities and entertainments is what will brings us again to make a cruise with this ship and company . The ports we visited were also very attractive and we had enough time to tour the places . The fjords of Norway are after all one of the most beautiful sceneries in the world . We took some shore excursions in the ship but then we found out that we paid twice the price of the same excursion offered by locals at port . We already made a cruise with the Nieuw Amsterdam before and both times we were very pleased and content so I truly recommend this kind of vacation and trip to all those that knows how to relax , discover places and people and enjoy the "Dolce Vita" Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Our cabin was ok, except for night noise from galley above. Only 1 electric outlet a problem. First night out was horrible weather - bring meds. Days typically misty, rainy with pm clearing. Entertainment ranged from "A" ... Read More
Our cabin was ok, except for night noise from galley above. Only 1 electric outlet a problem. First night out was horrible weather - bring meds. Days typically misty, rainy with pm clearing. Entertainment ranged from "A" to "F." Brooklyn pianist and Ukranian violinist/pianist the best. Generally 5-6 choices in the evening. There will be usual run of annoying people - save seats for 20 people, keep the ship waiting while they purchase one last totem pole. HAL maintains the average of passengers is dropping - I think it went from 74 to 73.2 years of age. Daytime classes - cooking ok, but short. Microsoft 10 very good. AK seminars ok. Others usually sly sales pitches. Child care - heard a couple of families trying to (unsuccessfully) convince their children to go with on shore excursions. Didn't see much in the way of security cameras - heard about one incident with an older man sitting down with an unattended child. Could have been nothing since people on board are generally very open and easy going. Excursions - HAL generally 15 - 20% more than those purchased in town. Chamber of Commerce Visitors Info Booths in each town, 1st stop next to the pier. The little ladies know all there is to know. For example, Juneau - you can get to the Glacier for $40, $25, or $8. Each town had free internet access at the library. Try the "Cultural geography" tour - just talking to residents about how they and their families live - the student in the library, the "crew" store clerk, the lady shopping in the grocery store. Heard several complaints about tour ripoffs - $600 helicopter trips that couldn't get above low ceilings. The raptor center that only had a sleeping owl with a bandaged left wing in a small room and an 18 year old from Penn.on his summer job as a"tour guide" who didn't know anything about AK. Food - La Fontaine - Nicely presented by well-trained staff. Usually over 2 hours with a 30 minute wait for service of main course. Typically 5-7 options for appetizer/salad course; about the same for main course options and deserts. Always 1 fish dish and veg menu available. Food occasionally served cold. Lido - Italian station, sandwiches, salads, carving station, Asian - Thai, Indian, Chinese, Veget. Main course station - always fish and a casserole. Two soups. Unfortunately the food was often served cold. On one port day they had food for hundreds prepared and only 25 people in the dining room. It just sat there - poor planning by Chef and questionable health practice. 10:30 Buffet - Nice late night options, but again everything was served cold. Be aware of "ship time" - it can mess up your schedule. HAL messed up our baggage transfer, but kept our $29 X 4. We had to carry our own 2 suitcases, 2 bags, 2 CPAP machines, on my wheelchair. The best part of the trip was the people - lots of lengthy and personal conversations with people, especially at open table dinner. It's worth $200/day/person to put your life in perspective. Read Less
42 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We really enjoyed a glass of wine when the weather permitted watching the incredible scenery go by. The room was quiet and central, docking twice while we were still in bed and had not realized we were in port until we opened the curtains. Cleaned twice a day by the hard working crew. The water pressure in the shower was great with hot water immediately. Elemis products were of good quality, beds and pillows comfortable. Plenty of hangers in the closet. We had two meals in Tamarind, excellent, all but the desserts that we didn't finish. The cocktails in the Silk Lounge are interesting and very good with the bonus of a lovely view and quiet escape before dining in Tamarind. Pinnacle dining room for lunch at $10 a good value, try the Crab Cakes and the Sable Fish sandwich. Pinnacle for dinner is good but we think Tamarind a more interesting menu for the price if you are just choosing one. Canaletto was good too, however, the atmosphere isn't the same as the other two specialty restaurants but at only an additional $10 well worth it. We were quite surprised that none of the specialty restaurants were near to capacity on the four occasions we dined in them. Did happy hour from 4-5 in the Crow's nest a couple of days and the best time to have a drink as only $1 more for a second cocktail or beverage. Enjoyed the coffee bar in the Explorers lounge too as hubby a bit of a coffee snob. We carried on 6 bottles of wine. Two corkage free as they were consumed in our stateroom. The other 4 bottles incurred a corkage fee of $18 each. We saw this as an opportunity to enjoy quality wine we had been cellaring for many years with a chef prepared meal. It was easily done as the four bottles were stickered and corkage charged to our room as we embarked in Vancouver. We had a cloth wine bag that we transported the wine in to and from restaurants. We had open dining in the MDR. We made reservations usually the day before for 8:00. We never waited for more than 5-10 minutes before getting a table. Service and food there was good too. The ship is tasteful with plenty of art to discover. The ship was sold out but the only time it felt crowded was in the Lido, the rest of the time it was hard to believe it was at full capacity. If you are sailing out of Vancouver on the Nieuw Amsterdam and are interested in bringing on some of your own wine there is a BC Government Liquor store within four blocks of the ship. One of us shopped as the other sat with the luggage at the Pan Pacific Hotel. We arrived at 12:30 to embark in Vancouver and were aboard by 1:30. We understand that this was not everyone's experience so we would suggest allowing yourself ample time. Disembarkation for us was 15 minutes, long lines but it went smoothly for us. We had 3.5 days of rain and 3.5 of better and some excellent weather. The scenery on sunny days blew us away, spectacular. Absolutely recommend. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
We were already in Europe on an extended vacation to see friends when we saw this cruise pop up at a discount price for last minute--two weeks away. I had cruised about 15 cruises, however, never on Holland America. I was afraid the crowd ... Read More
We were already in Europe on an extended vacation to see friends when we saw this cruise pop up at a discount price for last minute--two weeks away. I had cruised about 15 cruises, however, never on Holland America. I was afraid the crowd may be too old for us as we are in our 50's...however, the price and the stops convinced us to go. It was FANTASTIC!! Everything I have heard about Holland was false...they are a 5 star plus line. The cruisers were all ages, from all over the world..a big surprise to us. The food and service was the best in many years...and the Ports to die for...Santorini, Greece is fabulous, Dubrovnik..all of the Greek Islands were interesting and two days in Turkey was absolutely wonderful..we arranged tours with local tour operators and had 4-6 people in our tour groups for two days...met lots of great people and this is definately the best cruise we have ever taken..thanks HAL! We will be back...and to top it off...we won a cruise playing BINGO :-) The MEd cruises are so different as they become your 5 star hotel while we were at port all day and many times exhausted by night..beats a tour with a company any day! Read Less
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