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163 Holland America Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

Sitting in our Signature Stateroom as I write: 1. Signature Stateroom, really a mini-suite, is very nice, but those aft and mid-ship are under the Lido and Pool Deck and are noisy when activity above. 2. Theater seats get ... Read More
Sitting in our Signature Stateroom as I write: 1. Signature Stateroom, really a mini-suite, is very nice, but those aft and mid-ship are under the Lido and Pool Deck and are noisy when activity above. 2. Theater seats get uncomfortable after about an half-hour. 3. Bring your own Splenda; there will be none on-board - only Stevia. 4. Carpeting in lobby and passageways showing its age. 5. Crew as great as any ship at sea - Officers are Dutch - Remainder mostly Indonesian. 6. Shampoo, conditioner and body wash in dispensers in showers and tubs. 7. Wanted to try something new - a manicure - on board, but prices are unreasonable - $59 + tip. Clipped my own nails as usual. 8. This was a San Diego departure; so, there is no long-term parking. 9. This was an All-Star Irish Charter Cruise - Entertainment was imported from Ireland; so, we didn’t experience the ship’s entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
HA is know for their service and excellent service is what we usually have experienced with HA. The Veendam wasn't bad, but felt disorganized, like perhaps half the staff were either new or burnt out. Our stewards were excellent ... Read More
HA is know for their service and excellent service is what we usually have experienced with HA. The Veendam wasn't bad, but felt disorganized, like perhaps half the staff were either new or burnt out. Our stewards were excellent attentive and friendly. Our room with just a window, midship, main deck was actually nice, well laid out and quite. However, we encountered many other aspects that were below HA standards: The meals in the main and Pinnacle dining rooms were nothing special - presentation, flavor (overcooked vegetables, etc.) and variety were lacking. The service in the Pinnacle was atrocious (basics like sitting 10+ minutes before wait staff said hi, water not being refilled, coffee never arriving with dessert). The main dining room service was hit and miss - some areas were well served, others slow and sloppy. The Cannaletto was good, slow but attentive. The Dive was improperly staffed - 35 minutes to get a burger when my ticket was only the 3rd in the que. The basketball court had useless basketballs (worn, ripped covers with the rubber sticking through) at the beginning and none once those were removed. Other than that, it was a nice cruise, just not to the usual HA standard. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The ports. The ports. The ports. The Price. The line (HAL). These are the things that attracted me to this voyage. This voyage of 11 weeks was my first cruise with a duration of over three weeks, and that alone turns the experience ... Read More
The ports. The ports. The ports. The Price. The line (HAL). These are the things that attracted me to this voyage. This voyage of 11 weeks was my first cruise with a duration of over three weeks, and that alone turns the experience completely around. You see the same people, passengers & crew, over and over again and you get to know them. That was mostly good. Ran into many knowledgeable, seasoned travelers. Several of the enrichment activities (basically lectures) were great. In the negative column, the disembarkation was very disorganized and took a long time, with them calling for people (to disembark) who then accumulated at the gangway area but then couldn't leave due to wheelchairs being brought on board. Given the passengers, there were a lot of wheelchairs. Almost all things sold be HAL were excessively expensive. The big excursions and internet costs were astronomical. Liquor prices are up $2 over the last time I cruised (which wasn't long ago). I won't even consider the "premium dining" anymore. (Do they not realize that we've already paid for fine dining for every meal?) Tips are higher by $2 per day above the last time I cruised, but the fantastic Volendam crew deserved it. My final assessment will be tempered by how HAL treats the passengers for the sudden cruise termination. I realize it was beyond everyone's control, but how it is handled is not beyond control. Especially galling was that we lost the port of French Guiana, the sole reason for my obtaining $550 of vaccinations. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We choose this cruise because it was going to Turks and Caicos one of favorite stops! Also a sponsored cruise by our community so many neighbors on board! We did do Rudi's Sel De Mer and for the extra charge this is well worth it! We ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was going to Turks and Caicos one of favorite stops! Also a sponsored cruise by our community so many neighbors on board! We did do Rudi's Sel De Mer and for the extra charge this is well worth it! We also did another night at the Pinnacle Grill along with the Canaletto Italian fare included by VacationsToGo. I do need to say we enjoyed the Canaletto the best maybe because we are partial to the food! My wife had the Veal Scallopini and I the Lobster Ravioli. The Langoustine-Tomato Soup is the best we ever had! Entertainment: The dance crew were excellent and we really enjoyed (the comedy) Mike the ventriloquist with Terrance his Figure! Terrance kept picking on this loser in the first row who didn't understand the humor as Terrance kept saying "What A Loser"! In Gran Turk we did the Grand Turk Exclusive Supreme Snorkeling Tour almost 4 hrs. Snorkeled the wall first and then some shallow reefs. Tasting the fresh conch was excellent and conch salad even better! The Stingray back massage was a kodak moment to be captured and remembered! Thank you Capt Gary and First Mate Marshall for a trip to be remembered! These guys need a big tip also! Nieuw Amsterdam azipod thruster malfunction forced a change in Itinerary from stopping at Saint Martin and sailing to St Croux instead! This was a welcome change and we had the best weather day at this stop! Don't miss a small bar on the nearby beach run by Shelly and Big Sexy what a hoot that was! Best drinks better than the ship and best jerk chicken! Stop in Old San Juan just after first earthquake not so great with most stores closed due to power outage! We did not make the Half Moon Kay private island stop due to high winds and poor weather! Best Martini's on the ship are made my Michael in the Pinnacle Bar midships! Give Michael a big TIP!!! Just one note on our room we had Cabin #8147 STBD side just under the Lido Deck Sea View Pool area. You will be awoken by the movement of chairs and tables every morning between 6 and 6:30 am. Noise also goes to 11pm at night depending on the weather. Do not recommend staying on deck 8 aft unless you are a heavy sleeper! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Terrible food, like bad airplane food and no seasoning, odd combinations of food, and a glass of wine goes for $18, going to dinner is a 2 hour affair, fraudulent charges(watch your statement, they try to charge you), charged me $148 for ... Read More
Terrible food, like bad airplane food and no seasoning, odd combinations of food, and a glass of wine goes for $18, going to dinner is a 2 hour affair, fraudulent charges(watch your statement, they try to charge you), charged me $148 for a spa service I didn't even receive, rude spa staff that treat you like crap, nothing to do on board. The most exciting thing was bingo. One small pool for adults, and 2 small jacuzzis, and one small pool for kids. The ship is always swaying back and forth like I've never experienced before. I will never go on this boring, terrible cruise line again! Don't waste your time! You'll be disappointed! You're better off going on a direct flight to a beach. After all was said and done this trip cost me over $5,000. Totally not worth it by no means. Totally disappointed and upset about the whole vacation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was the 3rd HAL cruise we had taken, and an excellent experience. All ship's amenities were beyond expectation. Any mechanical issue, such as a banging door on the veranda, were taken care of immediately. Our cabin steward, Gede, ... Read More
This was the 3rd HAL cruise we had taken, and an excellent experience. All ship's amenities were beyond expectation. Any mechanical issue, such as a banging door on the veranda, were taken care of immediately. Our cabin steward, Gede, was superbly attentive to our requests and needs. The dining room staff which included our waiter, Antoni, his assistant waiter, Ferry, and our wine steward, Joseph, were professional and not obsequious. Very knowledgeable and helpful with regards to our individual eating habits and requirements. The Neptune Lounge was an added perk, and one worth the money. Sarah and John were always ready to lend a hand. They were a joy to work with. Our only complaint would be the unnecessary need to stop and shop at gem and jewelry shops at the end of an excursion. The added excursion to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, was the most spectacular addition to our cruise. The accommodations were excellent and the guide, Savi, could not have been better. Easy to understand, knowledgeable, and most helpful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe ... Read More
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe it had a leak at sometime and hadn’t been cleaned properly. My friend had gone through some lung issues just before the cruise so the second day he was sick it. So they moved us to new cabin. So now the new cabin had no hot water for four days Then the fifth day no cold water just scalding hot both sides. So after talking among passengers and crew that this was problems throughout much of the ship . Then the ship was just of dry dock and were also experiencing HVAC problems. We talked with several people among the staff and after several meetings with staff was offered compensation but was kept silent to the passengers and the ones I talked to were offered much less to nothing basically saying that if said nothing then that’s wat you or you if didn’t stay on their ads you got a much smaller competition. Not on a different topic entrainment what they had was ok but you could tell they didn’t budget much for entertainment. There was never a band of any kind poolside or around during the day. But I guess that didn’t make too much a splash poolside as we only had about half or time with the pool in service. On the positive side the food was spectacular and the wait staff was equally as good Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I cruise on holland america because they are the line that Legendary Blues Cruise charters. I would NEVER pay to go on this line otherwise. This last trip, end of october 2019, was especially bad. The food, especially the desserts and ... Read More
I cruise on holland america because they are the line that Legendary Blues Cruise charters. I would NEVER pay to go on this line otherwise. This last trip, end of october 2019, was especially bad. The food, especially the desserts and baked goods, were a travesty! While there was occasionally a decent item- flourless choc. cake, the popover rolls on the salad bar, I found most items to range between bad and disgusting. As a pastry chef with experience working in large scale operations (caesars vegas) in addition to small, fine dining establishments, i can tell you there is no excuse for food this bad. The apple pie was like a block of rubber, the choc souffle was accompanied by a sauce of watery cocoa, the cupcakes were frosted with some unknown rubber substance, the cookies were bland and overbaked, the ice cream was the cheapest pre-purchased crap available, the breads, rolls, etc, were flavorless and stale, etc. The hot food in the dining room was okay, but quality has definitely slipped in the last year. The buffet food was mediocre to bad- the pasta tasted exactly like Spaghetti-O's. i paid full price for a veranda cabin at the back of the ship (room 8175) Nice room, but not sure if something is wrong with the engines or what, but the constant vibration make it look like a strobe light when the bedside gooseneck lamp was on. That would have been okay, except every 20-40 seconds, the ship would give a jolt that would physically move me in the bed. I will continue to sail on this line only because of the great music and passengers on the blues cruise, but if you are looking to cruise for pleasure, definitely look elsewhere! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was part of a package from a travel agent. No information when we arrived for the first days activities. When we visited the dining rooms or buffet no crew member there to ask people to wash there hands or use the hand cleanser. So ... Read More
This was part of a package from a travel agent. No information when we arrived for the first days activities. When we visited the dining rooms or buffet no crew member there to ask people to wash there hands or use the hand cleanser. So 50% of guests did not use the facilities, within days lots of people down with colds & flu. My wife got ill and that ended with a $503 bill to see the doctor. The ship was new but there were areas were stains on the furniture already. Our cabin was a good size and comfortable. The dining was O K they keep pushing for you to visit the speciality restaurant's. That's at a cost of about $30 p p. which is outrageous when you have paid a good price to get on the ship. The ships staff are good we did have a good waiter & cabin steward. The entertainment was very disappointing no big shows or enrichment activities. They are cutting back on all activities like welcome cocktail parties. I never saw the Captain on this 10 cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We booked this highly-touted HAL EXC 6-Week Japan/ Western Pacific cruise back in May 2018, & expected great things. Suffice it to say that it turned out to be the most over-hyped & disappointing cruise we've every endured! ... Read More
We booked this highly-touted HAL EXC 6-Week Japan/ Western Pacific cruise back in May 2018, & expected great things. Suffice it to say that it turned out to be the most over-hyped & disappointing cruise we've every endured! We feel that the HAL marketing team sold us a bill of goods, & are guilty of false advertising at the very least! The HAL EXC cruise concept (available only on Maasdam) promotes the heavy use of its fleet of on-board Zodiac small craft (exactly 9 of them were strapped down on the bow) for more indepth exploration!! Right up until the day we departed TX for JAPAN, we received HAL emails recommending we book our HAL Zodiac excursions in advance, because there were limited seats & they were selling out fast. Imagine our surprise (once we embarked in Yokohama in mid August) to learn that there would be NO HAL EXC Zodiac tours available during our entire 43 day odyssey down to Sydney!! The HAL EXC concept involved a heavy schedule of lectures on sea days in both the showroom at sea and the Wajang theater, covering Pacific region flora and fauna, WW2 battles & history, Asian/Japanese cultrure, photography, future NASA Space exploration, etc. Unfortunately HAL has chosen to eliminate the staff videographer position & none of these EXC presentations were videotaped for the convenience of those who would have preferred to hear the lectures in the privacy of their rooms. Thus, the lecture venues were always jam-packed with ill-tempered passengers jostling for the best seats. Unfortunayely Maasdam staff frequently jammed extra folding chairs into the aisles creating extremely unsafe conditions that would have given fire marshalls heart attacks. The male cruise director, who shall remain nameless, was the most unfriendly, colorless, unexciting, boring individual we've ever encountered in almost 50 cruises. He let everyone know, on a daily basis, that he was even more eager than we were to be disembarking in Sydney at the end of his contract!! We feel the cruise director was overworked, under-staffed, & in way over his head!! Overall, we feel the Maasdam is too small, too old, and too poorly laid out to support the noble objectives of the HAL EXC in-depth cruise concept!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl ... Read More
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl (Miraki(Sp?)-from Japan but living in Manilla). Our room was beautiful and the gentlemen that serviced it were quick and efficient. The ship was clean and everything was top notch. The entertainment was great! I can't rave about it enough. The spa package was awesome. Seaweed wrap a must. The girls in the spa were lovely and informative. Mary our morning dining room person was so nice and helpful. She helped us start our day with JOY! The BBKing review was great. We enjoyed the special music provided by WayFM every night. The wine tastings we attended were very informative. Everyone was fabulous! A TRIP FOR THE MEMORIES!!! I am recommending Holland-America to everyone I tell about our trip and I will book again.*** Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My husband and I are semi retired and enjoy traveling. This cruise was advertised with a local tour group and Alaska had always been on our list for travel. We booked the Veranda for the balcony. This was an older ship. The cabins were not ... Read More
My husband and I are semi retired and enjoy traveling. This cruise was advertised with a local tour group and Alaska had always been on our list for travel. We booked the Veranda for the balcony. This was an older ship. The cabins were not very clean. I had spilled some ice on the carpet and in retrieving it, brought up a glob of someone else's hair! The dinners were just ok. We spent an hour and a half waiting on courses to be served, and the coffee came 10 minutes after our dessert. We paid to eat in another dining room. Having been on other cruises that offered beautiful food sculptures and chocolate fountains this was a "nothing special cruise". The entertainment was trivia in the bar, or two guys singing at a piano. We could have gone to the digital workshop?#* What! I'm on vacation. I went to the spa/salon to have my hair done for a gala evening. I don't think these people ever worked in a real salon. They washed my hair, blow dried it and tried to sell me products. The positives of this trip were the staff, Alaska and the shore excursions. We went fishing and were fortunate to catch some and have it sent home. We also went to the dog mushing camp. If you like dogs, this is it! In spite of the bad, we did enjoy ourselves and made the best of it. My husband and I are not rich, and felt that we had "splurged" going on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The Amsterdam is a classy older ship. The staff were friendly and attentive through out. They appeared to really like working there. Lanai cabin was great for being able to access the deck and follow sights around the lower prominade. ... Read More
The Amsterdam is a classy older ship. The staff were friendly and attentive through out. They appeared to really like working there. Lanai cabin was great for being able to access the deck and follow sights around the lower prominade. The service in the main dining room was super, although the menu was sometimes not as good as the Lido. The Pinnacle was a lovely, special experience with well prepared food and service up another notch. The Lido had a good variety of food and service was friendly. The theater is beautiful with good sight lines throughout. This was a full ship charter and the crew were very welcoming of the diversity of the passengers. The views going up were astounding, retuning from skagway we were often further out and there wasn't much to see. Stewards were wonderful and the overall maintenance of the ship seemed impeccable. The atrium with it's massive clock brings this touch of class to focus. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our 2019 Cruise, this will be our fifth cruise in our wish list of trying all the cruise lines with various star rating. Holland America Koningsdam was next on our list and our longest, 23 nights around the Mediterranean. Pure bliss. Best ... Read More
Our 2019 Cruise, this will be our fifth cruise in our wish list of trying all the cruise lines with various star rating. Holland America Koningsdam was next on our list and our longest, 23 nights around the Mediterranean. Pure bliss. Best value....two cruised joined together for just a little more. Many Pros about this stunning ship, but also a few extremely annoying unnecessary Cons. Pros: This ship is immaculate, spotless and well maintained, even though it is only three years old, it still looks new and they never stop cleaning. HAL’s still is classical cruising, so If you prefer a party or ship for children, this is not for you. Very relaxing. The ship’s captain, Werner Timmers has a great sense of humour, especially during his addresses during the day. The onboarding was fast, efficient and we even were allowed to board early and access our rooms, a first for us. The suites were spotless, excellent showers and shampoo, conditioner and body wash which were mounted on the shower wall, saving the waste of plastics bottles. Our balcony was huge and we just had a basic veranda suite. Bedding was also comfy with a large TV just in front of the bed on the wall, showing all the latest movies, for free! This was great when you just wanted to relax in bed at night. The “fill your laundry bag” for $30 US was brilliant for cleaned and pressed laundry. Another first for us, was the ability to chat with other cruisers via their cruise app. Brilliant, we were a group of eight and this made life so much easier. Pool area is bright and colourful, but on sea days, staff must be more vigilant and remove towels placed on beds and lounges for hours, while passengers were off somewhere else. The movies at night on the big screen near the pool were lovely along with the movie’s snacks The excursions were fairly priced and well organised and their daily talks with Andrea, one of their EXC were informative and more importantly, gave you many options to visit the ports on your own and how do via local transport, which was greatly appreciated, a true passionate travel gesture to the passengers. The food was EXCELLENT and even though my husband wasn’t keen on the buffets, as there were many queues in the morning and not self-serve, especially on sea days, it kept the messy fingers of passengers out of the food keeping the health standards up. But they should increase their staff as the waiting time seemed long at times and some of the staff don’t seem to be in any rush. ******The CONS: the first main con for us was the relentless smoking odour outside our stateroom, it welcomed us and those in our group staterooms each and every morning, noon and night. Sometimes so bad, you had to cover your nose. We became passage envy at other corridors that smelt nice. I complained on average, twice a day, met with the management, but nothing could be done. WE later found out, that there was a staff smoking room at the end of our corridor behind a staff door. When staff used the door (which they were not supposed to) the smell followed them. Either stop smoking there, or put in extractor fans, it did ruin our experience and was such a shame. The casino also allows smoking, which is ridiculous, as it is a contained area, we love the casino, but could only last 10mins, they do have non-smoking nights, but people still smoke, unless you report them. To avoid this smell, don’t enter the casino and avoid staying on level 4, bow. The second main con, is the constant over charging for drinks on your account. There were eight of us, all with different packages, four with only soft drink package as we don’t drink. At dinner, you would order all your drinks, all cards would be picked up and it was luck of the draw who got charged what. The quench packages ended up having wine or beer charges on their account as no care was given on who had what card. This happened daily. As soon as you checked your account on your app straight away to check, if you were over-charged, you would then show the waiter what had happened and they would ask you to see guest services, another battle at reception!! As they cannot reverse it. Reception would reply “but your card was swiped for that drink””, then the whole story has to be explained, right drink, wrong person, wrong card. This really needs to be addressed by the beverage team. Guest services were also unsure what drinks were included in each package, I had to actually correct then. We had over 18 charges that has to reversed on average. Staff just seemed not to really care sometimes and some not as friendly as other cruise lines. The ones that were, were exceptional, best at sea, especially the barista on level 12, Paula, best at sea. Dinner in the dining room was great, but disappointed that we could never get a window table, unless we booked dinner at 5.30pm which was too early or the same waiters. Tables were cramped in and it seemed there were a lot of new staff, as it was crazy on most nights. The shows were ok, but repetitive and no real wow factor. We were looking forward to the much hyped 360 surround screens showing of blue planet 2, but only three screens were on. Which was a shame. Shopping was not really that exciting, which is good, as we spent less! In all, a great relaxing cruise, we would go again, but re-think the drinks package and avoid level 4, or anywhere near smoking. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). ... Read More
This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). The ship was very old and when we hit rough waters it showed. Many people were sick and also got sick in the main dining hall. Germs were spreading everywhere. Food selections were scarce and they up-charged you a 15% service charge regardless of the service received. a Would not cancel our massage during the heavy turbulence going to Tasmania and I got really ill on the table. Paid for a massage that I did not enjoy. I felt sorry for the crew being forced to work in this environment. Also had to organize our own excursions due to limitation of Holland America. I would never cruise on this line again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Our trip consisted of a group of 8, all arriving from different destinations across Canada. We had a house rented in Fort Lauderdale for 3 days before the cruise, a lovely home within walking distance to the beach. Good thing we had 3 ... Read More
Our trip consisted of a group of 8, all arriving from different destinations across Canada. We had a house rented in Fort Lauderdale for 3 days before the cruise, a lovely home within walking distance to the beach. Good thing we had 3 days, because of weather we where delayed by over 24 hours. We embarked the ship in groups and met up in the buffet for lunch. Our bags arrived quicker than expected, so we sorted ourselves out, then went for a group party in one stateroom. We where on decks 4, 6,8. And we where very happy on deck 4. Turns out to be a good location to scoot out for the safety drill, a nice walk around deck 3, and also easy to run up to deck 3 if there was something to grab a photo of. We kept the tv on in our room when we where there, tuned to the forward cameras. Loved the option of viewing the Canal crossing on the TV, that was a long hot day. Every morning we enjoyed the buffet. You can’t go wrong, everything you can imagine plus some extra surprises. Lunch was by the pool at the burger place, or pizza. We only attended tea in the afternoon one day, but it was a very nice treat. Dinner we had a group table in the dining room for 8. We didn’t dine there every night, but made sure we all attended the gala nights. Other times we tried some of the different specialty restaurants available. The Pinnacle was a dinner that made you feel like you won the lotto. But our true favourite was the Tamarind. The staff made the dinner fun, and you felt truly welcomed. Plus the exceptional food, and presentation, made it a feast for the eyes. Most days, pre dinner, we attended the martini tasting, or the happy hour in the various bars. But be pre warned, the happy hour bars get full fast. We had beverage cards, so we didn’t worry about happy hour pricing. And I am glad we did, the cards where good for everything we wanted to drink, from sparkling water, to special coffees ,and drinks all around. Every day we had wonderful coffees made in the exploration area, the staff there knew your name and coffee within days. Days we didn’t go on excursions, we spent at the pool, loved the unobtrusive music. But there does need to be more shady areas. We found often people pulling chairs into doorways for shade, but that made it very inconvenient for others. Our group had all been at most of the locations on this cruise, so we didn’t depart at every port. But we really enjoyed the small markets they set up by the ship, for those who just want to purchase a souvenir. The casino was very quiet the entire trip, we did go to the bar there and lost some money at the machines. They did have some very nice piano players there as well . After dinner, it was usually a walk around deck 3 , before seeing what was on the show that night. Most nights we didn’t stay, we all found the entertainment to be lacking, the jazz band was not a group to dance to, so most just sat and listened. We all loved the national Geographic show, with the live performance. Disembarkation was a slow process, they called groups by colour, and there was even colours called that were not on the list, we where close to last. The whole finding your suitcase thing and getting in line , seemed confusing for some. Enjoyed a lovely night in San Diego before flying home. Staff who made this trip memorable: Jerry and Jenny in the martini bar. Janny in the exportation cafe. My perfect mocha. Abdul and Made who made our cabin home. Miguel and Joel who had the wine knowledge. Wayo, Davee, who served table 91 with grace. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way ... Read More
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way at some large container port. The cruise director failed to inform us in advance about possible shuttles our of the port. At some of the ports they offered no free shuttle and you could only get out by expensive taxi. As 5 star mariners we have known better cruises with HAL. When in Hongkong they forgot to inform their staff that ONLY the people who went to Macau were not allowed to get off the ship after returning from Macau. We still had half a day left to explore. After a big row with the staff the cruise direction eventually gave out a message that we could leave the ship again. Bad work!!! The entertainment was not exsistent or poor except for the Chinese lady playing the accordeon.On seadays there was NO entertainment except talks for the EXC people. There was no music band on the deck and elevator music played the same music every day. Our cabin was good and spacious as it was a suite and the staff their usual friendly self. Everything was clean. As there were many people with bad cold including me we expected staff to make sure people didn't touch the food or fill their water bottles at the macine themselves.This did not happen. What happened to the coctail party for the past mariners? We didn't get one invitation although we are 5 star.All in all I would say this was not the best cuise we have been on. We will think twice about booking HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was a themed girlfriend getaway cruise with O Magazine and Oprah, so we knew it was going to be amazing! I have consistently found with HAL that something extraordinary happens when I cruise ... Read More
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was a themed girlfriend getaway cruise with O Magazine and Oprah, so we knew it was going to be amazing! I have consistently found with HAL that something extraordinary happens when I cruise this line! This cruise was no different. First of all embarkation, we arrived at 1030 AM and were onboard by 11:45. Our cabin was not ready, but I was able to put my carry on bag in my cabin and we were off to have lunch and explore the ship! The ship is beautiful, with artwork all over that seemed to grab our attention and made us stop and think! I just loved the layout of the ship with many relaxing comfortable chairs to lounge around in. The only complaint I would have was the walking deck on the lower floor, the views were blocked by the lifeboats. However, the very top of the ship has a great jogging deck with unobstructed views. The crew were friendly and very welcoming! The food was delicious! We really enjoyed sitting outside near the pool and had some great pizza and salads! The entertainment was astounding. The world stage was incredible! I loved the Humanity show! Then there was all the fantastic O magazine specific presentations and workshops, all incredible! The highlights for me was the Supersoul Sunday presentation with Oprah and Tara Westover! What an unforgettable and inspiring thing to watch! Then there was the Conversation with Oprah! She is such an inspiration and I will be forever grateful I got to experience such a beautiful moment listening to Oprah with my sister! We also got to speak with Adam Glassman and he was very kind and personable! Then there was Gayle King who was everywhere, and was kind of to take hundreds of selfies with adoring fans! We saw her everywhere! The President of HAL, Orlando Ashford was out helping guests and getting the feedback on their experience on the ship! There was so many "WOW!" moments! Also, every night my sister and I couldn't wait to see what gift we were going to be given by the O magazine staff! Thank you to Jayne Jamison and her staff for being so thoughtful! We loved the little gifts and were very grateful for them all! Half Moon Caye was just beautiful! The tendering process went well. We found a nice lounger under a tree near the "I wish I could stay here forever bar" and went off to join the incredible meditation on the beach with Tracee Stanley. The beach BBQ was so good! I ate a delicious fish taco and a cheeseburger right there on the beach looking out at the pretty blue water and started humming a Jimmy Buffet song, Cheeseburger in paradise! So much fun! After that, we went for a swim, relaxed on the beach and hurried back to the ship! We didn't want to miss a thing! Our last night we got to run around the ship in PJs! It was like participating in the biggest girl slumber party ever! HAL is my favorite cruise line because they really fulfill their mission statement consistently. "Through excellence we create once-in-a-lifetime experiences, every time." I completely agree and can't wait to see what the next HAL cruise has in store for me! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Our group chose this cruise unanimously in spite to the fact that at least 6 of the 26 of us had been through the Panama Canal on a cruise before. We had excellent cabin and dining staff. Brilliant Entertainment! The dining menus ... Read More
Our group chose this cruise unanimously in spite to the fact that at least 6 of the 26 of us had been through the Panama Canal on a cruise before. We had excellent cabin and dining staff. Brilliant Entertainment! The dining menus were up to par as we had experienced on the previous 4 cruises our group had taken on Holland America. The food quality in the Main dining room and in the Lido restaurant was very very good. Our group evening at the Pinnacle Grille was exceptional. The staff on the ship were exceptionally courteous and helpful. One of the very high points was the classical pianist, Hyperion Knight, who entertained us. His on stage work was enthralling but the real cherry was the "practice sessions" he had in The Explorers's Lounge. My wife and I happened on him one morning early in the cruise in the lounge playing the piano. There were only 3 other couples in there at the time and we sat through what turned out to be a "private" concert. He played (without sheet music) for and hour and a half almost continuously and his music had us entranced. He was very personable as he chatted with us and talked about his music. This happenstance became more widely known as the cruise progressed and what started out as a concert for 6 persons became a "practice" session to a full lounge to another day with standing room only to having to be there half an hour ahead of his impromptu unscheduled sessions. He was also a fun participant in the twice a day Trivia sessions. His trivia knowledge is formidable and it was great fun playing with and against his teams. At the end of the cruise everyone of our group were expressing how much they enjoyed this trip and were asking when we would be planning the next one. For a bunch of 75 year old high school pals it was a great time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Charter cruise for music fans. Delbert’s cruise is always a people pleaser. Arrived the day before cruise and stayed at Westin. Great beach location and great nearby restaurants. Ship was fine as well as the food. Friendly staff. This ... Read More
Charter cruise for music fans. Delbert’s cruise is always a people pleaser. Arrived the day before cruise and stayed at Westin. Great beach location and great nearby restaurants. Ship was fine as well as the food. Friendly staff. This cruise is like no other. Not your typical cruise. Non stop music from morning until the wee hours of the night. Our fourth time to do this cruise. Plan to return next year and will encourage friends to join us. We have done this cruise four times in the last six years. Although this is somewhat of an expensive cruise, it is worth it. The excursions to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic were great. We especially enjoyed our time on the beach in the Dominican Republic - a 45 minute drive to Cocony Cove beach. The food and drinks were good and we did the all inclusive which was worth it. The Puerto Rico craft cocktail excursion through old town was the best. Our guide Rocio who is a native of Puerto Rico was great - along with our bartender Carlos at la factoria. Highly recommended excursion. Just be prepared to walk up hill. Lots of food and drink with this one and a good value for what you get. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I've been on quite a few cruise line ships. This ship sets the bar .. !st the big stage theater is a technical surprise..amazing.. have to see and experience it. I lack the words. Next the cafeteria food court has individual chefs ... Read More
I've been on quite a few cruise line ships. This ship sets the bar .. !st the big stage theater is a technical surprise..amazing.. have to see and experience it. I lack the words. Next the cafeteria food court has individual chefs making for example your pasta dish with the ingredients you select.. Salad stations similarly; carving stations with an incredible selection of sides, and eastern food stations with made to order dishes.. AND THE FOOD IS GREAT The food wherever we ate was great. My better half is a vegan and they actually had a separate menu with dishes for vegans and vegetarians.. "A pleasure not to have to track down chefs to order a vegan meal" Next and very important to everyone WALK IN SHOWERS..That's right regular showers you don't have to step out of to wash your lower body.. excellent. Oh and there is a retractable roof above the pool so when the weather gets a little inclement they can close the roof either partially or all together.. great feature At the main pool loungers with comfortable cushions. AND sectioned off places on the deck above the pool where couples could share a full length couch. The service by the staff 2nd to none Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The cruise exceeded my expectations in every way. The high point was the 4 days in the Antarctic. I will never forget the joy of watching an iceberg float by with penguins on it - with one every once in a while waving to you, or so it ... Read More
The cruise exceeded my expectations in every way. The high point was the 4 days in the Antarctic. I will never forget the joy of watching an iceberg float by with penguins on it - with one every once in a while waving to you, or so it appears. Than you watch some of them dive off and go porpoising across the waters. Later on, an iceberg goes by and they are jumping on. A little further an iceberg goes by with a solitary penguin on it. Your camera is your best friend at this point to help capture this unbelievable spectacle and all the Antarctic beauty ever present around you. And as if that wasn't enough there were the frequent whale spouts, some so close you could hear them, followed by their majestic arch and gigantic tail appearing as they take a deep dive. Than there was, for me, the beauty of the many variety of antarctic birds that followed the ship. One, the wandering albatross has the largest wing span of any bird, up to 10 feet (over 3 meters). The ever changing sea state, ocean color and sun angle made each soaring maneuver another art piece I had to capture. And haven't even mentioned the icebergs - a prime attraction to say the least. As for the ship, it has been maintained in excellent shape. You couldn't ask for a better crew. Very friendly and as one who can testify to their around the clock effort to keep the ship clean, I was often up at all hours to photograph the sun set at midnight or a sun rise at 3:00 AM. My wife and I had a balcony suite, room 7038, port side on deck 7. Perfect in location and size. We had no problem with motion sickness for the moderate sea states we were in. As I have learned from previous cruses, food can be a problematic. If something is too good, I have a hard time passing it up. I would give the food on this cruise a Goldilocks rating - just right. Except perhaps their soups, which I had to try every night, they were so good. The entertainment was all very well done, particularly the dance routines. My wife and I enjoyed dancing to The Ocean Quartet, whenever the sea state permitted. A cruise setting I will always remember is listening to the Adagio violinist and pianist play. Their music made you slow down and take in the moment. I am so thankful they had a CD, Duo Dolce, of their music for sale in the ship's store. Holland American also has to be given a lot of credit for the holiday decoration they had throughout the Zaandam. I knew it was going to be good when I saw 4 pallets of fresh poinsettias waiting to be loaded at San Antonio. Two shore excisions that were exceptional and you should not miss are, first the Volunteer Point King Penguin Rookery when dock at Stanley/Falkland Is/Islas Malvinas. We opted for the ship's excursion package here as this port requires a rather long tender, about 30 minutes, and a jeep ride to Volunteer Point is such you need to get on the first tenders. The Land Rover ride was half the enjoyment and truly a great King penguin experience. The second excursion was a city and tango show in Buenos Aires. We used LIZ ANDREA (liz2arg@yahoo.com. We were a small group and that gives you more flexibility. Liz is a native of the city so she really knows its story and tells it very well. Great command of English and she has very engaging dialog. Not like some recording or scripted speech. Her stories at the cemetery show she is very knowledgeable and passionate about the history like no other. She arranged a Tango show for us that was top notch. What a perfect way to end our cruise. We also used her for our trip to the airport and for a tour day ending at the airport for our flight out that evening. Very responsible guide and driver. You couldn't do better. Would I do it again - in a heart beat. Would I recommend it to a friend - already have. Truly a once in a life time experience for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose the Holland America Zuiderdam ship for our 2018 Christmas family vacation. The only reason I would give any stars for this cruise is for the room and dinning stewards who provided the utmost impeccable service. Cheers to all of ... Read More
We chose the Holland America Zuiderdam ship for our 2018 Christmas family vacation. The only reason I would give any stars for this cruise is for the room and dinning stewards who provided the utmost impeccable service. Cheers to all of you!!! However, Holland America Ships are severely lacking customer service, acommodations are poorly described. The cabin layout was terrible and considering this was a Holiday cruise, it severely lacked festive activities, entertainment and decorations. We were advised by Holland America the Zuideram Veranda Cabins accommodate 3-4 passengers. We had 3 in our cabin. However, to accommodate anymore than 2 passengers, access to the veranda balcony and bar fridge are "completely blocked" and they had to "remove furniture" from our cabin to make room for the 3rd person for the entire cruise. I guess the 4th person would have had a caught on the balcony because there is absolutely no room for a 4th person. This was extremely disappointing when we had paid the extra $2,000 to have a balcony cabin but couldn't access the door to get out onto the balcony. SAVE your money a book an Ocean View or Interior Cabin for a much lower rate. The Ship's Customer Service Relations were not helpful in providing any alternative nor compensation for the extra cost we paid to have a balcony we had no access to. There were minimal Christmas decorations throughout the ship not making it feel very festive for a holiday cruise. Santa came aboard the ship to visit the 40-50 children on board and gave them all a dollar store gift that broke within the day. We expected much more for a Holiday cruise considering the inflated cost for a cruise during this peak time. We would never consider Holland America for future Holiday cruises. PS to Smokers: there is only 1 smoking section on board and they refuse to let anyone smoke prior to the ship leaving port. It was a long 6 hour wait from the time we boarded to leaving port. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My wife Carol and I were very interested in learning more about Cuba so we chose the cruise called: "The Cuban Explorer." There were supposed to be two cuban ports. The other destinations on the cruise did not interest us much. ... Read More
My wife Carol and I were very interested in learning more about Cuba so we chose the cruise called: "The Cuban Explorer." There were supposed to be two cuban ports. The other destinations on the cruise did not interest us much. We went to Key West, Florida. I would describe this as a once nice little town that has become an empty tourist trap. Next, we went to Havana after a day at sea. Having sailed mostly the North Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, we found the days at sea rather dull since there was nothing that was very interesting to do on board nor was the sea anything special. (I have been in two spectacular storms on other ships.) My wife who is Canadian Chinese, a seasoned traveller experienced two incidents of nasty behaviour by co travellers who felt they had a right to scream at fellow passengers to move aside. Described in the past as the "ugly American". In fact being an American I was shocked maybe at their attitude and outright prejudice. We complained to the front desk there should be a code of behaviour for passengers. A total put off given the number of diverse tourists traveling today. Shame on their backward rude behaviour- and the fact they thought they could get away with it. Carol is recovering from cancer and this trip was a rest for us both. However, compared to John Cleese on the Queen Mary, the speakers we heard on the Veendam were informative but little else. We watched a couple of movies on the tv in our cabin and attended two talks/demos by an America's Test Kitchen chef. Carol, who is really at a chef level herself (she was a judge in the International Chocolate Competition in Toronto), though not professionally, enjoyed these demonstration/talks quite a bit. The ship, though old (built 1993), is superbly maintained by an excellent and conscientious crew. But the quality of the maintenance apparently did not extend to the mechanicals of the ship which I believe was the reason we could not stop at Cienfuegos. Missing this port is the main reason I have downgraded the cruise. The captain got on the PA a couple of time and told us that we couldn't go to Cienfuegos but he kept saying that there was no safety issue. If there was not a safety issue, why couldn't we go? If there was a safety issue, why were we cruising in this ship and why did it take on new passengers when we got back to Fort Lauderdale? As a very poor substitute for missing a key destination we were offered an afternoon of free booze. Again, of little interest to us. And it did not make up for not visiting one of the destinations we thought would be a highlight. The main plus for the cruise was the dining.The food was wonderful. Meat, vegetarian and non-gluten dishes were available. Brilliantly cooked and served. Dinner in the dining room was always a pleasure. For breakfast and lunch we went to the cafeteria style "Lido" deck. We were both surprised by the very high level of culinary artistry the staff exhibited. The one tour we took in Havana was abysmal. It was supposed to be a culinary tour. The guide certainly knew her stuff and was professional but the offerings were not worth the time or money. "Culinary" turned out to be going to a large hotel salon with a view in downtown Havana and being given a pretty lousy four hour meal with lots of booze served. The Cuban musicians were local and good.( I am a classically trained musician.) From there we were dragged off to some run down night club where we had loud Cuban music played at us while we were given rum, cigars and coffee to sample with no comments, explanations or any attempt to instruct. Neither my wife nor I smoke and there was no alternative of any kind offered. Our windowed cabin had no balcony but was adequate. The bathroom was nice because it was larger than the one on the Queen Mary 2. It had a full tiled bath. The gym was well equipped. I love my work out and this was important to me. The service in all respects was uniformly excellent. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We booked this cruise because we were joining fellow submarine veterans for our annual convention. The check-in and embarkation was very well handled. We were told that our cabin was not ready and that we should have lunch in the Lido. ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we were joining fellow submarine veterans for our annual convention. The check-in and embarkation was very well handled. We were told that our cabin was not ready and that we should have lunch in the Lido. The dining room was not open. The lunch was mediocre. No. 1: Sunday, October 21, we moved into our cabin, 8026, at 12:30 and it was warm. I turned the warmer/cooler gauge to the coolest setting but not much happened. I called Guest Services at 1:30 and someone came about an hour later with a temperature sensor. She stated that the temperature was 75°F, and “that’s cool”. I have asthma and keep my house at 66°F so I don’t consider 75°F cool. It was still warm all night and I didn’t sleep at all. I called again on Monday and someone came but nothing really happened until late that afternoon. On and off, the cabin was overly warm during the cruise. On a previous HAL cruise on the Köingsdam I could actually set the temperature to 66°F. No. 2: Sunday, October 21, when I went into the bathroom to use the toilet and opened the lid, the stench was that of the dirty men’s room in a run down gas station. Before I had an opportunity to call Guest Services, our cabin steward delivered our luggage and I asked him to clean the toilet. I could tell that he didn’t believe me when I said it stank, until he opened the lid. He made a face so I know he thought it was bad. No. 3: While the steward was cleaning the toilet, I noticed that a crew was chipping paint above our veranda. I looked out and saw that the chairs, the deck and the railings were covered in debris. I asked the steward to please clean the veranda. I could tell he wasn’t pleased to see how dirty it was. This is a classic example of the maintenance supervisor not talking to the housekeeping supervisor. If they did speak with each other, maintenance would have told housekeeping that the verandas would need cleaning. I spoke with my neighbors when out on the veranda the next morning and their verandas were filthy; I told them about the chipping and that they should ask to have them cleaned. No. 4: The grout lines in the shower area of the bathroom were covered in mildew. I ran my fingernail on one of them and was able to remove some mildew; however, most was completely ingrained in the grout. I didn’t bother to ask that it be cleaned because it will take hours to properly clean it. No. 5: The plastic cover on the shower seat was badly cracked and the plastic was rather sharp. There does not appear to be anyone who actually inspects the cabins and the stewards certainly don’t have time. No. 6: The hem of the shower curtain was filthy; obviously it is not washed between passengers. Again, attention to detail is lacking. No. 7: The first morning when I used the hair dryer it caught fire. I called Guest Services to report it and request another and was asked “did you unplug it?” Of course I unplugged it as soon as it started burning, I am not stupid. The hair dryer catching fire is not what I am unhappy about, it was the suggestion that I was so stupid that I would not know to unplug a burning hair dryer. No. 8: There are only 2 outlets in the cabin and none by the bedsides. I have a CPAP machine so I had to request an extension cord. I was given a heavy duty yellow one to run under the bed from the desk. More than 2 outlets should be available and they should be on the bedsides. No. 9: The TV is hung to the left of the bed so that the person on the far side has to get a crick in their neck if they want to watch. It wouldn’t be so bad if it could be swiveled out to face the bed. But really, why would they hang a picture in the center of the wall at the foot of the bed and the TV off to the left side? Do they think that we want to line up the 2 chairs by the desk to watch? No. 10: Robe hooks should be either on the inside of the closet doors or high enough on the bathroom door to hang a robe. Because we had a handicap shower, someone thought that the hooks should be only waist high. This is of no use to anyone, including someone in a wheelchair because you cannot hang up the robes in the bathroom unless you want 3 feet of them dragging the floor. I would think that the chances of having both occupants of the cabin in a wheelchair are rather slim. The non-wheelchair bound passenger can hang the robes for both. Also, at their current height, the hooks easily catch you on the arm when going in or out of the bathroom. I did more than once. No. 11: Accumulated dust and debris in most corners and around most baseboards throughout the ship. I was an officer in the US Navy and they trained us to look high and look low because those are the areas that most don’t see. Old habits never die; I still look high and low everywhere I go. The Navy takes cleanliness very seriously because of the threat of seaborne illnesses. I don’t think the ship is staffed to actually keep the ship as clean as it should be and the turnover time between cruises is insufficient to for the cabin stewards to properly clean the cabins. I know that port costs are high and they want the ship at sea as quickly as possible. However, if passengers were told that they would embark, that the ship would get underway and that they would eat lunch before they could get into their cabins in order for them to be thoroughly cleaned, I think that most would appreciate that their cabins were actually clean when they moved in. There are plenty of public spaces and lunch could be served in the dining room as well as the Lido to keep everyone comfortable while they waited for their cabins. I am glad I brought sanitizing wipes to go over every surface in the cabin. No. 12: The food served in the dining room was merely OK. I would rate the food to that of a chain restaurant. The desserts were especially disappointing. The service in the dining room was generally very good, however, the timing of courses was off; we finished our coffee before dessert arrived or finished our dessert before the coffee arrived, it was never the same 2 nights in a row. The Lido is nothing more than a cafeteria and I only eat there when forced; unfortunately this was every lunch when in port. No. 13: I am allergic to capsaicin, the chemical that makes all chilies hot. I have sailed with HAL before and recorded my allergy when I checked in on-line and not had a problem. I informed our waiter the first time we ate in the dining room. Most evenings I asked what had chilies in it and was steered away, it was never volunteered. At one meal every menu item had some sort of chili in it. I was given a piece of fish that was prepared without the chilies, or much taste and it was overcooked. On the final night I ordered the seafood deviled eggs as my first course. I was not warned away from them. After I had eaten both eggs I felt a slight tingling in my mouth, the signal that capsaicin was present. At this point, it is too late to stop the reaction; I had sores in my mouth and down my throat for the next week. When a member of the culinary staff stopped by the table I mentioned that I did not appreciate getting something with chilies in it, and I said that I thought it was cayenne in the eggs. He did report my unhappiness to the supervisor who came over and said that they didn’t realize that cayenne was a chili! She also said I should have been given the menu the night before (which did happen on the Köingsdam) but that was not offered during this cruise. I am not sure what culinary training the kitchen staff receives, but I would think that they should know what is and what isn’t a chili. I also believe that the use of chilies is overdone these days, especially if catering to an older crowd who may have dietary restrictions and problems, but that, of coarse, is just my opinion. No. 14: No specialty coffee card; just a very expensive $60+ per day per person in the cabin beverage packages. We don’t drink much alcohol and might have 1 bottle of wine and a couple of drinks during the entire cruise. We also don’t ever drink sodas and would never buy bottled water and only want 1 latte a day. We certainly could not possibly drink $120+ in one day to make the beverage package worth while. Sell a speciality card with a price break like Princess Cruises. And, sell specialty coffee in more than the Crow’s Nest. It is quite the trek to get one if you happen to be aft when the urge strikes. No. 15 Previously we sailed the Köingsdam from Ft. Lauderdale through the Mediterranean and the afternoon tea was a very different and more enjoyable experience than on the nieuw Amsterdam. There we were served in one of the lounges and had individual tea pots and the sandwiches and sweets were very nice. On the nieuw Amsterdam it was held in the dining room and we were served tasteless/watery tea by a waiter and had to beg for a second cup. The sandwiches were rather stale as were the sweets. We felt very rushed and were even told we needed to leave so that they could set up for dinner. We decided to avoid any future afternoon teas since we thought that we could make our own “tea” by going to the Crow’s Nest and getting some tea sandwiches and sweets as we could on the Köingsdam, but no, there are no tea sandwiches served in the Crow’s Nest on the nieuw Amsterdam. We did without. As I said, we were part of a large group and the ship did their best to take care of the large meetings. We just did not think it was the advertised 5 star experience. More 2 stars. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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