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19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This cruise went way beyond my expectations! It was magical! I chose this cruise because I had read Oprah and O magazine was going to be aboard! About 20 years ago, I made a dream list and on that list was to meet Oprah, so this was ... Read More
This cruise went way beyond my expectations! It was magical! I chose this cruise because I had read Oprah and O magazine was going to be aboard! About 20 years ago, I made a dream list and on that list was to meet Oprah, so this was going to be my only chance. Myself and my 2 sisters booked the cheapest inside cabin but later decided to upgrade to a veranda room so we could have a balcony. Normally, I don't feel I want to spend the extra money for a balcony, but for Alaska it was a great idea. We loved having room service and breakfast out there, it was awesome coming right to the face of a glacier without the crowds in Glacier Bay, and sleeping with the door open and listening to the water was very peaceful! We had excellent service throughout except for 2 minor annoyances, one of which our stateroom keycard wouldn't work and after numerous trips to the desk it finally got fixed later the next day. There was also a rude hostess at the Pinnacle Restaurant who separated our party by changing our seat assignments at the last minute at the Oprah dinner. There really seemed like there was no good reason to sit us at separate tables, but they said sorry nothing she could do about it! A couple other guests kindly switched and we were able to share the dinner together. The ports were all very interesting. We chose to hike the nearby trails and explore the towns. Sitka was our favorite hiking through the rain forest and getting a tour of the town by a National Park Ranger. The highlights of the cruise was the amazing kindness of the staff, the incredibly delicious food, (there was even lobster on the buffet one night), the classes ( I learned so many new things especially at the test kitchen), The National Park ranger was fantastic, so interesting, and of course the highlight was Oprah and Gayle and the amazing staff at O Magazine! Words can't describe how special that whole experience was! I felt like I was in the presence of greatness, kindness, and extarordinary brilliance! The fellow passengers were also a group of strong, kind, educated women, and we had a great time socializing! Even the President of HAL, Orlando Ashford, was onboard, and he was so down to earth and personable! Everyday just got better and better! The morning meditation with Sara Ivanhoe, the Making of O, The motivational coach Angela Davis,Glennon Doyle, Elizabeth Strout,Adam Glassman,Jayne Jamison, Lucy Kaylin were all extraordinary! Getting a selfie with Gayle and then Oprah was totally fun! The highlight of highlights was a conversation with Oprah. She is pure inspiration! And then there ws the highlight of all highlights which was the charity dinner with Oprah! We were able to get a photo and to share a few words with her, and I even got a hug which left me in a euphoric state to this day! It was really kind of Oprah to share her time and to do that dinner!!! I am so grateful!! This cruise was over the top incredible! Thank you for doing this Share tthe Adventure Cruise! I can't wait to reserve my cabin for the next one!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
I am a travel agent and I led a group of 25 on a Holland America cruise tour to Alaska and the Yukon. I chose this tour because it was a 3 night cruise and 6 night land tour and HAL is the only major cruise line which has a less than 7 ... Read More
I am a travel agent and I led a group of 25 on a Holland America cruise tour to Alaska and the Yukon. I chose this tour because it was a 3 night cruise and 6 night land tour and HAL is the only major cruise line which has a less than 7 night cruise. I have been on this ship to the Caribbean in the past and enjoyed it very much. This time it was different. There weren't very many activities on board and we were on the ship with a very large group from a major company. That caused problems at dinnertime. Although all of us chose open dining, we were told that the earliest we could dine in the main dining room was 7:30PM because this other group had earlier dining and took all the tables. Most of us wanted an earlier time so that we could see the early show. When I complained and asked how come we were not notified in advance all they did was apologize and they didn't have a good answer. After much pleading and talking to several supervisors, we were finally given an earlier time slot on the 3rd night but we were told about this at 5:15 PM and our slot was at 5:30PM. I was unable to reach many people in my group and therefore most people were not notified in time to take advantage of the earlier time slot. The next upsetting thing was that one couple paid extra for a suite and I was told by 3 different reservationists that during the land portion of our tour the "suite" guests would receive an upgraded room in the hotels if they were available. That did not happen. Another couple who did not pay for a suite received a suite in 2 hotels. By the time I found out about it and notified our tour Director, she said she had never been notified that my "suite" guests were supposed to receive a suite in the hotels which had suites. When I complained to HAL they told me that the guests were supposed to request a suite. That is not the way it should work. Guests should receive what they paid for without making their own special request. HAL dropped the ball. After several phone calls and 2 emails to customer relations all I have gotten is an apology and a reply that it was up to us to make the request. I am not done yet advocating for my clients, but I am done referring people to HAL. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
The Rotterdam is an older ship and does show some wear especially in the bathtubs and the décor in some of the areas. However, once you experience the friendly and helpful staff, the great food and the awesome atmosphere you quickly ... Read More
The Rotterdam is an older ship and does show some wear especially in the bathtubs and the décor in some of the areas. However, once you experience the friendly and helpful staff, the great food and the awesome atmosphere you quickly forget the age of the ship. Embarkation was a bit rough in that requested wheelchair was not available and had to wait in the chilly air outside until it arrived. Wheel chair also had to be requested upon disembarkation. Our balcony cabin was fairly spacious, in fair condition and was always kept clean and well stocked by cabin staff. We did not participate in most ship activities and the entertainment did not seem to suit us but there were plenty of activities if you wanted to be more active. The ports of call were amazing and included Eidfjord, Geiranger, Alesund, and Bergen. We did not purchase any shore excursions and did the ports on our own and had a great time; a bit of walking and HOP ON/HOP OFF buses. We absolutely loved the laid back atmosphere of the ship and we were extremely pleased with the phenomenal service we were provided. We cannot wait to go back! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it was our first time on HAL. We had sailed Celebrity and Norwegian before. The Guarantee room landed us in 2500 which was actually a handicap room with a spacious bathroom and smaller bedroom. It was pretty cramped but we were not there a lot. The embarkation in Valparaiso was quick and the transfer arranged with HAL from Valparaiso was great, some stops and a good guide. Favorite ports were Coquimbo and Jose de San Martin . Excellent tours that we organized with Ecotours and South American Secrets. The Isla Ballista tour was fantastic! The ship decor is very dated with lots of Venetian style stuff although the signed musical instruments were cool. The small shop was very limited and there is the same old jewellery that gets flogged on every cruise ship. I like the size of the ship and I thought the food was good. Maybe could have spiced up some of the dishes but overall, excellent service in the dining room and the Lido and we always found the food tasty and lots of choices. Trivia seemed to be the activity most popular but by the time we wanted to join in, there was no group to partner with.The musical team of singers and dancers are excellent. We were treated to guest singers as well and a Card Illusionist i guess you would call him that gave a stunning show of aptitude. We attended all of the lectures by the guest Naturalist and appreciated his knowledge. The Captain was interesting with his anecdotes every day. The ship was kept very clean and a big thanks to all of the cleaners and service folks. One unusual thing is there was a cardiac arrest on this ship. Because of the time it took for personnel to arrive it made me wonder why there are not Defibrillators on every floor. I never saw one at all. But maybe that is the case on all of the ships. One staff can then rush to the area and defibrillate if needed quicker than waiting for the whole crew and equipment to trundle along the deck. Just a thought. Disembarkation was smooth and efficient, we left at 0930 so most of the crowd had left. I would recommend this itinerary and this ship. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My family and I went on our first Holland America Cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam for the 4/2/17-4/9/17 Western Caribbean cruise. We were booked in a Neptune Suite. Check in went smoothly with a slight delay on boarding due to a large ... Read More
My family and I went on our first Holland America Cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam for the 4/2/17-4/9/17 Western Caribbean cruise. We were booked in a Neptune Suite. Check in went smoothly with a slight delay on boarding due to a large amount of cruisers who stayed on board from the previous cruise needing to be cleared by customs. Our room was ready when we boarded and we found the room was great, with lots of space for our family of four and a spacious balcony to enjoy. We found all the workers to be great, friendly and helpful. We had reserved a cabana on the Lido Pool deck and it was perfect to have our own space while the kids swam, and the cabana service was top notch. Food was good in the dining room, lido, and we enjoyed Tamarind and the Pinnacle Grill, both were excellent. We booked all of our excursions though Holland America prior to the cruise. On Half Moon Cay we booked a cabana and cabana service, again excellent service by our server Daniel. On Grand Cayman we did a trolley ride around the Island and enjoyed that as well. Everything had been great up to this point. For Cozumel we booked an excursion through Holland America called La Casa en la Playa: A Special Retreat. My family (My husband and two children)and I were placed into a Taxi Van with 2 other couples from our ship to be taken over for our excursion. This taxi only had a few working seat belts and car batteries and other debris all throughout. We were driving down the highway when we were involved in a significant car accident. This is where our trip went down hill. The injuries from the accident ruined the rest of our trip. We were seen by medical on board, but I feel like the staff were only looking out for Holland America's protection instead of my best interest and care as their patient. We were sent flowers by Holland America Guest Relations manager Melanie, and assured SEVERAL times that we were under Holland America's care and insurance at the time of the accident since it was their excursion, and not to worry that all my medical bills post cruise would be covered. Not only did this turn out to be false, but we have felt ignored and dismissed since we disembarked. It took almost 6 weeks for someone to even respond to our inquiry on who to speak with in regards to our medical bills, and then we were told it was not Holland America's responsibility at all, that it would be the excursion companies responsibility. To say that I'm disappointed by the lack of customer service or concern during all this is an understatement. Prior to this incident I was ready to book another cruise on the spot with Holland America, but now I'm so disappointed in their lack of concern or care for their customer's, that I will not be sailing with them again. Our once a year family vacation was ruined, and we are not only out the money we spent on the cruise that we didn't get to enjoy, but we are also out the money we spent on the drink packages that went unused after the wreck, and out a ton of money in medical bills, with no one taking responsibility. We would say cruising with them is fine, but we would say avoid booking excursions directly through them and don't expect much in the form of customer service from them. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
After returning from a Panama Canal on the Maasdam, sorting thru upcoming cruises the 32 day explore South America Passage and Inca Discovery was of great interest. Fortunately for future travelers, the Zaandam is going in to dry dock to ... Read More
After returning from a Panama Canal on the Maasdam, sorting thru upcoming cruises the 32 day explore South America Passage and Inca Discovery was of great interest. Fortunately for future travelers, the Zaandam is going in to dry dock to be rehab in 2018. In the Lido dining the chair cushions show great ware as they are sunken in. There was very little variety of foods from day to day. No specialty nights with native food from the country we were in. Randomly closed parts of each food line thus had to go from side to side to complete a meal. Food became 'same-O-same-O'. Internet very expensive, very slow, basically non functional. On some other cruise ships, internet is free. Waste many of your minutes waiting for it to connect. Entertainment has really gone down hill. No entertainment on the pool deck. Very little variety in the lounge - mostly singing and dancing. Some of the ShipFlicks permanently missing or so scratched they would not play. Returning to America and Clearing Immigration i.e. final disembarkation was an experience of disorganize chaos. This could have been handled much better. It put a big black mark on what to that date had been an excellent relaxing time. Bathrooms definitely need some attention. On the bright side, the Captain's 12 noon briefings were very interesting as were his Q/A meetings with the passengers. The staff was very attentive, nice group of young people. For the fitness bugs, the center is treat. A variety of equipment. The morning stretch class was a huge hit. I attribute this in part to the personality of the instructor. About the deserts. Too good, need I say more! The system for dismissing guests and matching them with their selected excursions was very efficient. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose MS Westerdam for our Panama trip, decidedly for the itinerary. The number and destination of ports compared to cruise duration was exactly what we wanted. All the stops were very interesting. We booked several shore excursions, ... Read More
We chose MS Westerdam for our Panama trip, decidedly for the itinerary. The number and destination of ports compared to cruise duration was exactly what we wanted. All the stops were very interesting. We booked several shore excursions, mostly at destinations we had not previously visited. Overall the Westerdam is simliar to all other Holland America ships, however it does seem to be well worn, tired and in need of some attention to repairs. This is the only disappointing part of our trip was condition of the ship. Since our last HAL trip they have added a great salad bar which was a welcome addition. Otherwise food was good, but typical ship fare. However if you missed dinner by 8:30 your only option until 10:30 was pre-sliced pizza and pasta and no dessert option. Our room 5188 was well researched prior to booking. Deck 5 balconies are larger than other decks. The balcony is 100% covered which is good to provide shade during the day and coverage if raining. This is great for late afternoon when looking for respite from sun. Entertainment on board is very typical of cruise ships. However the B B King band was FABULOUS. Their band is truly amazing and we spent many evenings listening to band and dancing. The piano bar entertainer Damien was not very enjoyable as he tends to bang the piano rather than play and is not a very good singer. Overall service on the ship is good, however we found that the aft pool deck service could be drastically improved. During breakfast service it was difficult to find anyone to clean a table or provide coffee, during the day there was many dirty dishes and cups laying around and few people to take orders. This is also the first time on any ship that we found a couple of rude and seemingly resentful staff. We would take a Holland America cruise again if the price and itinerary was a good bargain, but HAL would not necessarily be our first choice. Puerto Vallarta -local bus to Bucerias. There is a Walmart right across from the cruise ship terminal just in case you forgot anything. Manzanillo - walked around the immediate area which has good shopping, interesting local sites. Huatulco - took local taxi to La Crucecita - $4. Back at cruise ship terminal there is a fabulous beach with a great swimming area, some watersports and on the beach restaurants with cheap beer. Guatemala - WONDERFUL took a shore excursion to Antigua which is one of the most beautiful clean cities we have visited. Spent several hours in Antigua looking at local sites and wished we had more time. Found the city to be very clean and felt comfortably safe. The site of volcanoes were amazing Nicaragua- took a shore excursion to Leon. Cathedral was interesting with beautiful views, but overall Nicaragua was very dirty and we did not venture very far from the town square as we did not feel safe. Costa Rica - beautiful, lush and very clean. Shore excursion to coffee plantation was very interesting and great trip through countrysite. Panama Canal - was much more interesting than expected. Local canal expert was on board ship for the entire transit providing details and history of the canal as we progressed. The front bow of the ship is opened and set up for viewing for the entire day. Next time I would like to read more about the history and details of the canal before cruise. Aruba - shore excursion to snorkel sites. Antilla shipwreck was beautiful with lots of fish; wreck was interesting and easy to see. second dive site was Ok but lacked variety of fish. Next time in Aruba we would most likely do similar dive but book on shore to save money. Curacao - spent most of day exploring Punda and Otrabanda. Beautiful locations, clean and we felt safe wandering around the town. Local restaurant upstairs in old fort by cruise ship terminal provided great views and excellent local beer. Jamaica - we had been advised not to venture out of cruise ship area on our own so we took an shore excursion to a local beach. This turned out to be a wise choice as outside the terminal is quite run down and mostly shanty housing. Beach was mostly clean with good facilities. Cruise ship terminal is a very unfriendly place where it seems the locals are not thrilled to have tourists there and also extremely expensive. We purchased a cup of coffee that was $5 for nothing special. Grand Cayman - our only tender site. George town was crazy busy with cruise ships but everything seemed to move along quite quickly. Since we knew ahead of time that there was going to be 6 ships in port that day we booked a shore excursion to Tiki Beach. This facility is clean and well run, however there is not much of a swimming area as there is a coral reef about 6 - 10 feet off shore. Next time I would most likely get off ship and take a taxi to a different beach club. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
My mom and I booked this cruise through Craft Cruises as a knitting cruise - so we didn't specifically choose this ship, it just happened to be the ship and the itinerary associated with the craft trip. Having said that, HAL exceeded my ... Read More
My mom and I booked this cruise through Craft Cruises as a knitting cruise - so we didn't specifically choose this ship, it just happened to be the ship and the itinerary associated with the craft trip. Having said that, HAL exceeded my expectations in every way. I've cruised with NCL, Disney, and Cunard, but this was my first time with HAL; HAL is now my favorite line (maybe tied with Disney). The food and service, especially, were excellent. I'm a vegetarian, and I enjoy cooking and eating exotic / gourmet food. I was particularly impressed with the variety of vegetarian options in the MDR. When we booked, I was concerned because the Westerdam is due to be overhauled next month. So I was particularly impressed that the ship seemed to be in excellent shape, no more worn or dirty than any other ship I've cruised. Because we had knitting classes each sea day, and other group activities, I didn't get to try out any of the ship's entertainment or enrichment activities. I did visit the spa several times, and it was comparable to most other ships. I would absolutely sail with HAL again, and in particular, I'd love to see the Westerdam after it's overhaul. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I have enjoyed mostly every cruise on Holland. One of mine was not so good, but that was do to a typhoon from Russia that hit us after we stopped at Sitka. It was very scary and they chained the doors shut so no one would be foolish enough ... Read More
I have enjoyed mostly every cruise on Holland. One of mine was not so good, but that was do to a typhoon from Russia that hit us after we stopped at Sitka. It was very scary and they chained the doors shut so no one would be foolish enough to go out and see the very high waves washing over the deck. That was the bad,, but no fault with Holland on everything else. The latest one on the new Koningsdam was fantastic. The food was perfect in the dining room and on the buffet. I liked the way the buffet served with separate booths and employees serving everyone and not as much waiting as the old style standing in a line for all of us to serve ourselves. This new way made it very sanitary and prevented a lot of people getting sick as has been in the past. The entertainment was the best I have seen on any cruise I have done, and this is my 37th cruise on many different lines including Holland since the 1980's. From their Lincoln Center with 5 young ladies with violins, Cello and piano..it was packed every night. The BB King stage was wonderful and lots of room to dance in the ship. The large dining room served fantastic meals and all the waiters I had were just plain fantastic also. Boarding and Debarking was so easy and done so well. I enjoyed all my ports and the tenders when needed were clean and comfortable. If you are looking for an upscale experience with a price for everybody.... you can't miss this ship especially. The cabins are designed so well and what a large shower I had in my inside cabin. I like the dark cabin at night and sleep so well. The large TV in the wall was one of the largest I have had on most ships. The sliding dome cover on the main pool allowed at great breeze and the configurations of seating overlooking the pool with lounges like beds and drawing sheets to separated many on them so you have a lot of privacy was perfect. The only bad thing about this cruise was I HAD TO LEAVE! Read Less
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