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44 Holland America Hawaii Cruise Reviews

We are loyal Holland American cruisers and within a few points of 4 star Mariners. This 28 day cruise was a great disappointment when it came to the quality of the food in the Lido and for the most part, the main dining room. We have been ... Read More
We are loyal Holland American cruisers and within a few points of 4 star Mariners. This 28 day cruise was a great disappointment when it came to the quality of the food in the Lido and for the most part, the main dining room. We have been on the Eurodam before and just couldn't believe how poor the dining experience has become. We used the Lido for breakfast but nothing else and eventually gave up with the main dining room. To get around it we used the Pinacle for lunch and the other specialty restaurants when necessary. As usual the service in all areas was wonderful and the key that keeps us coming back to Holland America. There can be improvements with the availability of live entertainment and they have severely changed the Signature Beverage Package limiting the selections of beer and wine to the point that we probably will no longer purchase it on future cruises. This cruise was an eye opener for us and the cutbacks are now coming to the point where we will be reconsidering using Holland America in the future. There are many other cruise lines available and the quality of the Holland America staff can't continue to offset the recent cutbacks. If necessary they may need to increase prices, but leaving things as they are will be suicide. We intend to give Holland America one more try, but if improvements aren't made it will unfortunately be our last. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are a married couple in our 60's. This was our 17th cruise overall, but our first on Holland America. We were cruising with our regular cruise companions, another couple in their 60's. We have cruised on Celebrity, ... Read More
We are a married couple in our 60's. This was our 17th cruise overall, but our first on Holland America. We were cruising with our regular cruise companions, another couple in their 60's. We have cruised on Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival in the past. We normally take cruises of 10-14 days so this 17 day cruise was our longest yet. Rating this cruise itself is difficult as it was a bust in that we only saw two of the five scheduled stops in Hawaii. This was mostly because of bad weather. So rather than focusing on the cruise we will provide our observations of Holland America in general. The Eurodam is a beautiful ship and the perfect size. The service was outstanding. The food was great. The entertainment was enjoyable. Embarkation and Debarkation were as easy as any ship on which we have traveled. Why then only three stars? Using a baseball analogy, it is widely accepted that many of the cruisers on Holland America recognize that they (we) are in at least the bottom half of the seventh inning in life. What we want to do with the last two innings is based on our individual prospective. The great majority of HA travelers are like travelers on the other lines we have been on only with a few more of life's scars. They want to have a good time, enjoy the scenery, the food, the drinks and everything else that can be found on a cruise ship. Life has been tougher on some than to others and HA seems to have experience dealing with those issues. This was scheduled to be a seventeen day round trip cruise from San Diego to the Hawaiian Islands with stops in Kona, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui and Hilo on the Big Island. Because of predicted bad weather the captain decided to by-pass Kona and head straight to Honolulu. When we arrived in Honolulu the wind was strong and all of the afternoon tours, including the luau's were cancelled. We were then told that because of bad weather predicted for Kauai (they suffered a severe storm) we would not go there. When the weather forecast did not improve we were told we would be staying in Honolulu an extra day and then return to Kona the following day. This meant that Lahaina, Maui would be taken off our schedule. No excursions were available through the ship for the second day in Honolulu so everyone was on their own. The following day we arrived in Kona, a port where the ship's tenders are needed to go ashore. We did not drop anchor. Even though the seas looked calm to most with no white-caps to be seen anywhere, the captain decided the harbor was too dangerous to transport people on the tenders. As fairly seasoned cruisers we realized that we had been in tenders in much worse than we were witnessing in Kona and that got us thinking as to why that decision was made. Our reasoning is that because we were traveling with so many people with considerable life issues it would be impractical, if not impossible, to transport all those people safely with the crew that was available to assist them. Therefore, we lost our third port and we headed back out for another sea day. We have been on cruises where ports were missed and we understand that is always a possibility. What made this tough for us this time was that in lieu of going to Kona or Maui as scheduled the cruise director suggested people could gather for a game of CHECKERS in one of the lounges! When we arrived in Hilo for a last possible Hawaiian stop the gangway was not put into position at the designated time. The captain advised us that because of rough water the gangway was not holding steady and a safe walk off the ship may not be possible. He was assessing the situation. I think he may have heard the mumblings of the several hundred of us who had gathered in the atrium and the gangway was opened shortly thereafter. We had a great day in Hilo doing a private tour with a company known as Big Island Aina Tours that we HIGHLY RECOMMEND. We spent the next six days sailing back to Ensenada, Mexico and then on to San Diego for debarkation. While the cruise was not what we had planned or hoped for, we still had a great time. (If you can't enjoy yourself on a cruise ship chances are pretty good that you can't enjoy yourself). Getting back to that baseball analogy: If you are a person who enjoys some of the finer things in life and just wants to live with grace and dignity during the last few innings you can have a really nice time on Holland America. You can't beat the service or the food. But, if you have the problem we have in that you still live with the allusion that there may be at least one more headfirst slide into home left in you (albeit in slow motion), HA may not be the place for you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise to go to Hawaii Round trip from San Diego. We have been on 3 prior HA cruises and enjoyed ourselves. We booked the cruise a year earlier and friends cruised on the Eurodam last August with no issues. We were not ... Read More
We chose this cruise to go to Hawaii Round trip from San Diego. We have been on 3 prior HA cruises and enjoyed ourselves. We booked the cruise a year earlier and friends cruised on the Eurodam last August with no issues. We were not informed of any of the following money saving changes: No singers and dancers and orchestra, 5 piece band replaced. Entertainers, comedians, singer, musician were good. Dancers to light show with recorded music also was entertaining. A repeat of the show a second night was a waste, as was showing a movie. Numerous changes in the Dining room resulted in smaller portions, fewer choices, $10 charge if you wanted a second entre at lunch or dinner. No bread basket at breakfast. Both the card room and game room were rented out to Quilters for the entire cruise. No Bridge director. No Art Auction Dining Room closed for lunch on at least 4 of the last 5 sea days. Stores were taken over by high end merchandise: no small souvenirs. Very friendly staff and great cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We cruise quite a lot and have been sailing Princess nearly exclusively for the last 6 years or so. We felt we owed it to ourselves to try another line and see whether we should "branch out". Here's a quick good, average ... Read More
We cruise quite a lot and have been sailing Princess nearly exclusively for the last 6 years or so. We felt we owed it to ourselves to try another line and see whether we should "branch out". Here's a quick good, average and ugly rundown. The good (sometimes great): Without question, the singers and dancers who performed many times throughout this voyage were the best we've ever seen. We were disappointed whenever a headliner was featured (the headliners were a mixed bag and on average were just OK) because that meant we wouldn't be seeing these 10 incredible performers. Kudos to HAL for producing incredible shows with minimal sets that really showcased the talent. We also need to give very high marks for the dinner service in the Open Seating MD on 4. From seating to service to food - they get a 10 out of t0. The only issue I have is not with the food or service but with the incessant upset. Some waiters were very pushy and insistent regarding the bottled water, the lobster, the 75 oz steak (OMG), the cappuccino, etc. I don't blame them, and the service was otherwise perfect, but it was sometimes pretty annoying and quite a shame given how great the food was and how hard they otherwise worked to deliver a very upscale experience. The average: On the occasions that we were able to enjoy a casual breakfast or lunch in the Lido (see the ugly for an explanation) we found the choices to be abundant, so many things to choose from but frankly the food just wasn't very good. The salad bar was OK, the dressings were bland and the service was sometimes pretty slow. We liked that food was served by staff and utensils weren't handled by passengers but it was often tedious. The offerings at the Dive In stand poolside was another option that looked better on the menu then in delivery. Again, the food was OK at best often evidenced by the amount of uneaten wasted food left around the pool tables. We tried a few times and were disappointed on each occasion. The band in the Crows Nest gets a nod for showing some enthusiasm and playing a good mix of music to dance to. The tried to keep the small crowd happy and up on their feet. The bad: We are both seniors, retired and pretty seasoned travelers and we found this ship to have a very institutional (assisted living) feel to it. We just returned from a 60 day cruise on Princess where the average age was very high. The vibe on this ship was much older. It's hard to explain but the whole experience seemed more suited to a senior center than a cruise ship despite having a large number of young families and kids away with grandma and grandpa for the holidays. --The reason we couldn't enjoy breakfast or lunch daily was because, despite having a large, two sided buffet, they simply closed the whole thing for long stretches at times when we would have enjoyed a meal or snack. If you danced till 12, relaxed with a book in your room, woke up at 9:30 and took a shower - you missed breakfast - completely closed at 10, reopen for lunch 11:30. If you get off the ship, as we did on a port day and return to the ship at 2:05 - no lunch for you - visit the Dive In or wait a few hours. If you get off the ship at an overnight port and return at 9:05 (yeah just our luck) the DR is closed, both sides of the buffet are closed and will reopen for a short When we lacked other options we waited 20 or 30 minutes until the phone got picked up. You can't have this kind of schedule unless you have an International Cafe type venue. Ridiculous. --The only reason we ever got to go to breakfast was because of the incredibly loud announcement at 9:15 most mornings. Usually you have to open your cabin door to hear what's being said. No here. The speaker was so loud that sleeping through it was impossible. My pleas to lower the volume were spoken to deaf ears (pun intended). Three times on this 17 day voyage the captain chose to have crew drills at 9 AM, blaring 7 short and 1 long blast into the cabin along with instructions to the crew. So loud. We've never been woken up by a crew drill in 100's of days cruising until now, 3 times in 2 weeks. Why? --The Ocean Bar would have been a lovely dance venue in the center of the ship but the trio catered to a very elderly crowd, particularly one couple and played slow fox trots and waltzes almost exclusively. One night we were the only people in the venue before the early show let out. After hearing two songs that were written in the 40's I asked the piano player to play a salsa, no one else is here. He told me that the band didn't have one - What? That was our last night in the Ocean Bar. --For probably half of the trip at least on hot tub was not useable because the temperature was way too high. Reports to the crew didn't solve the problem. Where was the crew regarding chemicals and temperature? On a ship with only one pool and two hot tubs this is a big issue. --Lastly, this old gal needs some service. Our cabin, 1801 had a loose panel that squeaked terribly when we had some seas. I reported it so they shimmed the panel.. It didn't work. I told the staff at Passenger Services that if it's not fixed by the time the world cruise comes about they will have a very unhappy guest. All in all we made our own good time. We were told, over and over again, not to let the problems evident on this ship keep us from trying HAL again. So many passengers we're complaining about the scheduling, the noise, etc but they indicated that it's not common. We may give them a chance if the opportunity arises but we may well stay loyal to Princess for some time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because it's round trip out of San Diego and was a very good price. We did this same cruise 2 years ago on The Westerdam. The main differences are: veranda cabins smaller, less sea day activities, no library, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it's round trip out of San Diego and was a very good price. We did this same cruise 2 years ago on The Westerdam. The main differences are: veranda cabins smaller, less sea day activities, no library, no samples for the food demonstrations and less staff in Lido. Also on The Westerdam for dinner you had appetizer, soup or salad, main course and dessert. Now appetizer and soup/salad are the same. The staff is wonderful and accomidating. The spa is overpriced and I was told on the first day The Thermal Suite is a package, no individual days. Later, they were offering it for$40.00 per day. Also the door in the women's spa would not close. I told the girls at the front desk twice, but it has not been fixed. The Dive Restaurant by the pool has great food. I used the hot tub and pool several times, and it was always clean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We liked: the itinerary - 10 days at sea, embark from Seattle, verandah stateroom, good food, good service, good selection of at-sea activities, excellent cleanliness, good selection of in-room movies, large state room TV, had a bath tub, ... Read More
We liked: the itinerary - 10 days at sea, embark from Seattle, verandah stateroom, good food, good service, good selection of at-sea activities, excellent cleanliness, good selection of in-room movies, large state room TV, had a bath tub, free room service, excellent performances at the "Lincoln Center Stage" (The very best part of the whole cruise!), free seating option in main dinning room Didn't like: excursions - extremely over priced & poor selection (only offered excursions from a company owned by HAL), hard mattress, AC directed at head of the bed, very poor main stage performances, outrageous price to get online, HAL charges for up-grades ("Buy Ups"), very high required daily gratuity fee, no booking incentives like offered with other cruise lines, poor shops on board with overly high prices Would cruise with HAL only if we can get an extremely good price. Otherwise, there are other cruise lines that are a far better value for the price (see above). Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We were on only the first part of the cruise and got off in Hawaii. I knew the ship was not new but I found very little wear and tear. The food was good, not exceptional, except for the Mariners lunch when ONO was offered, The travelers ... Read More
We were on only the first part of the cruise and got off in Hawaii. I knew the ship was not new but I found very little wear and tear. The food was good, not exceptional, except for the Mariners lunch when ONO was offered, The travelers were mostly seniors. The young people were polite but i think disappointed with the slow pace, I was with the one in four using a cane! The staff and travelers were all polite and friendly. Those staying on to do the entire 38 days settled in with knitting, books, etc. Very little was offered so the seats filled long before the few events. The lei making was well attended so only enough flowers to make a halo lei. The observation deck is the highlight of the ship. Nothing but ocean on this cruise but it would be a delightful way to cruise Alaska. I did not want to fly both ways to Hawaii so the cruise fit my needs. It is open ocean most of the way. I loved the rolls and dips from the swells.Our cabin, guaranteed balcony, was 4005 just three cabins from the aft. This meant lots of walking to the food on the opposite end of the ship. We had a little of the entertainment noise from the deck below but it did not disturb us. Sailing into Honolulu just at sunrise was beautiful. The city light were still on as the sun came up. The doors were opened on deck 4 for the arrival. Many passengers scurrying past our door! The lack of daily activity was my only complaint but I knew that ahead of time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
For perspective, we have cruised over 50 times starting in 1981 and are now in our mid 60’s. We are 4 star mariners with HAL and Elite with Princess. We have also cruised with celebrity, crystal, Oceania, Royal Caribbean and a bunch of ... Read More
For perspective, we have cruised over 50 times starting in 1981 and are now in our mid 60’s. We are 4 star mariners with HAL and Elite with Princess. We have also cruised with celebrity, crystal, Oceania, Royal Caribbean and a bunch of lines that have been incorporated into other lines. The great and good. We were impressed with the consistency of the quality of the meals in MDR. We were on select dining rather than fixed. At 7:15 we did not have any wait for a table for 4. We sat in a number of different areas and the service, both wine and dinner were consistent. No wrong steps if I asked the server what was recommended that evening. Wine service showed great improvement since last year. Stewards were knowledgeable and able to recommend comparable and complimentary choices. Very good job. Lunch in Pinnacle Grill is well worth $10 pp. excellent service and selection. The Dive in burgers and fries always good as is the use of pagers. We appreciate that there is no self serve in the Lido - food consistent again - enjoyed creating fresh turkey sandwiches when the carvery had turkey. Freshly prepared eggs, omelets in morning, fresh pasta bar at lunch. We did nit visit for dinner. The entertainment was good, not fantastic but good enough to sit through. The singers didn’t seem to have synergy which affected the performance notwithstanding good voices. I guess they didn’t seem to be enjoying their jobs. The classical quartet at Lincoln centre was excellent. The piano dual were extremely popular as usual. B.B. kings was same as always. Worth a visit. Our cabin service was excellent - the hair dryer “died” on formal night of course and we had a replacement in under 10 minutes. Darn good when he was rushing to get his turn down service completed for early diners. The ship was in good shape with the promenade deck chairs seeming quite new. Everything seemed to be in very good repair. Not so great and good. Having sailed on holland just 12 months previous, the increase in prices for drinks, happy hours, wine packages, wine tastings, sip and savour were surprising, not that there were increases but how large the increases were. Normally, price increases kind of sneak up on you, these increases slapped you in the face. Very limited daily programs - many days at sea and we expected to have morning and afternoon guest lecturers. Basically there was just not enough enrichment offered. It was a problem because we had very poor weather and a nasty Pacific Ocean — so with no library, no morning movies, no matinees at a convenient time yo7 were either forced to stay in your cabin to watch tv. I looked forward to trivia at 1:30 - hadn’t played before so that says something. Minimal inventory in the shops and no fun sales. Duty free was anything but with the prices exceeding what we would pay in a government liquor store. We bought vodka at Walmart in Honolulu and had it checked until we got home. Servicein pinnacle grill for dinner was not up to standard. We were seated at a table just outside the galley door at the service station for a large area. The back of the banquet we were seated a5 held the water jugs for the area. The wine server gave us a bit of snark for firstly not ordering wine off the pinnacle list (we had wine package) and our friends asked to have their bottle brought from diningroom. It arrived but then the steward divided the more than half bottle into their two glasses. It was the lady’s wine. And that was the last we saw of him. We still enjoy the formal night aspect of cruising and we don’t expect everyone else will but I don’t understand why some guests make no effort what so ever. I have never seen such a motley group of travellers. I guess I don’t understand the issue of a gentleman wearing a pair of slacks and a shirt and a lady wearing a sundress or pants and a nice blouse. Something you might wear to a church wedding or special dinner out. Undershirt style t shirts , perhaps not. It’s a part of the tradition. Lastly, and in my opinion only, cruise lines in general need to reassess their policies on tendering. The mobility challenged create an unreasonable risk to themselves, the crew, and other passengers. Our tenders were full of wheelchairs and walkers presenting a hazard should we needed to evacuate the tender., the crew basically are lifting a lot of people on and off. It is not fair to them particularly if there is an accident. And one guest died after falling while trying to get onto a tender. The tender ports are well advertised and it should be acceptable that walkers/wheelchairs and those requiring the same be denied tender service. Everyone knows upfront and may gear 5heir cruises to itineraries with no tendering required. It is just plain scary. An average experience . Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Greed seems to be the drive for Holland America and the parent company (Carnival). The internet service was worse than the old dial up system in the 90's, and at $25. a day or $179. for the cruise, it was definitely not worth it. We ... Read More
Greed seems to be the drive for Holland America and the parent company (Carnival). The internet service was worse than the old dial up system in the 90's, and at $25. a day or $179. for the cruise, it was definitely not worth it. We signed up, but had to wait for emails and or Text, finally just waited until the next port to answer emails and other communications I liked the Idea of paying gratuities up front, but it took the encentive away from the service personal onboard. Of course some strived to please while others just did as little as possible to get by. Service suffered in the main dining room as it was 30 to 45 minutes between courses. Weather prevented us from going to one Island (one I was really looking forward to visit) and only port charges were refunded. We spent an extra day on Oahu which we had already been on for two days, I realize all costs for the cruise line remained except for fuel cost to travel to the other Island. I believe some restitution is in order, after all we paid to visit four islands and only visited three. Ship problems occurred on the way back and had to stop the ship to keep ballast from banging the hull of the ship. You could hear and feel it throughout the ship. Lots of shuttering and vibrations at night prevented a good nights sleep and we were as far away from motors as possible. Not all was bad of course, ship was well appointed, and we watched some good movies on sea days (very expensive way to watch movies I might say) All in all the cruise was average at best, and the ships sells people did there best to sell you everything possible. Photos were fuzzy and expensive, the whole experience reminded me of "Hey Lady Beach" in Mexico, if you catch my drift. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My wife and I wanted to celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary by going to Hawaii to escape cold weather without a long airflight. We have taken numerous cruises with Holland America and enjoyed all of them except that we can notice ... Read More
My wife and I wanted to celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary by going to Hawaii to escape cold weather without a long airflight. We have taken numerous cruises with Holland America and enjoyed all of them except that we can notice cutbacks in many areas. First, the good: The staff, in general, was very friendly and helpful, (more on staff heads later). We didn't need much extra, but when I contacted the front desk for minor things, they were very helpful. The food was excellent with a reasonable number of choices. The exception was that the soups in the Lido were almost all purees that didn't have much taste. The service in the main dining room was sometimes very slow, but they were really working at it (probably a result of staff cutbacks). The staff in the Lido was always ready to help or bring drinks or anything else that was needed. We did not take many shore excursions because we had been to Hawaii several times and had taken most of the tours we were really interested in, and it seems that they have gotten considerably more expensive. Now the bad: The ship was recently refurbished and has a brighter look and some high tech displays on deck 10 where they now sell land tours and future cruises instead of the night club where it should be to avoid continually frigid throughout the hallways and especially the main showroom. Many passengers wore jackets (not sport jackets) throughout the day. There was a scarcity of onboard activities, especially for 5 sea days each way, although they had plenty of art auctions. The computer classes were good, but the internet was very slow and unreliable even though it was expensive. The average of the passengers was close to 80 and most of the main stage shows were totally inappropriate to the passenger age level, except for shows put on by "Hawaiian Ambassadors" on the ship or those who came on at Honolulu. The sound was unbearably loud (decibel level over 100 as measured by a fellow passenger; anything over 85 is detrimental to hearing ability) in all the venues, including the Lincoln Center Stage (classical music) even when they were accompanying a BBC Earth film. When complaints were voiced about the cold and the volume at the "coffee chats" (there was no coffee involved) with staff heads, the responses were " Thanks for the input", "it's hard to control the temperature" and not that the volume would be turned down, but "the volume has been turned down from what it used to be" and nothing was done, As one passenger put it, "if the sound has been turned down, I can't imagine what it was like before". The Cruise Director seemed to only be around to introduce acts or conduct afternoon trivia or "coffee chats": we did not see her mixing with passengers. The staff heads were unresponsive to input from the passengers. We've taken numerous cruises with Holland America, but we've had about enough and no longer recommend HAL to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was a our first cruise on a HAL ship and longest itinerary of the 10 previous cruises we have taken. Overall the Oosterdam was quietly average, but disappointing for several reasons: 1. Guests demographics and mobility issues ... Read More
This was a our first cruise on a HAL ship and longest itinerary of the 10 previous cruises we have taken. Overall the Oosterdam was quietly average, but disappointing for several reasons: 1. Guests demographics and mobility issues were a big surprise. We knew HAL drew older guests, but had no idea this would feel like are floating "retirement home". We are active 65-67 year olds yet we felt like "spring chickens". A majority of the guests appeared to be 75+. A large number were unsteady on their feet, used wheelchairs, canes and mortorized scooters which made it a challenge at times to move about the ship. 2. Electronics were horrible. The Navigator Intranet site is a good idead poorly executed. Our devices would not stay connected for more than a couple of minutes... extremely frustrating. TV channels were not always available... tended to come and go. Glad we didn't buy the internet package... heard from another cruiser it was the worst he had ever experienced. 3. Though the Oosterdam had recently been in dry dock for refurbishment recently, the pool deck furniture was awful. The sling lounges were stretched, worn, ripped and extremely uncomfortable. On the good side cabins were good size and well serviced by the cabin stewards. All service was friendly and for the most part efficient. The food in the Main Dining was good with a large and varied selection. Both the Pinnacle and Canelleto specialty restaurants were very good with excellent service. I do not recommend the Hawaii itinerary during this time of year if you are looking for sun. Of the 18 days we had maybe 5 good days. We had monsoon type rains in Hilo... our best day was Ensenda, Mexico. Overall a very average cruise with disappointing weather and guest atmosphere resulting in a low value vacation. Heading back to the Caribbean on Celebrity next year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I chose this 25 day trip to Mexico and Hawaii because though Costco Travel, it was a chance for fun in the sun during January and less expensive than booking a hotel for the same period of time. The ship was not as nice as Celebrity or ... Read More
I chose this 25 day trip to Mexico and Hawaii because though Costco Travel, it was a chance for fun in the sun during January and less expensive than booking a hotel for the same period of time. The ship was not as nice as Celebrity or Norwegian ships I had been on. San Diego has a lovely harbor location. It was cold everywhere and even though many complained, the ship remained cold in public areas. Mainstage evening performances were not good! Out of about 18 performances I attended, I counted 3 worth seeing. Lincoln stage was outstanding! And fortunately they often performed 3 times a day. I had requested diabetic menu before departure, but when I went to Dining Room first night, was told by attendant I just should order vegetarian. My daughter was on a Disney cruise the month before and requested Vegan and had the best meals ever night after night by their Indian Chef who was happy to accommodate their request. I did not receive that courtesy. Food was inconsistent. I saw Tiramisu prepared 3 different ways. But the dining room crew members were superior! They just served the food, didn’t prepare it. I used the fitness room daily, but the treadmill rarely had internet access. The fitness instructor gave the same speech for every class it seemed! Our Lahaina harbor embarkation experience was a nightmare. Stood in line in the harbor for 1 and 1/2 hours and treated poorly by American Guard Security. The Captain never said a word about it. All passengers who disembarked were affected. And everyone was outraged. This was a ship with predominately seniors with wheel chairs and walkers and canes. Most conversations after that experience were in relation to how the captain never apologized or offered an explanation. Overall, this was the worst cruise I had ever been on and that seemed to be the general consensus amongst passengers when visiting with them. But I liked being with friends and making new ones and getting some sunshine! I want to give a big shout out to Jose Rosales Housekeeping Director and Dining Room crew for 210; Agus and Willy for superior service. And for Angga for such kindness! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this particular cruise for the perks offered (OBC, free gratuities). We cruised with friends and we've all been on the Mexico route many times. My major negative is the loss of the music on the ship, especially in the ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise for the perks offered (OBC, free gratuities). We cruised with friends and we've all been on the Mexico route many times. My major negative is the loss of the music on the ship, especially in the evening on the way to dinner A pianist on deck 3 doesn't reach those of us on deck 2. The Adagio Strings was lovely. We always enjoyed having music on the Crow's Next in the evening but now it's just a big meeting area. Still, you can't discount the views. The MDR was hit and miss as far as service went. There were major areas where people were being served promptly and others received tepid food, as we did one of our three times. We were not alone - other table groups were experiencing the same thing. We requested coffee with our dessert one night and dessert came but coffee never did and our waiter didn't check back. The food itself was very good. Perhaps they had a new group of waiters? Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Embarkation was perhaps a clue of what was to come after we were checked in as we joined several hundred fellow cruisers to wait and wait and wait while a problem was resolved so we could actually board. We chose this for our annual ... Read More
Embarkation was perhaps a clue of what was to come after we were checked in as we joined several hundred fellow cruisers to wait and wait and wait while a problem was resolved so we could actually board. We chose this for our annual December cruise to enjoy the voyage to and from the Hawaiian Island destinations. It was a much smaller ship that we have been traveling in the past few years but had some very nice entertaining and learning opportunities that compensated somewhat the frustrations of getting used to poor dining room organization, and indoor temperatures that were so very cold it required most passengers to wear coats throughout the days and evening onboard --- even the men were wearing jackets! From the first evening the dining room experience was chaos and remained so for 3 days. We had requested a table for two, and that seemed to be a real problem for some reason. We were shifted from one section to another, unlike all past cruises where we had the same waiter, same table, and our wine bottles were waiting for us when we arrived. Not so on the Oosterdam. The dining room manager was a very unpleasant man to work with. We nicknamed him Mr. Smiley face since he never was seen without a scowl. On the 3rd day we finally had a regular table and waiter. However, we felt very sorry for the wait staff as they were terribly overworked and understaffed for the number of people being served at the same seating. The top 3 things on the ship included: 1) An amazing string quartet that played 3-4 times most days. They packed the room for all performances and each member was outstanding! 2) The Microsoft Workshop was hosted by Frank Barcelona who presented 3-5 sessions daily about using Outlook and Cortana. He was outstanding, patient, and provided good solid support for computer and phone users to sync their instruments to the Outlook utilities. 3) The America's Test Kitchen presentations were great! The presentation room was well designed with overhead monitors for everyone to see the chef as she demonstrated wonderful recipes in a very entertaining way. The port stops were enjoyable, especially Lahaina and Kauai. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My wife and I did a similar cruise on the Zaandam from San Diego to Hawaii several years ago and wanted to try it from a different port, and to see what changes may have occurred to the ship and/or ports of call. The ship seems brighter ... Read More
My wife and I did a similar cruise on the Zaandam from San Diego to Hawaii several years ago and wanted to try it from a different port, and to see what changes may have occurred to the ship and/or ports of call. The ship seems brighter and refreshed, except for the TVs in the cabins which are from the 70s, or so they appear based on the very poor picture quality. Speaking of which I can't understand why we were void of major TV news channels on the last three days back to Seattle except for two ESPN stations, and the only TV weather updates were for South American countries through the BBC channel. HAL, it's 2017 and we have the technology so PLEASE USE IT!! Try for some better customer service here. Our primary negative perception about the cruise and the ship is about how cool/cold the ship's public areas were kept requiring us and many other passengers to habitually walk around wearing our coats, hoodies, etc. We would sit in, for example, to listen to Adagio only to have cold air conditioning blowing on our heads, as well as elsewhere about the ship. Uncalled for. The lack of a librarian/IT supervisor was another failure in customer service, and the staff at the front desk was no substitute, nor should they be. The excessive cost coupled with the poor quality of WiFi service is a slap in the face for any passengers trying to make use of that service and should be improved. One thing that seemed to have changed for the better was the overall quality of the entertainment throughout the cruise, at least in comparison to our last four cruises with HAL since 2014 on other ships. But the over amplification of the band and singers constantly corrupted what could have been a better musical experience and often took away from the quality of the singers voices who always seemed to be trying to be heard over the band; those gals and guys deserve better treatment and respect from any musical group that accompanies them. The cabin stewards were good, and the 5th floor dining staff excellent. The Lido's dining chairs need reupholstering, now. Almost every chair's cushioning has been flattened down to the frame. Our overall experience was such that, contrary to our usual practice, we didn't sign up on board for a specific future cruise; we did leave a future cruise deposit that will be good for the next several years on a cruise of our choosing. If there is one. Our next several cruises will be with Cunard and we'll just keep reading CC's blogs and look forward to hearing about improvements. I'm not going to say anything about the tours offered under the precept of, if you can't say anything nice...... But if HAL perceives all touring passengers to need a shopping stop, please do away with them on cultural tours and just organize plain old shopping tours for those who want to shop and visit markets, etc. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We had heard about the cruise from friends who did it a couple of years ago and it sounded great and they wanted to go again. We did. Overall it was a fantastic experience for us. It is a lot of days at sea but we managed to handle it. ... Read More
We had heard about the cruise from friends who did it a couple of years ago and it sounded great and they wanted to go again. We did. Overall it was a fantastic experience for us. It is a lot of days at sea but we managed to handle it. Laying by the pool for me and reading most of the time, for the wife, activities here and there. We had only one day of real rain in 33. Seas were very calm, worst was 2 days before the return to San Diego. She was unhappy with the type of activities overall as she was not keen on the number of activities that were aimed at over 70 types and the lack of movement oriented activities. There was no Karioke, not type of dance lessons other than hula/polynesian and the music in the lounges tended to be late 40 - 60 era. Cooking demos were interesting but short. The only more "modern" stuff was in the crows nest after the shows and the stuff on tape was a waste. The DJ just sat and made sure the tape didn't stop. The nights the band played upstairs was really good. Surprise gig by the RaveOns was just what we waited for. More of that needed. Shows were ok but accordian, violin and over the hill gymnist not what you want in entertainment, the RaveOns were the best act. We ate in the dining room most times and found the food really good and the service was the best we've had on 8 cruises. Very impressed with the executive chef Peter and would even try to find out what ship he was on next. He really made the attempt to meet you and get input and his attention to details was evident in the food. We ate anytime dining but tried to get the same table/servers every night and it made a huge difference. Room was fine, we had no problems with flooding or temperature though many on the same deck (4) did. The ship is definitely in need of a refresh and we heard they were trying to sell it. Not impressed with the cruise director or shoreside support. Very impressed with dining room crew, so-so service at the Pinnacle. 2nd time was better. Islands visited were interesting and we had some great excursions. Bora Bora we took one of Patricks tours, otherwise most were through the ship and were good. Tendering was a pain due to breakdowns, many people taking hours to get off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We were invited to join some friends on this cruise. Since my partner hates to fly and this left from our Hometown of San Diego-we decided to give it at try. We are 2 star Mariners and although we've been on many cruises but never ... Read More
We were invited to join some friends on this cruise. Since my partner hates to fly and this left from our Hometown of San Diego-we decided to give it at try. We are 2 star Mariners and although we've been on many cruises but never one with so many sea days and we were apprehensive. We booked a balcony VB4166. The room is standard but the veranda is twice as large as the others on the upper promenade ( not including Neptune Suites) as we enjoy entertaining and spending time out there. We were unable to spend much time out there as the weather was very windy at times on the way to HI but when we were able there was maintenance going on directly below us and on the aft Lido deck. It was very annoying. They called and offered us earplugs which we considered laughable. In the end they did give us a credit off our bill which was very welcome. Early dining was okay. We were seated at a table of ten and lucked out with our table mates.I considered the menu to have little variation ( the first 3 nights-peppered tenderloin was offered). If you don't like cilantro or fish there isnt much to choose from, Our servers were very nice but not really personable and the food was mediocre many nights. Wine steward was really seen. Our room stewards were excellent and the bar staff on the Lido deck were terrific! Ocean bar too. Overall we enjoyed this cruise and even though we are seniors (69 &73) I would say that most passengers were much older and less mobile than most. if you're looking for a younger crowd and late entertainment check out a different cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise due to destination and because we got a good deal price wise. Our cabin was tiny and ill arranged but guess that goes with the great price. Our senior room steward was Tutu and he was wonderful. Very efficient and ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to destination and because we got a good deal price wise. Our cabin was tiny and ill arranged but guess that goes with the great price. Our senior room steward was Tutu and he was wonderful. Very efficient and intuitive and he somehow remembered everyone's name on the first day! Food on Lido and in main dining room surprisingly lacked the quality we are accustomed to on our cruises. Meats were tough and tasteless and there were few vegetable choices in the "Bistro" section of the Lido. The "Asian" and "Italian" sections of the Lido were however outstanding. Desserts were lackluster and saved only buy Ice Cream! Even sandwiches were disappointing -- breads not fresh and the crust on all of them were tough. I heard this from several other people so its not just me. Shops, Ship Offices and clubs and bistros were located on lower levels of ship decks so there were fewer cabins available on lower decks for those of us who tend to get seasick. Ships staff and services were all wonderful! I will not choose this ship again. I prefer the old style Maasdam/Zandaam size and layout. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Celebrating 50 years of marriage. Wanted an adult cruise, few kids. we haven't cruised in 25 years so things change. Most people on this cruise were older, 70's plus, and many were physically challenged. We are "young ... Read More
Celebrating 50 years of marriage. Wanted an adult cruise, few kids. we haven't cruised in 25 years so things change. Most people on this cruise were older, 70's plus, and many were physically challenged. We are "young 70's" and were pretty bored. First five days were at sea. Not a lot of entertainment. BB King Allstars were fantastic, main shows not so much. Service onboard was exceptional. Our cabin stewards (DoDo and SoSo) were outstanding. Wait staff and food service staff were fantastic. Only complaints I had were they ran out of Crown Royal half way through the cruise???? There was one waiter pouring coffee on the Lido deck so you might as well plan on serving yourself in the morning. Breakfast was nothing special, eggs, bacon etc. Made to order eggs were very good and cooked to perfection. Main dining room we did not care for. Breakfast was cold when served, eggs were very runny and bacon was not cooked enough. Couldn't get any coffee there either. Commented on the survey card sent to our room. Head waiter apologized and assured us it wouldn't happen again. Next morning, cold breakfast etc. We were disappointed in the food overall. I would compare it to Golden Corral. It was always hot but not much variety. All the breads were very crusty and tough. Very hard to bite into for us older folks. Not much choice for desserts. As I said earlier it has been some time since our last cruise and we remembered the lavish buffets and meals. We took a couple shore excursions and we enjoyed them very much. Only complaint was there were no bathroom facilities on board and no arrangements to stop anywhere. Not a good idea to feed "old folks" a big breakfast and then stick them on a bus for hours. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise at the last minute just to get away from our unseasonably cold weather. We couldn't believe how Holland America had changed since last fall. There were hardly any books in the library, and the ones that were ... Read More
We chose this cruise at the last minute just to get away from our unseasonably cold weather. We couldn't believe how Holland America had changed since last fall. There were hardly any books in the library, and the ones that were there were mostly Fantasy and SCI_FI - not our "cup of tea". They have no attendant and the books are placed "haphazardly" on the shelves. They had changed the WIFI and one now has to purchase unlimited for the whole cruise - I think it was $179, or close to that for 17 days. As we just wanted to check our email, that sounded pretty steep! We did inquire if as 5 star we would get $55 off,(it still lists under 5 star benefits that each 5 star gets half price of $55 for 100 mins) but were told that we would have to purchase 2 packages (his & her's) to get that off - and why would you do that when one gives you unlimited minutes-DAH?? The band is even smaller and there are no wind instruments, any longer, and definitely no dance band-(though that has been gone for 2 years) and as a result we only had 5 nights out of 17 to dance as the band was required for the show the other nights. There were also no dance hosts. The on board (free) activities were cut way back - no dance lessons, the lecturers subject were boring and the lecturers , though pleasant people, were not good lecturers. We had 11 sea days and in the past that number of sea days would have brought a couple of first rate lecturers and interesting subjects - 4 lectures on the laws of space and another 3 on laws of the Poles did not keep an audience. There was no boat building contest, no welcome aboard lunch or reception for long serving Mariners, on departing, and we could go on and on. However the Holland America crew still keep us coming back. They seem to try and compensate for all that has recently been cut and their smiling faces shine through. They are all so pleasant and helpful. We did not feel that the food choice or quality of food had changed and even though we were shocked at the other changes we will probably sail with them again as their itineraries are so great, but we certainly will be looking further afield. Happy sailing, McSweeney Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Chose this for many (10) sea days. Mistake. Very little to do in daytime. No bridge instructor, no craft instructor, same dull games, poor lecturers who read script. TV only Sports, MSNBC, FOX, BBC. Too cold and windy to walk outside. ... Read More
Chose this for many (10) sea days. Mistake. Very little to do in daytime. No bridge instructor, no craft instructor, same dull games, poor lecturers who read script. TV only Sports, MSNBC, FOX, BBC. Too cold and windy to walk outside. Bring your Kindle books. Best were the Filipino and Indonesian staff and the company performances very good with memorable visuals never have I seen on a ship. Dining room was tops with many choices though they had trouble with special requests and serving the soup hot and ice cream still hard frozen. The Lido at meal times was not pleasant with no clear line order. The fish was very good even though mostly from frozen. Nicely cooked. They said the salmon they served was caught by crew in Alaska last summer. You can order several lobster tails on the gala night. The beef was always tender and rib roast cooked to perfection. And I enjoyed the strong coffee. Become a Carnival Corp shareholder (100 shares) for a handy shipboard credit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We choose this cruise as it fit into our trip to the states with our adult children. This was our 7th cruise but first with Holland America. Our adult children nick named it "Rest-a home-a-dam. We think the spare cabins must ... Read More
We choose this cruise as it fit into our trip to the states with our adult children. This was our 7th cruise but first with Holland America. Our adult children nick named it "Rest-a home-a-dam. We think the spare cabins must have been sold off cheap to the San Diego rest home. we have never seen so many walkers, wheelchairs or mobility scooters. Yes, I know we all get there at some stage but some of these passages expected everyone to move for them. At the buffet it was very hard to get serve as the passage was taken up with vehicles. Some passengers were very rude about it. The ship, carpet in our cabin was dirty, the sheets were thread bare. The food was not up to the usual standards that we have had on other cruise lines. I had an apple pie where the pastry wasn't cooked through. The desserts at the buffet were poor quality. Thank god for the ice cream bar. There was a server at the buffet who didn't know how to carve meat. Nice pieces of roast pork were hacked at. Most of my cooked breakfasts were cold. I gave up and eat fruit and toast. Room serves meals were also delivered cold. Ordered tea for one and that's what I got, not enough hold water to make a second cup, and the cups were small. Not a cruise line I will be looking at in the future. The one bright spot was the comedian, he was enjoyable and we had a good laugh. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Never again will I take a cruise that takes 5 days of cruising to get there only to have a few precious hours in wonderful ports of the lovely Hawaiian islands. The worst stop was in Kona, where I finally got off the ship at 9:30 only to ... Read More
Never again will I take a cruise that takes 5 days of cruising to get there only to have a few precious hours in wonderful ports of the lovely Hawaiian islands. The worst stop was in Kona, where I finally got off the ship at 9:30 only to get into another line at the car rental counter. All aboard was 3:00pm, so the only advise I can give is do not rent a car there, it simply is not worth the $108.00 I paid for 2 1/2 hours worth of fun. To me it was most disappointing that the tender stop in Lahaina, Maui was cancelled, Adding another day in Oahu was not what I had signed up for and I feel cheated out of the thing I looked most forward to. We were told the cancellation was do to concern for the safety of the passengers, but rumor had it on the ship, that too many people were upset about Pearl Harbor being closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday, which again was very bad planning on the part of HAL. By the way, there is a wonderful port in Kahului, Maui where no tendering is required. Two days out of San Diego all the TV News channels went out and there was no attempt to repair them in the remaining 15 days, unacceptable! Entertainment was marginal at best, except for the Bellissimo show of the HAL dancers and singers. If you wanted to see the show you had better get into the showroom by 6:00pm for the 8:00pm or you could not find a seat. I had a lovely veranda cabin, (6110) that was seldom used. First because of the weather and on the few days were it was pleasant, my chain-smoking neighbors stunk up the air so badly that I went back inside. The best 20 minutes of the cruise were when we cruised by the Kilauea Volcano and watched the lava flow into the sea. That was fantastic. All in all, I have been on many cruises, but this one was the first one where I bored myself to tears. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this cruise because we live in Vancouver and didn't have to fly anywhere, we also love the 5 sea days each way. Embarkation took a very long time - our luggage got to our room before we did. Disembaraktion was very easy. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we live in Vancouver and didn't have to fly anywhere, we also love the 5 sea days each way. Embarkation took a very long time - our luggage got to our room before we did. Disembaraktion was very easy. I found the ship poorly laid out. It is a bunch of small, chopped up rooms with pillars every time you turn around. There are so many pillars in the Vista Lounge, that is makes about 25% of the seats unuseable. Our cabin - 1090 - was very noisy - clanking and clanging of, what we were told - were the pipes. The Paino Bar is such a small chopped up room, with lots of pillars, that extra chairs needed to be brought in almost every night. We did the anytime dining and getting a table was usually no problem. However, the menu selection was awful, vegetables were in short supply and meals took a REALLY long time - over 2 hours. The Pinnacle Grill was good, however, it would be nice if they would change up their dessert selections. Service was good at the front desk and picked up on the Lido Deck after complaints about dirty dishes being left on the tables for a long time. We have done this cruise previously and had a longer time (even overnight) in Honolulu - which is very nice. They could also cut out Victoria all together and change Hilo to a visit to Kona. I was not impressed with the entertainment - pretty ho hum. We did not travel with children - we didn't see many on the cruise - maybe 20. We would definitely take this cruise again because it is very easy for us, but I would be more selective about the ship - would not go on the Westerdam again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise due to the number of sea days as well as it left from Vancouver, BC. Having been on several other HAL cruises I was a bit disappointed with the quality of the food in the main dining room, didn't seem quite up to ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the number of sea days as well as it left from Vancouver, BC. Having been on several other HAL cruises I was a bit disappointed with the quality of the food in the main dining room, didn't seem quite up to par and very long wait for meals. The wait staff seemed very busy and not as chatty as on previous cruises. We like to have a set dining time and absolutely loved meeting our dinner companions. Having dinner with them every night was the highlight of the cruise! Found the ship not laid out very well as others have mentioned with lots of pillars in the Vista Lounge that obstructed seeing the stage. Found the entertainment a bit lackluster but loved the "Marriage Game" and Sarah the cruise director. The captain kept us well informed and had a great sense of humor. The crew were very helpful and friendly. We were in cabin 4009 near the front of the ship. The cabin itself was very nice and the bed was super comfy. Seemed though being so far forward you noticed the rocking motion more. It was just above the Vista Lounge but was very quiet. Enjoyed the digital workshops with Georgia. Spent from 7:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. in Victoria, BC on the way back which seemed a long time in port with nothing much to do there. Would have been nice to have seen a bit more of the Gulf Islands. On another note, embarkation took a long time but disembarking was a breeze. Would like to see this ship after its upcoming refurbishment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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