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14 Holland America Hawaii Cruise Reviews

Friends talked us into going on this cruise with them. Before this HAL was their favourite line ... now they've said they'll never cruise with them again. Horrendous doesn't begin to describe this. Constant maintenance ... Read More
Friends talked us into going on this cruise with them. Before this HAL was their favourite line ... now they've said they'll never cruise with them again. Horrendous doesn't begin to describe this. Constant maintenance (grinding rust most days for several hours), they closed the shops down, they closed the pools down, there was virtually no onboard entertainment (with the exception of the nightly show), few activities, and rude staff (not all of them, of course). Our cabin steward, Deny, was awesome - the best thing about the cruise. This ship should have been in dry dock but instead, greedy Holland America put it into service and did the maintenance while passengers were on board. Disgusting. You couldn't hold a conversation in the lounge because of the constant rust grinding going on. The gym was great - could always get onto the equipment. Only one gym instructor for the whole voyage. She worked from 6am-6pm every.single.day. Supposed to be two but this cruise line is so penny pinching. Onboard band was pretty good but they only played about four times. New Year's eve was a 'mentalist' - so bad half the audience walked out. Happy New Year! We've cruised many times but this was our most expensive and worst cruise ever. With the exception of breakfasts (waffles cooked to order with fresh fruit), the food was terrible. Christmas day consisted of boiled vegetables. We had asked for mashed potato but they were so incompetent they forgot to bring it. Merry Christmas! I complained to Holland America and they didn't give a toss. Tough luck ... but thanks for letting us know. NEVER. EVER. AGAIN. Do yourself a favour and go with a professional cruise line, like Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Cunard etc. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Terrible food of lowest quality, servers untrained, waitstaff untrained, entertainment poor to non--existent! officers just apologized for staff....big deal....don't waste your money here! shore excursion extremely overpriced! ... Read More
Terrible food of lowest quality, servers untrained, waitstaff untrained, entertainment poor to non--existent! officers just apologized for staff....big deal....don't waste your money here! shore excursion extremely overpriced! hardly any vegetables offered, fruit cocktails were canned, apples were soft and brown, oranges were of the tasteless type. twice i didn't get served any breakfast in the dining room because of waiters ignorance...and i was very displeased by being placed on 'ignore', thus i had to go up to the buffet for breakfast. never again on holland america! and some nights in the theater for the evening show...they just screened dvd's that were available to view in the cabin! what kind of monkey business is that? do they think we are stupid or something??? i can't believe they think they can treat people this way and get away with it....it is extremely extremely sad! don't they know we have many other choices??? pitiful...simply pitiful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
thought with 11 sea days there would be a lot of onboard activities....there were if you wanted to buy art, buy wine, buy spa treatments, buy a tour of the kitchen, buy old t-shirts, buy next cruise.....buy....buy...buy..- means bye - bye ... Read More
thought with 11 sea days there would be a lot of onboard activities....there were if you wanted to buy art, buy wine, buy spa treatments, buy a tour of the kitchen, buy old t-shirts, buy next cruise.....buy....buy...buy..- means bye - bye HAL....ciao ! Cruise director and staff were good looking.......no other discernible assets or skills. No people skills....afraid to interact with passengers.....could not even handle a sail-away or deck party. I was longing for a hokey disco night or country and western night....even a Hawaiian night....IT WAS A CRUISE TO HAWAII AFTERALL....no such luck with these dim bulbs. They get an A+ for their sense of self-importance......"we have been all around the world, you know"..............too bad you did not learn anything in your travels LIDO salad bar and LIDO omelets best thing on the ship....service from all the waiters and stewards in he LIDO buffet was excellent.....main dining room was average minus Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I chose this cruise because we live in Vancouver and it would be a no hassle (airports) way to enjoy a leisurely much needed holiday. The first day should have been the omen that would tell us how the rest of the trip would work out. We ... Read More
I chose this cruise because we live in Vancouver and it would be a no hassle (airports) way to enjoy a leisurely much needed holiday. The first day should have been the omen that would tell us how the rest of the trip would work out. We took 3 hours to check in.. everyone had been instructed to leave because they had to sanitize due to abnormal amount of Nor walk virus.. Many many people got sick... The entertainment was one step above a school production, social staff clearly did not enjoy their jobs. The library was moved to the top level of the ship where they had exciting activities such as "Napkin Folding". Really? Food was mediocre ..Do not book a set table.. the dining room was very sparsely attended .. we had a table for 8 and NO ONE showed up most nights ... the staff offered no other options in terms of moving us to another table even after we asked. The sea was rough 10 meter waves etc. Not really the fault of the cruise line but some effort could have been made to reroute into calmer waters ( we sailed the Atlantic and the cruise company we sailed with avoided a huge storm by sailing out of it's path) The stabilizers even malfunctioned coming into Victoria. Bar and Wait Staff seemed harassed and worked very hard but didn't put any extra effort in ..an example of this was ..I ordered a drink and they had run out of the mix they needed but were to busy apparently to send someone to another bar for what was needed .. I honestly do not know how this cruise company functions... We will NEVER cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
First the good, The ship reflects the grandeur of the past glory days of cruising. Quality decor and comfortable surroundings gave us the initial good feeling that we would be enjoying the next 16 days sailing the pacific. Unfortunately, ... Read More
First the good, The ship reflects the grandeur of the past glory days of cruising. Quality decor and comfortable surroundings gave us the initial good feeling that we would be enjoying the next 16 days sailing the pacific. Unfortunately, that was about the only good thing about this cruise. We were welcomed to our cabin with a revolting smear on the rim of the toilet seat. After we mentioned it to our cabin steward he said "oh, you would like it extra clean? Needless to say, we used our Lysol wipes to disinfect our drawers, power switches, etc.. But, it's a cruise, how bad can it get... Well, it seemed that the entire ship was very short staffed. In fact, if something disastrous would have happened onboard, I would not have felt safe with the crew. The room steward had twice the number of rooms to clean compared to Princess ships. He seemed exhausted and sleepy all of the time. We felt sorry for him so we kept our room very clean just to give him a bit of a break. As far as the food was concerned, you likely would get far better quality from any N. American cheap fast food joint. Seriously! Despite the fact we dined in the main dining room everyday, the service and the food was atrocious. Now I know what magazine posed foods tastes like. Yea, it looked good, but I wouldn't feed it to a dog (mainly because a dog wouldn't eat this garbage). Crunchy, parboiled rice and risotto, tomato sauces right out of a no name jug, and meat that could substitute for shoe leather. And that was the good stuff. Now I understand why they gave you so little on your plate, because anymore would have made you sick. Our highlight was escaping the dining room two hours after being seated to go up to the Lydo buffet and have some ice cream. Unfortunately, that didn't last very long. We read the ingredients labels on the ice cream containers. It listed high fructose corn syrup and glucose as the sweeteners, artificial flavouring, and other items I could not pronounce. Even bulk foods ice cream uses real milk and sugar! Princess and NCL makes their own ice cream on board with real ingredients. H.A. has gone way too far. What a dump! The service in the dining room was pathetic. The waiters are responsible for twice the number of tables as on other ships. You could never get their attention. And we were always waiting nearly an hour between our appetizer and main course. It took us no less than two to two and a half hours to have a simple meal. As we waited in long lines for every meal in the dining room, we only met one person in the 16 days who said she liked the food. She also loved the hotdogs and lard fried French fries served poolside. Everyone else was revolted by the quality of the food. The thermal spa was also a major disappointment. One of the two showers had a plugged drain and the staff did nothing to rectify the problem in 14 days. You would think that for $450 you would get a working facility. We were wrong! In fact, the aromatic steam room should be infused with relaxing scents. It never worked throughout the cruise. We asked 5 different spa staff members to tell us if they smelled any aroma. They all said no except for the manager who sold us the package. Needless to say this will be our last Holland America cruise. Beware, as all of those old mariners we talked to onboard say that H.A. has dropped to new lows for quality cruising. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Oosterdam is the twentieth ship that we have travelled on, therefore we feel qualified for the review that we are submitting for this ship. Additionally, we generally travel on voyages of two weeks' duration or longer, so have ... Read More
Oosterdam is the twentieth ship that we have travelled on, therefore we feel qualified for the review that we are submitting for this ship. Additionally, we generally travel on voyages of two weeks' duration or longer, so have substantial experience of what is and is not acceptable for paying passengers on a cruise line that claims such terms as "refined elegance", gracious service", "signature service style", "our 5-star world" (all quotations from the 2012 Holland America Voyages brochure). We had travelled on Volendam for a 17-day cruise from Sydney around New Zealand and return to Sydney over Christmas 2011. This was our first Holland America experience and we were thrilled at the quality of that voyage; Captain Pieter Bos and his team kept Volendam in absolute top condition, staff were always right on the money for first-class service and we had no reason to complain about the accommodation, food or service. It was primarily on the goodwill built-up on Volendam that we chose to use Holland America again for our next voyage. What a mistake. We travelled from Australia (Sydney) on 16 March on Qantas Flight QF11 to Los Angeles, staying there overnight and self-driving to San Diego the next morning to join Oosterdam. Qantas enroute to Los Angeles was excellent, the flight being on the A380 aircraft with very good creature-comforts and superb service by cabin crew. Accommodation at Los Angeles was the Airport Marriott (very well-priced and comfortable, close to freeway entrances), vehicle rental was from Hertz at the Marriott. A nice upgrade from Hertz - we booked a Dodge Caravan for ease of transporting luggage, instead provided with a Mercedes GL450 4WD at no extra cost. Porters at San Diego Cruise Terminal are as usual, excellent. They know what they're doing and they do it very efficiently and politely. On arrival at our cabin, the premises were nothing short of putrid. Past passengers' pubic hairs on the bathroom floor; more hair within the bed linen; soap scum layering the sink, soapdish and shower-tile surfaces; carpet lined with grit and filth; litter (potato-crisp packets) on the floor adjacent to and beneath the bed; mattress stinking and reeked of perspiration; sofa head covered in dust with some dead insects for good measure; sofa and cushions stained and obviously not correct for use in accommodation represented as "5-star"; makeup stains on the pillow-linen for the bed. We genuinely believe that the bed-linen had not been changed from the cabin's previous occupants, if not longer than that. The hair-dryer's casing was severely chipped and therefore a safety risk. No steward identified themselves to us as being responsible for our cabin. We approached a steward standing in the corridor (not doing much) near our cabin and asked him whether he was responsible for Cabin 5150, he said that he was and that seemed to be the end of the conversation. No enquiry as to the satisfaction of our accommodation, no greeting blurb as to the location of our lifeboat station, etcetera. I rang the front desk to advise that we wanted housekeeping management to view our accommodation. Shortly afterwards, Housekeeping Managers Tessa and Melanie arrived at the cabin and agreed that the accommodations were in fact filthy. They could provide no explanation for the condition that the cabin was presented to us in, but advised that it would be properly cleaned when we went for dinner. On return from our meal, the cabin appeared to have been thoroughly cleaned. Over the next number of days enroute to Hawaii, other events occurred - unfolding a napkin at the Lido Buffet Restaurant during a lunch, the napkin contained somebody's fresh nasal discharge - whoever folded the napkin must have seen this but chose to make the napkin available for use, complete with cutlery folded into it. Another lunchtime napkin in the Vista Dining Room contained some luxuriant black hair on another day. The bartender at the Ocean Bar one evening gave us a drink with somebody's fresh lipstick nicely decorating the glass's rim. The strip of corridor on Deck 2 between the Atrium and Queens Lounge stank strongly of vomit, all day every day, widely-commented on by many others. Then the air-conditioning unit over the bed in Cabin 5150 started spewing out black soot into the cabin - onto the bed and cabin-furniture, probably onto us during the night and being inhaled by us, too. Even after a claim of repair, the unit continued to do this until finally stopping. The Hawaiian ports were excellent, we made use of Dollar Car Rental for Hilo, Honolulu and Nawiliwili, Hertz for Lahaina. Lacklustre service at the Dollar depots, excellent service at Hertz. Tendering at Lahaina was fairly efficient and if you were prepared to start the day early, you got off early, too. From the Hawaiian Islands back to San Diego, grumbles amongst various passengers were becoming more bold, but whether or not anybody else made their grievances known to the Oosterdam management, we are unaware. Corridor-carpets and stairwells were always filthy, especially in the rearmost internal areas of the ship. At lunch in the Vista Dining Room on the second-last seaday enroute to San Diego, I ordered a Tuna Melt sandwich, clearly stipulating without bellpepper as I have a severe allergy to this and to pickles. The waiter repeated the order back, which was witnessed by three other Florida passengers with whom we were having lunch. I bit-into the sandwich, and it was loaded with bellpepper. The response from my insides was immediate, resulting in a dreadful mess at the table (you can guess the images). Lots of apologies from the restaurant staff at all levels, no explanation though as to how it had happened especially given that the order had been correctly-taken and supposedly then correctly relayed to the kitchen. What the checking mechanism is then for the meal's forwarding to the Dining Room, is unknown by me. The next day (final seaday), same time, I ordered a cheeseburger without pickles due to allergy. The cheeseburger arrived, on this occasion I checked the burger before biting it, and the burger was loaded with pickles. I informed the Head Waiter (same one as on the previous day with the bellpeppers) and he could not advise why this had now happened to me on consecutive days with advice of an allergy that would cause me to be seriously ill. At this table with us were four British passengers (one a retired judge). The judge ordered a meal which when arrived, he advised that it was inedible and insisted on a replacement. When the replacement meal arrived, the judge advised the Head Waiter that this meal was also inedible due to the way in which it had been prepared. The judge then gave-up on getting an edible meal in the Dining Room and they left to try to obtain edible food at the Terrace Grill. We cancelled our housekeeping tips that afternoon, and only left the Dining Room tips still standing due to some degree of loyalty to our Dinner (Fixed Seating) Waiters, who were relatively solid in their table-service to us each night. We wrote five positive-feedback compliments for various staff on Oosterdam, including the fabulous Glenn Gonsalves (personable and super-professional Manager of the Pinnacle Restaurant). As a comparison, we wrote over twenty compliment-cards for Volendam crew-members, struggled to find five to write about on Oosterdam. We received a letter from Oosterdam Hotel management thanking us for the compilment-cards we had written, and they included on the list a further four crew-members we had never heard of. The two Cruise Critics Meetings that were held were well-attended, and many, many thanks must go to our wonderful Cruise Critic Den Mother Norma from Arizona, who did all the pre-cruise organisation and correspondence with Holland America for the CC meetings. Special hellos from us also to Dobie Mom from San Diego and Cruznmonster from Chicago. We very much enjoyed the company of all the Critics who attended. It was a nice moment to sign the CC banner which is held aboard Oosterdam. Our dinner table (65) was an excellent collection of wonderful folk (family Dan, Diane and Shirley from San Diego, friends Kathleen and Dianne from Seattle). Disembarkation at San Diego was relatively efficient, again with those great porters who know their business so well. We hired a Chevrolet Tahoe truck from Hertz and kept this vehicle until departure from Los Angeles to Sydney on the night of 3 April. Holland America place a 'Let Us Know' slip in the cabin in each evening and advise that if you have any concerns, put it in writing. We have learned that this is lip-service only by Holland America, and in our experience on Oosterdam this 'Let Us Know' advice is lacking in sincerity and commitment. We wrote four advices to the Oosterdam management during this cruise, firstly for the completely unacceptable cabin-presentation, then for the deteriorating condition of the hygiene-critical items (napkin with nasal discharge, etcetera). then for having been served on consecutive days with food-ingredients that I had advised the restaurant would cause me serious illness with a potentiality for worse. On the first two occasions, we received short responses signed 'Thoughfully' from the Hotel Services Manager. After the incident which caused me to be violently ill in the Dining Room, I received a note saying my correspondence had been sent to Head Office in Seattle (no mention of 'Thoughtfully' against the signature this time); there was no acknowledgement even that something had happened to me. We submitted a further letter after I was served with an allergic-food on the consecutive day - we did not even receive an acknowledgement this time, even though we specifically asked for a response. Gutless or incompetent management? Make up your own mind. Any goodwill generated by Volendam on Holland America's behalf is well and truly gone now. We had intended to travel on Noordam in Europe this year, but not now. One older female passenger on this same Oosterdam voyage, when we advised of our intention to write this review for Cruise Critic, said "Tell 'em their ship stinks". Where does the 'buck stop' on Oosterdam - how could this ship vary so differently in a passenger-experience to Volendam? Whispers to us from some crew-members from various departments on Oosterdam were that this vessel is perhaps not a good example of Holland America. In our view, on this ship, the buck stops with the Hotel Services management (go as far up the tree of the ship's management as you wish). During the course of the voyage, we had never asked for any form of upgrade, only seeking a vacation that lived up to (or near enough to) the promises in the advertising. Oosterdam is relocating to Australia later in 2012. P&O Cruises in Australia, often commented for a rowdy passenger-demographic, at least provide very clean ships with good reliable service in recent years. Our tip to Australians who may be considering booking on Oosterdam, either as the opportunity to travel on a 'new' ship to Australian waters or due to previous good experiences on the excellently-run Volendam is DON'T. Instead give your fare to P&O or Royal Caribbean (who have also demonstrated a serious commitment in providing quality ships with responsible management to Australian passengers). This was a waste of vacation-time on a poorly-managed ship whose Hotel Management doesn't even have the courtesy to respond in writing after having actively solicited feedback (supposedly good or otherwise). Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
As a seasoned cruiser, never again on Holland America.Huge banging all through the night. We were told at the end of the cruise the whole front hull was buckling and banging. Room service was always late and wrong, toast came bread not ... Read More
As a seasoned cruiser, never again on Holland America.Huge banging all through the night. We were told at the end of the cruise the whole front hull was buckling and banging. Room service was always late and wrong, toast came bread not toasted.Formal dinning rm food bland and tasteless. Entertainment not entertaining, seen better acts at high school.New entertainment director was constantly asking the audience if we liked her dress and was it appropriate, every day.Food was so bad that we ate at the hamburger stand almost every day. Music was focusing on the "over 75 year old" audience.40s music. Do they not know that people 55-65 like music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s?The age group they are focus toward is in the nursing home, time to catch up and change that 320 year old format.We asked people if they were pleased, the ones that said yes had never cruised any other company, ignorance is bliss. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We were in Cabin 7004, Neptune Suite. To begin with the cabin was tired and worn, dirty furniture on the veranda, only one electrical outlet in the entire cabin (they confiscated our brand new compliant outlet strip at check in, gave us an ... Read More
We were in Cabin 7004, Neptune Suite. To begin with the cabin was tired and worn, dirty furniture on the veranda, only one electrical outlet in the entire cabin (they confiscated our brand new compliant outlet strip at check in, gave us an old battered one) the laminate on the vanity was peeling off, the floor in the bathroom was buckled and the tiles were missing grout. Old and outdated room with old box and hose hairdryer. The tub had a large crack in it patched with a different color material (the did serve notice that this would be corrected on one of the Hawaii port days). While the cabin steward and MDR staff were excellent, the Pinnacle Grill was absolutely awful We waited 30 minutes for our 8pm reservation when the restaurant was almost empty, this was day 3. Tables were not cleaned or bussed, we sat around tables with dirty linen, glasses, napkins and plates not removed, during the entire meal. Waitstaff was clueless and disorganized. They came after 10 minutes of just sitting there to take our order when we hadn't even gotten menus or ordered drinks yet. We had to continually ask 2 and 3 times for things, service was poor. On the LeCirque night (second one, toward the end of the cruise) the manager came over and asked how everything was and I pointed out once again all of the unbussed, uncleared tables, he went into a long apology telling us about how he was new, and used to being on a bigger ship, had a new staff, had staff out sick etc. OK well maybe that was the situation in the first several days, but this was 2 weeks later, one would think you would get it right by then. We also had to wait to be seated that night. As suite guests we had our breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, again, very disappointing, terrible service, orders wrong, had to ask multiple times for things and though we would arrive 30 minutes prior to the closing, they rushed to take our order telling us the kitchen was closing. The cruise was very disorganized. In the past on HAL, when we arrived, all of the invitations for cocktail parties, lunches, travel agent gifts etc. were all in our cabin. We arrived to find only one Pinnacle Dinner and One Canaletto Dinner (both booked for embarkation day that evening) these were the comps from the Explore 4 package. Since we had 10 sea days we wanted to book things like spa, cooking classes etc. and wanted to know when the advertised things such as suite cocktail party with ships officers would be held so as not to double book. The concierge had no record of these and said they don't do those anymore. I pointed out how this was advertised as a perk for suite guests. We asked about gifts from our travel agent and he had no record of these, in fact they tried to pass off the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto dinners from the Explore 4 package as gifts from the travel agent. I emailed my agent and it took them 4 days to get it sorted out. The complimentary beverage package was a disaster. Now there is not a separate card but goes on your ships ID card. All throughout the cruise we were constantly in the office dealing with charges for drinks that were supposed to be included in the package. The final bill was still not correct and was so confusing and convoluted that is was pages and pages and we still would up paying for drinks that were supposed to be included in the package. Apparently the suite cocktail party was overlooked and a hastily thrown together suite lunch where the captain and the hotel manager made a brief appearance was substituted. It was in the Pinnacle Grill and the manager again came over to tell us his woes and how he only had 2 days notice to put this together. The cooking classes were supposedly overbooked, but 8 of the guests were double booked and the names were spelled wrong and confirmation notices did not arrive, mass confusion again. We did happen to meet with the hotel manager and he totally agreed that our experiences were out of line. A guest should never be given any excuses. As far as dining, while the food was good, in the MDR portions were sparse. Vegetables now are a garnish. A small portion of protein (less that 3-4 oz.) was accompanied by one piece of asparagus or one broccoli floret or a small slice of carrot and one small little round potato or piece of potato or a thimble full of rice. Portions were all small and disappointing. Room service was very slow, orders were often incorrect and the supposed offer of evening hors'doeuvres was almost nonexistent. There were lots of repeats in the menus and many similar dishes. We took our lunch most of the time in the MDR because the chaos of the Lido and the overcrowding and dodging wheelchairs, canes, walkers and the like, along with people who were not eating but occupying tables playing cards etc. On the plus side, concierge service was good and the Neptune lounge has a good selection of items. The Dive in and most bar service was good. Although we learned from being on the Amsterdam last year to tip the bar staff, otherwise you wait and are ignored. The worst issue was toward the end of the cruise on Saturday, there was an emergency announcement. (This new system of several alerts is most confusing) Apparently there was smoke detected in the forward bow thruster room. The situation was well handled and we were kept informed, the captain was on the scene almost immediately. They dispensed fire teams and evacuated the staff decks forward. Everyone remained calm. They were puzzled because there was no active fire, but smoke was present. As it turned out, there was ongoing maintenance on a fuel tank and a cover was left off which let out terrible fumes, detected as smoke. For several days the entire front of the ship was filled with noxious odor. We became sickened and missed out on many activities because of spending time in our cabin, feeling ill. Apparently caused by carelessness. While most of the crew were attentive, it seemed like they were just going through the motions and checking off the box. Things like the Indonesian Tea, the Dutch High Tea and similar events were not at all what we were used to. They were held but except for some decorations and a title, not really anything different than any other tea. Disappointing selection of food and we ere rushed through, refills on tea or food were difficult to come by. The staff seemed overwhelmed by the numbers of people attending. The formal nights are now replaced by "gala" nights. The dress was most appalling, apparently people just ignore the dress codes and almost no one dresses anymore, another disappointment. Only 3 gala nights with 10 sea days on a 17 night cruise was disappointing. The dress codes were not enforced anywhere not in the MDR or the Pinnacle Grill. I have traveled and cruised extensively, (Cunard diamond member) my cruise companion summed it up best: "Last year on the 14 day Alaska cruise on the Amsterdam, it was a wonderful experience, so much so that it made me want to go again. Had this been my first cruise, I would not have booked a second." We booked a Canada/New England cruise for next year but will definitely cancel and try another line. HAL has disappointed us and lowered their standards to the point of paying $20,000 for a cruise, we can do better, much better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My mom and I cruised previously with NCL, Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line. This was our eighth cruise overall and our second time on Zaandam. We have sailed on Zandaam about a year ago and we have enjoyed it but the latest 15-day ... Read More
My mom and I cruised previously with NCL, Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line. This was our eighth cruise overall and our second time on Zaandam. We have sailed on Zandaam about a year ago and we have enjoyed it but the latest 15-day Hawaii cruise was awful experience. After embarkation we were told that the staterooms are not ready and the crew told us to go up in the Lido buffet and wait. Around 3:00 pm there was an announcement that the staterooms are ready and we went down to our cabin. To our surprise the beds were not separated, the toilet bowl was dirty, there was some garbage in the closet, bed sheets had holes and hair, and the blankets were old and worn. The air conditioner did not work and it was hot in the stateroom. We immediately have reported all these problems to the front office and they told us that someone will be there shortly. We waited for several hours but nobody came. We have visited the front office again and insisted that the bathroom needs to be cleaned, beds has to be separated and A/C has to be repaired as soon as possible. After some arguments with the front office personnel they finally sent a cabin steward to clean the bathroom and separate the beds. The technicians also came to repair the A/C. They told us that the A/C is working now and that we can adjust the temperature to our liking. They lied to us as they simply set the temperature to minimum. We have set the temperature controller to maximum but it did not work as the A/C was blowing cold air. Because of cold temperature we couldn't sleep all night. In the morning we went to the front office again and insisted on a meeting with a hotel manager. After several arguments with front office clerks they have made an appointment with Guest Relations Manager, Mrs. Grace Zerna. She was 20 min late and no one even care to let us know that she is late. We have explained the situation to her but she was rude and kept interrupting us. We insisted on a meeting with Hotel Manager, Mr. Kees B. Streuding. She has refused and said that she could not find him. We said that we will not leave the front desk area until we meet with the Hotel Manager. In about half an hour the Hotel Manager finally met with us. We informed him about A/C problem and asked to repair the A/C or move us to another stateroom. He said that there are no available staterooms and promised us that the A/C will be repaired. The technicians came again and told us that they have replaced the thermostat and that we can adjust the temperature, but it was a lie again. The A/C blew cold air again... The clerk from the front office checked the temperature in our stateroom. It was 64 F. After many stressful visits to the front desk during the first 3 days of the cruise we gave up as there was no help from management to solve the problem. They simply ignored us. It seemed that the hotel manager does not exist at all as during the 15 day cruise we have not seen him except our short and useless appointment. We had no choice but to sleep in the cold room with our clothes on and using extra blankets. We got cold for several days and had a sore throat and cough. Two days before the end of the cruise we wrote an official letter to the Hotel Manager, Mr. Kees B. Streuding, and demanding compensation. There was no response. We have enquired at the front desk about response to our letter but they said that there will be no compensation... Other problems during the cruise include: 1. During the cruise there were constant painting and varnishing in the public areas on outside decks. The ship was repaired all day long and the crew was wearing protective respirators. It was awful because instead of enjoying fresh air during our 9 sea days we were forced to breathe poisonous chemical fumes and vapors. 2. Another disappointment was the food. It was of low quality, very repetitive and mostly tasteless, except for formal nights. At lunch there were mostly 3 or 4 chicken dishes with fries, rice, noodles and vegetables. Watery oatmeal, expired granola boxes, salty soups, most meat and fish dishes had no taste or had strange odor. The fruits and desserts lacked any variety. There were no grapes, mangos, peaches or nectarines in the buffet. You can also see other cutbacks. 3. There were fruit flies in the glasses with water and juice, on bread and fruits in the main dining room and in the Lido buffet. The windows throughout the ship were dirty and some dust streaks were hanging from the ceilings in the Lido buffet. 4. In the middle of cruise there were general plumbing problem and toilets did not flush for about 12 hours. The administration tried to hide that it is a general problem and there were no announcements or apologies given. 5. Many passengers were waiting for beautiful Napali Coast passage but for some reason the captain has changed the course and no information given. On the plus side we have enjoyed the cooking demonstrations in the Culinary Arts Center, The Neptunes trio in the Ocean Bar and Kimika show. Hawaii ambassador, Kainoa, has provided very interesting and informative lectures. Our dining room stewards, Tono and Ariana also provided excellent professional service. We are extremely disappointed with this cruise on Zaandam as our vacation was ruined and we will never sail on Holland America Line again unless HAL will greately improve their customer service and dining. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Feb. 5 departure for Hawaii on Ms Zaandam. There is no doubt that the 'technical difficulty' that delayed our departure from San Diego was related to the lack of hydraulics for the stabilizers (prevent side to side roll of ... Read More
Feb. 5 departure for Hawaii on Ms Zaandam. There is no doubt that the 'technical difficulty' that delayed our departure from San Diego was related to the lack of hydraulics for the stabilizers (prevent side to side roll of ship). I understand that pitch (front to back movement is unavoidable), but the constant side to side roll as evidenced by one's feet and the motion of the water in the pools proved that we weathered gale force winds and forty foot waves WITHOUT stabilizers. The stabilizers remained dysfunctional throughout the cruise. The ship should not have been permitted to leave San Diego without stabilizers especially considering the average age of the HAL cruiser. I saw many older folk fall onto the floor, into chairs, into tables and many injuries were incurred. One also wonders if the incoming storm which hastened our departure from Maui by seven hours was not related to the lack of the stabilizers. The second problem with the cruise which was also avoidable was the presence of Norovirus on the ship which restricted activities, ease of meals in the Lido Dining room and other inconveniences. A simple finger-stick for a drop of blood sample placed on a slide, easy two step staining procedure and an experienced microscopist specializing in hematology would easily have detected the presence of a viral infection in a boarding passenger. There was abundant time to perform this test as we wound our way through the dockside check-in. (I can do the entire process within ten minutes.) I AM a former specialist in reading blood smears and determining from the white blood cells present and the percentage of circulating lymphocytes to tell the officials which passenger(s) has/have a viral infection. The self-declaration form we filled out is useless. Who is going to answer yes to a question which will cancel their long-awaited cruise? As an aside: As I was trying to get to the bridge portion of the ship, I took some wrong turns after encountering a Fire Exit sign on the door which would have led me to my destination. Apparently the Dutch have no idea that Americans do not breach Fire Doors. I entered many other doors which had NO warning signs of any sort and accidentally found myself walking up the steps to the pilot house. Good thing I was not a hijacker or terrorist, eh. One more thing: Do you all realize what HAL pays their 'non-professional' staff members? The Eastern Europeans in the casino get TEN DOLLARS PER DAY. You can extrapolate downward to get a sense of what HAL must pay the Indonesian cabin staff which do the yeoman's portion of the work aboard the ship. I call that slave labor and I will be notifying my congressional representatives about it. I will not sail HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
We arrived (by air) from Toronto. When we arrived at the port in San Diego, we were told that the ship was being super-sanitized, because several cases of Norovirus had occurred during the previous voyage. Some of the passengers had been ... Read More
We arrived (by air) from Toronto. When we arrived at the port in San Diego, we were told that the ship was being super-sanitized, because several cases of Norovirus had occurred during the previous voyage. Some of the passengers had been informed the previous day (even though the problem had existed well before the ship ended its last cruise). My travel agent never was informed. It seems that I get e-mails and postal mail from Holland America on a constant basis...........but they can't alert me when such a serious situation may change my plans? Instead of boarding for a leisurely lunch and tour, we were all kept (like cattle) in the embarkation terminal. Boarding took at least 3 additional hours to occur. Holland America offered a full refund of the tour cost if anyone did not wish to take the cruise. No one from Holland America would make any commitment as to air fare refunds. I had already spent over $1100 on air fare and to try to get a flight on Thanksgiving Day eve would have been impossible. There is no doubt, in my mind, that the 'offer' was purely legal protection, in case some got sick on our cruise. The ship should not have left the dock. Quarantine, for this gastrointestinal virus is at least 48 hours. We had enough passengers come down with the virus, that we were in "CODE RED" until 2 days before our 15 day cruise ended. Those who were confined to their cabins, as a quarantine measure, were paid $150 per day. We were not given the 'signature service' that we had paid for. Hot tubs were not opened. The Taco bar was not available. The library could not be used for any books. The 'tranquility spa pool was not available'. No self-service was available for meals. This meant ridiculous line-ups to get cutlery, milk, juice, coffee, rolls, ANYTHING!!! We could not have dinner rolls on the table in the dining room or salt or pepper shakers. We were asked to spray disinfectant on our hands, everywhere we went. The employees on the ship were expected to work extra time. Even spa people and pianists and wives of crew members were part of the serving teams in the LIDO eatery. It still did not alleviate the constant line-ups and confrontations. On shore, any bus shuttles that we took had to be sprayed down before any of us could enter. We received some negative reception from store personnel and other tourists. Some tours (agricultural, for example) were just plain cancelled. I could elaborate, but I think that you get the point that we did not get what we had signed up and paid for. What did Holland America do to compensate the passengers for the inconveniences (as well as the constant worry of potential infection)? They gave us each a $10 room credit. That is correct...........the decimal place is accurate.......TEN DOLLARS. This was apparently to pay for a lunch in San Diego on the first day (we missed the on-board lunch because we could not board). No one, who did go to eat in San Diego, could do it for $10! Holland America should have been pro-active. There should have been top people at the embarkation terminal to clarify their offer of a 'full cruise refund'. Those who chose to continue with their cruise should have been given a large credit. $10 is an absolute farce. We each paid $10 per day for 'gratuity charge'. This was even charged on the first day, when we could not even get into our room until early evening. In my opinion, this was a money-grab issue from beginning to end. The cruise should not even have started. CODE RED would be necessary for an 'at sea' ship, to enable it to complete its voyage. To start, and operate for 13 days, in CODE RED should be illegal, let alone grounds for a sizeable refund of fees paid. There needs to be some serious answers for the conduct of the Holland America company in this situation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
Holland America Zaandam - January 20th to February 4th, 2007 This was our third time on Holland to Hawaii (repeat of 3 years ago and 6 years ago), our 14th Holland cruise and 40th cruise to date. Booked two adjoining rooms 3397/3401 with ... Read More
Holland America Zaandam - January 20th to February 4th, 2007 This was our third time on Holland to Hawaii (repeat of 3 years ago and 6 years ago), our 14th Holland cruise and 40th cruise to date. Booked two adjoining rooms 3397/3401 with connecting doors for three adults. Embarkation was a breeze as usual since we live in San Diego. A ten minute ride to the pier and with an express boarding pass(completed on home computer), we were on the ship in five minutes flat including photos! The ship, now six years old, is in beautiful shape like other Holland ships(except a very few spots with worn carpet) and was extremely clean from bow to stern. The first night and day of our four day crossing to Hawaii was a little rough and a few newbies did get a little seasick, but the rest of the voyage was mostly smooth for a winter Pacific crossing. Only major problem was six foot swells in Kona that caused our Captain to cancel the port call as he did not want to risk any injuries getting on or off of the tenders. Too bad that Kona does not have a dock...maybe someday they will build one so that they don't lose the tourist revenue because of high seas! Our cabins were perfect, room steward was very attentive, food was good in both the Rotterdam Dining Room and the Lido. Pinnacle grill was outstanding on this ship, we all agreed that both the food and service were excellent, but since it was a gift from TA we didn't have to spend the $30 extra which is a little steep (the old $20 charge seemed about right). The crew on this voyage was outstanding, they all seemed to go out of their way to be accommodating, from the room steward, to the dining stewards and especially to the buffet line cooks in the Lido who took the time to give you exactly what you wanted at any meal. Special kudos to the omelette cook and the deli sandwich cook for their creations! The ports of call in Hawaii were of course as beautiful as ever and we appreciated having an overnight in Honolulu so that we could spend some time with friends who live their and gave us a Cook's tour of all the places that you don't normally get to see, off the beaten path. The return to San Diego was very relaxing with another four beautiful days at sea and once again a very smooth disembarkation which Holland has down to a science with passengers allowed to remain in their cabins (or any other place on the ship) to avoid the crushing stampede of passengers that is so common in the cruise industry. Our only complaint on the voyage was the fact that there was a group of about 400 passengers that were attending religious seminars on board which tied up the main showroom and some of the lounges causing events and games for the other passengers to be moved around or cancelled. The bingo games were held in the Crow's Nest which didn't workout very well and were poorly attended as a result. But the biggest problem with this group was that some of them were very religious and attempted to preach to the other passengers which didn't go over very well. We noticed that the mood on this voyage was very strange, after a while, as people stopped being talkative for fear of getting preached at in response to a simple hello! I encountered this same problem years ago on another cruise line and the same change of mood spoiled the atmosphere on that cruise because of a religious group on board...people don't go on vacation to get religion, most of us get plenty of that at home and Holland should not allow this type of group to spoil other passenger's vacations. We will probably not be sailing on Holland again due to this religious group experience...if they can't charter the whole ship, they should meet on land! Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
The embarkation in San Diego was hectic. No provisions were made for people who had trouble walking or standing. Few chairs were available. When we got to our cabin, our toilet had a note saying it was broken. It was full to the brim. Why ... Read More
The embarkation in San Diego was hectic. No provisions were made for people who had trouble walking or standing. Few chairs were available. When we got to our cabin, our toilet had a note saying it was broken. It was full to the brim. Why were we allowed to go to the cabin? How disgusting!! Obviously someone knew about the problem and should have addressed it before we arrived. The ship itself is quite lovely. The common rooms are bright and inviting. I especially enjoyed the library. Many activities were scheduled each day. It would be nice if we knew what some of the activities were. When there was a change in meal time or show time it was noted in the daily schedule. It would have been nice if the activities director brought it to everyone's attention in his daily announcement. The excursion staff was not at all helpful. They consistently said they didn't have information we requested because it was their first time in Hawaii. One day when we went on a tour, we felt as if we were help captive on the bus. It began to pour. We asked to go back to the ship since our outdoor experience could not be had. Many other tour group passengers also wanted to do this. The driver refused, even after he was told by his superiors that roads were closed due to mud slides. We were stuck on that bus for almost 8 hours!! We eventually got half our money back, but that didn't give us back the day we lost. We could have gone to the shops by the port, or even back to the ship and participated in activities there. I would not recommend a Holland America Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
We booked our cruise 20 months in advance. It was to be my "dream" vacation. Our final bill was to be paid in July and I called at least 6 times over a period of three days and each time left a voice mail message. When I did not ... Read More
We booked our cruise 20 months in advance. It was to be my "dream" vacation. Our final bill was to be paid in July and I called at least 6 times over a period of three days and each time left a voice mail message. When I did not get a return call, I called Mr. Stein Kruse, the CEO and with his help was finally able to pay the remainder of our bill. Travel to San Diego was uneventful and booked through HAL. After my husband and I picked up our luggage from the baggage area, we left all four bags in the hands of the HAL representative. We were put on a bus to go to the pier and the bus had some unusable seats. The check in at the pier was chaotic and we stood in line (in a hot warehouse) for at least 45 minutes-1 hour. We found our cabin without incident and toured the ship while we waited for our luggage to arrive. Three of the four pieces arrived before dinner. The fourth bag (mine) was lost and HAL was never able to get it to me for the entire 15 days of the voyage. This particular bag contained 100% of my makeup, evening wear, shampoo, brush, comb, curling iron, toothbrush and paste, swimsuit, suntan lotion, creams, informal wear, and 50% of my shorts, capris, shoes, sweaters, etc. The first evening, I was given an "emergency kit" which consisted of a small toothbrush, small toothpaste and Scope. The next day HAL said they would give me $50 on board credit to purchase emergency supplies...I bought four items of the cheapest products in the on-board store (we were at sea for the first four days) and the total came to $56.42. Guest relations said they did not have the authority to approve the remaining $6.42! I was in tears and was then told to go down one floor to guest relations. Long story short, it was finally approved, through persistence and some begging. Same story when I asked them to approve a $39.00 shampoo and styling in the hair salon. The first day in port (Hilo) I again called Mr. Kruse. I was then approved for two more appointments in the beauty salon and a massage. The ship also charged my insurance company to cover any other on-board expenses that I might have. Hilo was our first port. Nice city. Our excursion included Akaka Falls and the nut factory. It was okay, but far from outstanding. I spent the afternoon in Walmart, to purchase supplies that I would not have needed nor wanted if HAL had not lost my luggage: cost $104.00 The next day we docked in Honolulu. We did the excursion to the Arizona, Mighty Moe and the Punch Bowl. Well worth the time and money, although I did get sun burned. Our second day we did the Island Little Circle tour. It was a huge waste of time and money. Our fourth day in Hawaii, we dropped anchor outside of Kona and were getting ready to disembark when the earthquake hit. The ship really shook. Fortunately the captain, within minutes of the quake, told the passengers what had happened and that the ship was fine. Our tour was cancelled, so I cannot report on the volcano that we expected to see. Our last day was spent in torrential rain in Lahaina. Because of the weather, our glass bottom boat tour was also cancelled. The last stop on the last night of the tour was to be in Ensenada, Mexico. The port was fogged in with 0 visibility, so that was also cancelled. The best part of the cruise was seeing Pearl Harbor and the WWII memorial. Since we had a balcony cabin, we also enjoyed some beautiful rainbows on the Pacific Ocean during the cruise back to San Diego. The wait staff was first class as was our cabin attendant. My husband and I enjoyed playing in the casino and it made some of the long days at sea go faster. Reading my book also helped. I would have liked to have been able to enjoy the pool and hot tub, however HAL had my bathing suit and had sent it to Mexico. We also enjoyed the shows. We were surprised at the large number of very elderly people on this cruise, and the accompanying number of wheelchairs, canes, and walkers. At the conclusion of this cruise, all passengers received a "cruise log" which included the captains notes about the voyage. I have not received this from any other cruise line and I found it to be a valuable keepsake. In conclusion, HAL's lack of due diligence in taking care of my luggage ruined my very expensive vacation. The fact that I could not wear most of the clothes that I had bought specifically for this trip was traumatic. After the first day or two though, my trauma was as much about HAL's poor response to the problems they created as it was to the lost luggage. My requests were reasonable, but with each request,I was usually told "I don't have the authority to approve that." I asked, in writing to see the ship's hotel manager and was refused. I did meet with him at the end of the voyage, but only because I insisted after a public meeting. Within one week of arriving at home, I wrote to Mr. Kruse and to the head of guest relations at the corporate office and have yet to get a response. This was by far the worst cruise I have ever taken and we will not sail with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
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