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54 Holland America Hawaii Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because being HAL Past Guests (Mariners) we received a promotion that we could not let pass, as this cruise was on our bucket list. This was our 17th cruise overall, our first one being on our honeymoon 47 years ... Read More
We chose this cruise because being HAL Past Guests (Mariners) we received a promotion that we could not let pass, as this cruise was on our bucket list. This was our 17th cruise overall, our first one being on our honeymoon 47 years ago. We have cruised on Costa Line (honeymoon in 1972 and Mediterranean in 1991); Carnival, Celebrity and HAL. As seasoned cruisers, we have developed expectations as to our experiences on board. I will be basing this review on whether our expectations were met on this cruise. We flew to San Diego from San Antonio, TX (direct flight on Southwest). We had arranged transfer through HAL. The transfer service was efficient and personnel were friendly. I highly recommend arranging a transfer ahead of time. Embarkation went smoothly. The only glitch was that we had Priority Embarkation and although our bags were tagged as such, we did not receive our luggage until 4pm. The Eurodam is a beautiful ship, with understated elegance. The five days at sea were fantastic. The activities during the day were well planned. There was something for everybody. Kudos to the activities director! Sometimes we had trouble deciding what to do because of the amount of varied activities offered.Our favorite activities were the talks in the theater about Hawaiian history, given by a Hawaiian with so much knowledge about his land! There were Hawaiian ambassadors on board (as well as on the 5 days at sea returning to San Diego) who provided their personal insight in the history and culture of Hawaii. We learned the Hawaiian alphabet, there were hula and ukulele classes, classes to make leis and kukui bead bracelets, sunset celebrations with chants, beautiful and authentic hula dancing and sing alongs. These were fabulous. We felt like we were in Hawaii since Day One. I praised and thanked the Port Guides and the ambassadors for giving us this unique experience. One thing they told us that if we liked the experience we need to let HAL know, because with budget cuts this program might cease. I made sure to let HAL know that this a must. As long as I am talking about entertainment, let me talk about the evening events. In the evenings there was a pianist in the Ocean Bar (5pm to 7:45pm). If you wanted to dance you could, in a dance floor big enough for perhaps three couples, but the music, although good, was mainly for entertainment. Then there was the 'B B King Lounge', (3 shows nightly, one hour each), with jazz and blues, and themed music. The dance floor here is fairly comfortable, but the seats on the main floor and in the bar area fill up quickly. This was the only venue conducive to dancing. 'Billboards on Board' are two pianists on two pianos, singing and encouraging sing-alongs. This was fun. They had 3 shows nightly, each one one hour long. They had themed nights and took requests and were very popular. They are not HAL employees. Apparently they are contracted, although there is a Billboards Bar with HAL bar staff. But, no dancing here. For us, a highlight was the 'Lincoln Center Stage', a partnership between HAL and the 'Lincoln Center'. There is a strings quintet who give 3 performances, one in the afternoon and two in the evenings. As the cruise went on they were performing to Standing Room Only crowds. They are classically trained musicians with a varied repertoire, from chamber music to popular songs, arranged especially for them. We always went to the shows before and after dinner. They are a treasure, and HAL should feel proud of having this partnership. The musicians are provided by the Lincoln Center, they are not HAL employees. Contrary to daytime, there is a lack of variety and originality at night. Other than the theater shows, this was it for the evenings, unless you are a gambler (we are not), the "Sip and Savor' and Sampling events for a fee, (another way to get your money), the Jewelry shops spotlights, and.....Bingo. As for the theater shows: there are no more review shows with dancers and singers in HAL. This was a big disappointment. The shows were generally good though. There were two comedians, both hilarious; a magician/comedian who was excellent; a pianist/comedian, very talented and funny; a clarinetist and a guitarist (both talented but more suitable to a lounge venue than a theater); an Australian singer with an amazing range of voice. Our very favorite were 'The Alley Cats', a Doo Wop quartet that are bringing back the a-capella singing with that 50's feel. They are beyond fabulous. Think 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight', 'Goodnight Sweetheart' and you get the idea. They brought the house down. There was also the BBC Planet Earth with live musicians. This is thrilling. The night the Philippines crew did their authentic show, there was not an empty seat in the house. Having said that, the 'show' one evening was a movie we could have watched in our rooms. Thumbs down on this one. One show that was fantastic, and not to be missed is "Humanity" by Step One Dance Company. This blew our minds. Although the majority of the acts were great, many comments were heard, as well as the Cruise Director being asked about the lack of the review shows. Is HAL trying to save money by cutting the review shows? Service around the ship was excellent, meeting our expectations. The only draw back was that whenever we asked for a glass of water at a bar or the theater, we were either ignored or served with reluctance. I know there is no remuneration for water, but we are paying guests and if we want water we should get it without reservations. If we ordered cocktails or wine, there was no problem. Our cabin steward exceeded our expectations. He made sure our flowers were fresh and the fruit replenished. He noticed my husband had a mild cold, so he brought us extra tissues so we had them anywhere in the cabin. He was attentive and caring. Dining: we had Open Seating. The first night service was horrible. The assistant waiter came and served water and gave us the menu. Did not say Good Night or greet us in any way. Then the head waiter came with his notepad ready and without introducing himself he asked for our order. My husband ordered steak and had to ask for a steak knife. One of the assistant waiters was talking to someone on the other side of the half wall dividing our section from the one on a level one step above. He was joking and yelling right behind us. This is not right. Our experience was not what we are accustomed on a cruise. When we made reservations for subsequent nights we were specific not to seat us at that table or his section. We found a good team and asked to stay with them if possible. We did and were very happy with them, as expected. Food was hit and miss, but overall good. Be aware that HAL is now charging a $10 surcharge if you order a second entree. This does not apply to appetizers, salads or soups, or desserts, just entrees. They also charge $20 surcharge for lobster. We ate at the four Specialty Restaurants: Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, Canaletto, and Rudi's. Rudi's is the Pinnacle Grill transformed into a Chef Rudi restaurant with his recipes and ambiance. They were all a delight, with superb service and amazing food. Also, because of the Neptune Suite, we could have breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill (included). Fabulous service and a great menu. We did this on sea days. The Photo Shop has not gone electronic. No more looking through thousands of photos to find yours, and then see hundreds thrown away. This is fantastic! I gave kudos to the staff. You insert your card in a computer and through a face-recognition program the computer finds your photos and you buy them as if you were buying from home online. Shore excursions: varied and well planned. The excursions followed the descriptions in the brochure. These are the excursions we took: Honolulu: Pearl Harbor and the Mighty Missouri. This is a must if you like history and this is your first visit to Hawaii. The "gangway" to the Arizona Memorial is damaged and unsteady so we did not go inside the Memorial. We knew this so it did not catch us by surprise. You are standing right in front of Battleship Row, where everything happened. Goose bumps! They showed a movie that was informative and poignant so we did not feel like we had missed much by not visiting the actual Memorial. Then we boarded a Navy launch to go the Missouri. On the ride we took great photos of the Arizona Memorial and the other markers. The Missouri is impressive. Standing there where the Japanese surrender actually happened was exciting to say the least. We also went to the Punchbowl, the National Pacific Cemetery, and saw highlights of Honolulu including the King Kamahameha statue and the Iiolani Palace (photos only.) We still had time to go to a Luau. We thought about booking on our own, but the logistics of getting there and back were too risky, so we booked it with HAL. It was fun, food was great, seeing how they prepare the Kahlua Pork was interesting. I tried poi (my husband did not). I leave it up to you to decide if you like it or not, but it is something worth trying if you are in Hawaii. The show was colorful and pretty, but the audience participation got to be too much. Overall, it was fun. Kauai: we took a helicopter ride. This one we booked on our own. We read the reviews from the rides booked thru HAL and were not impressed. We booked Jack Harter Helicopters and cannot say enough about them. They were efficient throughout the process and answered all our questions before we got there. They picked us up at the pier. The ride was the most thrilling thing we have done in a long time. There are places in Kauai that are only seen from the air. We were not disappointed. This was a 65 minute ride, compared to 45 minutes with the HAL excursion. Highly recommend Jack Harter. (The helicopter views in Jurassic Park are in Kauai as well as in Maui.) Their driver took us back to town, which is within walking distance from the ship. We had a delicious lunch overlooking the ocean. Maui: Road to Hana. Reviews said this was an unpaved, windy road. It is now paved. There are many curves and bridges but the guide was so informative, and he made so many frequent stops that the time went fast. Scenery is gorgeous. The water falls are numerous and beautiful. We had lunch at Waianapanapa State Park, at the Honokalali beach, a unique black sand beach. Spectacular! We ate coconut ice cream, freshly made, and went to Ho'okipa beach to see leatherback turtles. This was a fun and informative excursion. Kona, Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Due to the recent eruption, most of the park was closed, as was the Thurston Lava Tube, but we were able to walk on lava fields from an 1868 eruption and learn everything about lava and volcanoes. The Kohala Coast gives amazing views. The Coffee Plantation is beautiful and Kona Coffee is fabulous. Try the apple bananas. The Punalu'u Bake Shop is a delicious stop. Our guide was fantastic. Hilo, Big Island: Historical Hilo and Akaka Falls. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. He moved to Hilo from Minnesota 22 years ago and does not regret it. Hilo is beautiful, full of history. We stopped at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. There are the plain salted macadamias and macadamias covered in every kind of goodies. Their shop is very pretty. Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls are spectacular. The Lyman Museum and Mission House are very informative. Ensenada, Mexico: Bufadora Adventure. Bufadora is a specatacular blowhole, one of the biggest in the world. You have about an hour and a half in the Bufadora area. You walk about 20 minutes through a long street full of vendors of every kind. They will offer samples of margaritas, piña coladas, they will entice you to go to their shops. I suggest that unless you want to spend your time with one of them, say "No thank you"and keep walking. The blowhole's peak time is at high tide. We got there at low tide and the seas were calm. We waited patiently and saw quite a few big sprays, about 30 ft high. The spray can go 60-100 ft in the air with the right conditions. Our guide told us the best times are Nov to May. She was fantastic. We experienced a traffic jam going back but we were all in a good mood. Our last stop was an old hacienda that is now an activities center, and tried a margarita at the spot where the margaritas were invented. The story is fascinating. At the end of the tour we asked our guide where we could have fresh lobster and she recommended a restaurant that was a bit hard to find but worth it. The port guides on the ship give suggestions as well. Calle Primera (main street) is very picturesque and the break water (malecón in Spanish) is absolutely beautiful. Debarkation was smooth. no problems. Back in San Diego, we took the pre-arranged transfer to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Embarkation and disembarkation were pretty much the same as the three prior cruises we have taken. Don't bother getting to the pier until after noon unless you are intent on having lunch aboard ship. The crew was outstanding. ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation were pretty much the same as the three prior cruises we have taken. Don't bother getting to the pier until after noon unless you are intent on having lunch aboard ship. The crew was outstanding. Always friendly, smiling, anxious to please. The language barrier was seldom a problem, and when it was, simply asking for a repeat solved it. This ship has a capacity of around 2,000 passengers. I bet there were no more than 100 under the age of 65. There were literally more mobility scooters and walkers than children on the ship. That's one reason we selected HAL--a quiet, peaceful environment in which to enjoy our days at sea and meals in the dining venues. A huge storm hit Hawaii the same time we did. That meant that three of the five port calls in Hawaii were canceled. We were disappointed, but not terrifically so; we have been to Hawaii enough times to have experienced it pretty thoroughly. If it had been our first trip to the islands, I would have been seriously bummed. The ship itself was in very good shape. The furniture, decor, and cabin amenities were in excellent condition. The big TV in our Verandah cabin had useful ship's info (menus, weather, etc.) as well as TV shows and movies. My wife discovered that closed caption can be turned on in all the movies, not just those under the Closed Caption menu. We had Open Seating dining. We traveled with another couple. We would show up at the Main Dining Room around six each evening that we ate there, telling the maitre d that we wanted a table for four, not shared with others. On one formal night we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table, but in every other case we were seated either immediately or within five minutes. One disadvantage to our method is that we usually ended up at a table in the back, right above the azipods, where there was significant engine noise. Speaking of engine noise, I explored the various decks to see whether there was a location to avoid to get a quiet cabin. Surprisingly, the only areas that I could hear mechanical noise (at least in the passageways) was on the lower decks (A and 1), midship. I believe it was exhaust noise from the diesel engines. I was surprised that there wasn't mechanical noise near the aft cabins, since there sure was a lot of it in the main dining room in the tables at the back. Our cabin was nice, although the cabin I selected (5039) had a substandard size balcony. Our friends on the fourth deck, in the same class of cabin, had a regular-depth balcony. Speaking of balconies, we noticed that when we took the glass elevators midship, we could see the entire balconies for the cabins adjacent to those elevators. I would have been very unhappy to have such a public balcony. Overall, a great cruise. The staff, the ship, and the food were outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose the Eurodam because of its destination. We left a chilly and windy San Diego CA on February 2 sailing to Hawaii and back. The weather did not cooperate as we encountered rough seas all the way. It was necessary to cancel three of ... Read More
We chose the Eurodam because of its destination. We left a chilly and windy San Diego CA on February 2 sailing to Hawaii and back. The weather did not cooperate as we encountered rough seas all the way. It was necessary to cancel three of our ports for safety concerns. The ship staff and crew made the trip very enjoyable anyway. Entertainment was very good. No food complaints about the main dining room. Service and food were were fine. Selection was amazing. The captain is to be commended for taking excellent care of his passengers in rough weather. Our cruise director came up with several on board activities when we were unable to go ashore. We learned a lot in the America’s Test Kitchen where Annnette cooked up some great dishes. I would not hesitate to take another cruise with Holland America. This was our third and longest. They are a cruise line serving seniors well. If you want water slides and rock walls you will need to look elsewhere but if you want excellent service, food, and a spotless ship consider them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was my first cruise with HAL after cruising Celebrity for my last 5 cruises. I chose the cruise for the itinerary- I have always wanted to go to Hawaii and the idea of so many sea days was very attractive. Embarkation in San Diego ... Read More
This was my first cruise with HAL after cruising Celebrity for my last 5 cruises. I chose the cruise for the itinerary- I have always wanted to go to Hawaii and the idea of so many sea days was very attractive. Embarkation in San Diego went smoothly- I arrived at the port around 10:30 and was on the ship by noon. I appreciated being able to go directly to my cabin to drop off my carry-ons before heading to the MDR for lunch. I had booked an inside cabin guarantee and was placed in room 6135, category K. It wasn't the largest inside cabin I've ever stayed in, but it did the job. I liked the ability to request fresh fruit that was refilled throughout the voyage. I didn't like the pull down shelves in the closet- I prefer drawers, but loved the under the bed drawers and multiple USB charging outlets. There was some creaking and shifting noises from the ship but I heard minimal noise through the connecting door and no noise from above or below. The best decision I made was to book a retreat cabana for the length of the cruise. Although I didn't use it much on port days, it was an oasis of calm and relaxation. As a solo traveler, it can be difficult to have to carry all of your things from place to place, lose your spot in the Lido when you go back to the line to get something else to eat, leave your things if you want to go for a swim, etc. The cabana gave me a private spot that was always mine, and both breakfast and lunch service were provided, allowing me to miss the chaos in the Lido. Sparkling wine and chocolate dipped strawberries were delivered each afternoon between 3 & 3:30 People who don't cruise wonder how could I fill up 10 sea days? Very easily, between America's Test Kitchen classes, lectures on Hawaii, cultural activities like lei making and kukui nut bracelet making, and the occasional trivia contest. Hula and Ukelele lessons were offered, with students performing towards the end of the cruise on the main stage. Polyfit (a cross between Zumba and Hula) was offered 4 times and was a great way to work off the desserts and cheese fries from the Dive in. The gym was busy every morning and the full promenade deck saw people doing laps throughout the day. Evening entertainment was mixed. Only 1-2 performers in the main stage were excellent, and while I wanted to love the Billboard onboard piano bar, the nature of their improvisation too often led to discordant music that wasn't enjoyable. Lincoln Center Stage concerts with 4 piece string ensemble plus piano were excellently performed, but it would have been helpful to know what all their concerts were going to be and when so I didn't front-load my trip making sure I didn't miss something. the BB King Blue Club was excellent and where we ended many nights. For you night owls- their last set ends at 11:30 pm, and the DJ who plays after them ends around 12:15, so there isn't much to do late at night. As far as food, the Dive in (burgers, hot dogs, and fries, included) and the Tamarind (Asian-fusion, extra charge) were highlights, as was the Cellar Master's Dinner (extra charge). Food from the Lido was as expected, and food in the main dining room (MDR) was good. New York Pizza (included) and both Canaletto and the Pinnacle (extra charge) were disappointing. The Pizza always took at least 20 minutes and toppings were not evenly distributed to the point were 1-2 out of 6 pieces would only have sauce & cheese, with no other toppings. The crust was too floury. Canaletto had MDR quality food and wasn't work the minimal upcharge. The best thing I ate at the Pinnacle was the side dish of brussel sprouts- let's just leave it at that. All of the Hawaiian ports were fantastic, and the 1 ship excursion I took was a dozen or so people and worth the price I paid. Besides the food, which is always subjective, there was a general lack of consistency throughout the ship that detracted from my overall experience. None of these things were deal-breakers, or ruined my trip, but taken together, created a less than wonderful experience. Some examples include: I had booked 1 dinner in each specialty restaurant before leaving. Upon boarding, I stopped at the Pinnacle to ask how these were scheduled. They scheduled all 3 dinners for me, only for me to return to my cabin later in the day and discover that I had already been scheduled for the first night! This required me to call and have the other dinner cancelled. Since the trip was 18 days, I wanted to take advantage of the laundry service onboard. I searched everywhere in my cabin and couldn't find a laundry bag, so left a note for my cabin steward who provided one. However, he didn't provide a second one to leave in the cabin so I had to ask a second time during the cruise for another one. After asking for the second one, then an extra was provided to leave in the cabin for the future. Upon embarkation, I had 2 long pillows and 2 short pillows on my bed. Sometime in the middle of the cruise, it was changed to 1 long pillow and 3 short pillows, not due to any request of mine. Even though I slept with the long pillow on the same side of the bed every night, it was constantly moved back and forth each day as the room was made back up, requiring me to shift all the pillows back around to my preferred configuration each night. The morning of disembarkation, as the room was being readied while I was in the lido, the 2nd long pillow returned for the next guest. The cabana space is supposed to be for the exclusive use of those who have rented cabanas, yet passengers would wander through whenever they felt like it. Cabana attendants would get them to leave once they saw them, but if they were running an errand, it was up to passengers to ask people to leave. Additionally, items advertised as part of the cabana experience (fans, misters) were not provided. One day juice in the Lido was placed into the wrong sections so instead of Passion Fruit/Orange/Guava juice I got grapefruit juice. Luckily I wasn't on any medications that interact poorly with grapefruit juice. When dining alone in Canaletto and the Pinnacle, I received less attention/service than those tables near me with more than 1 person. This included not reviewing the menu or asking if I had questions & not checking in with me timely to determine if everything was OK. Again, some of these might not seem like a big deal but these were just some examples of the tiny inconsistencies that built up into a larger picture of some improvements being needed. Disembarkation in San Diego went smoothly. The ship says you can remain in your stateroom until your departure info is called, but with the room stewards moving things around and trying to get the cabin ready for the next guest, I was uncomfortable staying and so sat in a public space instead. Although everything wasn't perfect, life never is. This was a very enjoyable cruise where the positives far outweighed the negatives and I would cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We sailed from Vancouver on April 12. It was cold for the first 3 days and the last 3 days. Even the Canadians were wearing their coats outside. Many people hung out on the aft pool deck because there is no smoking on the ship except ... Read More
We sailed from Vancouver on April 12. It was cold for the first 3 days and the last 3 days. Even the Canadians were wearing their coats outside. Many people hung out on the aft pool deck because there is no smoking on the ship except for a designated area on the aft pool deck. There is no cigar lounge. Many people were seasick the first day due to rough seas. The mid-ship pool is in a large atrium that can be opened, a great feature for a ship especially one sailing through varying weather. It was warm in there when cold outside. In warm weather, they did open it. We had fixed dinner reservations for 5:45. A 7:45 seating and walk-in dining were also available. The dinners were all very good. Portions were right-sized but they would be happy to bring you seconds if you wanted. We ate at each of the specialty restaurants once. There were certainly good too but we thought the value proposition is questionable given the quality of the main dining room. At the Lido buffet, the food is put on plates by servers, as opposed to the self-serve we were used too. Their lunch time taco bar and hamburger stand was very good. It was hard to find a seat during breakfast and lunch, they could definitely use more tables in the public areas. Drinks were about $7 for a beer and about $8 - $9 for a cocktail. But, they have two happy hours, one from 4 - 5 pm and one from 10 - 11 pm. During happy hour, you can get a second drink for $2 more. Happy hour is only valid at two of the bars. They are named on the daily itinerary sheet that is placed in your cabin. Fountain sodas are $2:30 each. The entertainment was good. The main stage was typical cruise ship entertainment, mostly singers and one magician that was very funny. We especially enjoyed the BB King Blues Club. They have a laundry service that can be unlimited, by the item, or by the bag. The by the bag option was $20 per bag and we could stuff about 3- 5 days of clothes in a bag. Highlights of the trip included the Capilano suspension bridge in Vancouver, the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui, the Arizona Memorial, and hiking Diamond Head. Try to get your tickets to the Arizona memorial in advance or you may not get in. Hiking Diamond Head requires the ability to walk 2 miles and climb many stairs. On days the ship tenders, be sure to pick up your tender tickets early or you may be waiting a long time to get off the ship. It seemed to take forever to get anywhere on the public bus in Honolulu. We finally gave up and used Uber. The gym was large and in good shape. It had several treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and weight some weight equipment. They offered several classes for additional fee including spin, stretching, yoga, etc. Computer classes were offered daily, but they filled up quickly. You had to be there well in advance to get a seat. All are listed on the ship's daily itinerary. Classes from America's Test Kitchen were offered daily in the BB King Blues Lounge. They were informative and entertaining. You don't get to eat the food though. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
A destination we've always wanted to try and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation was as easy and quick a always. Arrived by 11 on board before noon. Ship is absolutely beautiful. Crows nest is reconfigured. Didn't ... Read More
A destination we've always wanted to try and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation was as easy and quick a always. Arrived by 11 on board before noon. Ship is absolutely beautiful. Crows nest is reconfigured. Didn't have a problem with it but - there is plenty of room for a larger library, dance floor and a quiet dance group. EXC is ok where it is but there is lots of unused space. New seats were nice as far as I am concerned. They took the dance space out of the Ocean Bar and people danced on the carpet where they could find room. One more small, quiet group that you could enjoy and/or dance too would have been nice. Cabin was ready and nicely redone. Bathroom is small and needs a little updating but everything worked well. Bed was comfortable and bedding wonderful. Room steward was beyond accommodating as on any HAL ship. Dining in MDR was very good and service great - I do feel there has been a cut back on staffing and that makes it tough. Dinners did not take as long as some people have said. Lido was delish and if you can't find something you like, well..... I loved the 'pre-made' sandwich which gets a bad rap. Fruit was yummy and breakfast is always good. Pinnacle Grill was over the top. Dive In has great burgers and fries. Entertainment was so so in the main stage area. BB King Blues band is beyond good and the dueling piano bar was packed every time they played. Biggest issue is - happy hour only in two spots and not nearly enough staff to man the stations. Not enough Drink staff by the pools either. The Ports were great - didn't do any HAL excursions - pricey! Booked a 10-1 tour in Costa Rica with Thumbs Up tours !!!!! Will never forget it. ATV tour with Amigos tours in Cabo - also good. We ended up on a 'tour' with a local in Nicaragua - great - $10. Chiapas was not needed and not enough time in Cabo. Had a minor problem with the Greenhouse Spa charging mandatory 15% gratuity and not telling you till you were done ( it was printed in fine print in a couple of places) Would consider it again as there is lots to see but there are lots of other cruises to take also. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The Westerdam Circle Island cruise was a perfect choice as it was literally round-trip from our hometown.... Also, we'd heard good things about Holland America and figured we would give it a try...as we are in the process of shifting ... Read More
The Westerdam Circle Island cruise was a perfect choice as it was literally round-trip from our hometown.... Also, we'd heard good things about Holland America and figured we would give it a try...as we are in the process of shifting travel gears to do more cruising in the future. Two thousand passengers is a whole lot of people to confine in close quarters for a lengthy sea voyage, but with a balcony as respite from the 'Madding Crowd' we were OK with that. The ship is lovely, well appointed, after removal of the atrium concept others have, felt more like a real ship. The 2017 refurb left things very spiffy looking and well functioning. As it was a longer cruise the travelers were all adults...no kids or teenagers and mostly the crowd was 50+ in age. While that made for pleasant company, it also meant more passengers needing quite a bit of assistance and slower elevator times. Again, not a problem but a consideration. I felt there could have been more staff available to assist in the buffet area, however. Not easy leaning on a cane or pushing a walker with a plate of food!! Just a minor note! If I have any criticism at all it is this: the entertainment was in most cases not what I would assume an older crowd (and I am in that group) would appreciate. The shows generally were very "Las Vegas" meaning loud, glitzy and over amped. We attended those which were a bit more aimed at our taste. Also, the enrichment programs were scanty and poorly done. One major exception: THE HAWAIIAN AMBASSADORS aboard ship were amazingly knowledgeable and presented fascinating lectures and programs for us all. The trip home offered nothing along the lines of 'enrichment'. The staff in the MDR seemed overwhelmed at times with the amount of work. I frankly don't know how they coped, so despite what other reviewers may say, I found the food amazingly good: properly prepared, professionally served, and pleasantly tasty. I honestly believe most of the severe criticism I read is based on some assumption that the MDR is supposed to be a five star experience. You honestly cannot expect that when it comes to feeding 2,000 people a variety of foods. The food in the buffet was tasty and offered a wide variety. I was, however, chagrined to see passengers filling their personal coffee and water bottles/containers at the urns, despite a prominent sign asking them not to do so. A crew member standing guard and making sure it didn't happen might have helped. The whole concept of doing this is, to me, a bit outrageous. All the staff were very helpful and ready to fulfill any request....there just didn't seem to be enough of them...that is HAL's failing as I don't think it is limited to the Westerdam. Over all, would I sail again on HAL. Yes, depending on the itinerary and ship size--the smaller the better. Thanks for listening! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Booking - Direct with HAL. Price similar to other agents. Boarding – We boarded in San Diego. Nowadays, the detail work is done online from home so the process was quick. About an hour after arriving at the terminal we were in our ... Read More
Booking - Direct with HAL. Price similar to other agents. Boarding – We boarded in San Diego. Nowadays, the detail work is done online from home so the process was quick. About an hour after arriving at the terminal we were in our stateroom. Gone was the typical crowding into the upper deck cafeteria while awaiting stateroom to be prepped. The ship – Oosterdam is showing its age despite a 2016 refurb. The passageways were full of scratches and dents from luggage. I saw places where the walls had drip marks at the bottom, like someone sprayed surface cleaner and allowed it to run. Ten minutes out of San Diego, the ship began a steady rocking motion which intensified through the night. The next morning I expected to see white caps but the sea was calm. This is my tenth cruise (not counting two years on an aircraft carrier) and I've never been bounced around this much. Many veteran cruisers agreed. The Lido deck has two pools separated by the casual dining area. One has a retractable cover. Only 46 lounge chairs surround the main pool; around them are perhaps 60 or so 4-seat tables. Initially, I thought this to be insufficient but was proved wrong. Of the 8-10 I came to the pool, I always found an available lounger. Stateroom - Our cabin was a typical veranda class. It mirrored the wear & tear of the ship in general. Rather than a typical shower, there's a 4' tub. Gouges in the sink & tub were through the melamine surface exposing the base material. I sat on a wooden chair at the desk and it cracked and broke. I admit to being overweight but 250# shouldn't have done that. Cabin staff was helpful and attentive. Cabin staff was excellent. Any requests were met quickly and cheerfully. Dining - The food was quite good. We enjoyed a good selection of well prepared dishes. There were half a dozen varied entrees each night plus the standard fare (NY strip, grilled salmon or chicken) The breakfast choices were especially diverse. I never knew there were three varieties of Eggs Benedict. If anything, the food might have been a bit too chic. I couldn't pronounce 30% of the menu items. By the end of the cruise, I was ready for a trip to Cracker Barrel. The Lido deck cafeteria was a pleasant surprise with a nice variety that often mirrored the dining room menu. The tables were all set up with place-mats, napkins and flatware. Bus boys bring you iced tea, water or lemonade. Forgot to get ketchup or tartar sauce? Just ask. The dining arrangements were a different story. I had “Open seating” so I called to make a 6pm reservation. No go. They don't take Open Seating reservations for anytime between 5:30 – 7:30 but I could come down w/o a reservation and wait in line. Turns out the wait can be up to 30 min. The next day I called for a 5:30 seating. They told me that the only thing available was after 7:30 and that would be the case for the next several days. Something seemed amiss. Eventually I spoke with the senior waiter. He was very nice and seemed genuinely embarrassed to confess that a computer glitch had jumbled many seating times and table numbers. This poor fellow was forced to do hundreds of seating changes by hand. He quickly resolved my issue and sent a complementary plate of chocolate covered strawberries to our stateroom. A poolside hot dog & burger bar also offers taco fixin's. The food was very good, the fries were outstanding. There are three specialty restaurants with premiums of $15 to $49. I did not visit any of them. Entertainment – Less than stellar. The few evening shows we attended were pretty Ho-Hum. I’ve seen much better talent on Celebrity. About the third day however, we discovered a neat little gem. One of the lounges featured a concert pianist and string quartet. They were amazing. You needed to get there 30 min early to get a seat. Farther forward was a lounge that featured a couple guys playing twin pianos. They were outstanding. Every night 80 – 100 people would crowd in to watch them. It was next to the casino and people would turn chairs from the slot machines to watch the show. I’ve gotta believe the casino manager wasn't thrilled by this. Excursions – Like most cruise lines, these were expensive. We’ve found it’s often cheaper to book your own trips from the non-affiliated companies at the end of the pier. Disembarkation – Very well coordinated and easy. Everybody gets luggage tags and a time slot. We had relatives picking us up so there was no need to rush. We waited in our cabin until 9:30am then spend 20 min in a lounge. When they called our number, the crowd was gone and our luggage was easy to find. Summary – HAL is an attractive choice for older folks. I doubt there were even a dozen school-age passengers. I’d estimate the median age at 70. If you’re in this age group or if you’re comfortable being around older folks, HAL is a good bet. Things are quiet and refined. If you prefer a younger crowd, try Princess or RCCL. If you want a floating fraternity house, consider Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I frequently cruise the San Diego to Mexican Riviera cruise when I find a good price. I have sailed only HAL the past few years. I was on this ship before and since my last trip they have gone into dry dock and added the Lincoln Center ... Read More
I frequently cruise the San Diego to Mexican Riviera cruise when I find a good price. I have sailed only HAL the past few years. I was on this ship before and since my last trip they have gone into dry dock and added the Lincoln Center concert area, expanded the showroom, added more top deck outside veranda cabins, some cabanas and squeezed in more inside cabins by making them smaller. I was told that the ship was due to go into dry dock again in a couple of months and it needs it. Several areas are looking worn and in need of upgrade. Overall I enjoyed my cruise very much. I think the dining food is very good for a mid price ship. Service is not a ubiquitous as it has been in the past but it was OK. Embarcation and disembarkation procedures have been streamlined which is an improvement. Because I return to these ports I choose not to go ashore in Cabo and do my own thing walking in Mazatlan while taking the PV city bus (7 pesos) to the beach area and downtown. So, I cannot comment on the excursions. They do appear overpriced to me. I purchased a future cruise deposit which is a $100. cost but will pay my next cruise deposit not requiring any further expense until 90 days before when the cost is due in full. By doing that I also receive a $25. cruise credit on my account for that upcoming cruise. The other thing I do that might not be as well known is to purchase 100 shares of Carnival stock, which owns HAL as well as several other cruise lines. As a shareholder I can request a $100 credit on my account for each cruise I book and more $$ for longer cruises. Plus the stock pays a dividend as well. I was glad someone told me about this several years ago. Happy cruising everyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
16 night cruise from Van to Hawaii and back....No flying which is the way we like it! This was a very enjoyable cruise.Lots to do and also lots of time to relax on your own. I took in the windows 10 digital workshop classes which were good ... Read More
16 night cruise from Van to Hawaii and back....No flying which is the way we like it! This was a very enjoyable cruise.Lots to do and also lots of time to relax on your own. I took in the windows 10 digital workshop classes which were good ( there's always something to learn) Thanks Scott. . Mainstage shows were pretty good..dancers and singers top notch..enjoyed Dan St paul the comedian...Vivian Guzman, Frances Dilorinzo,Brett Cave.Hawaii night was very good..Billboard on board (pianos)John & Jason? ) was well received..very enjoyable but crowded.. Lincoln center stage was wonderful. America test kitchen was very interesting and well done.Kathleen did an awesome job! BB King Blues,very talented but was not really our thing...crowds were hit and miss.Would prefer 50s-60s music and dance . Happy hour at 4pm..otherwise drinks can be expensive. We enjoyed the Hawaiian Ukulele music and the dancers at 5pm on our way to the Islands. Would recommend the New York pizza place and the Dive- in was good ( I tried the sauerkraut hot dog and the chicken burger) Food was good, generally small portions except the schnitzel which was very good! Prime rib was excellent as was surf and turf. Dining went pretty well with open dining and the reservation team was very accommodating. Staff was excellent...always cheery and helpful.Getting the daily itinerary on our ipad was great. All day info at your fingertips! Appreciated Catholic mass onboard which is missing on other cruise lines.My wife enjoyed the tea time at 3pm ( getting to visit and chat with other ladies) We would highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
THE ITINERARY Our main objective for this trip was to visit Hawaii, and we would like to visit these interesting islands again—there’s more than you can possibly see in 5 days. EMBARKATION Embarkation at Vancouver was very ... Read More
THE ITINERARY Our main objective for this trip was to visit Hawaii, and we would like to visit these interesting islands again—there’s more than you can possibly see in 5 days. EMBARKATION Embarkation at Vancouver was very smooth and very well co-ordinated. THE SHIP Comparisons between the Eurodam to her sister-ship (the Niew Amsterdam) are inevitable. As you might expect, she is very clean and tidy above decks and below. We found the ship layout very easy to navigate, and really appreciated the unobstructed Promenade Deck (3 times around = 1 mile). The back-lit navigation signs located by each elevator provided all necessary information and directions in a highly visible manner. Likewise, the menu screens outside the Lido and MDR were easy to read, much better than paper menus. TIP: many of the comments and observations we made after travelling on the Niew Amsterdam also apply to the Eurodam. For more information refer to our previous reviews. DÉCOR We found the décor on the Eurodam to be rather sombre compared to that of her sister-ship. There are some interesting cabinets-of-curiosities near the Main Dining Room (MDR) and next to B.B. King’s and a few good paintings of ships in the stairwells, but the overall feeling is (in our opinion) rather drab and dated. A lighter palette might help – there are large areas of grey and dark blue throughout the ship and the theatre seems to be especially dingy. TIP: Sightlines in the theatre are not good from the balcony seats on deck 3 (except for those seated in the middle section). Avoid the two boxes on the port and starboard sides: it is almost impossible to see the action on the stage, and you get blinded by the stage lights located in the wings. THE CREW The crew of the Eurodam always manage to be upbeat and are very pleasant company. They are busy, but always seem able to find a few minutes to share a joke or a comment, and their hard work makes life as pleasant as possible for the passengers, so we want them to know how much we appreciate their efforts. Our cabin stewards (Mantri and Hari) were excellent. They kept our cabin neat and tidy and were always cheerful and friendly. FOOD We found no reasons to complain about the food in any of the restaurants onboard the Eurodam. The Lido Market serves a range of interesting dishes from all over the world including Asia and Italy. It tends to get a bit hectic at times, especially when people are lining up to get served at the buffet stations. The Tamarind restaurant has the same Asian-Fusion menu offered on the Niew Amsterdam, but the dishes and presentations fell short of the standard we had experienced on the sister ship. We decided to try the Canaletto restaurant, and we were pleasantly surprised at the innovative dishes presented. We believe the extra $15 was very well spent. We usually ate dinner in the Main Dining Room and never regretted any of our menu choices. The menu is always very inventive, although it does list some dishes that you might call standards every day for the less-adventurous diners (for example, salmon and strip-loin steak). For some reason seating assignments were chaotic during the first few evenings, and again on a Gala night. Passengers (including those who had made reservations) waited for ages to be assigned a table. We complained to the maitre d’ and the following night diners were issued pagers that would signal a table ready to receive them. This didn’t seem to improve matters because after being told we should expect a 20 minute wait, we gave up after 25 minutes and ate in the Lido market instead. TIP: Try varying your arrival time at the MDR, or make an early reservation. MARINERS’ LUNCH This is a special event for members of the HAL Mariners Club (aka, repeat customers). The food was excellent (set menu) and you get an opportunity to meet the Captain and the Cruise Director in person. Disappointingly, this time we did not receive a small Delft tile featuring the ship, as we have at other Mariner Lunches. ENTERTAINMENT BB King’s Blues Club featured a very capable band, who treated us to a wide range of R&B, Motown, and a few contemporary pieces, and this time the band included plenty of blues classics. This entertainment was a big attraction that helped us decide to take this HAL trip. In the Main Stage we were entertained by a magician (James Cielen) a juggler, a comedian and an accomplished flautist. Song and dance shows featured on two nights, and these were very good indeed – we appreciated them because they added to the variety. There were no guest aerialists/acrobatics on this cruise, perhaps because of the many sea days or the stage wasn’t built to accommodate them. The Indonesian crew members gave a very good cultural show one evening, but it started at 11:00 p.m., so the theatre was only about 25% full. Guest speakers Ginny Stibold and Lawrence Taglatino presented outstanding lectures on the biology and history of the Hawaiian Islands. On the outward leg of the voyage, a group of Hawaiian women presented workshops on a number of topics including making leis and hula dancing, while a musician taught volunteers how to play a ukulele. FELLOW PASSENGERS A much older demographic (our opinion) than those we met on other HAL voyages. The number of passengers using walking frames, wheelchairs, scooters, or sticks was incredible, and we wondered how the crew would cope during a real emergency in the event of needing to evacuate the ship. Waiters in the MDR had to valet-park the scooters! No wonder many reviewers refer to it as a floating retirement home. We met plenty of Canadians, some Americans, and a few Australians. A FEW PROBLEMS TIP: If you have any problems or concerns, raise them with appropriate people (usually the Front Desk) immediately. They are very responsive, and take all complaints seriously. SMOKING Smokers are no longer allowed to poison themselves (and others) in the casino nor on their balconies. Smoking is now restricted to on the starboard side of the Lido deck aft, allowing most of us to avoid the deadly cancer fumes. However, there will always be some determined puffers who think the rules do not apply to them. For example: we detected the smell of smoke in the corridor outside our cabin on a several days and reported this to the Front Desk. Guest Services came to our cabin, agreed that the smell was noticeable and promised to investigate. The problem occurred a few more times, and Guest Services eventually discovered the source (a balcony suite opposite ours). The problem did not recur. Full marks to HAL for eliminating this menace. GENERAL TIPS Bring jackets or wraps as the temperatures vary widely in different public areas around the ship. B.B. King’s is predictably chilly. If you need to use the mid-ship elevators, the glass ones on either side of the ship are much faster than the regular ones in the middle of the ship. PORT REVIEWS We went ashore at every port of call, and took four excursions from the ship. Hilo—Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden. A do-it-yourself walking tour of a lush, tropical garden that was created in a valley reclaimed from a previous garbage dump. TIPS: Steep hills and a vertiginous boardwalk to descend into the valley. Golf carts run continuously up and down the narrow path (there are one or two passing places). You may need some DEET-based insecticide or some drinking water (both available at the on-site shop). Be smart and bring your own from the ship. Honolulu—Blue Hawaiian helicopter flight The flight lasts 50 minutes, and cameras record you in cockpit and the outside scenes. We flew over Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbour. Weighing in, but they keep it secret—6 persons per copter pilot plus 2 passengers in front, 4 behind. Only the two outer seats offer decent photo-opportunities. You will be buckled into the harness by company staff: they are not trying to grope you, so don’t be offended. TIPS: If flying over active volcanos and flowing lava is on your bucket list, book the helicopter trip in Hilo as soon as you get onboard the ship—it sells-out very quickly! We were too late, so we had to sign-up for this trip instead. Dark clothing is preferred because light colours reflect off the canopy and spoil any photos you might take. Wear a dark shirt if you have it, but if you don’t, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters will lend you a dark T-shirt. You can’t bring anything with you except a camera; excess items must be checked before you board the helicopter. Lahaina—Atlantis submarine trip Passengers sit back-to-back along central seats, each seat has an individual porthole. The sub dives to a depth of 124 feet taking you over coral beds and the wreck of sailing ship called the Carthagininan. This vessel was deliberately sunk as artificial reef. We saw a range of different fish including White-tip Sharks, Barracuda, Puffer Fish, Porcupine Fish, Moray Eels, Surgeon Fish, etc. TIP: If you think you might be even slightly claustrophobic, give this trip a miss. After the crew closed the hatch, one female passenger panicked and had to leave the vessel. Nawiliwili—National Tropical Botanical Gardens. A guided tour of two gardens (Allerton and McBryde Gardens) led by a very knowledgeable guide. We also stopped for a brief visit to the Spouting Horn volcanic lava tube. TIP: This is a chance to visit some of the locations used for filming Jurassic Park and for birders to see a rare Hawaiian Gallinule. This tour involves step climbing and negotiating muddy paths so if you have mobility issues, consider carefully before you sign up for it. A FEW GRIPES! Yes, we have a few! We sincerely hope HAL is listening: Eurodam’s library is very poorly stocked. No pins as prizes for winning games—winners receive a bottle of sparkling wine instead! No Trip Log at the end of the voyage to keep as a record of the trip, describing distance travelled, ports of call, etc.! This was particularly disappointing for us. DISEMBARKATION Very smooth and fast because HAL uses a system of numbers and colour-codes to direct disembarking passengers off the ship, but there was a long wait to load the buses to the airport, with only one bus being loaded at a time. WOULD WE SAIL ON THE EURODAM AGAIN? Possibly, it really depends on the itinerary and we will always be open to trying different HAL ships. While we enjoyed our trip, the ship fell short of expectations because of the missing items we had anticipated after previous HAL trips. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this because it ended in Honolulu, our home. We sailed from Vancouver and stayed at the Pan Pacific which was right on the pier! I highly suggest that hotel if you are sailing from Vancouver. Bags went from hotel room to ... Read More
We chose this because it ended in Honolulu, our home. We sailed from Vancouver and stayed at the Pan Pacific which was right on the pier! I highly suggest that hotel if you are sailing from Vancouver. Bags went from hotel room to stateroom!!! We were on the Oosterdam last October and November in the Mediterranean and many of the employees were on this cruise so it was like home! They remembered us and what we liked! They will also be on in March and April when we do the other part of this itinerary beginning in Sydney and ending in Honolulu. The ship is definitely worn..."tired" is a better word. We were told it was to be dry docked soon but apparently not for another year plus. We were on the Noordam in 2014 and it was old then and has not been upgraded that we could see. We enjoyed the famous daily Happy Hours, buy one get one for $2...it used to be one dollar...but the servings were small! We normally get a bottle of champagne from the company, nothing this trip! We really felt unappreciated this time from the company. My main complaint was the On Deck For A Cause. I did it last October and it was wonderful. This year we all met before the walk and were offered "refreshments and fellowship" after the walk. After two rounds on the deck (less than a mile) most people had dropped out. I ran and walked and when I finished 3+ miles (it was a 5K) I went in and found everything cleaned up and the place empty! I had to go to a bar downstairs to get a drink of water. Others who finished after me were also surprised. We had been abandoned and only an hour out! What a slap in the face for those of us who did the entre walk! Again, it seemed as tho we were very unappreciated by the higher ups! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my Number 1 bucket list trip. The itinerary was perfect but the ageing ship presented many plumbing issues, some cabins were flooded and a few unlucky passengers had to be moved several times. Bathroom flushing issues were taken ... Read More
This was my Number 1 bucket list trip. The itinerary was perfect but the ageing ship presented many plumbing issues, some cabins were flooded and a few unlucky passengers had to be moved several times. Bathroom flushing issues were taken care of in a timely manner. One deck had problems with no air conditioning. One of the two hot tubs was closed for most of the 33 days ..I mainly ate at the Lido buffet which served a variety of entrees and sides and the food was moist as long as you got there early. Dining room service is always slow. I had a lunch and a dinner in the Pinnacle,and was disappointed with the quality of the food. Fish was dry and the cioppino featured halibut that I couldn't pierce with a fork. Service was excellent. Desserts were always plentiful and the pastries were great. The WWII crowd loved the entertainment which featured a harmonica player, an accordion player, a magician, a comic, a violinist, and a former Olympic gymnast. Different movies were featured daily and could be viewed on the TV the next day. I did enjoy the daily Cooking demonstrations and the presentations on Gauguin. I chose this line for the itinerary but the steep single supplement was tough on my pocket. A majority of the ports were tendered, which presented many issues for the aged crowd. The first two ports were tendering fiascos due to mechanical issues that we were granted a one hour open bar from the captain. I would not sail this ship again, and rumor has it that it has been sold and is getting a total rebuild. This was my third HAL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Great trip! Beautiful ports and wonderful water experience. Mathew in the Culinary Center was a treasure! Best I have seen in several cruises. Location guide in the beginning was Kenoah, a native of Hawaii who shared more ... Read More
Great trip! Beautiful ports and wonderful water experience. Mathew in the Culinary Center was a treasure! Best I have seen in several cruises. Location guide in the beginning was Kenoah, a native of Hawaii who shared more information than one could imagine from history to personal tales! Unfortunately he left the ship mid cruise and was replaced by someone who had information but no personality. A great loss! This ship is in need of some TLC. We had no problems with our cabin, but many others did. Plumbing issues and A/C issues were frequent topics of conversation. HAL has apparently decided that a librarian is no longer needed. I hear rumors that they are planning to remove the libraries all together. I hope I am wrong! Shore excursions in Polynesia were great! We did a couple boat trips with snorkeling and beach time. I was surprised that the snorkeling was in shallow water which was a real treat since I am a non-swimmer. I wish they had advertised the shallow water part, I am sure more would have signed up. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Having long wanted to visit Hawaii, and disinclined to take any more flights than necessary, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to escape some of winter. Additionally, we have a Navy Seal grandson stationed at San Diego, so the two ... Read More
Having long wanted to visit Hawaii, and disinclined to take any more flights than necessary, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to escape some of winter. Additionally, we have a Navy Seal grandson stationed at San Diego, so the two days before and one day after allowed time to catch up, as well as to enjoy the city. The only downside was the horrendous music festival on March 4-5, whose sound penetrated our adjoining hotel's walls. I have no problem with other people choosing their music, but do not like being kept awake by what amounted to a public nuisance. We enjoyed dinner at Little Italy, and the entire waterfront area. Boarding was badly handled due to long lines at check-in because there was only one person doing initial ID checks on the close to two thousand boarding passengers. Once past this initial bottleneck, everything went swiftly and smoothly. Debarkation was very smooth and efficient. MDR service was traditional HAL quality, menu selections were good - and well served. Entertainment was also traditional HAL - not exciting, but reasonable - except for the over-produced cast shows: the singers and dancers were talented, but the productions were pretentious. We had a couple of minor problems with stateroom: air conditioning and toilet - but they were competently addressed when reported. If you enjoy being at sea and courteous, friendly service, and good food - but do not require endless go-go entertainment, this itinerarynnis ideal. If you require much external stimulation, you might want to think,of other lines. We enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We were interested in a warm weather cruise with plenty of sea days. Usually cruise with Celebrity But this was our 4th cruise on HAL The ship is a good size & tastefully decorated except for a couple of ghastly ornate benches near ... Read More
We were interested in a warm weather cruise with plenty of sea days. Usually cruise with Celebrity But this was our 4th cruise on HAL The ship is a good size & tastefully decorated except for a couple of ghastly ornate benches near some elevators. The lounge areas were nice & comfy. Entertainment was varied. The BB King show was great! There were usually 3 shows per evening with a couple nights off ; Some of the lectures were interesting & some so so;. Good movies but poor viewing area. At least the movies could be watched the next day on the cabin tv. ; There is a DVD player in the cabin & DVDS may be borrowed @ no charge from Guest Relations ; There is an American Test Kitchen that was a cooking demo. It appeared to be very popular just not for me.; THE BAND was excellent & had frequent shows;. There was the usual trivia shows & bingo .; Several dance classes for tango.cha-cha, line dancing, waltz. Several bars but our fav was the Ocean Bar Food above average but Celebrity may be a bit better , WE ate dinner in MDR & Lido Marketplace. Great crew!!! Comfortable cabins but dreadful lighting around vanity/ desk. BEST DISEMBARKATION EVER ! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We scheduled this cruise because it gave us six days on four islands (with an overnight in Honolulu) which seemed to balance out the sea days. It also included a night passing of Kilauea with the spectacular sight of lava entering the sea ... Read More
We scheduled this cruise because it gave us six days on four islands (with an overnight in Honolulu) which seemed to balance out the sea days. It also included a night passing of Kilauea with the spectacular sight of lava entering the sea the highlight of the cruise for me. We have sailed with HAL before on other long cruises and knew that it would be an older crowd (I think only 8 children) with more sedate activities and that was not a concern. We met a lot of interesting people while sailing, often folks who had sailed the same itinerary many times. The Westerdam itself was a very nice ship though larger than we prefer. Considering it is about to go in for refurbishing, it was attractive and in very good condition, not too worn. Our cabin (6046) was behind the elevators but not at all noisy. Our room stewards (Tutu and Gede) were excellent; they knew our names right away, figured out our schedules quickly but worked around days when we spent extra time in the cabin, and were extremely helpful when we had a scooter problem. The balcony even got cleaned off from the collected sea salt several times during sea days. Front desk and shore excursion staff were also quite good. You can tell that there have been cuts to staff in the Lido and dining room as service was not what it once was--but we were usually very well satisfied. In the Lido I saw staff going out of their way to assist some of the many passengers with disabilities--and several times a crew member would carry my plate and drink to the table for me. It was, however, often hard to find someone to clear plates or fill water, especially at dinner. We had open seating dining and this worked well for us since we were willing to share a table. We typically had breakfast and lunch in the Lido where the selection and quality of food were good. I especially liked eggs cooked to order and sushi availability. Hamburgers by the pool and pizza at the Italian station were also good. Soft ice cream availability by the pool was missed. Room service for breakfast was disappointing since the menu is now much more limited--but we did discover that if you wrote something on the order sheet that wasn't on the menu (like bagels and cream cheese) they would provide it. Menu for dinner in the dining room seemed more limited than it used to be, especially the first week, but the food was good. The Lido dinner menu was similar but with the hot appetizers and cold soups missing. One disappointment was that on an 18 day cruise we only had lobster available one night (it was excellent!). Even in the Pinnacle Grill (pay extra restaurant) you pay extra extra for lobster. Perhaps that is why it often seemed almost empty. We had lunch in the Pinnacle one afternoon and enjoyed the quiet there. Our first evening we ate in Canneloni, the extra pay Italian restaurant up on the Lido deck, but find the new menu not nearly as much to our liking as the old. Service was excellent. For us days at sea are for reading, relaxing, talking to people and attending shipboard activities. HAL seems to be cutting back on libraries which is a shame. Entertainment in the showroom was varied and enjoyable, especially the magician and floutist. Unfortunately, if you didn't get there 45 minutes before the early show you wound up with a seat behind a pole or no seat at all. If there was only one show for the night it was even worse. This was the biggest complaint I had with the cruise--seats filling up long before the events and full rooms--which to me is a sign that there was not enough going on from which to choose. This was the case for the showroom, movies, trivia, afternoon tea, cooking demos, pretty much everything. This makes it even more annoying when some people insist on "saving" the better part of a row of seats for friends who come much later. Teas are now in the Ocean Bar--and I miss them being in the dining room (at least some of the time). Educational talks were not as good as I expected from past experience in that they were often not related to the Hawaiian itinerary (really--the Bermuda Triangle when you are mid-Pacific?). The talk as we sailed by the lava flow at midnight was only available in the Crows Nest but the sound should have been broadcast on stateroom TVs for those like us who wanted to watch in PJs. The group of Hawaiian entertainers who were onboard as we sailed to Hawaii were charming and did a very nice job with making leis, teaching hula, etc. The pool area was not often too crowded to find a spot and was enjoyable. Sometimes the pool was like a wave machine but the hot tubs were usable most of the time. Shore excursions did a good job of making things do-able for passengers with disabilities (thank you Debbie). At tender ports the crew members were wonderful helping passengers on and off the tenders in rough waters. We did two privately arranged excursions (Chief's Luau in Honolulu and Marylou's Tours in Hilo) that were reasonable in cost compared to HAL tours. Marylou's was exceptional and I would recommend her to anyone visiting Kona or Hilo. HAL's Pearl Harbor / Arizona tour and Pali Coast tour in Honolulu were both good but had much more overlap than was evident from the descriptions. Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour and time sitting along the nearby beach were a great way to spend a day in Kauai. A Trilogy Catamaran tour in Maui was not a good choice for anyone in need of shade or who wound up in the back of the vessel where you could not hear the narration. Two hours mid-day on the water in the sun was too much for many on board. It also was too high in price when purchased through the ship--there were definitely better and more reasonably priced options available on-shore--but we did see whales!! I wish we had done another Marylou tour in Kona as that had more personalized guidance at the sites (Coffee museum and store, Painted Church, and a Refuge along the beach) but our ship arranged tour was good as we went from one place to another. I very much enjoyed this cruise and think it is a wonderful way to see Hawaii. In spite of some corner cutting with staffing HAL continues to provide a good experience for the price. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Sailing out of my home port was attractive and I'm now four star with HAL. The service, per usual, was outstanding, but some changes are worth noting. No more librarian is bad news and whoever is now responsible at the home office ... Read More
Sailing out of my home port was attractive and I'm now four star with HAL. The service, per usual, was outstanding, but some changes are worth noting. No more librarian is bad news and whoever is now responsible at the home office needs to take a few collection lessons. Books were disorganized and using the location specialist as an occasional organizer just does not fly. The ship singers and dancers were outstanding and the newer shows were great, but 'Ever After' needs to be permanently shelved. The imported talent were a mixed bag. The Hawaiian ambassadors got great reviews and the magician was a fast talking, card sharking guy. I'm very sorry I missed the night when he used pomeranians ';cause I might have liked him a bit better with some warm fuzzies around. The comic was so-so at best -- too much 'insult' humor. Cruise Director Erin was lovely and seemed to keep things moving effectively and I truly enjoyed hearing the captain giving our bearings and talking about the 'wedder' every day, but I'd like to have seen him around and about more often. Another sad thing was that none of the outstanding lectures were recorded. We were quite able to see all the HAL sales items on TV, but the outstanding lectures are now a one time only offering. I'd much rather have seen them again than another shot at buying from the spa or the shops. BAD policy, HAL. I may have to head for ships that value lectures rather than bingo in the future. HAL undoubtedly knows what SELLS, but some of us need IQ offerings as well. Oddly, I felt that the food in the dining room had improved since my last cruise and that was great news. As a solo sailer, the Lido is usually purgatory requiring multiple trips to the buffet and begging for table space, but the FOOD was consistently GOOD in dining room and Lido. I did not do either of the specialty restaurants. The band has lost too many members, but the five who were (2 keyboards, 2 guitars, 1 drummer) did a yeoman's job satisfying the fox trotting dancers in the Ocean Bar and all the different imported talents. Bravo, them! The excursions, particularly the Dolphin Experience were in Puerto Vallarta were well researched and enjoyable, and disembarkation was a breeze. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have enjoyed several Holland America cruises, and were our friends who had moved to San Diego invited us to join them. We looked forward to 11 sea days of relaxation and the possibility of playing bridge with other interested players, ... Read More
We have enjoyed several Holland America cruises, and were our friends who had moved to San Diego invited us to join them. We looked forward to 11 sea days of relaxation and the possibility of playing bridge with other interested players, plus 5 days in 4 Hawaiian islands. (Because of an unexpected tropical storm, we missed Kawaii, but appreciated the captain's keeping us safe. HA adjusted the schedule to add a day in Oahu, provided free telephone calls for those of us who had booked shore excursions with independent agencies, and automatically credited passengers who had booked cancelled excursions through HA -- all very professional). Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, with reasonable waits to board and disembark. Disembarkation was unusually fast in the San Diego port, As noted in the "professional review," the Westerdam is unique in its providing a high ratio of space, relative to a moderate number of passengers. This gives us plenty of room to walk the Promenade deck (3) and upper deck (10) without crowding, or even having to walk up/down stairs while completing a circle (unlike some larger ships). There is also ample room in the main entertainment theater (no reservations needed, but come early for good seats), and various public areas where relaxation and sea views are easy. We liked our Verandah Suite cabin (reviewed below), and the cabin service was outstanding, and almost equaled by the great service in the main dining room and Lido Market deck (the best Lido Deck food and service we've had in 10+ cruises). The main dining rooms were lovely, and we were given a nice table near the water for the early dinner (see picture). Food was very good, and if you didn't like an item you ordered, the very friendly/efficient server was glad to bring something you would like better. We also enjoyed two dinners in the Pinnacle Grill, which had outstanding food and service. Room service provided a good menu at all times, very prompt and friendly service, and was complimentary for full menus, unlike some other cruise lines that have recently started adding service charges for room service. We particularly enjoyed room service breakfasts served at our convenience on days with early shore excursions. We also appreciated the cruise line providing us with space and equipment for duplicate bridge during the 11 sea days (out of 17) on the cruise, although it took a lot of "pushing" by bridge players and three professional bridge "directors" who were passengers and generously volunteered their services for free. It is hoped that future Holland America cruises will automatically include duplicate bridge, which is increasingly important to many cruise passengers. Entertainment in the main theater was not as good as previous HA cruises. With a couple of exceptions, the entertainers were mediocre. The smaller lounges had better talent, especially BB King and Adagio. One final comment is that even through some heavy seas, the ship's stability was very good, even in the rear dining rooms and our cabin, which was towards the rear. We would happily sail the Westerdam again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Special occasion cruise for us. Handpicked our suite. We have sailed with HAL before to Alaska and the Panama Canal. Anticipated same stellar experience. Off to a great start when boarding process went smoothly. Absolutely wonderful staff ... Read More
Special occasion cruise for us. Handpicked our suite. We have sailed with HAL before to Alaska and the Panama Canal. Anticipated same stellar experience. Off to a great start when boarding process went smoothly. Absolutely wonderful staff ! Extremely clean suite. Unmatched Attention to detail by cabin steward Rozzy. We booked the Mexican Riviera and Hawaiian Islands cruises back-to-back, 25 days! The Westerdam is due for an overhaul very soon and it showed in our cabin's burst ceiling pipe ! We had to swiftly move mid-cruise to a nearby suite of equal amenities but not location. But, OK. HAL had our wet clothing cleaned and pressed, gratis, of course. A little flower arrangement and some chocolate covered strawberries as a consolation from Macy in Guest Services. Thank you very much. Resuming our memorable cruise, we enjoyed the Crow's Nest activities, the wonderful ship's cuisine, meeting new people, a bit of casino action, some sunshine on the vacant 10th Deck...even fog and a couple rough sea days did not deter us from our enjoyment. Captain Smit made the cruise more exciting by maneuvering the Westerdam close-by nighttime lava flows on the islands. His efforts were much appreciated, especially by us, as we returned to our cabin as the ship turned around and watched again from our balcony! We anticipated spending quiet time on our balcony reading and enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail...but the dang pingpong tables above us spoiled it. A few days of that, we had to ask guest services to intervene. It was as if a gymnast was performing above us! :\ they moved one pingpong table. Still the noisy one remained above us. The divine islands our wake, we returned to sea days and the "dam" noise from the pingpong players all afternoon, evening... Finally, with two sea days remaining, we went to Guest Services and told Macy our plight. She made a small $ compensation to our account and a free Pinnacle lunch. HAL tries very hard to please their customers. We will sail HAL again but will definitely speak up sooner if something should go awry. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have done this cruise previously and found it to be all of the above things as stated. The only suggestion I would have, is it would be nice, and I would be agreeable to pay more if we could have more time at some of the ports. There ... Read More
We have done this cruise previously and found it to be all of the above things as stated. The only suggestion I would have, is it would be nice, and I would be agreeable to pay more if we could have more time at some of the ports. There is so much more to see that 8-12 hours can afford. A very special evening was when the Captain changed our course in order to cruise slowly by the flow of lava into the ocean as we left Hilo after dark. It was spectacular. One thing that bothered me personally on this cruise is that so many people were so negative. Most were people our age (old) and complained about almost everything. I can only conclude they were unhappy to start with. An example, at breakfast in the Lido I heard a lot of complaints that a certain food did not taste like what they had eaten at other places. I thought the food was all tasty and hot, even tho it was not like I have had other places. that, to me, is just part of the fun of traveling is to experience new and different things. We are great fans of the Pinnacle Speciality Dining. The food is superb and the service was flawless, and the remainder of the dining choices were great also. The entertainment was very good, and in a few instances spectacular. While we had done this cruise before we only participated in two land tours, which were also quite satisfactory, in spite of rain at times. There is no question we will cruise again, and again. Holland America is the perfect cruise line for those of us a bit older, and content with experiences geared a bit more in our direction. That is not to say younger people would not enjoy it, it is just a bit of an easier cruise with a lot to choose from on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Planned this cruise to travel with friends, who at the last moment had to cancel due to illness. I met very nice people to hang out with, but had to spend more time than planned indoors because of big swells (12-16 feet) and winds that ... Read More
Planned this cruise to travel with friends, who at the last moment had to cancel due to illness. I met very nice people to hang out with, but had to spend more time than planned indoors because of big swells (12-16 feet) and winds that approached 50 mph when added to ship speed. One port (on Maui) canceled because wind and seas too strong for tendering. Schedule was already a little awkward, with Honolulu scheduled for Thanksgiving day and the last shopping site on Sunday. Canceled port was replaced by an additional day in Honolulu - on Black Friday! Many guests were disappointed not to get to visit the Arizona Memorial as no tickets could be gotten last-minute for the extra day... The food was very good to excellent, as usual. I especially like the way HAL works with vegetables; good variety and properly cooked. Nice portion control. I felt the nutritional value was good, as well as the taste. It was annoying that the news channels on the onboard TV system went dead before we got to Honolulu and were not repaired before the end of the journey. I did wonder if they had disabled the channels on purpose so the passengers wouldn't be at each other's throats in the week after the US election! Instead of the two lecturers I've heard on other HAL cruises - usually one scientist and one historian - this voyage had no lecturers other than the destination specialist. He did an excellent job, but it was disappointing not to have more varied presentations. This is an area where I hate to see HAL make cuts, as I think the kind of clients they attract really enjoy the lectures. I will probably stick with HAL forever because of the smaller ships, the lovely, kind, cheerful staff, and the walk-around promenade deck, but this was not my most memorable cruise with them.. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Let me give you a little of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Good: Staff, Ship, Cabin, Entertainment, Ports (for the most part), Food (for the most part). Spent two days in Honolulu instead of one due to cancellation of the ... Read More
Let me give you a little of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Good: Staff, Ship, Cabin, Entertainment, Ports (for the most part), Food (for the most part). Spent two days in Honolulu instead of one due to cancellation of the tender port of Lahaina due to rough seas. Which was fine with us as we got to see the things at Pearl harbor that we would not have seen. Food was fine for my wife and myself as we split our eating time between the main dining room and the buffet. We are not exceptionally particular about our food as some passengers seem to be. Never ate in port as the ship's food was very good. They had Lobster our last Gala (formal) night and it was served in the Lido as well as in the Dining Room. However, the buffet is not open as much as we would have liked and we only got room service on our disembarkation morning. The Bad: Difficulty getting a table for two in the main dining room. We had a bad experience with sharing a table with some overbearing people and did not enjoy our meal. Passengers in the Queens' Lounge Theater who save seats for people that show up an hour later or not at all. We got there 45 minutes before showtime to avoid this. However, some disabled and geriatric passengers could not find seats due to the saving that was going on. I brought this to the attention of the Cruise Director. The Ugly: A terrible Embarkation policy. Passengers have to lug their bags a city block and throw them up on a trailer by themselves. Nobody to really help. We had extremely rough weather most of the cruise with the ship pounding for days at a time. And, in fact, had the ship do a severe Starboard to Port to Starboard roll one night that caused concern among the passengers and sent things flying throughout the ship. I'm ex Navy and it concerned me. However, this is not the fault of Holland America as they do not control the attitude of the seas. Summary: In spite of a couple of negative things we had a great time. The entertainment on board was professional and superb. and our cabin was very comfortable and super quiet. Most of the passengers were pleasant, a couple in particular. We actually made some good acquaintances with some of the Indonesian and Filipino staff. Our flights both going and coming were uneventful, Gainesville, Florida to San Diego and return. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
My wife and I booked this cruise because we got a great deal on the fare. We booked an inside guaranteed room which Holland America chooses, which turned out to be an extra large stateroom in the rear cent er of the main deck, the lowest ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise because we got a great deal on the fare. We booked an inside guaranteed room which Holland America chooses, which turned out to be an extra large stateroom in the rear cent er of the main deck, the lowest deck. The selection and quality of the food was only average. The cruise actually started for us in Seattle and was 18 days, and we ate in the dining room only about 7 times. The rack of lamb and surf and turf were very good. Everything else was ordinary. We ate in the Pinnacle one night and it was very good. Our major complaint was the lack of free group activities on board, especially at sea on the way back from Hawaii. On the way they had ukulele and hula lessons, but nothing replaced these on the way back. The computer courses were helpful, but were repeated on the way back. There seemed to be only 2 or 3 activities-related crew, including the Social Director. We enjoyed group trivia games, the violin and piano classical duet, cooking classes, bridge, and amateur sports contests. While we are near 70, most of the passengers were older than us and so many were handicapped that there were frequent wheelchair and walker collisions and delays getting about the ship. On other cruise ships we have enjoyed current, first-run movies. The movies on this ship were not only old and not well-rated, but most we couldn't even identify from the title. It seemed that they were purposely picked to be the insultingly lowest-cost movies available for showing on board. Other shows and entertainers were only average, We usually spend the entire day outside our low-cost inside room, and have back-to-back activities scheduled as part of an active vacation on our cruise. We had difficulty finding enough free activities to interest us, but usually found our own games and reading occupied us enough. But we can do that at home. We usually find plenty to do on Princess and not enough on Carnival. The only negative incident was trying to get our return airline boarding passes printed the last day. The front office sent us to the library, which no longer exists and has been replaced by the digital workshop (computer classes). Georgia (always helpful) wanted to accommodate me but her printer was out of ink. She sent me to the explorer's lounge, which was usually unattended. When I finally found it attended, the librarian told me to buy a complete daily Internet package and do it myself. The trip from Seattle to Vancouver the first day seems to be part of a one-night cruise, and the crew didn't really start the regular cruise activities until we left Vancouver. We stopped at Victoria just before the last day, and many people got off there. The crew seemed to think the cruise started on the second day and ended on the next to last. The casino closed before we got to Victoria. Since we carried our own luggage off and didn't put color coded tags on our luggage, we just left the ship when we felt like it and were done it 15 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
First time on the Westerdam, but have sailed on her sister, the Oosterdam 3 times. Loved the ship, but it is just slightly tired and would love to see it AFTER the refurb in April. Public spaces were great, and enjoyable. After rehab, ... Read More
First time on the Westerdam, but have sailed on her sister, the Oosterdam 3 times. Loved the ship, but it is just slightly tired and would love to see it AFTER the refurb in April. Public spaces were great, and enjoyable. After rehab, casino will be non-smoking, which will be fantastic! Current casino smoke gets into stairways/elevators for 1-2 floors above & below, which is disgusting! Most food was good, however, I found it was slightly bland, which surprised me for Holland America. The famous bread pudding was behind the server at the ice cream bar & not all the time, so it was not as available as I have seen in the past. We had many, many sea days due to itinerary and entertainment staff worked hard to have lots of choices for us to do. It made it a very nice trip. I absolutely LOVED Stryker in the piano bar and found myself there most nights. BB King Blues club was good, but not quite as good as others I have heard. I preferred the prior entertainment company for the big shows. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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