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10 Holland America Southampton Cruise Reviews

We booked this cruise not long after we came home from a Volendam cruise in Asia and were very happy to do so. We like Holland America Line as they attract an older group of passengers and generally very few children. The Rotterdam cruise ... Read More
We booked this cruise not long after we came home from a Volendam cruise in Asia and were very happy to do so. We like Holland America Line as they attract an older group of passengers and generally very few children. The Rotterdam cruise would get us (hopefully) to 4 stars (yeah, free laundry!) and we were looking forward to it. We booked with HAL direct (in Australia) and asked for a D category cabin and gave them some cabin numbers that we had picked from the deck plan, and they were quite quick in allocating us cabin 1851 on Dolphin Deck. We were very happy with that allocation. We liked the ports that we were going to see and we had quite a few tours arranged before we left Australia. We always check the Roll Calls on Cruise Critic and we had been in contact with quite a few other passengers who were going to be on our cruise. We arranged some tours ourselves and got other CCers to join us. This was no problem. Once posted, most tours were filled within days (sometimes within hours even). We also joined some of the other passengers tours. All tours turned out to be great. The only HAL tour we booked was a kayaking tour for my husband. He enjoyed it tremendously, but normally only joins CC tours due to price and also group size. Our largest private tour had 17 people in 1 group. What was also great, was that when we actually met the people we had been in contact with face to face, we found that we got on very very well. We went on many tours together and had many lunches together on sea days. Our group of about 15 people were in daily contact and it was absolutely lovely. We have not had this before on our other HAL cruises. Embarkation in Southampton was very slow due to not enough processing staff. But we took it in our stride. Disembarkation though was fine and well organised. We had anytime dining and we almost always were seated at a round table for 6 or 8. We met some wonderful people during these dining times. The food was quite good. I read somewhere that someone complained about calfs liver not being nice. Well that was my absolute favourite and brought back great memories of my youth. I would like to see more VEGETABLES on the plates, there is very little evidence of vegetables during dining times. I know you can ask for steamed vegies, but generally we forget to ask for them. The waiters were friendly and courteaous, but they always seemed in a rush. Has HAL minimised their wait staff? The Lido was excellent for breakfast and lunches, no complaints at all. The Lido staff was great, full of smiles and happy greetings. Drinks were happily brought to the tables, this was a nice change from previous cruises. Entertainment: Well what do I say. The ship's dancers were great, absolutely great. The singers were okay. BB King just marvellous. But the showroom entertainers that were flown in were certainly not first rate. The Dutch Opera family was way beyond its use by date except for the daughter. There were a few half decent comedians, but generally in 8 weeks the only thing I can really rave about was on one of the gala nights when BB King played in the showroom and lots of people danced. That was terrific and should be done more often. It was lovely to see all the men in tuxes and ladies in finery on the dance floor. The temperatures on the ship varied enormously. You could be in the library and be hot and at the other side of the ship (the Explorers Lounge) it would be freezing. The Crow's Nest was always cold. After a few weeks a horrible smell started to appear on deck 1 from cabin 1909 to the aft cabins. This was very noticeable at the aft elevators. It lasted for weeks and when we disembarked it was still not gone. Also the entrance to the Lido (mid ships) was often smelly. The Cruise Director Michael Langley was great. We played trivia with him and it was always a good laugh. He does need to get more up to date when in ports and tenders are being used. A few times he announced that the ship had been cleared and people could now get off the ship, when if fact most people had already left the ship and were on tours. We did not do shore excursion with HAL, we used Cruise Critic for that and organised our own private tours. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We always thought that Holland America was a little up market to the usual cruise lines in it's class --- well they do supply robes in the cabin ! We booked a guaranteed outside which we have done many times in the past with ... Read More
We always thought that Holland America was a little up market to the usual cruise lines in it's class --- well they do supply robes in the cabin ! We booked a guaranteed outside which we have done many times in the past with success and always got a very good cabin. This time we got the short straw, a crap cabin in steerage for a crap price, hard cheese, we cannot complain, we had two very rusty portholes. So why am I writing here ? Well, it's the 'thing' at the back of the Lido deck. This is usually the location of an outside pool with sun loungers around the deck and this is the place where I like to take my swim. But not now. What have they done ? In its place they have installed a half metre high by 15 Metre square enclosure in which approx. 200mm of water slouches around 25 strange looking loungers. The area is crisscrossed with walkways with the loungers facing a raised screen at the rear of the ship (this is the best description I can give). Someone at carnival in the U.S.A. have " got their knickers in a twist". Holland America caters mainly for mature Europeans, mostly Dutch, not North Americans on their short holiday rave trips. To continue -- the staff were run off their feet. Dinner always took between one and a half to two hours, didn't matter we were not in a hurry and dinner was quite good. At show times we hardly saw the cruise director, only heard his recorded voice, we thought he had fallen overboard -- but he was probably in the basement helping with the washing up! Christmas was a bit naff -- crap show with nothing much happening --- seen enough Christmases so we went to bed early. Someone was collecting signatures for a complaint about lack of Christmas crackers or something similar. New Year's Eve was a joke. Little service, couldn't get a drink except unless you joined the scrum at the bar. The entertainment in the showroom consisted of a hideous (in my opinion) rock band and a ghastly singer (some people liked her) more suitable to a booze nightclub than a Christmas cruise for the geriatric/wheelchair brigade. The people dancing were mainly the ships male officers trying to make merry. As before, seen too many New Year Eve's so went to bed early. If you bought shares in carnival for the benefits the shares are doing great so now may be the time to sell, if you get my drift. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our first ever Christmas holiday away from our family, let alone a Christmas cruise. On the evening of the first day of the cruise we went to the main dining room, on time, which was 80% empty. The reception did not know of ... Read More
This was our first ever Christmas holiday away from our family, let alone a Christmas cruise. On the evening of the first day of the cruise we went to the main dining room, on time, which was 80% empty. The reception did not know of our dining preferences, even though these had been given on booking. We were seated on our own, though we prefer company. Later, two days after complaining, we were placed on a table for 9, although the 9th person never appeared! All the other diners were HAC experienced, and even they were dissapointed. The meal service was always very slow, even though the waiter worked hard to chase the kitchen. This was true even on Christmas Day! The 'hot' food was, at best, lukewarm, served on cold plates, with no silver service. This was a pattern that repeated throughout the cruise. Once, the waiter had to mix some mustard to go with a steak! Rarely was the dining room more than 50% full, Likewise, breakfast options were very limited, e.g., only Kellog brand cereals were available, getting Worcester sauce in tomato juice was a continual challenge, a normal UK breakfast was unobtainable, even though about 45% of the passengers were British! On lunch, we capitulated on using the dining room and used the cafeteria. Our service was much better and faster, and the New York pizzas were excellent, but this was not the 5-star luxury we had been promised. The entertainment was very good in parts, especially the house band and dancers. However, the main evening bar, the Crows Nest, had "The BB King All-Stars", except they didn't play any BB numbers, or even any Blues or R&B, only soul, funk and Tamla-Motown, and got deserved low numbers in the audience. At Fuertaventura we had arranged to meet some frends (from an earlier P&O cruise!) for dinner, but at the last minute the captain decided we had a storm coming and the ship left early (or the harbour charges were by the hour?). At Casablanca he delayed going in because of "big waves" - maybe they were in his bath? We are Carnival shareholders, and therefore entitled to a $250 contribution toward our spend on ship. First of all, the ship's "Front Office" said we had to contact Seattle, which is difficult in the middle of a cruise, and this continued throught the voyage. Southampton couldn't do anything. Seattle insisted we communicate by fax, and we gave our fax machine away in the late '90s! Finally, after six attemtps, by climbing the ladder, we got "how to" on e-mail/phone, and I got a promise of the relevant rebate today (17/2/16)! So, we are not surprised that many of the other passengers, even those who had used HAC many times before and really enjoyed it, left the ship saying "Never Again"! The ship sailed from Southampton less than half-full, on a 91-day cruise to Indonesia, and many of the passengers were only going part-way. So you may get a few more of this tone of review. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We boarded the Holland America cruise ship Rotterdam in the UK for a 55-day voyage to Indonesia, via Portugal, Morocco, Spain, Malta, Greece, Egypt ,Oman, UAE, India, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia finally getting off in Singapore. We passed ... Read More
We boarded the Holland America cruise ship Rotterdam in the UK for a 55-day voyage to Indonesia, via Portugal, Morocco, Spain, Malta, Greece, Egypt ,Oman, UAE, India, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia finally getting off in Singapore. We passed through the Suez Canal at night due to the dredging of the Canal during the day. We were escorted by an armed military patrol through the pirate infested sea of the Gulf of Aden. We were once on the Rotterdam sailing through three continents, South America, Africa and Europe. Tri Wiyono the dining room manager remembered us from our trip and we were quite happy to see him again. He had been at sea for 48 years on board at least 15 HAL vessels including the old Rotterdam. He was on 11 world cruises and 5 continents. His wife, son and daughter live in Jakarta. The ship is 59,000 tons, has 600 crew members, and a 1404 passenger capacity. She is a healthy ship due to the cooperation of the passengers and the ships’ personnel. Despite the length of the voyage not a single case of Norovirus infection occurred. The passengers on board in England were 330 British, 245 Americans, 199 Canadians, 193 Dutch, 40 Australians and at least 34 Germans. Most were senior citizens, seasoned travelers and repeaters. The main dining room located on two decks seats 678 persons. The lower for open and the upper for fixed seating. Much to the delight of the guests the wait staff is encouraged by Tri and Budi his assistant manager to interact with the passengers. The staff who come mainly from Indonesia learn the names of their guests and food preferences. They do an excellent job. The ship’s galley is manned by pastry makers, cooks, and bakers, from the Philippines. They also handle the beverage section, security and the front office. Beef rib eye steak, escargot, pheasant, Peking duck, Indonesian and Filipino food were on the menu. Salmon and shrimp cocktail were always on hand. The Lido a buffet cafeteria for casual dining offers made to order stir fry oriental dishes and quite popular judging from the long lines. Pizza hot dog, hamburger, Mexican and Indian food are available at the pool area. Ice cream and desserts are available daily. The ship’s library has at least 2000 volumes with English and foreign titles. It is opened daily until 10 PM by Leticia from Romania, the full time librarian. Internet costs 75 cents per minute printing not included. Because it relied on satellite, the reception at sea is usually erratic at best. Travelers with laptops,iPad and kindles make a beeline for free Wi-Fi when in port. Father Lou a retired Catholic priest from Grand Rapids, Michigan conducts mass daily. He also participated in interfaith services on Sundays. He is easily approachable and knows most of the passengers by name. The ship provides church supplies. Our room had a good view of the ocean, at least 180 square feet with ample closet space. A small flat screen TV provide us with ship’s location and time. Rashid and Puto our room stewards from Indonesia were quick and responsive. They had our cabin ready by the time we return from breakfast. The public areas were squeaky clean, the glass and brass of the Rotterdam glisten. Most of the required visas were obtainable from the ship except for India. India compels contact only through private parties designated by them, a great inconvenience for travelers by a country trying to promote tourism. The agents charge high prices for their services. Oman reminded us of Istanbul, Turkey. The shops were similar to the grand bazaar, prices were reasonable, and easily accessible from the port area on free shuttle buses. Burma, now known as Myanmar have an abundance of Hindu temples. They are enormous and magnificent. Sarongs are and bare feet are required to enter. We reached Phuket, Thailand after a day at sea. We took advantage of the Thai silk that were reasonably priced. We finally reached Indonesia our first time and eagerly toured Jakarta, Java, Lombok , Sulawasi, and Bali. We rented a car with a driver who spoke fluent English. He took us where artisans practiced their skills of wood, stone carving, painting, batik making, gold and silver-smiting and a major Hindu temple. We had lunch at a restaurant in the middle of green rice fields. They served us an Indonesian lunch on a banana leaf covered tray with rice, crab, shrimp and other seafood. The bill came to $25 for 4 people, soft drinks included. We spent the rest of the day in a batik factory learning the intricacies of its manufacture. The ship presented a professional troupe of Balinese dancers accompanied by their native orchestra on the queen show lounge stage. Bali is the primary destination of tourists because of its beautiful surroundings and the ease of getting there. There are direct flights from Australia and China. The cruise port in Dempasar, Bali has free Wi-Fi that is accessible from the ship. Another cruise center is being planned to provide a port for more cruise ships. The Rotterdam invited families and relatives of the staff to visit the ship while in Indonesia. We were greatly impressed by this beautiful gesture of Holland America Line. We consider meeting the families of the staff a great privilege. Philreamon 2015 Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
One of the plans you tend to make upon finishing your working years is what will you do to celebrate retiring. I had long ago decided to do a long and adventurous cruise to new places. I had my eye on the Grand Pacific cruise on Holland ... Read More
One of the plans you tend to make upon finishing your working years is what will you do to celebrate retiring. I had long ago decided to do a long and adventurous cruise to new places. I had my eye on the Grand Pacific cruise on Holland America's Amsterdam which left in Sept and was 70+ days around the Pacific. However, when I realized that HAL was doing a circumnavigation of Africa for the first time in 5 years with port calls at some places that were high on the bucket list, I decided to go with the Rotterdam instead. It was not listed as a "Grand Voyage" although the price was about the same as the Pacific cruise, but it was indeed grand! Flying from Florida to London was not a pleasure, as opposed to leaving from Ft Lauderdale or even Seattle, but after having to change to a flight to Washington DC, then Amtrak to Philly, and then flight to London followed by "tube" to London Victoria Station, then coach to Southampton, I made it. The Rotterdam had left Rotterdam the day before with less than half the guests before embarking the rest of us. I boarded around noon and the bags were in the room before I was, a first for me. Lunch in the dining room a few minutes later and then back to 1852 (outside mid ship) to unpack in my new quarters where I quickly felt at home. Five separate closets with plenty of storage as the Rotterdam was built for long cruises. The Rotterdam was redone about 5 years ago with new bathrooms, comfortable beds, all the usual HAL goodies. Room stewards couldn't do enough for me such as fresh fruit bowl and even some flowers. Cleaned every morning and turned down every night, and always asked me by my name if I was happy. I prefer the dining room to the Lido when time permitted. The greeter, who also always used my name, made sure I had a table and server of choice. Most of the dining room staff were excellent. I was treated like royalty and often was served my usual choices without even asking! If I asked the server which entree was better tonight, he would tell me and ofcourse return to make sure. If you treat these folks nicely, you will be amazed how great service is. I do mostly seafood or vegetarian and with rare exceptions it was delicious and well presented. Breakfast in a quiet dining room with a sea view table and a good server, Rosenthal china, and great cooked to order food....life doesn't get much better for me. The Rotterdam had about 1300 guests for the first 48 days, about 100 under "full capacity", with a lot of singles and no children. Well, one little girl who belonged to an officer. Never crowded, few ques, easy to find a seat for most everything, except some of the high quality lecturers. The lecturers were an important and quality part of this grand voyage. Entertainment also good to excellent. The cast shows were great; thought they should have performed more often. You could tell most of the staff were picked for this special voyage. Cruise director Michael and port lecturer KK were excellent. Many of the guests on this ship were frequent cruisers, some too frequent. By that, I mean, they were never satisfied with anything. To the staffs credit, they overlooked the TMC (Too Many Cruises) folks and still gave us great information and service. Keep smiling guys! The Rotterdam goes into drydock spring of 2015 and it does need some attention. It did have some plumbing issues, but I was lucky to have no problems in my room the entire trip. The dining room often had themed nights relating to the areas we were visiting. There were also special regional foods served around the pool area. Entertainers from the various areas were also brought on to add to the grand style voyage. We were the only ship in port with just a few exceptions. We only tendered in one port (Luderitz) and overnighted in 5 ports. The Rotterdam was a great ship for this itinarary as it is one of the fastest cruise ships on the seas, better to out run pirates and storms. We did run without most exterior lighting in the pirate areas and often maintained 20 knots. An officer told me with all 5 engines going and a freshly painted hull, the Rotterdam can do 26 knots. That burns too much fuel. Also, this ship rides deeper in the water which gives it more stable ride. We did have to avoid a cyclone in the Indian Ocean. A lot of extra sea miles and $75,000 extra in fuel costs, but the Rotterdam did very well indeed. I left on day 79 from Lisbon to fly home (flights were full from London so close to Christmas) only missing one port Vigo, Spain. After mostly great weather, it was getting cold and rainy as we returned to Europe and thus I didn't miss much. I would urge those seeking a long voyage exploring unusual ports on a great mid size (60,000 tons/1400 guests) ship, to consider the Rotterdam on this itinarary. As Holland America builds new (bigger) ships, their older ships will be sold. Don't expect a 100,000 ton/2500 guests ship to do these great places and that will leave only the more expensive smaller cruise lines to do them. The smaller ships can't handle the rougher seas either.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
1. Food Dinner / Evening meal. They cannot cater for people with special diets, 15 days into the cruise still have not got a proper veggie, gluten and garlic free meal. Often the food is cold when it arrives. It is taking 45 minutes to ... Read More
1. Food Dinner / Evening meal. They cannot cater for people with special diets, 15 days into the cruise still have not got a proper veggie, gluten and garlic free meal. Often the food is cold when it arrives. It is taking 45 minutes to get one course. Lunch They have no hot food without garlic. Even egg fried rice contains garlic! 2. Dancing No real dance music. Allocated dance floor is terrazzo and full when five couples dance. Music really just easy listening. The wooden floor in the Crows Nest is only for disco dancing even though most people are retiremnet age. Dance instructors arrived 13 days late and are teaching American Waltz. Not much use unless you live in America. 3 Formal Evenings Ticket said 11 formal evenings in fact there are only 5. 4. Suez Canal Cruise sold as Daylight transit of Suez canal but it was done at night so nothing could be seen. 5. Management staff. Management staff are very smooth in dealing with complaints but do nothing. 6. Worse cruise I have been on many great cruises. This is the worse of all cruises by a long way.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
PORTS: London-Lisbon-Malaga-Tunis-Malta-Naphlion-Athens-Suez Canal-Safafa-Dubai (2 days)-Abu Dahbi-Goa-Mangalore-Cochin-Port Blair-Langkawi-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore-(Indoneisa) Jakarta-Semerang-Bali (2 ... Read More
PORTS: London-Lisbon-Malaga-Tunis-Malta-Naphlion-Athens-Suez Canal-Safafa-Dubai (2 days)-Abu Dahbi-Goa-Mangalore-Cochin-Port Blair-Langkawi-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore-(Indoneisa) Jakarta-Semerang-Bali (2 days)-Lombok-Komodo-Makassar-Probolingo-Surabaya (Indonesia)-Singapore ITINERARY: 50 wonderful days from Jan-March 2013 sailing from Southhampton, England to Singapore via the Suez Canal with two incredible weeks working our way across just some of the islands of Indonesia - only 6 of the fabled 17,000 islands of this important SE Asian country. This was also home to many of the ship's crew members, whose families joyously were waiting to greet them at the dock. Holland America and the Rotterdam were up to their well-regarded standards from top to bottom and played gracious host to the crew's family members who were invited on board for tours and refreshments. FELLOW PASSENGERS: Cruise Director Glenn was one of the best and along with the rest of the staff easily handled the bi-lingual demands since this cruise carried a very large Dutch-speaking contingent, which the entire staff handled with style, charm and easy humor. We first moved through history of all the major Western civilizations from Portugal, Spain, Carthage, Roman Empire, Greece and Egypt. And then on to the newer global powers of the UAE, India, Malaysia, Singapore and finally got to see both the new and old worlds of fabulous Indonesia. DINING: The ship was in beautiful shape, the food wonderful and dining settings varied for any tastes. The specialty restaurant The Pinnacle provided a very elegant setting also serving specialty night menus from Michelin rated Liberije (sp?) in Holland and Le Cirque in New York. The standard Pinnacle menus for both lunch and dinner were superb. Try them at both times for sure. Sea days breakfast, lunch and tea in the lovely, tall glass windowed main dining room was always a welcomed treat because you can see the waves passing by while you dine, allowing one to really have the sense of being on a ship. The main dining room sparkled elegantly at night with white linens and silver dinner service, but darkness kept those wonderful full window views more obscured during those evening hours in this part of the world. The specialty afternoon teas should not be missed, esp. the Indonesian and Royal Dutch ones. The Lido, Grill and Slice additionally offered a wide variety of foods for all tastes if a more casual setting was desired - with the option of indoor, poolside or outdoor dining, Along with many specialty buffets like crab feasts, Indonesian, Asian, and German sausage tests -- all very good. Wonderful array of cheeses, along with their signature desserts, good ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and the splendid little meringues. ENRICHMENT-SHORE EXCURSIONS: Enrichment lecture speakers were good to excellent and all topical for the areas we were visiting. The only major hassle was Indian immigration which was counter-productive and inefficient. Their constantly changing demands with each Indian port kept the staff up all night meeting trying to get us onshore on time. Staff was brilliant trying to respond to this. Indian regulations and their over-kill make-work officials at each were petty and annoying serving little purpose. India needs to pay attention to this tourist turn-off in the future if they want people to jump through more and more hoops just to enter their country - and enjoy it and spend our money there locally. Shore excursions offered by the ship were all excellent and well worth the prices since we were often in ports that were not used frequently by cruise ships, local traffic was intense, tourism services few to non-existent, and lots of space to cover to get the best feel for the new areas we were visiting. PIRATE PRECAUTIONS: Yes, we did go through pirate precautions that are now standard for all cruises in this Upper Indian/Ocean Red Sea area. In fact, they were less stringent than we experienced on two other cruise lines for this same area. Since this comes with the territory, there should of been no surprises to anyone choosing to travel in this continually unstable area. Can't imagine why any passenger would want to put the ship at risk ignoring these appropriate precautions. No complaints from us. Know before you go. This is not an optional exercise. The Suez Canal passage was just one of the many highlights of this trip. Be sure and bring binoculars and stay outside as much as you can to hear the plaintive Muslim calls to prayers during the day. SMOKING: I for one hope HAL bans smoking all together as it ruins perfectly good public areas for the rest of us with lingering tobacco smells which made the lovely Crows Nest forward viewing lounge almost unusable due to the lingering heavy smoke saturation. That room needs a thorough and deep cleaning and then ban smoking up there entirely, so the rest of the passengers can also enjoy this grand public space. INTERNET: No one expected or got full ship to shore communications traversing this part of the world either. Internet was slow and balky so best to do your emailing when ashore or in the cruise terminal where all the crew members set up their own laptops too. CABIN LOCATION: We tried a lower deck ocean view cabin (Main Deck 2) this time due to the length and price of the trip and found it spacious and accommodating, but missed our balcony. Saving money on the cabin allowed us to enjoy more shore excursions. We were close to open wrap-around walking deck on Deck 3 and found plenty of outdoor and indoor public spaces to enjoy, particularly the wonderfully stocked Rotterdam library and reading room - the Explorations Cafe. OVERALL: Holland America has a winner with this itinerary and the Rotterdam is just the lady to do this special Holland/Indonesia exploration. I hope many can take it for its full 50-90 day length in order to take this fabulous travel through both time and space as one moves from the Old World into the Newer New World - and the global future where over 3 billion people are rapidly moving in to the middle class. Yet while still preserving much of their ancient past and traditions as well. Long being a global traveller with well over 100 countries visited, I realized I had not really fully seen the world until I visited Indonesia - it is a new jewel in the crown of my own family of nations. And we found we loved 50 day cruises too! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
It took 2 hours to board due to the incompetence of the check in staff --utter chaos at Southampton .We heard later that the same thing happened to the passengers boarding at Rotterdam . Once aboard we found to our dismay that , as smokers ... Read More
It took 2 hours to board due to the incompetence of the check in staff --utter chaos at Southampton .We heard later that the same thing happened to the passengers boarding at Rotterdam . Once aboard we found to our dismay that , as smokers ,that the smoking areas were not as described when we enquired when we booked .Even worse the policy on this is still false on the web page terms and conditions (page 16) listing several areas inside and on all open decks-in fact smokers are actually restricted to half of an open deck at the rear of the ship After a few days we found that the food was never hot in The Lido buffet dining and the same in the main restaurant. The Tv channels in the cabin and other lounges gradually disappeared off the screens. First was ESPN as we passed Suez,the day of the Australian tennis open semi finals which many had gone to Mix bar to watch. The annoying thing was that staff lied to guests with excuses like --satellite fault --mountains blocking the signal (no mountains within 40 miles in the Suez area)--a different excuse to different guests (they didnt seem to realize guests talked to each other )---next all the channels except Fox news went blank --again the same excuses--different excuse to different guests. Once in the Red Sea at Safarga ,a blackout after sunrise was announced because of the threat of pirates so all outside decks were in total darkness,much to the dismay of all the smokers who used the only smoking area Even more annoying after checking on the NATO site giving advise to shipping re piracy there is no danger in the Red Sea. After 6 days of blackout we were passing ships lit up like Christmas trees in the Persian Gulf while we travelled in darkness all the way to Dubai. One afternoon a notice appeared on the doors to the rear outside main deck (The Retreat) saying it would be closed for cleaning.We asked why close it for the afternoon and early evening and were told it had to be done then 'as it was in the schedule'--so it couldn't be changed --the same thing happened on the Promenade deck when passengers were cleared for scheduled cleaning in the afternoon ,,until so many complained it was abandoned The Lido Buffet had 2 sides for serving and was open till 8pm---not late especially for those who had been off ship but at 7.15 each night one side closed causing queues on the other side so service was painfully slow, even more colder food .Even worse on the side that closed ,the staff would start vacuuming around the diners The drinks on board are very expensive ,the trips too expensive and the ports visited changed without prior notice since the original itinery. The 'happy hour' has been abandoned since the previous cruise by this ship A guest commented that it reminded him of a company taken over by accounts---squeeze more revenue out of the customers for the least possible services Many other small things wrong on this cruise ,during which many people e mailed complaints to their travel agents By far the worse ship we have ever been on and we have done many cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Like another reviewer on Tripadvisor my wife and I were also on the July Transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York and have less than complimentary things to say about the voyage. Having previously been on a Princess ship also ... Read More
Like another reviewer on Tripadvisor my wife and I were also on the July Transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York and have less than complimentary things to say about the voyage. Having previously been on a Princess ship also part of Carnival Corporation for four weeks crossing the Pacific last year it was an opportunity to compare both products like for like. The Rotterdam is a grand vessel and warrants a better calibre of staff. That is not to say that some of the crew were exceptional, however dinning was a bear pit with waiters barely able to manage tables. Service was appalling with many dishes served tepid including at least 3 soups . The meals were basically production line fare of mediocre quality with tiny helpings for entrees which were apologies for dinner courses. The time taken to serve each course was ludicrously long and each dinner took an eternity. That is fine if you want to languish for hours but most people required feeding in good time so that they could get away for entertainment . We have enjoyed many cruises and this was the first time we did not offer gratuity The management also did not feel inclined to keep the pool area clean during the day. Crockery and glasses were strewn around the place especially glasses around the only spa that they had working most of the time . This was so dangerous especially with children jumping in and out . No attempt whatsoever was made to clear the debris When we embarked it took 5 hours to obtain our luggage. We enquired several times at the front desk and they told us "they were looking for our cases" Eventually I decided to look myself and hey presto they were by a lift with a lot of other luggage at the far end of our corridor . I took them back to our cabin. Overall we were more than disappointed with HA and I doubt very much if we will ever cruise with them again It is a poor operation with untrained staff and culinary in expertise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I was invited by the nice guys at Holland America to sample their new launch 'Eurodam'. It was to be a 1 night pre inaugural event. I flew to Southampton from Ireland and then made my way to the port. Everything went smoothly ... Read More
I was invited by the nice guys at Holland America to sample their new launch 'Eurodam'. It was to be a 1 night pre inaugural event. I flew to Southampton from Ireland and then made my way to the port. Everything went smoothly and by 1230 I was walking up the gangway onto the ship. I was allocated a Deluxe Veranda stateroom no 6173. As I opened the door I fell in love with it right away. The decor was very tasteful and in keeping with the product that Holland America offer. Everything was polished and new with many amenities. I love the flatscreen TV and DVD player. The balcony doors are very nice and add to the decor. There is plenty of wardrobe space and a free electronic safe. The only thing I would have suggested is that a light above the inside of the door where the wardrobe space is. Its very dark and hard to see in that area. The bed and bedding were so comfortable with plenty of pillows and cushions. The Elemis toiletries were also a nice touch. The size of the stateroom was ample and certainly a nice environment to relax in. After dropping my bags and changing I decided to work my way around the ship from top to bottom. So it started at the Observation deck. This was a very nice area and the Explorations Cafe is superb and serves a good Cappuccino and pastries. Plenty of internet access points here also although very slow. The Tamarind restaurant didn't fail to impress. The layout is perfect and the decor is rich and inviting. It was spacious yet intimate and struck the right balance. The Panorama deck houses the Club HAL for the children. Plenty to keep them occupied in this area. The Lido deck houses the impressive Lido pool. It is a true Oasis and a really nice place to swim and relax. I loved the design and features. The Seaview pool is also nice with plenty of loungers to relax in yet not feel crowded. Time to look at the Spa and the Hydro pool was very striking. Certainly a place to un wind and spend a few hours everyday. The thermal suites are very well designed and placed. The therapy rooms are quite impressive also. The fitness center has all the latest equipment and plenty of space. I then skipped 5 decks as these all housed the various staterooms. I then went to the Promenade deck and took a look at the Rembrandt Dining room. The first impressions were good. Very well laid out and nicely furnished. All of the tables had nice floral displays and the table settings were very nice also. The staff were all getting ready for that evening. The Shopping arcade was very impressive. Well laid out , very spacious and no cheap drums of endless gold chains that you see on other cruise lines. Everything sparkled and was polished. There are some very nice HAL branded items for sale also. The mainstage was being prepared for a talk by various representatives from HAL and the layout of the theatre is very nice. Wine colored leather seats and plenty of space. The Lower Promenade houses the Pinnacle grill which is small but well laid out. The furnishings are very well chosen and the atmosphere is inviting. The Pinnacle bar is a nice place to go before and after dining. The Culinary arts center is nice and plenty of space although there was nothing going on in it for the period I was there. Northern Lights is a wonderfully designed nightclub and a great place to dance the night away. The effects and furnishings add to its unique identity. Even when it was full of people it still felt comfortable. The DJ was great and played a good range of modern and older dance hits. The Sports bar is a nice place to hang out and I loved the seats in the shape of baseball gloves!! The main deck houses the front desk and shore excursions desk. Quite small but does the job. There is a small bar here also which is a nice quiet retreat. So at the end of my stay what are my impressions? I have to say I loved the ship. It is well designed and elegantly furnished in keeping with the HAL product. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming. The facilities were good and there is plenty of areas to relax and entertain or be entertained. The various staterooms that I saw were all of a high quality and the color schemes were well chosen also. The food was on the whole top class. The buffet lunch was really nice with plenty of choice. The breakfast was really nice and plenty of decent choices. The small things that the staff did like carrying your tray to the table and prompt collection of finished plates really stood out. Just because it was a buffet did not mean a loss of standards. Proper cups and plates unlike some lines. Now for the glitches. At dinner in the Rembrandt there were 5 of us at the table. 4 of us had the Beef and 1 had the Salmon. We were not asked what way we wanted the beef cooked and when it came one lady who likes hers well done had to send it back. When it did eventually come back it was still not well done and had to send it back again. Also the person that ordered the Salmon had to send it back as it was not cooked properly. When it did come back it had dried out. Now for me I love my beef rare so it was perfect for me and I had no issues with the meal at all. The people who did have the problems did have valid issues and were not just being fussy. If I had have ordered the Salmon I would have sent it back also as it certainly was under cooked. The service itself was friendly. I guess they should have thrown the Salmon away and started from scratch and the same with the ladies beef. The fact that the beef had to be sent back a second time added to the disappointment. The other issue I encountered was that I had no hot water the next morning to take a shower. I was running late so I just had to brave a freezing cold shower. The water was literally like showering with the cold tap on. It was not even luke warm. It did wake me up though. I reported it to the cabin steward. Two other people had to be moved from their staterooms but I did not find out why. Another couple had no TV in their stateroom as it had broken. On a real cruise I guess it would be more of an issue. With regards to the new idea of the Retreat/Lido Cabanas I still have yet to be convinced and I would not use this facility and I think the space could have been put to better use. In relation to the entertainment the show was excellent and I really enjoyed it. Very professional and well done. So even though there were some issues it did not take away anything from the enjoyment of the ship itself and I guess these things are teething issues which will be sorted out. I would certainly cruise on this ship in future and highly recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
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