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5 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 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
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
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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