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2 Holland America Southampton Cruise Reviews

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
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