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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had a great cruise on the Volendam. So first things first, the Alaskan destination was great, This is clearly why we were on the cruise - to see Alaska. What a fantastic place it was. It was one majestic vista after another. ... Read More
We had a great cruise on the Volendam. So first things first, the Alaskan destination was great, This is clearly why we were on the cruise - to see Alaska. What a fantastic place it was. It was one majestic vista after another. Juneau and Skagway had very little to offer in themselves but the excursions from there were great. We booked a Harv and Marv whale watching tour in Juneau instead of the Holland America excursion and it was a great choice. The small boat and the excellent staff there had us up close with whales in no time. I definitely recommend the excursion. But Juneau itself didn't have a great deal to see. It was interesting to walk around for an hour or so but after that, we just wanted our whale watching tour to start. Skagway seemed to exist only to sell tourist tat. It was OK for a little wander but the value in the destination was in the excursions. We opted for a Glacier Expedition with Alaska Excursions and loved it. Ketchikan was the best of the 3 stops. It was an interesting place to wander about and we ended up hiking the Deer Mountain Trail. Very enjoyable. Back on-board the ship, the service was excellent. Wherever we went the staff were helpful and welcoming. I was surprised how many staff go to know our names personally. We had a Netpune suite and really enjoyed the extra space it offered. But perhaps the best feature was the excellent concierge staff in the Neptune lounge. The food in the main dining room was great as was the Pinnacle Grill. But the food on the lido deck was so-so. It wasn't bad...it just wasn't that great either. Our cabin was great. The location was excellent and it was quiet and comfortable. The ship entertainment wasn't bad but it was a little cheesy at times. The thing that let down Holland America was the quality of the on-board activities. Really these were pretty few and far between. The Microsoft computer labs and the cooking lessons were of little interest. If it wasn't for the Explorations Cafe and the games and books there, we would have really struggled. I think it might be more noticeable on an Alaskan cruise as there are more days on the ship. The ship is older but the decorative order was fine. It would have been nice to have a bigger TV in the room and for the ship to offer in-cabin video streaming services rather than a DVD library from the front desk. Maybe this was a feature of the ship rather than Holland America. Overall a great cruise but there are opportunities for Holland America to improve. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I had high hopes, after cruising on the Holland America "Amsterdam" for a 2-week cruise to Alaska on June 19th thru July 3rd this year. THAT cruise was absolutely wonderful!!! Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that ... Read More
I had high hopes, after cruising on the Holland America "Amsterdam" for a 2-week cruise to Alaska on June 19th thru July 3rd this year. THAT cruise was absolutely wonderful!!! Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that Holland America is very consistent. Previously, I was on the 33-Day cruise in March this year, on the ms Maasdam. And, while there were many issues (it is a VERY old ship), I was very impressed with how the captain handled the huge amounts of complaints. It really felt like he cared about what we complained about. He responded quickly and appropriately to everything. I was so impressed, despite the many issues (poor vent/AC system, horrific tendering, etc...) because while there may have been problems, they were addressed, the captain apologized, AND he took action to try to keep us all happy, for a very extended amount of time. It convinced me to cruise on Holland. And, I did - on the Amsterdam to Alaska for two-weeks. It was absolutely wonderful. But, this last cruise, just makes me shy away from cruising on Holland again. I didn't bother to complain while on this ship, after my initial letter to them, on the first day, to let them know how unhappy I was. It was clear to me, that Holland's ms Eurodam couldn't and wouldn't live up to the great Amsterdam experience. First of all, windows were regularly blocked with closed curtains. Does the ship NOT understand that the view is the MOST important aspect of an Alaska cruise? I had mentioned it several times, to employees/staff, but they never did anything about it. I would get smart alick answers like "the weather is bad". Second, in the diningroom I felt that every table was pushed together closer than ever and each one was set with two extra place settings - enough to cause a full table to feel knees and elbows and having the inability to pull out a chair without hitting a person next to you. It was near impossible to walk freely. Conversations were impossible as well, as the diningroom was so crowded, you couldn't hear a person sitting next to you! I was constantly struggling to hear anything being said. Also, the staff were so extremely busy, with what appeared to us all, was extra duties, while trying to perform diningroom duties, that they didn't have time to ask us if we wanted anything, if our meal was satisfactory, or if we would like tea or coffee with our dessert. Orders were taken quickly, food was thrown at us, like being on an assembly line and I was even told repeatedly, that I could NOT have a tea pot, when I asked for tea. I actually had to argue with diningroom staff, to let them know that I CAN have a pot for hot water and I do NOT have to settle for a cup of hot water. It was impossible to get Earl Gray tea or Jasmine tea. I would get it from the Lido/buffet line and bring it to dinner with me. The first three days I couldn't even get any lemons for my water. One table even commented to me on the last night for dinner that it seemed like a real struggle when I was trying to ask for a tea pot for hot water. The waiter had tried insisting that we ONLY get those for "room service". I had to inform him that I have been cruising for the last couple years, just about once per month and this was the ONLY ship that refused to give me hot water in a pot. He then caved in and got me one. (Why did it take such an ordeal?) One of the best features of a Holland America cruise (for me) is the Tea Time. But, on this ship, it was also part of the assembly-line service. Instead of having a pleasant dining experience, being seated formally and treated with respect, we had to find a seat, at least a half an hour PRIOR to tea time and there was NO choice in the tea we were poured. The tiny bar tables were pre-set with small plates and tea cups that fit only 3 settings, but had four chairs. Needless to say, it was a very uncomfortable experience. I have no idea how the service was for anyone on the 1st tea day, because I was out of luck as to how to get a seat. The other two times that I managed to get a seat, it was rushed, hard to get re-fills of tea, and almost impossible to get a finger sandwich or sweet treat. Staff members were doing the best that they could, but also under staffed and not friendly or concerned with attention to our needs. It felt as though it was part of their forced routine that they were anxious to get over with. On the UP side, I absolutely LOVED my Ocean View!!! And, the band was outstanding. The comedian was great. The string quartet was remarkable. And, as always Metka was a pleasure to bump into and she remembered me from our first cruise in March. Room service was okay, except they found the need to repeatedly call to ask if I had everything (until asked them to STOP calling me, and let me enjoy my food.) And, as always, the room attendants were the best service of any service on the ship. I do not believe I will ever cruise on Holland America again, unless it is a deal that I cannot refuse. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Beautiful cruise through Alaska and Glacier Bay. I couldn't find one staff member that wasn't cheery, helpful and amazing at each turn. Always greeting you with a good morning, afternoon or evening when passing any staff ... Read More
Beautiful cruise through Alaska and Glacier Bay. I couldn't find one staff member that wasn't cheery, helpful and amazing at each turn. Always greeting you with a good morning, afternoon or evening when passing any staff member. Don't miss the piano players in the Billboard club. They play off of each other very well. They do 3 shows each night with changing themes. Great way to spend the evening with a cocktail and good music. Casino is pretty tight on the slot machines, stick to the card tables and you will be alright. We noticed the dining room and the buffet have similar menus so if you don't feel like getting dressed up, you can hit the buffet in your shorts and t-shirts. Don't forget to try the pizza place on the back of deck 9, it is worth the 15 minute wait and the burger joint on the front of deck 9 closes early so plan on grabbing lunch there a day or two it was delicious. Tip: if you buy the $100 beverage cards whatever you don't use will get refunded back to you. (wish we would have know this, we probably could have not been so hung over when we arrived back in Seattle ;) Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose the Kongingsdam last year when we were in Rotterdam, on the Rotterdam and saw the new Ship leave for the first time. It seemed bigger than we might want but smaller than the mega cruiseliners. So we booked on board at the future ... Read More
We chose the Kongingsdam last year when we were in Rotterdam, on the Rotterdam and saw the new Ship leave for the first time. It seemed bigger than we might want but smaller than the mega cruiseliners. So we booked on board at the future cruise consultants. It is a beautiful ship, nicely appointed, lovely artwork even in the stairwells. I did notice the differences and yes I too miss the library, however there are so many lovely things, I think one just has to go with the flow. There are other HAL ships to love if this is not your cup of tea. We book Neptune suites and on the Koningsdam these are wonderful places. In the suite my wife misses the little changing area which was replaced by a separate room for sink and toilet, personally I found it not great use of space. The room is beautiful, color soothing, flat screen on the wall over the couch. Loved the room. And always love the Neptune Lounge. Changes here include a different presentation of food which I didn't love as one has to take the plates as they are presented. Other ships let you choose as you like. Small thing. To us a suite is worth the price. Main dining room just beautiful, every meal was just wonderful. The staff just lovely. Specialty restaurants: Sel de Mar, a wonderful addition to the Pinacle Grill and Tamarind. Sea food perfectly fresh, perfectly cooked, perfectly presented. Farm to table restaurant was also worth a visit. Dive, NY Deli and Pizza, Lido...I never understand people who are not pleased with their meals onboard. We travel and visit restaurants around the world. It is very VERY hard to beat the food on board. Last night we went to Ruth's Chris in LA...the steak was much better at the Pinnacle Grill. As to room service: very prompt, hot coffee,but every breakfast order was incorrectly filled. A small item but still. The room stewards always excellent and this time no exception. The new show rooms are all different, all good. Loved the face to face sing along piano(s) bar, spent a lot of time with the duo there. The main stage is a wonderful space, we don't love the production numbers but others do. The classical music strings very good, the BB King group, one of our favs, is now two stories. I didn't love this iteration of musicians, liked the ones on other ships but...oh, well. These folks were good. Just personal preference. This was our 13th HAL cruise and we are planning our 14th. To each his/her own. We feel like family on these ships and couldn't imagine a vacation on any other line. They are also very good to loyal customers and we appreciate that. Being a four star Mariner gets one a certain amount of perks and they add to the experience. We like that we have different size ships to choose from, each has its own strengths and drawbacks but all in all we are fans. This ship is big, no doubt. So the kind of smaller "family feeling" is harder to find. But my wife and I learned that smiling and saying hello, learning a few words of Indonesian and Tagalog, even Dutch go a long way. People like to be treated like people and not functionaries. I wish more people would take time to get to know the staff and ask them about their lives, their countries, their families. It will enrich one's life in unexpected ways, and perhaps restore some faith in the goodness of people (stepping off my soap box). We had been to most of the ports before from Rome to Amsterdam. We used a portion of HAL excursions and outside excursions, all worked just fine. We tried a few other lines, some are good some not so good. Personal choice of course. We always have great vacations with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2017
This ship has been refurbished and is well maintained, but overall a bit too dark for my taste. The clientel tends to be older. Entertainment is overall mediocre with 2 exceptions; B B King Jazz club and the Lincoln center. Departure ... Read More
This ship has been refurbished and is well maintained, but overall a bit too dark for my taste. The clientel tends to be older. Entertainment is overall mediocre with 2 exceptions; B B King Jazz club and the Lincoln center. Departure was very smooth as was disembarkation. The billing dept. goes to the extreme by posting large charges to your credit card from day 1. Several pending charges to my account amounted to over $1800 and my final bill was $709 for on board charges. When I called to complain I was informed that this was the way they operate and I just had to accept. Finally the last charge posted at $713.54, $4.54 more than my final invoice; no explanation offered. We took advantage of 2 of the tours offered, one in Honduras that visited a local forest and butterfly enclosure which was interesting. One in Guatemala that went to the village of Ak-Tenamit. This tour was poorly described in the ship's brochure as moderate; it is not! First a challenging small boat ride on a very rough ocean for 30 minutes to the river then an hour on the river; then a steep climb to reach the village which we never got to enter because we were held up by several people that had mobility issues. I am sure they never thought they would have to climb this steep hill. We did get lunch, the choice was chicken or a local fish, both cooked over an open fire with local vegetables and a glass of punch made with local berries of some kind. Some people wore flip flops when hiking shoes would be more appropriate for this tour. Bathroom facilities were very crude and located up another steep climb. Amenities for suite guests on this ship are minimal to say the least. The Neptune lounge is very small for the number of suite guests and services from the concierge are limited. I have previously sailed with Holland America but this will be my last one. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We started our cruise of 10 days with some concern due to the harsh reviews that have been posted on this site. We quickly came to the conclusion that either HAL had suddenly righted the ship, or that a tremendous number of nit-pickers ... Read More
We started our cruise of 10 days with some concern due to the harsh reviews that have been posted on this site. We quickly came to the conclusion that either HAL had suddenly righted the ship, or that a tremendous number of nit-pickers post reviews. Simply, this was one of the best cruises we have taken. Not perfect, but nothing is and the imperfections were relatively minor. The ship was sold out but never felt overcrowded or burdensome to maneuver. We had great weather the entire cruise, the ship was elegant and beautiful, and the food far exceeded prior HAL experiences. More about this later. We booked a standard verandah cabin (6045) that was nicely decorated and well designed with plenty of storage space. We did not realize until well into the cruise that there are 2 large drawers at the foot of the bed that would have been perfect to stash the dirty clothes. The bathroom was average size but the walk in shower was larger than normal and plenty roomy. In the nothing is perfect category, the toilet is at an odd angle but did not bother us. Also, we were at the back end of the schedule for making up the room so that was not usually done until early afternoon. Live TV was rather limited (CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC News, and 2 ESPN feeds). Food was excellent in MDR and the specialty restaurants. We bought the ultimate dining package 0f 1 night in each of the 5 specialty restaurants for $119 pp. It saves $27 over individual bookings and each meal was excellent. The Tamarind and Sel de Mer are also beautifully decorated and you have no sense of being on a cruise ship as you dine there. We would not have missed any of them. The first night we tried reserving a table under open dining in the MDR for ourselves and our 2 friends traveling with us but were only offered availability very early or very late. The next night we just went when we wanted and were immediately seated, and this was repeated the other 3 nights we ate there. Portions were generous and service was very good. The Lido food was not at the same level but was adequate for breakfast and lunch. Despite critics, we always could find a table either indoors or on the pool deck. HAL attendants would offer to find seating if they saw someone having a problem. Yes, the chairs are heavy but the problem is not the weight but that they don’t easily slide on a carpeted floor. Dive-In served tasty chicken sandwich, burger, fries, etc., all cooked upon ordering. Never a line of more than 2 or 3 people. NY Deli had non-NY type bagels, but the lox spread was delicious. The pizza was the best I have had on a cruise. It was crowded at lunch on sea days. Grand Dutch Café always had tables available and served nice pastries and sandwiches, but service was slow. They charge $2 for a small coffee. Entertainment was a cut above other recent cruises we have taken. The BB King Blues band was fabulous. Great musicians playing mostly R & B, blues and classic rock. We took in part of their shows every night and they developed a loyal following of repeat viewers including several tireless dancers. Contrary to some critics, they did not repeat the same sets over and over. We saw 3 shows in the World Stage and they were above average. The Lincoln Center Stage had a quintet of 5 young women who played a mix of classical and more mainstream music. Only one show, on a sea day, was SRO. The Billboard piano bar seemed the most popular and was out least favorite. It was usually very hard to find seats at the early shows. Shopping was somewhat limited for such a large ship: the usual watch/jewelry store, liquor and sundry items, some dress clothing (women’s nostly) and branded HAL merchandise. One design defect was the narrow passageway on deck 3 infront of the shops. They would put out tables with special sale items but that cut into the ability to easily move around. A few brief observations on ports: Half Moon – We shared the day with the Nieuw Amsterdam, but plenty of room on the beautiful beach. The barbeque lunch was not up to previous standards. Grand Turk – Great beach just off the front of the ship. Took an island tour but not much to see. Amber Cove – Great pool complex and surprisingly uncrowded. Did my first zip line ($20 for unlimited trips). No beach. Bonaire – Not much if you don’t snorkel/scuba. Took a glass bottom boat trip that was very interesting and informative. Curacao – Very scenic and interesting town walkable from ship, but hot. Many high end shops. Avoid the tour to the caves which are not very interesting. Aruba – Wanted to do day trip to the beach but warned by HAL not to because it was Carnival Day and access to port would be restricted after 12 noon, and shops were to close. Shops did close at noon, but the Parade didn’t reach the port until 4PM. Wasted day. A few negatives that did not spoil our vacation: Staff needs to be better trained and not give wrong information. For example, in Aruba the Guest Relations gave wrong information about the timing of the Carnival Parade which caused us to unnecessarily cancel our beach plans. The casino staff misinformed me as to the schedule of the Blackjack Tournament. Guest Relations also mistakenly charged me luggage fees for Luggage Direct that I had indicated were waived by the airline as a perk for my affinity credit card. (However a request for a refund was quickly arranged after our return home.) The excursion desk had a female employee who lied about availability of trips in Bonaire, trying to steer us to the most expensive one. She was reported to her manager when we found this out the next day. Food at Half Moon has deteriorated in quality, but the number of tables has increased so there was plenty of availability. Too many activities are scheduled at same time, between 11:00 and 2:30 and then there are dead spots in the mid-afternoon. Internet service was pricy (I took 100 min. for $55) but speed wasn’t too bad. In summary, this was an excellent cruise with a beautiful ship, great weather, and wonderful food. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We have cruised may times previously and with many different lines. We choose our operator depending upon the itinerary and this was the reason for our first cruise with HAL, although we had heard good reports in the past. This was a ... Read More
We have cruised may times previously and with many different lines. We choose our operator depending upon the itinerary and this was the reason for our first cruise with HAL, although we had heard good reports in the past. This was a 14 night Caribbean voyage from Tampa and the majority of passengers were America. The average age was older than other ships we had sailed in and the overall atmosphere was quieter than usual. No silly games round the pool etc. This was a mid-sized ship with just under 2,000 passengers but plenty of room around the decks. The food was much better than other lines we have sailed with and the Gala Nights reflected that, fillet mignon and lobster tails!! The entertainment around the ship was also very good and varied with guest artistes featuring in the main theatre. BBKings showroom ws particularly excellent. We cannot fault the service, cabins (signature suites), entertainment or the food and drink. The best cruise for a long time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
My first cruise and a big ship to start this process! Ship very grand, food excellent but never had a properly hot meal except in the lido restaurant. Main dining room the meals arrived barely warm. Variety of food very good but still, ... Read More
My first cruise and a big ship to start this process! Ship very grand, food excellent but never had a properly hot meal except in the lido restaurant. Main dining room the meals arrived barely warm. Variety of food very good but still, eating good food at a lukewarm temperature is not my idea of perfection. Worst thing of all was we were in cabin 1090 and this suffered from the full effect of base sounds from BBKing performances. First started off at about 21.15 and ended, some nights at 0.25 hours. I had poor sleeping for the whole of the fourteen nights. When we complained onboard we were greeted with apathy, although they did admit it had been complained about on several of its mini cruises. They said they would have changed our cabins but they did not a like for like to accommodate us! We received a $50 per person credit in our final bill which amortised out over 14 nights was appalling little. I wrote a review to the company, as requested on my return and in return received a typical "American reply" which said nothing, admitted no blame ( we were never warned before we joined the cruise of the possible problems) and basically said off you go we intend to take this no further than let the powers that be know. I am appalled by such a hollow customer services response and a reflection of the same apathy we received on board. Anyone who travels with this ship should be aware of noise problems and I guess the soundproofing is partly to blame but they, knowing the problem should not think that lifting the carpet and brushing it under will solve it or stop this complaint process continuing. Is this the American way of making amends because if this is the case, I would not travel on an American ship again and will do whatever it takes to let others know what they may have in store. The whole matter was treated as though it was our fault for being picky. It is a marvellous area to travel to and so much is right with the concept but once people try to make me feel it is wrong to complain and I should just go away and forget about it, then I become more determined to take it further. Read Less
39 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We have cruised with Holland America Line on 14 of their cruises on various vessels. This was our first experience on the ms Volendam. First of all, the employees on the ms Volendam, like nearly all of their sister vessels' ... Read More
We have cruised with Holland America Line on 14 of their cruises on various vessels. This was our first experience on the ms Volendam. First of all, the employees on the ms Volendam, like nearly all of their sister vessels' employees, were superb and met our expectations for the most part, with some issues noted below. Our Suite Stewards were Excellent! A. The Pinnacle Grille personnel were all superb from top to bottom, as well as the food, though the menu needs to be tweaked. We ate there three times in the 16 days we were on the ship and would have liked a little more variety, but all the food we ate was outstanding, and worth the extra expense. B. Check in and Embarkation worked extremely well in Hong Kong. C. Disembarkation in Yokohama was also seamless. D. Front Desk personnel were also superb and very very helpful. E. The Canaletto was a nice experience at minimal extra cost though we only used it once during our cruise, this time. The portions are huge and could be cut back a bit in our estimation. Problem Areas on the ms Volendam.: 1. Maintenance on the ship was not up to par in our estimation, with many many rust areas on the outside decks, and the suite we were in had scratches and nicks in the desk area and around the wooden parts of the door frames, etc. 2. Reduced man power in the main Dining Room - the Rotterdam, caused extremely slow service for all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that we ate there. 3. The lack of employees stretched those that were working in the Rotterdam to the point where 30 minutes was not unusal to get the first course or the main course, which were often luke warm by the time they were served. 4. Having so few personnel also meant it was difficult to get anyone's attention when you needed something extra or something simple like a cup of coffee. 5. Though most, but not all of the shore excursions that we took (costing over US$2500 in total for two people) were well done, the cattle car experiences of waiting in the Frans Hal theater for those excursions was very difficult with inadequate seating and the shore excursion staff in the Frans Hal were treating the guests as a bunch of children on a school outing rather than as paying adults. Repeating and being loud and "pushy" is not what should have been done. They need to break up the areas for assembling to more than this one venue, which could be done if they had adequate resources to man the Frans Hal and the Explorer's Lounge, or the theater as examples. 6. The Lido food and presentations need to be monitored better though we seldom use the Lido to avoid the buffet atmosphere and the "mobs" of people clamoring for food. This ship needs a dry docking to bring it back up to par with some of the other HAL ships. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This cruise was supposed to be my honeymoon but my husband of 8 Months passed away before the cruise. I am glad I did go on the cruise as I promised my husband on his dying bed I would! This cruise was excellent, the food was delicious and ... Read More
This cruise was supposed to be my honeymoon but my husband of 8 Months passed away before the cruise. I am glad I did go on the cruise as I promised my husband on his dying bed I would! This cruise was excellent, the food was delicious and the service exceptional, I was very impressed! I had been on a cruise in 2012 to the East Caribbean with Holland America and it was also an excellent vacation! There are many crew members who really made my trip so enjoyable, and I would like to praise a few...Shawn the cruise director, Kari the Northern Lights disc Jockey, she kept us rocking the night away, dining room crew... Dedy and Rani, and I couldn't forget our bar server Ronnie. The BB King Band was terrific and they were all very talented! I'm already looking forward to my next cruise! I did participate in the 5k walk in memory of my husband who had recently passed away from pancreatic cancer! He would have been proud of my achievement because I did finish the walk! Thanks for making this trip one of the best for me! Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
“Around the world in 80 days…” goes the song. However, it took Holland America’s (HAL) ms. Amsterdam 115 glorious days to circumnavigate the globe on our Grand World Voyage 2016. What an amazing voyage it was! We visited 24 ... Read More
“Around the world in 80 days…” goes the song. However, it took Holland America’s (HAL) ms. Amsterdam 115 glorious days to circumnavigate the globe on our Grand World Voyage 2016. What an amazing voyage it was! We visited 24 countries and 41 ports; some were overnight stays. People ask us how we could stay on a ship that long. I reply that we loved every minute and that we hope to do it again soon. We were never bored or sea sick and learned so much about the history and culture of the places visited. It many ways, the cruise changed our thinking on a variety of subjects. For most passengers, this was their fourth or fifth+ HAL Grand World Cruise. For us, it was our first Grand World Cruise. The staff told us that this particular Grand World Cruise sailing had the youngest-aged passengers. One tyke celebrated his first birthday while on board the entire voyage. One thousand fifty passengers including 10 children boarded the ship in Fort Lauderdale. Seven hundred fifty passengers took the entire voyage. Other passengers joined the voyage for segments. Most passengers were Americans, many were Floridians but there were plenty of Canadians and Australians onboard plus other nationalities. Our exciting cruise began January 5, returning April 29, 2016 to and from Fort Lauderdale. Friends of ours encouraged us to go on this cruise with them. Unfortunately, they were unable to go. Right from embarkation, things went well. Within 20 minutes, from the time of our arrival at the pier, we were on the ship. Near the gangway, Pande our Assistant Maitre ’D from our HAL Grand Asia Pacific 2014 Cruise greeted passengers and recognized us. He instructed a steward to carry our hand luggage and escort us to our cabin. Wow! It made us feel like family. Our former Cruise Director, Gene Young from HAL Grand Voyage ’14 was also stationed at the gangway. He, also, recognized us immediately. It was wonderful to have him as our Cruise Director for this cruise, too. I wonder when the man sleeps. He was involved on board in so many ways. Our mid-ship ocean-view stateroom, # 2598 was in a very stable position on the ship. The cabin itself was bright, comfortable and contained sufficient storage space for all our belongings. The A/C and plumbing worked well throughout the entire cruise. Unfortunately, stateroom TVs were still not interactive so we often had to visit the Front Desk to get our statements printed. For my husband, though, the lack of a mini-fridge in our cabin was a big problem. He needed to visit the medical office often to retrieve his medication that needed refrigeration. Another problem was early morning (5-5:30 AM) noise from a crew member working on open deck 3 that frequently disturbed our sleep. Many other guests on our deck complained about this noise. All the stateroom passageways are bright and lined with Dutch maritime art; Deck 1 has Dutch floral art works gracing its walls. The public areas of the ship were all well appointed and quite attractive. The floral arrangements are stunning. However, the very comfortable couches in the Queen’s Lounge (theater) are lower than the upholstered chairs making it difficult viewing the performers on stage while sitting on the couches. Uneven temperatures in certain areas of the ship especially in the Queen’s Lounge made carrying a sweater a necessity. Still another concern was the slow speed of the internet connection. We waited until we reached shore to access thee Internet. The ship does need some updating and perhaps will go in for refurbishment soon. This in no way detracted from our enjoyment. The ship was well maintained and always clean. Everyone was comfortable navigating this mid-sized ship, which was the perfect size for entering smaller foreign ports. The food and service in the Main Dining Room were wonderful. We had fabulous meals nightly especially on Gala Nights. On the off chance that nothing on the menu was appealing, we could choose Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, steak, chicken or salmon as alternatives. Although I always am pleased with food and service on HAL ships, on Grand & Grand World Cruises they are superior. Our Early Seating MDR servers Gede & Berry were professional, personable and efficient, anticipating our needs and checking to see that everything was fine with our meals. My husband received all his Special Request Meals in a timely fashion. Gede made a point of bringing the next day’s menus to him as soon as they became available. In fact, the entire MDR staff did a terrific job daily getting his Special Request Meals correct. Nestor Malsi, our wine steward, brought our glasses of red wine at our table usually before we even arrived. He always had time to chat with us nightly. After dinner, I enjoyed stopping by the cheerful door attendant, Woko’s station. He always remembered my name and knew which after dinner treat I wanted before exiting the MDR. I cannot say enough about how helpful the HAL staff was in general. All the crew on board Grand & World Voyages are hand picked by HAL. We did dine several times in the two specialty restaurants, The Canaletto & the Pinnacle Grill. The levels of service there were always excellent as were the food. The Lido Café food was good, too and we always ate at least breakfast there. In the Lido, wait staff members Imam and Supraman would often assist us in locating a table, brought us the Times Digest daily and remembered our preference for beverages. They were so professional, friendly and efficient. We always looked forward to our daily conversations with them. Many times, I enjoyed the Lido Restaurant’s wonderful sushi station at lunchtime. Another fun place to eat is poolside at the Dive In. The fries there are extra delicious; so are the several choices of hot dogs and burgers. Many other things made the voyage so special. On Gala Nights, the MDR was festooned with colorful balloons, London-themed umbrellas, paper lanterns, banners, flags or other festive decorations. On some themed nights depending on the theme, we received Panama or Bowler hats, beautiful masks or leis to wear and keep. On other Gala evenings, we received Valentine chocolates, long stemmed roses or maracas. The servers dressed in festive attire for the theme nights, as did many of the passengers. On many Gala nights, passengers received gifts in their staterooms such as: a nylon travel bag, a canvas boat bag with matching toiletry bag filled with travel essentials, a moleskin travel journal, a signed paperback travel book, Tiffany & Co HAL ceramic box, HAL Crystal Candle Holder, a Royal Goedewaagen Plate highlighting the itinerary and a travel wallet. Plus, at the Dinners with the Captain in the Pinnacle Grill, each passenger sailing the entire cruise received distinctive salt & pepper shakers reminiscent of those given on HAL very first World Voyage. On our night, we were kindly invited to sit at the Captain’s Table along with his lovely wife, Karen and two Senior Officers. The ms. Amsterdam is an older ship but quite seaworthy and is especially stable for the type of cruising that she does. Most days I forgot that I was even on a ship since the seas were so calm. Our “Storm Dodger” Captain Jonathan was expert at avoiding high winds and storms thus earning his nickname. I always felt completely safe under his leadership. Captain Jonathan & his wife were most charming, affable and professional as were all the Senior Officers. On Grand and Grand World Voyages, Grand Dollars can be earned by participating in on board activities. By the end of the cruise, we had earned over 800 dollars to spend on various items. Activities on board were varied. Daily Tai Chi classes kept us busy. Trivia was also quite popular as was Arts & Crafts, computer classes, bridge and pool games. We attended most of the lecture series on Sea Days. I specially enjoyed the talks on space, various cultures and photography. We were invited to attend several wine tasting events throughout the voyage. We loved the many Culinary Arts Demonstrations and Tasting classes, too. I hope that we can duplicate the dishes served using the many recipe cards we received. The movies on board were up to date and I watched a few of them. On Location Guide Barbara Heanni and Nyron Peters, from the Shore Excursion Staff gave detailed talks about Things to See & Do in port. These ship talks on the ports of call were current and quite useful. How nice that HAL has someone on board to help passengers who wish to go sightseeing independently. At many ports, there was a complimentary shuttle service to the center of town or to a nearby mall. Several times, we used this service. The main reason I took this cruise was the itinerary. It was so exciting to transit the Suez Canal for the first time. We have cruised through the Panama Canal several times previously and always enjoy the experience. One personal highlight for us was our one night’s stay in an idyllic over water thatched-roofed bungalow in Tahiti at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa. A Welcome drink at reception, plus a bottle of champagne and wine along with fruit and snacks awaited us in our bungalow. We had a wonderful day swimming in the clear, aquamarine shallow waters of the lagoon, enjoying the beautiful views of the stunning mountains, strolling the white coral sandy beach and relaxing in the hammocks. An extravagant dinner buffet with a complimentary bottle of wine followed by a spectacular floorshow ending with an outdoor fire-eaters performance completed the magical day for us. At night, we viewed the lighted lagoon beneath us through the cutout window in the floor of our bungalow. After a sumptuous breakfast buffet with live entertainment the next morning, we took a walking tour of the facility and enjoyed the beautiful pool before we rejoined our ship at its next port, Moorea. It was a dream come true for both of us. Equally special were our visit to Petra and Wadi Rum in Aqaba, Jordan, Chinqua Terra in Livorno, Italy and Dubai, UAE. Muscat and Salalah, Oman were other new ports for us and quite interesting. Everyone asks which our favorite port was and we reply whichever port we are visiting at the time. However, while we were in Israel, we were especially moved while exploring all the biblical sights in Haifa and Ashdod. Almost all of our shore excursions were sponsored by the ship and they were worthwhile, enjoyable and educational. We did independent sightseeing in Sydney and in Jakarta since we had previously explored those ports extensively. There were so many memorable highlights during our World Cruise onboard the ms. Amsterdam. One was the very elaborate fun-under-the-setting-sun Australia Beach Party where sand covered the Lido Magrodome pool area. Bondi Beach lifeguards came on board along with Australia‘s most sort after 6-piece band, Hipnosis. There were huge beach balls, surfboards, beach chairs, water games and complimentary tropical drinks and food to add to the beach theme. What Fun! The extra-special décor of the 1001 Arabian Sights themed pool deck party set the tone for another wonderful evening. The Zany April Fool’s Day Costume Party in the Crow’s Nest was hilarious, while the elaborate Black & Silver Ball in the Queen’s Lounge was quite elegant. The champagne Valentine’s Day Ball in the Queen’s Lounge was oh so romantic. It was fun guessing who was under the beautiful masks provided for the Masked Ball in the Queen’s Lounge, the final Gala Night of the cruise. I was looking forward to the St. Patrick’s Day Party but was surprised that no Irish music was played although there were plenty of pots of gold and other Irish decor to be found. I especially enjoyed the extravagantly presented monthly High Teas - Royal Dutch, Polynesian, Indonesian and Middle Eastern. I photographed each of the lavish displays. I wished that there were more of them. My husband especially enjoyed the Super Bowl 50 Festivities in the Queen’s Lounge. Entertainment in general was wonderful and quite diverse. The Bon Voyage Sail-Away Fest was a great way to begin the voyage. We had complimentary drinks, snacks and live music with the wonderful HAL orchestra. A similar Sail Away Party occurred on our departure from Sydney. After dinner each night, we enjoyed listening to the very personable Debby Bacon in the Piano Bar. One night, her husband, Ron joined her for a performance and it was such fun for everyone. Whenever we could, we also found time to listen to the beautiful music in the Exploration Lounge performed by Adagio, Attila and David from Hungary. The talented HAL Singers and Dancers performed ten different shows and all were well paced and entertaining. One of my favorite Queen’s Lounge performances was the steel drum group from Trinidad, the sensational Island Magic. I even purchased their CDs. The cultural Queen’s Lounge shows in Hong Kong, Tahiti, Dubai and Spain were all colorful and memorable. Often times we had an extra theater performance, Spotlight before the main Showtime Show. The two well rehearsed Crew Indonesian and Filipino Matinee Shows were standing room only. Who knew that Nestor Malsi, our wine steward and Filipino Crew Show Organizer had such a marvelous voice? We attended and thoroughly enjoyed both shows. After so many days on the ship, we knew the entire cast of both shows, which made the shows even more entertaining. During ports of call, we had the opportunity: to ride a camel, an elephant, a mule and horse, swim with stingrays and dolphins and see penguins in their enclosure. We had close encounters with wild monkeys, kangaroos, emus & koalas. In Singapore, we went on a Night Safari and saw many nocturnal animals in their natural habitats. On board, there were dance lessons, cultural emergence activities plus didgeridoo, ukulele and belly dancing lessons. I learned enough foreign phrases to get along in the various countries visited. I tasted exotic foods from many different countries. It is an experience that I will never forget. Yes, it took plenty of preparation and planning before a cruise of this length. Imagine, though, touring the world and only unpacking once! No air flights even were involved since we live in Florida. How wonderful that our price included the shipping of our four large suitcases ahead of time! Gratuities were also included. We received excellent complimentary laundry service since we are Four Star Mariners. We made some wonderful new friends that we hope to see again on future HAL cruises. A cruise of this length may not be for everyone but it was a dream of a lifetime for us. We are still enjoying our memories when we watch our ship videos and look through our candid ship photos and photo albums. We were so pleased with the itinerary, the food, the accommodations and the service. Our next HAL cruise will be on the new ms. Koningsdam later this year. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I enjoyed the 32 day cruise. The library was large, the food very good, the entertainment enjoyable, the ports interesting, the lectures very informative. What's not to like ? The wheelchair stateroom was very large & was easy ... Read More
I enjoyed the 32 day cruise. The library was large, the food very good, the entertainment enjoyable, the ports interesting, the lectures very informative. What's not to like ? The wheelchair stateroom was very large & was easy to park my scooter out of the way. The bathroom was also large with a handicap shower chair that was easy to use. The room stewards, the waiters, & all the rest of the staff bent over backwards to be friendly & very helpful. You could ask for almost anything off the menu & you'd get it with a small wait. The embarkation was easy especially since we checked in online. The debarkation was only as fast as customs could work. Everything was ready- from porters to help find & carry luggage to lines for aliens & Americans. I didn't like that scooters were in the same line as passengers because I ran over a foot inadvertently. I drove my scooter both on & off the ship, thru embarkation & debarkation. This cruise line is quite superior to others. Last year & the year before we took Princess. Nothing was as good on Princess as on HAL. I like lectures; Princess doesn't. I like a large library; Princess doesn't. The entertainment was comparable on both cruise lines, but the food was not as good on Princess as on HAL. The staff on Princess was OK, but HAL is superior. The activities were varied as well as the shore excursions, however expensive. We took an excursion from a new excursion company affiliated with Costco travel. The tour guide was outstanding & we travelled on a mini bus instead of a large motor coach bus.Hal couldn't tell me in advance whether I could take my scooter , placing it in the under compartment of the bus, whereas the new company could give me every detail. There was a children's club, religious services & a great cruise director . It's no wonder that we've travelled over 120 days altogether on HAL(over 15-20 different cruises on many cruise lines) & was rewarded for it with a medallion & discounts in many areas of the ship. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Being first time cruisers, we had no idea what to expect once we boarded the Westerdam. The embarkation process started about 11:30 am and moved along very quickly. We found our room on the Rotterdam deck aft #7136. Our luggage was ... Read More
Being first time cruisers, we had no idea what to expect once we boarded the Westerdam. The embarkation process started about 11:30 am and moved along very quickly. We found our room on the Rotterdam deck aft #7136. Our luggage was already delivered and once we completed the emergency drill, we were soon underway. Our room had a verandah which we spent a lot of time enjoying the cruise north to our first port of call Juneau. Everything about the room and bath were clean and comfortable. I can't say enough about the hard working stewards....they are there to take care of your needs but yet you rarely see them. I have read previous reviews and many people say the Westerdam décor is dated and worn. I found the ship to be in excellent condition and reminded me of what the older cruise ships of century ago would of liked like yet it had all the modern technology. I loved the promenade deck with the old fashioned deck chairs and plaid blankets to keep you warm on a chilly day. We walked the deck every day along with many others but it never seemed crowded. We were blessed with beautiful weather and enjoyed the sunrise and sunsets. One of our favorite things to do was going up to the crows nest and sit in a comfy chair, enjoying the sights and sipping a glass of wine. The food was okay, better than I expected. We ate in the Vista dining room every evening except for one night in the Pinnacle which was very nice. We had wonderful dining partners who kept the conversation going during the meal. Kudos to our waiter and all the dining staff who work very hard to give excellent service. Our favorite sights were the Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau, the Glacier Preserve NP, Sitka and Victoria BC. Also the wildlife, we saw whales, otter, eagles and seals. Alaska is amazing and our last frontier...so grateful we were able to this cruise and would love todo another one. I highly recommend the Westerdam and the Holland America Line. Perfect size ship for first time cruisers! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This cruise was included in our package tour of the Rockies which my husband and I had undertaken to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our tour group was told that it may take a couple of hours to get through the embarkation process at ... Read More
This cruise was included in our package tour of the Rockies which my husband and I had undertaken to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our tour group was told that it may take a couple of hours to get through the embarkation process at Vancouver and onto the ship but we would be in time for lunch on board. Sadly US Customs decided to make this process as difficult and lengthy as possible and it took over four hours. We were disgusted, have been on many cruises but never been treated so poorly. We will never take out a cruise out of Vancouver again because of this experience. By the time we arrived on board we had missed lunch and the life boat muster so were expected to attend another drill at 6pm. We declined as we had a dinner booking at that time. They then requested we attend another drill the next day. The lady that turned up to do that drill was late and a big group of people were left waiting on the cold deck for her appearance. Very poor form I thought. It was our first cruise with Holland America and I was impressed with the ship, it has a lot of old world charm. We found the food in all dining rooms very nice. We loved having room service for breakfast! We had dinner at the Pinnacle Grill to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and it was really nice, the service was superb and the food wonderful. We chose to spoil ourselves with a signature suite. We had a bath and a shower and two basins. The extra room in the cabin and balcony was great, we loved it. We struck some very wet and windy weather during the cruise and had only one sunny day in Skagway. We did three shore excursions in 3 ports but they were a bit dismal at times due to rain and cold but I guess you expect that in that part of the world. What we did like was the organisation involved in the shore excursions. You just met at the end of the pier, on other ships you get crammed into the theatre and led out one group at a time. I didn't enjoy the entertainment as much as I had on other cruise lines. There wasn't a lot offered I felt. Embarkation was done well, waiting in your cabin for your group to be called, we were off the ship in no time. All in all we would cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
We did the 24 day East and west med cruise visiting 16 different ports. The ship was excellent, food was very good and excellent in the the three speciality restaurants. Especially the pinnacle. The tv system was the best we have had on ... Read More
We did the 24 day East and west med cruise visiting 16 different ports. The ship was excellent, food was very good and excellent in the the three speciality restaurants. Especially the pinnacle. The tv system was the best we have had on any cruise line with a 42 inch flat screen attached to the wall. Free movies and various TVs shows with 3 news channels. The cabin we had was excellent and very large compared to others we have had (10003). It was at the front of the ship overlooking the bow. There were a few niggles; no draught beer ! And at $6 per small can of Heineken it was expensive for a few drinks . Similarly with wine a bottle of penfolds koonoga hill which costs about $10 was selling for $40 and that was the cheapest. The my time dining just did not work with long queues every evening even if you had booked . We managed to get set time for the second 12 day leg. The main dining area - the lido - had great choices for breakfast and lunch but hardly any choice at all for evening dining. We only ate there twice and only because we were late back from trips. Finally , the service throughout the ship was the best we have experienced on any cruise. The staff were friendly and helpful. And I would not recommend travelling in the med during summer time as it is very very busy with loads of kids and teenagers on boad. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
We were already in Europe on an extended vacation to see friends when we saw this cruise pop up at a discount price for last minute--two weeks away. I had cruised about 15 cruises, however, never on Holland America. I was afraid the crowd ... Read More
We were already in Europe on an extended vacation to see friends when we saw this cruise pop up at a discount price for last minute--two weeks away. I had cruised about 15 cruises, however, never on Holland America. I was afraid the crowd may be too old for us as we are in our 50's...however, the price and the stops convinced us to go. It was FANTASTIC!! Everything I have heard about Holland was false...they are a 5 star plus line. The cruisers were all ages, from all over the world..a big surprise to us. The food and service was the best in many years...and the Ports to die for...Santorini, Greece is fabulous, Dubrovnik..all of the Greek Islands were interesting and two days in Turkey was absolutely wonderful..we arranged tours with local tour operators and had 4-6 people in our tour groups for two days...met lots of great people and this is definately the best cruise we have ever taken..thanks HAL! We will be back...and to top it off...we won a cruise playing BINGO :-) The MEd cruises are so different as they become your 5 star hotel while we were at port all day and many times exhausted by night..beats a tour with a company any day! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
My husband and I took our first cruise on HAL MS Eurodam. We booked an SC Suite Guarantee. I am in my early 40's and he is in his early 30's. We brought 8 bottles of champagne(always do it right) aboard and pre purchased a bottle ... Read More
My husband and I took our first cruise on HAL MS Eurodam. We booked an SC Suite Guarantee. I am in my early 40's and he is in his early 30's. We brought 8 bottles of champagne(always do it right) aboard and pre purchased a bottle of rum, 2 nights at Pinnacle Grill, a couple of shore excursions and a drink card. To begin with I was a little nervous that I would hate the whole cruise thing and end up spending 7 days afloat on the ocean in a terrible mood with no escape. My concerns were completely unfounded. We boarded and were promptly shown to our suite. All of our pre purchases were in the room, in addition to a complimentary bottle of champagne and a bottle of sparkling water. Our room stewards introduced themselves. I forget their names now, they were very good and very attentive. First we received an aft-facing suite. The balcony was amazing, the view was amazing and I will never sail in another type of room if it can be helped. We enjoyed many a bottle of champagne just watching the water. It was so relaxing, no crowds, no nothing, just us, bubbles and the ocean. The Neptune Lounge was our second favorite place. It's a perk of the suites. It has two personal concierges to assist with reservation and resolving any issues. There were light breakfast, sweet and savory items items available through out the day. Also, there is an espresso maker, for complimentary coffee drinks throughout the day. We spent a little time here each day. The staff made us feel very special. Our third favorite spot was the Pinnacle Grill, we ate several lunches here, and multiple dinners. We received wonderful service and meals. It was worth the upcharge. We recently booked our next cruise with HAL and pre booked all of our dinners at the Pinnacle Grill. We ate one night in the main dining room and didn't enjoy waiting in line. The meal was ok and we really enjoyed our table mates, but we preferred the Pinnacle. We also ate once at Tamarind. I enjoyed it, but still preferred the Pinnacle Grill. We didn't seek out entertainment, but enjoyed the HalCats playing jazz on several occasions. I wished there would have been more nightlife, but the trade off was fine, as I am not a fan of large crowds. We booked a Champagne Catamaran snorkel excursion through HAL for St Thomas, It was amazing. It was my first say snorkeling and I had a great time. The crew made the trip fun. By this time you may have figured out I like champagne. We were unable to make land in Puerto Rico because of high winds, but the captain made a fine effort. I personally wish he would have given up earlier. It was the first time I was bothered by the motion of the ocean. At Half Moon Cay, we rented a little clamshell to keep the sun off. For reason I was possessed by desire to go parasailing. Once I was 300 feet in the air, I realized that the fear of heights doesn't go away just because you're on vacation. I spent $75 to hold on for dear life and pray like only lapsed catholic in trouble can pray. The better part of the day we spent afloat on our backs in the ocean and it was wonderful. Once back on board I went to the GreenHouse Spa for aromatic salt scrub. Amazing. I must say I have never before returned from vacation feeling rested. I am usually exhausted from running around trying to cram everything into a week. HAL took all of the pressures away. In small blips on the radar that could cause discomfiture in my day, I completely disregarded. The moment I was aboard I felt like we were going to have a wonderful holiday free of worry and we did. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2012
Have never before complained about a cruise, but our experience, coupled with comments by veteran HAL cruisers on this same cruise, convinced us this was a disaster experience. GENERAL APPEARANCE of Zaandam: Others commented on worn ... Read More
Have never before complained about a cruise, but our experience, coupled with comments by veteran HAL cruisers on this same cruise, convinced us this was a disaster experience. GENERAL APPEARANCE of Zaandam: Others commented on worn interiors (and even ship's exterior) so I won't repeat those criticisms. CUISINE: Expected excellent cuisine but this was not the case. Menus repeated in second 14 day segment which was was not consistent with the way the "Explorer" format was explained. Very good food and wait staff in the 2 specialty restaurants but at these prices, meals should be of higher culinary and creative quality throughout ship. Desserts in MDR and Lido looked good, hyper infused with sugar, and unexciting in taste. The six people at our table often omitted desserts or took only a few bites. COST CUTTING MEASURES: *Wait staff were so downsized, meals were sometimes served very slowly. At one to point we were rushed along to finish and leave so the next dinner seating could occur. The problem was not that we were slow eaters, but the food service was extremely slow. *Adequate planning did not occur to enable smooth customs clearances at several ports. We were held aboard while procedures were worked out. Having traveled to many of these same countries before, I don't understand the reason for such delays. *Someone made a decision to turn down the heat in dining rooms, spa, and staterooms. This cost saving strategy was reversed only when the front desk was stormed by angry, freezing passengers. A trip to the medical clinic proved interesting. Many passengers AND crew were being treated for colds and respiratory symptoms and no wonder! * Educational lectures on history, culture, politics did not occur. For us, learning new things about countries we visit is part of the cruise experience we have enjoyed most but such learning opportunities did not exist INACCESSIBILITY OF EXECUTIVE PERSONNEL: We asked to meet with the Hotel Manager at one point, and we made our request quietly and tactfully. Our request was deflected by other front office staff and ultimately we were refused. What kind of an organization is this? HAL if you think you are above meeting such requests, your business and PR will suffer greatly. On other cruises the Captain was highly visible. Such was not the case on either segment of this 28 day cruiseSHORE EXCURSIONS: Very worthwhile in every port although the majority of passengers we met arranged independent tours because, as they explained, the costs were "too dear". CABIN ATTENDANTS: Were fabulous, attentive, eager to please, and over-worked although they would never have admitted this. Our pair of attendants were assigned 29 rooms to clean daily! WILL WE GIVE HAL ANOTHER TRY? Think once was enough, too bad! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
Itinerary was Half Moon Cay, Turks, Samana, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba. Wind too strong at Half Moon so we moved on to Turks. Docking was on the starboard side but those with cabins on the port side got the best view of the beach and the ... Read More
Itinerary was Half Moon Cay, Turks, Samana, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba. Wind too strong at Half Moon so we moved on to Turks. Docking was on the starboard side but those with cabins on the port side got the best view of the beach and the island itself. The port duty free stores were right at the end of the dock and included a Margaritaville restaurant/pool/bar area serving way way overpriced drinks. free wifi here though. Beautiful free beach and loungers within 100 yds. of the ship HA allows passengers to bring aboard bottles of wine for their own consumption. Buy some as the bottles offered on board are triple the price offered than those at the end of the dock. Moved through the night to Samana Tenders moved passengers to shore during intermittent showers and high humidity. we choose to relax on board as the reviews on shore excursions were depressing. Another night sail followed. A slow southward sail to Bonaire amid rising temperatures ( 24-28C)melted away any stress we both had. Docked on port side Bonaire the first of the ABC islands or the Dutch Antilles had no stores at the end of the dock but both indoor and flea market stalls were within walking distance. Free wifi downtown at Lily's ice cream shop. Wine cheap downtown. Took HA sponsored 4x4 tour here. Not worth the time or money unless you want to see, garbage, litter, beer bottles and beaches plastered with plastic flotsam of every shape and size Short night sail to Curacao with docking on port side. Beautiful port with shops within walking distance. Free wifi at Edy's ice cream shop in the nearby fort. Follow your crew members with their laptops, they know where the wifi hotspots are. Aruba next, another beautiful port with docking on the port side. starboard cabins look off shore. Dock shops 30 ft from gangway with more expensive shops downtown. (approx 500 yd. walk) Free wifi in the Renaissance Mall Two day sail back to Fort Lauderdale with a short interruption to rescue 2 small fishing boats off the coast of Cuba. They were separated from their mother ship at dusk and were pointed in the right direction by our helpful Captain and crew. My wife and I took the 4 hour tour of the Noordam hosted by the Marketing Manager along with 9 other intrepid souls. Well worth doing once in your cruising life. Visited the engine control room of the ship, the back stage in the Vista Lounge and the bridge too.Food lockers waste collection area and the laundry were also included. Entertainment each night was packed. Some shows were the same as last year prompting us to look at another HA ship for next year's trip. Want to relax and enjoy quality time with your significant other try a 10 day trip on this ship. You will smile too Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We boarded the ship in Ft. Lauderdale on December 11, 2011. This was a seven day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We had not been on this ship before so the first thing we did was explore so we could learn the layout of the ship. ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Ft. Lauderdale on December 11, 2011. This was a seven day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We had not been on this ship before so the first thing we did was explore so we could learn the layout of the ship. It's also a great time to take pictures. We are spoiled and we only book cabins with a verandah. We love the beds on the HAL cruise line as sleep just needs to be comfortable and if it's not, we are not happy. HAL, in our opinion, has the best food and so we will be sticking with this cruise line going forward. I just hate to spend money on something that is not up to snuff. The ports on this cruise were; Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, San Juan and Saint Maarten. We had not visited Grand Turk before nor San Juan. Grand Turk was okay, very pretty beaches. I was not impressed with San Juan as it just reminded me of Mexico. We love Half Moon Cay and the weather was so wonderful while we were there. In Saint Maarten we had the same nice weather and we just shopped. We don't take many excursions because we have done them in the past and they are kind of expensive. We like to explore on our own. We did learn something on this cruise. If you book your next cruise while on board, you just put down a $100 deposit and you can select your cruise and your cabin. The deposit is good for four years. In addition, we got $50 each drink cards for the next cruise. Just little benefits to booking while on board. If it turns out that you cannot take the cruise you booked, the deposit can be used for another cruise. You don't lose that money. We booked a cruise for the next New Year so we can party on board. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
We have traveled on HAL in the past to the Panama Canal and it was fabulous. I will just list the disappoints on Noordam; which we will not be traveling again on anytime soon. 1. I asked for an ashtray 4 times didn't get one so used ... Read More
We have traveled on HAL in the past to the Panama Canal and it was fabulous. I will just list the disappoints on Noordam; which we will not be traveling again on anytime soon. 1. I asked for an ashtray 4 times didn't get one so used a glass; then I finally got one. 2. No ice in the ice bucket the 1st night. 3. Both night stands had saltine crackers, Splenda and SweetnLow in them (UCK) 4. Pinacle Bar;ordered 2 drinks; wanted another 2 and too busy to get to us; we left. 5. Wine steward didn't take drink orders unless you were ordering wine and then he paid close attention to you. We did finally get a couple of drinks one night,he forgot to charge our card; we told him the next night and instead of apologizing he asked for our card; his mistake; should not have taken card (in my opinion). 6. Our safe failed 4 times; 1st and 2nd time reset, 3rd time new batteries and 4th reset. We have used the same code for 10 years; so I know it wasn't us. Frustrating when it's a formal night and you can't get to your belongings. 7. Toilet backed up @ 5:30 a.m., and was told the plumber would be out to fix @ 8:00 a.m., not good enough; finally someone came (probable around 6:00 a.m.) 8. We spoke with some other cruisers who were just as disappointed; mainly with the staff. Their attitudes and personalities were just not up to par. 9. The poolside bar in the back of ship was the worse. Smiles actually did appear on their faces on the last day of the cruise. Was hard to get service, it was like they were ignoring you; yet another disappointment. 10. I have to say the best crew member on the Noordam was Roman in the Sport's Bar; every night we showed up, he had our drinks, was kind, talked with us and it was just pleasant. That is how cruising should be. They may be overworked, but we are still the customers. 11. The tours were fantastic; I was a little upset when going to Grand Turk only to find out the Catamaran cruise was canceled; it was canceled because there were not enough people to go; and things like that happen. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
HAL's ms Noordam - November 11, 2011 Pre-Cruise: Our day-before flying day was not without incident. First, an equipment change, then the new plane had a door-closing issue, which was thankfully resolved quickly. When our ... Read More
HAL's ms Noordam - November 11, 2011 Pre-Cruise: Our day-before flying day was not without incident. First, an equipment change, then the new plane had a door-closing issue, which was thankfully resolved quickly. When our first flight finally landed, our second flight was already in the air. From past experience I knew NOT to stand in that endless line of frustrated passengers and simply scanned my boarding pass in a nearby kiosk to get my newly assigned flight. We now had 90 minutes or so, and stopped by TGI Fridays to split an excellent cheeseburger. We were told to be at the gate by 6:00 and were already on the right concourse. At 5:45 we arrived at the gate to find we had a gate change. For those of you familiar with Hartsfield (Atlanta) airport, it's no easy task to get from B29 to E1. My guess is it's about 6 miles and involves two very steep escalators, a train ride and lots of duckin' & dodgin' (and NO people movers). Finally at our gate, we find our plane to have just arrived from Europe and needed various undescribed inspections which take longer than normal... sure, then why be at the gate over an hour too early? Day 1 - Embarkation Day Finally landing in Ft. Lauderdale, we checked in to the La Quinta Hollywood and took the shuttle (yes, at 10:30 pm - bless you, Keith!) to the Oakwood Mall where we usually dine at Red Lobster. It was closed, so we went next door to TGI Fridays and found the food to be awful. You can't win 'em all. The hotel was clean and very comfortable, and offered a continental breakfast. The shuttle service ran at about 10:00 am, so we went back to sleep for a couple of hours and left at noon. We checked in at the pier in a flash, and were in our cabin by 12:30. We lunched on roast beef, mashed potatoes, grilled salmon, jasmine rice, pate & brie, and, of course, our traditional bread pudding, which I must say could have used a little more sugar. Our luggage was all delivered by the time we finished lunch, so we unpacked and Jim took a nap while I ran around like a crazy lady with last-minute party arrangements. After the safety drill, I headed to the spa for the Treatment Raffle. They gave away treatments for fitness, body image, hair, acupuncture and massage. I then donned my ZuiderPrincess crown and an armful of Mardi Gras beads and went to the SailAway party, where I caught up with some members of our CC group. A light drizzle broke up our little party, and I went 'home' where we dressed for the Suite Cocktail Party followed by dinner in the Vista Dining Room. We have table 77, a table for two on the rail on deck 3. Being the first day, the service was a little slow, but we expect the service to improve as they find their rhythm. My fish filet with cilantro-tomato salsa was superb, and Jim's veal with artichoke mushroom ragout & mascarpone polenta was wonderful. We tried the red velvet cake, but were not impressed. While I went to the introductory show, Jim broke in the Hold'em table. Later I hit the dice table, and they were having a special 11-11-11 drawing. While I played, each time I hit an 11 I got a ticket. By the time of the drawing, at 11:11 pm, I had hit 11 elevens, for each of which I got a ticket. I didn't win the drawing, but did get a free drink ticket for the 11 elevens. That brings me back to my cabin where I am sleepily typing this review, all the time watching an Israeli jewelry promotion out of the corner of my eye. Gotta hit the shops tomorrow! Day 2 - Half Moon Cay This morning I threw open the curtains to a drizzly, overcast view of Half Moon Cay. With every intention of enjoying my clamshell on this lovely island, I finished my invitation business, grabbed a lox 'n' bagel breakfast and joined my love when room service was delivered (on time and exactly as ordered). Not knowing if the rain would stop or if the skies would clear, the famous HAL Signature Bedding won me over, and I ended up sleeping until lunchtime. The Main Dining Room being closed, we dined in the Lido again and had some very nice tilapia over rice and smoked spiral ham. Dessert offered some very yummy cinnamon apple cheesecake and cappucino mousse. I must mention that I am so please they made the dessert portions smaller to prevent the awful waste we've experienced in the past. We can now 'sample' the offerings and if we don't like them, there's not an entire plateful of discarded food. Somehow I managed to sleep again until Bingo time. They've unfortunately changed the cards. Now instead of buying a card pack (4 sheets with 3 cards each for $25) they offer a MaxPack - 4 sheets with 6 cards each for $35. So now, if there are 2 of you and you each want your own cards, you pay $50. If you share a MaxPack for $35, only one person can hold the card, and the numbers are called too fast to keep up. Several times we had to ask the caller to slow down. I won't play again. Formal dinner was very, very good. We dined on jumbo shrimp cocktails, pate brioche, spiced shrimp with polenta, lobster thermador and steak, tiramisu and cheesecake. Excellent! There was action at my dice table, so I joined in the fun, and after an hour or two, left with my pockets very full, having had a LOT of fun! I left Jim at the Hold'em table and came 'home' to tell y'all all about my day. Tomorrow is the CruiseCritic Meet 'n' Greet, where we hope to have a wonderful introductions to officers and staff and eat lotsa goodies and drink lotsa cocktails! More tomorrow... Day 3 - Grand Turk When I first entered the Crow's Nest to check on our Meet 'n' Greet arrangements, I was totally amazed by the beautiful presentation of our refreshments. Hotel Manager Mark Pells alloted us HALF the Crow's Nest, and provided Bloody Marys, Guava Mimosas garnished with kiwi, the usual coffee, tea, cookies, and a lovely arrangement of fresh fruit for do-it-yourself fruit kabobs and a CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! We easily had 60 guests, and were joined by some of HAL's Facebook Roll Call cruisers. Since it was almost time to dock, Captain Scott only had time for a short greeting, and Mark Pells gave us a little overview of our wonderful activities to come. We were also joined by Cruise Director Drew, Spa Manager Milica, and Jessica from the Culinary Department. Ed (Asst. Beverage Manager) was ably assisted by Mark Aguillar (Explorer's Lounge), Jay (Crow's Nest) and M. Paigan from Food Services. Our bartender Fernando (Crow's Nest) was fabulous, keeping up with the high demand for alcohol! Many guests commented that this was the best M&G they'd ever attended, and I must certainly give all the credit to the wonderful Onboard Events Staff, as well as my Concierges for pulling it all off. The rest of my day paled in comparison. It was drizzly again, so we passed on going ashore, and lunched in the Lido, tried to win the golf chipping contest, and retired to our stateroom to tolerate Sunday afternoon football (meaning: I napped). We didn't like anything on the MDR menu, so ate in the Lido where there were more options. After a short trip to the dice table, I left Jim at the Hold'em table and retired to type and post. Day 4 - Dominican Republic Today was a really lazy day. We didn't feel like going ashore, so had a light breakfast, a nap, and went to the Spa for indulgences. Spa Manager Milica suggested exactly the treatments we needed and we had time for a light lunch before our appointments. Jim had a 60 minute head-to-toe massage therapy treatment (Renata), and I had an 90 minute Exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Scrub (total body exfoliation), scalp massage, facial (Miglena Dishlieva) and haircut (Angela). We enjoyed a lovely cocktail party where we were able to catch up with our CruiseCritic group about our (non-) adventures ashore. So far, we're all having a great time! After dinner I fully intended to see Kenny James' show, but you have to walk through the Casino to get to the Showroom, and I never made it past the dice table. We closed the Casino around 2:30 am and ordered Room Service's famous club sandwich. Day 5 - At Sea After a very late night in the Casino, we started our day around noon, when we grabbed a bite in the Lido and Jim started his usual sea-day activities unsuccessfully playing in the slots, blackjack and 2 Hold'em tournaments. I waited for him at the 3 Card Poker table where I won a Club 21 hat, shirt, and coupons for tournament entries and free drinks in the Sports Lounge. At least one of us won something. After dinner I attended the "Ballroom Blitz" show with the HAL Singers and Dancers. The singing and dancing were very good, but there was no scenery except for a few projections on screens and 3 chairs. After a short trip to the Lido for dessert (skipped earlier) Jim and I took our casino winnings back to the cabin so he can check his scores and I can write a little about our day. Day 6 - Curacao SUNSHINE! We docked at the Mega Cruiseship Pier which for me is too far to walk to anything, and it was really hot out there, so after a Lido lunch we laid out by the pool for a couple of hours. Tonight is the Barbeque Party at the aft pool, so early this morning they moved out all the loungers and put up tables & chairs, which forced us to the midships pool. Believe it or not, there were LOTS of chairs available, and are actually more comfortable than those on the aft pool. Anyway, at first sign of sunburn we headed inside to get ready for Bingo, which we missed, and dinner in the MDR. We each had the delicious Prime Rib and skipped dessert. Instead of a show in the Vista Lounge, there was a movie, followed by the Indonesian Crew Show, which we've seen many times. So, off to the Casino we went... Jim to seat #3 and me to the 3-card poker table. Lady Luck was not on my side either there or at the dice table, so I came back 'home' to write a little. After I post this, I hope to find some sweets for Jim (the Lido is closed by the time he closes the Casino). Remind me not to gamble unless I've taken my customary afternoon nap. Day 7 - Bonaire We woke up to another beautiful morning! Jim managed to throw his back out (no doubt doing something silly like putting on his socks), so I shipped him off to the Spa where Miglena fixed his lower back. We docked at the North Pier, which is too far to walk and too close to taxi, so I ventured out into the area right off the pier which offered arts & crafts from local artists and China. It was very hot and I welcomed the cool towel and lemonade offered at the gangway. I forced myself to take that afternoon nap so I could maybe have better luck at the dice table. Dinner in the MDR was interesting... Jim had a spiced shrimp dish and I had the salmon, which were both perfect. I chose the German Chocolate cake for dessert, but it was so sweet I couldn't finish it. The show tonight was the Noordam Singers & Dancers in "Simply Broadway". I loved the live performances of the show tunes, but again there were no sets... just 4 mics and a trunk. It may be due to the injury of the lead singer... I'll try to find out. Anyway, the nap didn't help my luck that much, except I didn't lose as much tonight as last night, and I'm no longer gambling with house money. There was a nice spread of hot and cold snacks, but difficult to eat standing up at the craps table. Oh well, up to the Lido I go for some sweet stuff for when my man closes the casino in a couple of hours. Day 8 - Aruba At 7:30 am it was 86 degrees out there. I don't know what possessed me to don that go-to BLACK dress to go to town, but I did. By the time I went ashore it was easily 90+ degrees, and I really should have turned back. In previous cruises there was a straight path to the main shopping drag. Now closed, we were forced to walk an extra 1/2 mile around construction and past local vendors to get to the diamond district. I got as far as the Royal Plaza, stopped in at a few 'guaranteed stores', and headed back to the ship. We took a little nap before heading to the midships pool (plenty of loungers) and spent 90 minutes working on that tan. After a shower we hit the Vista Lounge for what was (not) to be a $70,000 jackpot Bingo. Jim actually got down to one number on the coverall, but a guy behind him won... bummer. Off to get ready for a very special dinner at Le Cirque. Not. First of all, I recommend that gentlemen wear a jacket, if not jacket and tie. Second, read the menu before you book this dinner. That said, we attempted to enjoy this dinner (which was a gift, and non-refundable). Jim did not like anything on the menu. I took the waiter aside and told him there was nothing on the menu to our liking, and could we arrange an alternative meal? It turns out that Mario from Romania remembered us from our last Noordam cruise, and recommended the Chateaubriand for Jim. He also arranged a baked potato and carrots (not on the menu, but served perfectly) and we were now satifsied the meal would go well. The gentleman in the dark jacket frequently stared at me during the meal and was rather off-putting, but I ignored it. The Chateaubriand was MOUTHWATERING, and was a generous enough cut that I could set aside my undercooked cod resting on a sea of unidentifiable sauce with scallions, and enjoy the delicious, perfectly cooked beef with my loving husband who sometimes indulges me ad infinitum. We were then rewarded with an wonderful creme brulee, the repice for which was found at the bottom of the ramekin. The only difference I noticed, besides the menu, were the dishes. There was the whimsical Le Cirque charger and bread plate at the beginning, and the dessert plate at the end. Everything else was the same. Note to self: don't drink the regular coffee. It will result in an absolutely sleepless night. Very sleepy from this early meal, I retired to the cabin to watch 'Three Men and a Baby" on TV. Sleep didn't come until about 3 am. Day 9 - At Sea Although I intended to bake in the sun all day, we ended up in the Casino unsuccessfully entering the Blackjack and Hold'em tournaments. While I was waiting for Jim, and still in my bathing suit, I discovered a new love for 3-Card Poker. Several hours later I returned to find Jim asleep, so I joined him. So much for the sun! After dinner I was so tired I skipped the show and watched some inane movie in my cabin and retired. Day 10 - At Sea The last [sniffle] day of a cruise is really hectic. I had a list of photos I wanted to take, more in the photo gallery to buy/discard, tips to distribute, goodbye hugs to enjoy, cruises to buy - the pressure is insane! No loungers being available midships, we basked in the sun at the Seaview Pool for a couple of hours before the $100,000 Bingo and Cruise Lottery (neither of which we won). I visited the Future Cruise consultant and bought four deposits for open bookings. For those of us who cruise HAL frequently, this is a no-brainer. Deposits are reduced to $100 pp (charged to a credit card), and you get onboard cabin credit based on the category of stateroom you eventually choose. There happened to be no line, and I was in and out in less than 10 minutes. Dinner in the MDR was the Master Chef's Dinner, which we have experienced a few times already (enjoyed the food, but not the parade), so we dined in the Lido. The menu is essentially the same as the MDR, but has more choices in the salad department. Tables were set with tablecloths, dinner served on Lido tableware, and generally went faster because there is no wait between courses. I did have a hard time getting a waiter to remove dirty dishes (I need them GONE as soon as I'm finished). A shortened dinner time left us able to see the comedian Max Dolcelli. We had looked forward to this all week, but the 'outrageous' comedy was really kinda lame. I guess we've heard all the typical cruise jokes and really hoped for something different. Jim took his usual place, seat #3 at the Hold'em table, and I threw dice for awhile. As I was packing (easily a 2-hour ordeal) Jim called from the Casino saying, "Dice are hot", so I dropped everything and ran to the Casino, assuming my usual place to the right of the croupier. After my lucky streak was over I walked away with about $900 and resumed my packing chores. Debarkation We grabbed a light breakfast snack at the Neptune and left a tip for our Concierges. We experimented with Luggage Direct this time... I will never do it any other way again! It's only good for flights on certain airlines departing no later than 11:30. We received our boarding passes and special luggage tags yesterday. I placed the luggage outside by 1:00 am and didn't see it again until we got home. We were first off at 8:00, scooted through customs and were at the airport before 9:00. If seats had been available, we could easily have made a 10:00 standby flight, but had to wait until our 11:30 flight. I'd rather have breakfast and sit around the airport a little longer than wrestle with luggage in the warehouse, drag it to a cab, stand in line outside in the heat at FLL and suffer 3 more rounds of tips. Our flight connections were on time and we made it back in time to pick up our now-skinny beagle at Puppy Overnight Camp. Final Remarks This cruise, even with adjustments due to changes of itinerary from Europe, new crew getting their rhythm down, and stuff I forgot to do, has been one of the best. Our cabin service was as expected, DR service polite and correctly served (although I still want my plates cleared asap), food the proper temperature and nicely presented, although slightly delayed between courses. Our Pinnacle dinner was the Le Cirque experience, and we did not care for the menu. Our server, Mario, saved the meal for us by arranging side dishes off the menu. The Supervisor, however, was rather surly and sneered at me at one point. He never came to the table, and really should have done whatever was necessary to keep us from leaving before ordering. Our Spa experiences were outstanding. We spoke to the Spa Manager, Milica, about our various aches, pains & well-being concerns, and she arranged the perfect treatments for us. In the Casino, we were treated like treasured guests instead of cash machines. We quickly came to know most of the dealers, supervisors and the Manager, and had much fun - even on those nights that Lady Luck was on a break. We'd like to see a LIVE Hold'em table again. Bingo - since they changed to the MaxiCard, it cost us $15 more each time to play. Not good. Entertainment was OK, but not as good as it used to be. In the past there was a comedian, vocalist and magician who each gave 2 shows. We got 3 production shows, a vocalist, gypsy violinists, acrobat and comedian with 1 show each, and a movie. Special thanks to: Hotel Manager Mark Pells Spa Manager Milica Casino Manager Dorel Matiut Casino Supervisor Alexander Club 21 Host Julia Concierges Arvee & Rhia Our next cruise will be 3/26/2012 on our beloved Noordam. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Drove over to Fort Lauderdale from the west coast of FL. Parked the car at Park-n-Go after reserving our dates online. Had an easy check-in and we were shuttled over to the cruise port in less than 5 min. Had an extremely easy check-in ... Read More
Drove over to Fort Lauderdale from the west coast of FL. Parked the car at Park-n-Go after reserving our dates online. Had an easy check-in and we were shuttled over to the cruise port in less than 5 min. Had an extremely easy check-in process and were on the ship in less than 10 min. We were able to go right to our room and our suitcases were there waiting for us in about 30 minutes. The food, well what can I say, was top notch! Everything was wonderful. We ate at the dining room 1 night because our dinner time was at 8pm. Too late for us. The rest of the time we ate at the Lido buffet which never disappointed us. Food was excellent, from breakfast all the way to dinner and let's not forget the desserts, they were wonderful too. Especially the Dessert Extravaganza on Thursday night. The crew does a wonderful job at presentation and taste. The crew onboard were always smiling and helpful. They are the most pleasant people, and I must say, management has everything rolling along smoothly. Departing from the ship was a little hectic trying to get into an elevator for expedited departure. Make sure you leave your room early to get down to floor 1 for this, otherwise the elevators will be full everytime they stop on your floor. Once we made it to the 1st floor to disembark, we were led to the exit and were off the ship and outside in about 5 min. Customs were easy and only spent about 10 seconds at the desk and went outside, where our shuttle was waiting for us and got to our car within 5 minutes and were out of the parking lot quickly thereafter. For $51 to park your car, you can't go wrong. We even got to see wild monkeys when we entered the Park-n-Go lot! Everything was great and I would highly recommend Holland America. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
We have been on six cruises, two with HAL. My husband and I chose HAL again, specifically for the Hydro Therapy Pool. We loved it on the Zuiderdam a few years ago. For this cruise we booked the Thermal Suite and Hydro Therapy for the ... Read More
We have been on six cruises, two with HAL. My husband and I chose HAL again, specifically for the Hydro Therapy Pool. We loved it on the Zuiderdam a few years ago. For this cruise we booked the Thermal Suite and Hydro Therapy for the entire week. It was heavenly. Embarkation was quick and easy. We booked an SC suite, aft. When we arrived, we were given a badge to indicate that we were booked in a suite, our teenage daughter wore it proudly and the badge got us to a separate check in area where we were checked in and on the ship in a matter of minutes. We went directly to our suite, which was lovely. We were met by our two cabin stewards, Elwin and Allus. They were attentive from the moment we arrived until the moment we left. Our suite was kept tidy each day and the service and attention to detail by Elwin and Allus was very much appreciated. The SC aft suite was exactly what I had hoped for. The wrap around verandah gave us a 180 degree view and we enjoyed it every day. We had our Thanksgiving dinner on the verandah at sunset. My husband and I did a lot of relaxing, workout and spa time. It was wonderful. Our daughter spent most of her time at "The Loft" which was the teen club. Since it was Thanksgiving week, there were more teens on board than usual. Our daughter said it was the best, most fun and well organized cruise she has been on. We were extremely satisfied with the the activities for the teens aboard. We visited the Neptune lounge daily, and it was a nice retreat to have cappuccino, expresso and light continental breakfast, sweets and light finger sandwiches. We had tea service and hor dourves in suite each day. Another perk of the suite. Gilbert, the concierge called every day to make sure that tea and hor dourves were delivered and satisfactory. I was missing the tea and hor dourves by Saturday afternoon when we arrived back home. Oh, and the laundry and dry cleaning was a wonderful perk of the suite as well. We came home with all clean clothes...loved it! All food aboard was very good. We dined in the Rembrandt only once, but had it delivered twice for in suite dining and it was delicious. The Pinnacle was the best. Breakfast in the Pinnacle for the Suite guests is a perk you shouldn't pass up. The wait staff remembered my husband's request for a double expresso. The second morning we dined the expresso was delivered just as he was about to order...amazing and based on that attention to detail alone...we would book on HAL again. The Tamarind was very good, beautiful view. The Lido was always good as well as the room service. We spent a lot of time on our verandah and suite this cruise. Why go on deck when you have those kind of views? Plus, we were all about relaxing this trip. We have sailed in small cabins with portholes, verandahs and suites. Once you go suite, it is hard to sail any other way. We couldn't dock at Grand Turk due to rough seas, which was fine by us. We had no excursions planned. We weren't really looking forward to Puerto Rico, but ended up loving Old San Juan. The people were great, John the Baptist Cathedral, beautiful. Barrachina was a wonderful restaurant, much enjoyed and home of the original Pina Colada. My husband bought some good cigars. St. Thomas was beautiful. Half Moon Cay was fantastic and pristine, I wish we could have stayed longer. We rented a cabana and it was stocked with fruit, snacks, soda, water as well as so many comforts such as air conditioning, padded wicker furniture, table for four, misters...and oh what a view. Would definitely do that again and probably will. HAL even had managing cabana attendants to check quality control and we enjoyed the conversation very much. Debarkation was a breeze. We ordered breakfast in suite and then were the first to be called, another perk of the suites. Thanks to the crew on the Eurodam for a fantastic Thanksgiving cruise....we hope to be back very soon! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Long time fan of HAL, but will say have not cruised with HAL in five years..Food on this ship was the best we ever had on any cruise, service was great, and ship was very clean, bathroom was large and towels were large and fluffy. But, ... Read More
Long time fan of HAL, but will say have not cruised with HAL in five years..Food on this ship was the best we ever had on any cruise, service was great, and ship was very clean, bathroom was large and towels were large and fluffy. But, Zaadam is falling apart, carpet is old, stained, burned out lights all over ship, even the elevators direction(up/down) are burned out..Upholstery on chairs and benches in Main Show Room is old, worn, stained..Looks like new chairs and drapes in Lido. This ship needs a >>Fluff Job Read Less
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