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309 Holland America Line Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This was part of a package from a travel agent. No information when we arrived for the first days activities. When we visited the dining rooms or buffet no crew member there to ask people to wash there hands or use the hand cleanser. So ... Read More
This was part of a package from a travel agent. No information when we arrived for the first days activities. When we visited the dining rooms or buffet no crew member there to ask people to wash there hands or use the hand cleanser. So 50% of guests did not use the facilities, within days lots of people down with colds & flu. My wife got ill and that ended with a $503 bill to see the doctor. The ship was new but there were areas were stains on the furniture already. Our cabin was a good size and comfortable. The dining was O K they keep pushing for you to visit the speciality restaurant's. That's at a cost of about $30 p p. which is outrageous when you have paid a good price to get on the ship. The ships staff are good we did have a good waiter & cabin steward. The entertainment was very disappointing no big shows or enrichment activities. They are cutting back on all activities like welcome cocktail parties. I never saw the Captain on this 10 cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Because we did not WANT it to be true, we ignored reviews like this prior to our October/November 2019 Cruise on HAL Neiuw Statendam. There are many very good things about this ship and this cruise line, but this description is ONLY to ... Read More
Because we did not WANT it to be true, we ignored reviews like this prior to our October/November 2019 Cruise on HAL Neiuw Statendam. There are many very good things about this ship and this cruise line, but this description is ONLY to give a detailed assessment about dance opportunities and conditions on board. We took a cruise on this ship six months ago and ended up a bit dissatisfied with the opportunities to dance. Nonetheless we were persuaded by the overall high standard of service, very good dining experiences, well designed staterooms, highly desirable itinerary, AND by representations from corporate management that they hoped to do better, to give Neiuw Statendam another go. This was, from a dancing perspective, a mistake; things had not improved and practices had become so ingrained that in some respects they were worse. Staff on board were unresponsive at best and dismissive on occasion. I will elaborate with specifics below, but the message for the casual reader is that if dancing on board is at all important to you, this is probably not the ship for you. Just as important, contrary to what you may recall about HAL in the past, regrettably, it gives me no pleasure to report, this is likely no longer the cruise line for you. The old Northern Lights disco is no more on the pinnacle-class ships, and we have heard it will be disappearing in upcoming refits elsewhere in the fleet. This did not seem to us a serious loss. It was dated and poorly attended. The space is probably put to better use. A far more serious loss is that the dancing that used to be available in Ocean Lounge is no longer an option. The dance floor on Neiuw Statendam, is a mere 3 meter circle—(no kidding!!!)--that could accommodate just two couples at most, and was idle for all 34 days of our most recent cruise. The piano on the dais, we were told, had not been played since the ship commenced operation in December 2018. A waiter even joked when we asked about the venue, "It is just a prop." Don't expect the HALkats either; they are history. Don't expect any performances by the showband in this venue or anyplace other than World Stage. Don't expect a small combo; corporate management says they are too costly and too uneven in quality to be used any more. There is what looks like a grand piano, but it could have been cardboard for all we know. You simply will no longer find opportunities for anything approaching latin, swing, or ballroom dancing before dinner or at any other time here in Ocean Lounge. So, when and where COULD you dance and what sorts of dancing is it going to be? The core of the entertainment concept is now "Music Walk," a frankly over hyped apologia for the corporate partnerships, commercially branded, dueling piano bar; new rock music stage; and old blues club in a very elegant and functional reincarnation of the former Queen's Lounge. There is not much new here, however, except the glitz, though the musicianship is admittedly strong and the HARD, HARD (did I mention, HARD?) rock music is now LIVE; but it is so ear shattering that they had to erect glass doors to reduce bleed-over down the hall into other venues and that most patrons forget to close when passing through. Result: music salad. There is another tiny dance floor in the Billboard on Board dueling piano bar. For most performances chairs are set up on this floor, though it can be used for dancing when the rock band is playing across the wide open hallway. Dancing to dual pianos can be challenging as there is no percussion and generally no base line to give a beat, though some songs can the followed nonetheless. Some of the performers in the piano bar are genuine rising stars, and here you will find the greatest variety of popular dance music. But it is difficult, and dancing here is high profile. You will get the feeling that you should not be dancing on the dance floor. But nobody will say anything. Dancing in the Rolling Stone Rock Room is possible on the comfortably large oval floor, which is about 8 meters at its widest and 4 or so at its narrowest. The genres of music are severely limited to HARD rock swing (east and west coast) with the occasional Cha Cha, or possibly adapted "high speed" rumba or perhaps a rare nightclub two step. The driving beat is monotonous, and the repertoire is exhausted after two or three nights. The volume, however, can be downright painful. Many guests complained. The crowd, most of whom seem not to be regular patrons of live music, are nonetheless enthusiastic and appreciate the hard rock favorites of their youth and may find the volume a compensation as well as an accelerant for hearing loss. Dancers range from 1960s freestylers, young weight shifters (mainly women in spike heels), a few genuine swing dancers, couples in warm embrace, and loners made embarrassingly bold by alcohol. The greatest opportunity for dancing to live music is in the BB King Blues Club with its very fine but over scrubbed 8x8 meter and padded hardwood floor. This floor is a gem and arguably one of the best at sea. The music here is a little more varied than the Rock Room. There is lots of blues and jazz improv of course, suitable especially for West coast swing, but also some East coast, with occasional cha cha, rumba, or nightclub two step. A night with one or two fox trots over the course of three sets is possible, but rare, and the dance floor, crowded with fired up free stylers in the early sets--most with little situational awareness and little inhibition--and is more likely to frustrate than please more serious dancers. Still everyone has a right to the dance floor, and not just dancers who know steps. Patrons who are tipsy and with sloshing wine glasses or beer bottles in hand are, sadly, a common sight. A grand old line like HAL might just remind you here of their parent company during some sets, though unaccompanied children are less common, but equally dangerous, as on Carnival. The less serious dancers tend to thin out in later sets. The singers are trained performers who frequently interrupt the music with rightside/leftside, complete-this-lyric, or stop-the-music-because-of-weak-response antics. It is a good show to be sure, but not so great for dancing. And, like all blues clubs, each performance will include at least one long piece of solo ad libs for each musician in the band, which is generally as undanceable as it is ubiquitous and too lengthy. This venue affords the most numerous and varied opportunities for dancers, but it couldn't lay claim—and HAL wants to do, to being a dance club. As the name implies it is a Blues Club, though ‘blues purists’ will have their own reservations. With the obvious exception of the cha cha, Latin music, regrettably, is for the most part absent in all these venues. Salsa, mambo, samba, meringue, and bolaro rather rare. Tango (and waltzes for that matter, and of both varieties) are on the endangered species list on this ship. Argentine tango, oddly given the line's promotion of South American cruises, is apparently extinct here. But, good news, the cruise director offered a morning lesson on the electric slide, and we did observe it performed twice and led by the members of the band on the dance floor to encourage participation. That, friends, was the sole dance lesson offered in over four weeks. This on the line that just three years ago sponsored ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on every cruise. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! There is a new CEO with a different demographic in mind, and you are not it. If you enjoy dancing, know a few steps, and especially if you recollect the very good dancing that used to be associated with this line, you will find these opportunities just tantalizing enough to disappoint. But all this is not at the core of our frustration; this has to be reserved for the dismissive attitude and trifling pretense to address our concerns from the line's Seattle management right down to on-board staff. This could be summed up as: "But we have music walk, what else could you want?" It is fine to make a conscious business decision to market to a different demographic, but suggesting otherwise and telling customers that certain pallatives are being implemented (even saying "fleetwide") and then failing to do so, is not. Here are some insights about the recorded dance music in dance venues when not in use. Music was played in the BB King area between sets, but it was almost nearly all of the very same genre that was performed there, though at a lower decibel level. And band members will often loudly rehearse over it rendering useless for dance purposes. "Ballroom" dance was scheduled a few times. Two afternoons on the first (10 day)cruise, none on the second, and once on the third. These opportunities were always at "back on board" time, right as guests are returning from excursions. These 45-minute sessions were however frequently interrupted by lengthy and repeated public announcements seeking missing passengers, the captain's daily report detailing exactly how he planned to maneuver away from the dock, through the channel, past the breakwater, past the lighthouse, through the waves, and out to sea with nonetheless appreciated weather information. This was typically turned over to the cruise director for the inevitable and the re-re-reiteration of when towel folding seminars, acupuncture clinics, jewelry sales, and game show events would be offered. Once an interruption occurred, the music totally stopped and the song and its genre (perhaps the only one of its type) were gone and the next melody was already in progress when it started up. Ballroom dancers could reasonably expect half a dozen songs. On one occasion the session listed in the on-line program did not happen as the space had been double booked for bingo. No rescheduling, no apology, just too bad. "But hey, we have bingo and Music Walk." Finally, there is the hopeful and welcome nightly opportunity called "Dancing to the Hits" with the DJ. You will have to stay up fairly late for this most nights, which may not be suitable if you have an early shore excursion or are over 50. The exact time varies, but 11:30 or 11:45 is typical. Requests are NOT accepted; in fact, the DJ told patrons that the playlist was set by the corporate office! There is a danceable mix of golden oldies from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, lots of Motown, and a few standards from the “great American songbook.” A waltz or foxtrot may even slip in! On two occasions, when the band had the night off, "Dancing to the Hits" was scheduled for a welcome, convenient, and popular 10pm. Unfortunately, on BOTH occasions, after half a dozen songs, the ship's official paid "pub crawl" arrived at this final of its more than twenty stops. You can imagine the state of the participants by then. They were served their final tumblers of drinks and physically literally took over the dance floor for a guys vs girls dance contest. We tried to wait this out, but the literal writhing on the floor of this irresponsible bacchanal was too disturbing to endure. So it is recommended that if you attempt to dance when it happens at 10pm, that you be there at the start because it is not going to last very long and will soon degenerate into something like a college fraternity party. Holland American is a great traditional cruise line with many wonderful features. The staff is well-trained, eager to please, and always attentive. The dining, even in the complimentary venues, is first rate. The ship is new, well designed, and genuinely gorgeous. The itineraries are appealing and the excursions well planned and efficient. But this grand old line with a rich history of fine opportunities for dancers no longer affords them or seems to care about patrons who see them as part of the traditional cruise experience. So, if dance is important to you, think carefully about selecting this line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We just completed a 43 day (34 day on board) 20 Mediterranean Port , Trans-Atlantic Cruise On board the Nieuw Statendam IMO: 9767106, MMSI : 244140508, Call Sign: PBCO, Flag : (NL) Neatherlands ... Read More
We just completed a 43 day (34 day on board) 20 Mediterranean Port , Trans-Atlantic Cruise On board the Nieuw Statendam IMO: 9767106, MMSI : 244140508, Call Sign: PBCO, Flag : (NL) Neatherlands First The Complaints (1)Every one is fully aware that medical, trip cancellation (ETC) can be very expensive. When you have thousands of dollars invested in your trip, this may be a wise investment. (2)IF YOU HAVE A COLD OR YOU HAVE TO SNEEZE, PLEASE COVER YOUR MOUTH (3)If you are sick before your cruise. consider staying home. The ship can become a gigantic petri dish. (4)Men, You are on vacation, (maybe in a foreign country) mowing your lawn attire is fine at home, but not on a cruise ship. (5)Not all stores, hotels, bars , restaurants except credit cards, foreign paper money ie (American/Canadian Dollars) Besides, the best rate will be at home, before you go. (6)The staff on board are not your personal servants, they work very hard, they do a wonderful job, and will fall over backwards to make sure you are happy (7) They charge for a lot of stuff on board, so PLEASE ask if there is a charge and how much....Note... every night before going to sleep we would look our account on room tv. (8)Drink packages are fine, but sometimes the electronic information does not follow you from dining room to dining room. (9) On board excursions can be very expensive,,, how ever if you are late getting back the ship will wait, NOT SO for an excursion booked on shore. Now For The Good Stuff We had a truly wonderful 43 day (34 days on board) 20 Mediterranean Ports, Trans-Atlantic Cruise Vacation. We hit a home run with the weather, it was wonderful except for a few windy spots. Our inside stateroom 8182 was just off the center line at the stern. The room was Very Clean, and Very Comfortable, lots of storage space for two people, hangers, bathrobes. shampoos, soaps etc. Lots of lights, wall safe. Our room stewards HERI and KETUT were wonderful, very easy to talk to. The pools and the hot tubes were always clean and filled with the usual assortment of walruses and seals that claim their territory long before the crack of dawn. Their is enough food to feed an army, you can always find something. Just understand that they make the food so 2-3-4-5 thousand can eat it. The specialty restaurants , and main dining room can cater to the individual palette. We enjoyed all the shows and presentations while on board, the comedians were very funny. Please do not expect a Vegas or Broadway show . We could always find a quiet place to read, play a game or just relax even with 4000 thousands roaming around. EMBARKATION in Civitaveechia (Rome) was a breeze. DISEMBARKATION in Fort Lauderdale was delayed mostly due to people who needed assistance, A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to the CREW and STAFF of The NIEW STATENDAM for such a wonderful trip. Thank you to Heri and Ketut our room stewards and to Ane and to Brilliant on the LIDO deck Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We picked this cruise because we were on the Koningsdam last year and had a great experience, plus we liked the itinerary. Here are the Pros and Cons...note that we are not drinkers so I cannot comment on anything related to that, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we were on the Koningsdam last year and had a great experience, plus we liked the itinerary. Here are the Pros and Cons...note that we are not drinkers so I cannot comment on anything related to that, Pros: The ship was immaculate... hand washing machines on the Deck 9 dining room Friendly service and prompt in dining room and with cabin stewards. I did notice that any type of manager in the dining areas seemed surly and therefore not welcoming or really approachable. Lovely room....we just had an inside cabin and it was spacious with a large shower with sliding glass door. Itinerary was nice...good ports with a nice length of time. Food choices were pretty good although the well stocked salad bar on the first day lost several topping options the 2nd day thru the remainder of the cruise. Dining room service was prompt Nice pool deck area Cons: Activities were limited when at sea. There was an electrical issue with one of the music areas so that venue was closed 90% of the cruise. Music options were scarce and song choices repeated and became uninteresting. Upsell all the time....booked a relaxing spa time and was constantly pressed to buy them $100 creams. Entertainment is adequate but nothing special Excursions should be vetted more....one excursion to Bosnia required passenger seat to hand over passports (which as not noted in the brochure...only stated passport check). One passenger did not receive her passport back, which resulted in a long delay and a trip for her to the embassy, as passport was never recovered. Cruise Director was not very friendly...more on the sarcastic side, however the Asst. C.D., whose name is Voyja was extremely pleasant and interactive with all age groups! Even tho food was good...there was heaviness on East Indian cuisine as the head chef is of that ethnicity....I would’ve enjoyed more authentic local cuisine of the cruise ports. Ship lost all power and was adrift for about an hour.... although the Captain did regularly keep us informed. I would probably not choose this ship again for the above mentioned reasons and explore other cruise line options with better food and entertainment/activity options. Other cruisers seemed happy with the drink options .... they do have unsweetened iced tea and lemonade freely available and both were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have cruised many times with Holland America and have had no complaints.This cruise left us disappointed. The cabin and dining room staff, namely Dudi, Eka, Allen, Hanif and Mohamad were excellent, along with Leslie and Ryan in the ... Read More
We have cruised many times with Holland America and have had no complaints.This cruise left us disappointed. The cabin and dining room staff, namely Dudi, Eka, Allen, Hanif and Mohamad were excellent, along with Leslie and Ryan in the Crows' Nest. Sam and Damian, pianists in Billboard, super. What was below our usual expectations; No Hand Gel, apart from Boarding and Casino. First time we have both been ill, bed bound for 2 days. No choice on tips and not mentioned in brochure with prices, Phone info only for Restaurants, Crows' Nest no atmosphere, very few people in, Ports of call booklet faded at bottom and told all similar, TV info on ports pathetic, not as informative as previous cruises, no repeat of talks, Show times inconvenient if on second dinner sitting, Theatre only has seats for a quarter of the guests. Having stated the above, we still like cruising with HM. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This cruise was my second cruise in Europe, my third cruise with Holland America, but my first on the Koningsdam. We stayed one night in Rome before the cruise and one night after, both at the Starhotel Metropole which is less than ... Read More
This cruise was my second cruise in Europe, my third cruise with Holland America, but my first on the Koningsdam. We stayed one night in Rome before the cruise and one night after, both at the Starhotel Metropole which is less than ten minutes’ walk from Termini station, a location very convenient for transfers to and from the airport as well as the cruise port in Civitavecchia as we did both independently by train. A week or so before the cruise we got an email from Holland America indicating that they would like us to arrive at the cruise port at 3:00 pm. We had been planning to arrive a couple hours earlier, but we took them at their word and took the 12:42 train from Termini to Civitavecchia and were on board by about 2:45. When I bought the tickets I selected on the machine that I was going to Civitavecchia Port and therefore bought the ticket for the train and also for the PortLink bus without really intending to, but that made it very convenient when we arrived in Civitavecchia as we did not have to find someone to buy bus tickets from or walk the mile to Largo della Pace. Upon arrival at Largo della Pace you are immediately put on a shuttle to your ship; at ship side there is a temporary building/tent where check-in takes place. Check in was very quick they did not even want to see our boarding documents just our passports then they took our picture gave us our ship card and we were on our way. The Koningsdam is one of the largest in the Holland America fleet but it generally did not feel overly crowded or full. I did not love the layout of the ship, decks 10 through 12 were confusing and difficult to navigate, you could not get from one part to another without going down or up to another deck. This ship does still have the classic full promenade deck, perhaps my favorite thing about Holland America ships, such a nice place to take a stroll. We had anytime dining and walked in each night without a reservation between 5:15 (when the restaurant opened) and 6:00, although there was more of a push to have people reserve on this cruise than I have experienced in the past. I was a little bit disappointed that the dining hosts did not seem to recognize us any better on the 13th night than on the second night of the cruise. There was more sales pressure in the dining room than from previous cruise with waiters trying to get you to purchase the extra cost menu items (as well as an annoying extra page inserted into the menu), and I did not appreciate this, it felt beneath the dignity I usually associate with Holland America. We dined one night at Tamarind, my first try at a specialty restaurant. The food and service were very good, but I have mixed feelings about whether the surcharge was worth it. We attended a couple entertainment options on this cruise. The World Stage as others have commented is not as roomy as expected for a ship of this size and there are long, long rows of seats without an aisle which makes some of the seats hard to get to. On the first evening in Athens a local music/ dance group was brought onboard and they were quite good and we were able to get a seat, although we arrived a little bit late, probably because many passengers were enjoying an evening on shore. I was very disappointed that Lincoln Center Stage shared space with BB Kings on this ship as it meant that most evenings they only performed during the early evening whilst we were having dinner and only had evening performances on the BB Kings nights off, but we managed to catch one of those evenings and enjoyed it very much. We also loved the Ask the Captain event on the second sea day our captain was funny and informative, a very entertaining man. We had a change of itinerary just before sailing. We were originally scheduled to go first to Mykonos then Kusadasi and those two ports of call were switched which led to a two and a half hour earlier departure from Athens as well. I am not sure everyone got that message considering the number of names called out that evening at sail away time. We chose self disembarkation and walked off the ship with our luggage at about 7:30 am past a phalanx of taxi/bus companies trying to sell us a transfer to the airport or Rome and took the portlink bus back to the train station and the train back to Rome. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Pretty ship with wrap-around teak promenade deck where you can walk for hours. We were in a Neptune suite, so embarkation usually easier for suite guests. Neptune lounge personnel and coffee very good. The food in the Lido and DR on HAL ... Read More
Pretty ship with wrap-around teak promenade deck where you can walk for hours. We were in a Neptune suite, so embarkation usually easier for suite guests. Neptune lounge personnel and coffee very good. The food in the Lido and DR on HAL is average at best. We almost always ate in the Lido because the restaurant is a hassle for us (we don't tend to linger over dinner) and the food is no better. That said, the Lido can be pretty intense, almost competitive most of the time. The aft pool was nice esp since hardly anyone used it while we were on the ship. There are only 2 hot tubs out there, so there was a lot of competition for those. There is a relatively new(?) entertainment feature - Lincoln Center on Stage. A rather pompous name for what was provided - a reader's digest version of some classical pieces (and pop tunes) played inharmoniously and off-key. We didn't try any other entertainment. The cruise director seemed a lot smarter and more capable than most. We liked the Tamarind bar for the views and the quiet and the bartender. Great books in the lounge at the top of the ship. We didn't go on any shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
For a big ship, the Koningsdam offers some hidden gems where you can mingle or get away from crowds. We especially liked the Dutch cafe for a quick lunch and coffee. Embark/debark: everything went smoothly. We caught a Rome Cab from ... Read More
For a big ship, the Koningsdam offers some hidden gems where you can mingle or get away from crowds. We especially liked the Dutch cafe for a quick lunch and coffee. Embark/debark: everything went smoothly. We caught a Rome Cab from the airport directly to the port. On arriving, we waited in a "lounge," but there were no issues. Cabin 5110: Vista suite -- not as nice as Signature Suites on other HAL ships and not worth the extra costs above a verandah suite, save your money IMO. Dining Room -- excellent service and wonderful food. Really HAL has improved over the years. We tried the specialty restaurant one night and it was fine also. Ports: Dubrovnik Croatia is a small walled city is very crowded in summer months. We took a HAL small group tour “Tastes and Panoramas of Dubrovnik” that goes to a local winery and olive oil farm. On the leisurely drive we enjoyed some great scenery and the demonstrations were informative and fun. The wines were a little young, but delightful, and we purchased a red and a white to take back to the ship. There is no corkage fee in the dining room if you buy wines on a HAL tour -- yay! At the olive oil farm, we were served a wonderful lunch, and enjoyed a to die for view of the Adriatic from the proprietor's porch. Beautiful! Split and Trojar Croatia has an old town very close to the cruise port and it is an easy walking area. The Roman emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace here and it’s a stunner. We found it well worth the extra money to do the tour the palace http://www.diocletianspalace.org. Highly recommend the private guide Ante Batarelo with PrivateGuidesCroatia. Korcula Croatia is a lovely seaside town, with lots of very steep winding streets and small cafes along the water. No need for a tour, the town is walkable though the alleys are quite steep and narrow. The Icon Museum and Church are must sees Kotor, Montenegro is well laid out for walking tours on your own. We took a Shore Excursions tour to Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks Church. We thoroughly enjoyed this small group tour. The ride to Perast via a 8 person van afforded us with super views of the scenery and delightful small town. The Church is beautiful. It's well preserved and has an interesting nautical history. Koper, Slovenia old town is small and there is not too much to see. Take a taxi (don't pay for the ship's tour) to Piran and walk around the old town and visit the church on the hill. Piran has wonderful sea vistas with lots of small cafes for a lunch or coffee. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The service was so good that we provided extra gratuities for select staff including our stateroom attendants and some of the servers in the buffet type dinning area. The entertainment was good overall with a few that were excellent. Ship ... Read More
The service was so good that we provided extra gratuities for select staff including our stateroom attendants and some of the servers in the buffet type dinning area. The entertainment was good overall with a few that were excellent. Ship was very clean, open and comfortable. The pool deck on the stern was a little over crowded at times and the bar staff was not sufficient to handle it, but that was a small annoyance. The food was very good most meals and really never bad in any way. The breakfast buffet was very good every day. We sailed from Amsterdam to Rome with a lot of stops in southern Spain plus Lisbon and Gibraltar. There were many Australian and Canadian passengers which made for interesting conversations while dinning in the formal dinning room each night. The ship was less than a year old when we took the cruise which was evident in the decor, cleanliness, etc. Holland American cruise ships are smaller that many of the other US lines with fewer passengers and cater to the retired crowd it seems. Maybe why I like their line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose the Ancient Empires & Mediterranean Rivieras cruise as it ticked several Bucket List destinations. It was a more expensive cruise fare than usual, even accounting for the length (2 cruises back-to-back), but that was only the ... Read More
We chose the Ancient Empires & Mediterranean Rivieras cruise as it ticked several Bucket List destinations. It was a more expensive cruise fare than usual, even accounting for the length (2 cruises back-to-back), but that was only the start of the costs. Almost everything is an extra cost. We expect to pay a reasonable amount for a cruise but surely service should be included in the ticket price - to find $14.50 added per day per person for gratuities is ludicrous, and 15% for a bottle to be brought to your table and opened is even worse! Be aware that the cheapest bottle of wine is $35 + $7 if you want it opened, not surprisingly many people opted out of alcohol all together. In the speciality restaurants you aren't even offered this and the wines seem to start at $65 unless you specifically ask for the usual wine menu. Sadly we see that many cruise lines are charging service like this these days. Fortunately someone told us we could ask for the gratuities to be removed from our bill, so we did, and tipped as we thought appropriate. Excursions were incredibly expensive compared to other excursion companies so we gave them a miss and prebooked elsewhere. Elsewhere, a friend needed acupuncture for a bad back and was charged $169 for a 40 minute session. Even Americans who had sailed with H&A several times before commented that nothing changed except the prices that just kept going up. The highlight of the ship for us was Rudi's Sel de Mer restaurant - the food was excellent and the service impeccable, we returned 3 times - portion sizes are generous to say the least and you do get freebies at the start of the meal, so beware you don't eat too much to start with or you won't finish your main course. The Lido deck offered a good range of different/interesting lunchtime options and was much better than the so-so food in the main dining room. Room service breakfast surprisingly was not at an extra cost but after 8,30am not reliable in terms of either delivery time or content. Our balcony cabin 6076 was small compared to others we have had in smaller ships on cheaper cruises, much to our surprise as Americans usually seem to expect larger rooms. It had what we needed but storage was tight. We were pleased to find a welcome (half) bottle of wine and a 2 litre bottle of water apparently waiting for us on boarding - we were not surprised based on previous experience of other lines. Sadly we found that both were charged for as part of the fridge supplies - at $5.50 for the water, we were not impressed. Entertainment almost completely lacking, the huge theatre was seldom used except for "book an excursion" presentations on the places we were to visit - what a waste. As it was an archaeological cruise, I expected some archaeological talks to explain the history and background of the region but there was nothing at all. No "enrichment" activities, in fact if you are not into the gym, quizzes or games, there was very little to keep you occupied during sea days. The nightly soul and rock'n'roll music could have been enjoyable but the volume was so loud that you felt you were being screamed at. Be aware that cabins on floors 3,4 and 5 above the Billboard Onboard lounge can hear the noise until very late. All in all not an experience we want to repeat and we won't be sailing with Holland & America again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
So we picked this cruise for the ports here are the highs & lows. Pros - -Beautiful ship and comfortable rooms - high quality food - wait & room staff excellent - quick boarding - happy hour 4-6 drink specials ... Read More
So we picked this cruise for the ports here are the highs & lows. Pros - -Beautiful ship and comfortable rooms - high quality food - wait & room staff excellent - quick boarding - happy hour 4-6 drink specials Cons - - slow dining room service , I think they had zero asst waiters so the head waiters are clearing tables - maitre ds gave us terrible tables most nights , didn’t care - slow waiter service on aft swim deck . Took forever to get a cocktail. - music offerings are limited & repeated - cruise director was invisible - customer service desk mgr was rude to one of the people in our group/ lost bag situation for seven days . Promises made promises broken. - age group on board is older which meant the piped in music on the swim deck was turned down to accommodate older clientele. - no live music on deck for sea days or sail aways - chateau st Michelle wine blending venue is completely unused , they only sell $55 bottles. No one at the wine bar the entire cruise. Holland should sell blended glasses for $8-$9 Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wanted to see Greece. It was a fair Itinerary although I could've done without Salerno and 2 days in Athens. Basically, the staff is great. Verandah rooms have hairdryers and magnifying mirror. Beds are comfy. A few more ... Read More
Wanted to see Greece. It was a fair Itinerary although I could've done without Salerno and 2 days in Athens. Basically, the staff is great. Verandah rooms have hairdryers and magnifying mirror. Beds are comfy. A few more things like free water, and free wifi would be a great plus. Be aware of the wifi onboard.You must have the whatsup app and maybe another app or it won't work. From what I could see even with all the tools people were still having a lot of trouble connecting. For Spa services they add another $23 for tips. Keep a tab on your bill. They add a dollar here a dollar there. Food is good. The lido grill is just fine. Don't pay attention to grouchy comments. You get a ton of choices all cooked to perfection. Beef Wellington, Whole Roasted Pig, Salmon, lots of salads, delicious oriental choices cooked in Woks right in front of you Yummy deserts. Breakfasts everything you could ask for. Specialty dining is all very good. Said it before but will mention it again the Staff is amazing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Having cruised in the past with a different company, we chose this particular one for its itinerary. However, one chooses a cruise to enjoy the time on board as well, otherwise you would just pick another mean of transportation to get you ... Read More
Having cruised in the past with a different company, we chose this particular one for its itinerary. However, one chooses a cruise to enjoy the time on board as well, otherwise you would just pick another mean of transportation to get you where you want. No entertainment whatsoever during the day, the food-American quality (need I say more?!) Muffins you can hardly bite into, horrible just horrible coffee, cheapest possible juices, restaurant food looks homemade. A cruise should dazzle, surprise, entice, get you home with few extra kilos! As it is, I am on a diet. Furniture, carpets, couches, look old and stained. Everything is dull and poorly decorated. Staff is nice, helpful but they cannot be called professionals. On other cruises, staff amazes you, you keep thinking "how they manage it?!". Well, no wonders here, i guarantee. So: comfort? Little. Food: ikea style. (Actually, i prefer ikea). And the plates and cutlery in the dining restaurant!!! Such poor quality!!! Using those you actually start reconsidering plastic! Entertainment: bring books with you. Thick ones. Staff: nice. Not that professional. Overall cruise experience: as said in the title, ferry like experience. And some ferries are actually better. No exageration. Boarding procedures were carried on alright, though we had to wait for our luggages to be brought. In other cruises, they are in your room by magic before you go in. If you plan on a cruise, choose something you can enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The 24 day Mediterranean cruise to the Adriatic, Malta, Sicily, Italian and then Greek locations in September. This was our 3rd HAL trip and ship. Weather was generally hot. The ship is only 3 years old and shows that they have taken into ... Read More
The 24 day Mediterranean cruise to the Adriatic, Malta, Sicily, Italian and then Greek locations in September. This was our 3rd HAL trip and ship. Weather was generally hot. The ship is only 3 years old and shows that they have taken into consideration factors from other older ships in the fleet. Firstly it is very quiet and manoeuvrable meaning it can and does go where some others do not (eg Santorini). The captain is calming and likes being early at just about ever port (and leaves when he can). The Cruise Director is cheery and direct with no long winded speeches. We liked the cabin - details below. Dining is good - MDR (we had anytime dining) offers varied selections but like all lines when doing back to back cruises the menu is repeated; food quality was good, service very good; the venue (level 2) can get noisy when busy and when certain guests always talk loudly, special dietary service was excellent. Lido has good variation with the policy of 90% being served by staff adds to health safety; the special diet section was appreciated and popular with the only negative comment being the shortage of staff; breakfast was generally pretty quick service. Canaletto has a new menu that was disappointing but service was good. Tamarind has excellent Asian food variations and high quality, quiet atmosphere, excellent service with special mention for the Indonesian theme night, 3 visits in total. Pinnacle Grill was mid range for the 3 special restaurants we attended. Burgers by the pool are OK although the fries are just yuk. Wine selection is reasonable with good geographic coverage but as always prices can be steep. Gala nights are becoming more casual with very limited numbers wearing formal gear. Pool size is a bit small but the level above with lounges overlooking offer a luxurious feel. Massage was good even if a touch expensive and there some some after sell of products but not too bad. Entertainment is geared towards seniors who prefer the occasional activity/performance. This is not a ship for those wanting broadway shows every night! It just does not happen. Instead a few musicians, magicians and cultural shows (entertainers from local areas were the best). Embarkation and disembarkation were the quickest yet on any ship we have sailed! Congrats to the crew who organised entertainment and activities on the day when a port could not be moored because of wharf issues and the change so that an early arrival at the next port allowed an overnight stay. Sum - a large ship with 2600 which has been modernised with many popular features. It is not a 5 star ship eg Silversea but offers excellent value at HAL prices. A ship we would definitely sail on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Balcony cabin very nice great cabin service and friendly personnel all over the ship. Food taste and choice excellent in main dining room and Lido for breakfast and lunch and dinner and snacks. BB king Ok and 2 pianos and Lincoln center ... Read More
Balcony cabin very nice great cabin service and friendly personnel all over the ship. Food taste and choice excellent in main dining room and Lido for breakfast and lunch and dinner and snacks. BB king Ok and 2 pianos and Lincoln center music nice. But level of sound in rock and roll show way too loud . Too loud in main show room also. Entertainment varied and good quality. Only con no nice dance music before dinner, Not enough free exercise programs like zumba dancing class..Exercise room very nice with lots of equipment. Good charity walk scheduled. One tour to Mijas in Malaga was excellent. Good shuttle service to city center from ship in Madeira very easy. Great port cities on transatlantic cruise Cartagena, Malaga and Madeira. Very easy embarkation and getting off but expect long wait in US immigration in Fort Lauderdale. Great cooking shows with excellent woman presenting the information with demonstration and videos. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were on the Med Legends cruise at the end of August and absolutely loved it. This was our 10th cruise (4th HAL, 2 Princess, 2 Celebrity, 1 Azamara and 1 independent) and I can honestly say that it was our best cruise so far. The ... Read More
We were on the Med Legends cruise at the end of August and absolutely loved it. This was our 10th cruise (4th HAL, 2 Princess, 2 Celebrity, 1 Azamara and 1 independent) and I can honestly say that it was our best cruise so far. The food in the MDR was excellent. My husband and I had fish quite often and it was cooked perfectly. Portion sizes of the entrees were actually too large. The soups were amazing and served piping hot. HAL does an amazaing job of catering to individuals with dietary restrictions, so I had no issues whatsoever in ordering gluten-free meals. You can even order gluten-free pizza at the New York Deli and gluten-free burger buns at Dive-In. We enjoyed the variety of entertainment, especially the quintet at Lincoln Center. World Stage had some memorable shows, including the folk group that came onboard during a late-night departure and the two gentlemen that performed tunes from around the world using various instruments. We always made it to at least one of the shows at BB King's, Billboard or Rolling Stone every night and found that the different styles of music suited our tastes. The Koningsdam seems to be catering to Baby Boomers and that's fine with me as I'm at the tail-end of the Boomer generation. And what really stands out on this cruise is the service. I was not expecting staff to bring coffee, juice, lemonade, etc. to our table in the Lido buffet. Yet there they were every meal - clearing tables and bringing us our Arnold Palmers. Always with a smile. The ship itself is very appealing. I especially liked the two-level format of Lincoln Center/BB King's - it made the space feel like a true music venue. The decor throughout the ship is tasteful and somewhat playful. All of the cabin decks are named after composers and the hall carpets have piano keys at the edge and there are music-themed art installations throughout. And if you're wondering about the demographics on this cruise, it was quite mixed. I would say the majority of the passengers were European and while there was the "older" crowd, there were plenty of middle-aged passengers and even a few families with young children. Lastly, we enjoyed this cruise so much that we bought a future cruise deposit. We have never done that before, so just goes to show what a great time we had on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have recently made a Mediterranean cruise with koningsdam from 21 August 11 days. My tourism agency had recommended koningsdam. They said ”new ship, it is very clean and the food is very good” I believed of course. But unfortunately ... Read More
I have recently made a Mediterranean cruise with koningsdam from 21 August 11 days. My tourism agency had recommended koningsdam. They said ”new ship, it is very clean and the food is very good” I believed of course. But unfortunately as soon as I got on board I realized that this was not what I expected. Because I traveled with many different companies I can compare very easily. I have been cruising last 10 years with several different companies and ships. This time is my first time with Holland America. I wish to share my experience for the sake of other customers and as well as your benefit. (Actually I am very busy person who works 10 hours a day but I hope it will be appreciated that I spend my resting time to write this.) I have a very serious complaint about the reception manager (or chef) his name was M...... He made me angry so much. He treated me very unpleasantly. We are Turkish but since we are high level civil servant (We are professor doctor working in university) we were given a “special passport” which we don’t need any visa in EU countries. In every cruise, in check in desk they understand it and they don’t keep our passports. They know special passports or they can easily understand when they look at the pages there are plenty of stamps of many countries but there was not any visa. In Rome port they did the same. They checked the passports and gave them to us. The first day was sea day we would be in Cartagena following morning, But at night I found a note someone calling me to the reception. I went there a girl in the reception wanted me to give our passports to them. It was so strange. She said “my manager wants them”. I refused of course. The explanation was not adequate. She called the manager He said “Turkey is not EU country that is why I want to keep your passport”. It should not be a personal preference. I tried to explain why we did not need any visa. But he was person who cannot understand the situation. His attitude and words were very very annoying and irritating. He insist to take it. (Be honest even if we are not obliged to give it. Since I am a mature and respectful and respective person, If he had asked nicely and kindly I would give it right a way). I said no. Finally he wanted to scan them, I said “I have a copy I can give it”. In that case he dared to insist to get them before 7 am in the morning!!!!(Look at his personal caprice) I was even angrier he had to understand that I was a guest and on my vacation no one has a right to force me to do something. I said “I don’t want to get up very early in the morning”. Following day I ask an appointment for “hotel manager” to discuss this issue and the other issues related with crew behaviour. No one responded. I asked total 3 times for an appointment in different days. He didn’t even send a message to me. I know he must be very busy (actually I am one of his businesses) but even dough he should have had arrange someone else to meet me. He totally ignored me (as many of them). He didn’t give any value and credit to me as a human being who actually prefer and trust them to spend her holiday on his ship. There are plenty of issues to be mentioned: But I will briefly tell. First of all the behavior of the crew (most of them) was the most unacceptable. It seems almost all of them don’t like their job. Or even they hate with what they are doing. No smiling at all. They don’t make eye contact with you they don’t even say hello or any other greetings. From the barmen to the waiters, from the officers to simple mariners every one was tossing out you. I was shocked . (none of the ship had not had such a crew like that). First day as soon as we settled, we wanted to have a drink. We approached to the bar (opposite to “guest relation”) no one cared. I asked for a menu. He didn’t even move and looked at me very unwillingly and showed the wall (there were some writings on the wall). We didn’t drink anything. We went up to the restaurant (self-service) in deck 9. For lunch There were some stations with different type of food and there was one person in it as if they were in prison (They were looking at you as if somebody forced them to stand unwillingly). It was so strange that the self-service restaurant was not self-service. All stations were covered (protected from the customers) by glass. At dinner in the 2. floor is another story. It takes ages to wait for a dish. I had to speak to restaurant chef to attract the attention to be served. The most important thing is security. In the gang way going out and coming back, IN all other ship companies they ask to take off sun glasses and hats. It is very important to recognize the people. But in Koningsdam most of customers were wearing glasses and hats !! No one asked them to take off. Crew were only concentrated if there was an alcohol in the bags. All other companies they serve water and wet cold towels in the gangways in every port they make a tent. But in koninsdam we had nothing. Even water. No one greeted and no one welcomed us. Only last day in Livorno a couple of officers were standing in front of gangway and told “welcome”. And no entertainment at all.. There are many more to tell but these are facts. I have no intention being rude I didn’t mean to offend anybody. Because I respect everybody who does their job properly, I spent my time to give this feedback. I am sorry to tell these perhaps they reevaluate the issues to please their customers and consider them as "guest" Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were drawn to this itinerary due to the number of ports visited. We had previously travelled with HAL in Alaska on Volendam and were very happy with the service. The Koningsdam is a much larger and new ship with more modern features. ... Read More
We were drawn to this itinerary due to the number of ports visited. We had previously travelled with HAL in Alaska on Volendam and were very happy with the service. The Koningsdam is a much larger and new ship with more modern features. Embarkation with HAL is very smooth, they make it seemless and have you onboard without any delay. Once onboard you are free to explore the ship and your luggage is in your room immediately. We were disappointed that we didn't get set dining, but always managed to get a table each night in the lower dining room. The staff throughout the ship are very friendly and attentive. We were disappointed with the Entertainment. We had previously had shows on the mainstage every evening but this cruise was not up to the same standard. Shore excursions with HAL are very expensive, we only booked 2 and then did another 3 independently. The rest of the ports we explored ourselves. I would thoroughly recommend this itinerary for people who are willing to explore each of the ports and get a taste of the area in a very short time. The Captain addressed the guests regularly and always made us feel as we were his number 1 priority. We had one port that we couldn't visit due to weather conditions and he took control of the situation and kept us informed. One of the highlights was the night we travelled past Stromboli Volcano. Our Captain timed the visit perfectly and allowed us to enjoy sunset as we came up to the island and then he slowly maneuvered the ship so once the moon came up the volcano was in moonlight and lava visible, it was absolutely breathtaking. We will definitely travel again with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
As we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary it had all the places we wanted to visit. Very disappointed with the entertainment in the World Stage theatre nightly. We expected live cabaret/Broadway type shows. It was a 23 ... Read More
As we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary it had all the places we wanted to visit. Very disappointed with the entertainment in the World Stage theatre nightly. We expected live cabaret/Broadway type shows. It was a 23 night cruise and we had to endure some of the pitiful acts/artists i.e. juggler, magician, comedian. People left the theatre every night after a couple of minutes as it was so boring and headed to other entertainment lounges which were very good. A noticeable lack of activities during the day for the older age group apart from computer courses.. We thought there would have been more outside activities such as deck quoits, mini golf or carpet bowls. The Cruise director was incompetent and lacked initiative. When approached about anything he always had an excuse and said would get back to you but never did, NOT good enough. For these concerns we would not recommend Koningsdam and would not book with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Civitavecchia to Lisbon, sunset cabin deck 9 cabin 219 Vista suite. Veendam is in very good condition overall given her age. The crew were always polite and helpful, no matter how busy they were. Our cabin steward SAN was always ... Read More
Civitavecchia to Lisbon, sunset cabin deck 9 cabin 219 Vista suite. Veendam is in very good condition overall given her age. The crew were always polite and helpful, no matter how busy they were. Our cabin steward SAN was always smiling and ready to assist. HAL appears to have an austerity drive in place. The quality and variety of the food was not up to the standard we experienced on Nkordam in 2014. The same dishes kept appearing day after day. The roast meats were always served rare (still bleeding), With no option for those who prefer meat to be cooked through. The tableware (plastic drinking cups) were all grungy and looked unclean as did the cutlery. The table service crew were obviously distressed by this, searching for the cleanest they could find on the trays, but it was out of their control. Meal portions were also seemingly on the "money saving" hit list, with very small portions served up. This made the guest feel obliged to always ask for more. This should not be the case on a 7 day cruise which cost over AUD 6000 for two people. Another big bear was the imposition of a 15% surcharge on all die ks and onboard shopping and services when the prices were not cheap in the first place. How do HAL justify this charge? A bottle of Evian still water, in cabin was charged at USD 5.00 plus the 15 percent surcharge. The same bottle ashore was € 2.00. I only had 2 alcoholic drinks in 7 days because we refused to pay the high costs being charged. HAL has gone from being one of our favourite cruise lines to "Never again". So sad that the bean counters have forced this decline on a once proud cruise line. The HAL shore excursions were also mega expensive, the same, or better could be had ashore for one third of the price. In Gibraltar, the HAL tour buses could not even negotiate the narrow roads to the top of the Rock. The participants did not even get to see the Barbary Apes. How sad. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were handed beepers our first three dinners because the dining room was too full and had to wait for 45 minutes...it felt like we were at a Chili's or something... Not a good first impression The food is pretentious and portions ... Read More
We were handed beepers our first three dinners because the dining room was too full and had to wait for 45 minutes...it felt like we were at a Chili's or something... Not a good first impression The food is pretentious and portions are very small. The Lido deck is not a buffet and you are forced to ask someone to plate your food for you. This causes lines and long waits for something as simple as a Caesar salad. FIRE!! There was also a fire on our cruise that was announced over the ships intercoms. My wife was in tears after that and left a very poor taste in our mouths. Beware Vegetarians!! Usually there was only one vegetarian option. We asked to have meals just without the meat multiple times are we're told no... If you love beets and mushrooms, this is your ship though. Cilantro is on everything... Lots of people hate this stuff...beware. Portion sizes are TINY compared to a cruise lines like Princess. Where I received a full beef wellington on princess, I only received a slice on HAL. Also, it was cooked medium and the breading was a soggy mess when I got it... The entertainment is awful. They have one good band (BB King band) and the rest is shockingly bad. There was an hour long presentation on the "art of towel folding".... If thats not bad enough, Microsoft also has daily seminars on how to use Windows 10...I'm not joking, this is the entertainment on your cruise. The staff is really the only shining light on this ship. All of them were incredibly friendly, but there are just so many drawbacks about this ship. We will never come back and definitely would not recommend sailing with them unless you get a massive deal. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having sailed on this ship some 18mths ago we were surprised at how some parts of the cabins had deteriorated in particular 5022 Last year we could not fault them after all this was a comparatively new ship but has gone downhill since ... Read More
Having sailed on this ship some 18mths ago we were surprised at how some parts of the cabins had deteriorated in particular 5022 Last year we could not fault them after all this was a comparatively new ship but has gone downhill since The shower recess had mould. Now it would not take much to remove it but in the 21days it was not. Our steward was lovely but they are pushed to the limits so cleaning mould was not part of his cleaning schedule. Our friends shower was the same..yet other people we spoke to said they had no issues. The doona was marked as to was the lounge, the TV did not work nor did the phone for a day or two, which meant we were missing any bridge communications. The common areas were still maintained to a standard. The dining room menu was varied & most of the meals very good. Lido is still the usual scrum and finding a table at peak times is like winning the lottery as it is on most cruise lines which is why we opt for the dining room for breakfast & dinner. Wine list on this cruise was not to a standard with a very nice wine only available in the dining room. Why all bars did not offer this was beyond us. Most wine by the glass $11USD + gratuity which should be at the discretion of each guest not automatically added but the drinks waiters we most times well deserved of it anyway Entertainment on HAL ships is below par. Guests were walking out during performances Shore Excursions: Mostly very good & at times well organised just more info prior would be helpful. If anyone gets a chance to go to Monaco and they offer a cruise to EZE DO IT!!! This old fortress & village was amazing, just be prepared for some uphill climbing but so worth it. TIP: If you do not do a ships shore excursion but still wish to go out & about HIRE a taxi. Talk to them re a price & length of time you wish to spend out & about. We did this a couple of times & so worth it. Embarkation & disembarkation was smooth & effortless. We actually embarked earlier than allotted as it was a back to back As with most cruises you met some wonderful people (we met mostly Aussies) shared some great experiences & were attended by some great staff. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We upgraded on HAL Mediterranean cruise, to include the services of a concierge. It was very poor value for money. The quality of the food was very poor - numerous errors in the menu. The kitchen staff are better than the passengers!! ... Read More
We upgraded on HAL Mediterranean cruise, to include the services of a concierge. It was very poor value for money. The quality of the food was very poor - numerous errors in the menu. The kitchen staff are better than the passengers!! Couldn’t reach the customer service after being on hold for 10 mins - simply disconnected. The concierge service was only avail till 8pm then just no response. The Neptune lounge was in the interior of the boat no view of the water. The concierges main goal was to know our names but beyond that couldn’t offer anything additional! Very disappointed in our upgrade... really didn’t see any value for money, no significant improvement in cabin, service, or assistance from concierge. Nightly entertainment shows were poor as were the choice of movies. For a “newer” ship no real wow factor. Limited photo ops. Dining room service was also very slow until we spoke to several staff members. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had a great time on our first cruise on Koningsdam, cruising the Adriatic in late July/early August. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The service on board was excellent. The ports of call were plentiful on this 12 day ... Read More
We had a great time on our first cruise on Koningsdam, cruising the Adriatic in late July/early August. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The service on board was excellent. The ports of call were plentiful on this 12 day itinerary and although most ports were too crowded due to the dates we were traveling, we appreciated that this itinerary included ports like Koper and Korcula which are a little less popular and hence much more inviting. The entertainment was much better than expected with the music venues available on board offering a wide variety of live performances. Even some of the shows at the main theater were good which was a pleasant surprise compared to our prior cruise experiences. Due to the time of year, the demographics of the passengers included passengers of all ages and from all over the world but was heavy on big multi-generation family groups. The food on board was very good. We dined a number of times in Club Orange because we booked a suite and thought they did a terrific job there. We especially enjoyed the specialty dining at Rudi’s and Tamarind (which remains our favorite cruise ship restaurant on any line). We also tried the special Indonesian night at Tamarind but didn’t care for it as much as the regular Tamarind menu. We did not enjoy the Pinnacle Grill as much as we did on another HAL ship in the past. We ordered room service once and they sent us the wrong food so we didn’t try it again. We purchased the couples spa pass and enjoyed using the hydrotherapy pool and steam room there. The only negatives which I think are worth sharing as they may be helpful to others to know in advance: The main dining room, Lido buffet, and the main theater are too small for the number of passengers when the ship is at capacity. It seemed that anytime dining often included very long waits, the buffet was generally an unpleasant experience unless you visited at off peak times, and the better theater shows often had no seats available at all by the time the show was about to start. The family pool and loungers were too crowded on the two sea days and since staff did not appear to remove any towels/personal belongings from loungers left unattended for hours, there were rarely loungers available. The adult pool usually had space available but the area was full of people smoking. I anticipate that if you sail at off peak times of the year, your experiences would vary considerably on these specific issues but I think they are worth noting so that one can go in with realistic expectations. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My partner and I just took our 27th cruise (second on HAL) and had a good time, however, we expected so much more, and the line under-delivered. Our first experience with HAL was about 12 years ago and we had a great time then. This time ... Read More
My partner and I just took our 27th cruise (second on HAL) and had a good time, however, we expected so much more, and the line under-delivered. Our first experience with HAL was about 12 years ago and we had a great time then. This time we expected just as a good service like before but were left just wanting it. The good: Great cabin (4158) with an extended balcony (that we paid for). Comfortable bedding, great bathroom with a very roomy shower stall; Great cabin room stewards, friendly and very attentive; Food quality in the main Dining Room is very good; The ship is very pretty and quiet; Few announcements and sales; The cons: The same extended balcony we paid for was always dirty due to the discharges of soot from the ship stacks. Our cabin was in the AFT portion. Likely not in problem if we were mid ship or forward; Service in the dining room was lacking, slow and disconnected. We complained and promised that they would serve "faster" on the following nights. They didn't. Servers were friendly and very polite, but somehow things were not working as they should on almost every night of the 12 nights onboard. Too much time between courses and several mistakes, like attempting to take an order without bringing the menus, skipping a course, dessert without the ordered coffee, coffee without cream (even after a week with same servers), etc etc. Maitre D would apologize but the service quality would stay the same: low; Desserts are lacking quality and choices. Offerings are boring, repetitive and did not quite taste good. Dessert is like an afterthought on the ship; Buffet: They do have a different service philosophy on this ship (don't know if this is a system-wide thing) but one needs the help of a server to get any food, and that means standing in line all the time, from station to station. One can't get a whole meal on one station, so one needs to stand in line again at the next, and then the next. When there was no line, the server would hide in the kitchen, so one needs to wait there till he/she comes back out. The food offerings have no signs showing/explaining what they are, so when it is your turn, one needs to ask "what is this" and "what is that" every time. Portions are usually given on a small plate, and then on the next station they will try to give you another plate... We actually hated this system, and avoided the buffet every chance we could; Ship eateries and restaurant times are very restricted. At some obvious lunch or early evening times, one can find most of the venues closed. Off course they have several other venues, if you want to pay extra; Alternative eating venues (at no extra charge), like the Dutch Café and the Explorations Cafe, offer not a single choice of a free drink. No water, no coffee, no ice tea at these locations. So if you come here, you either have to go several decks up or down to get a glass of water, or you have to buy a drink; A lot of nickel and dimming on the ship; Alcoholic drink prices are way too high; with the required 15% gratuity, the least expensive beer onboard costs $8, the wine by the glass $10.50; HAL is not going to give you a single free cocktail, even on events we all expect to get one. On the captain's welcome night you will get a glass of pro-secco here (they might refill it) and the "party" to welcome and thank repeat guests has been replaced with a lunch, where you will be given ONE glass of pro-secco. Yes, not a choice to get a cocktail, not a chance to get your pro-secco glass refilled; Top decks are difficult to navigate. One can not go for a walk on a top deck from AFT to FWD, anywhere; Theater entertainment is very limited and boring; Music on BB King's Club is very good (they have great singers and musicians on board) but the music is too loud (and I am not 80y.o.); Ship does not offer shuttle services to bring passengers out of ports or into city centers. In Dubrovnik a Shuttle was offered for $16pP, when the city bus that stops right outside the port and brings passengers to the same final stop of shuttle in the old town costs $4.50 for an unlimited day ticket; In 3 Port Stops we were left in alternative docking locations, which meant longer walks to required shuttles only to get us to the normal docking areas, very upsetting; Overall a good trip with some great ports of call. But HAL could do a lot better. Please stop nickel and diming passengers, and deliver the experience we all expect. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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