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436 Holland America Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

We love Holland, and this was our 3rd cruise in 1 year with them. Primarily because kids are lol grown and this line caters to adults more. The waitstaff in main Dining Room were wonderful. Most nights the dinner selection excited me. ... Read More
We love Holland, and this was our 3rd cruise in 1 year with them. Primarily because kids are lol grown and this line caters to adults more. The waitstaff in main Dining Room were wonderful. Most nights the dinner selection excited me. The one night it didn’t, the Lido cafe meet my needs. The cabin attendants were awesome as well. Previous Cruises on Eurodam and Koningsdam we booked balcony staterooms. This being a last minute booking (1 week before sailing) we book an inside stateroom, not planning to spend much time in there anyways. The stateroom was just as expansive as our previous room, omitting the balcony and natural sunlight. #6067. Perfectly situated midship. Our biggest complaints this trip??? The absolutely horrible service at the Seaview Bar on the Back Lido Deck. I can not count on my fingers how many times I had to flag the attendant down to get a cocktail, (they were not busy). Sometime waiting 15-20 minutes As you can imagine I’m not happy about the added 15% tip to each order for no service. I did let guest services know of the deplorable service. The entertainment on main stage was okay. Not as good a the previous two ships, but I understand the it’s slightly smaller. No America’s Test Kitchen either. But our primary goal is making lasting memories together. We may decide to check out another cruise line for the next trip. But I still enjoy Holland Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My husband and I decided that we would try Holland America as we had heard it was a great cruise line for middle-aged people and few children or teens and was a smaller ship. Our cruise was to the Mexican Riviera leaving out of San Diego ... Read More
My husband and I decided that we would try Holland America as we had heard it was a great cruise line for middle-aged people and few children or teens and was a smaller ship. Our cruise was to the Mexican Riviera leaving out of San Diego on January 4, 2020. We arrived at the cruise port around 12:30 and was on the ship by 1 pm. We were able to go to our room on the Upper Verandah deck. Our room had an extended balcony because of the handicap room next to us. I would definitely recommend this room. The bathroom had a tub/shower which was awesome. The only thing I didn't like was that the faucet on the sink was hard to control and I almost burnt myself washing hands, but that being said my engineer husband figured out the right setting and we didn't change it at all. The water pressure was great and the shower had a wand and that was nice. The desk area or what I call the makeup area was a nice size and they also provided a small makeup mirror. The bed was comfortable and the extended balcony was a lifesaver. We both developed sinus infections that reared its ugly head and we stayed pretty much in our room for the first three 4 days. It was bad enough that we ate our dinners in our room. We were able to order from the dining room for our dinner those nights and the service was great, the food was awesome and we felt very pampered by our room steward. The ship was quite lovely and almost plain compared to Princess but that was not important to us. We didn't attend any of the onboard entertainment or activities and missed the first two ports. The nights we ate in the dining room our wait staff Chrismart and Johnny were awesome. They truly made us feel special. The food was very good and was always served hot. The only thing I didn't like was that the chocolate cakes were lathered in berry juice and berries, but that is purely a personal taste as my husband adored it. By the time we hit Cabo San Lucas we were feeling much better and were able to go on the Luxury Sailing Cruise with the meal included. It was awesome to see Lands End up close and the seals sunning themselves on rocks. The highlight was the numerous whales that we saw especially the one who swam under our boat and then flipped his tail at us. The crew waited on us hand and foot and were extremely warm and welcoming. My husband did go snorkelling but I didn't think I should just because of the sinuses. He said it was great. We met several wonderful couples on our trip and so glad we booked this cruise. We put a deposit down for a future cruise and we have never done that before. Thank you to the entire staff of the Oosterdam who made us feel so welcome. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was my 15th cruise and my first and last cruise with Holland America. I chose Holland America because they were the only ship with open Suites available at the time of my booking. I also heard that the food on a Holland America ... Read More
This was my 15th cruise and my first and last cruise with Holland America. I chose Holland America because they were the only ship with open Suites available at the time of my booking. I also heard that the food on a Holland America cruise is wonderful and I was looking forward to a relaxing cruise with a comfortable room and great food and some on board activities, this ship provided none of these. The so called Signature Suite (8042) is a balcony room that they shoved a unusable couch in, if you wanted to watch tv while my girlfriend slept you had to do this in bed, usually a Suite has a separate area available to sit for TV or for chatting. The way this room is set up a bed and at the foot of the bed is the couch with the tv above making the couch useless. We sat at a 6 person table and our conversation every night except one was how the food on this ship was so terrible and usually served cold and over cooked only a couple dishes were descent but never first class as with most cruises I have taken. It is sad when the best meal (and only hot meal) is from the Hamburger grill at the pool, also to mention food is not always available as the food stations keep closing at the most inconvenient hours. As for activities, pretty non-existent I think this is to a poor activities director if they had one. I will never cruise with Holland again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
With 15 previous Holland America Cruises I thought I knew what to expect when taking my wife, daughter, and three adult grand daughters on a New Year's Eve cruise to Mexico. Boy was I wrong. The entertainment was sparse. No dance ... Read More
With 15 previous Holland America Cruises I thought I knew what to expect when taking my wife, daughter, and three adult grand daughters on a New Year's Eve cruise to Mexico. Boy was I wrong. The entertainment was sparse. No dance venues, no enterainment in the Crows Nest at all. No disco for the young ones, The span of responsibility for wait staff in the dining room was so great the service lagged to a near unacceptable level. Getting the Sommelier to our table was a major feat. Room service breakfast was VERY good and PROMPT ! Other room service was unreliable, twice our orders never came. Food in the dining room was quite good however down sized from previous experience. On Gala Night, the filet accompianing my lobster tail measured 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. I thought it was a joke. With nearly 400 days of cruising on Holland America, this was the first cruise where several staff appologized for the service level. It is truly a pity to witness such a decline in a once great cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
If you're looking for an extra special way to spend NYE don't book this cruise. You pay a premium to fly & cruise at this time of year so you expect the ship would really go the extra mile. Holland America has a reputation ... Read More
If you're looking for an extra special way to spend NYE don't book this cruise. You pay a premium to fly & cruise at this time of year so you expect the ship would really go the extra mile. Holland America has a reputation for catering to an older crowd but this trip made me feel like I was on a Disney ship and all the problems that travelling with "little darlings" entails.( ie ice cream fights in the Lido buffet, throwing objects during the Main stage shows, and you can imagine what the diapers in the pool caused.) Don't worry about dressing up for Gala Nights. People came in wearing raggy cut-off, well worn logo T-shirts, flip flops, etc. New Year's Eve itself was just a regular cruise event - nothing special set up. A band was setting up by the pool but didn't start till 11:30 if you wanted to sit around and wait. Certainly not a dancing area. On New Year's day, there was no evening show and even OnBoard Billboard (one of the more popular events) did not have a show. I realize it was a good time for families to travel, but you could easily pick out the ones that trained their children on proper behaviour or manners and the ones that assign that responsibility to others - in this case, cruise ship workers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
As we live on the east coast, a cruise out of San Diego might not have been something we explored seriously. At a charity event, an Oosterdam cruise was on offer and we had the winning bid. We (my spouse and I, and eventually my sister) ... Read More
As we live on the east coast, a cruise out of San Diego might not have been something we explored seriously. At a charity event, an Oosterdam cruise was on offer and we had the winning bid. We (my spouse and I, and eventually my sister) decided on the December 28 sailing. We had not spent any appreciable time in San Diego before so it seemed an attractive idea. We met in Los Angeles first and spent a great night there. Enjoyable, but the drive to SD was not fun--should have taken the train. San Diego is a lovely city, and we had a great dinner with cousins. San Diego is quite beautiful and a walk downtown along Broadway was interesting. The train station is beautiful and is the meeting point of several transportation options. We spent a night on Coronado after the cruise that was equally wonderful. Boarding was completed easily enough--the usual hubbub but all went well, very quick and welcoming. It was nice to hear that the cabin was ready when we boarded at 1:30. We boarded in the forward part of the ship so it was a long walk to our aft-facing cabin.The ship itself was quite nice inside--lovely carpeting throughout, interesting (mostly) artworks, and cleaning was ongoing. Good to see at this germ-y time of year. The exteriors of the ship needed tending, however. Our deck was dirty (the deck below was worse), windows were grimy and difficult to see out of (not just salt water), and posts were rusty and flaking. The cabin, #5190, was spacious with a very large L-shaped deck, and plenty of closet space. A nice two-sink bathroom, with a separate shower and tub. The shower was very small and leaked, so we had to use many towels to keep the floor dry. The cabin had attractive lighting and the bed was extremely comfortable. My sister said that the sofa bed was perfectly fine and even cozy. The cabin was made up early every morning, which I appreciate as we're early risers. We explored all dining options, I think! The Lido Market (buffet) was not the most comprehensive and the food was a bit bland, but it did have some of the best breads I've ever had at sea, especially the rye bread. The usual fare, all of which were fine if not memorable. Dive In, the poolside burger and hot dog place, was very good and much less chaotic than I've seen on other ships. You place your order and get a buzzer to let you know when your order is ready. That kept people from milling about and bumping into one another. Nice looking taco and nacho bar, too. The MDR was really nice, with great service and friendly people all the way around. I loved the food and we spent many nights there. The Pinnacle Grill was exceptional for breakfast. It was open for suite guests only, and the service was remarkable. Canaletto, another restaurant with a surcharge, was fine, though nothing special. Drink packages were only available if everyone in the room purchased one. As one of our party doesn't drink except for a few glasses of wine during the week it was not worth it. I guess it says more about the other passengers that HAL suspects a lot of cheating would be going on. It happens, but it made things less easy for us. The bartenders were all nice, but they measured every drink (fine) but did not always clean the jiggers (not fine). Ordering a vodka drink and then tasting other liquors is disconcerting. An Irish coffee was lukewarm with a drop of whipped cream because on the last night of the cruise they ran out of cream(!). We did not partake of any of the shore excursions. There were some attractive options but after a big Christmas I am glad that we were more self-directed. The casino was surprisingly generous--not just to me, but to everyone around me. I saw many large payouts and received a few big payouts myself. I do not rely on casinos to give me a return on investments, but it was nice to win occasionally on slot machines that were fun to play. We did not attend any shows, though the Lincoln Center shows were well-attended, and the B. B. King club was always hopping. The dual piano show, by two extremely talented young men, was too close to the loud casino. Their repertoire was a lot of ballads and romantic songs, performed well, but the clash with the ding-ding-ding of the casino was unfortunate. Service was expert all the way around. The Retreat was staffed by Marvin and Conrad, who couldn't do enough for you. The cabin was expertly maintained by Toni. The Neptune Lounge had two kind and helpful concierges, Claire and Erszebet. The MDR had great service, too, though a bit lagging on the Gala Night, which is understandable. The Pinnacle Grill had the best service of all, with Betty, Dwi, and Aurora being standouts. Our first night in the Grill saw good food, but amateurish service, including a post-it note on my steak noting it was the Rare steak. He also asked us to order dessert with our dinner and seemed put out that I didn't want to do so. The Retreat was nice, but maybe not the best time of year for it--cool and quite windy. Also, a bit sparsely decorated but there is a shower and restroom nearby. Great service! We enjoyed a sunny day in Cabo San Lucas, though with so many ships in port there were so many people on the dock at once. Mazatlan was a charming city, with a nice walk into the historic center. Puerta Vallarta was odd--we were docked in the center of the city, with a Walmart and a Mall across the 6-lane highway. It poured rain that day and I thought it would be a relaxing day in the cabin. The constant honking and traffic sounds ruined that idea, however. Not HAL's fault about the weather, of course, but its proximity to the city was somewhat surprising. People may enjoy having shopping nearby but it's not easy to get to--you have to take a tram to the exit and then walk a long way to the stores. One thing to mention--it being a holiday week--was the number of children on board. Frankly, I have never seen so many strollers and the pools were constantly filled by kids jumping in and out. I didn't particularly mind it, though I only got into the pool once, but if big groups traveling together aren't your cup of tea, you should keep an eye on the dates you travel. I like HAL, and the service and food is of a high calibre, generally. I would book a HAL cruise again with no problem, but I think I'd look for a newer ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This New Years cruise met every expectation of a fun filled and beautiful holiday. The ship itself is an antique lover's paradise. The statues, the paintings, the sculptures, the murals,were startlingly gorgeous and so rare to find ... Read More
This New Years cruise met every expectation of a fun filled and beautiful holiday. The ship itself is an antique lover's paradise. The statues, the paintings, the sculptures, the murals,were startlingly gorgeous and so rare to find on ships other than Holland America. The food was excellent.Menus in the dining room included those of celebrity chefs-David Burke and Rudi Sodamin. Rudi-Holland's Master chef usually has seafood offerings in the Pinnacle Grill but this cruise unfortunately not. However his creations of coconut shrimp and pot roast served in the Vista dining room were exceptional. The music especially the BB King band brought the whole ship to life in the evenings and the New Years celebration with all the ship's musicians was memorable. The passengers were a wonderful mix with many young families with children on holiday as well as multi generational families.Beautiful to see! The children's clubs must have met the children's needs as they did not seem to want to leave the clubs. Mexico was a happy holiday itinerary and San Diego -what a beautiful port to leave from. Always the service on Holland is wonderful and the bartenders and the housekeeping staff made this cruise such a pleasure to be with them. Now for the star of the show-The Captain!! Captain Rens van Eerten was so visible around the ship-even picking up glasses,talking to everyone,humourous and engaging,. His spirit and presence around the ship was 5 star!!Thank you for contributing to a memorable New Years Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this ship in part because it promised blues and jazz every night. It had neither. The BBKing Allstars played only loud rock, the type you can hear in any middling night club in any city. The musicians were average. The ... Read More
We chose this ship in part because it promised blues and jazz every night. It had neither. The BBKing Allstars played only loud rock, the type you can hear in any middling night club in any city. The musicians were average. The percussionist was especially aggravating as he threw in a bass drum boom about every six beats. Total disappointment. The Music Walk dueling pianos salvaged the lounge music entertainment. They played a wide variety of songs from the last 40 years and were quite good. Their personalities added to the entertainment experience. The Lincoln Center classical musicians were excellent. Three violinists, a pianist and a cellist played simply beautiful and moving music. The main stage acts were average. The illusionist was the best act. Any cruise is good so I can’t give the cruise as a whole a bad rating. Just don’t go if you want to hear blues or jazz. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
To be quite honest, the overall concern was our budget. This cruise was relatively inexpensive. Check! Embarkation was a very smooth, if noisy and crowded, operation for us. The counter person was very friendly and helpful. The ... Read More
To be quite honest, the overall concern was our budget. This cruise was relatively inexpensive. Check! Embarkation was a very smooth, if noisy and crowded, operation for us. The counter person was very friendly and helpful. The ship was very clean the entire time we we aboard. Our steward kept our room remarkably clean and stocked. He came twice a day, unless the privacy tag was on the lock. Oh, and he left towels folded into the shape of animals on our bed. We enjoyed that. The dining experience was pretty good. The Lido buffet was a little crowded when we went, but not terribly so. We paid for the signature dining package, and ate at the Pinnacle Grill, and Canaletto Restaurant. They were delicious! We found the dining room to be quite nice, and we wish we would have eaten there more often. The entertainment aboard was quite good, as well. We did a game show, the magician, Postmodern Jukebox, a comedian, dueling pianos, and Lincoln Center Stage. The comedian was really funny! Lincoln Center Stage was kind of amazing. All of them were well worth checking out. Do as many as you can fit in. Our shore excursions were really fun! In Puerto Vallarta, we did the shopping, church, and tequila excursion. It was a very interesting experience. It's really cool to see some of the real Mexico. Our guide said he would show us Mexico, "with, and without makeup." He delivered. A word of advice. Be aware of the fact that the locals are there to make money. The vendors on Cuale Island can be priced very high. The tequila experience was was really fun as well. They do a presentation, and you take a little shot of several tequilas of varying quality and flavor. Yes, flavor. The coffee was our favorite. At the end, they press you, fairly gently, to buy tequila. We also did Mazatlan's Sea turtle and private beach excursion. Wow, this was one of our favorites. You drive through the countryside, and reach the resort via farmland. You are told all about the turtles, and then move to the beach. I'm not sure if this is standard, or just during our visit, but we only simulated releasing the sea turtles. We put them down, and they scurried towards the water before being picked up by the workers. They warned us during the presentation, but it was a little sad not seeing them reach the ocean. Speaking of the ocean, WOW! We went to the resort, ate lunch, and spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. Some went the the pool, but we swam in the beautiful waves for hours. It was warm, and the waves weren't too high, and the water was clear. Truly a remarkable experience. There was a potentially off putting thing, though. When we went to pay for lunch, the waiter brought a check booklet without a receipt, and told us it would be 250 pesos. We offered our card, and he balked. When we said we had no cash, he took the card away and came back with a receipt. This time, for 120 pesos! I feel like he was trying to give himself quite a tip. Cabo San Lucas. We did the Swim with the Dolphin shore excursion. It was one of the most exciting, and memorable things we've ever done. Highly recommend it. One note, on our trip, for our anniversary, there was an offer to receive a diamond necklace for free from a shop in Cabo. We were obviously a little dubious. We went to the store, and presented the coupon. They actually gave us a necklace! It had a teeny tiny, "rough," diamond and I'm not sure how quality the metal of the necklace and chain are, but they really gave us one. It was certainly just a way to get the tourists away from the dock, of course, but we got a necklace! Look, everything you do, and everywhere you go, they are after your money. Not really in a bad way, but you are a tourist, and they are out to make a buck. They will press you to take a fishing trip, ask directly for tips, and generally try to get you to spend your money. Just say yes or no, be aware of the exchange rate, and move on. We were never harassed or pushed extremely hard. When we said no, they backed off. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
First and last cruise with Holland. Neptune suite. Winter getaway with friends for a week. Good first impression. Good food well presented in lower deck restaurants. Most staff attentive but spotty service (numerous instances pointed out ... Read More
First and last cruise with Holland. Neptune suite. Winter getaway with friends for a week. Good first impression. Good food well presented in lower deck restaurants. Most staff attentive but spotty service (numerous instances pointed out when asked for our feedback) indicative of either a need for better training or management. One gross instance of food served us on a very dirty plate. Other instance of an obviously bored waiter. Another of an order placed with waiter that never made it to the table. Room service slow (no ice or refrigerator beverage replenishment as should have been routine), but cabins were well cleaned every day. Most egregious management errors were a single instance of insult to one of us by a cruise services (male) when we tried to correct a dinner seating error not of our making. Second error was promenade deck experience with ships crew working parties doing their work (necessary work however) on one occasion during a morning period when deck was filled with walkers and joggers, specifically drenching us every lap by crew cleaning life boats, grinding steel for painting prep and painting. Necessary work for sure, but better scheduled during port calls or at an hour less populated by deck passengers. Some crew like Doni and others made our experience more enjoyable. Our last cruise with Holland. Going back to Windstar. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Loved our first 2 cruises on Oosterdam most recent was perhaps 4 years ago to Alaska our first to Alaska years ago this was the Alaska too. We were delayed a day due to repairs on ship we had to miss mazaltan disappointed we went on this ... Read More
Loved our first 2 cruises on Oosterdam most recent was perhaps 4 years ago to Alaska our first to Alaska years ago this was the Alaska too. We were delayed a day due to repairs on ship we had to miss mazaltan disappointed we went on this cruise to go there as weve already visited Cabo and Puerto Vallarta on pasr Princess,We loved how easy it was to fly Alaskan Airlines to San Diego from PDX and really easy to get the bus out front to cruise port was a breeze too.The bus is set up like a airport parking lot bus so you luggage is no worry thing loved it for a couple bucks think 2,50 well worth it.Skip the transfers its right out front only goes to cruise port every 15 minutes or so. on board things have changed we missed the clear staircase in the middle of shop it looked amazing and great in photos.I didn't care much for the buffet seemed to be repeats each day, Hand santitizers weren't always full or available with people montering them in buffet or dining rooms. Weve always had balcony rooms the only way to go.Wished we had doors to leave open a bit to hear the waves and ocean air.Entertainment is no where near as good as I remember on past cruises.The crew were not as happy as before all anxious for their contracts to be done so they could move on.Loved our cabin attendant Dewa a very cheerful hard worker.Hated the tender into Cabo we had seniors that weren't to stable on their feet and I was scared for them but I think theres gotta be a better way for them to get aboard . Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My mom wanted to cruise with Holland because of an excellent experience she had on another Holland ship years ago. She too was very disappointed with the overall experience of this cruise. Dining room waiter was a highlight of the trip. ... Read More
My mom wanted to cruise with Holland because of an excellent experience she had on another Holland ship years ago. She too was very disappointed with the overall experience of this cruise. Dining room waiter was a highlight of the trip. The portions for dinner entrée were very small and took a fair length of time to receive our meaL There was never an option for requesting more even if we had wanted it. Food was so-so. Our waiter ordered extra desert our last two evenings and had delivered to our suite. That was an unexpected surprise. We never saw our room attendant with exception to day of arrival. Our suite was not clean upon arrival and we had to ask for several items:towels,robes, sharps box, and distilled water for my moms CPAP. I had requested the box and water before we embarked the ship. Having traveled on several cruise lines I didn't think it was crazy to expect a vacuumed-clean and equipped suite. There were no visible people wiping down the public places like door knobs, bathrooms, elevator buttons....No required use of hand sanitizer upon entering dining room and buffet area. Again a standard I have come to expect on my other cruise experiences. Shore excursions were misrepresented and were not as fun as the trip we took with a local in Puerto Vallarta. Would not pay to do their excursions again. Entertainment was so-so with exception of the illusionist: Leon Etienne who was great and all of us enjoyed his show. The positive: the ports were lovely and God blessed us with lovely temperatures to enjoy our time together off the ship. They offered wheelchair service for my mom once we arrived in port for disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had a Neptune suite and really enjoyed the Neptune Lounge and the conierge Leah was outstanding. We had most breakfats there, with occasional breakfasts in the Pinnacle. This enabled us to avoid crowrds for breakfast. Lunch was a bit ... Read More
We had a Neptune suite and really enjoyed the Neptune Lounge and the conierge Leah was outstanding. We had most breakfats there, with occasional breakfasts in the Pinnacle. This enabled us to avoid crowrds for breakfast. Lunch was a bit crowded in the Lido, but the food was quite good. Embarkation was easy, and we self-disembarked, parking across the street at the Wyndham in San Diego. The Neptue suite was the largest we evrer had at sea, with enormous storage, a bose blue-tooth speaker for our iphone and a nice TV. The layout did not feel like a ship's cabin. The private deck was a bit windy. Service was excellent. The only bad meals we had were in the specialty restaurants. We had dreadul halibut in the Pinnacle, mine had 4 bones and I sent it back; it was also slathered in cream. They substitued a nice steak. There is no excuse for serving cold baked potatoes. The best part of the meal was the desert. The 'Italian' specialty restaurant is dreadful; a sectioned off area of the Lido. There was no sepoarate pasta course, and the dishes were very ordinary. and service was glacial. The food in the main dining rook was quite good. The Blues Club and the Lincoln Center groups were outstanding, and deserve a larger venue. The dance group in the main theater was good, blending dance and technology. All-in-all this cruise is great value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
1. Lack luster entertainment. The cruise director was extremely boring. Trivia games were not entertaining. Overall, there was nothing to do on the ship. DJ the comedian was good. The magician Leone Ettien was good but tried to sell his ... Read More
1. Lack luster entertainment. The cruise director was extremely boring. Trivia games were not entertaining. Overall, there was nothing to do on the ship. DJ the comedian was good. The magician Leone Ettien was good but tried to sell his magic kit which was very tacky. The friday 7p show was terrible. 2. Staff was unfriendly. Wait staff Cleaned dirty dishes on dining tables instead of going into a private area. 3. Gala nights were not at all exciting to the extent that we didnt even dress up for the 2nd gala night. 4. Timing for dinner was very inconvenient. Main meals (lido market) stopped at 2p and 8:30p for dinner which was very odd. 5. Club Hal was cancelled? The kids room was a pathetic little conference room. Unclear as to why the arcade space was limited to 7-17yr old kids during most of the day. Having at least that space for all kids would have been helpful but let's be clear, the arcade was limited and ultimately boring. With 300 kids on board, one would think more of an effort would be made to entertain them. Staff did not change duvet covers even if they were stained. We had chocolate stains on our bedding throughout the cruise. The shops were over -priced and lacking in style. The Thanksgiving sale was a joke. This experience was terrible and we will never go on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We are a family of multi-star Mariners, and for some in our group, this was our third time on this ship. For our children, it was their second time on this ship, with our previous sailing in 2018. Our children always look forward to ... Read More
We are a family of multi-star Mariners, and for some in our group, this was our third time on this ship. For our children, it was their second time on this ship, with our previous sailing in 2018. Our children always look forward to their adventures with Club HAL, the Holland program for children and tweens but when we boarded the ship, it was abundantly clear that their beloved Club Hal was replaced by a dirty and dark room on the third deck with children playing on the floor open from 9-12 and then 6/7-10 every day for those 3-6. SEE PHOTOS. In lieu of their beloved Club Hal, there was "High Score," a new gaming area only open to 7-17 year olds during the day, and then, after 6pm, younger or older guests could enter. So, Holland, not only are you good with kicking parents out of High Score during the day time and letting my 8 year old roam around a ship alone (a BIG NO from me as a parent), you negate younger children playing in there (with supervision) and have no alternative option? Not only that, you made the decision on October 15 to close Club HAL after you had received our payment in full and did not communicate to us? We honestly would have declined the trip and travelled to Hawaii or similar. Instead, you took our money and pulled a bait and switch on us. This will be our last cruise with Holland America, and I sincerely hope they rethink their age and activity policy for children. Parents, beware: there are better kids clubs on other ships (Hello, Royal Carribean!) and better communication about what your children should expect. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We booked this cruise thinking that there was an amazing area for our 3 year old to enjoy her vacation while on the ship. We saw pictures and read the HAL website noting theme nights and activities for her to do. This was not the case! My ... Read More
We booked this cruise thinking that there was an amazing area for our 3 year old to enjoy her vacation while on the ship. We saw pictures and read the HAL website noting theme nights and activities for her to do. This was not the case! My daughter's play areas was a left-over conference room 20x12 room (give or take a few feet) with some games, Play-dough and some Legos. There wasn't any sort of planned activities and and when asked about theme nights, we were told there wasn't anything planned. The staff looked to be perplexed about what was actually supposed to happen in ClubHal. The false advertising of ClubHal was a huge shock to us and we would have NEVER booked this cruise knowing what we would actually get when on board. I found out from other parents who have cruised with HAL before that the liner knew that ClubHal wasn't going to be available for our sail and did nothing to let us know prior to the cruise we would not be getting what we thought we were paying for. SHAME ON YOU HAL. Apart from the ClubHal "experience", the staff was great to us and the food was great. I would suggest having more entertainment on board, but we did have fun at what was available. If you are expecting over the top, not going to happen on HAL, but it was fun and we got to spend time as a family together and that was the point. Would I cruise this liner again, NO! Simply because of ClubHal and the false advertising to families thinking they were going to get an amazing area for their kids and that doesn't exist. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Embarkation was smooth with only a handful of people in line for security and key cards. Arrived about 11:30 and were on board by 12:15 without special boarding privileges since we are still 3 star mariners. Lido food was good for ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth with only a handful of people in line for security and key cards. Arrived about 11:30 and were on board by 12:15 without special boarding privileges since we are still 3 star mariners. Lido food was good for buffet. Salad bar is excellent with Asian, Cobb or other themed options or DIY combo option with seared Ahi everyday. Carvery selection was nice varying between Leg of lamb, whole suckling pig, pork belly, prime rib and Tri-tip. Always a nice selection of cooked vegetables and premade salads. Can’t comment on the pizza or bread since I generally don’t eat those on a cruise. On the 3 port days there were 4 different types of ceviche with an array of minced onions jalapeño cilantro garlic to add in and make it exactly to your individual liking. The Retreat Cabana was worth every penny of the $399/ whole week. We had originally booked an interior room to save money and were offered an upgrade 4 days prior to sailing for $89pp to an aft balcony and gladly took that deal. We love the complete solitude (and absence of screaming children or people jockeying for a certain chair or lounge chair) of the cabana with an open expansive view and breeze, as well as service staff to bring us cocktails and even lunch if we wished. This is the second time we have booked one and will continue to do so since the price of a cabana is always significantly less than booking a veranda room and I enjoy the space so much more. The only issue is that the last sea day of each cruise we were not able to use it for part of the day due to high winds but that comes with the territory. We felt safe leaving our iPads and other personal items in the cabana while going to lunch since they were not even completely booked as well as there were no random people walking through the retreat area. We booked the aft facing open air cabana but will probably book a starboard or port facing one with the full glass window for our upcoming Pacific Coastal cruise. Cannaletto served a fabulous meal. The lamb chops were as good as we have had in the Pinnacle. The fish soup is excellent as well as the tiramisu. We were able to customize our meals as desired so I could get a double order of vegetables and no rice. The Pinnacle continues to be our favorite place to dine. We did Rudi’s on one evening, Two lunches and a dinner. Crab legs , steak tartare, candied bacon, crab cakes and Delmonico steak, lobster were all excellent. The cioppino at lunch was full of seafood with a lovely broth. MDR was better than I remember, with the service being tightened up significantly especially since we skipped dessert and had a table for 2 rather than being matched up with others at a 6 or 8 top. One evening we ordered off the MDR menu for room service and it was delivered within 20 minutes and was hot and delicious. After reading so many complaints about the decline in quality, I was pleasantly surprised that it seemed to be more efficient and extremely high quality for the price we paid. The service from the bar staff, explorations cafe coffee bar and room attendants was friendly and everyone knew our names after the first day. Mixology classes were entertaining and a good value unless you already had the beverage package. BB Kings is definitely my favorite music venue and form of entertainment on the ship. The two vocalists were absolute powerhouses belting out classic rhythm and blues as well as a few modern favorites. Every one of the musicians: keyboardist, drummer, trumpeter, saxophonist, bassist and guitarist were at the top of their game. We danced and listened to them every evening for their 3 sets except for the one evening they were dark. Lincoln stage artists were good, just not our thing. The dance shows were better than our previous HAL experiences most likely due to the additional lighting and theatrical effects. The Piano bar duo were the youngest we had seen on a HAL cruise and were entertaining but nowhere near as outstanding as the vocalists and musicians in BB Kings. The passing out of chocolate specialties each evening around 10pm in the bar areas was nice and so must less wasteful than the fanciful displays from the prior days of cruising. Our cruise was during Thanksgiving so there were around 400 kids on board so it was bit crazier than the typical HAL subdued older crowd, but we still could get in the hot tubs and rear pool when we wished. The Lido pool was overrun with kids so we stayed away. I do really like the free Wireless Navigation App for planning our days and the ability to send text messages without paying for a data plan. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This is our 4th cruise this year. First cruise with HAL. We were in a Neptune suite. I will start with the things that were nice - friendly people, efficient embarkation and disembarkation, the food in the Pinnacle (cost extra) ... Read More
This is our 4th cruise this year. First cruise with HAL. We were in a Neptune suite. I will start with the things that were nice - friendly people, efficient embarkation and disembarkation, the food in the Pinnacle (cost extra) restaurant was good. MY opinions: Food and dining: Overall choices timing and availability of food was poor. Whenever I went to the Lido Market they were closing. The food was not good there when we were able to there on time. The Dive In food was good but the timing of when it was open was horrible. Closed when we wanted a hot dog or burger. Dining room food was poor. Steak tasted like horse meat. Service: Overall service was poor. Everyone was friendly but we only saw our room steward four times. Putting out the "service please" card was useless. We cleaned our own room several times and just called to have dishes removed. Laundry lost a pair of my pants but found them eventually. Coffee maker did not work and after the 2nd day, it was replaced. Bad service. When we ordered room service it was often wrong. Activities: Not much to do IMHO. My wife went to the "Oprah" activities but no one was there. The big problem beyond lack of much to do was the gospel group who "kind of " chartered the boat took over venues and were rude. HAL should actually charter the boat one hundred percent if you have a charter. It was a mess. Amenities: The Neptune lounge is not good. Again, when I was showing up ...they were emptying the desert side not to be refilled.(like my experience at the lido Market). The hours of the Neptune lounge did not work very well. I am comparing it to our last NCL voyage of a few months ago and their Haven lounge. For a comparable cost...the Haven suite beat the Neptune in all areas. Ports and Shore excursions: We visited ports on our own. We did get a taxi in Cabo and had the driver take us shopping and site seeing. I recommend that way of getting around in port. Cabin: The Neptune Suite was just ok. Small compared to other comparable suites I have been in on other lines. I would not recommend Holland America to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I cruise on holland america because they are the line that Legendary Blues Cruise charters. I would NEVER pay to go on this line otherwise. This last trip, end of october 2019, was especially bad. The food, especially the desserts and ... Read More
I cruise on holland america because they are the line that Legendary Blues Cruise charters. I would NEVER pay to go on this line otherwise. This last trip, end of october 2019, was especially bad. The food, especially the desserts and baked goods, were a travesty! While there was occasionally a decent item- flourless choc. cake, the popover rolls on the salad bar, I found most items to range between bad and disgusting. As a pastry chef with experience working in large scale operations (caesars vegas) in addition to small, fine dining establishments, i can tell you there is no excuse for food this bad. The apple pie was like a block of rubber, the choc souffle was accompanied by a sauce of watery cocoa, the cupcakes were frosted with some unknown rubber substance, the cookies were bland and overbaked, the ice cream was the cheapest pre-purchased crap available, the breads, rolls, etc, were flavorless and stale, etc. The hot food in the dining room was okay, but quality has definitely slipped in the last year. The buffet food was mediocre to bad- the pasta tasted exactly like Spaghetti-O's. i paid full price for a veranda cabin at the back of the ship (room 8175) Nice room, but not sure if something is wrong with the engines or what, but the constant vibration make it look like a strobe light when the bedside gooseneck lamp was on. That would have been okay, except every 20-40 seconds, the ship would give a jolt that would physically move me in the bed. I will continue to sail on this line only because of the great music and passengers on the blues cruise, but if you are looking to cruise for pleasure, definitely look elsewhere! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Service from all staff was excellent. There was crowd of mixed ages. From the reviews I read about everyone on this cruise line being more of an older crowd I would say 50/50. This worked to ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Service from all staff was excellent. There was crowd of mixed ages. From the reviews I read about everyone on this cruise line being more of an older crowd I would say 50/50. This worked to our advantage because the gym was almost empty and the pool was uncrowded and the rest of the ship seemed empty because I think the majority was playing bingo or bridge! The under 50 crowd partied at BB Kings or the bars every night. The band that played at BB Kings was the best entertainment I have ever heard on a cruise ship, they were amazing and so much fun. We went there every night. The dance show was also good but the rest of the shows were typical cruise venue type shows. The food was ok, but the Pinnacle and Tamarind were really good. We really were impressed with Holland, as we usually cruise Azamara and have been on Crystal. I found Crystal to have an older crowd too. The enrichment activities are geared for older crowd and found them to be uninteresting however I really could care less. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It was my husband's fall break from school and my dad and his wife could fit this cruise into their schedule so for the first time we were able to take a cruise together. We had been looking forward to it for many months. We flew ... Read More
It was my husband's fall break from school and my dad and his wife could fit this cruise into their schedule so for the first time we were able to take a cruise together. We had been looking forward to it for many months. We flew into San Diego a day earlier and got a night at the nearby Best Western prior to embarkation. Embarkation went smoothly. After checking in, we had to wait about 40 minutes before we could get on the ship but they had a decent waiting area with plenty of seating so it was not a big deal. Once we boarded the ship, we were able to go right to our rooms to check them out. We got side by side balcony staterooms and had our room steward open the balcony partition between rooms so that we could enjoy each other's company during the cruise. Our room stewards were Rohman and Ron and both seemed fine. One thing I didn't really like was that I felt a little shamed for asking for an extra towel to be inside our bathroom at all times so that if needed, I wouldn't have to ask for it. I got the lecture about how they want us to re-use the towels to save water. I get it but I'm also asking for one extra towel and shoot! I'm on vacation. If I want to use an extra towel, can't I? What I did learn super quickly though was an extra hand towel was needed to keep the sink area dry because every time we reached between the soap and the faucet, water dripped everywhere. They really should use hand soap dispensers - kind of like they do in the shower with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. If the dispenser was right over the sink itself, there would be no mess of drips everywhere. We then went up to lunch in the Lido Cafe otherwise known as the "buffet." I would give it an 8 out of 10 for lunch. I found the desserts to be lacking in flavor though. And, the ice cream was good but twice I wanted a waffle cone and twice they said, no more. Wait until next time. I think whoever makes them needs to make more if they are this popular. I liked the salad station though. It was nice to be able to have salads made up however I wanted them. We pre-purchased a soda card and a drink card before boarding and they were both very useful. In fact, I don't think we actually zero'd out the soda card by the end of the cruise. The dining room was nice and we had great waiters. Supardi and Eki where wonderful and always greeted us with a smile, and gave us what ever we asked for. And, my thing is Creme Brulee. I asked for it every night but one and I got it every night but one. Thank you for that!! Now that is an awesome fulfillment of a request! The options for appetizers and soups and salads were a little bit lacking I thought. Maybe they have cut down on choices over the years? We also enjoyed our wine guy. His name was Ron and he was great. I only ordered wine once but my dad and his wife got a wine package and he was super friendly and not pushy which is what I like!! These 3 got extra tips from all of us! Entertainment...well, I hate to say it but I was totally bored by the HAL performers on the ship. That is the first time in 11 cruises (other lines as well as HAL) that I've ever had to say that. Too bad. We opted to skip the second night they performed too. Now, the hired help - Comedians...they were awesome! Both kept me laughing and left me wanting more. Went to all three shows of theirs. The entertainment in the lounges was good, however seating was lacking if you got there even one minute after it started. That actually annoyed me. The four of us did enjoy the game nights in the different lounges though. We originally pre-purchased two shore excursions from HAL but ended up cancelling the one for Cabo because it was a beach/resort day and we found out it wasn't even on a swimmable beach and to see the pictures online left a lot to be desired. We went out on our own and purchased a resort day online before leaving - for a whole lot less, and at a nicer resort on a swimmable beach! In Puerto Vallarta we also purchased HAL's resort/beach day and it was actually very nice! My only complaint was that it should have started and hour or two later so that it ended later. Many in our group never got to eat lunch in a restaurant at the resort because the seating was limited and we had to get back on the bus at 1:20 and the restaurants didn't open for lunch until noon. If you weren't there waiting in line right at 12:00, you didn't get a table. The excursion should have gone from 10-3 or something along those times. The resort itself though was super nice with multiple pools and a private beach with kayaks to use. The all-inclusive aspect at the resort was nice too. They had nice towels and free drinks! In Mazatlan, we caught a taxi to go to the Golden Zone to shop. It was SO HOT though that about 1 hour into it we had enough. Sweat dripping down your back just isn't fun. In the future, I would do a water related excursion - at least this time of year. We also went to the newer Wal Mart and picked up some extra bottled water and a few other little items. My husband likes to bake so picking up about 5 bottles of Mexican vanilla was "the thrill of the hunt" for him! I think he ended up with different brands too. So this next part is why I gave this cruise 3/5...On the last sea day, my husband started feeling sick in the morning. Not the ships fault, but what made it really hard was that our stateroom flooded! We were away from the room, and when I came back to change, the door was open, there were huge fans all around as the water had come out into the hallway, and our room was flooded almost all the way over to the balcony. No one could tell us why and how it happened but something about the pipes in the bathroom. So my husband went to Guest Services to tell them what had happened (Rohman had told him to since he couldn't handle the catastrophe) and they followed my husband down to the room, looked at the situation and then said, "well, we'll wait and see!" Ok, our bed had been upended. Our luggage which had been stored under the bed, was next to the balcony and every item of furniture was pushed over to the door of the balcony. All the water had been shut off. It was totally unlivable! And they say, "let's wait and see????" Nope, not good enough! So we were basically displaced outside of our cabin for a few hours while they decided to "wait and see." Finally, they found us and gave us a new cabin to go to which was nice because it was a suite. Great! But at this point my husband was really feeling awful and slept the day away in the suite which meant I had to get out of it so he could rest. Moving all of our stuff to the suite was all up to us too so that was all kinds of fun. I entertained myself the rest of the day - outside the new cabin and by 10:00 that night...I was now sick! Not a fun way to end the cruise. Disembarkation was quite chaotic and both of us felt awful and had to look forward to the journey home feeling that way. ***on another note, we heard from other cruisers onboard that the ship had an issue with A/C in multiple cabins. There was none!!! Why didn't they get moved to available cabins?? These people went all week with no A/C and many of them were elderly people! That seems unacceptable to me! Many had to beg for fans! And there weren't enough! Maybe it had something to do with just coming from Alaska but even so, these systems should have been checked out before getting to the Mexican Riviera where for the most part it was extremely hot in every port! If it had happened to us, my husband said it would have been our last cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our third cruise to Mexico and first cruise on a Holland America ship. It met our requirements for a new or recently refurbished ship, left from a nearby port, offered a last minute deal and was destined for ports with beautiful ... Read More
This was our third cruise to Mexico and first cruise on a Holland America ship. It met our requirements for a new or recently refurbished ship, left from a nearby port, offered a last minute deal and was destined for ports with beautiful weather. We went out on a limb to experience an interior cabin just to make the shipboard and port fun budget go farther. Here's what we learned ... Port = San Diego knows how to process two ships at once. Despite the spring break crowd the Disney ship leaving at the same time, luggage loading, processing and boarding ran efficiently. Holland America gives you a time window for loading based on your stateroom deck. Adhere to this and it should go well for you! Parking was $11 a day at the Wyndham hotel directly across from the port. Nieuw Amsterdam Ship = We liked the classic interior, beautiful sculptures and artwork that lined the ship walls. The main staircase isn't dramatic like the Princess ships and their main dining room isn't as cheery and bright like Celebrity Dining Rooms but it does have a small ship feel with large sea viewing windows and offers cozy alcoves like the Billboard Onboard with dueling pianos and the Crows Nest for reading/watching the sea and drinking a good cappuccino. When you stay in an inside room, you are quite interested in alternative places to hang on sea days. We frequented the well equipped gym and Tamarind Bar for views, without music, and comfy chairs for lounging and reading. I would not pick this ship for the pool experience because the pool is small and the deck is somewhat crowded with people and privately rented cabanas around the perimeter. If you choose to sunbathe, visit the Seaview deck on the back of the ship with a small pool. Bring your towel clips because it can be a bit windy. The pool dome is closed at night or cool weather, so the pool area stays busy during the day and night. You don’t see a lot of kids onboard but you do see them during afternoon pool hours. With all the mega ships now offering adventurous amenities for families or partiers, HAL is wise to cater to the interests of grandparents and people over 60 first. I wouldn’t hesitate to book a family reunion on the Nieuw Amsterdam but I think it’s real attraction is that it is not a "TEEN SHIP". It’s sophisticated and classy vibe is perfect for a couple getaway. My favorite feature on the ship was the elevator. Each elevator rug was changed daily to announce the day of the week…brilliant! Entertainment = Holland America has thoughtfully considered it's clientele. They have the BB King Blues Club for mo-town and dance music, the Lincoln Center for classical recitals and the Dueling Pianos in the Billboard for 60, 70's, 80's and singer songwriter favorites. The talent was incredible this cruise! The main stage dance shows by Step One Dance Company were skillfully produced with technical lights and lasers and the comedian- Chris Pendleton and illusionist Leon Etienne - couldn't have been better. Activities = Highlight of this cruise was the America Test Kitchen sessions and the games hosted by cruise directors. EXC cruise talks for this Mexico cruise need improvement. Folklore dances on the sundeck need a stage for more passengers to see. I didn't use the casino but KUDOS to Holland America for offering a SMOKE FREE casino so all passengers can enjoy the Onboard Billboard Entertainment. I was surprised to see that the library limited to games and primarily travel and educational books. Bring your own novel. Food and Service = This aspect is pretty important to cruisers and I was worried how it would par with our previous Celebrity and Princess cruises. I can happily tell you that steak tastes like steak (not liver) and lobster portions are wonderful! We didn't have to go to a specialty restaurant to find food we enjoyed. I was most impressed by the Lido Food court and enjoyed being served. This was far different from milling around Horizon court or encountering a traffic jam at the Celebrity food stations. Passengers may have to wait a bit longer for the crew to dip up your food choices, but it is more sanitary. The Nieuw Amsterdam offers an outstanding salad bar. While ice-cream offerings and desserts don't compare to the Norman Love creations on Princess they were tasty, plentiful and enjoyable. Servers were quick to clean tables, serve drinks and always friendly. Booking last minute, Anytime Dining was our only option. We learned to call up to two days in advance to request a dining time. This cut down on waiting in line like other guests. It was also enjoyable to sit and meet other guests. Bar drinks on cruise ships are expensive. Check the rules and consider bringing your allotment of beverages (including water) on board at each port or enjoying in port. Ports = Mexican ports are not particularly spectacular but with a little personal research and port reviews you can book some great tours. My husband and I have never felt afraid or had any concerns about getting off the ship. The people in Mexico are friendly and tourism is quite important. Keep in mind that local taxi drivers don't always speak English but they know the way to popular tourist areas. I can't comment on HALS ship tours as we typically book our own. I highly recommend the following ... Mazatlan - Enjoy the city with a personal guide on a bike along the water. We saw cliff divers, fishermen feeding huge birds, harbor sculptures, city square and the greatest local food market. We gained knowledge of the city's history and learned to appreciate what the locals love from Daniel at Blue Foot City Bike Tours https://bluefoot.mx Cabo San Lucas - This port requires a tender but there is enough to do in the vicinity if you choose just to shop or refill your prescriptions for half the price. Our preference is to get off the ship and negotiate with locals for a tour. We have taken a whale ride excursion in the past. This time we enjoyed and recommend taking a water taxi (both ways) to Medano Beach. Once there you can enjoy the day at a local resort with a perfect view of the ship and Lovers Beach. Puerto Vallarta - The port is nothing to see except a huge Wal Mart across the street. Instead, opt for a taxi to and from the Malecón. Walk the large boardwalk along the ocean to shop, view beautiful art sculptures, street performers and colorful flowers. There are plenty of great restaurants along the way. Visit the Lady of Guadalupe Church downtown, avoid most city streets and sightsee in touristy areas. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
1. The title says it all! Nothing for the younger crowd. This caters to the 50 plus group. 2. Service was excellent! 3. They cram liquor down your throat! I understand that's where the money is but wow! 4. Excursions. ... Read More
1. The title says it all! Nothing for the younger crowd. This caters to the 50 plus group. 2. Service was excellent! 3. They cram liquor down your throat! I understand that's where the money is but wow! 4. Excursions. Ehh....ok. I did better with a guy in a van! And MUCH CHEAPER! 5. The ship was super clean! 6. Entertainment....not for me on this ship. And everyone goes to bed at 9! THIS IS FOR THE OLDER CROWD! If you want to relax and do nothing...this is YOUR cruise! 7. Food was good....but all the "extra" restaurants were also crammed down your throat as no one would eat there! No coffee shops no snack shops, nothing. 8. Disembarkation, IMPRESSIVE! Customs....I didn't see any! NO ONE SAID A WORD! Had a neighbor that bought $400 in tequila, they didnt even ask to hold it when he boarded! We were told to just take it to our room! When we left the ship no one cared what we had! Not even a customs form! It was great! 9. Great ship, great line but I'm going back to RC and fight the crowds! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have been on several holland America cruises. Like it because they actually have some computer and photo classes. This 7 day trip out of San Diego is probably my last. We about fell over when we saw the price of wine. It has ... Read More
We have been on several holland America cruises. Like it because they actually have some computer and photo classes. This 7 day trip out of San Diego is probably my last. We about fell over when we saw the price of wine. It has doubled. I ordered an after dinner drink of cream de mint, kahlua and white cream de cocoa. I got a shot glass of nothing but cream de mint. I said this is wrong. They refused to fix it. Kids took over the adult aft pool. We loved the violin and cello guys. The blues group was good. That’s about it. I was more than ready to leave before the end of the cruise. We gave our room steward a tip at the end. Aidet. - he was the best. I doubt our $29 per day for tips goes to those who work so hard. I had a $20 massage in each port. - way better than the ones the ship charges 7 times more for. We are next headed to an adult only ai in mexico. Much better value. We tried to play pickle ball on the ship but it was over-run with basketball players. Ai places have tennis courts. I don’t have to wait for a ticket to be herded off the ship like cattle. I can tip who I want and the drinks are included. Thoroughly disgusted after this last cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We wanted an easy vacation and now that Holland America is once again sailing from San Diego, we hopped on board. The Mexican Riviera is a well-traveled path and we met many returnees, plus quite a few Midwesterners, Utahns, Idahoans, and ... Read More
We wanted an easy vacation and now that Holland America is once again sailing from San Diego, we hopped on board. The Mexican Riviera is a well-traveled path and we met many returnees, plus quite a few Midwesterners, Utahns, Idahoans, and Canadians. Incidentally, we met up with the Cruise Critic roll call members the first morning of the cruise and enjoyed their company throughout the week. Here are a notable features from our cruise: * Great: Crew, passengers, the ship itself, the food * Good: the weather, the happy hours (2nd drink $2 and passed appetizers) * Missing: HAL cats, the onboard ship's band we enjoyed on previous HAL cruises * Also missing: hand-wash stations and sufficient Purell hand sanitizing stations * Fabulous: the Lincoln Center chamber orchestra and the BB King's Blues Club band * Fantastic: the new Humanity dance show with Step One dancers and light show * Always present but not welcome: sales, sales, sales. Spa treatments, cabanas, on-board jewelry shopping, liquor, future cruises, on-shore jewelry shopping, fee restaurants * Excellent: folklorico dancers, guitarist, comedian Tim Kaminski * Fleeting: one show each by truly excellent guitarist and good Elton John/Billy Joel vocalist-pianist * More detail on food: the Lido had tasty food, well prepared, and served by cooks so that there was very little passenger tong handling. The dining room food was creative, inspired and varied. * Off-putting: the drink prices, especially the wines. Just no. Cheapest white $9 per glass for a bottle that retails for $7 and wholesales for $3 * Inconsistency: Smart casual in the dining room: Night 1, a passenger at a nearby table wearing a ballcap in the dining room. Night 3, a warm day and evening, my spouse appears in a collared button down shirt and long shorts, gets sent back to the room for long pants, oops, our bad. But what's this? Seated next to us: a teenaged boy in basketball shorts and shirt. * More inconsistency: 2nd Gala Night: female wearing capris and a t-shirt with words on it, plus a visor; her dining partner (likely husband) wearing shorts, a baggy t-shirt and a cap. * Final inconsistency in the DR: final night, smart casual again, man wearing shorts and t shirt. Not sent back to change. Also: not a warm day, so no excuse for the attire. * Final missing: an atrium that's a gathering place. The Ocean Bar wraps around the small atrium, but the ship simply isn't large enough for a central space with a music and dance floor. However, with that comes fewer passengers and a more pleasant ambiance. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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