1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Holland America Line
  4. Holland America Line Cruise Reviews
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We've been on about 5 cruises with HAL because we feel they offer good value for the price as well as good service, food and itineraries. This time we were very disappointed in our cabin which was supposed to be only partially ... Read More
We've been on about 5 cruises with HAL because we feel they offer good value for the price as well as good service, food and itineraries. This time we were very disappointed in our cabin which was supposed to be only partially obstructed but turned out to be fully obstructed by machinery and a tender boat. We were also very disappointed with the food quality which we would rate mediocre at best. To add insult, we saw a rat running on the Lido Deck where the food buffet is set up. Unfortunately we could not recommend the itinerary either as most of the ports in Canada were quite boring and the optional tours were pretty lame unless you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables or Alexander Graham Bell. With the exception of Quebec City, Boston and Bar Harbor, the rest of the itinerary is a snooze. The Zuiderdam, like many of HAL's ships, is beginning to show it's age. On a bright note, the service by staff onboard was very good and the nightly entertainment was also quite good. Sorry to say we will probably be looking at other cruise lines for our next adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to explore New York for 3 days prior to embarking on our cruise. Embarkation did not go smoothly as we had to utilize Brooklyn Terminal instead of the original Manhatten terminal as the Zuiderdam had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to explore New York for 3 days prior to embarking on our cruise. Embarkation did not go smoothly as we had to utilize Brooklyn Terminal instead of the original Manhatten terminal as the Zuiderdam had sustained some damage and had to be repaired in the Brooklyn Terminal. This made our cab fare more from our hotel where we stayed for 3 nights to the terminal as we had preplanned our hotel bearing in mind we were going to sail out of Manhatten. We were promised an upgrade to an ocean view cabin when we booked our cruise. That never happened despite many visits to Customer Service. Holland America staff were hard to deal with. There were no laundry coin- a-matic machines, so laundry was taken away from your cabin and washed and returned to your cabin for an additional cost dependent on how many bags you had! With respect to dining, food was very good; however, they would not allow us to put our filled plates on a tray, we had to carry our food in our hands and at times this was awkward as other people were doing the same thing till they reached a table to sit down. This was in the Lido room where there is no service at tables except for beverages. In the other dining rooms where we were served by waiters, service was very good and the food was excellent. Entertainment was o.k., have seen better on other cruiseships. Their excursion fares are very pricey! We took mini buses and cabs to see the tourist attractions and saved a lot of money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We picked this NYC to Quebec cruise to see New England and Canadian Fall colours but we picked to early in the season to do that. Pre cruised 4 days in NYC and post cruised with 2 day stays in each of Quebec, Montreal and Toronto. ... Read More
We picked this NYC to Quebec cruise to see New England and Canadian Fall colours but we picked to early in the season to do that. Pre cruised 4 days in NYC and post cruised with 2 day stays in each of Quebec, Montreal and Toronto. Departure was relocated from Manhattan to Brooklyn due to damage at Manhattan terminal so was pretty disorganise ashore and messed up transfers. Holland America was it's usual warm, friendly, welcoming way. Cabins ready early so once aboard the relaxation commenced. Much appreciated after the bustle of NYC. Did a walking tour of the Freedom Trail in Boston. Interesting insight into early US history. Bar Harbour is a pretty, friendly little town very easy to explore at your own pace. The Halifax Waterfront is also very interesting and suited to some easy walking. Sydney NS we did a small group tour with Blue Thistle, the highlight being the scenery and the Alexander Graham Bell museum. What a brilliant man. The weather was so foul in Charlottetown that we stayed aboard. That's not a problem on HAL because they do maintain activities and services aboard so it is quite enjoyable. In Saquenay we did the Le Fabuleus Culture show which is an amusing and well staged production in a theatrical hall. Well worth the visit. Quebec is of course one of the most beautiful and historic cities in North America and the mix of French and Canadian makes it a relaxing change from the hassle and bustle of the US. Our onward stays in Canada included Niagara etc and was very a pleasant experience. A good move with HAL is to pre-order a wine selection for the dining room and a bottle of something for an evening drink or nightcap to the cabin. Works out well if you are mainly interested in wine with your meals and the sommelier will keep half bottles for you from meal to meal. Entertainment in the Shows is about what you expect aboard shipe but HAL does provide a very high standard in the Blues Club and other venues round the ship Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We have always cruised with Princess, but decided we would try Holland, because pricing was more reasonable. If this is your first time with Holland, and we did the colours tour of eastern Cananda and Quebec. We started in New York. Best ... Read More
We have always cruised with Princess, but decided we would try Holland, because pricing was more reasonable. If this is your first time with Holland, and we did the colours tour of eastern Cananda and Quebec. We started in New York. Best part of this cruise was old Quebec. There are a few things one needs to know. We were unsure of their tipping policy until we received a copy of our bill. Each passenger is charged 13.50 per day or 27.00 for two of you in a state room. These tips are divided, with half going to your state room staff and half to the restaurant staff. 15% Tips are auto added to drink or bar service..Extra tipping is at your discretion if you want to recognize a special staff member. We loved that each passenger could bring a bottle of wine on board. We each brought Port. If you drink wine, check their 3 bottle wine package. It may work out better for you. DO NOT pay for the wifi service on board...I paid 100.00 for 250 minutes. I blew through it in 3 days...the service is slower than molasses running up hill. Wait for ports. Free wifi on the piers. Check what others have said about specific on shore tour destinations before deciding. Some were just not worth it. Booked a room with a tub. Loved the tub. You should also know that the vast majority of passengers on this cruise were over seventy with many even older. Lots of walkers and wheelchairs, which can slow you down a bit getting on excursions or elevators. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We have been cruising for 30 years but never sailed on HAL. And, we won't again. Here's why: The boarding process in NY was chaotic and took about 2 hours. Not sure if it was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We have been cruising for 30 years but never sailed on HAL. And, we won't again. Here's why: The boarding process in NY was chaotic and took about 2 hours. Not sure if it was the HAL staff or NY port problems because we've never left from NY before. Once onboard, we noticed that the entire ship was very "tired and outdated". Even our stateroom was very well-worn. Yes, it was clean but very dingy (for a balcony stateroom). The cabin steward was terrific and tried to help out. But, the room was very stuffy and turning down the thermostat didn't help. So, the "engineer" adjusted the airflow in our room. We immediately started coughing and sneezing so we asked the front desk to have the A/C cleaned out. They did . . and then black specks kept blowing out of the A/C onto the bed. This went on for 2 nights and each day they changed our sheets only to find the black specks again. So, we asked them to change the A/C filter and was advised that there's only one filter out in the hallway but they would put a temporary filter in our room. But, the black specs kept coming. After 3 nights, they changed our room. This one had proper ventilation and no black specks. But, the A/C system on the entire ship was sorely in need of repair: extremely cold and blowy in spots and then stuffy and warm in others. The staff: They were for the most part, excellent and very accommodating in every way. But things were just beyond their control. Next, the food in the main dining room was ALWAYS cold and dried out. No matter what we ordered and no matter if it was breakfast or dinner. The wait staff offered to bring us another meal (which we agreed to a couple of times) but the replacement order was the same: COLD and DRIED OUT. So, after that, we didn't even bother. The food in the buffet was warmer (not hot) because they kept stirring it but the variety wasn't great and everything was pretty bland. The "fresh-baked" cookies and pastries were also not worth the calories! However, the always-available (and free) ice cream was good. Now, the fellow passengers: although we are in our late 60's, the others, regardless of age, were WAY older and much slower. It was a ghost ship after about 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. Hardly any entertainment in the lounges. We LOVE music and there was a blues lounge (empty) and the Piano Bar with a terrific guy named Jim. The Zuiderdam singers and dancers were absolutely terrific with the 3 shows they put on; cleverly and expertly choreographed, awesome set design and very talented performers. This was the highlight of an otherwise ho-hum cruise. We tried a specialty restaurant the last night of this 10-night cruise and the service was impeccable and we actually had our first hot meal of the cruise. But, one shouldn't have to pay extra just to get a hot meal on a cruise. I might add that we are not snobs and generally we just go with the flow because we don't need or demand perfection. But, is a hot meal too much to ask? I hope HAL can make some changes because we heard a lot of fellow-passengers expressing the same complaints we had. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We have selected this cruise as understood of good standing ( for the price paid in Europe !) and a good vessel . We have been badly surprised to have to find verandah cabins totally worn out wih bathrooom facilities totally ... Read More
We have selected this cruise as understood of good standing ( for the price paid in Europe !) and a good vessel . We have been badly surprised to have to find verandah cabins totally worn out wih bathrooom facilities totally 'used up ' . Swimmingpool very average and surrounding whirl pools hardly working at all .This vessel has moreover no central attractive atrium place as most vessels have nowadays ,where music etc is around most of the day ;this impacts the general atmosphere .The dinner menus are outdated and have no comparison in quality to what competing lines such as MSC are serving to their customers in Europe . It must however be said that the Staff has proven all over to be excellent and when we made our complaints on the level of quality of dinners , they have been paying high attention to try to correct as much as possible . The management of vessel and departure arrivals and cruising of the vessel is moreover conducted in a most professional way . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
7th cruise with HAL. Usual high standard of services, especially cabin stewards Santana & Made. As mentioned below, a disturbing situation being locked out of cabin on our balcony occurred sailing from New York City.This situation ... Read More
7th cruise with HAL. Usual high standard of services, especially cabin stewards Santana & Made. As mentioned below, a disturbing situation being locked out of cabin on our balcony occurred sailing from New York City.This situation was made worse by no-one coming to let us out. Either officer below on promenade deck or front desk took a long,long time to do anything about it. It was lucky our neighbour went onto his balcony over an hour after we were locked out! Dining standards in main dining room/s and Lido deck not quite as good as in previous cruises. This itinerary is wonderful. - All port visits were great, except because there were so many cruise ships in port at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Zuiderdam was berthed in an industrial area & this cosequently restricted time available in the Cruise Terminal & Pier 21 areas. There needed to be earlier intevention in stopping people crowding stairways prior to going ashore. Embarkation in NYC and Disembarkation in Qubec was well organised apart for long wait for taxis in Quebec. Zuiderdam is overdue for dry-docking & refits Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have cruised many times with HAL, and we've enjoyed all of the ships on which we've sailed. The Maasdam was the smallest HAL ship we've cruised, so we didn't know what differences we'd see. Our experiences ... Read More
We have cruised many times with HAL, and we've enjoyed all of the ships on which we've sailed. The Maasdam was the smallest HAL ship we've cruised, so we didn't know what differences we'd see. Our experiences with HAL have always been very good, but this cruise was a delightful surprise to us -- it was fantastic, primarily because of the outstanding service we received. We sailed in a standard balcony stateroom, so we did not expect any "special" treatment, but we found the service in all areas to be exceptional. We had the best stateroom attendant ever, our dining room manager was always warm and accommodating, the dining room and bar servers were consistently excellent, and every encounter with a crew member was professional and kind (even the front desk personnel were smiling and helpful -- and they often get a harsh review on these boards!). We especially loved the large Explorations Café area -- it was a quiet library and internet and board game area which was always calm, welcoming, and pleasant (with great lattes and great service). It was definitely a nicer space than we've seen on the larger HAL ships which push the library and cafe' to alongside of the Crow's Nest, where it can be noisy and crowded. We're planning another cruise with HAL in the fall, and we're actually disappointed that our schedule doesn't match with the schedule of the Maasdam -- we would sail on that lovely ship with her wonderful crew again, any time! We took a few ship's excursions, which were all good, and we also did some exploring on our own in ports. No disappointments... It was a great cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because we had not been to either New York or the Maritimes before. We had cruised Holland America many years ago and enjoyed their ship and service. Zuiderdam is very spacious, well laid out, and by the 10th day ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to either New York or the Maritimes before. We had cruised Holland America many years ago and enjoyed their ship and service. Zuiderdam is very spacious, well laid out, and by the 10th day we found it easy to navigate. The crew and staff are very well trained and were always smiling and eager to help with any request. The shore excursions we booked with HAL were informative and satisfying but we feel that they are starting to get pricey. We booked an independent tour in Halifax and found it extremely informative and fairly priced. Cabin was clean and up to our expectations - lots more storage space than initially thought - the bathroom was definitely larger than on our previous cruise with Princess. Cabin layout is comfortable and balcony on cabin 4027 is deeper than other cabins on decks above. We chose open dining as we preferred to eat a bit earlier than late sitting - lucked out with great table companions the first night - we ate dinners together the rest of the cruise. Getting a table at 6:30 pm was sometimes delayed but usually no more than 15 - 20 mins and the maitre d was most helpful - seated us at a window table at the stern - fabulous view. Food everywhere on the ship was excellent - dining room choices were varied and selection in Lido cafe also very good - very sensible having staff dish out portions as tendency was not to overeat. We attended half the shows - ships band was very good - most shows good but typical cruise entertainment - could never say "fabulous". One excursion in Saguenay Quebec, La Fabuleuse at a theatre in La Baie was incredible !! The sights and sounds on stage, with animals, vehicles, gunfire, fires, floods made for a spectacle at least equal to the best you might find on Broadway or theatres around the world. Embarkation was painful !! we stood in a snaking line for more than an hour - no place to sit - no rest room breaks - wonder why they can't take passengers on the way they let them off - in stages - by deck or by category - or spread out by arrival time. there has to be a better way. Disembarkation went very smoothly - lineups were minimal and handling of luggage and taxi s was great. In summary, Holland America is a line for mature travellers - Zuiderdam a very comfortable and classy ship - outstanding staff and service - above average dining and an experience worth repeating. The New York to Quebec City itinerary was very interesting and mostly smooth sailing although the Maritimes were hit with the tail end of Hurricane Matthew just days after our cruise ended so I wonder how the passengers doing the Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale route managed . . . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Older ship badly in need of an overhaul and updating. The loading area was the start of problems. Poorly organized when we were one of the last groups to board. Aggressive staff trying to militarize getting boarding passes.on board there ... Read More
Older ship badly in need of an overhaul and updating. The loading area was the start of problems. Poorly organized when we were one of the last groups to board. Aggressive staff trying to militarize getting boarding passes.on board there is absolutely nothing they do not charge for. On previous cruises (Oceania)at least we had free water. Not here $3.25 per bottle. Dining fair service but diner food.not worth the time for a sit down meal. One of the front desk staff (Gisa) was one of the highlights on the cruise. Would not go on another. HOlland America ship again for a free cruise. Walked on the 3 rd deck daily always wet and poorly kept. Our room was nicely serviced by our staff. The lifeboat drill was a joke.the buffet on the 9th.deck had a fair assortment of dishes but nothing was outstanding as the brochure says. The best entertainment was the Adagio a young Polish violinist and her piano accompanist. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
An escape from 65 straight days of 90 degree weather in Florida made this cruise to New England and Canada seem like a good idea. And it certainly was in that respect; we had two days of rainy/foggy/cold weather, but both were at-sea ... Read More
An escape from 65 straight days of 90 degree weather in Florida made this cruise to New England and Canada seem like a good idea. And it certainly was in that respect; we had two days of rainy/foggy/cold weather, but both were at-sea days, so that didn't bother us at all. And the rest of the weather was mainly very pleasant, which was a nice surprise, since Tropical Storm Hermine had just been in the area. General thoughts: We sailed on the Zuiderdam last year, and found some improvements this time around. The food in the Lido has definitely improved in taste, presentation, and variety. Plenty of MDR options were available there every night (we prefer to Lido to the MDR). We also noticed that the films shown in the screening room were much more current and whoever is programming them is providing a "something for everyone" selection. We didn't go to much of the entertainment, but what we did see was excellent, particularly the show with the two sisters from Nova Scotia who were delightful performers and excellent musicians. On one of our at-sea days, the Captain gave a talk (which was basically a resume of his career -impressive- and then he opened it up for questions). Very interesting, and it's great to see someone in his position be so open to guests. This ship was looking a bit run-down; the captain said it was due for drydock in about a year. Our cabin on deck 5 was fine with the exception of several maintenance issues (the phone stopped working, the A/C didn't function correctly) which were quickly fixed. Our cabin stewards were terrific; we had a few special requests which they promptly attended to, and they were always pleasant and helpful. Embarkation: Fast and easy in the Manhattan cruise terminal. We got there about 1:00 and I think we were on board in less than 15 minutes. It is a thrill sailing past the Statue of Liberty, and I'm very glad that the weather cooperated so that all of us standing on deck could enjoy it. Ports: Gloucester: a very long tender ride to a small town. Interesting working port, a nice downtown area, and very nice locals. Bar Harbor: Lovely town with a very nice walkway along the shore and plenty of interesting shops and good restaurants. We took an Acadia Park bus tour from the aptly named Acadia Tours (reservations recommended, tickets at Testa Restaurant on Main Street). In 3 hours, we went to Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, and a scenic drive back to Bar Harbor. Our excellent guide was informative and interesting and due to the sunny weather, the views were spectacular. Both Gloucester and Bar Harbor were listed as tender ports, little did we know there were more to come. Halifax: We docked right in the downtown area and it was an easy walk to many sights. The visitors center had wifi, a farmer's market on the day we were there, and excellent maps. We enjoyed a walk on the harbor boardwalk, a visit to the Maritime Museum (very interesting with exhibits on the Titanic and the Halifax explosion as well as a ship moored at the dock), and a Tim Horton's stop. An enjoyable city with plenty to do. Sydney: We are supposed to be able to get off the ship at 9:00, but hadn't docked at 9:00. We scrambled to make our 9:30 HAL excursion to the Fortress of Louisbourg. Our bus left about 15 minutes late due to the lateness of the ship's arrival and we drove about 45 minutes to the Fortress. This was a fascinating excursion to a recreation of the fortress which the French built in the 1700s and the British later destroyed. If you're interested in history, this is a great excursion. We got off the bus and were given hot chocolate as they had it in 1744 (lots of chocolate, not much sugar, very tasty) and living history interpreters told us about the fortress. Then it was off the a demonstration of musket-firing, and it was at this point that our guide lost a good portion of the group including us (he was always about 200 feet ahead of the group!). Fortunately, he had told us when and where to meet, so we simply wandered through the huge area of re-created buildings in the Fortress, talking to the interpreters and enjoying the exhibits. The cruise terminal here has wifi, a very nice craft hall where I bought some excellent chocolates - look for Jill's Chocolates and you won't be sorry!), and the world's largest fiddle. :) Charlottetown: Surprise! Another tender port. There was quite a strong breeze which made for a bumpy ride. This is a great port if you're interested in Anne of Green Gables. There are, of course, many excursions to the farm that inspired the books and where the author lived. And there are many Anne of Green Gables related businesses in town (I counted three, including a musical, on one corner alone). If, like my husband and I, you're not an enormous Anne fan, then it's still a lovely and lively town and a pleasure to walk through. Unfortunately, the town's most interesting historical site, Province House, was closed for renovations. Saguenay: A lovely cruise through the fjord if you get up early enough. My husband was up at 6:00, but I was not, so I'm taking his word for it. This was another surprise tender port. You'll definitely want to do an excursion here, as the sights of interest are far away from the port. The Captain opened the bow door as we left Saguenay for a very scenic cruise toward the fjord. It was chilly, but lots of passengers enjoyed the scenery and especially the beautiful full moon rising over the hills. Quebec City: We docked right in the center of everything - it was a very short walk to the historic area. This is a charming area and lends itself to meandering down the streets and lanes. Shopping aficionados, you will find plenty to do here. We took the funicular up to the upper town, and again, wandered the beautiful streets. So many churches! The Basilica and the Citadel were particularly interesting. Disembarkation: Very smooth. We had pre-arranged a HAL transfer to the Montreal airport - flights from Quebec City to our home involved several stops and Montreal was the better choice for us. We were off the ship at 7:30, got our bags in the terminal, were ushered to the bus and were driving out of the parking lot by 7:50. We got to the airport just after 11:00 and the wonderful people at West Jet were able to get us on an earlier flight back home. That turned out to be a very good things, since we had to change planes in Toronto, and it's one of those airports where you have to switch terminals, which means going back through security and then customs and immigration. A traveler who flies through the airport frequently told me she always allows at least 2 hours on any layover there when going to US. It was really too early for the advertised colors, but nonetheless it was a very enjoyable cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this itinerary because we had not seen this part of USA or Canada. we had hoped for cooler weather and changing leaves but did not find them. but the weather was mild throughout and the on board experience was more than we ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because we had not seen this part of USA or Canada. we had hoped for cooler weather and changing leaves but did not find them. but the weather was mild throughout and the on board experience was more than we expected. We had sailed a few years ago with HAL to Alaska. all staff were cheerful and courteous and quickly remembered our particular preferences. An odd thing to compliment is the on board laundry. We had come aboard after 5 days of warm weather traveleing and were in great need of clean clothes. Same day service was a big surprise. Food was excellent in the main Vista dining room, where we ate all breakfasts and dinner. If one is vacationing why not enjoy all the attentive service? We did sample the Lido for lunch a couple of times. and the Dive In hamburger grill was excellent twice. We very much enjoyed the fellow passengers who were like us in temperament interests and age. I don't think there were more than an few teens or younger on board. Limited shows was not a negative for us. We did enjoy the Adagio duo of classical violin and piano which is really our musicpreference, followed by big band/ballroom music in the Ocean Bar. BB KIng's was Ok once or twice. I amused by critics who seem to want the lastest gee whiz gimmicks like water slides, zip lines. For us that's kid stuff. We'll consider HAL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our fourth cruise on Holland America, and we have always been very pleased. Unfortunately, both the ship and the crew were well below the superior quality we have come to expect from Holland America. We had a Verandah Suite. ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on Holland America, and we have always been very pleased. Unfortunately, both the ship and the crew were well below the superior quality we have come to expect from Holland America. We had a Verandah Suite. The verandah doors were dirty and never cleaned during the cruise. The carpet was stained, and something that looked like mold was along two to three feet of the baseboard. Most of the crew was friendly and polite, but we were rather surprised by the rudeness of others, particularly one of the bartenders at the Sea View Bar. The shore excursions were also mixed, with "Discover the Fjord Secrets" in Saguenay particularly awful. The scenery was beautiful, but the windows on the enclosed boat were too dirty to see anything, the seats were inexplicably facing inward and the guide was so uninteresting that after 2-3 hours, quite a few of the passengers were sleeping. Overall, we were not happy with this cruise and are sad to say we may not sail with Holland America again. One last comment -- Apparently the reviewer who stated smoking is not allowed on the verandahs is unable to read. The policy posted on the website clearly states smoking IS allowed on the verandahs. If a neighbor's smoking will bother you, you may wish to book on a different cruise line with a different policy. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We both enjoyed this cruise and have used Holland America before. Embarkation in New York was less than satisfactory and meant standing in a winding line for sometime. It was as if they weren't prepared for us. This was the first ... Read More
We both enjoyed this cruise and have used Holland America before. Embarkation in New York was less than satisfactory and meant standing in a winding line for sometime. It was as if they weren't prepared for us. This was the first time on the Eurodam and it was an okay ship, nothing outstanding. I think all cruise lines are cutting back a little these days as it's a competitive business. We've been used to the Crows nest being a great place to end the evening with often a guitar player but on this ship it was completely empty by 10pm probably earlier. However the BB King show in the Queens lounge was great. It was unfortunate that with the older crowd on HAL that the first show would be full but the two following shows were not very full - difficult for performers to perform for small crowds but these guys did a great job. We found the theatre entertainment good too, a nice mixture of shows, a clean comedien and magic - I'm not a big fan of magicians but this was really good. The wait staff and cabin staff were good as always. Food selections okay though I found a couple of nights the menu didn't have a lot that appealed to me but maybe I'm just getting a bit spoiled. Ports of call is what we went for and they didn't disappoint - loved our departure from New York . We'd been to Boston before so just walked on the Freedom trail. Rockport nothing special but enjoyed Halifax, Sydney , Charlottetown, Saguenay and Quebec, especially Quebec, a beautiful city. The HAL staff told me there wasn't much going on in Saguenay but I found them to be really welcoming and really trying to grow their cruise tourism trade. We used the hop on, hop off and it was quite informative. Only used HAL for one land tour and although the destination was okay (Alexander Graham Bell museum and Baddeck) the bus used should not have been on the road. It made an awful noise every time it accelerated and the people near the back had to plug their ears for the almost 3 hours of driving. A complaint to the tour desk did result in a small refund as a token of good will as they hadn't been able to contact the tour company about it but apparently buses in this part of Canada are notorious for not being up to par - in which case they just should not offer the tour as it was really unpleasant. Disembarkation in Quebec was just fine and plenty of cabs waiting to whisk us all away. Overall a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
The Eurodam is a great ship and the staff are professional and very courteous. We used the HAL transfers and hotel (the Midtown Hilton) and arrived a few days ahead of departure. The location of that Hilton is great. Our room was a ... Read More
The Eurodam is a great ship and the staff are professional and very courteous. We used the HAL transfers and hotel (the Midtown Hilton) and arrived a few days ahead of departure. The location of that Hilton is great. Our room was a little worn. There is very limited seating at the back of the lobby, where we waited to depart. Maybe that usually goes quickly? We were hung up because Hillary Clinton's security would not let the busses arrive for an hour. (She was staying next door.) Most people had to stand for nearly 2 hours. The passengers tend toward the older crowd than most cruises. That could be because some of the ports have low-activity excursions. Quebec City was a great destination but we should have allowed an extra day there. HAL, as usual, had a priest onboard for daily Mass. Every day the participants increased, so word must've spread that Mass was available. (It was also published.) Mass times varied depending on whether we were in port or at sea. I do not recommend the (shore excursion) tea at le Chateau Frontenac. Instead, make a reservation ahead and take a taxi for a more authentic tea experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
We have cruised with Princess and Celebrity within the past three years, and before that NCL and transatlantic on Cunard. This was our first time to cruise on HAL and we were very pleased with the experience aboard the Eurodam. We were ... Read More
We have cruised with Princess and Celebrity within the past three years, and before that NCL and transatlantic on Cunard. This was our first time to cruise on HAL and we were very pleased with the experience aboard the Eurodam. We were in Cabin 6113 on the starboard side, which due to the configuration of the ship has both larger cabin space and veranda space (as does the equivalent cabin on the port side of deck 6) than the other signature suites. The extra space is really nice. The bathroom with ths cabin is the largest we have had on any other ship; dual sinks, whirlpool tub and shower plus separate shower stall. We were very impressed and pleased with the service aboard the Eurodam and the entertainment. We had read that service aboard HAL ships was the best, and we can vouch for that. Room stewards and dinning staff were great. Nice touch on HAL is you can order complete breakfasts for cabin service. Food was very good on all the restaurants. Entertainment, both in the theater and music in the various lounges aboard were better than we had experienced on Princess and at least equal to or maybe a notch better than on Celebrity. Overall a great cruise and we will definitely sail with HAL again. The only real down side was embarkation which was a mess, but this was NYC and opening day of the UN so traffic from the hotel to the ship was horrible, but this is not HAL's fault. The on-board shops on the Eurodam were not as extensively stocked as on either the Princess or Celebrity ships we have sailed on. Overall, a great experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We have sailed primarily on Princess and Celebrity. This was our first cruise on HAL and the Eurodam. Very impressed with the ship, service and ports of call. This cruise was "billed" as a Fall Colors Cruise, but it was not ... Read More
We have sailed primarily on Princess and Celebrity. This was our first cruise on HAL and the Eurodam. Very impressed with the ship, service and ports of call. This cruise was "billed" as a Fall Colors Cruise, but it was not until we got to Quebec did we see the first Fall colors, but can't blame a late season on HAL. Overall, we were very impressed with the service on the Eurodam, both room service and in the dining room. We were in cabin 6113 which, due to the configuration of the ship, is an over-sized cabin and veranda for the class of cabin. If you are going for a Signature Suite cabin, try to get this one (or its opposite on the port side) Entertainment in the lounges and theater was better than on Princess and, in the lounges, also better than on Celebrity. Theater shows on the Eurodam were equal to Celebrity. Really great group in the BB King club on board. Service and quality of meals in the main dinning room were very good; equal to what we have experienced on Princess and better than Celebrity. The Lido cafe was equal to both of the other lines. Real treat, if not all that healthy (but who goes on a cruise for healthy eating) is the cook to order hamburger and hot dog grill on the Lido deck by the pool. Best French fries and burgers anywhere. Room stewards were excellent, and the folded towels in the shape of different creatures was a very nice touch every evening. All-in-all, a great experience. We were impressed enough with the HAL touch, that we booked an Alaska 14 day cruise on the Maasdam in 2016. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
As with most things there was some good and some bad on this cruise. The embarkation was a total nightmare. First off, when we arrived at the terminal there was a mile long line of passengers with their luggage waiting to get into the ... Read More
As with most things there was some good and some bad on this cruise. The embarkation was a total nightmare. First off, when we arrived at the terminal there was a mile long line of passengers with their luggage waiting to get into the terminal. You could not drop your luggage with the porters until you reached ther front of the line. Every other cruise I have been on you were allowed to drop your luggage and then enter the terminal. Not this one. Once you entered the terminal, it was chaotic with people cutting in lines to register. This was pointed out to the people directing the passenger traffic and they agreed that it was not acceptable, but nothing was done about it. Finally registered and ready to board the ship to find out that the mariner lunch had ended simply because we were standing in the long lines to board. The food quality in the main dining room during the cruise was not up to HAL standards with one night everything being so oversalted that I could not eat it. The choices were horrible and most of the meats and cakes being dry and overcooked. The food in the LIDO was much better than the main dining room. The hamburgers were very good but the pizza was like eating the box. The only decent entertainment on the ship was the BB King Blues club. Tried the main entertainment and got up and left during the show it was so bad. Now for the good. Our verandah cabin in the aft of the ship was nice and quiet....small but with plenty of storage space. They need better seating on the verandah. Our cabin steward (Aya) was excellent and responded rapidly to any request we had. ie...ice every night and extra towels. Our dining room waiter...Iman at table 69 late seating....was excellent. He tried to find dishes we would like and remembered any special requests that someone at our table had voiced. I cannot praise him enough. Most of the staff was extremently pleasant and helpful. The ship was in ok condition and I had no complaints with anything there. All in all I enjoyed my cruise as we visited several very interesting ports and the weather and scenery was beautiful. Embarkation, food and entertainment not so much. Hopefully HAL will take all the comments to heart and make improvements to get back to what they were on the other sailings I have done with them. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This cruise started badly with embarkation delays exceeding five hours for some passengers. HAL did not provide any satisfactory explanation for the delay, the did not provide any food and they did not apologize. Signs of cost-cutting are ... Read More
This cruise started badly with embarkation delays exceeding five hours for some passengers. HAL did not provide any satisfactory explanation for the delay, the did not provide any food and they did not apologize. Signs of cost-cutting are everywhere. What used to be included is now charged for or unavailable altogether. Food service is perfectly adequate but not special. Dining room waiters use "friendliness" (e.g. calling passengers by their first names without permission) in place of precision. Training is not what it once was. Security personnel are peremptory, brusque and uncooperative--again poor training. Entertainment is similarly low-cost. The string quartet, never mind the orchestra, is gone-replaced with a totally moderate group. Stage shows are underwhelming and very low cost. Fort stays are unnecessarily short so that the ship can cruise more slowly thereby saving fuel. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Backgound, my wife and I have cruised a total of 21 times; 6 times with Holland America. For reference, we normally eat at the Pinnacle Grill at least twice per cruise I will limit this review to our experience on the Eurodam; more ... Read More
Backgound, my wife and I have cruised a total of 21 times; 6 times with Holland America. For reference, we normally eat at the Pinnacle Grill at least twice per cruise I will limit this review to our experience on the Eurodam; more specifically to the Pinnacle Grill and La Cirque. We had pre-booked La Cirque on September 18th and The Pinnacle Grill on the 19th and 21st. La Cirque - We arrived early for our 6:00 reservation and were promptly seated by a window; something we requested. Menus were soon presented to us and drink orders were taken. It was at that point that things started to S - L - O - W WAAAAAY down and I mean slow down to the point that we had fininshed our drinks (water) and had waited approx. 15 minutes just for someone to take our dinner order. Evidently, the manager noticed and came to our table where she asked us if "we had requested slow service." We answered that we had not and from then on, the service improved. The actual food is NOT something that I would return for. IMHO it is NOT worth the upcharge. Our worst experience happened the very next night in The Pinnacle Grill. Again, we arrived prior to our appointment time and were promptly seated by the window (again we requested to be seated there). The menus arrived, drink orders were taken and the bread basket arrived. Our appetizer, dinnner and dessert order was also taken. I should explain that we were seated by 6 PM and that we had finished the appetizer, soup and salad course by 6:45. It was then that the waiting game began. Without exaggeration, at 7:40 I asked the waiter what the status of our entree was. He said that our order would soon be up, that this was an extremely busy night and that he would soon be back with our food. True to his word, he returned promptly at 7:45 with the entree(s). I had ordered the filet, mushrooms, and a baked potato. My wife also had the filet, baked potato and broccoli. One of our two dining companions had a filet and baked potato while the other one had the broiled lobster tail and broccoli. All of our food was luke-warm at best; the filet(s) were slightly above room temperature, the baked potatoes would NOT melt butter or cheese, the mushrooms were room temperature and the lobster had the same problem. Again..... the food for ALL four of us was either slightly above room temperature (luke warm) or room temperature. We told our waiter of the problem and he promptly returned with another plate of hot mushrooms. We again explained that ALL of our food was either luke warm or cold and that we would like to speak to the manager. The manager promptly arrived where we explained the problem of taking an hour and forty five minutes for our entree only to have the food be served cold. She was most apologetic and refunded the charges for our meal(s). Later, I cancelled our reservations for our third visit to the Pinnacle Grill. Again, the manager was most apologetic and wanted to make it up to us. At this point, I was more than frustrated and politely declined her offer. In summary, I am very frustrated at the service in the Pinnacle Grill and La Cirque. And what is disappointing is that we have enjoyed our previous visits so much and had looked forward to these visits even more.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
After reading some of the posted reviews for the Eurodam, I wonder if we were just unlucky, but I don't think so. But first the good. The food was excellent, without exception. I am not a buffet person, especially after being in ... Read More
After reading some of the posted reviews for the Eurodam, I wonder if we were just unlucky, but I don't think so. But first the good. The food was excellent, without exception. I am not a buffet person, especially after being in Vegas, but I looked forward to lunch in the buffet every day. We had some really excellent meals in the main restaurant, and they were never less than good. The basic organisation - safety, getting on and off the ship, including embarkation and disembarkation, pre booking tours on-line, were also good. The optional tours were good - we did something in every port, and apart from being bored in Boston, and you can't blame HA for that, had a great time. The entertainment was OK - and this is our third cruise (first with HA) so we can compare (to P&O and Princess). In essence, its always a mixed bag, and how could they keep everyone happy all the time. You like some and not others. The major comment re entertainment was lack of space - get there early or in many cases, no room. We had good service from the bar staff, and from those in the "add-on" services like photography. The laundry service was excellent. And then the bad. We, being Australian and novice tippers, decided to pre tip the cabin staff to ensure a good service. Big mistake - we had to beg for service after that, if we could find them. They were pleasant enough, but basically missing in action. We wondered if they were just over worked. A request for ice in the cabin had to be repeated three times. "Fruit platters in the cabin" - not on our cruise. We travelled as two couples, and the boys decided to book suits for the "formal" nights. We gave them our measurements ( taken by an experienced dressmaker) on-line. My friend's suit was a bit small. Mine made me look like Coco the Clown - we both could have both fitted into it. Suit happens - the issue was when we went to the purser to get them changed - which we knew we could do, because they advertise as such. On that and other (every other) occasions, we found the front desk staff to be arrogant, unhelpful, and not well briefed. We had to tell them they had a tailor on call. HE was very helpful, once we got through the front desk filter. While the restaurant food was great, the service was totally inept. Examples - waiting 30 mins for anyone to come anywhere near us, ordering drinks which never came, asking for a wine list which initially didn't arrive, exacerbated by a new (well - different) waiter asking us if we wanted to order drinks, further exacerbated by a THIRD waiter asking us the same thing ( still no wine list at this point). To top this off, waiter number three took about four steps to pick up a wine list and bring it to us. There were many other instances. One observation though - once we had complained to the restaurant manager ( a very gloomy Dutchman - we guessed his head was on the line) our service not just for that night but the rest of the cruise improved markedly. At the end of the cruise, we, like all passengers were asked for an email address for them to send a feedback review to. We gave them our address, as did our travelling companions. We have never heard from them. Overall - would we travel with them again? Probably not. We thought their issues were systemic failures of training, motivation and leadership. Not impossible to fix, but we would rather spend our money with someone who has already got it right   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Embarkation at Manhattan was fairly swift, although the lines were long the staff were efficient and courteous. This was the first time on Hal and we were pleasantly surprised at the spacious cabins and the amount of hanging space ( never ... Read More
Embarkation at Manhattan was fairly swift, although the lines were long the staff were efficient and courteous. This was the first time on Hal and we were pleasantly surprised at the spacious cabins and the amount of hanging space ( never ones to travel light). Lunch at the Lido was standard and plentiful but there were far less staff than we were used to on other cruise lines. In Hal,s favour there was no self service for the first 48 hours to reduce the chances of any norovirus. The biggest disappointment was the lack of on board entertainment, the ship resembled the Marie Celeste as most of the passengers were in bed by 9.30 p.m. Lack of enthusiasm by entertainment staff and passengers. Nothing was organised on deck and if you did not knit or play cards then there were no thing that excited. Having missed the first sitting for dinner on the first night we proceeded to the Lido at 8.30 p.m only to find it closed. A lonely pizza was on offer on deck 11 and like the cook it was cold and lacklustre We had selected the first seating for dinner, this was advertised as 6.00 p.m but was in fact at 5.30 pm instead. the food was excellent however the portions were tiny and my other half ended up eating all the bread rolls. We had chosen this cruise because of the ports of call and this certainly did not disappoint with Boston and Quebec being outstanding , easily accessible by foot and with the information given port side we were able to see lots of interesting sights. Having cruised with many other cruise lines my expectations were high but this cruise fell well below . We were completely bored on this ship and feel that it is indeed geared towards a very elderly clientele. Our first and last with Hal   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was our 4th cruise on HAL but this time we were in a Neptune Suite. We flew the red-eye from Vancouver to Toronto to Laguardia. Bags were tagged straight through to LGA. In Toronto, they have streamlined the process. Step 1:You go ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on HAL but this time we were in a Neptune Suite. We flew the red-eye from Vancouver to Toronto to Laguardia. Bags were tagged straight through to LGA. In Toronto, they have streamlined the process. Step 1:You go to this area where they scan your boarding pass, Step 2: fill in your US immigration form, Step 3: Look for your name to appear on the screen + proceed to the agent. They have revamped the departure gates. Some gates have virtually no seating area. Also, they frequently change the gate number, so listen for the announcements + watch the board. There were storms in New York so our flight was delayed for takeoff because the airport was congested. We arrived one hr late but we had HAL transfers so the rep was waiting for us. When we arrived at the Manhattan terminal, a downpour started. As a suites guest, you get to wear a badge that says Suites so people don't get mad at you for going ahead of them. The room was ready so we went there to drop off our hand luggage. The bathroom had one shower + a whirlpool bathtub ( only fit 1 person though ). The stateroom had a king bed + full size sofa + 2 armchairs. The verandah was a long rectangular shape with two chairs with ottomans + a round table with 4 chairs. We really enjoyed the amenities of the Neptune Lounge + the services of the Concierge. I don't know why I read previous posts that there was nothing to eat. There was a nice spread throughout the day. ie Breakfast was white bread, bagels, English muffins with a toaster for use. Jams, marmalades, nutella, some other toast spreads I didn't recognize, fresh fruit slices, whole fruit, cereal, yogurt, granola/fruit parfaits, smoked salmon etc. Continental Breakfast 7 am to 10:30 am Midday Snacks 11 am to 2:30 pm Afternoon tea 3 pm to 5 pm Canapes 5 pm - 8:15 pm The Pinnacle Grill was also available for breakfast. The Mariner Society Lunch is from 11:30 am to 1 pm in the Rembrandt dining room. At 3pm, they had a Smooth Sailing Presentation: Make the Most of Your Cruise. It was an overview of what the cruise had to offer and some helpful tips. I wish all cruise lines had this. Muster Drill was at 4 pm out on deck. It was the shortest drill I have ever attended. Everyday, they screened the same movie continuously from 10 am to 10 pm. It was also shown on your stateroom tv. For music, they had Adagio playing classical music, BB King Blues Club nightly in the Queens Lounge, Guitar Vocalist Johnny Champagne, Lynn & the HAL Cats, Pianist Entertainer Diane Fast. We were on As You Wish dining. They only allow reservations 3 days in advance. We never got reservations for dinner but finally were able to have lunch in the MDR on a port day. On a port day, we would usually breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, return to the ship for a late lunch + then have a pre-show snack in the Lido Buffet before the 8 pm show. One complaint is that the Lido Buffet is closed from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm. So then, there is nothing to eat unless you want pizza or room service. After a few days of this, then we would grab some snacks from the Neptune Lounge before dinner + stash it in our fridge for later. On formal nights or sea days, there are a lot of special events so you may not want to schedule specialty dining on those day. HAL only serves sustainable seafood. Mass is celebrated daily. The Cruise Director is J.T. Watters from Tampa, Florida. He's not long-winded like other cruise directors. After the show each evening, he just wishes you a pleasant evening. That's all ! The Lido Deck has a retractable roof so it can be closed at night or in inclement weather which makes it easier to still hold events there. A note for Canadians: you will clear Canadian immigration at the 1st Canadian port of call. Before that port, you will need to complete a Canadian customs + immigration form. After that, anything you purchase will be subject to duty + taxes. So, if you're buying anything onboard, do it before you complete the form or factor it into the form. This also means that if you have a super early flight on disembarkation day, that is not a problem because you already cleared Canadian customs early on in the cruise. Day 2 - at sea - Formal Royal Dutch Tea, Behind the Scenes Kitchen Tour, Internet Minute Prize Giveaway ( do not need to be present to win ), Thermal Suite Cruise Pass $ 349 for couple, $ 249 for single. Day 3 - Boston Boston Port Authority offers shuttle service from the pier to the Harborwalk area from 8 am to 4 pm. $ 10 one way or $ 15 return. Day 4 - Bar Harbor ( this was the only tender port ) There is a free Island shuttle, pay $ 5 for the Park Pass to go to Acadia National Park. It's hop on, hop off, 30 minutes wait between buses. You should be off the ship 1st thing in the morning in order to enjoy the park fully. First bus departs at 9:15 am. The shuttle doesn't go to Cadillac Mountain. Someone said that Oli's Trolley goes there. New England Clam Bake - 12 pm to 2 pm on Lido Deck 9, English Afternoon Tea Showtime - Cape Breton Trio Turn your clocks 1 hour forward tonight. Day 5 - Halifax ( sales tax in Nova Scotia is 14% ) Some historic sites downtown, nice waterfront area with free wifi. If you do the hop on, hop off, there will be long lines especially if there are other ships in port. There are several shops in the Civilization Museum. Filipino Crew show Day 6 - Sydney Fiddlin' Flapjack Breakfast - 7 am to 9:3 am concert featuring the Cape Breton Trio Most of the attractions are outside Sydney. You definitely need to take a tour , hire a taxi or rent a car. The downtown area is verrry sleepy ! Poutine Bar - 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm on Lido Deck 9 De Librije dinner is held on Day 6. This is only held on the Eurodam, Zuiderdam and other select ships. De Librije, a Michelin 3 star restaurant in the Netherlands, has evolved an idiosyncratic cuisine, rooted in selected regional products, enhanced by state-of-the-art cooking techniques & reciprocal Asian touches. Creating modern innovative dishes & reinventing gastronomic classics. Everything on your plate will be edible. $ 49 per person. You can add a 2 oz wine taster per course for $ 69 per person or add full glasses of wine ( didn't get the cost ). Amuse Bouche - North Sea Scallop Appetizer - Maine Lobster with Green Bean Coulis, Oysters on the Beach or Goat Cheese with Hazelnut Soup - Lobster Bisque Foam or Chilled Clear Tomato Gazpacho Entree - Seared North Sea Cod with Speck Ham, Duo of Lamb Loin & Crusted Lamb Neck, North Sea Turbot with Iberico Ham or Broiled Beef Tenderloin Dessert - Deconstructed Apple Pie, Rice Chocolate Stones or Assortment of Sorbets It was a delightful meal. Day 7 - Charlottetown Free wifi in the terminal. In the morning, we walked off the ship, toured the downtown area, walked to Victoria Park to Government House ( the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor ). It was a nice sunny day. In the afternoon, we took the Island's Finest with Anne of Green Gables tour. This tour takes you to the Island Preserves Company for a 3 course lobster lunch, then onto the house of the cousins of Anne of Green Gables. You only get 45 minutes here + you could actually spend a whole day here. Day 8 - at sea - Formal Sep 19 + 20: Tamarind Sushi Lunch $ 7.50 per person includes appetizer, sushi/sashimi and dessert Tamarind also offers Pan-Asian fare. Lunch is complimentary. Dinner is $ 15 per person. Pinnacle Grill has lunch for $ 10 per person or dinner for $ 25 per person. Canaletto offers dinner for $ 10 per person. On Deck for a Cause at 1 pm, Chatting with the Stripes at 2 pm, Indonesian Tea Ceremony at 3 pm Turn your clocks 1 hour back tonight. It will be very picturesque around 3 am sailing into Saguenay. Normally, you would have another opportunity when sailing out at 5 pm but our departure was delayed until 10:15 pm due to gale force winds so we missed the opportunity. Day 9 - Saguenay ( sales tax is 15% ) We had gale force winds ( 7 on the Beaufort scale ). Captain almost cancelled the call but with persistence, was able to dock the ship safely. They have a hop on, hop off that starts at 9 am + runs every 10 minutes. There are 2 routes. One around La Baie with a 60 min loop, one to Chicoutimi with a 75 min loop. Both loops only cost $ 15. Shops + attractions open at 11 am. Locals are very welcoming and friendly, speaking good English. Downtown area is small + interesting with many locals selling their own crafts. So at 5 pm, it was still too windy to safely undock, so we waited until 10:15 pm to depart. There was also a Crystal ship that came in the morning + decided to cancel the call. Also, the Le Boreal, a small yacht-like ship came in the early afternoon. They had to tender + they also stayed late into the evening, around 8 pm. We watched the tender bobbing in the water. Cupcake Afternoon Tea at 3 pm, Market-style cheese buffet 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm on Lido Deck 9, Dessert Extravaganza: photo-taking at 10:15 pm, eating from 10:30 pm to 11:30 pm on Lido Deck 9 Day 10 - Quebec City Since Saguenay and Quebec City are so close, we were only 30 mins late arriving into port. When doing your online check in, they charge $ 0.25 per page for printing. The online check in should take approx 4 minutes per person. Free wifi in the terminal. The downtown is very walkable, lots of historic sights. Day 11 - Disembarkation Expedited disembarkation is from 3 am to 7 am. Regular disembarkation starts at 7 am. If you get downstairs + there are no taxis, pick up the white phone on the wall. If the line is busy, keep trying until someone answers. It is about 25 mins to the airport. It is a flat rate to YQB $ 35 Canadian or you can also pay in USD. The taxi driver will ask you which currency you will use. The airport check in counters open at 4 am & there is nothing to do once you get past security. Boarding is 30 mins prior to departure. Print & Digital Photos. There are 4 Value Packages. Valid for guests in one stateroom only. Any 5 activity photos plus digital files $ 99.95 Any 5 portrait photos plus digital files $ 199.95 All your photos taken during the cruise $ 349.95 All your photos plus digital files $ 449.95 We really enjoyed the ship + the itinerary. I see that the Eurodam is doing slightly different ports next year ( omitting Bar Harbor ) and adding Saint John, Portland on some itineraries. That'll be interesting.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
The cruise was nice but not up to the standards of other Holland America cruises we have enjoyed. The ship was understaffed and service was very spotty, from very good to very bad. One of the ship's officers admitted (privately over ... Read More
The cruise was nice but not up to the standards of other Holland America cruises we have enjoyed. The ship was understaffed and service was very spotty, from very good to very bad. One of the ship's officers admitted (privately over a drink) that Holland America had reduced the staff in order to cut expenses. Translated, that means to increase profits. HA is more and more committed to competing in the mass marketing venue as opposed to providing upper scale service. Personally, I'd rather pay a little more and have better service. This was our 5th HA cruise, and 12th overall. We choose HA because it is one of the few cruise lines that still allows smoking on the private verandas. FIRST; THE UNACCEPTABLE: Embarkation in New York was a horror. Passengers waited in the terminal for FOUR hours or more trying to embark. HA did not have nearly enough agents to process the number of passengers that they obviously knew were to board the ship. They alternatively blamed the computers and the fact that the Eurodam had just completed a transatlantic crossing. Huh? Was the transatlantic crossing a sudden, unexpected event? Like HA didn't have knowledge of the Eurodam's schedule years in advance. They were totally unprepared for the number of persons they knew were to board, or simply didn't care about the inconvenience to its customers. The ship's departure from New York was delayed over an hour because of incompetence. What an awful way to begin a vacation. SECOND. THE BAD: 1. Tender service. We had tender service in the first 3 ports: Newport, RI, Gloucester, MA and Bar Harbor, ME. It was awful. There was about a two hour wait to leave the ship, UNLESS you paid for an expensive Holland America tour. Basically, unless you added to their profit center, you were held hostage until the very end. Cheers erupted as passengers finally had their numbers called so they could leave the ship. 2. Lido Grill (buffet). Service was very bad. Servers often got orders wrong and seemed totally indifferent to the passengers. Inexplicably, HA discontinued the use of trays several years ago, and the simple act of having breakfast may entail 3 or 4 separate trips to the table to get juice, coffee, water, fruit, breakfast, etc. Most port stops had return times to the ship about 4:30 in the afternoon, precisely timed to have the Lido Grill shut down all lines with no service or food available. Pizza was available on the outside deck by the pool area, where it was subject to inclement weather. 3. Service in main dining room. We had open seating, which meant that we never sat at the same table twice. Depending on where we sat and when we ate, the service went from quite good to awful. One night we had to get a ship's officer to get water, silverware, etc. and to take an order, after a 20-30 minute wait. The officer actually served us our food. It was not the fault of the individual waiters/busboys, who worked hard. The restaurant was simply understaffed, and unable to serve its passengers adequately. THIRD. THE GOOD: 1. Cabin service was good. Nothing outstanding, but the stewards did their jobs promptly and efficiently. No complaints at all. 2. Spa. My wife went to the spa and was very pleased. She thought the service and treatment was very nice. 3. Food in main dining room was quite good. As noted above, the service was spotty, but the food was well prepared and well presented. 4. The ship was always clean. Kudos! 5. Main desk service was very good. I had forgotten a medical item and the desk was very helpful in receiving a FEDEX package in our third port. 6. Stability. We had some very high winds and choppy seas, but the ship was exceptionally stable. I'm sure that is due to its size and improved stabilizers, but nonetheless, it was a very smooth ride! FOURTH. THE EXCELLENT: 1. The Tamarind Dining Room (Asian). Exceptional service and food. If you like Asian food at all, this is a must. NOTE: There is nothing that the ship's crew can do about this, but I thought I'd comment anyway. I am required to sleep with a CPAP machine, as I am sure were many other passengers. HA even rents CPAP machines in its infirmary, and other medical equipment through a subcontractor that all require electricity. There is no electrical outlet on the entire side of the cabin where the bed is. I had to get a 50 foot long big orange industrial grade extension cord and a power strip from the front desk, and have it draped across the entire room (for my wife to trip over) every night. There are only 2 (!) outlets in the entire cabin, both at the desk. This ship was built in 2008, in an era of cell phones, laptops, tablets, hair dryers, etc. Two outlets is inexcusable, and especially with none at either bedside table. Apparently, the HA architects never have been on a cruise ship. OVERALL: We still had a very nice time despite the deficiencies noted above. These items are correctable except for the outlet issue, and hopefully HA will address these issues. We took our first HA cruise in 1997, and I do feel that HA is sacrificing service and quality for reduced cost and increased profit, and that is sad. The ships get larger and larger to accommodate more passengers and increase revenues, which is an industry wide trend but still is disconcerting. Still, HA is probably the leader in its price range. Would we go again? Yes, but preferably on a smaller HA ship. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise