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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout ... Read More
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout especially at the elevators and Old wooden deck chairs on deck three of which 50 percent were broken. Attitude of the Hotel manager was not his problem. Staff throughout the ship in restaurants, cabins, bars etc. A 10 +++. The main dining room meals were over cooked much of the time during dinner hour though breakfast was fine. First night of cruise turkey was served bright pink ( scary !). One night tuna was so overcooked , it was like saw dust and most left it on their plates uneaten. On another evening the wiener schnitzel was served and waiters came around suggesting that we add gravy before we even tried the dish and through the gravy was not part of the menu the waiters were trying to correct another bad meal. Now the Pinnacle Grill was a great experience but we were forced to pay the extra charge to have good food compared to main dining room and we ate there four nights. Entertainment was very good and we enjoyed every performance. The shore experience in Costa Rica called canal tortuguero was a 100% waste of time. When we arrived by bus, there were bathrooms on the second floor of the building that were so unbelievably filthy that I perferred to not use since thing did not flush and one small sink to wash hands shared by men and women with nothing to wipe hands. The boat tour showed two iguanas,three birds and a couple monkeys. The second part of the tour was a banana plantation which consisted of the bus pulling off the main road to point out a few banana plans and return us back to the ship. So much for a plantation. Holland America charged 100 plus dollars and does not care how bad it is. Now it explains why Holland America does not even get mentioned in many ratings and independent reviews. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
10 day Panama Canal cruise Good: - Housekeeping services. Cordial and kept the room clean and neat. Every time we came back to the room, the bed was made. Every evening they left a nice towel animal. - Ice cream. The ice cream ... Read More
10 day Panama Canal cruise Good: - Housekeeping services. Cordial and kept the room clean and neat. Every time we came back to the room, the bed was made. Every evening they left a nice towel animal. - Ice cream. The ice cream staff is very friendly, and they offer a good selection of ice creams and toppings. - French Fries. They are crispy and freshly cooked. Sadly, this was the highlight of the food onboard. - Buffet is not self-service, which is quite good to prevent food contamination. Average: - Photography. We booked a session for the black-and-white photos. (+)Photos are really good, although very (-)expensive. Photographers throughout the cruise, in the evenings, are hard to find. A large group was waiting to take a group photo in the main stairs, and the photographer was no where to be found. They asked me to take their picture in an iphone. We did take a picture a few days earlier at the stairs and had a good experience. - Pool/Jacuzzi. (+)Pool was not packed, quite enjoyable. (-)Jacuzzis were NEVER HOT. I asked one of the guys handling the towels how to increase the temperature, and he looked at me perplexed. Did not answer or acknowledge my question. After a few minutes he came back saying he informed someone else, and that it was going to be turned on in a few minutes... nothing happened. - Stateroom. (-)Smaller in comparison to Royal Caribbean, but the bathroom is more spacious (+) and has a small bathtub! - Entertainment. Magician show was good (+), but comedy shows did not cater to different age groups(-). Music scene was somewhat repetitive and had very few songs beyond 2000's. Bad: - When cruising on the Canal, a few fellow cruisers used their iPads to take pictures of the canal. Let me explain: they placed SEVERAL iPads in front of the glass, blocking everyone behind them to see. One woman placed FOUR iPads (she was in a group with family members, why they couldn't share the video from one ipad?). As in, they just left the iPads standing there for HOURS. Other people were hogging the space in front of the glass, did not let other cruisers to get close to the glass. Pretty sure people's vacations got ruined because of this. The cruise line should have placed a moderator to prevent such behavior. The crew are very hands-off when it comes to moderating passenger behavior. Worst (Really Bad) - Food. Selection is similar every day. Not a great fresh selection of entrees. Main dinning room often offers the SAME items available at the Lido restaurant. Appetizers and soups are disappointing. Most soups are just water with a bit of flavor. Most breads are hard to bite. Most food is bland, not appealing to different demographics (except the Asian station, which is bland too). - Dining service: Dive-In (hotdog and burger) service is terrible. I was ignored when it was my turn in the line, then harshly handed out a pager. After a few minutes waiting I was told to move and wait somewhere else. I did not move. The line kept increasing (they were very slow to take the orders) and the staff kept with a slow peace, and one of the cooks took a phone call! In all, it took 30 minutes just to get a burger and fries.(**) We got a Soda card, and EVERY TIME we wanted to use it, the waiter would come back with the sodas when we were about to finish our food. This happened in both the Lido and Main Dinning room. Food service in the Main Dining room was too slow (waiters looked overworked and tired). On the first day, it took 1 hour to get the entree, we left after 1.5 hours without dessert (we got tired of waiting). - Room service (Dining). What room service? We had to call, several times, guest services because room service did not answer our call and placed us on hold. The second night we thought they were busy, so we waited 20 minutes on the line before hanging up. The issue kept repeating so we resorted to call guest services instead. ** Due to the poor service in many areas, we chose to reduce the "Hotel-Service" charge. It is $15 per day per person. Instead we left cash for the housekeeping guys. My conclusion: Cruise + airfare + activities total was around $5,500. After traveling on Carnival and Royal several times, we wanted a more "refined" experience. Not worth paying double than what we had paid in the past for a similar stateroom. To top it off (not Holland America's fault): The weather was bad. Ship rocked most nights, even when the weather was Ok. We skipped the Costa Rica stop due to weather. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this Panama Canal cruise because it traversed the "Old Gatun Locks" and were able to get an aft balcony cabin. Here is our honest review: REVIEW 10 Day Sunfarer Cruise Zuiderdam, Holland America Line ... Read More
We chose this Panama Canal cruise because it traversed the "Old Gatun Locks" and were able to get an aft balcony cabin. Here is our honest review: REVIEW 10 Day Sunfarer Cruise Zuiderdam, Holland America Line January 7 to 17, 2018 EMBARKATION: Well organized. After waiting in line, there are plenty of seats to await being called to embark. Total process about 1 ½ hours. SMOKERS BEWARE: There is no smoking area in the embarkation terminal, and smoking is not allowed on the ship until it sails. So many people will have to wait 5-6 hours. SHIP: The Zuiderdam was refurbished. Our cabin (8141- aft) was spacious, immaculately clean. King bed, large flat screen tv on wall at base of bed, a loveseat, table which could be lowered and raised, a vanity, full bathroom with tub and shower. Balcony was deep, with aft view. Two chairs with ottomans and two small side tables. Complimentary robes. Three closets. No smoking allowed on balconies. E cigarettes allowed in the cabin, but not on the balcony. At the time of booking, Zuiderdam had a smoking policy which allowed smoking in the casino. They changed this policy sometime between dry dock and our embarkation. There are mixed opinions as to when this policy changed. Our cabin tv information stated smoking was allowed in the casino, and all literature stated the same. The approximately 400 smokers were relegated to a small area on Aft deck 9 outside for the only smoking area on the ship. During peak hours there weren’t enough tables and chairs to accommodate everyone. We were not allowed to smoke at the bar adjacent to the table area. Our weather was rainy with rough seas for this trip, certainly not HAL’s fault, but this change was ridiculously cruel, thoughtless and demeaning. We felt like we were no better than steerage. I especially note the formal nights where we went outside and came back with windblown wet hair, wet feet and shoes, etc. Needless to say, everyone was extremely upset. People complained continually with no resolution. When I lodged my formal complaint, the manager of customer services did not even know the policy, nor did a ship officer! The manager told me there would be dedicated casino nights but when I asked for clarification, she came back to me and told me there were none and she was wrong! They hadn’t even bothered to change the information on the TV!!! Gambling is my favorite past time on the ship. I usually gamble 8-10 hours per day while at sea. Many of the other smoking passengers were gamblers as well. The casino is located on forward deck 2. To have a smoke, we needed to go to Aft deck 9 outside. As a result, most of us gambled for an hour or less and left to smoke. But we were all so disgusted, we didn’t return back. It was so inconvenient and really ruined the vacation. The casino most times only had one blackjack table manned and sometimes two because there were so few gamblers. Guarantee HAL lost a LOT of money for this change in policy. But obviously, they don’t care. The dueling piano entertainment was adjacent to the casino. At one point while at the blackjack table, I was covering my ears because the off key female singer, screeching out her tune was so bad! The dining room was beautifully refurbished. We had the late seating, deck 3. Let me first say WE ARE NOT FUSSY EATERS, but we do like good food. The food was marginal. Hit or miss. They offered prime rib three times and filet mignon twice, including surf and turf. This was generous. But the quality of the meat was poor, our medium rare filet mignon was so tough, we had difficulty cutting it with the steak knives! We sent it back and the next filets were a bit better, but NOT tender. On night two, I was queasy and asked if I could have chicken noodle soup. This was an issue. I was told they didn’t have any but the waiter said he would see what he could do. He did bring some bouillon to me saying this was all they had…I came to realize it could be ordered anytime on the room service menu though. If room service has it then why can’t the dining room find it? The ship ran out of lemons on day two, and limes by day 4. We were told more would be available when we docked in Aruba. But there was an embargo taking place with Venezuela, so that didn’t work out. Tortilla soup…..their version…beef bouillon with some cilantro leaves, a piece of chicken and two match stick sized tortilla strips….you have to be joking!! The brisket was so tough it was inedible and obviously they did not know how to slow cook it. On day three, I ordered the roast chicken. The waiter apologized for the delay (it took an hour for this entrée to arrive), and when it did, it could not be identified. To describe it…it was small oval shaped, relatively flat, with a pinky sized appendage rising up from the middle of the meat. We joked that it might be pigeon, or maybe seagull. The waiter asked me to turn it over and he didn’t know what it was either. The next night we were told it was the first part of the leg from the shoulder and I guess the back of the chicken. Not good. Potato choices were good on day one and the last night. Never saw a baked potato. We were told some food pallets did not make it onto the ship in Ft Lauderdale….guess that included potatoes and vegetables. Vegetables were offered in the lido consisting of mostly squash and carrots. I never saw green beans, corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower offered individually. The aft pool was drained around day 4 for a leak, so it was not available. There was a smoke fire on day 5 knocking out tv throughout the ship and forward and rear cameras. So we were “ in the dark” about weather and news and tv shows for the balance of the trip. Wouldn’t be so bad, except Costa Rica was eliminated due to weather and rather than taking us to another island as previous cruises have done, this captain elected to slow the ship down and stay at sea for an extra day. So those of us who wanted to experience the Panama Canal both ways were on the ship from day 4 to day 10. With no TV, no considerations from the Captain, minimal entertainment, nothing to do except smoke and gamble, this was not fun. The spa was great! Best massage ever! I highly recommend if you decide to chance this ship and cruise line. After having cruised four other cruise lines, I can emphatically say I will not cruise Holland America again. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise primarily based on timing and the beginning/end points. Less on the cruise line. Holland America met our needs for our criteria. In spite of all that we'd heard about HAL catering mostly to elderly clients, we ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily based on timing and the beginning/end points. Less on the cruise line. Holland America met our needs for our criteria. In spite of all that we'd heard about HAL catering mostly to elderly clients, we signed up for a 15 day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego. Leaving Ft. Lauderdale, our first stop was Half Moon Cay. Overall, less touristy and was fine for the short time we were there. After 2 sea days, we hit Cartagena. We were there for a half-day. Didn't have time to really go anywhere other than a quick city tour. Honestly, not sure why we visited this port. Would have gladly traded Cartagena for a day in Panama City, Panama. The canal was everything we had heard it would be. The views were amazing and the trip transiting the canal was something we'll never forget. The crew did a nice job making folks comfortable. Seriously made the entire trip worth it. This is where the wheels started coming off. The first thing we found was the hot tub closed at 10 pm. Having dinner at 8 pm made this problematic. Wasn't much else to do after dinner so this was the logical choice for our 40/50 year-old group. There were six of us cruising so we thought we would ask for a little extension for one of the hot tubs. We were quickly told no. The staff was beyond confused when we told them their simple no wasn't good enough and we would like to escalate the issue to a higher authority. This really threw them for a loop. After a fair amount of complaining and 7 days into the cruise, the Captain firmly and finally said no. Guess he wasn't too interested in our opinion or issue. The second issue involved shipboard credits and the communication form our travel agency. It's too long and involved for this but suffice it to say, the crew was little to no help with this issue either. Overall, we found the staff beyond our cabin stewards and waiters to be pretty bored and less than concerned about pretty much anything beyond the basics. Couple that with the fact that everything other than ice water and coffee (even coffee in some areas of the ship were costly) were charged. HAL seems intent on getting every possible cent from their passengers. As I said, the crew was generally not helpful. Not sure if this is the HAL culture or a profound lack of leadership from our particular captain. The ports were a mixed bag with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Guatemala being the best by far. Chiapas, Mexico was a serious waste of time. The crew admitted there was absolutely nothing to do there. Again, not sure what we stopped there. Have to say I've taken my last cruise on Holland America Lines. Not impressed in any way. Oh,the best part of the ship was our shower was the best I've ever had on a cruise ship. This is our 8th cruise overall and was the most disappointing when it comes to the cruise line. The rep they have catering to elderly passengers is well-deserved and earned. We felt totally out of place. Should have listened to my gut! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We wanted a Panama canal cruise and picked Holland because we wanted to try them. We have been on 7 cruises before this on other cruise lines. There must be something wrong with the stabilization system on that ship. It never stopped ... Read More
We wanted a Panama canal cruise and picked Holland because we wanted to try them. We have been on 7 cruises before this on other cruise lines. There must be something wrong with the stabilization system on that ship. It never stopped rocking. 15 days of walking like you were drunk. The night entertainment was cheap. Sitting through 45 minutes of piano playing by one man. On another night was one man playing saxophone for 45 minutes. A comedian that was so bad my wife and I left. One good night was a ventriloquist. He was funny. The food for lunch at the buffet was a different way to cook chicken for 6 days or how many different ways are there to serve fish. Very boring. Asian cooking also left us amused. Cashew chicken with no cashews. Sweet and sour pork was bad. Brisket that you could not chew. Tomato soup with barley that didn't taste like tomato and in the cup were only 14 pieces of barley my wife had 17. The food for dinner in the dining room was good though. Other ships we have been on have pool side entertainment. Like ice carving, or dance contests, house races. Pool games. Not this cruise, not a thing. So boring that my wife and I put together jig saw puzzles. The end was that they charge you $13.50 per person per day for hotel services. For what? That is the first time we have seen that. We will never go on another Holland cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
2nd time around exact same cruise 4 years apart, after the first we knew we loved the ship, the company the itinerary, planned the 2nd trip, picked the aft cabin on purpose to cruise the canal with a wonderful view...however, first week ... Read More
2nd time around exact same cruise 4 years apart, after the first we knew we loved the ship, the company the itinerary, planned the 2nd trip, picked the aft cabin on purpose to cruise the canal with a wonderful view...however, first week out of dry dock, boarded the ship (3 hours later than scheduled) and pool deck above our cabin closed the first 2 days, sanding and resealing the deck and pool full of deck chairs and tables no bar, again choice of our cabin was for location to pool deck buffet and ability to use outside balcony for canal transit. all work done on pool deck ended up on our balcony, welding rods, dirt and debris daily--10 day trip able to enjoy the balcony 4, if this was not bad enough there was no air conditioning in our cabin the entire trip, when we spoke with the hotel management never got a answer other than we are trying. our room steward finally went to his cabin and brought us up his personal fan to help, we had to sleep with our cabin door open the first 3 nights of the trip to get a little relief, plumbing issues all over the ship , loud drying fans all day and all night, next to last day of cruise, they closed the pool deck again to finish the wood areas of the bar, again should have been done in dry dock, wood stools still tacky the next day so could not sit at bar but wish someone had said something before we did...you get the picture leaving the ship the same confusion and disorganization as getting on, just was not ready for the full cruise of passengers, really disappointed not in itinerary but the company and the way they did NOT handle our issues Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We spent approximately 2100.00 $ for two to experience shore excursions. What was stated online was not what we received for most of our excursions. We felt lied to. By day 3 we complained and it fell on deaf ears. By week 2 we ... Read More
We spent approximately 2100.00 $ for two to experience shore excursions. What was stated online was not what we received for most of our excursions. We felt lied to. By day 3 we complained and it fell on deaf ears. By week 2 we complained again....and it fell on deaf ears. We weren't the only ones upset, as others on our excursions also complained. When Guest Services attempted to set up an appointment with Shore Excursions we were told it was not possible because they were inundated with complaints. Also, before we booked with Cruiseplus.ca, I asked the agent if this cruise line was popular with very senior guests. We did not want a disabled cruise, nor a senior cruise. I was told that it wasn't known for this. Not true! There were so many with walkers, scooters and canes. I am quite mobile, and felt that many of the excursions were likely geared for this clientele group. The evening entertainment was not even close to what I have experienced with Celebrity. We have been told that since Carnival bought out Holland America, Princess and I'm sure there are more.....that it hasn't been the same. Disembarkation was also a problem. Our agent had told us to take a shuttle, because then if we were late for our flight then the Cruise Line would have to look after this. The gal at guest services stated that we couldn't take the shuttle as our flight was for 12:05 and the shuttle could only be used by those with 12:30 or thereafter. She then told me to put our luggage out in the hall the night before and pick it up at the terminal in the morning. I knew that this couldn't be correct, as we wouldn't be able to disembark early in the morning, retrieve our luggage...get a taxi (which become hard to obtain when 2,000 people are disembarking), and get to the airport 2-3 hours before our flight. We likely wouldn't make it on time....and then of course the cruise line wouldn't be responsible. The girl behind the counter stated with attitude, "Mam, I'm trying to explain to you!". I gathered my papers and went upstairs to alert my husband that he was needed. We went back to Guest Services and were told by a different employee that we should select Early Disembarkation (Expedited), and bring all of our luggage with us. She agreed that retrieving our luggage at a later time from the terminal likely would have made us late for our return home flight. There were other rude employees, but most were very nice. Sad that one remembers the rude ones though. Costa Rica was a terrible excursion due to about a dozen of us not being able to locate the driver, tour guide for at least 3/4 of an hour. And once again it was an excursion that did not meet up with what was outlined...it was a huge lie. Regarding TIPS! Why would I want to give a gratuity to those that are rude, or to parts of the ship that I don't partake....such as drinking and gambling. Yet when one wants to say no from the start....you are made to feel guilty .... and you are still given a bill at the end of the trip with this included. The night before disembarkation we had to visit Guest Services again to have this removed. We couldn't. They have your credit card....so you feel that this hangs over your head the entire trip. The morning of disembarkation we finally had it removed and I rushed around with envelopes of money to give to those who deserved a tip! Went beyond the call of duty. Whether our stateroom attendants received this money.....I will never know. They had to disembark the ship and go through customs. I had to leave their envelopes in our room. SAD!!! We were extremely disappointed with this 21 day trip! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Wanted to do the Panama Canal cruise for a long time. The staff on the Eurodam were excellent. Monika, a waitress that works usually in the Tamarind was just great and always with a beautiful smile. Vojo and Alex Fitness Supervisors were ... Read More
Wanted to do the Panama Canal cruise for a long time. The staff on the Eurodam were excellent. Monika, a waitress that works usually in the Tamarind was just great and always with a beautiful smile. Vojo and Alex Fitness Supervisors were excellent and very helpful. The massages were much to expensive. I mean $171.35 for a 50 minute massage that was not even good. I paid $166.75 for a manicure and pedicure and was charged $25.00 for a bottle of nail polish that the spa kept. Our signature suite was very nice except for the carpet was dirty. When I mentioned it, the housekeeping service would have had it cleaned but with all the stuff we had it would have been difficult to have wet carpets. All in all our cruise was nice. This was our second cruise with Holland America, and I would travel again and stay away from the Spa. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
Where to begin? We had no hot water on three occasions. One afternoon toilets would not flush. The dancing did not begin most nights until 11:30 PM despite the fact that most of the persons on board were well over 75 years old. The ... Read More
Where to begin? We had no hot water on three occasions. One afternoon toilets would not flush. The dancing did not begin most nights until 11:30 PM despite the fact that most of the persons on board were well over 75 years old. The shore excursion choices were limited, and for the most part not of high quality. The fitness center was adequate, but it was kept too warm for exercise, and there were no cups for water. There were a few free classes, but a charge for most. The excursion staff on board were rude and uninformed. Some of the ports we visited were not interesting and there was nothing to do but look at cheap souvenirs. The entertainment was mediocre. My thoughts on the cruise were similar to many others that I spoke with. Quite a few had cruised with Holland America had cruised with them on numerous occasions. They all concurred that this was the worst cruise ever and described the ship as "tired" in comparison to other HA ships. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Our holiday cruise with family, aboard the Hell-ship Veendam Maru, from 20 Dec 2016 - 4 Jan 2017, was truly a cruise from hell. It was marked by a series of unfortunate events day after day, that began with two USCG helicopter medical ... Read More
Our holiday cruise with family, aboard the Hell-ship Veendam Maru, from 20 Dec 2016 - 4 Jan 2017, was truly a cruise from hell. It was marked by a series of unfortunate events day after day, that began with two USCG helicopter medical evacuations of crewmembers (one from Half Moon Cay on 21 Dec and another plucked from the Veendam at sea on 22 Dec). (The ship reportedly sailed from Ft Lauderdale short approximately 40 crewmembers to begin with!)(Service in all departments suffered accordingly!) The following day, black water suddenly began pouring from many stateroom bathroom sink faucets and bathtubs, forcing us to use bottled water for a couple days. On 24 Dec, while our kids were touring Cartagena, their Lanai Stateroom #344 was flooded by water from a neighboring cabin and were relocated to an inside room for two days! (My son and daughter-in-law are both active duty US Army and were on their honeymoon!!) I was forced to make repeated trips to the guest relations front desk over the next few days to twist arms & ensure our kids would be compensated for the interruption of their vacation!!! When that problem was resolved, I began another series of visits to guest relations to resolve our HVAC issues in Lanai Stateroom #350. Bottom line: We prefer that our room feels borderline meat locker!! However, since day one, our cabin was never comfortable enough for human habitation. It felt like we were living in a Navajo Sweat Lodge or Tropical Rain Forest!! My wife's makeup began melting almost as soon as she applied it, and we often slept under just a sheet. We've now sailed on 12 HAL voyages & have never had a problem staying comfortable with our cabin thermostat set at the lowest possible point. Per Veendam's guest relations staff, who were in and out of our room several times per day throughout the cruise recording the temp, the temp was always 22-23 C which equates to 73-74 F! Several days into this process of dueling with the guest relations staff (again), and with no prospect of resolution favorable to our cause in sight, I finally took some direct action & personally handed the captain himself a note at the Mariner's Luncheon, demanding his staff of crack engineers fix our cabin HVAC system to our satisfaction!! However, our room remained forever overheated!! By the end of the voyage, Veendam staffers had proved that HVAC was indeed rocket science, as far as HAL was concerned. On the final night of the voyage I was granted a face-to-face meeting with the Veendam's Guest Relations Mgr. When I asked her for some form of compensation for our 15 days of extreme personal discomfort in cabin #350, I was told there would be none, but that I could take it up with the home office!! When I demanded a copy of her staff's temperature readings for my room, I was stonewalled once again!!! The final indignity: on the last night of the cruise after dining in the Rotterdam Dining Room, my daughter in law and I both suffered bouts of food posioning which made for a very uncomfortable disembarkation day and flight home!! The Veendam is a very old ship, a Jonah, and has a lot of problems!!! Considering the condition of its HVAC system, perhaps the Veendam should avoid the tropics and concentrate on sailings to ALASKA & N Europe!! HAL Cruises - Never Again, Baby!!! Very poor customer relations!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was my third Holland America cruise, and the Veendam is a huge dissapointment. The ship has numerous infrastructure issues. The climate control system is a serious problem Our cabin was very hot at the beginnin of the cruise. It ... Read More
This was my third Holland America cruise, and the Veendam is a huge dissapointment. The ship has numerous infrastructure issues. The climate control system is a serious problem Our cabin was very hot at the beginnin of the cruise. It took 4 days to get someone to look at the air conditioning and the best that could be done was to increase the air flow. The thermostate dial does not work. On the final leg of the cruise the air continued at the same rate. We went from a cabin temperature of 80F to 60F. Almost every guest we spoke with was haveing the same issues. Another serious issue was the floors. There are large gaps between the carpet and the actual floor, which is a serious issue with so many seniors on board. At least 4 of the public men's rooms had urinals marked "out of order." On the final morning there were no announcements being made to help co-ordinate disembarkation. Passengers finally started to converge on the gang way and it was chaotic and tense. As I understand it the Veendam is being retired in 2018. Apparently Holland America has elected to patch problems rather than do anything to maintain the ship. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We picked this cruise because of the where was going and Holland's history of great service and great dining. This was my 25th cruise, and it rates as number 25. The dining in the main dining room was terrible. The portions were ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of the where was going and Holland's history of great service and great dining. This was my 25th cruise, and it rates as number 25. The dining in the main dining room was terrible. The portions were tiny and the service was horrendous. One night we spent 2 hours waiting to eat. We couldn't get anyone to bring us water, fresh bread, or pour our wine. We finally gave up on the main dining room and paid to go to specialty dining, which was superb. We also tried the Lido, and were completely disappointed. The food was the same every night. The meat was tough, chicken was rubbery and the fish was greasy. The entertainment was below standards. The Beatles tribute band was embarrassing. It took us 3 hours to get off the ship in San Diego. Poor organization, poor security. This cruise was horrible, horrible, horrible. We will never sail with Holland again. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Wanted to visit certain Central American countries listed and also travel through the Panama Canal. This cruise seemed to fit the bill. We have travelled extensively around the world but had not used HAL before. Over all, the cruise ... Read More
Wanted to visit certain Central American countries listed and also travel through the Panama Canal. This cruise seemed to fit the bill. We have travelled extensively around the world but had not used HAL before. Over all, the cruise never really exceeds a standard of OK which is disappointing given the price tag. Food had been distinctly better on other cruise lines and the rigmarole of queueing up every single time for anything due to the layout of the dining area, made meal time a chore. When you consider that the recommended tipping for a 15 day cruise is 375 dollars it's difficult to justify. Ship excursions are best avoided as they represent little value for money, a far better experience to be had by using one of the numerous local firms that are lined up at each port and save yourself around 70% each time on ship prices. Disembarkation time at San Diego was confirmed as 07:00. Turns out that this crucial piece of information was incorrect and for some reason thought it best not to tell the guests until half way through the cruise. The actual time of 09:00 meant we would miss our onward flight and of course incur a financial penalty to change to a later time. Listening to passengers discussing the surprise new time of 09:00 during the fiasco that was disembarkation, It was obvious that many more were missing connections also. Despite clearly being at fault by supplying incorrect information, HAL refuse to acknowledge their error (despite being in black and white) and refund the penalty I have incurred. Very much a case of we have your money, tough luck. We have had some excellent cruises in the past, notably Royal Caribbean. I heartily recommend them and from now on will only use them. Overall recommendation for Holland America? Avoid at all cost!!!! Customer service in this day and age should not be this appalling. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
The rating of this ship is generous according to reviews. Service was awful to non existing. Out of 14 nights in dining room my husband only had one night where his iced tea or water was refilled. Gone are the days where customers ... Read More
The rating of this ship is generous according to reviews. Service was awful to non existing. Out of 14 nights in dining room my husband only had one night where his iced tea or water was refilled. Gone are the days where customers mattered. Asked for condiments when I ordered dinner so I would have them. Never came with dinner either. Again, ignored and didn't give a damn for their customers. Worse cruise I have been on. As a seasoned cruiser we know the difference. Every thing is a cost center and they don't work too well. Pinnacle specialty dinning was no different. Nothing special there!!! Lamb chops were too fatty to consume and Steak was way over cooked after ordering Rare came well done with no pink at all. Got two horrible meals with no reimbursements and they didn't even care if we ever came back. Should have offered a try again to "win" us over and satisfy their customer but did not bother! Still charged the $29.00 up charge. Went away hungry and dissatisfied. Not good if you want to keep clients coming back. One review is one thing, but every evening was the same. Food not prepared as ordered and server never did call backs or cared if we were satisfied. Many meals were delivered and thrown in front of us. I don't know about anyone else, but I certainly would not serve rotten fruit in an appetizer. I would not serve what I would not eat!!!! Waiter never bothered to even look at what he was serving and had many meals messed up between different people at the same table. This was a Wow moment for us. And we won't ever do that one again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Very disappointed in port visits. Ship was late leaving port, we missed two ports completely and others cut short. Management first blamed ocean current issues from prior voyage, then later generator issues. Kept changing what was ... Read More
Very disappointed in port visits. Ship was late leaving port, we missed two ports completely and others cut short. Management first blamed ocean current issues from prior voyage, then later generator issues. Kept changing what was the true issue. We never felt they were honest.. Interestingly travel mate met a woman who had actually traveled on the prior cruise. She shared that the ship had engine/generator issues on their trip, resulting in similar issues. When we left ship in San Diego, Veendam was boarding the next group of soon to be disappointed travelers. Holland America offered a 20% discount on NEXT booked cruise. Why would we trust them again? OF NOTE, the crew was great , made every attempt to be nice. Service was good, food fair. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Along with other people who have posted reviews on this cruise we were really unhappy with this cruise, particularly with the reasons given for all the alterations. I believe these all stemmed from the fact that the ship could not make ... Read More
Along with other people who have posted reviews on this cruise we were really unhappy with this cruise, particularly with the reasons given for all the alterations. I believe these all stemmed from the fact that the ship could not make it's full into speed into Fort Lauderdale hence the delay in it's arrival which caused a succession of problems which kept getting worse. I put these questions to Holland America together with my view the compensation was inadequate as most of the problems were as a result of the Generator failure which is the responsibility of HA. The only response I get from Holland America is a standard letter off their computer to say that the compensation cannot be altered, as to my questions they either did not read my email or cannot answer as this would reveal the true reason for our delays and port cancellations. My questions were; If the vessel was delayed arriving in Fort Lauderdale due to adverse winds and currents on it's voyage from Cartagena then these same currents should have made our voyage to Cartagena quicker, yet despite leaving two hours late from Fort Lauderdale we arrive 5 hours late into Cartagena? Did Veendam leave Fort Lauderdale with a faulty Generator? Why was the supposed routine Generator maintenance carried out on a cruise which required the vessel to use high speeds, why was it not delayed until the next voyage which as the chief Engineer said would not require high speeds. Other than the above my other concerns on this cruise was being bombarded every day with about 3/4 fly sheets in our cabins trying to sell us jewellery , watches , tanzanite, pictures, discount sales etc. What a waste of paper we just picked them up and put them in the bin every day. As for food this was I have to say disappointing, I felt the service in the restaurant was poor, the wine waiter left a lot to be desired. In the Pinnacle Grill which is supposed to be spectacular the menu was the same for the whole voyage, when I had some béarnaise sauce it turned up like liquid butter. Thank you Holland America this will be our third and final cruise with you and if fact because of the attitude to these problems I question the service we can expect from any of the Carnival Brand cruises due to their pressure to fill all their cruise spaces which they seem to be doing by saving money everywhere they can and making the cruises cheaper and cheaper in order to fill the boats but at the same time cutting down everywhere they can to save money.   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
What a shame. After a combined 320 nights on Holland America Lines (HAL), this middle class family who has earned Three-Star Mariner Society status is done with this cruise line. For the record, we are professionals in our early 50s, and ... Read More
What a shame. After a combined 320 nights on Holland America Lines (HAL), this middle class family who has earned Three-Star Mariner Society status is done with this cruise line. For the record, we are professionals in our early 50s, and our daughters are 16 and 12, all well-respected by adults and peers. We are the kind of family you would appreciate meeting on a cruise. Here is our story: Over the past eight years, we have seen a noticeable decline in the way Holland America Lines (HAL) has services our young family. When we first decided to travel HAP, we knew it was skewed to older travelers, with less young families traveling. But we thought that there was some comfort traveling with a cruise line who serves older travelers. We justified to ourselves that this was going to be a more upscale experience; that there would be less riff-raff. A better total family experience. What we have seen over this time is the erosion of services to young families. Small and important things, like taking PB&J off the room service menu entirely. Pizza which was once served in Lido dining and room service has been relegated to outside near the pool, cold, and unmanaged. It even seems like there are flies hanging out at the Pizza. But that is more image than reality. The entertainment, activities, movies, and media center largely ignore the interest of young families. A good part of the media offering is “old and inappropriate for kids. I have tried in a productive and collaborative way to get help with small things on and off the ship. I tried my best, and I can be effective at getting help. Ultimately, Holland America Lines (HAL) does not care. And for good reason – they don’t just cater to seniors, but to the elderly. Big different, w learned, in behavior. By elderly, we are talking about travelers in their 70s and 80s and 90s (we and a number of 90 year olds) who forgot to enjoy the company of young families and who find themselves treating younger passengers with bitter jealousy. I haven’t seen this many walkers and carts – ever. Not even in a skilled nursing environment (we own a couple of these buildings). There is nothing wrong with the elderly and travel. But a cruise line can only serve well one or two demographics. So the lack of amenities and services for young families, and the sometimes unwelcome disposition of the elderly passengers, say to us that after 320 family nights – we are done with Holland America Lines (HAL). More suitable cruise lines in the future will be Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. So how did we get to 320 nights before we learned this lesson? Well, the 320 is a little overstated. Divided by four family members, this is really over 80 nights each family member. Still a great amount of travel. But these experiences and observations have taken hold very quickly over this time. The dramatic change in menu and entertainment gets to the point where Holland America Lines (HAL) is happy to take the money from young families, but is unwilling to serve them. During this last trip (17 nights through the Panama – the elderly will camp out all night to grab all the chairs on the deck for Panama Day – and they won’t let them go! God bless them and their single-mindedness.), loyalty to Holland America Lines (HAL) has its disadvantages: Like good customers, we booked early. I found out a few weeks before our cruise date that our same cabins were selling for thousands of dollars less. Thousands! I tried very hard, working each step of the way in advance, throughout, and even after the trip, to get some type of parity for our hard-earned travel dollar. Any type of parity. Anything! Even something as soft dollar as an upgrade the cabin to get us the value for the cruise. I have documentation of this if you chose to request it from me, with the caveat that although I tried hard, I am sharing our own experience and hope that yours will be different and better (but I bet not!). But Holland America Lines (HAL) refused to support our request and right-size that experience. Finally, HAL double charges us on an excursion. I pre-paid on my credit card before the trip, and then again they charged me (unbeknownst to me) on the cabin folio. I have written proof of this, which I have shared three times now. You think this would be easy to fix. It has taken a lot of work, but they are not listening to the facts and as a result I have to dispute the charge with the credit card company rather than get HAL to issue a proper credit. This is not deliberate I think. This is just sloppy servicing. Lesson: Do not prepay your excursion unless you want to take on the risk of being double charged and the time and hassle of clearing this up! Once again younger families, please do not make the same mistake we did thinking that older cruisers night be better. Older means much older than you imagine. And it means that given the choice to maximize their services to a target customer base, Holland America Lines (HAL) will underserve your young family! I am exhausted with my experience with HAL. And am hanging up our Mariner Society stars. Young families with hard-earned vacation dollars, consider yourself advised! Signed, the forgotten Holland America Traveler   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We have just returned from the 11 day cruise from the Panama Canal. We were up graded to deck six with the balcony. The ship it self needs to be put away for remodel. The way the rooms are set up there is no room for storage. If you open ... Read More
We have just returned from the 11 day cruise from the Panama Canal. We were up graded to deck six with the balcony. The ship it self needs to be put away for remodel. The way the rooms are set up there is no room for storage. If you open the closet you can not get in the bathroom. The furniture is so old I thought it belong to my grandmother.the sleeper sofa and chair should be given to good will. The chairs on the deck should just be trashed and the ottoman on the deck is all ripped up and belongs in the trash. The shore excursions are all about the same do private they cost less and you will see the same. Toto the room attendant was excellent and helpful. Dining was good not excellent. I had to send my food back once it was burned. The waiter at the early seating at table 50 and 46 were excellent. The steel band was the best entertainment on the ship just loved them. The rest was ok nothing to hurry to see. Disembarkation was the usual. I would never sail with Holland America again back to Celebrity. I thought this was the cruise of wheel chairs and walkers!!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
My friend and I sailed on this ship for the first time on October 18. I have been on 30 cruises and my friend on 25. This was the worst. Holland has such a good reputation but not for this ship. Embarcation & debarcation were a ... Read More
My friend and I sailed on this ship for the first time on October 18. I have been on 30 cruises and my friend on 25. This was the worst. Holland has such a good reputation but not for this ship. Embarcation & debarcation were a nightmare. We needed wheelchair assistance. It was a joke. I did a lot of loud talking to get something done. The handicapped cabin would not have accomodated a wheelchair. There were no drawers. Only 2 small closets. We had toilet plumbing problems 6 out of the 10 days. Lots of conversation with the front desk. Not terribly helpful. Everything on the ship is old and very tired. The electronic systems are at least 5 years behind the times. We had first sitting in the dining room. The first night we were told to go find our table. I complained and they found an assistant waiter to take us but he put us at the wrong table. The service was below par as was the food. I couldn't believe it when I found that I couldn't see my onboard account in the stateroom. You have to go to the front desk! Really! This was my first and last cruise with Holland. I am sticking with Carnival, RC, and NCl. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
Summary: HAL has gone downhill from our last cruise with them of 2 years ago. Food is mediocre and service while friendly has definitely been impacted by staff cuts. Many items that were free in the past are now up charges. This ... Read More
Summary: HAL has gone downhill from our last cruise with them of 2 years ago. Food is mediocre and service while friendly has definitely been impacted by staff cuts. Many items that were free in the past are now up charges. This includes real coffee and the Canaletto restaurant. The Zuiderdam is a tired ship and definitely needs a long (non-cosmetic) dry-dock . Embarkation: Very efficient. Had to wait in a holding area for 15 minutes after getting our room card before boarding ship. Food and Service: Service was friendly always as usual. However it is obvious that HAL has cut staff -- waiters and assistants are overworked. In fact they have additional duties as wages have been cut and they have to sell $60/day of up charged merchandise (cappuccinos, espresso etc.). First night was worse. Saw food sitting at the waiter station for over 15 minutes (and yes it was ours). Pinnacle -- excellent food and great service. Wish the rest was as good. Main Dining, Lido, Canaletto -- mediocre at best. Food sometimes overcooked and cold. Canaletto for a $10 up-charge per person is ridiculous -- especially when it is served in the LIDO. Coffee tasted like urine. Caps, Latte and espresso are all upcharges. Ship and Stateroom: Yes the Zuiderdam still has issues. Smells of sewage during certain times of the day. A/C died twice in our cabin. Maintenance was annoying. They were changing drapes in the cabins. Maintenance staff has no clue what a "privacy" sign means. Doors do not lock -- including the bathroom and the veranda. The veranda door lock/handle was so corroded that it was in danger of falling off -- leaving the person on the veranda with no means of getting back in to the stateroom. Room stewards were good. Saw them at most twice during the cruise and room was always clean. Other points: This was a Panama Canal cruise. No special lectures on the canal were given other than those by the in-house person Lance. Bridge narration during the passage canal was also mediocre. Our last HAL cruise we had Richard Detrich whose book is the best for Canal enthusiasts. Apparently this is another obvious HAL cutback. Entertainment- we really don't care -- but the entertainment was just plain bad. Internet - A good feature is the $99 internet package for the 10 days. Generally was happy with performance of the system. Except for last two days speed and connection were good. The last two days they offered $9.99/day and the speed went to a crawl. Summary: Mediocre food, overworked staff, upcharges for anything (coffee, water etc.). HAL and the Zuiderdam are NOT for me anymore. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2012
Our cruise was from December 10-21, however due to the continuous problems we encountered on-board, Holland America succumb to our request to depart the ship and fly us home on the 14th. One would ask how this could happen to such a highly ... Read More
Our cruise was from December 10-21, however due to the continuous problems we encountered on-board, Holland America succumb to our request to depart the ship and fly us home on the 14th. One would ask how this could happen to such a highly regarded cruise line? Simple, the ship was not in dry-dock long enough to complete everything that needed to be done. The ship arrived to port late, we boarded late, left late, and arrived late to everywhere we were or supposed to be. There were water and computer problems which delayed boarding. Upon arrival to our veranda cabin,there was mold/mildew in the tub area, no bar soap, no robes, no fruit in the basket, no ice in the bucket, a soiled couch (didn't even want to sit on it),a dirty veranda that was full of sawdust and glass that hadn't been cleaned. The air conditioning was problematic in our cabin as well as the entire ship. The line at the desk was steady with people complaining. Damaged luggage, keys not working, no ac , etc etc. The main restaurant was a disaster concerning service, and was the only place on the ship we encountered flies. I even had a hair on my breakfast plate. The same morning my spouse waited 40 minutes before giving up and going to eat in the buffet. We encountered no Internet for the first day which normally wouldn't bother me except that I needed to review and reply to some important legal matters. We had bouts of no propulsion, power failures, contaminated water( we were flown home without knowing what the analysis showed), no ac (a tray of chocolates melted while on the table in our cabin),a small fire in the switchboard, cancelled excursions, and the list goes on and on. The galley had no hot water the first day. The walls and stairs in the common areas creaked. The staff and crew admitted the ship was not 100%. Yes, they were trying to correct everything and were giving it their best 100% but what they needed was 500%, an impossible task. Will say the food when served properly, was excellent. The entertainment enjoyable. And the jet ski excursion on Half Moon Cay was a blast and I highly recommend it. I thought it a little strange that the captain, during his toast didn't recognize what we, the cruise passengers were going through. We thought there was a lack of empathy by the crew and staff.There was never an announcement not to drink the contaminated water which for me, being a doctor, presented a health hazard for the elderly, many whom had compromised immune systems. We ended the cruise by being persistent with the Hotel Manager and Guest Relations Manager, and Holland America agreed to put us up for a night in Aruba, take care of our transfers and plane fare for our trip home, and refund our cruise. As we were finalizing the paper work, there was another power failure leaving us in the dark. We disembarked at 10 pm, the ship was to sail on at 11 pm. Our flight left Aruba on time the following day, and were were overjoyed, arriving home and off that miserable ship. This was our first and last cruise on Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
I'm a destination cruiser without brand loyalty, so I don't go on board to recreate Titanic, I go for the ports. I stayed in San Diego a couple of days before the cruise. Embarkation: Not terribly difficult, but signs and ... Read More
I'm a destination cruiser without brand loyalty, so I don't go on board to recreate Titanic, I go for the ports. I stayed in San Diego a couple of days before the cruise. Embarkation: Not terribly difficult, but signs and information would have been nice. We had to wait in a rather large open area, arranged into holding cells, so to speak. At least we could sit down, but it was rather warm and stuffy. Once out of the holding cells (enclosed areas with benches, the lines moved quickly. I would suggest that there be a luggage drop closer to the entrance from Pacific Highway and more signs! Room: I had stateroom 6160, which was the last stateroom on the port side aft before the corner suite. So I could look aft without a lot of heads and hands over the balconies. I liked how private the balconies were. Not much to do about it now, but the balconies need more drains. I had standing water on parts of the lower area by the rail, but there was no drain on my balcony, I assume a neighbors. Also, there is a crack (so they can open the balcony separators) but can't that be covered with a piece of rubber on the non-hinge side? The room was adequate. No bathtub as it is one of those that doesn't have it. Service in room: Good but spotty. The room stewards (I think they had a huge territory) did an adequate job, and accustomed themselves to my schedule as one would expect. There was a bowl for fruit. Oranges showed up irregularly, and were slow to be replaced even though I ate them whenever they showed up. My $100 onboard credit did not show up but neither did my $105 laundry charge (unlimited). I should add the unlimited is probably not economical, as it takes two days to cycle through laundry. I would have done better (sorta) to go by the bag. Food: I am not a formal diner so you will have to look elsewhere for reviews. I did not like the fact that the Lido had almost no buffet elements, but was instead a service line, (except for small things like breads and desserts). Maybe people want that, but I did not like it. No self service even for drinks for the first 48 hours. And look, they need work on their training. There is no reason to use trays to block off the breads until 6:30, I'm an early riser. The final morning, I removed the trays and just took what I wanted, and I was not the only one. I didn't have time to play games. I only drank (not much) in the Crow's Nest, barstaff there seemed intelligent and willing. Ship: Seemed well-arranged. I like the separation into a group of shops/restaurants etc well down in the ship and also at the top, with staterooms between. Too many of the shipboard games like shuffleboard were in walking areas, making them impossible to play. Room service: Ignore the menu, just ask for what you want. However, you may get strange things like unasked for fish with my breakfast with my bacon. Ports: Unimpressive. Too many of the ports seemed to wind up being places where you can buy overpriced junk or drink overpriced drinks or use the internet at several dollars an half hour. Now, there's elements of that everywhere, but it seemed set up to ensure HAL would get a piece of everything including the taxi fares. I think Puerto Quetzel, the Guatemala stop was the extreme example of this. At least in Nicaragua you could walk into the town. Disembarkation: We got no guidance for the final day, no word about whether restaurants would be open, etc. I liked the luggage direct service and thought it was reasonably priced. Slightly late disembarking, no problem, but announcements would have been nice. A better arrangement for the taxi line outside would have been good so that people didn't have to walk through the line to get a taxi. Passengers: Very old, at 48 the woman in charge of the kid center kept eyeing me for lack of actual children (I think I saw one teenage girl). I do not want to be harsh on my fellow passengers, but I did not have an intelligent conversation in two weeks. Now, I am vulnerable to comeback on that, as I was part of each such conversation, but believe me, it was not me! Activities: Just a couple of things. I played the trivia. I did not like the fact that the final trivia question in both games the final names was to give names/personal information for crew members like the local Julie and Isaac (please forgive me, I am bad with names for people I have known for years!) That seemed unnecessarily smarmy. Anyway, I am out of time. I may add more later. I am trying Princess last year, I did not particularly like HAL. Maybe I will in 20 years? Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
I have done this repo cruise from Lauderdale to Vancouver several times over the last 10 years. Last one on HAL was 6 years ago. I was very disappointed with the cutbacks that have taken place over this time. For example, no more Rosario ... Read More
I have done this repo cruise from Lauderdale to Vancouver several times over the last 10 years. Last one on HAL was 6 years ago. I was very disappointed with the cutbacks that have taken place over this time. For example, no more Rosario quartet in the dining room, waiters no longer seat guests at the dinner table, no more lemonade on the prom deck, no chocolate truffles in Explorer lounge,no more big band dancing on mainstage, atrium or crows nest. The movie theatre has 30 seats, for 1850 passengers., not sure what they were thinking here. Food was mediocre at the best of times, so the Pinnacle grill was frequented more than once, for 20$ it is still excellent.Zuiderdam is in terrible condition, and really really needs a refit. Condition of the decks was dirty as was our balcony. The rattan ottoman was so beat up we had it replaced, with a chair? Outerdeck and pool chaises were dirty and beat up. I would not recommend this ship to any cruiser. I should have done my homework more diligently for this cruise. Despite being the first ship of the vista class and now 10 years old, I was sure she would have been much better upgraded. So, be advised and check out when refits have taken place. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2010
We had to wait 4 hours in hot crowed warehouse before boarding. We had a "guaranteed" stateroom B or better. We got an "A" and thought it would be wonderful. What a JOKE. We got one of the "NEW" rooms on the ... Read More
We had to wait 4 hours in hot crowed warehouse before boarding. We had a "guaranteed" stateroom B or better. We got an "A" and thought it would be wonderful. What a JOKE. We got one of the "NEW" rooms on the 7th level the best level. Think again. First, we entered our room and it was under-construction. The toilet did not work for 24 hours; yes it took two days to have a toilet we could use. My wife and I had to go up stairs to the LIDO to use the restroom (community restrooms that did not work all the time). Very nice at night and the morning. Great fun. Paid for a great room and get an outhouse. But here is the best (WORST) part it; the toilet was full of someone's (Construction worker's?) URINE. That's right - 24 hours of smelling someone's URINE. The front desk, managers had NO SOLUTIONS. A/C worked on and off. During the entire cruise (19 days) Water leaking from the ceiling 5 to 8 days. Our stateroom was totally flooded on the 10th day of the cruise. Could not use out [aid for room for TWO (2) days. Hot water problems. First no hot water, then later on cruise no cold water, and even on the 18 day had no hot water. COLD SHOWERS and I had to pay full fare. Beautiful balcony was UN painted as of Dec. 16th, later on cruise they got around to painting it. Could no use it for two days because of their painting and the smell was just so fine it really made you want to seat out there with the paint odor. Pool. After the 5th day the water turned GREEN. Finally after enough complaints they drained it. Oh I forgot they also broke glass lights on day and the glass fell into the pool. You think they would have drained it again. Think again. The dinning experience was also lacking. This was the worst I have experienced. We sailed three months prior on a CHEAP Carnival Mexico cruise and the food and service was as good if not better. The Pinnacle room (Their FINE dinning) was also very poor. The staff was School teachers who had never waited tables. The food was so, and sometimes COLD. A beautiful steak COLD. Lobster salty. One night waited 1 hour to get BREAD. Did not get out of the place for 3 hours. CORPORATE made a decision to sail KNOWNING the problems. Corporate past the buck to the Cruise ship personnel. The manager and captain gave us letter of apology on the last day. Their solution was to give a SMALL credit for another HAL Cruise that had to be used in one year. NOT GOOD. This is the Worst showing of a cruise ship I have had. From the first day until the last. The desk personnel was in-experienced and without a clue of what to do. This should be a mark on their records. The Captain and Hotel Manager should look at this as their VALDEZ. Do not sail on a retro-fitted SHIP for the first 6 months. BEWARE! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
After checking in at around 11.30 am, they made me and a very large number of people wait, in an extremely hot warehouse before boarding. As a result of this treatment, a large number of people fainted in the heat and I believe it would ... Read More
After checking in at around 11.30 am, they made me and a very large number of people wait, in an extremely hot warehouse before boarding. As a result of this treatment, a large number of people fainted in the heat and I believe it would have been unlawful to treat cattle this way, let alone humans. I eventually boarded the Roterdam at around 4.30pm only to find my cabin was not ready for occupation but was in fact in a filthy and dirty condition. My cabin in fact was not fit for occupation until about the fifteenth day of the cruise. However, throughout the cruise the cabins carpet had the odour of vomit. The Air Conditioning did not work in my room until the 15th day of the 19 days holiday, inspite of my multiple complaints to the front desk and indeed an email to Holland America, which continues to remain unanswered. I only received fresh towels and any toiletries on the third day. It was most unpleasant and uncomfortable to have to sleep in these elevated temperatures. The television remote control did not work and after 3 days of complaining I bought my own batteries for the remote control, which resolved the problem. My bag took eight hours to reach my cabin so I was unable to have dinner in the restaurant and had to eat in the Lido on the first night. I subsequently found the Lido to be insect infested and was not the most pleasant of dining experiences. At this point I discovered the ship had just come out of dry dock, after a failed and incomplete attempt at refurbishment. Unfortunately and throughout the voyage there were trades men working to fix the major faults, meaning that lesser problems such as air conditioning and TV removes were completely ignored. The ship also had a new crew. It was evident none of which had been trained. Also many of the new crew did not speak English. The passengers often ended up helping the crew because they did not have a clue what to do. The main restaurant was an absolute disaster. It was impossible to get your water glass refilled and ordering any type of drink or wine was ridiculous to say the least. I am still waiting for my drinks, as they never arrived! Actually dining was quite an interesting experience, as you could compare problems with other guests. I count myself lucky as to only have a room without air conditioning and the smell of vomit. Many other guests had far greater problems including raw sewage floating around in their cabins, as indeed there was in the deck 1 port side hallway aft to mid ships. Many passengers had multiple room changes due the foul leaks. I believe more lifts were out of order than in order, certainly mid ships, only 1 out of 4 worked. In recognition of all the faults with the cruise, we were given a free bar for 1 hour. I was so disgusted at this inadequate offer; I did not have a free drink. There were simply so many problems, and staff were finding it very difficult to cope. However, I believe it is completely wrong that the hotel manager could be found every evening in the crows nest bar getting inebriated. I believe he should have been training and or helping his staff to fix all of the problems before he drank himself into a stupor with the passengers. Incidentally, the bars continuously ran out of drink and 4 days before the end of the voyage, the entire ship had run out of light beer and Bookers. The front desk was an absolute joke. There was three or four staff but every time I went there the staff interfered with each other issues, so they could only deal with two passengers at a time. I found this to be extremely rude. Every issue I visited the front desk with, they failed to resolve. Including Air con, TV remote, being charged 3 times for the same bottle of wine, paying my Internet bill (they charged me twice). The plaque beside the front desk claiming five star service also insulted me. This should be removed until the ship and crew attains that standard of service. The penultimate insult was the immigration process, which turned out to be another Holland America absolute disaster with many passengers missing their flights. Immigration for non-Americans should have started at 6.15am and finished at 7.30am. The process was unable to start until 7.00am due to the incompetence of the ships staff, combined with a total lack of organisation. By 8.00am many passengers who have flights to catch were becoming very agitated and distressed. Jason, the cruise director quickly exited once things become heated, leaving his non-English speaking colleagues to deal with unhappy passengers. Subsequently pandemonium engaged and the environment became so dangerously heated, immigration staff had to stop the immigration process and take control of the situation (thankfully they did). The staff were paging passengers that required interviewing by immigration. However, these people could not be interviewed for queuing and because of the length of the queue, so many people were paged 3 or 4 times. I have since discovered the paging people already there, was to enable ship to blame the disorganised immigration on overseas passengers. Let me be clear, the reason the ship disembarked late was the ship was not ready for the immigration process. Not passengers arriving late. The ship should have been cleared by 8 am. It actually took until 10 am. The final insult was disembarkation. There were so many people desperate to catch their flights due to the delayed immigration clearance that many queued up in the gangways and staircases. It was not possible to exit the lifts for the number of people queuing. They did not clear the gangways but made those people wait. They then called people with priority forward, but these people had to climb over the waiting people to get off. Many people fell and suffered injures as a result. Simply put, there were just so many problems with this cruise, it is very hard for me to list them all. In summary this was the most disorganised and chaotic cruise I have ever been on. Thankfully there were no emergency safety issue during the cruise because I do not believe this crew could have coped. If they cannot serve dinner correctly how would they cope in an emergency? The ship was certainly not fit for purpose. The crew were not fit for purpose and the cruise overall, was not fit for purpose nor a five star cruise. Read Less
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