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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had experienced a partial panama canal transit and decided we had to do a full transit. The workings of the locks is just fascinating if you've never been through it. It was just a relaxing day watching our ship travel through the ... Read More
We had experienced a partial panama canal transit and decided we had to do a full transit. The workings of the locks is just fascinating if you've never been through it. It was just a relaxing day watching our ship travel through the locks and the gentleman who escorted us on the trip with his facts regarding the canal was very interesting. It's hard to believe in this day and time when something starts deteriorating it is torn down and built anew and these locks are over 100 years old and are still operating in their original fashion with the same wooden gates! Staff on board was very courteous and our room steward, Nyoman and Muss were fantastic. They usually had our room cleaned by the time we returned from breakfast in the morning and were always smiling and making sure that everything was satisfactory. Dining room staff was a little slow the first week, however, they soon learned our beverage of choice and had it waiting for us when we sat down. Menu choices were varied and could have had a little more regular items to choose from, but for the most part, the food was tasty and temperature appropriate. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and we like longer cruises. We booked the Signature Suite. We needed extra room for the walker and no accessible rooms were available. The first glitch we encountered was that there were only 3 people available to get the wheelchair passengers to their rooms so we waited an extra hour to board. Upon eventually arriving at our suite, we were distressed to find that they have scaled down their bathroom doors below standard size, so it isn't possible to get a standard sized walker through the door. He had to grasp the counter and walk the length of the room holding on to reach the toilet. There was a full sized bathtub--useless to us--and the shower was so small with only one grab bar that he could barely use it. It was just about impossible to shower without flooding the bathroom. After having paid a couple of thousand dollars extra for a suite, this was a disappointment. The balcony door is very heavy and the thresh-hold very high. The good: the showroom, The Main Stage, is great for the disabled; one could put another row of seats between the row of seats on the lower floor and access is great. They have UHD huge televisions in the staterooms and a fair assortment of late movies to choose from. However, we couldn't get enough volume to be able to understand the dialog in the movies, while on all other channels you could have blasted it high enough to hear for a half block in either direction. The Main Stage did blast all their shows that loud. We had to go through immigration twice and had a serious issue with getting wheelchair assistance to get on and off the ship. We were misinformed both times by Guest Services. Phone contact, and even personal contact with Guest Services was poor due to lack of fluent English on the part of staff and difficulty hearing them on the phone. We had a dinner in Canaletto's which wasn't any better than in the main dining room. We had lunch in the Pinnacle which was very good, except that they served instant coffee with our dessert. The "worker bees", as always on HAL are wonderful. Food was acceptable, if not great. Over all, I think many cruise lines are subtlety (sometimes not so subtlety) trying to discourage disabled passengers, while trying to appear welcoming for good public relations. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Panama Canal was the reason we chose this cruise....I found it very acceptable for an older ship....We stayed in an outside cabin...of course, smaller cabin but was sufficient...room stewards were very good as were our dining room ... Read More
Panama Canal was the reason we chose this cruise....I found it very acceptable for an older ship....We stayed in an outside cabin...of course, smaller cabin but was sufficient...room stewards were very good as were our dining room waiters...Food was very good..the entertainment in BB Kings lounge and Billboard Lounge was absolutely wonderful...Now the negative .....we took a shore excursion in Panama..Aqua Clara locks and area tour....it was terrible...They drove around old housing of former base(about 20 mins) then they took us to Aqua Clara locks and left us there 2-21/2 hours....it was interesting to see ships go through these locks...it is about a 1 hr tops stop....the food at the concession stand was out of food only chips, ice cream and drinks were available....then we were driven to port in Colon to sit until ship arrived.....Definitely not worth the money......In Cartegena, we took the gem stone making tour..it was an acceptable tour until you had to go through the jewelry store to exit...Pretty high pressure to buy emeralds...Maybe they should have paid for the tour so they could get the chance to sell us their emeralds? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
It was a good cruise. Our main attraction in selecting this cruise was to go through the Panama Canal. The ship goes through the first lock. We bought a ship tour that took us through all the locks. It was a great experience! Wish the tour ... Read More
It was a good cruise. Our main attraction in selecting this cruise was to go through the Panama Canal. The ship goes through the first lock. We bought a ship tour that took us through all the locks. It was a great experience! Wish the tour took us to see the Panama City also, as the tour was not cheap. The service, food was good. I would like to recognize Gede, Eko, KD and Mauro for their excellent service and taking care of us during dinner. Our room was serviced by 2 pleasant people. Computer classes were a hit, the instructor was pleasant and wonderful. But the space was limited. 5-10 more computers would help. Shows and entertaining was good. Enjoyed the drums show. Went to all the bingo games, thought it was a bit expensive. Adding one or two more ports would have made the experience a bit more fun. We were at sea for more than 2 long stretched days, Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We were looking for a Panama cruise and this fit the bill as far as the ship, type of passenger, itinerary. The ship itself was very nice, the crew were good, the activities good. There was plenty of room on board with places to relax. ... Read More
We were looking for a Panama cruise and this fit the bill as far as the ship, type of passenger, itinerary. The ship itself was very nice, the crew were good, the activities good. There was plenty of room on board with places to relax. The pool and hot tubs were not too crowded. Overall, a wonderful experience with friends. My complaints were as follows 1. The butter put out at breakfast for toast etc was rancid and moldy. The Lido restaurant staff were told about it by multiple passengers including myself, but it was not until almost 10 days after they were told of the problem that it was finally removed and replaced. 2. The snorkel/beach excursion in Huatulco was a fraud. The coral is almost completely dead. It was a sad experience and a total waste of money. We would have been much better off just going to the beach and restaurants in the main part of town. 3. They were trying to sell water as you got off the ship to go on shore excursions which included free bottled water. Maybe spend a little more time showing consideration for the passengers and a little less time trying to sell them stuff! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our second sailing on the Volendam (Sixth on Holland America, twenty sixth overall) It was a simple 15 day Panama Canal crossing from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale. What was remarkable to me about this cruise was that there was so ... Read More
This was our second sailing on the Volendam (Sixth on Holland America, twenty sixth overall) It was a simple 15 day Panama Canal crossing from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale. What was remarkable to me about this cruise was that there was so LITTLE to remark on. Everything worked, everything ran smoothly, the food was great, the ports were as advertised. On the subject of ports, we called on eight, and with one exception, we were the only ship at each port. That made for VERY pleasant days. As has always been our experience on HAL, the ship was full of "Baby Boomers", with few younger people on board, and virtually NO children. (Perhaps because the school holidays had just ended?) This led to all of the (many) enrichment lectures on board being VERY well attended, and late night entertainment being almost non existent. The ship itself was in very good condition, with virtually no issues. The only thing we noticed was one flooded bathroom, and that was (According to one of the engineering officers) due to "something" (I will refrain from being graphic) being flushed down the toilet that should not have been. Reaction by the crew as fast and efficient, and the effected passengers were well taken care of. Food on board this ship was "cruise normal", with meals in the main dining room being slightly above average, the food in the LIDO above what I have come to expect, (on mainline cruise lines) and the food in the Pinnicle Grill well above expectations. All in all a great cruise, well worth the cost, and highly recommended (IF you have no children with you, and IF you can entertain yourself and are not looking for the ship to entertain you all day every day. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Iren & Vadim Timof (72 years old. Fremont California). That was our 13-th cruise. We enjoyed with our Panama cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego (December 18,2018 to January 3, 2019). Service on board was excellent, but ... Read More
Iren & Vadim Timof (72 years old. Fremont California). That was our 13-th cruise. We enjoyed with our Panama cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego (December 18,2018 to January 3, 2019). Service on board was excellent, but dining menu in restaurant and buffet was poor. The same we can say about shops range. Very sorry. We liked all our excursions. It was very good arranged. Cabin service was very good. Everything was on time and with smile. We were exited with Christmas and New Year celebration, especially with lighting Christmas Tree and singing Christmas songs! Special thanks to a little girl who lighted Christmas Tree!. The most pleasure we got from Adagio music duo violinist Cristian and pianist Nadya. Cristian is an exceptional artistic talent. He excites the audience emotionally and engages each listener intellectually. He sparks a love for chamber music in the hearts of every listener. Thanks. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
The ship, unfortunately, was showing its age. Buckets were set up in different common areas so liquid that was dripping from ceiling could be collected most of the trip. In the Lido buffet area, liquid was coming up from the floor tiles ... Read More
The ship, unfortunately, was showing its age. Buckets were set up in different common areas so liquid that was dripping from ceiling could be collected most of the trip. In the Lido buffet area, liquid was coming up from the floor tiles and being mopped almost the entire trip. Last two days of the cruise, the ship had a problem with one of the azipods and had to max out the other to get to port on time, which caused an annoying vibration for the rest of the trip. Arrived at port over late 3 hours because of the azipod issue, causing some people to miss their flights Can't say enough about the crew, always cheerful and ready to help. Cabins were nice and kept very clean. Been on Holland America before, but on this cruise talent was not as good. BB King lounge was more like a high school band (singer had great pipes though). Main stage acts, half were very good, others were mediocre at best (Other people seemed to enjoy and would disagree with us). Food was varied and again, unbelievable service in dining and lounge areas. I like Holland America and will cruise again with them, everybody has a bad day now and then. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My wife and I were on Holland America's Niew Amsterdam for its 18-day cruise through the Panama Canal, departing San Diego October 3, 2018 and arriving in Ft. Lauderdale on the 21st. Though we had many good-to-great experiences on ... Read More
My wife and I were on Holland America's Niew Amsterdam for its 18-day cruise through the Panama Canal, departing San Diego October 3, 2018 and arriving in Ft. Lauderdale on the 21st. Though we had many good-to-great experiences on this voyage we also had far too many disappointing ones. Highlights of the good-to-great experiences are as follows: 1. The ship's decor is spectacular, a feast for the eyes, beautifully color-coordinated with attractive furniture, fixtures and (especially) carpeting. 2. Staff universally were dedicated to pleasing passengers. Theirs was a "can do" attitude, always served with a smile. 3. Though a large ship (2,000+ passengers), it never felt crowded and there was never a sense of having to stand in long lines. Even entering and exiting the ship was an effortless process, always well-managed. 4. Even with winds and relatively high swells no one seemed to get motion-sick. The ship was wonderfully stable at all speeds. 5. Entertainment was excellent, especially the five young women (playing two violins, one viola, one cello and one piano) in the Lincoln Center Stage and the two individuals playing piano at night in the Billboard Lounge. The Holland America singers and dancers in the Main Stage also were excellent at their crafts. 6. There were many dining venues. Ratings below are from 1 (average) to 4 (excellent): Food Quality Service Value Lido Buffet--2 1 3 Main Dining--6 2 2 Tamarind--3 4 4 3 Pinnacle Grill--2 4 4 3 Canaletto--3 3 4 3 Sel de Mer--2 4 4 3 There were upcharges ranging from $15 per person at Canaletto to $49 per person at Rudi's Sel de Mer. A value rating was given only to the last four restaurants, which were the upcharge restaurants. The numbers following each restaurant's name are the number of nights we ate there. In total we spent $596 in upcharge costs on this trip. Having one bad experience aboard a Holland America ship is understandable and acceptable. Nothing is perfect. However, we had eight experiences that were disappointing (spa, hydropool, food quality in Lido buffet and Main Dining, smoking on ship, bingo, ports of call scheduled, ports skipped and our excursion-related drop-off at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. 1.Spa services were seriously over-priced and spa staff members were unpleasantly aggressive in selling spa products and services. Spa promotions appeared at first blush to offer real bargains but the fine print said otherwise. My wife and I had two couples massages, both of which were fine for my wife. My first massage was so mechanical in was not at all relaxing, so I requested a different therapist for the second one and she was fine. The first therapist was extremely pushy in selling me skin products, which I promptly returned (unused) three days after I'd purchased them. The spa staff person reluctantly processing my refund made it clear she was not happy with my return. 2. The spa's hydropool was OK but was incredibly over-priced. We were not familiar with the Niew Amsterdam's hydropool but assumed it was as large and enjoyable as the one on the Holland American's Koningsdam, which it was not. At $599 for the entire cruise--no daily pricing offered-the hydropool was a total ripoff. We and one other couple apparently were the only two families naive enough to pay $599 so we had the hydropool to ourselves the entire cruise. 3. If the food in the Lido Buffet and Main Dining had been better we would not have gone to the upcharge restaurants so frequently, far more often than we originally intended to do, spending an unbudgeted $596 as a result. 4. Smoking was permitted on the aft deck of the ship on the same level as the Sea View swimming pools, one of the two pools on this ship. We would have enjoyed using that pool because it was not covered by a roof, and it was wide open in terms of views whereas the main pool was enclosed on four sides. Also, the main pool became hot and humid when the roof was covered, which happened frequently. 5. Bingo was over-priced and my perception is that it was literally impossible to win the large cash prize until the last day bingo was played. Consequently, passengers who played bingo daily in order to try winning the large prize (growing from about $1,400 to about $2,200 at the end) spent a lot of money buying cards that probably could not win until the last day, when numbers continued to be called until a winner yelled "bingo!" I say "probably could not win" for two reasons. First, to cover 24 squares (plus "free") within the first 50 numbers called is mathematically almost impossible. Second, because the ship knew which cards were being played it would be easy to program the electronics of the numbers being called to assure that those numbers ensure no one could win. 6. As readers can learn by reading the itinerary for this cruise, the ports of call are not all that great to begin with. We have cruised on Holland America at least seven or eight times and another 5 to 10 times on other ships so we should have known better than to select this cruise. It fit conveniently into our schedules, and included the Panama Canal, but we could have chosen better. 7. We had more sea days than planned (10 days on an 18-day cruise when we had no opportunity to go ashore, versus 8 days originally scheduled as Sea days). High winds prevented the ship from entering one port in Mexico and in another port (Coast Rica) high swells prevented passengers from boarding the ship's tenders for the ride to shore. Both decisions reflected the captain's concerns for the health and safety of the passengers and crew. Nonetheless, Holland America could have offered some token as recompense for the missed ports, but did not. 8. Because we would be getting off the ship October 21 at 8:30 a.m. and our flight home was not until after 5 p.m. we signed up for a four-hour land and sea excursion, which was delightful. The bad part about it was the tour director, Bonnie, having the bus driver take her back to her car, which was parked at the port, before the driver took 40-50 of us to the airport. When we got to the airport two things happened. First, there were some missed luggage issues, eventually corrected with the help of other bus drivers, because our driver spoke virtually no english. The tour director should have been on our bus, at the airport, to resolve those problems instantly. Second, in sending us off to the airport Bonnie said I was to exit the bus at the third of three stops, but using mainly gestures the driver insisted we exit at the second stop, which turned out to be considerably farther from our check-in counter than the third stop would have been. By dumping us out at the second stop the driver then had an empty bus and could skip the third stop. It was a long walk, up an incline, for me. And if a kind airport employee had not offered to get a wheelchair for my wife it would have been a much longer and tougher walk for her. Overall our cruise had many attractive and enjoyable features. Unfortunately, it also had far too many disappointing experiences. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was a cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. The embarkation went very smoothly. I had to fly into Vancouver the day before and there was a shuttle back to the airport, which then took us to the port. It ... Read More
This was a cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. The embarkation went very smoothly. I had to fly into Vancouver the day before and there was a shuttle back to the airport, which then took us to the port. It took very little time for embarkation, and I was directed every stage of the way. My room was ready as soon as I boarded the ship, which was very convenient. My cabin was on the 4th deck at the very front of the ship, and even though the Pacific Ocean was fairly choppy, I had no issues. I found the aft of the ship as choppy as I found the forward. I actually had a great view from my balcony while going through the Panama Canal. The cabin was kept spotless, the 2 cabin stewards were professional and friendly, knew I was traveling on my own and always had a pleasant conversation with me. It was important to me to feel "safe" as I was traveling solo, and I did feel very safe on this ship. The Lido dining area was actually my favorite because I was traveling on my own and could take my food to the aft pool area and have my dinner in the sunshine! I enjoyed the Pizza on the Lido deck and the serving staff on the Lido deck was professional and friendly. The quality of the food was very good, and I really liked the fact that it was not a buffet, but that there were servers who handled your plate and the food. There were tongs for items such as bread, buns. However I did not like to use them because I know there is a lack of handwashing by many people. My one complaint was that the purell stations were "voluntary" and most passengers would walk past them. So I would use a disposable napkin when I had to use the tongs. I did go to the main dining room for some of the dinners, but found that I was wasting time waiting for my food, while I could have been enjoying the sun and the pool. It is also very different traveling on one's own, then on other cruises where I have been with a family member and the dining experience is more comfortable, as I would have to introduce myself, etc., and make small talk with people who I would never see again. However, overall the food was good, the wait staff were very polite and they work hard. I like the music venues very much...enjoyed the BIllboard pianos, BB Kings, the Lincoln Stage, and attended a few shows, I do not gamble or play bingo, or use the spa services, so have no opinions on that. I also did not go to specialty restaurants. The guest services staff were very pleasant any time I had interactions with the. I did have room service on the mornings I did a tour, which was very convenient, and the food was hot and a good start for the day. We were unable to disembark due to weather or waves, and tours I had booked through the cruise line were reimbursed on my Navigator account within the day. Because I was solo, I booked the excursions through the cruise line, and was not disappointed. Don't forget, one does not have to buy anything at any one of the stores or markets that are included in the tour. I went to see the culture, the scenery, and get a taste of the life of other cultures. I did not buy any food on the tours because I had paid for my food on the cruise. I also took my water from the ship, so beyond a tip to the tour guide, if it was a good tour, my days were very economical. I felt safe having booked through the cruise line that I would get back to the ship. The only place I did not book a tour was Aruba, and went on a local bus, knowing I could get back to the ship on time, as the Island is very small and there seemed to be a lot of taxis about. The disembarkation could have been handled somewhat better, but the process was beyond the Holland America Line because it involved American Customs who only had 2 agents on for the international visitors, who made up the majority of the cruise line passengers. So that really slowed things down. But once the Americans made their way through, the customs opened all the lanes for everyone else. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
THE FOOD Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind are amazing, both in quality of food and service. Main dining room and buffet also had great service, but the food was hit or miss (which is to be expected for mass production). Also to be ... Read More
THE FOOD Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind are amazing, both in quality of food and service. Main dining room and buffet also had great service, but the food was hit or miss (which is to be expected for mass production). Also to be expected: the buffet area can be a madhouse at times and finding a table for larger groups can be a challenge. The main dining room was just the opposite: most table around ours were empty on the two nights we ate there. ENTERTAINMENT Billboard Onboard was great fun, especially the request shows later in the evening. It was great to see everyone sing along and have a great time with the two performers. Only caught the illusionist on the Mainstage and was surprised at how great his show was. Didn't spend time at BB King, America's Test Kitchen, or Lincoln Center Stage, but did walk by during performances and all appeared to have standing-room only (Lincoln Center Stage sounded incredible, so sorry to have missed that performance). GREENHOUSE SPA Like any cruise, spa treatments on board aren't cheap, even when they offer special discounts. What's worse is the up-sell on products after every spa appointment. However, we did make great use of the "discounted" spa pass that allowed daily access into hydro-pool, saunas, and ceramic-heated loungers (for $149 per cabin with two passengers). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Convenient as if departed from Vancouver, about 1 hour from home. Good price as is with most repositioning cruises. Love Florida. Ports were poor. A morning in the industrial section of Seattle was not impressive. Several central American ... Read More
Convenient as if departed from Vancouver, about 1 hour from home. Good price as is with most repositioning cruises. Love Florida. Ports were poor. A morning in the industrial section of Seattle was not impressive. Several central American ports were industrial and not worth stopping at. Huatulca was the best. We missed two ports because the captain chose not to enter because of swells. Received compensation. The ship is beautiful and we appreciate Lincoln Center with classical music evenings and afternoons. One gripe is that nearly every room and hallway has piped in music. I fell like I'm in Wal-Mar. After 22 days one gets pretty sick of the same castratos wailing about love and romance and everything wonderful and hot, hot, hot. Good variety of entertainment but quality, as on most cruise ships, wasn't there. Missed having a dedicated movie theatre. A movie in the afternoon doesn't cut it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We did the 20 day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Seattle. The ship was excellent. there were a few minor issues but overall it was great. We had an inside cabin, on deck 6, that was rather small, but we do not spend much time in our ... Read More
We did the 20 day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Seattle. The ship was excellent. there were a few minor issues but overall it was great. We had an inside cabin, on deck 6, that was rather small, but we do not spend much time in our cabin, and at half the price of a balcony, was fine. the service and food was very good. where HAL suffered was in the entertainment area. I realize that HAL caters to an older clientele. but some sea days were really void of any real activities. Once we hit Mexico the Mexican Ambassadors were great! They danced, sang, did crafts, and lectures. This is what HAL should concentrate on. We really felt like we were in Mexico on the ship. More culture is a good thing! The BB King and Billboard entertainment was great! But the main stage entertainment was sorely lacking. That is our biggest beef with HAL. We put together some videos of our trip on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJfB20GbP44qdu1YCLIjs6w Overall a very nice cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We've always wanted to do the Panama transit and Curacao has been on our bucket list for a very long time. Overall, the cruise was pretty good. The crew were amazing!!! The ship is a little smaller so we got to know a lot of our ... Read More
We've always wanted to do the Panama transit and Curacao has been on our bucket list for a very long time. Overall, the cruise was pretty good. The crew were amazing!!! The ship is a little smaller so we got to know a lot of our fellow passengers and it was easy to get around. We really enjoyed the Lido for the late night snacks opportunities. The food is always amazing on HAL but this cruise had WAY too much kale/Swiss chard. Every single meal had this greenery. Blecght! We realize the ship had just come out of dry dock so there were some issues, but the worst of it was the plumbing. Pipes were rupturing and MANY toilets were overflowing or plugged. We were lucky and only had one "plugged" moment towards the end of our trip. Our friends had to move cabins 3 times due to overflowing toilets, leaving sewage on their cabin floors. Another woman, with mobility issues, was told to use the toilets near the library as her cabin toilet wasn't working. Great idea except the toilets near the library were NOT working and overflowing water constantly. Overall we had a great time but the plumbing issues all over the ship were problematic. The entertainment in the theatre was terrible - lackluster, amateurish, repetitive. The crew shows were absolutely fantastic! The dancers and singers were horrible. We walked out of all shows. We really were hoping that we'd see more crew shows as they were truly great. Very talented!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Holland America 17 day cruise from Fort Lauderdale through Panama Canal on to San Diego checked off all the boxes. As usual food was good to great, housekeeping and dining staff friendly, accommodating and truly attempted to meet our ... Read More
Holland America 17 day cruise from Fort Lauderdale through Panama Canal on to San Diego checked off all the boxes. As usual food was good to great, housekeeping and dining staff friendly, accommodating and truly attempted to meet our every whim. The check out procedure through San Diego was exceptional. Took less than 10 minutes! A few specifics worth noting. Aji and Hendry in dining area were exceptional servers. My husband got a $40 hair cut in the salon and the gal cut his ear as well as the back of his neck using the clippers. Not sure if the gal was not experienced or just did not care. We visited the Tamarind restaurant. We got sushi as an appetizer, Sea bass and a steak. The steak was very good. The Sea Bass was severely overcooked and the sushi was worse than the all you can eat sushi restaurants. Why? The chefs were lazy and cut the vegtables in huge chunks rather than thinly sliced. Each bite was all cucumber as huge chunks of cucumber were in all the sushi we ate. I would strongly suggest skipping the Tamarind. Not worth the extra dough. Our largest disappointment with the cruise is frankly nothing Holland America can do. We are in our mid 40's and the crowd as well as itinerary on the cruise was very mature. We normally enjoy trying a few new things on sea days but the activities were Soduko, Crossword puzzles, listening to pianist, learning how to use email. The two events we looked forward to was a pub crawl visiting the 4 bars on the ship. Unfortunately both events were cancelled due to lack of parcipitation. Now the million dollar question...would we do this cruise again. Probably not unless we brought some friends. For sure a yes in 15 years but the lack of activities for physical able adults was low. We still love Holland America but for sure will reconsider longer duration cruises in the future to be sure cursory activities meet our expectations. Once again, NOT a Holland America issue aside from the smaller comments mentioned above. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We always cruise with HAL as our experience has always been very good. The Nieuw Amsterdam is well appointed, tastefully decorated with plenty of public rooms. We especially enjoyed the Explorers Lounge on deck 11, the baristas make a ... Read More
We always cruise with HAL as our experience has always been very good. The Nieuw Amsterdam is well appointed, tastefully decorated with plenty of public rooms. We especially enjoyed the Explorers Lounge on deck 11, the baristas make a great vanilla latte. There was also a great selection of puzzles, board games and books in this lounge which was well used by the guests. The crew on the ship are very professional and extremely approachable. The cabins are clean, comfortable with lots of storage, and the new flat screen TVS are great with excellent reception and lots of choices of current movies and four news stations. The food in the MDR was less stellar than on previous voyages and although we tend to stay clear of the Lido other than an occasional breakfast, however, this time we discovered that the lunch and dinner selections seemed more varied. The tray of various pastries was a pleasant treat in the Hudson Room (card tables set up). The PA announcements were limited which was pleasant. We absolutely loved the Billboard on Board Piano bar, Andy and Polina were excellent. Also the music in the BB King Lounge was well attended. We caught most of the main stage shows and the majority were good. We are HAL devotees. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We took this cruise for a chance to see the Panama Canal and all it's greatness. We arrived late at night the day before our cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn. We checked in online so our room keys were waiting for us. The ... Read More
We took this cruise for a chance to see the Panama Canal and all it's greatness. We arrived late at night the day before our cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn. We checked in online so our room keys were waiting for us. The Hotel was clean and the bed was compfy! We ate breakfast and took a taxi to the ship about 11am. The was no one in line, we went to the check-in counter, they took new pictures and we received our cabin keys. We only waited about 15minutes and our number was called to board the ship. After a little walk and an elevator we were in our cabin! The ship is in great shape! The Crows nest is gone :( was only negative we found. The Illusionist and John Denver group were the best. Entertainment was great the first couple of days and then was mediocre. The Room stewards, Sea View bar servers and Main dining room stewards were the best we have encountered on HA!!! Day 4:Cartagena, Colombia, too short a visit but Cartagens is nice (Hot always) Day 5: Panama Canal Was FANTASTIC! Day 7: Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), Costa Rica took a coffee tour, it was really nice.Tour guide was great. Day 8: Corinto, Nicaragua. Nicaraguan Treasures: El Viejo & Chinandega Our tour guide sucked, talked politics, hardly mentioned the country side. The meum was a few artifacts in a small building. Day 9: Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. Guatemalan Rum, Aged in the Clouds; and Antigua Sightseeing Tour was nice. Tour guide was informative and nice Day 10: Puerto Chiapas, Mexico. Chiapas through the Ages: Izapa Ruins & Tapachula tour was great once again, the guide was very informative and cared about the tour. The ancient Mayan archaeological site of Izapa is allot better than some reviews say. It is from 1500BC. Day 13: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Clean and no one pushing junk. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
I chose this cruise to reconnect with one of the world's major sights and to see the new locks which were not there in 2004 when I last visited. I also have never been to Cartagena, Colombia and heard nice things about Old Town ... Read More
I chose this cruise to reconnect with one of the world's major sights and to see the new locks which were not there in 2004 when I last visited. I also have never been to Cartagena, Colombia and heard nice things about Old Town which was a wonderful experience. In addition Curacao was a great place to visit. I could skip Colon, Panama and the town of Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. The ship itself is showing its age, but overall it was pleasant. There were five sea days, but there was not enough on board activity to keep me occupied. The staff were so polite and friendly. Now that I am a widower and travel alone I look forward to socializing with others, but I did not find much in the way of solo get togethers. Two bars, however, had a special each afternoon where your second drink was only two dollars and this allowed for social contact. I had an inside cabin which was plenty big for me as a single traveler. It was comfortable and was kept very clean by my attendant. I mentioned to my table mates one night that my birthday was the next and they informed the waiters which got me a sing along and a lovely cake the next night. Comedians on other ships that I have been on described the average age of Holland America passengers as in the early one hundreds, but I found a good age mix among the passengers. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
A few random observations about our rent cruise. Embarkation: Process was slowed by some kind of drill aboard ship. the waiting area at Ft. Lauderdale was therefore jammed and seats hard to find when DW and I arrived. Once boarding ... Read More
A few random observations about our rent cruise. Embarkation: Process was slowed by some kind of drill aboard ship. the waiting area at Ft. Lauderdale was therefore jammed and seats hard to find when DW and I arrived. Once boarding began the process was slow but smooth but the sudden onrush led to tremendous crowing at the Lido. Cabin: Our cabin was clean spacious and filled the bill. No complaints. Some rust on the verandah as others have noted but who cares when the view and weather are great. Dining: We found the service in the MDR to be very good and the food well prepared and interesting. Our waiters were very attentive and we found the number of staff to be an increase over recent HAL sailings. Entertainment: The BB King band was excellent as were the two young performers in the dueling piano bar. These two pianists seemed somewhat limited in their repertoire and amusingly had never heard of Neil Sedaka when one of his songs was requested. To their credit they came back the next performance playing and singing " Calendar Girl" which pleased their nightly overflow crowd. Ports: Took tours in Aruba, Curacao and Panama. The two islands were very alike with a lot of cacti and waves crashing into inlets. Some minor cave explorations. Overall just a good look at the islands for first timers. The entry into the Panama Canal and movement to the Gatun Lake was excellent. We when ashore from the lake with a tour that took us to the Pacific side of the canal and a visit to Miraflores locks. Well worth the trip. We also toured old Panama city where restoration of the historic area is taking place despite some opposition from the residents who fear being displace by gentrification. As we proceeded towards our bus and were passing the Presidential palace a motorcade of official vehicles appeared with lots of security. The window of one of the vehicles opened and our guide shouted "that's the President". Indeed it was Mr. Juan Varela the president of Panama who waved to us and then spoke with our guide. As a result we were permitted (rare) entry to the palace grounds and into the foyer of the Palace where we could take photos. A real unusual end to our tour of Panama Fellow passengers: We made friends with several fellow passengers who we joined for trivia, drinks etc. As usual with the vast majority of HAL guests they were bright, entertaining and good company. Disembarkation: A very smooth process that was well handled. Overall a very good ship and itinerary that we can recommend to anyone considering this area foer a future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
This was a bucket list trip for my husband but I was worried that we could be happy on a ship for ten days. We had also never sailed Holland America so for a treat we booked a signature suite. The ship had just come from dry dock and it ... Read More
This was a bucket list trip for my husband but I was worried that we could be happy on a ship for ten days. We had also never sailed Holland America so for a treat we booked a signature suite. The ship had just come from dry dock and it was beautiful and the cabin was terrific. Just a side note to Holland America who thought it was a good idea to put the tv over the couch? On the plus side the tv had a lot of tv shows and movies to watch. Have since done Royal Caribbean and Holland was better in every way including food and entertainment. We flew into Fort Lauderdale and stayed at the Hilton. Not our best Hilton as they were having air conditioner problems. We took a cab to the 15th street fisheries to eat upstairs and it was quiet, probably better in the more casual restaurant downstairs. Embarkation and debarkation very easy. Buffet was the best ever and we have sailed RC , Carnival, and Celebrity. We ate lunch that first day in the main dining room. Great food there too. The dueling pianos were great and the singers in the Blues Club were so talented. Half moon cay was ok, not beach people, so we should have done an excursion. Aruba was fun since we were there for so long really felt like we got to know the island. We did a ship's excursion around the island, ate at the Iguana Joe's restaurant, and visited the casino. We were probably the last people back. In Curaçao we took the train through town but we should have done a longer excursion to get a better feel of the island. In Panama Canal we stayed on the ship and it was great but I wish we could have done an excursion, nothing offered that seemed interesting. The port of Colon was terrible. Costa Rica was my reason for the trip and we did the Canal boat excursion. We saw monkeys and sloths. Limon did not seem safe so maybe not the best introduction to Costa Rica. All in all a great trip, great weather, and we did ten days with no problem! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This cruise represented a couple of firsts for us; it was the first time we had booked air and transfers with the cruise line, and the first time we had a verandah stateroom, both of those proved to be nice additions to the cruise ... Read More
This cruise represented a couple of firsts for us; it was the first time we had booked air and transfers with the cruise line, and the first time we had a verandah stateroom, both of those proved to be nice additions to the cruise experience. As this cruise started out of San Diego we took a risk and booked our flight for the departure day as it is only a two hour flight from home and there are a multitude of flights everyday. We had the quickest check-in experience we have ever had, perhaps because we were later in the day. It was a little odd that some of the online check-in information such as credit card info and the request for twin beds had not come through, but those things were taken care of quickly. Our stateroom was a good size for two with enough room to unpack our things, though slightly more counter space might have been nice. The verandah was more enjoyable and useful than we had anticipated. We used it as a quiet place to read and for bird watching during the day, and for stargazing at night. We were at the stern and just one deck above the Promenade. The stern of the Promenade is closed to passengers during the canal transit so it was a great advantage to have this verandah as it provided an up close rear view going through the locks. The ship has beautiful and interesting artworks throughout, I particularly loved the floor mosaic which was slightly damaged but still very beautiful, although I cannot now recall whether it was on the Promenade or Lower Promenade deck. Some new touches since the last time we sailed with Holland America that we enjoyed were: Lincoln Center Stage where there were 45 minute classical music concerts by a piano quintet five nights a week at 7:00 and 9:00 (and sometimes in the afternoon); EXC Guides, whose job is to tell you how to enjoy the port on your own, not the shopping stops or a big upsell for the shore-excursions, but facts about the country and area you are visiting and practical tips for how to get around and sights you might like to visit (some of the presentations were more helpful and informative than others); America’s Test Kitchen presentations which are a lot like watching a semi-live episodes of the show. We did not attend many of the evening shows, just the Planet Earth II in concert which was marvelous, and an Argentine group which was quite good. The food was, on the whole, excellent. We ate breakfast and lunch (when on board) in the Lido and dinner in the Dining Room each night. We had free seating and went to dinner between 5:15 and 5:45 every night which meant we never had a wait, but there were some long waits for those arriving later, particularly on gala nights. At breakfast the waits for omelets could sometimes be longish but generally not too bad and it was, as usual for Lido on every ship I have been on, often difficult to find a place to sit. At lunch there was a great variety in what was offered. The best were often the asian dishes, (the Indian food was amazing!) but they also offered some excellent vegetarian sandwiches. The taco bar was probably under-utilized and so offered a quick tasty lunch if you did not feel like standing in line for something. The burger/hot dog counter seemed to always have a huge wait, they even gave you a buzzer so you could sit while you waited, if you could find somewhere to sit. Dining room service could be slow, but the food was beautifully presented. There were a couple dishes that I did not like, but most were tasty and a few were excellent, including an amazing chocolate dessert which had a long name we had never heard of and cannot remember, so be sure to ask what something is on the menu if you don’t recognize it. For disembarkation we did not put our bags out as we only had carry-on sized luggage and we had booked an excursion and transfer (our flight was in the evening) so we were in the third group called after the expedited passengers and those who took advantage of the ships luggage direct service which transferred checked bags to the airport and checked them for you. The times were slower than expected so rather than being called at 7:45 we were called at 8:25 so we got a bit worried that we had somehow missed the call, It is the first time we have been on a ship that did not allow persons with only carry-on bags to depart whenever they wished. Puerto Vallarta Took “Two if by sea” excursion by motor Catamaran. The morning was cool and the water somewhat rough. On the way out we were given breakfast and an introduction to the area. We paused briefly at Los Arcos, small rocky islands, to see nesting Blue-footed Bobbies, Pelicans and Cormorants. We then suited up with snorkel, mask and fins for the first stop Majahuitas Cove. Our guide, a marine biologist, led the snorkeling bringing up sea creatures like urchins and sea cucumbers from the bottom for everyone to experience. Visibility was good near the rocks where we entered the water and there was a lot to see, then as we swam toward the beach where the boat tied up, reduced to almost nothing. It was a fair distance swimming and one man became exhausted and had to be towed back to the boat. The water was quite cold and the boat apparently had wet suits available, but I did not learn that until I was already in the water. There was a chance to kayak for those interested. After the water activities, brunch was sandwich fixings, including some really awesome roasted vegetables, more fruit, a macaroni salad, water and juice, and the bar was open for those so inclined. At the second stop, Yelapa we walked through town and up to a waterfall the guide went sometimes a little too quickly as some people got behind and did not get to hear some of the commentary about local plants and etc he shared along the way. It was a pretty little waterfall and a cute little town. We then had an hour on the beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas. On the way back to the ship the captain took a route further out to sea and we spotted a sea turtle, several Manta Rays, and we were very lucky to spend several minutes with Humpback Whales, a mother and baby. The crew put on a fun and rather silly lip sync show to keep us entertained when not spotting wildlife. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
My husband had always wanted to cruise the Panama Canal, so this time was his choice. This was our 4th Holland America cruise and it was a decent one, as they all have been, but the overall impression was of mediocrity. The food was OK, ... Read More
My husband had always wanted to cruise the Panama Canal, so this time was his choice. This was our 4th Holland America cruise and it was a decent one, as they all have been, but the overall impression was of mediocrity. The food was OK, the room was clean, our room stewards (Made and Rosa) were excellent, the entertainment was fine, although the Mainstage area was very cold. We also had a problem with dirty glassware in the Lido - something we had never experienced before. By the end of the trip, we were checking every glass for lipstick smudges or dried orange juice! I guess I was most disappointed with the offshore excursions. The only ones worth the time and money were in Huatulco - we went to the Zapotec ruins, which were interesting, and the coffee plantation in Guatemala, also extremely interesting, plus the lunch there was delicious! (coffee mousse, anyone?) They cancelled our snorkeling excursion on Half Moon Cay - they said the weather was too rough!??? - so that was a major disappointment. The trip to the old capital city of Leon in Nicaragua was also disappointing - they coupled it with a trip to the home of the poet Ruben Dario, and we spent far too much time there and not enough time in the small but very nice art museum. I could have easily spent another half hour or more in the museum as we only got to see a small portion of the artwork. It will be a while before we take another Holland America cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our 3rd Winter in a row to sail the Oosterdam for our COLD weather get away. We weren't disappointed. Having never sailed from San Diego, we didn't know what to expect. We stayed the night before at Springhill Suites, ... Read More
This was our 3rd Winter in a row to sail the Oosterdam for our COLD weather get away. We weren't disappointed. Having never sailed from San Diego, we didn't know what to expect. We stayed the night before at Springhill Suites, right across the street from the pier. We easily walked across the street about 1045 the morning of the cruise. There was a long line in the terminal, but it moved quickly. We are 4 star mariners, so we got through the priority check in and were seated in the priority boarding area within 20 minutes. They started boarding by 1130 and we were quickly to our room. Our signature suite was remodeled a few years ago, but it was in great shape. Our cabin steward came to check our room right after we arrived. Both stewards were very friendly and efficient. Any requests we made were taken care of with a smile. The ship had a few more bangs and worn edges than it did last year, but it was still in good shape. It was going in for a 2 week dry dock after our cruise, so I imagine some carpet and upholstery will be changed. The crows nest, library area, and Explorations Coffee cafe upstairs was still nice. I understand that's all going to get the new "remodeling " to change it to the EXC area. We always ask for fixed main dining, table for 6. That's what we got and we enjoyed our evening meal. The dining room certainly wasn't full on any night. Our stewards were always happy and very attentive to our wants. We found the selections to be very good most nights and the food was very tasty except for 1 dry chicken dish. We thought 1 bad entree out of 16 night's chioices was pretty good. The lobster, shrimp, and fish dishes were all very tasty. We ate all breakfasts and lunches in the lido. There were plenty of choices and ( except for the final morning) the workers were always quick with clearing tables and offering you drinks. We favor the Asian or salad bar for lunch most days. There was an occasional Dive burger. The evening entertainment met our wants. We don't really care for the production shows, but really enjoyed the comedians and impressionist singer. Each evening we attended the Billboard piano entertainment. We really enjoy the sing along ( although some may not enjoy OUR sing along). We took 2 ship tours which were very enjoyable and they were as stated in the brochure. Our ports were Puerta Vallarta, Hutalco, Guatemala, Nicauragua, Costa Rica, through the Panama Canal, Aruba, and Half Moon Cay. All of these had a quality of their own and were enjoyed. Half Moon was shared with Koningsdam, so it got VERY CROWDED by noon. We chose Luggage Direct, so disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was very quick. We were the second group called off, so we left our cabin about 7:35 and were through and to a cab by 8:05. The crew, seas, weather, and ports were all better that we had hoped for. ALL of this made for a WONDERFUL 16 days on the oosterdam. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Overall we had an excellent time on this cruise. It was our first Holland America cruise and they did not disappoint. The ship is older (built in 2002), but it is in very good condition and obviously recently refurbished. It is not as big ... Read More
Overall we had an excellent time on this cruise. It was our first Holland America cruise and they did not disappoint. The ship is older (built in 2002), but it is in very good condition and obviously recently refurbished. It is not as big as the newer mega-ships, but we thought this was actually a good thing. Embarkation and disembarkation were both easy and relatively quick (probably waited 30-45 minutes for each). We were thrilled to be able to wait in our room for disembarkation. The average age for this cruise was older than we had experienced on any previous cruises (someone said the average age was 74 but I can't definitively confirm that). It was obvious, however, that we were in the youngest 10% onboard (we are in our mid 50s). Although we thought this could be an issue when we boarded, it actually ended up having a lot of advantages. There was not any crazy partying during the cruise. The pools were usually almost empty and we had a pool to ourselves quite frequently. Lounge chairs were always available and there wasn't any crazy "saving" of chairs that we've had on past cruises. The older cruisers ate early so if we dined after 7:30pm neither the dining room or buffet were crowded at all. Stairways were also virtually empty (everyone took the elevators). Also, after the first day, the fitness center was not crowded at all. We did have to be patient quite a lot with slower individuals and many people with scooters, wheelchairs and walkers. The itinerary was great (and that's why we took this particular cruise). All of the ports were great. Since the ship does not transit the entire Panama canal, we highly recommend taking a tour that does so. You must book that tour through the cruise excursions. We were lucky to have fantastic weather (sunny and 80s every day except for one). The captain said it was the best weather in over 2 months. I'm sure this helped us have a great time. The food was good and was similar to what I've experienced on other cruises. We mostly ate at the buffet as we find that you have to commit too much time to a dining room meal. We thought the mainstage entertainment was average and so we didn't go much. However, the BB King All Stars were EXCELLENT. We wished we would have had more time to watch them each night. The quality of those musicians was the best I've ever seen on a cruise. Service was great - typical for a cruise ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
After recently sailing on both the Westerdam and the Noordam, the Zuiderdam was a bit of a disappointment. The ship had only recently come out of dry dock, but clearly there is a LOT more updating to accomplish. While the Gallery Bar, Lido ... Read More
After recently sailing on both the Westerdam and the Noordam, the Zuiderdam was a bit of a disappointment. The ship had only recently come out of dry dock, but clearly there is a LOT more updating to accomplish. While the Gallery Bar, Lido and Crow’s Nest were spiffy and polished, the ship was dated and shabby in many places, particularly our cabin (4174), as well as both the Ocean and Pinnacle Bar, and most public bathrooms on the ship. Also, the Zuiderdam was just not as well run as the Westerdam or the Noordam. That being said, we had a wonderful cruise director (Saul Orr) and a great time on all the shore excursions we took in Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena and Panama. The Panama Canal was worth seeing, and the doomed rail car to the Miraflores Locks was well worth the cost and time involved. The food was uniformly good and the service by both our cabin stewards and wait staff was excellent, which is what we expect of Holland America. Read Less
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