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42 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We really enjoyed a glass of wine when the weather permitted watching the incredible scenery go by. The room was quiet and central, docking twice while we were still in bed and had not realized we were in port until we opened the curtains. Cleaned twice a day by the hard working crew. The water pressure in the shower was great with hot water immediately. Elemis products were of good quality, beds and pillows comfortable. Plenty of hangers in the closet. We had two meals in Tamarind, excellent, all but the desserts that we didn't finish. The cocktails in the Silk Lounge are interesting and very good with the bonus of a lovely view and quiet escape before dining in Tamarind. Pinnacle dining room for lunch at $10 a good value, try the Crab Cakes and the Sable Fish sandwich. Pinnacle for dinner is good but we think Tamarind a more interesting menu for the price if you are just choosing one. Canaletto was good too, however, the atmosphere isn't the same as the other two specialty restaurants but at only an additional $10 well worth it. We were quite surprised that none of the specialty restaurants were near to capacity on the four occasions we dined in them. Did happy hour from 4-5 in the Crow's nest a couple of days and the best time to have a drink as only $1 more for a second cocktail or beverage. Enjoyed the coffee bar in the Explorers lounge too as hubby a bit of a coffee snob. We carried on 6 bottles of wine. Two corkage free as they were consumed in our stateroom. The other 4 bottles incurred a corkage fee of $18 each. We saw this as an opportunity to enjoy quality wine we had been cellaring for many years with a chef prepared meal. It was easily done as the four bottles were stickered and corkage charged to our room as we embarked in Vancouver. We had a cloth wine bag that we transported the wine in to and from restaurants. We had open dining in the MDR. We made reservations usually the day before for 8:00. We never waited for more than 5-10 minutes before getting a table. Service and food there was good too. The ship is tasteful with plenty of art to discover. The ship was sold out but the only time it felt crowded was in the Lido, the rest of the time it was hard to believe it was at full capacity. If you are sailing out of Vancouver on the Nieuw Amsterdam and are interested in bringing on some of your own wine there is a BC Government Liquor store within four blocks of the ship. One of us shopped as the other sat with the luggage at the Pan Pacific Hotel. We arrived at 12:30 to embark in Vancouver and were aboard by 1:30. We understand that this was not everyone's experience so we would suggest allowing yourself ample time. Disembarkation for us was 15 minutes, long lines but it went smoothly for us. We had 3.5 days of rain and 3.5 of better and some excellent weather. The scenery on sunny days blew us away, spectacular. Absolutely recommend. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which included the Riviera, several stops in Provence, and a stop for the Alhambra (although Granada was quite a distance from Almeria, it was worth the trip). We are 2 active Americans in our 30s, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which included the Riviera, several stops in Provence, and a stop for the Alhambra (although Granada was quite a distance from Almeria, it was worth the trip). We are 2 active Americans in our 30s, no kids. We went in late May and had PERFECT weather: only a few sprinkles here and there, temperatures never above 75 F! We stayed one night in Rome fairly close to Termini station, and found the train to Civitavecchia to be very nice, although you have to walk quite far to get to the platform. Once we arrived in Civitavecchia station it was a bit confusing how to get to the ship; there's supposed to be a bus but we didn't find it. It was a bit too far to walk with luggage, but we made it. Embarkation was a breeze, and disembarkation was very nice - we really liked being able to stay in our state room until our group was called. We waited about 30min after it was called and walked right off, got our luggage, and were on to the next adventure. The ship itself is very elegant. Almost all of the staff are Indonesian, unlike other ships we've been on that had more diversity. They were all very friendly and spoke good English. The clientele of the ship was significantly older than we're used to (we've only sailed Princess and Seabourn before). We were (jokingly) asked several times if we'd wandered onto the wrong ship. I counted a grand total of 6 children onboard the entire time, and only a few other middle-aged couples like us; at least 90% of the pax were in their late 60s to 80s. Mainly Americans, but quite a few Australians too. Because of the small size of the ship (or the age of the pax?) there weren't a lot of activities onboard, but we were in port most of the time anyway. We did miss the people watching we've previously enjoyed in the Princess atrium. The overall atmosphere was very quiet and peaceful. Service was generally very friendly and helpful, except for the people in the Lido buffet who either didn't speak good English or were cranky. While I felt everything was sanitary, some details of cleanliness were less than stellar. For example, the phones and makeup mirror in our cabin had clearly not been wiped in some time, and there was crud around the edge of the bathtub that floated atop my bath every night (I easily scrubbed some of it off with a washcloth the first night, but it reappeared from somewhere to leave a brown ring around the tub every night). We were pleased with 'anytime' dining; we had a grand time dining with a big table of CC'ers we'd met through this forum! Dinner selection was good, breakfast ok, and Lido not so great (but we never like the ship buffets much). We didn't have much lunch onboard since this was a port-intensive cruise, but we did enjoy the afternoon tea service a few times. They had a crepe station one afternoon which was a nice treat. We aren't big drinkers so we just ordered a few drinks a la carte; prices are reasonable. The coffee was TERRIBLE, including the espresso, so we stuck to tea. We also brought our bottles of wine onboard (1 each), but there was no corkscrew in the cabin to open it! We had some onboard credit which we used at Pinnacle Grill one night, but we didn't think it was really worth it. I ordered the crab legs, which were also available in the MDR later in the cruise, and was served an obscene quantity (perhaps 5lbs?), half of which was overcooked. We only did one ship excursion, to the Alhambra (Granada) from the port of Almeria. The rest of our excursions we arranged with private tour guides and fellow pax from the "roll call" forum. These all turned out to be really good experiences, and we enjoyed meeting the other passengers from the forum. Livorno: we've seen the sights in Florence, so we decided to DIY to Lucca, Italy. This required 2 buses and 2 trains; while not particularly difficult, it seemed like more effort than the little town was worth. The Puccini museum was a rip-off. Monte Carlo: the seas were very choppy and we later learned we were lucky to get to shore, as they stopped the tenders completely by noon. The marvelous Michel of Revelation Tours picked us up at the dock and took us to several beautiful Provencal villages including St Tourettes sur Loup, St Paul de Vence, Eze, and Nice. Though the Grand Prix Historique was going on, we had no trouble getting in/out of MC. Michel gave us fascinating details about the history and geography of the region as we drove. In Nice I really enjoyed the Chagall museum (he's my favorite painter), while the others in the group enjoyed a tour of the city. The boardwalk in Nice is also very beautiful. Near Eze we stopped at the Fragonard factory; we probably should've skipped this, as it wasn't that interesting even to the ladies. We had planned to go back out and see the casino in the evening, but the tenders were not running and we were too tired anyway. St Tropez: Again the wonderful Michel met us at the port and took us to the villages of Grimaud, Port Grimaud (none of us liked this "Disney-esque" resort), Ramateulle, and Gassin. He also took us to a wine tasting at a winery where they make the local (excellent) rose. Again we'd planned to go out and people watch in the evening but were too tired after dinner to venture back out. Ajaccio: We didn't have a tour arranged from this port, as there weren't many good options. We walked around the markets and the boardwalk, and then along the beach for awhile. We were back on the ship in time for a late lunch, along with most of the passengers. It was pretty but not particularly interesting. Almeria: This was the only ship excursion we took. It was quite a distance (2 hour drive), but the Alhambra is worth it! However, the excursion only spent an hour at the site and then 2.5 hours on lunch - I would've much rather flipped that proportion. Ceuta: We were really at a loss as to activities here, since we weren't interested in going to Morocco. An Australian couple we'd met earlier in the cruise attempted to DIY the border crossing and were deterred by "guides" insisting on hundreds of Euros to take them across. Others we talked to later said the ship excursion was worth it, though. We just walked around the small town, had some really great coffee, and walked along the beach for quite awhile. (The beach was fairly nice, and it was sandy unlike the rocky beaches of Europe). At least we can say we've set foot on the continent of Africa now! Marseille: We had a little difficulty finding our guide (Delphine, arranged for us by Nancy McGee), since the port won't allow private tour vehicles to park very close to the ships. Delphine took us to Aix-en-Provence, which was very beautiful and clearly more wealthy than other villages we had seen so far. There were very large markets going on while we were there. Since it was a perfectly clear day, she then drove us up to the highest European cliff at Cap Canaille for a spectacular view over the Med! We were amazed to see rock climbers on the sheer face. After that we took a short boat ride from Cassis to the Calanques, which are very unusual white rock formations that fall right into the sea. People were out sunbathing on the rocks, which looked very uncomfortable to us. Back in Marseille, Delphine drove us up the hill to Notre Dame, which was very beautiful inside and enjoys beautiful views over the city. Sete: At first we were confused on how to find our private guide, but then we realized we had to take the short bus ride to the port gates, where our guide was waiting. We were back with Michel, who showed us the Versailles-like gardens and Roman ruins of Nimes. The Colisseum-like arena (later turned bullring) was very well preserved. Then he took us to Uzes, which was one of our favorite villages. However, the highlight of the trip was the visit to the old Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard! Barcelona: We were docked overnight here, and opted to take the ship's shuttle, which was worth it - it dropped us at the maritime museum. On disembarkation day we took a taxi directly to our hotel, where we stayed a few more nights. We enjoyed all the usual sights in Barcelona via metro or on foot, and especially appreciated the much cheaper prices on food and shopping! The beach at Barceloneta is pretty and well attended (including by topless and fully nude sunbathers). We booked timed entry tickets for La Padrera, Park Guell, and the Sagrada Familia, which helped with the crowds. A highlight here was the Camp Nou Experience, which was well done even for someone like me who doesn't really care for soccer (football). Though we enjoyed our cruise, we would probably not sail with HAL again due to the vast age difference, unless the itinerary was something we couldn't find elsewhere. Read Less
35 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our 16th cruise, second on Hal. We chose because of the new ship of the MS Koningsdam and the christening cruise, plus we liked several of the ports as well. It was one of the most fabulous trips we have ever taken. The ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise, second on Hal. We chose because of the new ship of the MS Koningsdam and the christening cruise, plus we liked several of the ports as well. It was one of the most fabulous trips we have ever taken. The Koningsdam ship is stunning and well-designed (I am an Interior Designer) so I was more critical than the average person and it was an entire time of eye-candy in the way the ship was designed. So many stunning areas of details and beauty every where you looked. Each public area was unique and it seemed like no dollars were skimped at all. Beautiful art everywhere, high-end fabrics and seating in each room. Dining Room was stunning and comfortable. So many options from the Culinary Center, The Pinnacle Grill, The Crow's Nest (our very favorite place), so many interesting bars and food areas. Food once again was fantastic and plentiful. The Pinnacle Grill was a beautiful experience with a fabulous menu and presentation. We LOVED the New York Pizza area at the Pool area for not such predictable food and a fun area for casual dining. Service on this ship was nothing less than outstanding every single place we went. They are doing something right as all their employees seem relaxed and happy and always always concerned that they pleased you at every turn. We have experienced this consistent high-level of service on very few ships, and it made our experience just fabulous! We honestly can't say enough about that. Areas we felt needed some more attention is the entertainment seemed to be hit or miss in the World Theatre. We were dissappointed many nights at the quality of shows both with HAL and those they brought on. We would have liked some live entertainment on the pool deck during the day, but that was never offered. They do a movie on the pool deck that is Amazing. They re-fit the chairs for a more comfortable experience, complete with great blankets and popcorn, pretzels and other food goodies. It is extremely well done and fun!!!! We were on the Christening Cruise and treated like royalty and they really outdid themselves on the whole experience. We felt like we were invited to a royal wedding which included a Gala in Amsterdaam, Fireworks leaving Rotterdam, invites to all the on-board activities with the Queen and other dignitaries, ringing of the bell and truly so much more. Way beyond what we ever expected. There were a few items we felt needed improving but there it is a reach in most cases. All we both can say is that this will be a life-long memory we will hold dear in our hearts and we felt it was worth every penny! As long-time cruisers and more discriminating as we get older, HAl, met those expectations and more. Simply...it was FANTASTIC!!!! Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We had a great time seeing Alaska, the weather was great and the scenery was beautiful but the ship was lacking in many areas. We had cruised on Holland many times in the past and really liked Holland. We are 3 Star Mariners but we ... Read More
We had a great time seeing Alaska, the weather was great and the scenery was beautiful but the ship was lacking in many areas. We had cruised on Holland many times in the past and really liked Holland. We are 3 Star Mariners but we stopped several years ago and started cruising on Princess, Royal and Celebrity solely due to Holland's smoking policy. We had too many bad experiences of sitting on our balcony and being bothered by neighboring smokers so we began to sail on other lines who do not allow smoking on the balconies or in the casino. We wanted to do another Alaskan cruise so we decided to give Holland another try. I'll list the positives first: 1) Alaska! It is an amazing cruise to do. If you haven't done one it should be on your bucket list. 2) We like the way Holland coordinates the food and activities with the area you're visiting. Alaskan beer on board, Salmon bake on deck, Polar Bear plunge, naturalist lectures and souvenirs in the gift shop all added to the Alaskan experience. 3) Holland's prices for drinks and speciality restaurants are considerably cheaper than other cruise lines. 4) The cabins and balconies are some of the best. The cabins offer so much storage space and our balcony was huge. We had a Signature Suite and love all the closets and drawers plus the large bathroom with 2 sinks, tub and separate shower and 2 medicine cabinets for storage. 5) BB Kings Lounge and the Piano Bar are nice music venues although the Piano Bar was a pretty quiet place. The entertainer Anna was good but not for a Piano Bar--she didn't really get the crowd involved--maybe it was her choice of music. Negatives: 1) Holland like a lot of ships have cut back. The food is not what it use to be, even the Pinnacle Grill was lacking this time. As other reviewers mentioned there were times that it was hard to find something to eat. Breakfast and lunch in the lido were okay with adequate amount of choices. The dining room food was just okay. We ordered cheese and crackers from room service one afternoon and received a few tiny pieces of cheese and no crackers. Desserts were terrible but they still have the best pastries in the industry and a large variety of juices at breakfast. 2) The Captain got us into Juneau and Victoria 2 hours late. He said it was due to weather but the seas were mostly calm and beautiful blue skies. An NCL ship that we sailed around with managed to get to the ports on time! So as a result shore excursions were cancelled or cut short. Ours were cut short so we felt rushed and did not get our money's worth. 3) As others mentioned the ship did not do a very good job of informing people what was going on. Other cruise lines have a morning show where the Cruise Director gives pertinent information pertaining to ports, disembarking, time to be back on board, etc. but there was none of that on this ship. This was the first cruise to Alaskan for the season but it seemed like it was the first cruise ever and the staff was figuring out what to do--including the captain. 4) Holland has always been known for great service but once again that seemed to be lacking as well. Service was fine but the crew seemed a little tired and worn down. Senior Staff were never visible around the ship, we saw the Captain one time, and it felt like it wasn't a happy ship to work on. 5)The smoking policy is still an issue for us! 6) There is Nothing to Do on the ship especially in the evening. We like to have a drink before dinner and listen to music or dance. The bars are quiet and boring. I think there was music from 4-5 maybe in one bar but we never heard any during the 6-8pm time except classical violin music. 7) The ship is very dated and worn. Wallpaper was falling off the wall in our hallway, teak tables and railings are very weathered, cushions are dirty and faded and lounge chairs are sagging. Our cabin had a leak, so everytime we showered the carpet in the cabin became soaking wet. They tried to fix it but never did, so we had wet carpet the entire cruise--wet enough that our suitcases under the bed were wet! There is a strong sewer smell on decks 2 and 3 constantly. Because the ship is older the ceilings are low and it feels dark and closed in. 8) We miss the formal nights! I know a lot of people don't but it was always fun to feel the elegance of everyone dressed up. They should just do away with a dress code but it's not enforced and we were told that they aren't allowed to say anything to passengers, so we saw shorts, overalls, ball caps, jeans and tennis shoes in the dining room on Gala Nights. 9) Holland doesn't offer incentives like the other cruise lines do to entice guests to sail again. On other lines we receive free internet and laundry because we've cruised enough but the lack of incentives on Holland along with the disappointing cruise will keep us sailing on other cruise lines instead of Holland. It's really too bad because Holland use to be at the top for food, elegance and service. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
As a long time HAL Fan we were looking for a quick respite from our busy life. We were stunned at how far HAL had fallen. Service was slow, error prone and wait times for dining were totally unacceptable. We have invested a lot of time ... Read More
As a long time HAL Fan we were looking for a quick respite from our busy life. We were stunned at how far HAL had fallen. Service was slow, error prone and wait times for dining were totally unacceptable. We have invested a lot of time with this cruise line, but our conclusion is that either this ship's crew are an anomaly or the corporate office is making significant cuts. Never saw the captain once during the cruise. Dining times took so long, it was impossible to see the shows. Crew seemed harried and unprepared. They lost a bottle of our wine and replaced it with a half used replacement containing less than we had left the night before. Pocket pagers they issued to notify of a table availability, would only work within the deck and about 100 meters. Nowhere to sit because others were waiting as well. One attendant actually suggested that if we thought the wait was too long, we should try the Lido!!!! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first cruise, and we love it. We cruised Alaska’s inside passage for 7 nights on HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam. We couldn’t have chosen a better cruise line and ship for our introduction to cruising. Embarkation at the ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and we love it. We cruised Alaska’s inside passage for 7 nights on HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam. We couldn’t have chosen a better cruise line and ship for our introduction to cruising. Embarkation at the Vancouver terminal took about 2hrs from the taxi drop off, through security and immigration, to finally opening our cabin door. Our balcony cabin was spacious, clean and well designed to maximize space and storage. Our luggage was already in the cabin so all we had to do was unpack, then head up to the Lido buffet for lunch. I’d been told the food on HAL was sensational and it was certainly true. Yes, granted we hadn’t cruised before so we couldn’t compare it to other cruise lines, but we consider ourselves well versed in food and you could consider us fussy. We found the buffet had a plentiful selection that was fresh and inviting. The salad bar was a stand out. We managed to eat at every dining option offered on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The main dining room was good, but not outstanding. Pinnacle Grill was our clear favourite and worth every cent of the surcharge. Tamarind and Canaletto Italian were also surprisingly nice and well worth at least one meal in each during the cruise. The only specialty dining experience we felt was over priced was the special event night of Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill. For approximately double the amount of the normal Pinnacle surcharge, we felt the food was no better and the service was the same (albeit very good, but altogether the same as always in Pinnacle). Apart from dining, I have to give great praise to the casual eating options of Dive-In at the Terrace Grill, where the burgers were so fresh and tasty. As were the delicious and fresh pizza’s made to order at the rear pool bar. The public areas, theatre, restaurants and bars on the Nieuw Amsterdam were all in great condition. The ship was very clean and obviously very well maintained. The average age of passengers was about 40-45yr old which was far younger than we anticipated. We’re in our early forties so this suited us perfectly. The onboard entertainment was excellent, ranging from cabaret style shows, music shows with contemporary tunes, blues band, and an excellent magician show. A few other things worth mentioning that we found appealing was the well-priced laundry service. A flat charge of USD$20 to fill a decent sized bag with as many dirty clothes as you can and have them laundered and returned to your cabin. We also liked that we were able to take more than 2 bottles of wine each onboard. HAL allows each adult passenger to take 2 bottles of wine on board surcharge free, and then charges US$20 per bottle there after. The crew overall were polite, efficient and helpful. The Captain was visible, as was the Cruise Director and destination specialist staff. Overall, we feel like we couldn’t have chosen a better ship for our venture into the wonderful world of cruising. A beautiful and majestic ship with wonderful food and wine, great service and immaculately clean. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Just got back from sailing on the Eurodam from Venice. We had a one night stay prior to sailing in Venice at the Bonvecchiati Hotel. The water taxi transfers from the airport to the hotel went smoothly. Our room at the hotel was a ... Read More
Just got back from sailing on the Eurodam from Venice. We had a one night stay prior to sailing in Venice at the Bonvecchiati Hotel. The water taxi transfers from the airport to the hotel went smoothly. Our room at the hotel was a little small but great location. On board ship, we were booked in a Deluxe Suite on deck 7. Our cabin was 7072 and our room attendants were excellent! Great size cabin with plenty of drawer space and closet space. Loved having two sinks and a separate shower and tub. The balcony was large with a table and 4 chairs and two other chairs with ottomans. We had main dining and our waiter Ali and assistant were excellent and the food was good. The Neptune Lounge was just down the hall and it was convenient for light snacks. Information and assistance from the staff in the lounge was very helpful instead of going to the pursers desk on main deck. Priority embarkation on the ports of call was very nice to have as well. The staff on board were always happy and very friendly. Overall an excellent cruise! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Embarkation went very smoothly. Stayed on deck 5 (Main). Very quiet, but felt like sleeping in a crate as ship is old and creaky with each sea swell. Had to take extra Bonine one night just to get to sleep. They need to retire the ... Read More
Embarkation went very smoothly. Stayed on deck 5 (Main). Very quiet, but felt like sleeping in a crate as ship is old and creaky with each sea swell. Had to take extra Bonine one night just to get to sleep. They need to retire the Veendam. Beware also bad sewage smell emanating from expensive lanai cabins. We noticed it as we took a deck walk one evening. Vegan menu in main dining room disgusting. Lido Deck has better vegetarian choices. Liked Lido Deck food. Room service was good for breakfast, and on time. #1-Quebec-Beautiful! POURED rain. Very walkable. Erico Chocolate Museum a must for chocoholics, excellent! Paillard's lunch unremarkable, croissants awesome. #2-Charlottetown-Loved it! Old historic buildings, churches, very walkable. Beaconsfield House, good tour, pretty. Gahan House Pub excellent for lunch, good service. #3-Sydney-Very walkable. Don't waste your money taking expensive Holland America tours here. Cossit House (C$2), Jost House (C$3), St. Patricks Church Museum (free) are literally one street over from where ship docks. Heard others complaining about their H.A. tours and feeling ripped off. Cape Breton Fudge Company and Old Triangle Ale House excellent. #4-Halifax- Seaport Farmers Market a joke, only Asian food and cheap jewelry, no fresh produce, disappointing! Maritime Museum Titanic exhibit smaller than expected, but husband liked museum. #5-Bar Harbor-Very charming, walkable. Side St. Cafe, Thrive Juice Bar, Maine Popcorn Co. recommended. Recommend Shore Path walk and Museum in the Streets (both free to do!). Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Nothing really negative to say about this cruise.We got on and off without any problems,the cabin was was great and the service thruout the ship was the best. We toured each and every port and had a great time in each.The only thing we ... Read More
Nothing really negative to say about this cruise.We got on and off without any problems,the cabin was was great and the service thruout the ship was the best. We toured each and every port and had a great time in each.The only thing we found not to our liking was the Food.This was our 31st cruise and I would say the selection and quality of the food was poor. We ate more food in ports then ever before,the meat and pork on the ship were overcooked.One night they had brisket that was like shoe leather. By the way the BB King band was the Best!!!! New policy -No Smoking in the Casino-Saved me a lot of money cause my wife wouldn't gamble .Be advised that as the fleet goes in for updates(which were good) there will be a no smoking policy enforced in those casinos. Last fall we were on the Niew Amsterdam and the food was to die for,maybe they should hire their cooks Read Less
55 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Boarded in Rome and went right to the cabin to unpack- ( see Cabin Review). Note avoid connecting cabins. This was literally the only thing that really that wasn't great about this trip. You can hear pretty much everything that ... Read More
Boarded in Rome and went right to the cabin to unpack- ( see Cabin Review). Note avoid connecting cabins. This was literally the only thing that really that wasn't great about this trip. You can hear pretty much everything that goes on in the other cabin if you get one with a connecting door. HAL has to figure out how to fix this. Otherwise we loved the cabin. Steward seemed rushed and I noticed he had a huge section. We only saw him 3 times in 12 days. TV was filled with Movies and TV shows on demand - all free - Nice! The Marketplace was their Lido deck dining option and it did not disappoint. Was impressed that the staff served you as opposed to letting guests serve themselves. I have to believe this cuts down on illness and waster. We had "anytime dining and tried most all the alternative restaurants. Tamarind was off the charts good and the servers were so polished considering the ship had been in service 2 and a half weeks when we boarded. Sel De Mer was pretty good, a bit expensive as everything is a la cart. We racked up a $90 bill for just food for the two of us. Pinnacle was good as well. Lovely restaurant. The only one we did not care for was Canaletto. You feel like you are eating in the Marketplace. They need to add walls to that area so it's a bit more secluded. Also, everytime the door to the dishwashing station opened, hot humid air blew into the restaurant. Meanwhile people in swimsuits and flip flops were walking by. Food and especially the service was amazing, just not the venue. The main dining room was amazing and while we ate at a different table everytime we ate there, we had great servers and I thought for the MDR the food was FANTASTIC. You can tell that food is a focal point on this ship. Bar staff were fantastic ( Hi Rose and Bald one and two). Mixed drinks in the $6.50 to $7.50 range . Loved that HAL has Happy Hours where you buy one drink and get another for $1.00 - That was nice. the crows nest on this ship is just gorgeous and I love how they've turned one side into a smallish Starbucks kind of cafe. Very cool! Loved BB Kings review band. My goodness were they fun! The crowd on our cruise was a bit older and I heard a lot of people saying they were loud but we loved them! Such Talent!! The shows overall were pretty good with the Chart toppers show at the end of the cruise being by far the best. the three principal singers were amazing. LET THEM DO CABARET, we'd love to see them utilized more. dueling Pianos is awesome - they knew so many songs! Front desk helped us twice and were just lovely. This was my first HAL cruise and I WILL BE BACK! Mainly because of the crew. Now just a couple of suggestions for HAL: Play the ships announcements on a channel on the TV- Opening the door and leaning out in the hall everytime the cruise director came on the PA got a little old. Lower the cost of blend. It's just too expensive for what you get. Stop pushing staff to get people to sign up for revenue producing experiences. I don't need a lecture on why we should go on the Bar crawl or do a blend experience, everytime I order a drink from a server. It makes both crew and guests uncomfortable. What happened to Bingo? Was offered once on the cruise. Photos: $19.95 for a pic now- Dear God - how did it get so high. Noticed it was not a popular place on the ship. Internet 250 minutes for $100.00 WOW. However I will say it was pretty fast unless you were sending a picture. those are all minor to the enjoyment we had overall on the cruise. Just a great experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
This cruise offered the most ports for the time allotted. It also left from Barcelona and ended in Venice so the flight transfers were easier than if it had been Rome. Excellent service, great staff - good decor. Couldn’t ask for ... Read More
This cruise offered the most ports for the time allotted. It also left from Barcelona and ended in Venice so the flight transfers were easier than if it had been Rome. Excellent service, great staff - good decor. Couldn’t ask for anything more. Our rooms were kept clean and done up early in the day. Our wonderful cabin boy left a different towel design on the bed each night. We had the same table for dining with friends each night and the waiter , on his own arranged for a special cake on our anniversary. The afternoon ‘with the captain’ was a great idea and we enjoyed hearing of all his experiences at sea and on the Eurodam specifically. All excursions were very well organized . We particularly enjoyed the one to Kotor and to Pompeii. All meals were excellent and with a good variety to choose from. Excellent wine as well. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
Always enjoy the service and accomodations on Holland America. First group to set sail after it had been in dry dock with 2 weeks of upgrades. A beautiful ship with a great transformation. The Northern Lights bar exit and the new lounge ... Read More
Always enjoy the service and accomodations on Holland America. First group to set sail after it had been in dry dock with 2 weeks of upgrades. A beautiful ship with a great transformation. The Northern Lights bar exit and the new lounge addition was awesome. Great staff in the newest bar. As always, the Pinnacle Grill and the Italian restaurant were outstanding. A very busy itinerary with only one sea day, but a lot to see and the proper amount of time in port to see the cities.Embarkation in Rome and disembarkation in Venice went flawlessly - much better that getting on and off the ships in Ft Lauderdale! Customs was a breeze. Dining in the Main Dining room was 5-star. Food portions were a little less than what I have previously experienced, but no one was ever shorted or ever refused a second helping. Dining staff and housekeeping staff were second to none. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
I'm a seasoned cruiser. Platinum on Princess and Elite on Celebrity. I've also sailed with Cunard, RCI and Costa. This was my first sailing on Holland America. Arriving at the Port in Barcelona embarkation was smooth ... Read More
I'm a seasoned cruiser. Platinum on Princess and Elite on Celebrity. I've also sailed with Cunard, RCI and Costa. This was my first sailing on Holland America. Arriving at the Port in Barcelona embarkation was smooth and easy. The Ship: Eurodam is ten years old. She just emerged from dry dock. All Public areas had new carpet including my state room Cabin 5009. The Cabin reflected the age of the ship. If, you have sailed on Princess Grand or Golden it will feel familiar. The Ship was near capacity. Service: The Crew were very friendly and helpful. Food: I found the Eurodam food to be on par with Princess & Celebrity in MDR. The breakfast in Lido offered more selections than on the other two lines. One thing, I really appreciated was the ability to get a hot breakfast from room service in your cabin. ( You can even add any non-room service offerings to your order as a write-in) My wife requires a gluten free diet and HAL did an excellent job of keeping her on track. Each night, in the MDR she was presented the following night's menu and could make her selections for the next meal) Also, our waiter Aide, would make gluten free recommendations for desert. We've sailed extensively on most every Cruise Line and I must state that the Dive-In Pool side restaurant offered hands down the best hamburger and hot dogs (Nathan's) at sea. And, believe me I do love Princess and Celebrity's. Specialty Restaurant: I dined three times at the Pinnacle Grill. I found the food and service to be excellent. My only disappointment, was a $10 up-charge for a small lobster tail. (The lobster tail I was served in the MDR was larger than the ten dollar surf add-on.) Lastly, the location of the Pinnacle Grill is directly over the engines. There was a constant hum and vibration that I found detracted from the dining experience. Beverage Package: I've purchased beverage packages on many cruise lines. HAL's left me confused. It limited you to 15 drinks per day. ( plenty for anyone) But, they imposed a limit to the frequency you could order. I find that offensive! ( I'm paying for the package and I'll decide when I require another drink) I passed on the Drink Package. I did purchase the Premium Seven Bottle Wine Package. This I found had value and offered a decent selection of whites & reds. Entertainment The Production shows and Entertainment were average to below par. The only not to be missed was the BB King Showroom. The current band on the Eurodam were exceptional! I did like the new in cabin flat screen TVs and the movie and TV Show offerings. Also, the Eurodam has a limited seating movie room. It offers a new movie every day. There are leather recliners and popcorn. (Excellent) Ports: This is the reason I booked. Barcelona-one of the great world cities, Valencia, Cartagena and Malaga (Excellent) Gibraltar and Cadiz (Excellent) Toulon, Monte Carlo (Excellent) Florence, Rome, Naples and Sicily (Fantastic) Corfu ( Interesting) And, finally Dubrovnik and Kotar ( magical) Game of Thrones is filmed in Dubrovnik. Kotar, Montenegro is remarkable. The sail-in to Kotar is the equal and more of the sail-in to Oslo or the Alaska Inland Passage. (Amazing Natural Beauty) In, summary, my first cruise on Holland America's Eurodam was a success. I feel I received exceptional value for the money I paid and the cruise HAL delivered. If, you're into water slides or flow-riders, this is NOT the ship for you. If, you value a quality, refined sailing experience with good food , friendly and polished staff , the Eurodam would be a terrific fit! Read Less
65 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
A little background before you read my review. I have cruised 7 times, 6 on newer NCL ships, and once on the Disney Dream. I booked this first cruise ever with the Koningsdam because of the itinerary - not because of the cruise line or ... Read More
A little background before you read my review. I have cruised 7 times, 6 on newer NCL ships, and once on the Disney Dream. I booked this first cruise ever with the Koningsdam because of the itinerary - not because of the cruise line or the fact that it was a new ship. As I learned the ship was new, and watched all the hype videos prior to my trip, I'll admit my expectations were set quite high for this first cruise not only with Holland America - but on the new Koningsdam. There is one major physical issue wrong with the ship - and I will address that later in my review. Embarking on the Koningsdam, and overlooking that everything was "new" - I have to admit that the ship wasn't any more impressive to me than say the Norwegian Gem or the Disney Dream. In fact, I was surprised at some of the more 'backwards' thinking that went into the design of the ship that other cruise ships, 10 years older, have better. 2 examples. To put the gangway out from "A" deck, the crew has to haul an old winch out and manually hang it from a davit then swing it out over the ship with cables and wires and straps, etc. This resulted in taking extra time putting the gangway out in ports we visited. How the designers missed looking at about 100 other cruise ship designs in the industry to do this better is beyond me. Also, while there is good wireless internet on the ship - the phone system is an older style and there is no option to be able to take a wireless phone with you to communicate easily with other guests on the ship as we could on the Disney Dream, nor do the onboard ship apps allow you to use your tablet or mobile device as a communicator with others on the ship as I have been able to do on older ships. Unless you bring walkie-talkies with you - you can't communicate with your friends or family unless you know where they are - or they are in the cabin. Very odd. There were several things that have had me reconsider sailing on a brand new ship again. For example, there were water leaks in the ceiling in the fitness center, lots of shipyard workers were still onboard working on electrical panels throughout the hallways, and the crew in general didn't know their own ship well yet. When we checked in to our cabin, the Boise radio was still in it's packaging and there was an odd electronic device. On the 5th days, the steward finally set it up and a note appeared telling us the odd electronic device was to be used in the fitness center. Going back to the lack of crew knowledge on the new ship - we were particularly upset that we booked a spa cabin, which came with it's own access to the spa - but the crew didn't know that and although they let us use it the first day, the spa staff told us not to use it after that. Then, on the last day of the cruise, a sign appeared on the door telling us that spa access was just for spa guests, which we were. Very confusing. Speaking of the spa - It was okay - but not as nice as spas on Norwegian's ships - the Gem or Jewell. It was smaller in fact. While there were 12 heated reclining tiled chairs and a few fancy showers - the steam room and saunas - the area is small. The spa pool isn't private - Guests can look in the windows to see the spa pool from the hall on Deck 9. The pool isn't heated very warm, and the jets for it aren't relaxing. There are two big blaster jets in the center of the pool - which whenever someone turns them on and uses them, they splash all the other people in the pool. Most frustrating - there is no jacuzzi in the spa - you have to go out onto the pool deck to use it. THE BIG PROBLEM with the ship, and the thing that was most unfortunate, is the ship has a bad vibration problem. I served in the US Coast Guard and have sailed on many large ships, including Navy ships - as well as sailed on many cruise ships. I have never felt a ship vibrate as much as Koningsdam. It was so bad, that on my 2nd morning, I thought someone was physically shaking me out of bed. I couldn't sleep anymore. Later at lunch - we felt the vibrations at the New York Pizza area - mid ship, Deck 10. Before I could mention it to someone else, some of the glasses were vibrating together and they commented to me about the bad vibration. I started expecting an announcement from the Captain that there were mechanical issues with the ship and we needed to head back to the shipyard. As the cruise went on - we spoke with other Guests in lower level cabins - decks 4, 5, and 6. They all said they hadn't noticed the vibrations. However, our neighbors on deck 10 and then many people I spoke to up on deck 12 in the Crows Nest, where the vibrations were often worse, agreed that something was wrong. Not sure if it is more noticeable higher up because the superstructure is made of lighter materials to keep weight down? Mark my words - something isn't right - the crew I spoke to noticed it too. So - as I said, this was our first cruise with Holland America. I am in my low 40's - so I was concerned about going on a cruise with lots of 60 plus cruisers. While yes, there were a lot of more mature people on the ship - I was happy that about 20% of the other passengers were in there 30's and 40's. This allowed us to have a lot of fun at things such as Mixology Classes and the Pub Crawl - which Holland America did an excellent job at. However, I did find that many passengers griped and complained more than I have ever heard other cruisers complain before. Many acted as if it was the worst cruise they had ever been on before. The "chap" from Great Britain that was lighting up the Customer Service Desk because the ship's weather forecast called for rain in Dubrovnak - but it was sunny instead and his wife got a sunburn was a classic example of over-the-top complaints I heard many times over - mostly from repeat Holland America cruisers. Still - many more thought the cruise was great and everyone constantly was saying how beautiful the ship was. And it was. I would say most of the people I saw onboard were very happy. In comparison to other cruise lines, Holland America had the best food I have ever had at sea. If I cruise again, I will cruise with Holland America just for the quality of the food. I didn't have anything bad at all - except a memorable 'bland' caesar salad in the Pinnacle. Fortunately, it accompanied the best steak I have ever had anywhere. One other thing I liked about the food and dining was that Holland America appears to encourage their crew to eat with the passengers. I never saw that on Disney or NCL - it was great to see Holland America allow that and nice to see the crew out and about enjoying the ship on their break or time off. The covered main swimming pool was nice - and the crew was good about opening and closing the retractable roof as needed. The ship in general is nice. It may be amazing for Holland America - I haven't been on other Holland America ships before - but for those that have only been on Holland America ships before - please know, Koningsdam is a nice ship - but not revolutionary and not as nice as other older ships that sail the 7 seas. The fitness center and programs were well run. I met some people who had kids in the childrens clubs and they said that was well run. Billboards and the dueling pianos were great. The round theater is interesting. Not sure I would call it better - but certainly not worse than more traditional cruise theaters. However, whoever designed the railings near the back of the theater should sit in one of the seats and see that the back 1/4th of the passengers can't see through it to the stage. That needs some adjustments. In summary, Holland America and Koningsdam gave us a nice vacation. We'll sail with Holland America again - however -we won't sleep on the upper decks and I hope they figure out what is causing all the vibration. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
My husband and I were on the maiden voyage of the Koningsdam in 2016, and we had the time of our lives (Dubrovnik, Croatia was our favorite port). This was our second HAL cruise (1st was on Zuiderdam for our honeymoon in 2006). We’ve ... Read More
My husband and I were on the maiden voyage of the Koningsdam in 2016, and we had the time of our lives (Dubrovnik, Croatia was our favorite port). This was our second HAL cruise (1st was on Zuiderdam for our honeymoon in 2006). We’ve cruised on Carnival (7 times) and Norwegian (1 time) as well, but Holland America is our favorite because the customer service is top-notch and the other guests are respectful. Our fellow passengers definitely knew how to have a good time, but they understood limits and boundaries, unlike what we’ve seen on other ships (mostly Carnival). The Koningsdam in particular was our favorite ship. In addition to fabulous staff, a relaxing atmosphere, and great food, the in-room TVs with free on-demand movies/TV shows and comfortable beds were worth the price of admission alone. Looking forward to cruising on Koningsdam’s sister ship Nieuw Statendam in February 2019 (Caribbean). Read Less
55 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Empty Nesters... It is finally our time to travel where & when we want! We just returned from our 7 night cruise sharing HAL'S premier voyage on the ms Koningsdam. (Our very first premier voyage!) We headed to Italy a few days ... Read More
Empty Nesters... It is finally our time to travel where & when we want! We just returned from our 7 night cruise sharing HAL'S premier voyage on the ms Koningsdam. (Our very first premier voyage!) We headed to Italy a few days early and stayed 5 nights at "The Bocelli Farmhouse & Winery”- in Lajatico & explored Tuscany with lot's of other special options Maurizio Lucci (Bocelli FarmHouse tour Manager) arranged for us! It is expensive... and priced as a package, so I am not exactly sure how individual days and expenses were charged- but for us... WORTH IT. We were treated like royalty. They planned our days, tours, & meals... we slept on the farm where Bocelli grew up and the grapes grow. Toured all day with our driver & returned to farm for chef prepared meals and wine tastings. We even had a cooking lesson one evening and winery tour with Alberto & Cinzia Bocelli. They customized everything & we feel like we made new friends. We were on the premier voyage of the ms Koningsdam! Our ports included Dubrovnik (Croatia), Kerkira (Corfu) & Olympia (Kakolon) in Greece, Sarande, Albania. Naples & back to Rome in Italy. Our Neptune Suite (7071) was lovely, spacious, and inviting. Its veranda had 2 loungers with a small table between, and a table for 4 with 4 chairs and was quite large. We spent lots of time relaxing on it enjoying the sail. The room had far more storage space and outlets/USBs than any of our previous ship suites. The sofa was placed against the wall with a flat screen tv above it across from the bed. there were 2 chairs and a coffee table as well in front of them. The bathroom had both a shower stall & tub... & a separate double doored toilet area that opened to room or bathroom. My favorite suite perk is The Neptune Lounge & its concierge service. It allowed me to iron out all the quirks I failed to take care of in advance... as well as snacks & beverages & seating areas. I was especially partial to the hydro pool and thermal suite- both are superb on K and well worth the cost. On this voyage it was $200pp for week. The large hydro pool has a "rainfall curtain" around the edges and I loved the sound it made. The say they sell only 30 passes? The windows in the saunas allowed sea views & there were all sorts of different steamers & showers. But my favorites are the ceramic thermal loungers & new horizontal shower. In main dining room we had early seating, (5:30) at a lovely table for 2 near the window sharing sunsets while we dined. I thought all the food was very good both in main dining room, and varied shipped venues. Previously called "Formal"- There were 2 Gala Nights. Individual interpretations of “Gala Night” created an all over the whole ship festive celebration with men wearing everything from blazers to tuxes... and ladies in pantsuits to cocktail dresses. We dined twice at the Pinnacle Grill & once at Tamarind. Meals are slow, relaxed, elegant & tasted delicious. We never made it to Sel de Mer, Canaletto, Blend or the Culinary Arts Center. With so many options now available on K… a seven night cruise simply doesn’t allow the time to try “it all”. We also never ate in the Lido... or tried the gelato bar. We never had a chance to use take advantage of Culinary Arts Center cooking classes, or wine tastings. We had no children with us in need of club hal... but I looked in and was quite impressed with the facilities! ms Koningsdam has a music theme and entertainment very good! The World Stage is definitely a game changer in entertainment for HAL. Comfortable viewing from all angles with lots of special effects. A comic, magician, vocalist & 2 HAL shows. They added chairs on stage for one show to help create a total "theatre in the round". We had so much fun- I was even pulled up for a dance! So much talent aboard this ship! The Queens Lounge & Billboard Onboard were our evening favourites and hard to choose between. So we bounced back and forth between evening sing along's with the 2 piano players and jazzy BB King Blues music & dancing. I was happy to see a new incarnation of Adagio Strings with 5 performers on the Lincoln Center Stage. The new Queens Lounge may very well be the most elegant and appealing venue I have ever seen on a cruise ship! Loved the movie nights poolside and seeing families & friends stretched out on loungers- laughing and floating... enjoying the popcorn & munchies from Dive-in. I did not miss the dedicated theatre from previous ships at all. The new culinary arts center filled class needs & its absence allowed more space for the music walk. The cabins have plenty of movie & TV options. We had spectacular weather all week- so most days the "dome" covering the pool could remain open. Among other places to eat... we enjoyed morning bagels at the "New York Deli & Pizza" sitting on deck. Oddly, the only pizza we ever had in Italy was on board... and it's made to order generously sized personal pizzas were very good. I loved the new option of daily info available on my iPhone/ipad. There will still be paper schedules available, but since most of us now carry our phones for texts and selfies- it is a great paper saver. Eventually, they plan to have loaners for anyone who wants one & even more info available with this free app. The ship, though larger and more populated- never felt crowded. There were always places to sit, or lounge about... walk... and explore. I believe she has been created to appeal to a wider graphic of guests- but retained, or perhaps even raised HALs standards for classic cruising at a time when cruise lines have no choice but to catch up... or be passed over. SO MUCH TO DO... SO LITTLE TIME! Before I knew it- it was over. Disembarkation for us was very easy, we put luggage outside cabin door night before... and picked it up in port. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay the ms Konigsdam & her Crew... We already booked our next cruise on her for 2017! Read Less
49 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss ... Read More
**In the interest of full disclosure this was a "shakedown cruise" that was not open to the general public and some work was still being completed in some areas (installation of some art pieces and so forth). I will not discuss the work/workers we encountered as that goes with the territory and all items I noticed during the cruise were fixed/finished/installed/etc by the time we left.*** My husband and I did this 5 day cruise from Venice to Civitavecchia with additional days in Italy before and after as well as some time in Amsterdam and Rotterdam following the cruise. The ship is absolutely beautiful. Modern yet still keeps a lot of the Holland America Line "feel" that the other ships have, minus the bright colors and over-emphasis of red color palettes and brass. Public spaces still have a feeling of intimacy for the most part. Yes they are larger to hold more people but compared to other ships of similar size the ship does still keep a "coziness" to it. Not ever single room is designed to hold hundreds and hundreds of people and that's a really good thing. I've posted a massive photo post on the HAL forums of the ship here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347682 and our room here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2347714 so those will likely help with a lot of understanding of how the ship and the room look. As far as dining goes, here's where we ate: **Lido Market - Had one breakfast here and the omelet was a little undercooked. We brought it to his attention, he made another one and it was great. **Dive In - Great burgers and fries as always. Cannonball is the BEST! **New York Pizza - Had the pizza that Elizabeth Faulkner won an award for a pizza contect in Italy with called "Finnocchio" if I remember right. Cream sauce, onion, fennel, sausage... YUM! **Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center - Incredible experience. They encourage you to socialize with each other and the chefs as they prepare everything. Farm to table, very fresh food and ingredients. Unlimited red and white wine they've selected as well (we had organic wines from Columbia Winery, not sure if they vary) **Tamarind - One of our favorites and for good reason. Everything is flavorful and cooked to perfection here. The venue is even more gorgeous than on Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam. They've really outdone themselves. (Get a cold sake, the presentation is really neat!) **Sel de Mer - Seafood at it's finest. Yes it's a la carte and as our group of 4 wanted to try a lot the bill came to $205 (ack!) but had we not been on a mission to try so many different things the bill could easily be within just a few dollars of the Pinnacle Grill. Unless you're allergic to seafood, this is a must do! **Room service - Got it a couple times late at night. Menu is limited that late, but the food was the right temperatures and tasty **Grand Dutch Cafe - Tasty coffees and amazing split pea soup, Koningsbol and bitterballen. This needs to be retro'd onto all HAL ships YESTERDAY!! The Music Walk area is genius with Billboard Onboard, Queens Lounge (with BB King Blues) and Lincoln Center Stage all within steps of each other and alternating performances all throughout the evening. There were A LOT of us that closed the bars down every night, and while I was skeptical, the Queen's Lounge actually makes for a great nightclub space too. World Stage is a game changer. Simple as that. The screens add so much, are not "gimmicky" and on several occasions, a transition on the screens between or during performances got oohs and ahhs from the crowd. This is some of the best entertainment of ANY ship we've ever been on (and we've been on 30+ cruises, multiple brands). The ship is definitely in the right direction for the future of HAL, and while we've done the majority of our cruises on HAL we were also starting to branch out more and more for variety. This has brought us right back "home" and given us lots of motivation to stay there. Well done HAL! Can't wait for K2 (Koningsdam #2 due out in 2018) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary as there were 2 islands we had not visited. We have sailed multiple times with Holland and the Carribean. When we arrived at the terminal there was a bit of a line for check in. We completed this step ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary as there were 2 islands we had not visited. We have sailed multiple times with Holland and the Carribean. When we arrived at the terminal there was a bit of a line for check in. We completed this step and were given a group number for boarding. We sat down to wait for boarding to begin. Once onboard we were able to go straight to our cabin. We had booked 047 on deck 10 in the aft section of the ship. We prefer this location. Our air conditioning didn't seem to be working at its best but we assumed the doors were open and all the coming and going it just needed time to catch up. We would find out a few days later that repairs would be needed. As we left port we sailed into some heavy thunderstorms and heavy rain that lasted several hours. As we took a stroll after dinner we realized that parts of the ship had actually flooded. We were thankful that our cabin had not been affected. On this itinerary we had two sea days before reaching our first port. On the night of our second sea day we were awakened about 2:00 am by the fire alarm sounding. Quite scary In the middle of the night from a sound sleep. There was a report of smoke in the engine room and the engine had been shut down while they investigated. The all clear was finally given about 2 hours later. We made it to our first port of St. Maarten successfully. That night we received a note that the AC would be down for repairs the next day from 9 til 6. We left for our shore excursion thinking that it would be fixed shortly after we returned. Unfortunately repairs were not made until almost 11:30 which made for a very hot night. Once we made it through this rough patch things seemed to even out. We made all of our scheduled ports as planned. We did enjoy this itinerary and each of the islands. We were disappointed in the food on board. The MDR often times didn't seem to have a great selection. We did eat in the Lido buffet frequently. They had a great salad bar which was a plus. The ice cream was great too. Sometimes the selection of foods was strange but we could usually find something. We did eat more frequently on this cruise in Cannallato twice and The Pinnacle Grill twice. The food in both these restaraunts was great every time. The wait staff in the Cannallato were wonderful! We did miss the glass front on our balcony. The balconies had metal across the front with minimal views below the rail. Storage was tight as we were unable to store our suitcases under the bed. Had to move them around the room. The ship did seem to roll more than usual when the waves were rough. I could see that that could bother those with motion sickness. The ship is old and we did hear that it has been sold and will be decommissioned in February. It really was not up to the standards we are accustomed to when cruising with Holland. One cruiser stated that there had been a "Carnivalization" of Holland. It had been awhile since we had sailed with Holand, but we certainly hope that's not true. Shore excursions: St. Maarten - took a Holland excursion around the island, then walked the boardwalk St. Kitts - took a Holland excursion to Nevis, beautiful island Barbados - took a private excursion with Calabaza sailing cruises which was great St. Vincent - took a Holland excursion to Montreal Gardens in the rain forest which was beautiful Martinique - took a private excursion with Karambole tours which was wonderful St.Croix - took a Holland excursion to Whim plantation and Cruz rum factory Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
First time on the Maasdam but our 8th trip on HAL. First time on this class ship. We had no problems with our stateroom (a larger ocean view) but did hear from other passengers that some leaking had occurred. I noticed a large fan at the ... Read More
First time on the Maasdam but our 8th trip on HAL. First time on this class ship. We had no problems with our stateroom (a larger ocean view) but did hear from other passengers that some leaking had occurred. I noticed a large fan at the adult pool end of the Lido that stayed on pretty much the entire cruise drying the floor in the hall going to the restrooms. This ship is an older not as elegant as others we were on but I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. The ship was booked up but we didn't have to wait for anything no lines and always plenty of deck chairs to choose from. Dining room was superb from the service to the food and wine list. The Vegas style show was terrible (Droom) I believed was doomed. But the other entertainers were good. One extremely talented man running the piano bar kept us enthralled several nights, David Anthony I believe. Embarkation and Disembarkation was flawless. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We typically cruise with our kids (ages 15 & 17) so this was a new experience for us. With that being said, we are used to a LOT of action having teenagers around and ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We typically cruise with our kids (ages 15 & 17) so this was a new experience for us. With that being said, we are used to a LOT of action having teenagers around and typically cruise on larger ships. Although very relaxing, I found myself very ready to get off the ship when we were in port. Many of the passengers were much more seasoned cruisers who were very eager to share their stories of past cruises and complain about the few children that were on the ship. The service was very good and the ship was beautiful. Tastefully decorated without the garish neon of many ships it was simply elegant and classy. We had breakfast delivered to our cabin each morning and were able to enjoy sitting on our balcony and start each day with coffee and eggs. Loved it! Overall, the food on the ship was very good. Not much to do later in the evening. If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing experience then HAL can deliver. We are booked on another cruise with our kids for springbreak 2017 on Royal Caribbean and I am looking forward to the loud music and chaos these last few years with the kiddos will bring us:-) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We had never been on a Holland ship and went as a recommendation of good friends, who were also with us. Embarkation/debarkation was a breeze and we chose to take our own luggage off. Our trip included a free drink package, meal at the ... Read More
We had never been on a Holland ship and went as a recommendation of good friends, who were also with us. Embarkation/debarkation was a breeze and we chose to take our own luggage off. Our trip included a free drink package, meal at the Pinnacle and $100 on board credit. Not sure if we'll do the drink package again, as we're not huge drinkers, but it was fun to have. The dinner was excellent. What we most appreciated was, the fact that we were being served at the Lido Buffet. Too many people do not know how to conduct themselves at a buffet. So much more sanitary when served. Lots of variety. Loved the Sushi offering at the Lido. We did go to the Tamarind for dinner one evening and it was also exceptional. My husband liked the gym and I did the walking deck every day along with a Thermal Spa visit. They do not have enough hot rock beds for the amount of people who signed up for the Thermal Spa. Not a positive in my book. The DJ in the Northern Lights bar needs to expand on his Disco repertoire. Very poor. Loved t BB King singers though! One major thing we found that was a huge negative was the fact that there seemed to be way too much paper mail. Good to know that it's being recycled though. We chose not to go on any paid excursions on this trip, so can't comment. However, we thoroughly enjoyed Half Moon Cay. Would love to return there some day in the future. All in all, it was a very fun and relaxing cruise. We will sail on Holland again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We had problems in our booked room 150 due to rolling noises from ceiling. We did report it and after 2 sleepless nights we were given room 069. It was perfect. The service desk also sent us a bottle of wine, which was fine. Our problem ... Read More
We had problems in our booked room 150 due to rolling noises from ceiling. We did report it and after 2 sleepless nights we were given room 069. It was perfect. The service desk also sent us a bottle of wine, which was fine. Our problem with the cruise is that they advertised the retreat as having a TV Screen, which we found out had not worked for months. Also the retreat was supposed to have water flowing under the lounge chairs-not. We still enjoyed our cruise as usual with Holland but one more thing about 10 slots were not working probably due to going to dry dock. The crew was great, and the captain was vey friendly. We have been to the Canaletto Restaurant on several cruises including twice on this cruise. The menu is totally different from the buffet. We like it because of the different menu and the relaxed special service given to us. Again all in all a wonderful time and next cruise is April 26 on HAL. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
First was not going to write a review since ship is doing a transatlantic and then dry dock but after looking over some of the last reviews I thought they were unfair and totally misleading. This was our 9 cruise on five different lines ... Read More
First was not going to write a review since ship is doing a transatlantic and then dry dock but after looking over some of the last reviews I thought they were unfair and totally misleading. This was our 9 cruise on five different lines and cruises are a treat and we look forward to them. We are not professional cruisers who looked for minor bad things. Ship had some worn carpet spots nothing major no worse than on our last two trips with carnival and princess. Embrakation was quick arrived at 11:00 on the ship and dropped carry on by 11:30. Did not have a lot of wheel chairs or motorized chairs or at least they were not a problem. Had a large European population so we met many people from Germany, England and the Netherlands. Service was the best of our 9 cruises Hon and Fabian were great stewards (cabin 8019), Carson asst cruise director was great in trivia and bingo. Our servers Nicole in Pinnacle and in the Italian resturants could not be better. never had to wait for table in lido help kept them clean. (There were more than 1 toaster places). Had 2nd seating table 69 great service every nigh with great new table mates. We did trivia very night with a team made up of Londoners, Americans. Tied 3 times and won once, did bingo, and spent 4 nights in BB Kings blues club. ( great band but yes it was loud but there was 6 members in a small room. It was filled every night but last one. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My wife and I had a wonderful cruise on board Zaandam. The ship, despite being 16 years old, is still in very top condition. The cabin washroom is equipped well and looks quite modern. All common areas are well maintained. This is our 12th ... Read More
My wife and I had a wonderful cruise on board Zaandam. The ship, despite being 16 years old, is still in very top condition. The cabin washroom is equipped well and looks quite modern. All common areas are well maintained. This is our 12th cruise and second with HAL. The previous HAL cruise was on Westerdam. Service is no doubt ahead of the other cruise lines that are of similar pricing structures. Cruise director arranged very good shows and none disappointed us. The Gala night that replaced Formal benefited many passengers, although a few tuxedos could be seen in the dining area as well as in the theatre. I played tennis with a front desk staff while off duty. That is service beyond call of duty. Food was great, especially the lobster night at one of the gala attire evenings. Tender boat arrangements of three ports were very well managed. We had enjoyed the great weather every time we went ashore. I felt so lucky that we were being toured around at Falkland Islands to see Penguins by an independent agent Patrick Watt on Tuesday, March 15th. Patrick organized about 8-10 4X4 and we travelled to Bertha’s Beach as well as other places. Bertha’s Beach is the home of a large colony of Gentoo penguins who have the freedom of a beautiful long white sand beach. We also saw two King penguins, a bonus. In addition, we also saw many Magellanic penguins. Great experience for us. Patrick is the third generation in Falklands and he knows the place, history extremely well. His expertise and actual experience of the Falkland War gave us more in-depth understanding of the historical event. On that gorgeous day of March 15th, both my wife and I really enjoyed every moment of the excursion. If you are thinking of seeing penguins in your South America cruise, you owe it to yourself not to contact Patrick Watt - pwatts@horizon.co.fk. He responded to email very promptly, and in great details. Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We flew overnight from Miami to Santiago, arriving 8:30 a.m. We had an interesting 3-hour Turis (Pauline and driver Juan) led tour of Santiago. A very thorough introduction to the historical and cultural highlights of Santiago. Five bus ... Read More
We flew overnight from Miami to Santiago, arriving 8:30 a.m. We had an interesting 3-hour Turis (Pauline and driver Juan) led tour of Santiago. A very thorough introduction to the historical and cultural highlights of Santiago. Five bus loads of Zaandam passengers stayed at the Sheraton Santiago Hotel which made the transfer Sunday morning to the port city of Valparaiso very convenient. Sunday morning’s 1.5 hr. bus ride with one potty break transfer from Sheraton to Valparaiso terminal. Lilianna was our bus #4 guide who narrated the entire trip. Very informative. As you walk through terminal shops be sure to sample the Veremonte Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from the Villa de Casablanca vineyards, Chile. HAL registration very smooth, taking barely 25 minutes in queue and processing. Sea Days provided good opportunities to look back to reflect on activities done, classes or upcoming port expectations. Our Location Guide Ryan was inspirational and a really positive influence as we looked forward to seeing and hearing his presentations. EVENING ENTERTAINMENT: The Zaandam entertainers and the HALCat band were consistently good. Classique starred the Singers and Dancers was wonderful. Wife even commented she would have paid a fee to see; it was that good of a cruise ship show. Monday SHOWTIME WAS Jaz Danion who entertained us with world class juggling and feats of strength and balance. Tuesday SHOWTIME featured International renowned Harpist Shirley Dominguez performing "When the Harp goes Latin." Backed by the HALcats and superb theatrical smoke and lighting, we few who attended Shirley's passionate performance were really entertained. Truth be told, we went expecting to listen to her first song. We happily stayed her entire 45 minute show. Wednesday’s SHOTIME performer was British operatic Tenor Lee Brantley. We opted for March Madness. Our loss! On Friday we were entertained by both Shirley and Lee…fast paced and powerful. A very good show. Monday’s SHOWTIME was highlighted by Salvatore Hasard, singer and multi-instrumentalist performing "Life is Music." Moving effortlessly from his "Bride," his pearl white electric guitar, performing several songs with Harmonica, Piano, from which he performed several 'solo-duets,' Saxophone, and Drums from which he performed a tribute to his favorite multi-instrumentalists...Stevie Wonder. His between-song stories and solid playing and vocals made this a fun show. Tuesday’s SHOWTIME entertainer was Comedian Andrew Kennedy. Reality (family) Comedy. From his 83 year old Mister McGoo, proper Brit father to his 5'0" Columbian Latina mother, lily white Andrew looks at life (never judging a book by its cover) through the multi-cultural eyes of a bilingual boy who was born to the interpreter to his father and mother. Showtime entertainment Thursday featured PAMPAS DEVILS GAUCHOS: a traditional South American gaucho show including the Argentinean Tango, Bolas, and Argentinean tap dancing as well as a little comedy featuring show man, Juan Pablo Vino. Showtime entertainment Friday featured the HAL singers and dancers who performed a really professional program entitled simply, "DANCE." We closed each evening with Piano Man Van, a very versatile club piano man / show man. PORTS OF CALL: Tender ports—Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco, and Stanley…tender operations went very smoothly. In Puerto Montt we had an easy transfer from ship to comfortable bus. I enjoyed the ride as our guide was easy to understand and very informative. First stop, after a short drive, the rushing cascades of Petrohue Falls. We spent 45 mins. there with plenty time to shop a bit at a handicraft market. Our tour took us next up the steep and winding roads to the near peak of Osorno Volcano. Unforttnately, cloud cover blocked our view of the volcano all day. Stopping for lunch at a German Restaurant was a highlight. The food was delicious, lovely atmosphere and beautiful flowers in the gardens. Lastly, we spent an hour shopping in Puerto Varas. The 7 1/2 hour excursion made for a wonderful day. In Puerto Chacabuco we took the HAL led Northern Patagonia and Coyhaique City tour, an enjoyable day exactly as the brochure describes. Not mentioned was the ‘snack’ we had halfway through the trip…awesome. In Punta Arenas we scheduled the Off the Beaten Path: Magdalena (Island) Penguin Reserve (as a Plan B in case Stanley didn’t permit entry.) There were still 20,000 to 25,000 pairs of Magelanic Penguins in residence. We had the ultimate in good fortune. The previous day’s tour was cancelled as was our afternoon’s trip. We had smooth sailing (2-4’ seas) for the 2.5 hour ferry ride to the island. Returning though seas built to 8-11’ seas and building. What a magnificent encounter with these burrowing creatures. Our dockage at Ushuaia was delayed by 1.5 hours due to high crosswinds and very choppy seas. We had an interesting excursion. Our 6:30 departure was adjusted to 7:30 so we were able to do our entire Drive to Tierra del Fuego National Park excursion during which we stopped at a lake across which was an Argentine mountain range which was lovely. We then backtracked to a visitors center / restaurant for a bite to eat / photo op. Another view of the same lake and similar mountain views. In this lake we saw five ducks bobbing in the growing swells. Then we made a stop at crazy Carlos, keeper of the End of the World Post Office in a shack on a wooden pier. Despite getting near 6:30 on Sunday afternoon, he was still open, quite happy to sell post cards, hawking some that bore images of himself in a number of different poses and designs taken over his 30 year tenure. The absolute pinnacle of our South American journey was the Patrick Watts led Bertha’s Beach / Gypsy Cove excursion which we had booked and hawked to our Cruise Critic Roll Call Family. We wound up with 26 on this excursion. We arrived Prince William Bay / Sound a little ahead of schedule. The trip to Stanley was smooth as silk. In fact, the largest swells occurred when we encountered the wake of oncoming tenders retuning to the Zaandam from Stanley. Excellent boarding of tender, really calm bay to and from Stanley pier. Patrick and his team were right where we expected him to be.. With driver Sara we were in a 7-9 SUV caravan. Tremendous colony of Gentoo penguins. A comical juvenile kept Gypsy Cove , a mine strew beach, a remnant of the Falklands war. Despite there only being 7 Magellanic penguins this late in the season, the elevated walkway around the cove provided beautiful views of the Zaandam and Stanley city in the distance. In Montevideo we ventured out into town on the suggestion of our location guide Ryan. Armed with a “Circuitous Turistico Walking Tour” map, rain suits and umbrellas, we walked the 15 blocks effortlessly to independence Square. On the way we scoped out the stores we wanted to walk through on the return to the ship. Despite the morning rains, and the persistent threat throughout the afternoon, we got to see and do everything we had set out to do. Due to our 9:50 flight home on Sunday, we had two full days in Buenos Aires. Saturday we did the HAL led Gaucho Life on the Pampas: great fun—gaucho horse ballet, trick riding, nice walk around estancia, terrific meal of b-b-q steak, chicken, sausage after which guitarists played / sang, and Tango dancers performed. Local wines were very good and, like at every other port, flowed like (excuse me) wine. And oh, those all you can eat empanadas. Sun. Mar. 20 BUENOS AIRES disembarkation was smooth as silk. Highlights & Tango Show w/airport transfer for those with flights later than 8pm. Buenos Aires tour was very interesting, esp. Recoleta cemetery (Eva Peron (Duarte) story. The Pink Palace from which she addressed her people, Pope Francis's municipal cathedral, the famous La Boca neighborhood, Camalita Street, the soccer stadium. The highlight was the luncheon Tango Show at Cafe de los Angelitos before heading to the Airport. Read Less
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