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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise included the very high quality of onboard services and food quality. While not seeing the rationale of Holland America reworking some areas to provide private space for Club Orange, we did like other changes made during the late 2018 dry dock, including addition of the Rolling Stone Rock Room (good quality rock music performed several times most nights by an onboard cover band) and conversion of the space outside of the former Culinary Arts Center to nice tables for couples with great ocean views. We missed the early evening a-la-carte menu formerly offered in the Culinary Arts Center but tried and were impressed by the Nami Sushi area added to the Tamarind restaurant. The free onboard dining options, for the most part, offered very, very good food. The Lido Market was generally good but was overcrowded at times, some of the staff there were a bit aggressive, and I did get a reheated and overcooked steak there one evening. While the quality of espresso drinks at Explorations Café and the Grand Dutch Café remained very good, it was disappointing that the extra cost of standard tall drinks had increased by about 40% in just over a year. We noticed that the crowd seemed to be younger this year, than last, which is probably good news for the future of Holland America. This was particularly true on the second part of this back-to-back cruise which included younger families and a number of kids. The room stewards were absolutely incredible, consistently delivering superior quality service with a smile and friendly comments. We were a bit disappointed with the evening shows at times as there were no Broadway/ Los Vegas style shows (or onboard dance/singing troupe) as in the past. We found it strange that during the second part of the cruise, EXC port presentations were offered instead of evening shows and on days with late evening departure times, there were no shows at all. This may in part be the price of a music walk with 4 different acts. Overall, Koningsdam is a lovely ship and delivered a consistently high quality cruise experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other passengers, and the relaxing atmosphere. We remember the food being much tastier and more exotic in the past. This cruise had good food, but not fantastic food which is usually a large topic of our conversation when we come home. The souvenir glasses we received with the cordials (very tasty!!) offered in the dining room were high quality and the perfect size keepsake! We have never seen this option before and we loved it! The Oosterdam is on the older side as ships go and had areas of sewerage smell. Our room, thankfully, wasn't in those areas. The only thing we didn't like about our Verandah room was that the pillows really smelled. I slept with towels wrapped around mine. Other than that the rooms were great. The movie options on the television were top notch! Loved that option. During our visit to Holland America's island in the Bahama's we visited their bar only to be told that our drink package didn't include drinks on the island. We were very flabbergasted as this is Holland America's property. That was very disappointing and we left without purchasing a drink. I visited the spa and purchased "The Perfect Day" package which included a facial and massage. The facial was merely a face wash and mask. The massage focused mostly on the back and head. I was told afterward that my shoulders needed a lot of attention and I should book another appointment. Also, there was a lot of pushing of product. Not sure I would pay for that again. I've enjoyed massages at other locations during vacations that were far better. Onboarding was quick and easy. Disembarkment was easy, but the line through customs was extraordinarily long. For us it was no problem, but for anyone who has difficultly standing that long or someone who has to be somewhere quick, this is not ideal. All in all we enjoyed the cruise and would definitely sail with HA again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At ... Read More
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At least Four cruise ships were departing on the same day..Holiday Inn at hollywood had a shuttle waiting for it and Candlewood hotel, we loaded up..Dispite them doubling their rates for rush at HI, they serve a decent breakfast, and accomadations were very nice.. Mind you there is not much else close here and 8 lanes of high speed traffic in front if you want to cross the hwy...I believe one 4x4 pu tried to see how close he could get, defintely did NOT slow down, There is NO crosswalk for protection. Ok, we paid $15.00 each for the ride to the port #21. and tipped the driver. I was satisfied with the process of checking in and forming groups to board..We were in a SY suite for our cruise and it was nice too, except for the heavy deck doors. the one next door #8076, closed loudly and disturbed me in the evenings. I turned in a request to have their closer and shock tested and repaired, but Hal did not fix it.So it reminded me of a cheap thin motel room when slammed..They were seniors next to us and I did not speak with them about it. The hot water controls were great in the Jetted tub and shower, you could get very hot water if you soaked. I did use the hot-tub on the rear of the ship, there were about 5 . The food was hit or miss after breakfast, which was great and so was the room service. By this I mean you could get great Fish and vegs, but their pasta sauce was not flavored enough, simular to Ragu..Pizza and Pasta was there all the time and hot served any time. There was a huge salad available at all meals, built with care by an attendant and plenty of vegetarian food.Ice Cream was served all day and lots of flavors, Seniors Love their Cold deserts.The whole ships crew worked hard to please anyone..The Steelband performance was the best, and second was the Magician show.. The port stops were nice, we enjoyed Willenstad, Curacoa in the old dutch section...We stayed on board at the canal, and went exploring in beautiful Costa Rica. This was our Diamond anniversary, and we were recognised at Gala Dinner..Thanks to HAl and the crew, especially a very efficient Captain, We will book another cruise with them soon...Jonyyuma Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The first time around, it was our first cruise together. We sailed on the Eurodam in January, same itinerary, and had a wonderful time. We felt like it wasn't long enough, though, so we decided to book the same itinerary on a ... Read More
The first time around, it was our first cruise together. We sailed on the Eurodam in January, same itinerary, and had a wonderful time. We felt like it wasn't long enough, though, so we decided to book the same itinerary on a different boat. The Nieuw Amsterdam is not quite as nice as the Eurodam. Of course, it hasn't been updated as recently, so that stands to reason. For the most part, they are almost the same-- same restaurants, same staterooms, same places to spend money. But there are subtle differences. The Nieuw Amsterdam has an identity problem in its decor. Here a little Art Deco, there a little quirky, and over there-- well, the main dining room, it looks like the twin of a fancy Chinese restaurant, all in red and mirrors. It is just missing lazy susans on the tables and a gigantic fish tank. No shark tale soup on any menu, though. So, let's talk entertainment. The blues club-- can't beat it. Fun, great music, great entertainers. The classical musicians-- same same. The pianists, well, I guess others liked them, but they didn't do it for me. Mainstage entertainment-- well, were it not for the parents who decided to allow their children to climb over me (literally) and then sit, screaming, it was pretty good. The first show, all dancing, was creative-- the lights became both a character and a prop, with them dancing with the dancers. It was something I haven't seen before. The second dancing show was okay-- one dancer was significantly better than the others. She was good, she wasn't great. But entertaining enough. The magician played to a packed house. I coudn't see it because there was no where to sit. The few minutes I did, it looked like fun. Dining was hit and miss, but mostly hit. Whoever was in charge of cooking the meat hit a home run each time. Whoever was making the sandwiches needs to learn how to spread butter. Other than that, it was the usual high-quality food we have come to expect from HAL. The main issue we had with the cruise was the behavior of the children. I like kids. In fact, I have spent a lifetime teaching other people's kids. When they are well-behaved, they add a great deal to a social occasion. When they are badly behave, they ruin it. Besides the children climbing on me, then screaming, there were packs of young and pre-teens running around (yes, running,) leaving pool towels in the elevators, using the adult pool, several times, complete with floatees to jump onto, splashing the guests, shouting and jumping into the whirlpools. Our complaints seem to fall on deaf ears. And then there is the cell phone issue. Ours were on airplane mode the whole time. And yet we were charged for their service. So, we enjoyed ourselves. But we do feel like HAL has a few wrinkles to iron out. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the food was excellent in taste, quality and variety we experienced before on Holland America. The ship was extremely clean in the well appointed cabin as well as all the common areas. Staff, crew and officers were so very friendly, courteous and helpful. The entertainment in BB King's lounge and the Rolling Stones lounge were very good but so disappointed in the piano lounge duo who sang off key and their voices did not compliment each other. We saw such a better duo on the Koningsdam last year. We enjoyed the entertainment in the main theatre but it would have been so much better if there had been more use of the theatre throughout the week. The movies under the stars and in the staterooms were recent and a good variety but there really wasn't a lot doing after 10:45 pm unless you went to the Casino, which we did not. We were disappointed in the embarkation procedure in the terminal waiting room, which appeared to be quite chaotic with older staff not knowing what to do and not agreeing with other staff. Even though Holland America has a very good product, we have decided that we will probably not be sailing with them again as we found the cruise to be too boring for us. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Friends had planned their vacation and invited us along...We would go again in a heart beat. Our room was clean, we were catered to, there was plenty of food and so many choices. The staff made us feel catered to. Our cabin person PuTu ... Read More
Friends had planned their vacation and invited us along...We would go again in a heart beat. Our room was clean, we were catered to, there was plenty of food and so many choices. The staff made us feel catered to. Our cabin person PuTu was awesome!!! He brought us what ever we needed, answered our questions and kept us informed. PuTu was funny, sweet and so very accommodating. His customer services skills are golden! *We were invited on the cruise by our friends Norm and Teri, we invited my husbands brother and sister~in~law Richard and Paulette. We all had a blast! *Shore excursions we absolutely loved and had so much fun on the ConTiki. *The mini hummers were fun and educating our guide 'Johnny Depp' was fun and knowledgeable. *We went on an unplanned excursion in a young man who had a comfortable van asked us along and his prices were AWESOME! I wish I could remember his name, you wouldn't believe how much he knew. This person made us feel as if we'd been friends forever. *On our last stop we had pre-ordered a 'half shell?' with two lounge chairs. We couldn't find any available ones and the people we were instructed to look for, for guidance were no where to be seen. We just gave up and ended up not getting one because it felt like we were wasting our beach time looking for help. *(Just a thought, maybe those who pre-order get a ticket say "lounge shell #1" and tag the shells with numbers. when we get to the destination or somewhere along the way the tickets are given to the purchasers so they may just go to the preassigned shells. AND the 'half shells' are set up prior to our arrival...(I heard from some that they had to wait for someone to set things up when they got there, and they too had to follow behind a line of people and LOOK for available seats.) But the positive experiences far overweight the beach chair experience and we absolutely would love to go on another cruise. Thank you to all who made our first experience so very AWESOME! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around ... Read More
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around the ship was extremely friendly and polite. Our stateroom stewards would greet us by name, even when they saw us out and about on the ship! They always asked how our day was going and if there was anything they could help us with. Everything across the ship was sparkling clean, the food was amazing and a nice selection of entertainment. We preferred to go to the later evening shows, because the earlier shows filled up quite quickly. This ship definitely has a classic feel to it, and it appeared to cater towards an 'older' crowd, although all age groups were present. My husband utilized the spa services and raved about his experience. We recommend spending the little extra to get a balcony room- ours provided spectacular views and was a nice place to take a nap or enjoy a few quiet moments. We would definitely book another cruise with Holland America Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this ship because it was newer and we lived the itinerary and not too many sea days. (We have been on about 26 cruises) This is what we loved: 1. The ship is beautiful 2. Staff is attentive and friendly 3. Dinner in ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was newer and we lived the itinerary and not too many sea days. (We have been on about 26 cruises) This is what we loved: 1. The ship is beautiful 2. Staff is attentive and friendly 3. Dinner in dining room doesn’t seem rushed 4. Itinerary 5. Very clean 6. Despite reviews that say they don’t have an “unlimited” internet package they actually did. On our 10 day cruise it cost $179. This is what we did NOT love: 1. Theatre so small it does not accommodate guests. We showed up 40 minutes early for two shows and there was not one seat left 2. Formal night, a dance show is about to begin, ONE show, really? It starts at 9pm and we are waiting outside the theatre standing here at 7:50pm, we have a 1 hour 10 min wait. It’s day 9 of our 10 day cruise and we love the dance shows and this is the third one and if we get a seat it will be the first one we get to see. I think the theatre holds 300 people, I may be wrong. Smallest theatre on any cruise ship I have ever been on. They need 3 shows per night for the dance shows to accommodate the guests. Tomorrow night is the last dance show and they also have ONE show. So nope we won’t sail with them again. 3. Eating in the lido buffet is exasperating. You can basically not get any food by yourself, maybe you can serve yourself some fruit or a cinnamon roll AFTER they hand you a plate. What I’m trying to say is that the buffet is a lot of work. You have to wait in line. You can’t grab your own plate. There is say one person maybe two behind the glass at each food station. At one food station this one girl has to make crepes, spoon out oatmeal and cream of wheat into bowls, put bacon and sausage on your plate..it’s pretty crazy and slow. Then suppose you want toast or a bagel, now go to the bread food station wait in that line so that one person that’s runnjng that can take care of it. Then find a table and try to get coffee, it’s just an ordeal. 4. Then they close breakfast most days at 9:30am. 5. The food has been good but some meals better than others. Not every meal has been amazing. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The reviews of HAL out here lately have been snarky. We had a lovely time some years back in Canada on the Veendam. For some reason we strayed – but we can’t remember why. I had one open week in March and searched on price and ... Read More
The reviews of HAL out here lately have been snarky. We had a lovely time some years back in Canada on the Veendam. For some reason we strayed – but we can’t remember why. I had one open week in March and searched on price and a few of my criteria. The Rotterdam was the cheapest for ocean view- and for Mariner members we got $100 off on HAL.COM. One thing to watch for on OV on some Holland ships- they are nice and big and have a couch- (and even a bathtub). But a top grade (HH) can be obstructed view literally on Lower Promenade. DW did not trust the one way glass tinting- as people could possibly see in as they walked by. We booked a specific porthole (1815) down on deck one “Dolphin” - and were amused to get three “urgent” upgrade offers back up to HH- starting at $69 pp and the last was $19 pp. We had one 110V outlet, one German (250V/50hz) outlet and 2x USB charging ports. Tampa is usually a low cost air destination for us. I saved a little and booked a connecting flight- why I asked myself after a four hour delay. Ubers are cheap and abundant. The cab from the airport asked for $26 not on the meter, six over Uber XL and DW rolled her eyes and tipped him poorly. The chain hotels were pricey the start of spring break. We tried the Tahitian. The reviews were mixed. The pool and grounds were good. It has a smallish main building with a 1970s motel out back. There is no one from chain headquarters to remind the owner he needs to write a check and fix stuff like beds, bubbling plaster and clock radios or lose his franchise. The little breakfast/lunch café inside was excellent- the Tampa Police eat there. There is a cute residential neighborhood out back. Embarkation at 11 AM was less than optimal. We were too early, yes, but Terminal Six has not enough chairs. So get there at 11:30 and you proceed to the gangway and not have to stand in line after your speedy check in. Actual boarding started at 11:40. The ship is lovely and being very aggressively maintained – new carpet, paint, piping etc. The crew was cheerful and the art is really top notch. Rooms were ready at 11:45 AM- who ever heard of that. We ate embarkation lunch in the MDR. The selections were just right. The Cajun items had un-spiced sausage but they did a good job on vegetables and soups. Dinners were also good- we had aft facing sharing tables for eight and the conversation was really great – four couples our age with 15+ cruises each. Note the average passenger age was up there. The wine prices were high to us- $9 is apparently the norm -but they had three IPAs. One was out of stock but they had a Florida one that was not bad. A few tap beers are available here and there. We were so excited to see the Oceans Quartet (sometimes or formerly called Neptunes) with four sets starting at 7PM or even 5PM. The dance floor is smallish (14 feet by 14 feet or so) but the band was very good- the guys are from Mexico and will be on the ship until May. Several couples were dancing. One of the dancers said they were playing all jazz the previous week but I went up and begged for some Latin – and it was amazing. A piano player was there in between sets. If you know the Foxtrot Box Step- it is handy on a small floor. Up the way there was a piano bar player- he was well regarded- Barry from Boston. The casino was packed and a bit smoky. There was no actual production show- this caused some grumbling– replaced by a movie. Others seemed OK with the movie. There was comedy a few nights. Both were good and one of the comedy shows had music (we won’t give it away). There was a musical show- Postmodern Jukebox that was only OK but way over hyped. If I was HAL I would being back a smallish production show. The reports on the Test Kitchen were positive. As I write this is it 5:45 AM in the lounge/coffee shop/library aka Explorations Cafe. There is no library on the deck plans but there are actual books, puzzles, board games and no piped in music. The coffee shop opens at 6:30. For a transatlantic or world cruise this is an excellent and large space- and very under-rated. We had our Cruise Critic unofficial meet and greet around a giant puzzle. They need a few electric outlets, and there is a wooden book sculpture that takes up a whole writing desk and needs to be recycled. I found a wireless laser printer which was good for boarding passes etc. The ship has an aft pool. These are nice and a good way to enjoy the sea views. Key West is a good port. On our third trip there we hunted for the free bus, which for us was like a unicorn and hard to find. Two important clues- it is called the Duval Loop and is a smallish city bus. There is a commercial trolley-bus and a wheeled train. The Duval Loop has red circular signs marking the stops. It was very full when we rode it and the commentary was safety vs tourist focused. The Southernmost Beach Café was again excellent and we found Turkish trivets and key lime jelly beans on Duval. The funny and interesting port talks downplayed Porto Tomas in Guatemala. The message was, over and over, buy a shore excursion or else you will be bored and disappointed. Some of us took the or else- many staying on the ship. There was hint you could walk out the gate of the container port by the craft market, go straight a block then right around the miniature naval station to some waterfront restaurants. At least one showed up on the online rating sites and can be seen from the ship. We dropped into Donde Pilo which seated us over the water on a thatched roof dock. They were sweet and friendly and recommending the large lobster seafood soup for $20. Some friends who arrived by power wheelchair had a huge fish. Divide all local currency prices by 7. We looked for and saw several crew. If they are trying to promote the port in the bigger picture I would humbly suggest to HAL and the Tourist Board to rent a few golf carts and shuttle guests over there. It is a similar look, feel and walk to Senior Frogs in Nassau. Pro tip- the local beer was $2. The craft market at the pier had pretty local crafts – I got two nice hand made belts for $20 each. Taxis to the actual town, a few miles away, were like $10pp round trip. Service in the MDR was cheerful but slow. Breakfast food was lovely – lots of choices- full English, waffles and even Asian. But they would take 45 minutes and ask for juice two or three times etc. We diagnosed the issue as “stay in your section” by the Head Waiters, vs “go and help the guests or supervise” – which is easy to fix and we dropped in a note to the Hotel Director. Dinner was slow but everybody was pitching in. MDR Lunch was efficient. They were not serving in the MDR on port days, so we tried “Dive In” by the covered pool – which has a taco bar also and a good chicken sandwhich. There were rumors of a shortage of limes aboard. I cornered a senior beverage person, who stated they have to use certified (food safety?) suppliers, such as those back in Tampa, so just racing off to buy a case of limes was just not possible. I complimented him on the wise decision to carry several IPAs. He hinted they would have more but there were issues with shelf stability. He did acknowledge the cost of them was also a factor, and that guests were “crazy for light beers.” The founder of our local (large) microbrewery at home, Summit, makes of big point of his decision to hire a chemist and build a lab to work on shelf stability as he tries to expand nationally. This may be a helpful clue as to why there not more craft beers on cruise ships. We were baffled by the real world dress code aboard. Yes the published one was easy to follow. Dress to Impress aka Formal Night was the big question. So, based on a sample size of say 100 people I noticed (this is valid sample size I think), the average for men was sport coat and tie. We saw a tux or two and quite a few business casual. Mahogany Bay is a dedicated cruise ship port. The Captain mentioned the entrance was narrow and challenging to back the ship into in high winds, but everything was just so. The grounds were manicured, the shops air conditioned and the beaches sandy. There were life guards and lots of security. We had a dip in the ocean. The online drawings and photos show the place as barren but the jungle has filled in and it quite pretty. There were lots of lounge chairs and shade available. We enjoyed the signs on some of the exotic (to us at least) trees and flowers. Costa Maya seemed the same and massively crowded. We stayed on the ship. The gentle rocking at the open sea pier made it like a sea day. We read books and went for several walks. MDR breakfast service settled in. I did some asking around – this is a happy ship- with high guest satisfaction ratings. I have noticed a correlation between happy ships and good ratings on places like Cruise Critic. You can tell if the crew is enjoying their (hard) work. We were impressed by the towel animals – Riston (covering the whole forward-odd side of Deck One up to about 1857) designed an amazing elephant, sleeping dog and monkey- the best we have even seen. They did not seem to use cleaning carts which can block the hallways. Getting off the ship could not have been easier. CBP had a lot officers on duty in Tampa, which helped. There were no lines at all at 8:40. Just before leaving we had a walk on the all-around promenade deck, then ordered eggs benedict and Belgian Waffles in the MDR. This was a good reminder of how well organized things are on the co-flagship of the line Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to see Panama Canal, particularly the old part of it. I have done one passing in my previous career at sea more than 30 years ago, on a freighter. Since HAL had a good itinerary suiting the best for our schedule and that ... Read More
We wanted to see Panama Canal, particularly the old part of it. I have done one passing in my previous career at sea more than 30 years ago, on a freighter. Since HAL had a good itinerary suiting the best for our schedule and that there was so good ratings with HAL with travelers with similar preferences we did not hesitate to book this trip, our first on HAL. Our preferences were quite traditional: Piece and quietness, well mannered co-passengers, dining experiences with lots of choices and styles, civilized onboard activitities and entertainment, interesting excursions, kind and friendly staff and responsible shipowners with competent crew. Particularly we were not after activities some other latest cruise ships may offer for families and younger clientele, We tried to avoid cruse lines with all-day partying and noisy teens and kids around. As a summary HAL offered all this in very sophisticated way. Onboard staff exceeded any of our previous experiences. Based on recommendations on the CC HAL group, before boarding we visited at the Total Wine iand picked up a 6 bottle box of selected wines based on their recommendation of "a taste of America". However, after the trip found that the selections onboard was perfectly adequate, if not US-centric. Check-In Fort Lauderdale was done in breeze by very helpful officer, particularly noticing we were not that experienced cruisers on HAL. We boarded soon before noon and had a wonderful lunch served in the MDR after settling in to our cabin. The VD Class cabin was on the 7th deck with a veranda. It was not a suite, but spacious enough for two of us. For our surprise, there was enough storage space even for a much longer trip. There was absolutely no noise from neighboring cabins or from the corridors. Completely quiet, apart quiet hum from the AC. We found ship interiors very nicely designed and we felt being at home soon after boarding. Most of the fellow passengers were naturally from US and Canada, also quite big part, probably a few hundred passengers from Europe and from South America and Far East.. Based on the Skipper's, Jeroen van Donselaar's note, there were some 2100+ passengers and 800+ crew members onboard, so the ship was practically fully booked. Cruise itself offered everything and beyond we expected. For our surprise the seadays were anything but boring. The days were full of activities, e.g. starting from presentation of the ports we were going to call, Digital Workshops, recitals on the Lincoln Center, stand up shows and other performances after dinner at the Main Stage ending upto enjoying the B.B. King's Club. BTW, they played really well. About dining experience, we had dinners in all the restaurants, twice in the Pinnacle Grill, once in Rudy's, once in Tamarind, once in Canaletto and Lido, rest in the MDR. In general, we were fully content with the MDR, but Pinnacle offered us the something to remember for long time. My personal favorite was the Sole Meunier at the MDR, but it was available only once soon after departure, Based on our experience it's difficult to fully understand those who in CC HAL Forum have complained MDR being not upto their standards. Dover Sole in Rudy's; the Maine Lobster, Tartar Steak and Filet Mignon at the Pinnacle. Tamarind was excellent, but as have traveled lots in the far east, we found it a (little bit) too westernized. Sushi was available daily at the Lido. And now we still miss Hamburgers in the Dive In. They were special. Really. Shore excursions we pre-booked, were mostly as expected: In Cartagena the old town was really nice and worthwhile to visit, could have spend a lots of more in the town. Passing Panama Canal was a really highlight of the day. For an ex Sailor (Master Mariner), like me, this was a really meaningful event. We passed the Canal through the old locks, far more interesting than the new ones, which were apparently not that busy on our day of passing. In Costa Rica we chose an Exc to flower gardens up to the mountain having a magnificent view over to the Pacific. We managed to see a pair of macaws not too far away in the garden and a number of crocodiles on the way. It was most beautiful landscape. Time to visit there was far too short, again. In Nicaragua we had a trip to a banana plantation owned by a local prominent family, supplying their products to major brands. Lots of manual, minimally paid work needed before products can be shipped. Highlight of that trip was to see the landscape with active volcanoes on the way. Local people were extremely friendly with us. Really difficult to figure out how they manage to struggle with the average salaries paid in that country. We hope they will manage with their struggle with economy, e.g. expanding from agriculture to tourism. In Guatemala we had another trip to a Coffee Plantation and a small city on the mountain area. Was really beautiful, again. There were also two Mexican ports, Huatulco and Puerto Vallarta on the way. Enjoyed both excursions to the country side. Street vendors in Cartagena and Guatemala were some degree of nuisance, but nothing unexceptional for 'seasoned travelers'. Before the trip we had concerns, e.g. how to cope potential 'cultural differences' during the two weeks with the fellow passengers mostly from US and Canada since we are not that extrovert. That proved to be a non-issue. With all people we spoke with were most friendly curious and knowledgeable what's going outside US. Quite a number of them had visited even to our home country, Finland, on their previous cruises or careers. So overall, would wholeheartedly recommend Panama Cruise with HAL anyone expecting a classy experience to pass the Canal, see beautiful countries with friendly people of Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico, spend time with fellow most nice passengers on a well maintained ship with a stellar crew. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
7 day Eastern Caribbean in a Signature Suite -Lido has both carpet and tile floor and very heavy chairs. Lots of scraping from tile area must be heard on deck 8. You can order drinks in Lido by pushing a button on your table!! ... Read More
7 day Eastern Caribbean in a Signature Suite -Lido has both carpet and tile floor and very heavy chairs. Lots of scraping from tile area must be heard on deck 8. You can order drinks in Lido by pushing a button on your table!! Portions of balconies on deck 8 are visible from window tables in some sections of Lido Muster drill at 3:45 on first day forced 2900 pax to interior stations on deck 2 and 3. The 12 elevators were packed at the conclusion for well over an hour Happy hour was only on deck 2, Crow's Nest was quiet as a morgue First 3 days martinis had large olives stuffed with blue cheese Crow's Nest coffee Bar opened at 8 am not 7 Signature suite closets are lit when the their door is openned Room fridge is covered by solid door causing quite a bit of heat between fridge and door Delivered room breakfast have new costs for...Steak&Eggs,$9.50, Kick Start, $4.95 and Smoked Salmon Benedict, $7.50 Room shower has wand, rain forest head and side jets. No night light in bath room. Qtips and cotton balls in jar between sinkRound ship's clock on wall by bed that was adjusted by room steward We ate 33,921 eggs while travelling 2013 miles Please if you bring a book leave a book Enjoy Bob Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout ... Read More
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout especially at the elevators and Old wooden deck chairs on deck three of which 50 percent were broken. Attitude of the Hotel manager was not his problem. Staff throughout the ship in restaurants, cabins, bars etc. A 10 +++. The main dining room meals were over cooked much of the time during dinner hour though breakfast was fine. First night of cruise turkey was served bright pink ( scary !). One night tuna was so overcooked , it was like saw dust and most left it on their plates uneaten. On another evening the wiener schnitzel was served and waiters came around suggesting that we add gravy before we even tried the dish and through the gravy was not part of the menu the waiters were trying to correct another bad meal. Now the Pinnacle Grill was a great experience but we were forced to pay the extra charge to have good food compared to main dining room and we ate there four nights. Entertainment was very good and we enjoyed every performance. The shore experience in Costa Rica called canal tortuguero was a 100% waste of time. When we arrived by bus, there were bathrooms on the second floor of the building that were so unbelievably filthy that I perferred to not use since thing did not flush and one small sink to wash hands shared by men and women with nothing to wipe hands. The boat tour showed two iguanas,three birds and a couple monkeys. The second part of the tour was a banana plantation which consisted of the bus pulling off the main road to point out a few banana plans and return us back to the ship. So much for a plantation. Holland America charged 100 plus dollars and does not care how bad it is. Now it explains why Holland America does not even get mentioned in many ratings and independent reviews. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We sailed recently on this ship from Sydney to New zealand on a two week voyage. Unfortunately we found that it is in need of a major overhaul -not just in terms of the decor itself, but also with the entertainments team -who appear to ... Read More
We sailed recently on this ship from Sydney to New zealand on a two week voyage. Unfortunately we found that it is in need of a major overhaul -not just in terms of the decor itself, but also with the entertainments team -who appear to be somewhat complacent in their approach to the job! Granted the general age of passengers is elderly, but the programme provided lacked fun and enthusiasm, and was more akin to an evening at an old people’s home - where the objective was to put something on to keep them happy for a while, then get them to bed early! Believe me we have cruised many many times on various cruise lines , and we were not looking brash or high energy entertainment- but a bit of fun and perhaps regular game shows might have been nice. Even the planned entertainment was not without problems. BB kings had to close for 2 nights because they had no drummer, and the piano player simply didn’t turn up at short notice on two separate occasions, because he was sick! I appreciate these things happen, but the cruise Directors ‘ solution to all of this was to simply put on a film in BB kings studio - which many passengers had already seen ! How’s that for intuition ! I fear some staff have been on this ship too long and it’s a case of “ the same old same old” approach Another missing element to mention was the shops- they were totally closed for refurbishment on the first 6 days of a 14 day cruise! AS most cruisers will know- on the sea days, many passengers like to browse around the shops , and their closure -coupled with poor or non existant entertainment, made for long and boring sea days! You could go to cookery demo if it was on or an educational lecture- but that was it,! It was my 60th birthday on departure day, and my husband had paid in advance for our cabin to be decorated , with flowers and champagne left in the room. When we arrived there was a warm bottle of champagne on the table , without glasses or an ice bucket and no flowers or decorations. The whole moment was lost- yet when he complained to guest relations , no one seemed to care or take charge of the situation. All we were told was to make sure we left the champagne out for collection so we’d get a refund- no apology - no compensatory gesture of any kind was given for spoiling what should have been a lovely memory !! My daughter who was miles away at home also ordered some birthday flowers to be delivered to my cabin- again they never came and again no apology- just money credited to an account without any cognisance being taken of what they were for, and the significance and importance of the gesture as intended. On the plus side the food in the main dining room was excellent and the staff were all welcoming and eager to please, but apart from this the ship is lacking in luster! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have sailed with Holland America previously and were not disappointed so we decided to give their newest ship, Nieuw Stantendam, a try. The ship is beautiful, larger than the other ships we have been on in the Holland America Fleet but ... Read More
We have sailed with Holland America previously and were not disappointed so we decided to give their newest ship, Nieuw Stantendam, a try. The ship is beautiful, larger than the other ships we have been on in the Holland America Fleet but still very similar in design and overall feel and concept. We had a Vista suite and it was well appointed and roomy considered it wasn’t the largest suite available. While the bath was small, the shower was nice and there was a roomy sitting area to use since the restroom vanity would not hold many essentials. We had a queen bed which was relatively comfy. Nice balcony. Service was terrific. The only drawback of the room was that the climate was controlled and I found it warm very often and would have preferred a cooler temperature. We ate in the dining room once and the dinner was very good as well as the service. I am not a sea food fan so we ended up eating at the Lido Deck which was amazing! Service was friendly and such a wide variety for picky eaters!!! We did purchase the spa package for the pool and beds which we did enjoy. We also purchased the 10/20/30 spa special where we purchased two massages and a facial. They were all amazing. The only negative thing I have to say is that during my facial the specialist was way too pushy about selling products and trying to get me to see their on-site skin rejuvenation specialist even when I repeatedly said no. I did not appreciate the pressure when I am paying for a service. Embarkation was easy and was cleared we were able to go to our state rooms. They did take the majority of our bags the night before which was nice and made disembarkation easy. The most difficult part wasn’t a Holland America issue but was attempting to get a taxi. If you do this expect a wait!!! We tried Uber but it seemed there was a bit of confusion so we just went to the taxi line. There are two pools on this ship. One is an adult only pool. On this cruise, it seemed to cater to an older age group (we are in our 40’s) so there we not many children. Entertainment on the ship, what they offered was good. I felt they did lack in this area especially at night. Overall a very nice cruise to awesome destinations!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
The ports on this cruise were fabulous. Even though it was cold for the first few weeks, it was well worth going. The crew on Westerdam are some of the best I've come across on any HAL ship. ALL of them were wonderful. The ... Read More
The ports on this cruise were fabulous. Even though it was cold for the first few weeks, it was well worth going. The crew on Westerdam are some of the best I've come across on any HAL ship. ALL of them were wonderful. The cabins however, are tired & need an upgrade. Our bath had a crack in it & poured water all over the floor every time we had a shower. We tried to get them to fix it but, in the end, we fixed it ourselves with gaff tape!! The public rooms however, had been upgraded & were excellent. Food in the MDR was great, as was the service. The Lido however, was another story. Food was usually cold or luke warm & some of the service attendants less than friendly, so we stopped eating there. The entertainment was OK. Production shows were ordinary & so were the guest entertainers. BB's Blues club band were fantastic but played VERY little blues so we stopped going!! The ports were excellent & the guest lecturer Master Kam fantastic. Also, they are now giving lots on talks with info about upcoming ports which, if you are an independent traveller, is invaluable going ashore by yourself. The ship's shore excursions that we went on were all good. Only problem, of course, is rude inconsiderate people who WON'T be back at the bus at the specified time making everyone else wait for them & losing sightseeing time at the next stop. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I have only taken one cruise before this one and it was 15 years ago on a 5 day Carnival cruise, budget type deal, from Jacksonville. This was our 25th wedding anniversary, we wanted to be on a more upscale crowd on a new ... Read More
My wife and I have only taken one cruise before this one and it was 15 years ago on a 5 day Carnival cruise, budget type deal, from Jacksonville. This was our 25th wedding anniversary, we wanted to be on a more upscale crowd on a new ship. Let me start by saying we upgraded to a Neptune Suite 3 days prior to the cruise which I am sure enhanced our experience. Embarkation in FLL was a breeze. From the time we hit the pier, left our Uber, we were in our cabin #7113 in 20 minutes. The luggage hit the cabin before 3:00 P.M. Every person we encountered on the cruise was genuinely helpful and service oriented. We truly felt like pampered royalty the entire cruise. From a food standpoint, we only ate one meal in the MDR and we were underwhelmed there. The service was slow, the food was not very hot, and just kinda meh. If we had to eat every meal in the MDR or Lido we would have been unhappy with the food. Because we had a Neptune Suite we had access to Club Orange. I've read mixed reviews on it and I will tell you we absolutely loved it. Would I have paid $50 p.p. per day just to get it, maybe, maybe not. But we really liked it. Food was hot, almost had a private dining room experience to it. There were dishes that were not offered in the MDR, the cappuccinos (which my wife loved) were free in CO but not in the MDR. Free mimosas at breakfast if that's your thing. You do need to wear long pants (jeans are allowed) at dinner. The first evening I came to dinner the maitre'd stopped me and politely told me no shorts at dinner. I have no problem with that at all. It was always "Mr. Hogan, Mrs. Hogan", they knew exactly what we wanted and needed. The last night they had all the signature dishes from the Culinary Council and even introduced us personally to Chef Rudy from Rudi Sel De Mer which was cool. We actually cancelled our reservation at Rudi's for the final night to eat in CO. Chef Rudi was amused but not entirely. He said we missed out and we promised him we would eat there next time. My wife and I are foodies and should have gone to Rudi's at least once. We also ate at Pinnacle Grill which was by far the best meal we ate on the cruise. The amount of food that they give you there is a LOT. Skip lunch they day you eat at PG. We ate at Canaletto which was decent. Not amazing but good. Tamarind was the weakest of the specialty restaurants that we ate at. It was not by any means bad, just not great. It was quite with a nice view though. The sushi was the same as you'd get at a regular sushi (not high end) sushi place back home. Not offensive, but nothing great. We used the Greenhouse spa which I enjoyed tremendously. It was a bit crowded on the sea days but that is to be expected. The spa treatments were nice, but definitely not worth the $$. Save your $$ there. The casino was kind to the wife, not so kind to me but it was a nice distraction. The DO allow smoking except on gala night in the casino. One night it was really awful with the smell, the rest of the time it was tolerable. BB King, Rolling Stone Rock Bar, Lincoln Center, Dueling Pianos, and the rest of the entertainment was also excellent but I will agree the volume from BB King and Rolling Stone was quite loud and I enjoy concerts and am in my late 40s. There is definitely an opportunity for HAL to improve there. Did the SNUBA shore excursion in Grand Turk which was also excellent. Didn't do any other EXC tours just did stuff on our own which was pleasant. Neptune Lounge staff went above and beyond for us making our Vow Renewal Ceremony pretty spectacular. The cabin attendants were also above and beyond! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a part of a series of early retirement, destination-based cruises. We have done many cruises including on HAL. Our previous experience on HAL didn't prepare us for what the Koningsdam had to offer. We flew into Fort Lauderdale 2 nights early and took public transit to the Sawgrass Mills Mall as an interesting way to spend the spare day. It is great for shoppers and just people watching. Embarkation was well organized and the terminal had good WiFi while we waited. We were the only ship in port that days, which probably helped. The cabin was ready when we boarded and the Lido Market was open for an early afternoon bite. We didn't have set seating for dinner, so we made reservations for an early dinner for the first 3 evenings (limited by HAL, otherwise we would have done the whole cruise). We were unable to get reservations for tables for 2, but had the option on arrival. We mostly shared as we like the opportunity to meet new people (but there is the risk of monologists and political trolls). The Koningsdam is new and has a contemporary decor with clean lines and the neutral-earthy colors that seem to be the trend right now. The photographic and collage art in the stairwells aren't my taste, but to each their own... Our cabin was one of the best (if not the best) we have had (see cabin specific review) as they made very good use of the space. We ate in the main dining-room for dinner every evening. The service was good and the food was good. On gala nights, the service could be a bit slow and we had a couple of occasions with a shared table when we were unduly delayed because the waiter didn't know if the last 2 seats were going to be filled (they weren't, so communication with the front desk could be improved). I am always surprised that the desserts aren't sweeter on cruise ships and this was no exception. I have rarely had a dessert that wasn't toned down from what you would get in a shore-based restaurant. We had breakfast and lunch in the Lido Market except one pizza (not very good) from the deli. For the most part, everything is served by staff with only a few individually plated or packaged items that can be reached by passengers. On balance, we thought that this is good (having seen unhygienic behavior by passengers on other cruises), but it did result in lines to get some food items quite frequently. Waiters cleared tables and offered to serve water, coffee, orange juice (breakfast), iced tea (lunch) and lemonade (lunch). It would have been nice to have another choice (e.g. fruit punch), but that might be a bit to picky. Waiters weren't interrupting to remove plates as they do on some ships and were generally quite friendly if you gave them the opportunity (as were the food servers). Entertainment and activities were the low point of the cruise, but some people really liked the layout and offerings. Enrichment was quite limited with only a few talks that were repeats on consecutive cruises. However, they did do port orientation talks that were helpful and not totally focused on the ship's excursions. The were a few cooking shows and computer seminars (not very interesting to us), and a lot of promotional (shopping and health/spa) talks/demonstrations that we avoided. As far as entertainment went, we were very disappointed. First, the "World Stage" is not a conventional theater and doesn't have the capacity of the ones on other ships. People were consistently there 45 minutes before the show to get seats. It isn't a suitable venue for production shows with props, but then they don't have a production group of singers and dancers (or a live stage band or place for it). The multimedia, open stage has great potential for even more production shows (using virtual sets and props), but clearly that isn't what they are going for (and we missed the production shows). The performers (usual comedians, magicians, vocal, dance and musical performers) ranged from bad (people leaving in the middle of the show) to pretty good, but nothing outstanding. There were repeat performances within a cruise (even more for back-to-backers). The rest of the entertainment is very dependent on interests and cruising style. The venues for live music are basically unused until dinner time when there were some classical musicians in the Lincoln Center (which will later become BB King's). Unfortunately, for many passengers, they did VERY classical pieces rather than popular ones. The rest of the live entertainment had to wait until after 8pm (probably not a good decisions for the HAL demographic). The 3 venues (BB King's jazz/blues; Rolling Stone hard rock alternating with Billboard Onboard dueling pianos) are strung out along the promenade level. Capacity is limited and there wasn't much in the way of pleasant easy-listening. We were so disappointed that there was so little and it was so extreme in the genre that each played. It didn't affect us, but we also heard that some were too loud there wasn't good seating. The fitness area was well outfitted with a good number of aerobic and resistance machines as well as free weights (dumbbells). Live TV was available on the aerobic machines and they were mostly kept working properly. There were also rooms for spin classes and group classes (paid) that we didn't use. The onboard experience was not what we were hoping for, and we wondered why (other than reducing costs and improving revenue) the Koningsdam was built the way it was. Is HAL looking to the future when their well-known aged passengers aren't cruising anymore. If so, they are losing them faster by such a radical change in design and offerings. Of course there are older, slower people that sometimes are an obstruction, but that is expected on HAL. More power to them (and their scooters and oxygen supplies). On the positive side, there were few children and a mature cruise director that wasn't overpowering with unnecessary, forced enthusiasm. The captain was personable and understandable. The internet package gave us the access for email that we needed and didn't break the bank. We found that most of the serving and steward staff were quite friendly, but ran into a few that didn't seem to want to be there. Notably, the security staff (who should do their job AND be friendly and pleasant), the future cruise staff (who just didn't seem to care or like people), some of the photo staff (who weren't very helpful) and one of the fitness people who just seemed to have an attitude where ever he went. We had a pair of cabin stewards and liked that team approach. The excursions were okay. Not overpriced as some cruise lines tend to do (NCL can you hear me). As far as value for money, we were satisfied because we got to go to the destinations that we wanted to go to at a reasonable price with good food and accommodations. To us that was the most important thing. That being said, HAL could have done so much more and we don't understand this new direction in the design of the Koningsdam and her sister ship, the Nieuw Statendam. One final comment is about the HAL loyalty (mariner) program. It is the worst we have ever seen. You can cruise forever and get almost nothing in return (compared to NCL and Princess). HAL has some of the best destination-based itineraries, but doesn't reward its members at all... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and ... Read More
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and service (except for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, even after complaining because they didn’t seem to care) was excellent. Shore excursions were all good but very expensive. Embarkation took too long (over an hour) but debarkation was a breeze - best ever. There wasn’t much to do onboard, especially on sea days. Mainly test kitchen offerings, if you like that. A couple of the entertainers were poor (ventriloquist and singer) but others were good (singers and dancers) or great (comedian, pianist). They offered a Lincoln Center Stage venue and the musicians were outstanding - that was an unexpected surprise we enjoyed. The other negative was they closed the ship stores during the last week to get it ready for a new opening (not sure why) so almost no merchandise even before closing - not good. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced ... Read More
From the dreary Northwest we decided we needed a break, little did we know back in December when we booked we would miss snow of epic (for Seattle) proportions! First time HAL. Heard about the clientele being of a more experienced crowd and that did in fact be the case. At 60 years of age for the two of us, we felt 10 years more youthful than the average passenger. Be that as it may... it was all just fine. Embarkation: Boarded hotel shuttle to the cruise port at 11:00 AM and stepped into our cabin at 12:50 PM. Good process for checking in and greeted by friendly staff the entire way. Cabin: Not only our first HAL cruise but our first inside cabin experience. Cabin 6077. We entered our cabin and thankfully had read reviews about needing to insert the key card into the slot to activate the lights, otherwise we'd be fumbling in the dark. In retrospect, a good idea and it must save energy or something not to have lights on in cabins 24/7. The bigger issue we had with the cabin was that we entered and discovered a puddle of water on the foot of the bed where the luggage covers were placed. Interesting... We looked up and found that water was dripping out of what looked like a ceiling speaker. We called Guest Services and were assured the issue would be taken care of. As it was only 1:00 we left to go get some lunch and explore. After an hour an a half or so we returned and found the "fix" was a towel placed on the puddle to soak up the water, the ceiling still looked damp. This time we took pictures and visited Guest Services in person. Happily they did the right thing and moved us to a different cabin, 5071, a deck lower which was fine. This cabin was great, certainly an inside and we had to get used to it, we made great use of the fantastic TV and the bridge cam! Heard about toilet layout in the bathrooms was not so good, not an issue with the inside cabin and let me just say... the shower? OMG!!!! Where have you been all my life??!!! Ship: I'm of the opinion that all cruise ships are marvels to behold and Koningsdam was no exception! We did miss a grand central atrium area but the music walk made up for it. Decks 2 and 3: Shops, Guest Services, World Stage, main dining, photo area, art gallery, casino... you get the point. Well laid out IMO, the shops were unobtrusive, and it was amazing with the four different music venues that they never stepped on each other. Bars and side cafes were subtly located for enjoyment of guests. Blend was a bit more in the open than what I expected and what ever the Orange dining area was, well it was simply odd. I didn't get it, if for high rollers then at least make it so it appears that way. Frankly, the evenings we walked by there I felt sorry for the lonely souls dining in there. When shows were over in the Grand Stage (which was Grand!), there were some traffic issues but it added to the fun, sort of like walking the Strip in Las Vegas, okay, not that big but still fun! Lido Buffet area: There is an American Football axiom, "keep your head on a swivel". Could not be more apt than in the Lido Buffet. Having said that, if anyone gets irritated by the traffic or anything else in that buffet, you really have no one to blame but yourself. Figure out when the majority of people will go for breakfast, lunch or dinner and go at a different time. Simple really. Bless the staff as they had a lot on their plate (pun intended) when it came to serving so many people. They along with the servers of coffee, tea, etc, had the patience of Job times 100. Excellent job to them. Our Sea Days were spent mostly aft over looking the pool and the ocean behind us, not on the pool deck, we opted for, let's see, deck 10 I guess it would be... we were blocked from the majority of the breeze, had a great view all around us and had wonderful sun exposure (side note... we had 15 minutes of light rain the entire cruise, being from the PNW, this was a shock!), Smoke from smokers (well, that was redundant...) in this area had been brought up in reviews and frankly it was not an issue. Yes, aft pool was a gathering place in the evening for cards and smokes but.... guess what? You can avoid that! Do not miss time in the Crows Nest! Do not miss Apple Pie at the Dutch Cafe (not 100% sure of the name, but 100% sure of the pie!), look for the tapas bar at the Blues Club late afternoon. Spa: No report as we did not partake. The staff were up-selling around the Lido Pool but not overly aggressive. Bottlenecks: They are real. Be patient, be aware of your surroundings and don't be a contributor. People movement is a tad slower on this ship but there are physical boundaries that also make ease of mobility an issue. This is especially true around the Lido pool area both on deck 9 and deck 10. Walls that jut out into walk ways, loungers that jut out into walk ways, lack of multiple entrance and egress points...all of these things can make for slow going at times. Wait time at the lifts are par for the course. FOOD: Ah yes, the dining experience: 1. Tamarind was amazing! Highly recommend for all the right reasons, service, food, and the view. Bride had the stir fry lobster and shrimp, yum! I had the wasabi fillet, yum! 2. Pinnacle: What was not to like? Bride had halibut on cedar plank with scampi, amazing, I had the rib eye.... still drooling. 3. Main dining room: 4 nights dining here without a set time. We arrived almost every night around 7:15 an were promptly seated. 3 times in the lower area and once on the deck above. Service was fine and the food was very very good. (I've been banished of meat for at least of month after this trip! Well worth it!). We had zero issues with dining and making a 10:00 show at the World Stage, however don't doddle as the auditorium does fill up early. 4. New York Pizza: One time for dinner while watching a movie by the lido pool. I thought it was great, bride not so much, (that's what she gets for having a white sauce on a pizza, right? Right??) However, the Caesar salad and dessert there were great! 5. Dive In: Good burgers and fries, not great but good and turn around time is pretty quick even in the busy time. 6. Gellato: For $2.00, ah yeah, well worth it! 7. We did not opt for a drink package nor spend a great deal on drinks. We mostly filled our tumblers with iced tea, ice water and lemon aid. (please respect the signs requesting that you do not fill your tumbler or mug directly from the dispensers, it is for sanitary reasons.) 8. Lastly on dining, I mentioned how the Orange place on deck 2 was odd, so was the Italian restaurant in the Lido buffet. Just seemed awkward and to pay $13 PP for it, I dunno.... Entertainment World Stage: 1. Emperors of Soul: Excellent (fun to interact with them on the cruise as well) 2. Naomi, Virtuoso Pianist: Jaw Dropping 3. BBC Earth: Well done 4. Comedian Tim Kaminski: Very Good 5. Second Comedian: Can't recall his name - poor 6. Third Comedian: Can't recall his name either but better than the second - better than poor. 7. Superbowl: Never thought I'd see a Superbowl on a ship! Fun atmosphere to be sure! Available to see on the World Stage, in your cabin and at the Lido Pool screen. 8, 9 and 10? Hmmm.... where does the time go? Actually, the availability of things to watch on your in cabin TV are excellent and we did take advantage of this. Crew: 95% outstanding! Our only slight irritation came with the staff of the shops. A bit condescending and borderline rude. We are very patient people and they tested that patience. Cabin stewards were great, room service a couple of time for breakfast was great including a follow-up phone call to make sure we were happy with the service. Guest Services was also great. America's Test Kitchen demos were also well done and informative and the preview of the next day's ports were outstanding!! Do not miss these if possible! All in all a very quiet reserved atmosphere which was fine. We moored along side a Carnival ship at Grand Turk and I thanked Poseidon that we were NOT on board that maniacal brain blowing tub. (sorry, harsh). Also interesting to read about the Norwegian Epic and her issues as we were along side her in Jamaica. Hmmm... note to self! Ports: 1. Jamaica: Large cruise ship port with a Margaritaville on location. Lots of shops, lots of competition and lots of aggressive selling. We debated many nights about what to do here and decided not to do the Dunn's Falls or any of the other excursions (although later we found out the rafting down the river was amazing), we did end up doing a walking tour of Falmouth which was informative and fun. 2. Curacao: What a grand location! For us a wonderful day or wandering and exploring the city, both sides. Just fantastic! 3. Aruba: A bit of wandering and shopping and public transportation to Eagle and Palm Beach for some beach time! I could see a return trip to Aruba possible for a week or so? We'll see! Great adventure to the light house and to really take in the desert landscape. 4. Amber Cove: Delightful port, great shops and the pool area was better than advertised. Excursion to Puerto Plata was fun and interesting. The lushness of the island was beautiful and in stark contrast to the islands of Curacao and Aruba 5. Grand Turk: Not a lot on Grand Turk. There was a Carnival ship that was also in port and combined with our ship, made the beach impossible to enjoy. We took a cab to the town of Cockburn and explored there. Lovely beaches too. Port area also nice. 6. Half Moon Cay: Paradise... nuff said. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Did this cruise before twice, and really liked the ports. So much more to see in each area. The excursions were really great, on board a different story. The EXC events were lacking in quality speakers, related to the itinerary. There was ... Read More
Did this cruise before twice, and really liked the ports. So much more to see in each area. The excursions were really great, on board a different story. The EXC events were lacking in quality speakers, related to the itinerary. There was one naturalist that was great but only gave 3 lectures. The Mexican Ambassadors gave a great performance on deck. On the down side, the usual lectures on culture, history or the region were lacking. The speakers seemed to talk down to the audience and read from brochures. They were not experts in the field. The EXC person talked to the audience as if they were kinder-gardeners. The food was outstanding as was the in stateroom staff. The service was great and the ship was well organized and on time. The culinary classes did not emphasize health promotion. There was heavy emphasis on taste drawn from fats and salts, hardly appropriate for the middle aged audience or above. The last time we did this same cruise there were more on board activities, lectures and enrichment programming. Considering the number of fabulous ports offering rich history, art, culture and welcoming people, it is too bad there was such a lack of enrichment opportunities. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to see the Panama canal in a confortable cruise with excellent food and relax atmosphere. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, quick and smooth. We reverved for the first time an Inside cabin and we found it a little ... Read More
We wanted to see the Panama canal in a confortable cruise with excellent food and relax atmosphere. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, quick and smooth. We reverved for the first time an Inside cabin and we found it a little tight (150 square feet). We missed the day light. But the cabin was very clean at all time and our stewards were very attentive to our needs. We bought a wine package and we appreciated a lot to have a drink (our wine) anywhere on the ship at any time, including different bars and main dining room. Food was excellent in the dining room and at the buffet. At both places, service was incredible. Entertainment was great and we appreciated to watch the superbowl live on giant screen at the main stage. It was fun to have superbowl food (chicken, tacos, pizza,.....) in the main stage. Unfortunatly, we didn't stop at Half Moon Cay because of rough waves but we agree with captain as safety is number one on ship. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting ... Read More
Really enjoyed this 11 day cruise. Our Vista Suite, #4118, was fine. Our porters, Mono and Tasman were sensational. Loved watching sunsets from our private balcony. Loved the hot tubs and my wife enjoyed the massages very much. Visiting the islands, St. Lucia, St. Marteen, Barbados, Martinique, Antiqua, St. Tomas and HAL's Half Moon Cay was outstanding. The selection of TV shows and Movies in our room, did get very thin after 11 days. But we understand there were many outstanding things to do outside of our room. Having said all that, I want to give you the negatives, so you are not surprised. Do not misunderstand, we loved the cruise and feel very positive about it, but want to tell you what we did not like. The food was great. Loved the Lido buffet for both breakfast and dinner. All the eggs Benedict, omlets, waffles and pancakes you can eat for breakfast, who could not like that? After 11 days some of the sameness did wear just a little old. The hamburgers and hotdogs at the Dive were fine snacks. The Pizza, nachos and deli sandwiches were fine too. We ate at one specialty restaurant, the Tamarind and it was very good. We felt the dining room tried to be too fancy and gourmet and failed. Also the process in the dining room took too long...2 hours. I was shocked that the Crème Bule was almost liquid, not custardly. And, if you do not mesh with the people you are seated with, the 2 hour dinner can seem really long. Paying $50 per person for the Pinnacle Room seemed a little extreme, when our cruise fee already included food. As far as the reviews I have read about bad pillows, dirty rooms, too loud if you are mid-ship over the entertainment, they are hogwash. We did not experience anything like that. We were disappointed to learn that you had to come nearly an hour early for the one hour show in the main room, the World Stage, in order to get a seat!. There needs to be a better system for reserving seats or similar. We very much enjoyed the entertainment in the BB King Room and the Rolling Stone Room. Be prepared for Holland America to try to find many ways every day to separate you from your money. They present many "opportunities". They price gouge you in some ways that I believe were over the top. Internet service is $24.95 a day! But worse of all was the wine. To buy 4 bottles of wine for us to have in our room I paid over $170...and this was for Estancia wine which I pay about $12.00 for in the grocery store!. Over $40 for a $12 bottle of wine! Paying double, like in a restaurant, would be understandable, but FOUR times the cost is simply uncalled for. And there is an $18 corkage fee for bringing on your own wine purchased at a port. So I ended up paying $25.50 for a $7.50 bottle of wine. Come on Holland America, I was already paying thousands for the cruise! I found calling guest services with a problem, like when I screwed up the combination to the safe in my room, was fruitless. They put you on hold for the longest time. When I did reach a human, they said someone would be up in 10 minutes...after over an hour they had not appeared. I learned going to the Service desk in person worked well. The were competent and timely, In the case of re-setting my room safe, the person, said I will come and fix it right now, and she did. Getting off the ship and finding your excursion in ports was no problem at all and the excursions were fine. We did the 2 snorkel catamarans (one with a lobster lunch) and a tour that included 2 hours at a beach and shopping. Staff was fine and everything was fun. Holland America's Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas was wonderful. Do not listen to the review that said getting your claim shell (basically an umbrella and 2 beach chairs) was a hassle. It was fine. So there you have it. A fine cruise on a fine ship that was not without some down sides. And I am 70, a young 70. Be aware that HAL seems to cater to seniors, I would say 70 was about the average age and less than 1/4 of the people were under 50. It is what it is. Holland America, you really can do better on those wine and internet charges. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to try the newest HAL ships and find out how they stacked up compared to the last 'new' versions (Eurodam, etc.) which we thought were pretty fantastic. HAL outdid themselves with this class of ships and they are our ... Read More
We wanted to try the newest HAL ships and find out how they stacked up compared to the last 'new' versions (Eurodam, etc.) which we thought were pretty fantastic. HAL outdid themselves with this class of ships and they are our new favorite; well, our favorite is any "dam" ship we are sailing on actually. Because of three things; 1. The CREW - You just can't say enough good about the wonderful crews that staff Holland American's ships. The service they provide is just beyond most accolades reach. Because not only is the service fantastic but they are so friendly, so helpful, you feel by day two you've known them a long time, & they are making you welcome more like family, than just passengers. 2. The CABINS are perfected. HAL moved the refrigerator into one wardrobe and got it out of the way of the desk. Replaced it with three HUGE drawer. Added two overhead cabinets above the love seat. Added a triangular cabinet to the end of the closet 'stack' as you enter.Which has the 'stuff' off the desk; Ice bucket, glasses, fruit basket, and more storage. Enlarged the bed side tables, added enough outlets for us to have extras, which is really different (!) along with USB charging ports all over. One special thing they did; that night time visit to the bath when you don't want to wake up your companion? When your foot hits the floor, a light bar on the bottom of the triangle cabinet lights, with light JUST on the floor! GREAT thought went into that! 3. We are both Celiacs; a gluten free diet is deadly serious for us as Celiac is an autoimmune disease. HAL's gluten free offerings get better and better and on this cruise we even had pizza, burgers, fries, and all the other pool side offerings normal people take for granted. And the specialty restaurants really outdid themselves. Can't say enough good about this FOOD on this ship. OUTSTANDING doesn't do it credit. Music: We love the music walk; the classical players, the jumping jive of BB Kings, and the great music in the rock area to 'get down' and wiggle on the floor. The Piano Bar area is different, but we came to like it. And the Scotch Tasting Bar is outstanding if you like a wee dram. Old favorite small dance floor and combo in the Ocean Bar is still there for a romantic ballad and dance. There is so much to do it is hard to do everything any one night. We missed the DJ in the Crow's Nest totally. We also missed (its not there any more) the library; hate it when they take them off ships. Sitting on your balcony or on the promenade deck (not very wide on this ship; about only thing we are not happy about that change) reading a good book is a special treat on a day at sea. Ports are ports; we enjoyed some, we didn't others, we cruise for the ship and the KONINGSDAM is a GREAT ship. Would we sail on her again? Yes, upcoming very soon we'll be on board being WOWed again! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We were on a 10 day Southern Caribbean Cruise aboard the Nieuw Statendam. Here is our experience: First the good: Food was great, staff were great (with the exception of the 3rd floor Dutch Cafe who were real sarcastic and darn right ... Read More
We were on a 10 day Southern Caribbean Cruise aboard the Nieuw Statendam. Here is our experience: First the good: Food was great, staff were great (with the exception of the 3rd floor Dutch Cafe who were real sarcastic and darn right nasty), accommodations were great. Now the not-so-good: The entertainment, in our opinion, was poor. Same performances repeated over and over again. We found limited seating capacity for the Rolling-stone Rock Band, Nate & Debbie Piano performances, Lincoln Center stage & BB King Blues Band. A lot of people stood in the hallways to watch these performances. We felt that this ship was mostly populated by what seemed the 80+ age group with a handful of patrons under age 60. Many, many walkers, wheel-chairs & oxygen tanks. Almost all the venues shut down by 8:00 p.m. (with the exception of the New York Deli which stayed open till 11:00 P.M. If we were outside the restricted (and very short) feeding hours we had no options. Although It is not unusual for cruise ships to go after you "on board dollars", we found that Nieuw Statendam took this concept to a new height! Most of the Ship's spaces are designated to the exclusive Orange Club or pay per visit Cabanas and Spas. The toilets seemed "European miniature size" and definitely not designed to accommodate a man (in particular). Long "sea days" were quite boring as there was literary nothing to do for us on board.. Oh, one last thing, we found the "Art Works" all over the ship of the "Junk Art" category. Read Less
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