1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Holland America Line
  4. Holland America Line Cruise Reviews
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with ... Read More
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with HAL before and 8 of our previous cruises were with NCL. I had the impression that HAL cruises were for an older, quieter demographic and they seemed to offer less flash and dash as NCL so we had previously avoided booking. When we finally made the decision to join our friends and found out it was an older smaller ship we lowered our expectations accordingly and felt it would be an affordable way to see Alaska as the fare was quite low in comparison to what we usually pay. We booked a deck 3 promenade ocean view stateroom (3418) and over the course of three months added a few extras such as a couples thermal suite pass, specialty dining for the Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants and two excursions (Tracy Arm explorer and Skagway White Pass rail, Yukon tour). We arrived the night before and stayed at the Fairmont at Vancouver airport. The skytrain goes from the airport to Waterfront station and then a 1.5 block walk to the Canada Place cruise terminal. There were three ships embarking that day and we were impressed with how smooth everything went. I felt our 10:30 arrival time was too early though and a noon arrival would have likely allowed us less in terminal waiting time. The ship is twenty years old and the decor shows its age but it appeared to be very clean throughout and our cabin was clean and roomy compared to some Ocean view cabins we've had in the past. A nice surprise was the renovated washroom which I felt was just as nice as the NCL Bliss' washrooms. Our cabin steward Bach was very friendly and efficient with any requests we had. He was around and interacted with us just the right amount of time and we enjoyed our chats with him. He made it clear he was always available if anthing was not to our liking with the stateroom and provided excellent service throughout the entire cruise. The main dining room food was above average and breakfast was fine every morning as well. The Pinnicule was incredible. My surf and turf was delicious and my wife really enjoyed her salmon. It was a fine dining experience with incredible service from our waitress Sharin. Overall the food was as good as any NCL ship including the specialty restaurants. The cruise had an authentic traditional cruise feel to it and we were able to focus on the awesome scenery and wildlife that we seen throughout our cruise. All of the activities and information sessions we went to were informative and interesting. The Alaska beer tasting was fun and we met people from all over the world and shared a few laughs. I would have to give the entire cruise a solid 8 out of 10 and our low expectations were greatly exceeded in all areas. We now will put HAL on our "do again" list. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The best thing about this ship are the four extra elevators they added either as an afterthought or in retrofit — Two on each side of the ship in the middle give us a total of seven elevators at entry point. These glass elevators on the ... Read More
The best thing about this ship are the four extra elevators they added either as an afterthought or in retrofit — Two on each side of the ship in the middle give us a total of seven elevators at entry point. These glass elevators on the side of the ship are much faster than the normal elevators and so wait time was actually quite minimal. A cruise ship leads a hard life, the cabins are constantly occupied 12 months a year the elevators are constantly moving so things do you wear out quick... noordam isn’t bad at all But too many elevator button lights are burned out, Drain on bathtub broken,the toilet stopped working for a while, There is some wear on the furniture in the cabins. The TV reception and remote isn’t very good. I certainly can’t mark it down because it caters to an older crowd, 80 percent 50 plus, but be aware of that when you are looking at cruise lines. The entertainment budget goes for a string Quartet that does Bach, not trapeze artists. Relatively limited dining options. Food is just OK. Wine is prohibitively overpriced even for a cruise line. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our 13th cruise and the 2nd on HAL. We sailed the Baltic on the Zuiderdam last year and it was so wonderful that we tried to re-create it with a different itinerary. The Baltic definitely wins the weather contest, as this time we ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise and the 2nd on HAL. We sailed the Baltic on the Zuiderdam last year and it was so wonderful that we tried to re-create it with a different itinerary. The Baltic definitely wins the weather contest, as this time we were in the Mediterranean during a heat wave, but we still had a very good cruise. The Koningsdam is beautiful and service on HAL continues to be a high point. Most of the staff seemed to go out of their way to demonstrate genuine warmth. Our cabin stewards, Edi and Rangga, and our dining staff, Sang and Eka, were top notch. We loved that this ship has a full promenade deck for us to stroll every evening, although the view is somewhat blocked by life boats. The activities on HAL suit us; we don’t need a rock climbing wall! We especially enjoyed the America’s Test Kitchen demonstrations, since we are fans of the show at home. I have seen reviews in which people were disappointed in the entertainment, but we were not. We did not go to everything, but some highlights were the fabulous pianist Tian Jiang, the local Croatian singers and dancers, and the BBC Earth movie set to live music. The Lincoln Center performers were stellar, and the “music walk” bars are a fun and creative feature. Food in the main dining room ranged from good to great, and our meal in the Pinnacle Grill was excellent. We found some good things in the Lido buffet, but it seemed that there were less choices than on the Zuiderdam and one side was often closed even at busy times. I notice that some reviewers did not like that the Lido staff serves the items rather than self-service, but I appreciate the attempt to control the spread of germs. In fact there were a few side dishes that were self-serve this time and I didn’t like it. I don’t remember that from the Zuiderdam. A few complaints: Smoking is allowed in the casino. I think it’s only supposed to be in a certain part but the smoke doesn’t know that. I respect people’s right to smoke, but in a closed area it affects non-smokers too. The casino usually was not crowded so it wasn’t too bad, but one night I had to leave my favorite slot machine when someone beside me lit up. I like the way HAL does happy hour. You buy a drink and the second one is only $2, plus they have some pretty good snacks. However, our dinner time was at 5:30 and happy hour was from 5:00 to 6:00! No fair! There was another one at 10:00 but we enjoy drinks before dinner. This was the first time I have ever used the ship salon but the humidity in the Mediterranean was not my friend. I was impressed both visits, first with Jalena and then with the young man from Bosnia. Disembarkation was the best we’ve ever experienced. Embarkation could have been better. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. and were met by lovely staff who showed us where to sit and wait. It was a rather long wait, because they had to get the ship ready after the previous cruise. When the buses finally arrived, however, a lady with a HAL sign led a group of new arrivals to the bus first, while motioning impatiently for our group, who had been waiting the longest, to sit back down and wait some more. It was another half hour before the next bus came. Once we were at the cruise terminal, we waited another hour or so but it was a pleasant place to wait. My suggestion would be for the airport welcome staff to keep a list of arrivals and call them in that order when the buses come. We enjoyed all of our ports, although there were a few mishaps. DUBROVNIK - We need a do-over here. We walked the city walls but unfortunately it was 91 degrees with extreme humidity, and I felt ill after climbing the many steps. I exercise and believe myself to be in good shape, but this was hard for me. My husband did not have difficulty, however, so maybe it was just me. Anyway, it affected the rest of our time there. I would love to try again at a cooler time. Dubrovnik is beautiful. HAL charges about 16 euro per person for their shuttle to town. KOTOR - One of the most beautiful places we have ever seen! We strolled the old city and had lunch. There is a wall to climb but we didn’t because of my previous experience. When we arrived in the tender, lots of young men tried to sell us boat tours. They offered a 1.5 hour tour at a reasonable price to Perast and Lady of the Rock that I might try next time. SPLIT - We visited Diocletian’s Palace and Saint Domnius Cathedral, where we climbed the bell tower for beautiful views. Then we strolled the waterfront. This is an easy port to do on your own. RIJEKA - We were originally scheduled to visit Ravenna, Italy but our itinerary was changed. We had rather low expectations for this port but ended up enjoying it. Go to the friendly tourist office at Korso 14 and they will tell you everything you need to know. We bought city bus tickets across the street from their office and visited Trsat Castle, a lovely place to walk and take in the views. Rijeka does not seem as touristy as some ports and the people there were especially nice. TRIESTE - In retrospect, we should have done an excursion here. We went to see the Roman ruins and San Giusto castle and they were fine but nothing spectacular. HAL offered excursions to Slovenia and to Venice that were tempting but expensive, as well as some shorter tours. But they sold out fast! CORFU - Lovely, fun, friendly town to stroll and have lunch. There were 5 ships in town, however, and the crowd for security at the cruise terminal was a disorganized madhouse. There has got to be a better way. CATANIA - The HAL excursion to beautiful Taormina was great. It would have been easy to walk back into town from the ship afterwards but our tour guide took us through on our way back and we felt like we had seen it. VALLETTA - We could easily have spent two days here. If you like military history, you will love it. We visited the Malta at War Museum and Fort St. Elmo, but there’s lots more to see and it’s easy to do on your own. NAPLES - We went with HAL to Pompeii. Great tour. Overall, we loved our cruise and we look forward to sailing with HAL again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise fit our time and budget. We also like HA cruises as we find them slightly better than the other cruise lines. HA is one of the few that sails into Glacier Bay, which is a highlight of the cruise. i would not cruise to Alaska ... Read More
This cruise fit our time and budget. We also like HA cruises as we find them slightly better than the other cruise lines. HA is one of the few that sails into Glacier Bay, which is a highlight of the cruise. i would not cruise to Alaska without going to Glacier Bay. The food and service was excellent. There was a minor issue with the balcony divider that rattled, which they fixed - they also fixed a minor issue in the bathroom shower without us even telling them. The ship was impeccably clean, and the state room service was great. Maybe we are getting old, but we also found that the lack of party atmosphere was refreshing and relaxing. We tried BB kings lounge, which was the heart of the ship, and while the musicians were very skilled, we found the Blues and R&B was not our thing, I am more of a classic rock guy. The shows in the main theater were very good, but don't expect the extravaganza that you see on the Mega Ships. We booked our own shore excursions and did not use the cruise line for this. The White pass railroad was GREAT and very scenic. We booked a Seaplane in Ketchikan for a Misty Fjiords flight which I highly recommend. I am plane buff and this was the highlight of the trip for me. In jueau we took public transit to Mendenhall Glacier and walked 1.5 miles to the park from the bus stop. This cost us $18 for everything, round trip. A couple of things. You have to pay for soft drinks, which I found odd. Also they serve you at the buffet, which I guess they do for sanitary reasons (and also to cut down on food waste) but I did find it slower than a help yourself buffet. The Dive in Burger joint was great, and we ate lunch here twice. The Pizza was also good. We also ate at the three specialty restaurants (Asian food, Steak House, and Italian) We rec'd these dinners for free for some reason. The food and service was excellent, however, I find the main dining hall food to be excellent as well. I don't think that I would pay extra for the specialty restaurants. We first took this cruise on our honeymoon 26 years ago, and we enjoyed this cruise just as much Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. ... Read More
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. Food good. Only disappointment was lunch in the Pinnacle Restaurant. Not worth the extra $. Not sure why a Coconut Trifle would gave 2 layers of rich chocolate that overpowered the taste of anything else...inedible. Strawberry pavlova...better pavlova in the Lido. Crab cakes for appetizer were excellent. Entrees (mains) pretty ordinary. Dinner may have been better. Santos and Otto did a great job in looking after us in our stateroom on Deck 10. Recommend this Stateroom, in particular location. Great service with a smile everywhere. Plenty of updates from the Captain. Smooth sailing. Embarkation was easy and we were able to board earlier than designated. Disembarkation needed more signs for lines of group colours. Easy to look up everything on TV in cabin, e.g. account and dining menus for the day. Good movies too. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
The Celtic Explorer started in Dover and traveled to Jersey, Falmouth, Fishguard, Greenock, Skye, Mull, Dublin (2 days), Zebrugge, Antwerp (2 days) and Amsterdam. The main problem with this 12-day itinerary was that with only two sea ... Read More
The Celtic Explorer started in Dover and traveled to Jersey, Falmouth, Fishguard, Greenock, Skye, Mull, Dublin (2 days), Zebrugge, Antwerp (2 days) and Amsterdam. The main problem with this 12-day itinerary was that with only two sea days, ports came fast and furious. There was no sea day between embarkation and Jersey. For folks flying directly from the States there was no time to recover from jet lag. If you get travel fatigue or suffer from jet lag this is something to consider. This itinerary also had 4 tender ports. Two of them (Jersey and Fishguard) tended in rough seas. Some people opted not to go ashore or could not because of disability. Other tender ports were Skye, Mull. We enjoyed all the ports. In Jersey we went to the Maritime Museum and while we hadn’t intended it, the museum took up most of our day, it was so engaging. We walked around town a little after the museum. In Falmouth we walked around town, went to the Maritime Museum and took the train to Truro. If you do that you may should know that there is a railway station at Falmouth Port, not just downtown. We walked to the downtown station, it was a nice walk, and returned to the port station.. In Fishguard we wanted to go to St. Davids, but because of the short port call we could not get there and back on public transport, so we took the HAL tour. It was worth it, with an engaging guide who was a natural story teller. St. Davids has a beautiful gothic cathedral, bishop’s house ruins. It is a charming small town where we enjoyed tea and scones before walking through the town market, In Greenock we visited with friends in Glasgow, but also took time to go to St. Mungo’s Museum, a museum presenting information and art from the different religions practiced in Glasgow. The art was inspiring but the exhibit I liked the best took us through the stages of life as celebrated by each of the religions covered, birth, coming of age, marriage, adulthood, elderhood and death. We arrived in Skye (Portee) on a Sunday so local buses were not running. We went ashore and found a skipper giving wildlife tours from a boat. When the tour was over some of our cruise mates who had booked taxis for a morning tour were back and we were able to take a taxi to some of the places outside of town that we wanted to see. Helen, our cab driver, was the last baby born in the Skye hospital before it closed down. She was full of stories and local lore. On Mull (Tobermory) we enjoyed walking around town, stopping at the aquarium where all the inmates are there only for a month before being returned to the sea. There was a touch tank and exhibitions on local sea life. The Tobermory distillery offers scotch tastings. The shops were multi-purpose, books and fishing tackle or iron monger (hardware) with wine and spirits. We lost ourselves in the book store for a while, got into conversation with the book seller, and the iron monger. We enjoyed scones and tea in a café that used to be a church. Dublin was a two day stop. The dock is away from downtown. There was a shuttle bus available for a hefty fee. It drops you off across from the Oscar Wilde statue in Marion Park. I recommend being on deck for the docking. The ship had to make some tight maneuvers interesting to watch. We pulled up close to downtown before turning around to face the mouth of the River Liffey when we docked. In Dublin we wandered the streets and when we saw something interesting, we went in. This included The Church, a bar set in the former St. Mary’s church which, appropriately, had been the family church of the Guinness family. We also had tea and scones in Brewley’s Café, which houses a luncheon theater, where we enjoyed a one act play. We found several small galleries and exhibits and wandered Temple Bar. When we heard music we liked we went in to listen. This was a relaxing way to see Dublin. It’s not our first time so we were not in a rush to see the Book of Kells and other well knows sights. After a much-needed sea day it was Zeebrugge. Since we’ve spent a lot of time in Belgium, we had no need to take the train to either Bruges or Ghent. Instead we bought a day pass on the tram that runs along the coast from the Dutch border practically to France. We could get on and off whenever we wanted. We had lunch in De Hann Ann Zee, a charming late 19 century beach resort where Albert Einstein spent some time after leaving Germany. If you’ve been to Bruges or Ghent this is a good alternative. Two days in Antwerp were not enough. We bought a mass transit day pass and enjoyed going the Art Nouveau neighborhoods. We also enjoyed the Cathedral, the Central Railway Station, Antwerp’s “second cathedral” and visiting churches filled with baroque art, including works by Rubens. We went to the Mas Museum and walked the old town and red-light districts. As much time as we had spent in Belgium we had never been to Antwerp. It was the most wonderful surprise of the cruise. We were tired when we arrived in Amsterdam because of the fast pace of the cruise so we took the tram to Central Station and enjoyed an hour-long cruise on the canals before getting on for the Norwegian Fjords Explorer cruise. When we got off the ship in Amsterdam from the Celtic Explorer, they did not stamp our passport because we were going back on the ship. When we got off after the Norwegian Fjords Explorer there was no one to stamp our passport because everyone had gotten on in Amsterdam. As a result We were detained at the airport leaving Amsterdam because we did not have a proper entry stamp. The immigration people were polite and helpful, there was no problem there, but it was time consuming. Had we not arrived at the airport three and a half hours before the flight, instead of the recommended two we would have missed our flight. We finally got to the plane at the tail end of boarding. Part of the problem was the 30-minute walk from immigration to the gate. Be prepared if you fly out of AMS. Here are a couple of other notes. Because of the small number of sea days there was no outside lecturer on board. We missed this but Brett, the EXC Guide gave good port talks. May was a good time to cruise. We had unusually good weather and the ship was not nearly full. Prinsendam has a capacity of 835. On the Celtic Explorer there were 567 passengers on board, no lines for dinner, an uncrowded lido, no need to arrive early to get a good seat for evening shows, and for less hassle tendering. I’m sorry to see Prinsendam go out of Holland America service. We’ve enjoyed Prinsendam in the past. She’s an older ship but we like her size, her aft saltwater pool good for swimming laps, her classic but understated appointments, her generous cabins and her walk-in closets. We’ve been on other HAL ships and enjoyed ourselves, but not as much as on Prinsendam. We will be reading Cruise Critic Reviews to try to find an new favorite. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Prinsendam European River Explorer 4-24-19 Note this is a long; log-style review. For just the summary scroll on down to the end. We left Pennsylvania on Monday evening April 22 on American non-stop to Rome. The flight was on time ... Read More
Prinsendam European River Explorer 4-24-19 Note this is a long; log-style review. For just the summary scroll on down to the end. We left Pennsylvania on Monday evening April 22 on American non-stop to Rome. The flight was on time and arrived 35 minutes early into Rome. We met one of our fellow cruisers at the airport and had arranged a shared transfer to Civitavecchia. Despite some airport confusion, it all worked out. Note that after leaving through customs I did not find an ATM at the airport. They must be there, but not in the places they used to be! Our driver with Civitavecchia Shuttle Express was kind and professional. He did not talk very much. We were dropped off at our guest house, “MyHomeBLU” at about 10:40. MyHomeBLUE is an interesting guest house on the top floor of a condo building. It has some great views of the city as well as the Mediterranean. We went back to visit our new friend at her hotel and found an ATM. We attempted a walking tour I had downloaded from the port website. Streets are poorly marked, and while we found the two churches they were both locked and we could not enter inside. We were too late for the market. We stopped at a supermarket for two bottles of wine to bring on board and a small gelato container. The gelato became lunch. At 4:00 we met our new friend and went for dinner. Many restaurants are closed from 3 – 7 PM but along the seaside promenade several were open. The “New Gran Caffe” has a very nice upstairs dining room with views of the sea. My dinner was good although not what I expected. We walked along the sea for a while afterwards taking photos. Walking back to our temporary home DW said she was still hungry. There is a supermarket on the first floor of our building so we visited there and she bought some cheese and olives. This was very satisfying as it was enjoyed in the “Living room” overlooking the coast. At about 8:30 we called it a day! Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – embarkation We slept very well. We woke to my phone alarm to get ready for the day. We had a light breakfast in the MyHomeBLUE living room. There is cheese and olives left from last evening and that was helpful as little that was available met DW’s dietary needs. We took a nice walk to the town market. About half the market was fruits, veggies, seafood, & meats. The other half was an assortment of goods including clothing and electronics. We walked back and enjoyed a few minutes rest chatting with the proprietor until heading down for our prearranged 10:30 taxi. He was waiting for us at 10:25 and off we went to the port. We were in the terminal before 11:00. They told us boarding would begin at 11:30 and handed us boarding card #1. At 11:10 they called for #1. We had our photo taken for our last embarkation on Prinsendam, and headed to our cabin. It seemed a few things were not as cleaned as DW prefers but our room steward took care of everything. We sent away the soiled laundry from our travels and headed to the Ocean Bar. Here we found the maître’ de and discussed dinner plans. We handed him our prepared list of DW’s dietary restrictions and he kindly assigned us to table 143, a four top all the way aft. He also took a preorder for dinner. We also stopped at the Pinnacle Grille to preorder tomorrow’s lunch which we are having with several roll call members. Lunch was enjoyed in the dining room and all our special orders were very nicely taken care of. We headed to the cabin and our luggage was just being delivered. We unpacked and had everything stowed away prior to the 2:30 Mariner’s welcome aboard gathering. We attended the welcome aboard party and it was the best one we’ve ever enjoyed. The wait staff kept the beverages flowing freely and we had a great conversation with a couple we met in the elevator. After the party there was just enough time to shower and put on evening clothes before the 4:30 muster drill. The muster drill was pleasant enough with only about ½ the normal crowd as so many have stayed on from the prior cruise segment and they were excused. We were finished by 4:44. We headed straight to the Ocean Bar. At the Ocean Bar we renewed acquaintances with roll call members who we had shared tours with last year on the Iceland cruise. Other roll call members also joined us; it was a lot of fun. We went to dinner at 5:30 and had two sisters join our table. Conversation was very enjoyable and while I thought the menu tonight a little sparse my chicken was better than expected and the sisters both ordered the “Flank steak” but it looked more like a nice London broil. We left dinner with just enough time to stop in our cabin before the 7:30 welcome aboard show. Linda the cruise director was also CD on last year’s Iceland cruise. The Ocean Bar quartet is good with a strong vocalist. After the short show we visited the Ocean Bar to listen to the quartet but by 8:30 called it a night. Tomorrow is a busy day at sea and we are looking forward to it! Thursday, April 25 – at Sea After all our travels this was a morning to sleep in. We were up by about 7:45 but by the time we were ready to leave the room it was getting close to 9:30. With a 10:10 appointment with the future cruise consultant, we decided to head to the lido. To our delight the special of the day was Gingerbread Waffles with Orange Butter. I had asked for these on the Rotterdam recently and they did not know what I was talking about. DW ordered an omelet to her specific desire. To our further delight, Rosiato was serving in the lido. We got to know Rosiato last year on the Iceland cruise and she remembered us right away. We enjoyed breakfast with a couple from Australia and it was very nice. We were five minutes early for our appointment and she was ready for us. Knowing what we were looking for the booking was expeditious and quickly handled. We were also able to book a cabin for our friends who had asked to go with us. We finished just in time to head to the crow’s nest for the 10:30 Cruise Critic meet and greet. This was a tremendous event! Special thanks to cruise critic member KAZU for all her efforts in organizing our roll call and the wonderful name tags that remain on display in our cabin. Only one couple she had name tags for did not attend. We met many folks we have scheduled tours with and it was a super meet and greet. At noon we had a reservation with cruise critic members at the Pinnacle Grille. Our “Captains table” was delightful. The food was good and the conversation terrific. This was a busy sea day as at 2:00 we had our complimentary wine tasting session. This was really not as nice as the tasting we had on Rotterdam’s Christmas cruise. It had become very windy out on deck putting a literal damper on our hopes for a few laps on the promenade deck. All too soon it was time to get ready for gala night. We enjoyed happy hour in the Ocean Bar while the Ocean quartet entertained. On the way to dinner we found another crew member who remembered us from last year. As they say, Prinsendam is like a large family. We will miss the chance to sail her in the future. Friends from the Iceland cruise joined us for dinner. We had a very nice time. After dinner was the captain’s welcome toast in the theater followed by “Atlantic Crossing” by the cast. We have seen this show before but it was worth seeing again. The four vocalists are very talented. I’ve always felt the cast on Prinsendam are a cut above those on the other ships. After the show we went to listen to Daniel in the Crow’s Nest. We had a nice time but it was getting late so by about 9:40 we called it a night. Tomorrow we are in Alicante, Spain and have a full day tour scheduled. Friday, April 26, 2019 – Alicante, Spain The alarm went off at 6:45 although DW was up before that. Our tea order arrived at 6:55. We enjoyed a cup of tea in the cabin while getting ready. It is very sunny today so sunscreen is a must. We went to the lido for breakfast where I enjoyed one of today’s specials, a meat-lovers omelet. We were talking with a couple from Calgary during breakfast. The meeting time for our tour is 8:45. We watched the docking process from our balcony and then went to meet our group. The ship was cleared and off we went. Our tour was with Spain day tours with our guide David and driver Juan Carlos. First we drove to the historic center of Alicante (not very far). We visited the cathedral and the town hall. David took us over to the seaside promenade and introduced us to the specialty Alicante ice cream flavor which is honey and almond. We had just enough free time to walk down the promenade to the first leather merchant where I was able to obtain a ratchet style belt for 12 euros. Back to the van we were off to Guadalest in the mountains. It is about a 1 hr. drive mostly along the coast before crossing a mountain range. Guadalest is very photogenic being set among the hills. Leather and chocolate is produced locally and could be purchased, although we did not find anything that could not be passed up. One of the shops had purses at very good prices (at least so we thought). We returned to the van and headed back to Alicante to visit the castle. We certainly got our exercise climbing from the mini-bus parking area up to the top of the castle. This was a crystal clear day and being able to see everything around for many miles was quite a treat. No one will believe the photos were not enhanced as the color of the sea is just stunning. Back at the van at 3:30 and David and Juan Carlos had us back at the ship before 4:00 for our 4:30 all-aboard. We quickly got ready for dinner although missed happy hour. Dinner tonight was just all right. I was excited to see prime rib on the menu and having skipped lunch was looking forward to it. It just wasn’t juicy as prime rib should be. DW’s fish entrée was also just okay. We listed to the Ocean Quartet until they finished their set and then enjoyed the show. Yaniv Zarif gave a tremendous show with his interpretation of several Broadway and west end hits, in multiple languages. He was excellent and this was one of the best shows seen on a HAL ship in a few cruises. After Yaniv’s performance we called it a night as we have a long tour tomorrow and also King’s Day festivities on board. Saturday, April 27, 2019 – Malaga, Spain Prinsendam docked on schedule this morning in Malaga Spain. We enjoyed a quick lido breakfast with today’s special of Cinnamon & Bacon Waffles and a small ham omelet. We met our cruise critic group for our tour with Spain Day Tours to Granada and the Alhambra. This was a really great tour. We had plenty of time for our guided tour of the Alhambra and the gardens. We really enjoyed hearing of the 800 year history of the palace and fortress. From the Alhambra we were taken into Granada and had 90 minutes of free time. Our guide showed us where the department store and supermarket was, along with a variety of tapa bars. DW wanted shoes as her dress shoes were not working. We were successful in finding shoes. We then picked up a few apples and some local chocolate at a supermarket. The apples were “Lunch.” All too soon our 90 minutes were over and everyone was back on the bus. We returned to the port just after 6:30. After a quick stop at our cabin we went to the lido for the special “King’s day” Dutch dinner. DW’s special order dinner was delivered from the dining room, along with our wine bottle. I enjoyed many of the dinner options served, including poffertjes. The desserts were extra special with almond cookies, Dutch Apple Pie, and Ollie Bolen available. After dinner we enjoyed a little balcony time until we went to the showroom for “Authentic flamenco.” I always enjoy it when the cruise line brings local talent on board; in this case I just wish the troupe had explained the dances a bit. All in all this was an exceptional day and at 10:30 it was past time to call it a night! Sunday, April 28, 2019 – Gibraltar, UK Territory We enjoyed watching the Prinsendam wind its way to the dock this morning. “The rock” of Gibraltar blocked the sunrise. We docked on time and after a nice lido breakfast of today’s special Buttermilk and Corn waffles we met our tour group in the Ocean Bar at 7:45. We all made our way down to deck 4 at 7:50 and were allowed ashore at 7:55. We were the first group ashore and the first van leaving the parking area. This proved to be important. Our guide Rachel took us first to the Pillars of Hercules to view the strait of Gibraltar and in the hazy distance we could see the coast of Africa. From there we visited St. Michael’s Cave. We spent quite a bit of time at the cave. We’ve been to many caves over the years and this was impressive as I don’t recall ever seeing a natural open cave environment so huge. The sheets of limestone formations are extremely impressive. Outside the cave we had our first encounter with a Barbary Macaque Ape. This one was posing for photos and we enjoyed the opportunity. We were the second van to leave the caves and we made our way up the hill to the “Top of the Rock” and the upper Apes den. We spent maybe 30 minutes here watching the apes, taking photos, and being well entertained by the apes. Next we visited the Great Siege Tunnels. In addition to the natural caves, there is over 50 miles of man-made tunnels carved into the rock. These were made to move cannons and soldiers in case of war and siege. After exploring some of the tunnels, we visited and climbed the steps of the Moorish Castle, originally from 1160 and enlarged in the 14th century. This structure has withstood many wars and sieges over the centuries. We drove to Europa Point, the southernmost point of mainland Europe. This means we have now visited the northernmost and southernmost point of Europe. We drove the east side of the rock and Catalan Bay, with colorful houses along the beach. We crossed the active airport runway as the main road does to reach the border with Spain. This was a terrific tour and highly recommended. Back on Prinsendam at 12:10 we enjoyed the British Fish & Chips lunch being served at the Dive Inn pool grille. It was a gorgeous day to enjoy outside dining. DW had some fare from the lido. We met friends who joined us for lunch and had a similar tour. During the sail away we enjoyed watching the African coastline slide by from our balcony. I used the pool and hot tub for a while before getting ready for dinner. Dinner was a nice time in the dining room with a cruise critic member joining us. The show was “Sessions” featuring the Prinsendam cast singers. This was a very nice show. After the show we enjoyed the Crow’s nest piano bar and happy hour, before calling it a night at 10:30. All in all, another super day on Prinsendam! Monday, April 29, 2019 – Lisbon, Portugal We woke at 6:00 (after gaining an extra hour due to a time change!) and found we were already close to shore as we sailed towards the Lisbon cruise dock. As the sun rose we passed the Moor tower along the river and sailed under the Lisbon “Golden Gate” bridge. We enjoyed a lido breakfast and met our tour group at 8:10 in the Ocean Bar. Everyone was early so we headed out to meet our guide. Our group of six had booked the “Setubal Wine Tasting tour” with Lisbon Riders. This was a superb tour. We were met outside the cruise terminal at about 8:20 and our guide gave us a quick drive by of Lisbon and we twisted and turned our way towards the highway over the Golden Gate Bridge. He gave us the recent (and not so recent) history of Portugal on the way. We headed south to the wine region of Azeitao. We visited the small local family owned cellar “Quinta de Alcube” in the middle of the peaceful Arrabida Mountain. We tasted four different wines and visited their very nice shop. Bottles ranged from two to seven Euros each. We ended up buying one of the seven Euro bottles of White “Reserve” to hopefully enjoy on the balcony. From there, we crossed Arrabida Mountain & Arrabida Natural Park. We were always close to the sea and passed a number of beaches with azure waters enjoying the incredible views. Our next stop was the fishing town of Sesimbra. We enjoyed the oldest fish restaurant, owned by generations of fishermen. This place, called, Isaias, was outstanding. We would never have gone there without our guide, as from the outside it is a “Little hole in the wall.” They cook fresh fish, just off the boat, on a charcoal grille built into the exterior wall of the building. We both ordered Swordfish and it was both incredible tasting and a large portion. All meals came with a simple family style served salad, warm rolls out of the oven, and boiled potatoes. I enjoyed a “Lemon beer” and a coke zero while DW had a glass of white wine and bottled water. We all agreed to cover our guide’s meal and the total bill was just under 15 Euros per person. After lunch we walked down to the beachfront and went into the restored beach front fortress. Our guide went to retrieve the van and he took us to an overlook of the town for photos. From there we traveled back towards Azeitao for our second winery visit. Next we visited the oldest cellar of the region, owned by the same family for more than 7 generations. The Jose Maria de Fonseca winery gave a very nice tour and the wine cellars were impressive. We really enjoyed the tour and the samples of two wines, including a 16 year aged Moscatel. From here we headed back to the ship. This trip took longer than expected due to unusual traffic according to our guide. We returned at 4:30 for a 5:30 all aboard. The Lisbon cruise terminal makes you walk through a maze to get past security and it was 4:50 by the time we returned to Prinsendam. That gave us just 40 minutes to prepare for dinner but we made it. We enjoyed dinner and left port on schedule by 6:00. Sailing down the river I took a break to get photos of the Christ the King statue on the hillside near the Golden Gate Bridge. Later that evening we enjoyed a comedian, Rikki Jay. His routine was entertaining. We are exhausted from the last few days and called it a night after the show. Tuesday, April 30, 2019 – Porto, Portugal Prinsendam was just a little late on arrival to Porto today. Our 8:00 arrival became more like 8:25 by the time guests were able to disembark. We enjoyed breakfast in the lido, nothing special today but still a good start to the day. We met the one other roll call member on our “Off the beaten track” photo discovery tour with Pictuary photo tours. Jose was great and met us as we left the cruise port. He drove the three of us in his car to the end of the tram line where two Tuk-tuks were waiting for us. The first 2+ hours of our tour were by tuk-tuk. This was literally a little “Cool” but it was fun, and it sure beats climbing the hills of Porto by foot! We saw so much it is too much to list, but certainly one highlight is the six bridges crossing the Duro River. After one incredible viewpoint to another we bade farewell to our tuk-tuks at the Bridge of Luis 1st. This dual layered bridge was a pleasure to walk over. The top level is for pedestrians and trains. Beware the trains!!! The bottom level (much lower) is for vehicles. After a light lunch, we then rode the Rodonorte Funicular down to the river level. We walked along the river enjoying the sights and incredible buildings of the historical Ribeira neighborhood and went shopping in a 100% made in Portugal shop where DW picked up a handbag made of cork (from cork trees). To end the tour, we rode the #1 “Electric” streetcar back to where the car was parked and returned to Prinsendam at 3:10 for a 3:30 all aboard. DW shot over 200 photos and I took about 300. What a day! Back on board we ran into friends enjoying the lido sunshine and stayed there for sail away. Tonight is “Rudi’s Sel de Mer” at the Pinnacle Grille that we are trying for the first time. We met friends at the Ocean Bar at 5:30 for pre-dinner conversation. At the last minute, they decided to join us and the Pinnacle was happy to oblige changing our reservation for two to four. Sel de Mer was enjoyable and we would do that again on a future cruise. Dinner went for 2 ½ hours but the conversation was most enjoyable. After dinner we visited Daniel at the Crow’s Nest Piano Bar for “Sing along night.” By 9:45 it was time to call it a night. Tonight we LOSE an hour as we are headed to France which is in the European time zone. Wednesday, May 01, 2019 – 2nd day at Sea After five port days in a row a day at sea was most welcome. No alarm, no room service, just sleep. Sleep until 8:30 or a bit after! We got the day rolling by heading to breakfast in the lido. Today’s special was listed as “Dutch pancakes” but other than being made on a Holland America ship I’m not sure what was “Dutch” about them. We were invited to the 10:30 Mariner’s reception which was a nice event. About 20+ copper medallions, five silver medallions, and one gold medallion were handed out. The nibbles were nice and drinks ample, but I did not see wine being offered as an option. The mariner’s lunch followed and we were able to sit with several friends and one couple we had not met earlier in the cruise. The Prinsendam tiles were most appreciated and will be added to our collection. After a cabin stop to store our tiles we visited the lido for ice cream. The ice cream man was funny as he was really ‘pushing’ the macadamia nut ice cream with caramel. It was pretty good but neither of us found any macadamia nuts in our serving! We chatted with friends and before you know it the clock was at 1:45. At 2:00 KAZU from cruise critic had invited the roll call to her Neptune Suite for a “Wine tasting.” At least two dozen (likely more) from the roll call visited and we had great conversation along with lots of wines to try as well as a bunch of nibbles provided by the ship. My favorite was the Tempura Shrimp. Most folks stayed until nearly 4:00 when several, including the host, had an appointment with the Bingo game. DW was the winner of one of two door prizes, a hand-made wine bottle stopper / corkscrew donated by one of the roll call members. We truly appreciate this and will both treasure it and use it regularly at home! A brief cat nap (after all that wine) in our cabin brought us to 5:15 when we headed down to deck 5 for passport collection. For some reason, Bordeaux customs wants to inspect non-EU passports. These will be returned on Saturday. Dinner (and more wine) was enjoyed in the dining room. Prime Rib was on the menu and now having learned the ‘secret’ to ask for a “King’s cut” it was superb and very much enjoyed. The show tonight is “Dance” by the dancers. We have seen this before and decided to pass, just enjoying being on the ship with nowhere specific we needed to be. We caught up with the travel expert’s Bordeaux talk on the TV and called it a night. Thursday, May 2, 2019 – Bordeaux, France We awoke to catch a slight glimpse of Prinsendam sailing under a bridge as we approached Bordeaux. We docked on schedule and the ship was cleared at 7:30. Our tour is not until 10:00 so we had time for a leisurely breakfast in the Lido with today’s special of Gingerbread waffles. We met our tour group at 9:50 in the Ocean Bar and departed the ship. We met our guide from Ophorus Wine Tours right outside and off we went to the town of St. Emilion. During the 45 minute drive our guide told us about the area we drove through as well as about the development of wine in the area. St. Emilion is an incredibly original / restored medieval town centered around a church that was begun by St. Emilion. We toured the underground church – a very impressive structure considering the work was done with medieval age tools. The stones were quarried out and used to make buildings, and the church and catacombs were built in the resulting cave. Regretfully no photos were allowed and after the tour we could not find any postcards to be purchased of the underground monuments. After touring the underground our guide showed us the highlights of town and we had two hours to explore further and have lunch. We ended up at a suggested place for lunch, chosen due to the outdoors patio. We also stopped at Moulierac bakery for almond macarons. These small almond cookies are the closest to what I enjoyed as Dutch almond cookies when I was young. They have just three ingredients; Almonds, Egg Whites, and sugar. Gluten free even DW could enjoy them. After the village we toured two St. Emilion chateau/wineries. To be honest, we didn’t care for the wines. All St. Emilion wines are reds with Merlot being the dominant grape in the region. We returned to Prinsendam about 5:45 and had dinner in the dining room. One note I haven’t mentioned yet is that the dining room menus have been somewhat disappointing this cruise. I’ve eaten three times off the everyday menu, something I have never done in the past. This evening the fish entrée was not very good to my taste, although DW enjoyed hers. I then had the Wiener schnitzel instead. After dinner we left the ship and walked. We passed by the reflecting pool and took photos. We went half way out on the nearby bridge and took photos. We wandered around part of the old town until back at the reflecting pool. The wind was picking up and we became cold and thus returned to the ship at about 8:50. We were bushed and called it a day after watching the sun set from the verandah. Friday, May 03, 2019 – Bordeaux, France day 2 This morning we woke without alarms and enjoyed breakfast in the lido. Today’s special of a meat lovers Omelet called my name and it was nice. We met one other roll call member at 9:15 to head out for our 10:30 “Free walking tour.” We managed to figure out the tram system tickets and rode the tram to the meeting spot. The tour was enjoyable and ended up not far from the ship. We did want to walk the “Longest pedestrian street” in Europe, Rue St. Catherine, at 1.2KM. So we did. We stopped to look in one shop along the way but nothing else. We took the tram back towards the ship and stopped at a Patisserie recommended by the guide from the prior day. They had a Meringue cookie that DW could enjoy while I had a raisin bun and chocolate croissant. From there we walked back to the ship and reached the lido just as they were cleaning up lunch. DW was able to get some chicken and salad, while I ordered a Dive-Inn burger. We returned to our cabin and were entertained by the dogs playing in the park next to the ship. The crew gave one of the dogs a cup of water and that was a happy dog! It soon became time to get ready for dinner and sail away. Dinner was again a bit of a letdown. The Arctic Char was pretty good but the short ribs were overcooked, dry, and inedible. I certainly didn’t go hungry but if you are going to spend 90+ minutes in the dining room the food should at least be good. We ran into friends before the show and they stayed outside for sail away and had dinner in the lido. They said the lido had whole turkeys and delicious fish & chips. I ended up going to the lido to have two slices of turkey with gravy before they shut down. The show was different. This was the “Pianist with the hair” aka as Julian G. Classical piano is not my cup of tea but Julian made it entertaining in various ways so I would give his show thumbs up. After the show we enjoyed Daniel in the piano bar and called it a night at about 10:15. The Indonesian crew show was at 11:00 but there was just no way to stay up for this. Saturday, May 04, 2019 – Sea day #3 Prinsendam spent the day sailing leisurely through the bay of Biscayne with a still head wind but rather calm seas. With the wind from the northwest it was much cooler than our two days in Bordeaux. A 9:00 deck sale of previous port gear had us buying ‘South America’ cruising sweatshirts at 75% off. We’ve been there and are going again so this was a good buy for us. We enjoyed breakfast in the lido and spent 90 minutes talking with another roll call couple before leaving for the 11:00 “Ask the captain” session. No new information was shared during this 45 minute chat. We went with friends to lunch and even though not hungry after the late breakfast, they were serving Turkey again! Two slices with gravy made for a delicious light lunch. I had an appointment at 12:50 with the future cruise consultant to obtain future cruise deposits for a friend that texted me the prior day. We tried walking the promenade but the wind made it too cold, even with multiple layers. We also tried sitting on our verandah and in a sheltered area it was tolerable for a while. A friend made it to the final in the blackjack tournament so we went to support him. He was the third of five to be eliminated. It is a gala night so afterwards it was back to the cabin to get ready for dinner. We met friends before dinner in the Ocean Bar as the time passed quickly. They joined us for the gala dinner. I will say without question this was the best dining room dinner of the cruise. After dinner we exchanged the tulip vase I had purchased earlier in the cruise for one more to DW’s preference. We enjoyed the show with the singers and dancers, “Concerto.” The Crow’s nest Piano bar was hopping with Daniel doing a tribute to the Beatles. At 9:45 the “Chocolate Surprise” took place and everyone had a few specialty chocolates. By 10:15 it was time to call it a day and prepare for our last port. Sunday, May 05, 2019 – St. Peter Port, Guernsey, UK. Last evening we received notice of a mandatory immigration inspection prior to going ashore in St. Peter Port. Well, okay, but they could have notified us much sooner. This caused a lot of concern with the private walking tour that one of the roll call members set up. As immigration began their process early, it all worked out, but this was just poor planning on the part of Holland America. We arrived ashore at about 8:45 and shortly thereafter began our walking tour with Annette Henry. Annette was one of the most interesting walking tour guides we’ve ever experienced with her bag of props and she told very detailed stories of Guernsey’s history. This was a very worthwhile 2.5 hours and we left her at the tour’s conclusion at the sunken garden. Annette gave us directions to the local flower garden, just a few blocks away. This was very nice and a tea room was open. We enjoyed a pot of tea and hot chocolate. While a beautiful sunny day it is cool so the warm drinks were welcome. I took a bunch of photos of various plant arrangements and we headed down the hill towards the harbor. We stopped in a few shops along the way and ended up at the pharmacy as we had a few pounds of coins to spend before leaving. This was successful! Back to the tender and we returned to Prinsendam for the very last time  just after 1:00. We went straight to the lido and enjoyed some lunch. We lingered talking to some folks before returning to our cabin at 2:30 to begin packing. By 3:30 with the majority of the packing complete we began getting ready for dinner. It became pleasant on the verandah. We ran into one of our roll call friends who just returned from a fantastic day exploring all around Guernsey AND taking the ferry for 90 minutes on one of the out-islands. We got to talking so we ended up skipping the Ocean Bar and heading right to dinner. Tonight one of my favorites “Sweet & Sour Shrimp” was on the menu. Scallops were an appetizer. Sorry, HAL, and no disrespect to the chefs, but these had to be about the worst scallops ever. The muscle was not removed and they just looked ugly and did not taste much better. But the Shrimp dinner was good. After dinner we wondered the ship a little and listened to the quartet in the Ocean Bar. Roll call friends stopped by to chat and we wished each other safe travels home. There was a one-time variety show at 9:30 but we did not stay up for that. I wish we could have paid Daniel a farewell visit to the Crow’s nest but with the last minute packing and setting out the luggage that was not to be. At a little after 9:00 we called it a night. Monday, May 06, 2019 – Dover, UK (Disembarkation and travel home) At 6:00 we were entering the port. It took nearly 50 minutes, and the help of a tug before we were securely docked. We enjoyed one last breakfast in the lido. No “Specials” today. We ran into roll call friends to bid them farewell. I’m sorry we never ran into a few others. They began calling for disembarkation right on schedule at 7:15 and with our 8:05 “Purple 1” tags we left the stateroom at 8:00 to head to the elevator. We went up to go down and left the ship at virtually exactly 8:05. By the time we reached the luggage only a part of the Purple 1 had arrived. We waited a few minutes and the cage with purple 1 was unloaded. We retrieved our bags and headed out to the bus. We were the first on the bus and with the luggage stowed underneath it was a pleasant enough ride out to Heathrow. The driver told us to expect it to take 2.5 hours due to “Roadworks” but we actually made it in two hours. I was tracking along with my Waze phone AP. From drop off until check in at the A1 lounge it was less than 30 minutes. We had a few hours to kill so I finished up this log and enjoyed some lunch and beverages. The flight itself was quite pleasant as the plane was far from full. We even landed in Philadelphia 30 minutes early. Then we sat for another HOUR and ended up being 30 minutes “Late” as there was no gate for us (???) By the time we picked up our car it was 7:00 so we had no traffic for the drive home. Conclusion: Oh Prinsendam, Prinsendam, we will miss you Prinsendam. This cruise was a log of fun. With all the ports (except St. Peter Port) new or ‘essentially’ new to us, we had a blast and saw so many things. Prinsendam is the opposite of the flashy new 4,000 – 6,000 passenger ships. The ship is NOT the destination. The trip is for the ports. I doubt HAL has another ship that could go up the river to Bordeaux and fit under the bridge. Is there another that can go to Porto, maybe? Prinsendam is showing its age without question. The new owners will have a lot of work ahead of them. Yet the crew is simply the “Best in the fleet.” I really believe that. We didn’t eat breakfast in the dining room once the entire cruise. Why? I generally dislike the lido. On this cruise, we enjoyed the lido as unlike the other ships, there are always crewmembers to bring tea, coffee, water, etc. And refill them! They help carry items when you are juggling two plates, and the ice cream man is funny and obviously loves his job! On the other hand, it seems that since last year, the lido service times have been further curtailed. I believe HAL is going in the wrong direction here. There is no more “Late night snack” either. If someone takes advantage of a late night or an overnight in port, staying out past 8:00, there is no food available other than room service. Lunch is over at 2:00. We came back one afternoon at 2:10 and while DW was able to grab some left-over chicken, the pickings were slim. We had two mornings that the water in the cabin was yellowish. We used the bottled water from the mini bar to brush our teeth. The front desk couldn’t tell us much about what was going on, but the last afternoon of the cruise they called to apologize and offered a small token as an apology. Customer Service needs a refresher course at the upper levels (likely in Seattle). We had a roll call group tour planned in St. Peter Port. Then, the evening before, the ship springs on everyone that there is a mandatory immigration inspection. Why not notify the passengers at boarding, or even earlier (like, when they changed the port) so those of us making plans outside of ship tours can plan accurately? Our cabin team of Agus & Heri was super, going above and beyond when some sticky substance got all over our hard sided suitcase between embarkation check in and stateroom delivery. They scrubbed it down the best they could. The laundry service is terrific even if at times things may not be as perfect as we like them at home. But they sure do press things to make the clothes so neat! Our dining room team of Setaji & Andrian took very good care of DW’s special dietary needs. The Wine Steward Theresa was great and found nice alternatives that were to our liking and fit within our package. Amin was outstanding both in the morning in the lido and after dinner always greeting us with a smile and a taste of ginger. All in all, the good ship Prinsendam on her fifth to last HAL voyage gets 3 ½ out of 5 stars for the 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
3 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
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
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
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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Hollard America Oosterdam Jan 19-26, 2019 Great Cruise! -Had a beautiful cruise on the Oosterdam and lots of sunny, warm days! Embarkation was the best ever! We arrived shortly after 1:00 with no lines or waiting to board the ... Read More
Hollard America Oosterdam Jan 19-26, 2019 Great Cruise! -Had a beautiful cruise on the Oosterdam and lots of sunny, warm days! Embarkation was the best ever! We arrived shortly after 1:00 with no lines or waiting to board the ship. We went right to our balcony stateroom on deck 4 and were soon greeted by our wonderful cabin steward Yumus who took great care of our room and kept our ice bucket filled. I was thrilled that we had a bathtub, though it showed signs of age. -We joined our 4 friends on the Lido deck for cocktails, then the Muster drill, followed by dancing at our Sail Away party. We had “anytime dining” which worked well with little or not waiting at the main dining room. -Shortly after boarding, we learned that the Christian band Mercy Me was on board to give several prepaid concerts. We heard toward the end of the cruise that staff considered this group of passengers as a whole to be among the most courteous and kind. -We did not see more than 10 children, all of whom were well behaved. Most of the passengers seemed to be our age (early 60’s) and older. -We loved that there was a Happy Hour daily in the Billboard Lounge at 4:00 with buy one drink, get the second for $2. They brought appetizers and had Trivia hosted by our Cruise Director Becca. We had wonderful Whiskey Sours, Chocolate Martinis, Mudslides, and Bourbon and Diet Cokes. All refreshing! -At 6:00 daily in the Gallery lounge, they featured three $4 drinks which varied from day to day. They had Lemon Drop Martinis, Manhattans, Blue Margaritas, Appletinis, Classic Martinis, and Brandy Alexanders. They brought olives, bread stick crackers, potato chips and nuts. There were comfortable couches, wing back chairs and warm lighting where we felt like we were in our own family rooms with delightful servers to attend always with a smile. -The Lido buffet dining area was lovely with perfect lighting including lamps, nice upholstered chairs, and cloth napkins. Loved the made to order pasta bar and made to order salad bar. Pizza was also available. Food was served by the servers on request as you went through the line. There was a dessert and scooped ice cream area with toppings available. I was disappointed that they were out of waffle cones the three times I went there. At breakfast, there was a made to order crepes and waffle area. I loved the blueberry crepes. By the pool, there was a taco and hamburger bar. -Many mornings, we ordered room service including omelets, fruit, coffee, cereal, and rolls. Service was prompt and courteous. We were given a form to fill out nightly if we wished room service and place on our door knobs. -I was glad that I’d read the reviews and the Holland America policy ahead of time and knew we could carry on a carton of soft drinks, bottled water, and 1 bottle of wine per person. -The dining room was nice. I found the food okay, though a couple in our group loved it especially the onion soup, noodles and beef, and Weiner schnitzel. We liked that a cheese plate was available each evening for dessert. Dessert varied each evening. I especially loved the chocolate lava cake and key lime pie. -The public restrooms were all warmly lit, and I LOVED the rolled-up wash cloth to use to dry hands. So luxurious! -We heard the comedian Tim Kaminsky several times. He was clean and very good. One night there was to be a dancing show early evening but it was cancelled due to accident a performer had, so Tim was asked last minute to do another performance. He did a fine job. -We were to stop in the Bahamas our first day on Sunday, but had to cancel due to not being able to dock safely. We attended Mass at 5:00 pm. We were pleased a Mass was available but would have preferred a morning time. It was well attended with no extra seats available. -One morning, my husband and I attended a cooking demonstration at America’s Test Kitchen, but were disappointed to discover there were no samples available. Blueberry pancakes and artichoke and salmon omelets were featured, so it seems basic enough to provide small samples. I’ve attended shows on other ships and always had delicious samples. -We were to stop in Turks and Caicos, but due to weather stopped in Samana, Dominican Republic. We did not book excursions through the ship. We met a man who offered to take us on a motorcycle pulling a four person cart on a tour to a waterfall and a beach for $25 each. It was a bumpy ride seeing many small houses, some with dirt floors, and all with bars on the windows. We arrived at the path to the waterfall with locals telling us of the “5 minute walk” to the waterfall. It was really 20 minutes with many rocks and hills. Most of us were in flip flops crossing rock streams. Locals were along the path selling jewelry, paintings, and drinks along the way. One fellow climbed a tree yelling, “Monkey Man” and quickly descended the tree as we walked past with his hat out looking for tips. When we got to the falls, 3 young men were jumping off the falls as a guy counted to three, then passed the hat for more tips. We hiked back to where our motorcycle had dropped us off and rode to a small beach. We stayed about an hour anxious to return to the ship. It was an interesting adventure. -Our second stop, which was not scheduled due to weather was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We went to a restaurant, did some shopping, and the guys walked around the fort. We found some wonderful Michael Kors purses at a good price. -Our final stop was in the Dominican Republic. We went to a large pool and had a wonderful day of swimming, water sliding, and hanging out at the pool. -My husband liked the casino and found the Craps Table attendants friendly. -We went to the BB King lounge a couple of times and the band was terrific! The sets were somewhat short. Overall, we found limited opportunities to dance. -Loved that liquor purchased in the onboard store was delivered to our room the morning of our last day at sea. -We would have liked an aerobics class and exercises in the pool. We’ve cruised Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian and were a bit disappointed that the Oosterdam didn’t feature gleaming brass staircases and a tiered balcony atrium with entertainment. I missed the entertainment crew led dancing opportunities, the hairy man contest, and Newly Wed Game. -Overall, the cruise was great! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for convenience of the port. My husband had a course in Orlando on January 12 and 13, so we quickly drove to Tampa when his class finished and boarded by 2:00. This is the smallest ship that we have been on, but it ... Read More
We chose this cruise for convenience of the port. My husband had a course in Orlando on January 12 and 13, so we quickly drove to Tampa when his class finished and boarded by 2:00. This is the smallest ship that we have been on, but it offered the delicious food that Holland America is known for and that we enjoy. Our ports were Key West, Puerto Rico, St Thomas, Antigua, St Lucia, Curacao, Aruba, and Grand Cayman. Our weather was fantastic and each port had something to offer. Food: On this ship, there is very little self-serve in the buffet. This cuts down on germ transfer, but you need to be quick and specific about portion sizes when you ask for food to help them be efficient. The sticky buns were delicious and I ate at least one every morning for breakfast in the Lido buffet! There were also the usual stations with made-to-order omelettes, pancakes, crepes, waffles, sausage, bacon, fruit, yogurt, etc.... There is a great tasting and fresh taco bar set up by the pool for lunch every day! Buffet lunch highlights included roasted pork belly (so delicious!!!) , fresh salad station, and pasta bar along with freshly made Holland America Bread Pudding and vanilla sauce. My husband enjoyed ice-cream almost every day as well, skillfully and cheerfully scooped by Romeo, the ice-cream man! Dining Room: We never ventured into the extra charge restaurants since our food was delicious in the main dining room or buffet. We found the fish tended to be a bit underdone and bland to our liking, but there were many other choices to be enjoyed over the two weeks. The menu was always different. Lobster could be purchased every night for $20, but it was offered complimentary on our last gala night ( three gala nights in total). Escargot, Caesar salad, french onion soup, shrimp cocktail, and crab cakes were some of the highlights. I appreciated that the food was served hot on hot plates! Desserts were my favorites, and the staff were gracious to let me try two of them when I couldn't decide between them! The lava cake with berry sauce was my favorite, and the creme brulee was also very good. When we didn't get to the dining room for dinner, we found that similar choices were offered in the buffet. Afternoon Tea: I would have loved to have gone for tea every day at 3, but I managed 4 out of 14 days. There was only so much eating that I could do!! Music: we enjoyed the Adagio string quartet which played almost every night at 7,8, and 9. The Ocean Trio, piano soloist, and piano bar entertainer performed almost every night as well. They were all very talented and a pleasure to listen to. Movies: A different movie was featured each day with a few showings either in the theater room (100 plus comfy seats with popcorn) or the Main stage, The theme was mostly recently released action movies, but there was the odd comedy or drama thrown in. Mama Mia 2 and Bohemian Rhapsody were also featured. Microsoft Classes: Desiree was a very knowledgeable and patient teacher and taught up to 17 classes on various topics. There were at least 15 individual computers for hands-on learning. America's test kitchen: On sea days we were able to observe cooking shows in the theater and go home with beautiful recipe cards. Entertainment: We did hear murmurings from other passengers that the entertainment was a bit odd, but we enjoyed the following shows: Magician, comedians, Postmodern Jukebox, Planet Earth in concert (BBC Earth movie with live music), Harmonica Virtuoso, Solo Pianist, Philippine crew talent show, and a few variety shows. The BBC Earth movies were very well done! It was a bit tricky to eat in the dining room and still get a seat for the early show, but we always managed to see what we wanted to see. Library/Games/Puzzle room: What a beautiful area!! Enough said! Check out the Explorations cafe in the afternoon for macarons and biscotti and the evening for truffles! Gym: we used the gym 12 of 14 days. We were always able to find a treadmill or elliptical machine, and the view through the front windows was fantastic. There were various weight machines, rowers, etc. Free stretch/ab classes were also provided. The NFL playoff games were enjoyed in lounges on large screen, and there were also various trivia games, board games, card games offered along with pickle ball and basketball. There is a lot of up-selling on the ship, and the shops and spa offer various sessions to learn about their products. Mass is offered every morning, along with Interdenominational and Jewish services weekly. Information sessions on the ports of call were also appreciated. The ship is older and is the second fastest in the world behind the Queen Mary, but it has been beautifully redone in old world charm. If you are interested in art, I asked for a listing of the on-board art at guest services and took it upon myself to locate as many items as possible. It took several hours, but I enjoyed the process...a personal scavenger hunt, if you will. The ship does not offer the Entertainment that Royal Caribbean would offer, but if you don't mind a casual cruise with an older crowd and better than average food, this may be the ship for you! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for the Southern Caribbean ports, which are warm in January, newer ship, and ease of getting to fort lauderdale. The positives...very very well run ship, very good service in all areas, some of the best food in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Southern Caribbean ports, which are warm in January, newer ship, and ease of getting to fort lauderdale. The positives...very very well run ship, very good service in all areas, some of the best food in the buffet and the MDR of any cruise that we ve taken, the ship is kept very clean and well maintained in all regards. Embarkation and Disembarkation were smooth and relatively quick. There was music going on all night every night. A rock group, the BB King Blues and jazz, dueling piano's and few others. The movies on the big screen by the pool and the in room movies were great opttions also. The only negatives for us, and its hard to find many. The inside rooms are workable but a tad small for us as we had packed 4 bags as we were traveling for a month. Go for a larger room. The entertainment had its ups and downs. One stage show cancelled, the rock band was down one night due to software crash and one comedian did a late night show at 7 am, which bombed. The fun factor was somewhat lacking for us...especially on sea days. Both pools are fairly quiet areas to lounge around, we d prefer to see the rear pool be more lively with some great music, maybe some games, contests, or anything lively at all. How about an evening deck party when in a warm climate like the caribbean? There is a rather overly generous smoking area near the rear pool, which made it unpleasant to lay back there with the smoke drift. The ship seems to be making a transition towards the next generation of cruisers, and there is some progress, but it still a work in progress in my book. I d give the cruise 5 stars, but that's where things still need some fresh ideas and some work imho. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
DH and I were on the January 13th 10 day southern Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam. We have cruised several other times with HAL, but not on the bigger ships, and we were not sure whether we would like it. We did! We were supposed to be ... Read More
DH and I were on the January 13th 10 day southern Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam. We have cruised several other times with HAL, but not on the bigger ships, and we were not sure whether we would like it. We did! We were supposed to be cruising with my DB and DSIL, but they had to cancel due to family and job issues. This was a real problem, because they had a suite and we had an inside cabin. We planned on spending many evenings on their balcony! We were a little bummed, but an inside cabin is sure better than being home or at work. EMBARKATION We arrived at the cruise terminal right around 11 AM and were in group 6 to board. We were on the ship close to 11:45 and I have to say this was probably the smoothest embarkation we have ever had. We were directed to the Lido, but we took a chance that the main dining room was open and it was. After a lovely lunch, we discovered that our luggage had arrived so we unpacked and set out to explore the ship. DECOR The art is very different from what I’ve come to expect from Holland America – I really liked some of it (the cello ship on deck 12) but some of it I just did not get. I did see two of what I think were two of Captain Card’s paintings in the meeting rooms adjacent to the Crow’s Nest, which made me feel more at home. The decor overall is really lovely and understated compared to the ships we have sailed previously. The last time we sailed HAL was on the Veendam, and it was the old garish color combinations. POOLS One thing we really missed was any kind of music at the aft pool. We understand the limitations on live bands, but some kind of music would’ve made an incredible improvement to the environment. Drink service was very good in the area, and seating capacity was OK. Several afternoons there were no clean towels at the aft pool and occasionally under cover seating was slim pickings because one side was designated for smoking. Although it was not full, asthma made that side not an option for us. We did not spend any time at the Lido pool. It seemed crowded, and being mostly enclosed it was pretty warm. We had an informal meet and greet at the aft pool with our roll call, and it was very nice to put names and faces together with folks whose posts I have enjoyed in the past. A lot of great information was passed back-and-forth on our roll call, which was greatly appreciated. STATEROOM We were getting ready for gala dinner on Monday when we received a call from guest services. It seemed they have been trying to reach us since embarkation and wanted to upgrade us to a balcony room down the hall. At no charge!! I thought it was a joke, or that DH was not asking the right questions to verify the up charge! Gina from guest services came by to show us the cabin and make sure the cabin was satisfactory. What, I’m going to say “no, I’d rather be inside”??? Our wonderful cabin stewards Andry and Freddy came along to help us move and voilà! We were in a veranda cabin! Pour the champagne! That was a most wonderful moment! Note: The inside cabin was fine, but let’s be real! DINING We purchased the ultimate dining package, and would not do it again. We have loved the Pinnacle in the past and have heard such good things about Tamarind that we felt like it was a great deal. We went to the Pinnacle the first night, and I have to say we were disappointed. The food was good, but our server really gave us the impression that we were a bother. He took our order and was never seen or heard from again. In a complete contrast, Rozelle, our wine steward, was fast and friendly. I had thought to try a fellow cruise critic poster's suggestion about ordering all of our wine at once to avoid a wait, but we never had a delay. I will definitely keep it in mind for the future though. The Tamerind was excellent, service and food alike. We actually dined there twice because guest services gifted us with dinner there due to the terrible inconvenience of moving. We did not say no. We also participated in DiLibrije, and I was again disappointed in the service. We received our sparkling wine and the wine for the first course before we ever received the amuse bouche. The food was stellar, but we had the same server we had previously and he was inattentive in the extreme. Canaletto was fine, the food was good and the service was good as well, but nothing was awe inspiring. I was surprised that it did feel like a separate area; I was concerned that we would feel like we were still in the Lido. Dive In was good, and was much quicker than I expected based on previous comments. The Lido is the Lido – lots of choices, with a better layout than previously. The salad station was much appreciated as you could ask for and receive anything in your salad that was available, and DH loved the eggs Florentine for breakfast. The dutch café was terrific. We had lattes from there every morning, and the bitterballen was superb. Our best experience by far was in the main dining room. We were upstairs at a two top, and our waiters (Abu and Silmi) were attentive and friendly. Being on the third floor makes a big difference in the acoustics, and we never felt that it was too loud. The food was very good, and because we had the EBP, we didn’t feel that we had to coordinate our menu choices the way we do when we bring our own wine. I did feel that the selection of red wines by the glass was not great, but that also be my personal taste. Lester, our wine steward was fast, made good recommendations, and was really funny. We really felt like we had our own personal entertainment in the main dining room. One of the things that was fun was when we asked about the celebration song performed by the waiters for birthdays, they arranged to have a celebrated with our neighboring two top just because! DH was the one who had been interested, so I filmed it and took the video and cake to the poker table (have party, will travel). ENTERTAINMENT We very much enjoyed the Rolling Stone Rock Room, and the BB Kings Blues Club. The pianists were excellent also, as were the Lincoln Stage performers. All drew huge crowds, but we never really had a problem finding a seat although they may have been tucked in the back corner. We also enjoyed the casino. DH came out ahead, as did I (but barely). Sidebar: How can there only be 1 to 2 bottles of Makers Mark on the entire ship? I can’t see leaving the Crow’s Nest at 7 PM to go down to the aft pool to get myself a Makers Mark Manhattan. PORTS Half Moon Cay is a beautiful island, and we were fortunate in that the weather was flawless. Tendering was a breeze and the water was like glass. We did not have lunch on the island, too many options available on the ship and with no crowds! We didn’t do much on Grand Turk – we mostly wandered up and down the streets. They have some nice beaches, but we did not visit them. Bonaire has a very nice and close by downtown area. They had a farmers market going on, and many locals were getting lunch from the guy cooking barbecue. There was lots of really nice jewelry (not expensive), and miscellaneous handmade things to be had. Curaçao was our absolute favorite island. The buildings with the historic Dutch style, and the cafés along the waterway and the swinging pontoon bridge all made for a lovely day. We spent the afternoon wondering the streets, and ended with cocktails and beer at one of the waterside cafés. The weather was lovely, there was a live band performing nearby, and we were able to watch the pontoon bridge open and close several times. We left right at sunset, which was beautiful over the Koningsdam. The waterfront buildings and the bridge are lit up with multicolored lights which makes it so festive. I did not get off the ship in Aruba, but DH did. He took the path from port to town, and said it was enjoyable. I found it enjoyable that he found several little gifts to bring back to me! In summary, it was a wonderful cruise – one we would do again. Holland America has the service model down, and I sure hope they don’t fix what isn’t broken. The ship is lovely, the entertainment is great, but best of all we were on vacation! It’s hard to find fault with that. PS: I forgot to include that Elvis was on the ship! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose the Westerdam because we had sailed on this ship before and were familiar with it. We stayed in a Neptune Suite Aft, level 7, corner suite with a verandah....which was very nice. Our room stewards were wonderful and met every ... Read More
We chose the Westerdam because we had sailed on this ship before and were familiar with it. We stayed in a Neptune Suite Aft, level 7, corner suite with a verandah....which was very nice. Our room stewards were wonderful and met every one of our needs! The Itinerary was great, except Sihanoukville in Cambodia. This port is in it's infancy as far as tourists go, but we joined the ship that day they docked after leaving from the Bangkok excursion to go off on our own to visit Siem Reap and Angor Wat. We planned the excursion on our own (way less expensive than what was offered through Holland America) and found that city in Cambodia to be delightful. If Cambodia is judged by a traveler, only on this port, Cambodia is getting the short end of the stick....Siem Reap was wonderful. The food was good on board and plentiful, especially the Asian themed on the Lido deck, and in the Dining Room. We ate at the Specialty Dining three times....Rudy's Fish (not to our liking at all...probably what we ordered, versus the quality) and at the Pinnacle Grill Twice (food was excellent). We only went to one show, and it was only MEH, in our opinion. Very talented kids doing the same or similar shows we had seen before five years ago. We heard the comic/impersonator was awesome, but he missed that. As a Neptune Suite, we had the use of the Neptune Suite Lounge which was awesome...they had juices, coffees, light snacks, treats, small plates all day long for our consumption, and a wonderful staff (Gabrielle, Paolo) who answered any questions we had. Very kind. Also had unlimited use of the laundry services, which were done in one day, and nice to have (I would've packed way less and had more room for the huge amounts of stuff I bought in ports!) We also had priorty tendering, embarkation, and disembark. Avoiding lines was a positive to that benefit. The cabin was nice, large and suited our needs. HA probably needs to look at refurbishing the overall ship decor sometime soon however as it's a little dated in my opinion. Our dressing mirror was cracked and the tub and shower couldve used a little caulking update, but I'd give the room an A-. Now, the only real negative I have is the smoking issue. My husband and I both smoke. Before we booked this cruise, we most surely asked our cruise consultant about the availability of smoking areas. We were given six or seven spots as smoking areas, plus we were told we could smoke in the Casino. Imagine our surprise when we got on the ship and were told there was only one area to smoke....Lido Deck 9, aft. Thats it. No smoking in or anywhere near the Casino. (sorry Holland America but you lost a ton of money I would've spent had I not gotten up to go for a ten minute walk to smoke every few hours). I am fine with no indoor smoking totally, I get it, but the smoking area consisted of four tables that seated maybe 8 people, and they were hard as hell...no cushions, HARD, SLATTED TEAKWOOD BENCHES & SEATS. Considering the fact that we paid 4k plus each to be there, we were pretty annoyed. You had nowhere to layout where you could smoke. Obviously it took us a few days to kind of work through the annoyance of the misinformation we were given by our HA cruise consultant. Apparently there has been NO SMOKING in the casino and other spots for over 2 years on this ship. (Can't wait to review our cruise consultant on that one.) I think Holland is missing the boat (pun intended) by not having a reasonable accommodation for Casino players closer to the Casino. Another negative, was the fact that they decreased the size of the casino and put the Dueling Piano guys (who had a great show by the way) RIGHT NEXT TO THE BLACKJACK and POKER tables. I swear....it was a pretty popular show, and pretty crowded, but for GOD's SAKE...put a wall up between the two venues. I didn't mind hearing them, but I also liked hearing what the dealer had to say, or delight in the witty banter between players....not possible with two guys pounding out Piano Man just ten feet away! By the way, the casino staff were awesome....very service oriented and fun as well! One of the best choices we made was to come to SIngapore for a few days before the cruise, and to stay for an additional day the day before we flew home. SIngapore was lovely, had tons to do, was clean, great food, great shopping, etc. I loved all of the ports we visited, and we used Tours By Locals and Trip Advisor to find local guides so we could avoid the herds of folks on the busses to the touristy stuff. On each ofour excursions, we got a local flavor, and a real feeling of the culture and people we went to see. HaLong Bay was wonderful, loved Bangkok, my favorte spot was the visit to Da Nang- Hoi An Might Market (Amazing). Would we go again? Hmmmm.....I would go with Holland again, but not this ship...I, for personal reasons, would like to be able to smoke in a Casino, and have a reasonable accommodation and comfort when I do. At the end of the day, we met great people, saw wonderful things, and the vacation was a B+ in my book. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Service st pinnacle grill has a lot to be desired very slow we canceled future dinner reservations and had free Neptune suite breakfasts and only went to two because of the same service problem What made this worse was HAL CEO onboard ... Read More
Service st pinnacle grill has a lot to be desired very slow we canceled future dinner reservations and had free Neptune suite breakfasts and only went to two because of the same service problem What made this worse was HAL CEO onboard and this happens. First Neptune suite and it was awesome and the concierge ladies Ari and Diane were outstanding and graciously worked things out. Lido was good as always as was the Dive in. When we left the Captain was awesome with his toots way too many that he even gave the pilot three little ones for his goodbye. Weather was awesome throughout the week. IMO Falmouth should be changed to Ocho Rios which would make it much better itinerary. The hydro pool was good but too many items breaking down for which they gave us $31 OBC still enjoyed it very relaxing Neptune suite had toilet issues and leaking pipe outside veranda area but they were fixed Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were looking to get out of town (Ohio) for the Christmas Holiday. So why not go someplace tropical. We have been on 20+ cruises and chose this one for the cabin location and and Koningsdam. The ship turned out to be just what we had ... Read More
We were looking to get out of town (Ohio) for the Christmas Holiday. So why not go someplace tropical. We have been on 20+ cruises and chose this one for the cabin location and and Koningsdam. The ship turned out to be just what we had expected. It is a very beautifully appointed ship a little over 2 years old with lots of food and entertainment options from fancy to very casual. We fall more on the casual side and tend to not enjoy 2 hour dinners in the MDR. Being in a suite, you have access to the "Orange" restaurant for breakfast and dinner It is a little on the fancy side but faster with excellent service. Lido deck buffet has all kinds of options...it does get a little crowded at time and the only negatives I heard had to do with the fact that servers behind the glass serve the food. Personally I don't have a problem with that because they will give you exactly what you as for in the quantity you ask for. And I prefer my food to only be touched by one person as opposed to everyone on the ship. Cuts way down on the sickness factor for me. Dive In for hamburgers and a Gelato and pizza place are opened quit late. Room service was not up to par on Koningsdam compared to the other 6 HAL ships we have been on. Entertainment, there is a lot of it on board from Rock and Roll bands, BB King Band was outstanding and love the music every night, Lincoln Center performances for classical music and recorded music in several of the venues. Stage shows in the 270 degree two story theater and numerous lecture on different subjects. Casino was fun but if smoking bothers you there was only one night that was smoke-free....HAL needs to get on the ball and make their ships NON-SMOKING. Several pools on the ship that never seemed overcrowded and a movie under the stars ever night at 7 and 10. Santa came on Christmas Eve and they had a beautiful tree in the atrium. Being a Christmas cruise there were way more kids that you would expect on HAL but most were under control and if not several hundred Grand Parents were there to say something. Service on board was very good from a cheerful staff but the folks in Management staff could use a little Customer Service training as most seemed a tad on the aloof side. Ports were pretty standard for an Eastern Caribbean cruise. Turks and Caicos we took a two hour tour around the island on a tram open air bus. Interesting to see how they have mostly recovered from Irma and Maria hurricanes. San Juan, Puerto Rico a little shopping and back to our balcony. St Thomas, a little shopping and lunch at Gladys' restaurant in down town CA. Half Moon Cay spent most of the day on our balcony as we have been here many time. All in all this was a nice get away on a beautiful ship. I probably missed a number of thing and places on the ship but that will be for our next voyage...there is only so much time every day for eating, drinking, reading, relaxing and entertainment. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

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