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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We have always likes Holland and found them to be the best to meet our needs for a cruise. This was our first transatlantic crossing. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary with this trip. The ship is beautiful. Lots of music ... Read More
We have always likes Holland and found them to be the best to meet our needs for a cruise. This was our first transatlantic crossing. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary with this trip. The ship is beautiful. Lots of music entertainment, The shows in the world stage were ok, but not fantastic. The Lido deck nightly movie was a good thing, although we only watched one, but other people seemed to enjoy it. I think there were less activities that we remembered, no real library, very small area and not many books or magazines. Most magazines I saw were in another language other than English. Only one card table for puzzles and only two very small tables for backgammon, chess or checkers. The culinary arts center was good. We had dinner there on night, food was good, service great and it was fun to watch the chef cook and explain some of his techniques. Lido deck dining was difficult at times, hard to find a seat. Dining room meals were long and slow. Really didn't find the food to be a lot better than the Lido and definitely less choices. It seems the ship has decided that pushing wine and bar drinks is a big priority as they are everywhere and frequent during meals. Wine selections were ok, but I have had better on other cruise lines. We had an inside cabin, 8102. Unfortunately I did not think about being under the Lido dining room when I booked the cabin, it was quite noisy at 5:30am and starting at 10:30 through 12:30am. The room was small with no chair or sofa to sit on. Plenty of storage and the bathroom was very modern and easy to use. I would not book an inside cabin again due to the size. I usually don't mind being inside, as I like the darkness and usually the quiet. Had the darkness, but not the quiet this time. The cabin steward was great. The cruise director Carson and culinary Alice were very enjoyable. We did the renewal of vows on the ship and it was well worth the money. The captain and staff were so nice and made us feel very comfortable. They supplied a beautiful and delicious cake, canapes and champagne for the service. An album and pictures were also included. We did not use the spa as it was terrible expensive for their services. That has changed. As I remember from our first cruise with Holland, use of the mineral pool and other things were not charged for, but now it is a pretty hefty price. We did not do any shore excursions with Holland, so no info on them, but felt they were a little on the expensive side. We did do a couple private ones. All in all we loved the cruise and I was sad to see it come to an end. We will cruise with Holland again, but not in an inside cabin or under the Lido kitchen. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Timing was right for our transatlantic, maybe should have waited a couple more weeks. Nothing unusual about the embarkation or disembarkation. The weather was great on the way over because the captain avoided all the bad weather south of ... Read More
Timing was right for our transatlantic, maybe should have waited a couple more weeks. Nothing unusual about the embarkation or disembarkation. The weather was great on the way over because the captain avoided all the bad weather south of us. Ship is nicely laid out, seems to be enough room for everyone to find a quiet spot if they want. I liked the comfortable couches and lounge chairs. Food was average for HAL, good selecation for dining, we went to the Tamerind, where the food ws very artful and really very tasty. Especially the lobster rolls. Lido restaurant had plenty of choice, but repetative and sometimes had to go to another station for different vegetables and potatoes. Seating was sometimes hard to find. The staff were great, as i have found on all their ships. Very friendly and really seem to welcome us. The cruise director and Becca, the staff of two did a great job with activities. I can say they were in need of help to expand the activities. Other than trivia, there wasn't a lot to do. Ports were good, especially Maderia, pretty place, take a tour. Lastly, the stateroom was the tiniest, and most uncomfortable of all the HAL ships. When I say Tiny, I might be disagreed with by others. The picture that shows the room must have been taken without the wall being up and with some kind of special lense. The desk is not even 2 feet wide, try to fit all your stuff and a breakfast tray on it. There is a stool, you pull it out and move the garbage pail and you can sit down on it. Don't know about your partner maybe he can find room on the floor. I know, have him eat breakfast or luch on the bed. One word, crumbs in bed, lovely. Don't even start on watching TV. They should have shown the American football somewhere on the ship, try sitting on your stool for a couple hours. I tried to get a larger room, even outside before the cruise, but it would have cost me over $1,000. more when I gave up my OBC, 200., my complimentry gratutites 400 and then I would have had to pay the gratutites 400. Plus what we paid was more than the balconies were selling off at. When I approached the front desk I was told there were no cabins available, even though other people were moved, and there were empty staterooms. Well live and learn. Next time I will make sure we have a more comfortable room, and I doubt it will be on this ship. One word of warning, do not take a cabin under BB Kings, hudge complaints about the noise travelling down. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I chose it as a reasonably priced repositioning cruise that suited my other travel plans for the return from Europe. Cruise: HAL Koningsdam, Civitavecchia-Fort Lauderdale 10/3/2017, Cabin 8182 Up front—I’m not a typical ... Read More
I chose it as a reasonably priced repositioning cruise that suited my other travel plans for the return from Europe. Cruise: HAL Koningsdam, Civitavecchia-Fort Lauderdale 10/3/2017, Cabin 8182 Up front—I’m not a typical cruise passenger, sorry to disappoint in my reporting: Mine was a solo trip; I’m not a “fine-dining foodie” so I only ate in Lido and Dutch Café; I drank no alcohol; not a “dresser-upper” so I can’t comment on “gala” nights. Not a socialite so I can’t comment on games or group activities and such. Still, fwiw, here goes: Likes: Entertainment: The best thing for me was the chamber music ensemble performing three sets on the Lincoln Center Stage most nights, a very competent and likeable group of five youngish musicians (string quartet and pianist) that added a lot of class to the ship with demanding classical repertoire. The only other entertainment I caught was the excellent classical pianist Mori (one night only), and—in passing—I heard the R&B band on the B.B.King stage providing predictable nostalgia to appreciative pax. There was plenty more popular entertainment going on that I didn’t attend. Ship layout: Well done on the whole, only a very few bottlenecks inside, enough outdoor spaces on various decks to find quiet if needed. Exercise: I liked the walking loop around deck 3 as well as the walking/jogging track on deck 11 (with a longer option available); the net-enclosed sports court (basket ball and net games and more) was rarely occupied, I had it to myself daily during breakfast and dinner hours. The brief and free morning stretch and evening body toning sessions in the fitness area were well attended, a bigger space (or outside?) would be welcome. There is free use of treadmills, weights and machines! Food: I only ever ate in the Lido Market (buffet on deck 9) and Dutch Café (deck 3). I liked the Lido Market food offerings for quality, huge variety, and superb desserts; the only dishes I kept eating at the Dutch café, the pea soup, the herring, and the apple pie, were excellent. They have more good-looking items. Staff: Well trained in efficiency and friendliness. Mercifully few PA announcements, and only sounding in hallways and public areas, not intrusively on cabins’ interior speakers. WiFi: I purchased 500 minutes of internet access ($175) and found it to be reliable and mostly acceptably fast. Heavy streaming and big downloads are discouraged or even blocked, but even far from land the satellite connection worked remarkably well, better than in many a hotel in my travels. Dislikes: Lido Market provides no trays, pax have to shuttle back and forth to and from a table to food stations for each item, from soup to dessert, often losing the table to overly zealous cleaner-uppers. There should be a way of carrying several items to a table, and to mark a seat as “I shall return” (sure, you can bring a jacket, but who wants to have to remember to run to the cabin just for that?). For someone who is used to eating a healthy dinner around 9PM but doesn’t like a waiter-service formal dining room (open til 9:30 PM) this was a bit tricky—Lido closes at 8:30, and only one station reopens at 10:30 for an hour. The Dutch Café serves no meals after 8PM. The New York Deli stays open til midnight but serves no pizza slices, only whole pizzas (and burgers if you can stomach that). Background music in public areas: While not nearly as bad as on recent Celebrity cruises, I nevertheless was bothered occasionally by stupid tunes playing too loud (who needs dozens of insistent “Help me Ronda, help help me Ronda” in your ear to accompany an otherwise perfectly good meal?). Luckily those instances were the exception, overall the volume was kept lower than on the blasted Celebrity Millenium (never again...) for example, and the music that I did hear was not as repetitive. Ship layout: The concert audience in the Lincoln Center Stage area was almost constantly bothered, often severely, by noises from loud pax (who sometimes may not have realized that the concert was going on beyond the big staircase that would have blocked their view), and from the nearby casino (especially slot machines with loud electronic quasi-musical sounds). Also the smoke from the casino was a bother (how can they even allow that indoors—anytime?). Luckily, as per the cruise director’s announcement, the Lincoln Stage may be relocated when Koningsdam will be in dry dock in December 2018. In summary: This cruise was a very positive experience with very few negatives. I had read about the “teething troubles” from when the ship was brand new, but except for the learning curve about the Lincoln Center stage’s location (promised to be rectified), I think they got it mostly right, and with the admittedly limited use I made of all that’s on offer it seems to be working just fine now. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After sailing numerous Holland American ships, I was anxious to experience the new Koningsdam. There are many things I love about this ship and things I miss when compared to their smaller ships. Highlights: The cabin was excellent, ... Read More
After sailing numerous Holland American ships, I was anxious to experience the new Koningsdam. There are many things I love about this ship and things I miss when compared to their smaller ships. Highlights: The cabin was excellent, especially the shower and the larger flat screen TV. (My only complaint here was the air quality and ability to control the temperature adequately. For some reason, the air was extremely HIGH in humidity! Maybe due to this there seemed to be an over abundance of "ship" coughing going on.) The upper sports deck offered an excellent outdoor walking experience each morning while the lower promenade deck was lacking due to the portion that reverted to single file. Entertainment in the main showroom was much improved when compared to HAL smaller ships. Lacking: The quality of food in the main dining room was inconsistent and lacking in variety. The Lido was often over crowded, stuffy and miserable to walk through to reach the outer pool deck. Due to the size of the ship, service was not as spot on when compared to smaller HAL vessels. Would I cruise her again? Yes, for sure! It's all about the itinerary and pricing for me as I have to pay the single supplement. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first cruise with HAL having previously cruised with Azamara, Celebrity (Elite), NCL (Silver) and Princess. We picked this cruise as it was very port intensive, (18 ports in 24 days with overnights in Venice & Athens) ... Read More
This was our first cruise with HAL having previously cruised with Azamara, Celebrity (Elite), NCL (Silver) and Princess. We picked this cruise as it was very port intensive, (18 ports in 24 days with overnights in Venice & Athens) and we had the opportunity to see a lot of the Mediterranean in one cruise. The passengers were a 60+ crowd and if you were looking for entertainment to keep you amused throughout the day this was not the cruise for you. Food is a very subjective topic so I’m not going to go into any details besides saying (in my opinion) that is was very similar to what we have experienced on Celebrity. There was lots of variety in the Lido Buffet and the food was very good in The Dining Room. The Good: • Embarkation, we arrived at the port at 11AM and were onboard at 11:30 AM and our stateroom was ready, • Luggage was in our stateroom at 1PM, • All of the ports guides for the entire cruise were in our stateroom, • KK & Brett,EXC staff gave great port presentations. • $30.00 for a bag of laundry and you can put a lot of clothes in the cloth bag if you roll them tight, • Great tender service, they always had 5 tenders running and by 9:30 AM there was no waiting for one, • The Cruise Director provided clear and concise information whenever he spoke on the ship’s PA, • The elevators are the fastest we have experienced, • All of the staff (bar, Lido, dining room) were friendly, polite and willing to provide assistance. • The stateroom attendants were fantastic, polite, and knew our name from day one. They had 29 staterooms to look after. The So So: • When you went to the muster drill you reported to the Lido Deck and stood around your assigned life boat. It was so packed you couldn’t see the life jacket demonstration unless you were right in front of the person providing the demonstration & the announcements on the PA were hard to hear. I found it to be a strange location to hold the drill due to the passenger congestion. On a positive side it only took about 20 minutes to complete the muster drill. • The evening entertainment was ok but nothing special. This was the first cruise I have encountered where they showed a movie on a couple of nights instead of live entertainment for the evening show. The Not So Good: • No pay per minute internet. They only offer packages that are for the entire cruise. So if you only want to use the internet to print you boarding pass on the last day of the cruise you would have to buy a package. • I found the ships excursion staff to be very abrupt and they seemed to be very rushed when I went to see them at the Excursion desk. • The ship just completed a refit this spring and they relocated the Future Cruises Consultant into a small office on the 10th deck in the Explorations area. There is nowhere for her to leave out any pamphlets on any future cruises so you have to make an appointment to see her and get the pamphlets/brochures. It seemed to me that it was a waste of everyone’s time to have to book an appointment just to get brochures. • Prior to the cruise I went on HAL’s website to confirm the dress requirements of Gala Nights in the Dining Room. The website states that men must wear a collared shirt and slacks. Along with others, I wore a collared golf style shirt and was turned away from the dining room. They informed me that the collared shirt has to be completely buttoned down from top to bottom. So you can attend Gala Nights if you wear a buttoned down short sleeve shirt that you bought on your last Caribbean Cruise for $10.00. But, if you wear a golf style shirt that cost $90.00 you get turned away. I went to customer service and showed them the dress requirements on HAL’s website and the reply I receive was that fully buttoned down is implied. On our last Gala night I saw them let in a gentleman who was wearing jeans but according to the dress requirements that is not allowed. If a buttoned down shirt is the requirement then HAL needs to update the dress requirements on their website. • This was the first cruise where I have seen passengers wearing robes and their PJ’s allowed to eat breakfast in the Lido Buffet. All I can say is it is appaling seeing passengers sitting around in robes and PJ’s eating breakfast. This practice needs to stop. • Approximately 10% of the passengers and staff used the hand sanitizer dispensers when entering the ship or eating areas. It appeared that the ship didn’t put an emphases on Hygene/sanitation. This was the worst we have experienced on any ship. All in all it was a very enjoyable cruise, lots of great ports and we would sail with HAL again as we appreciate that they have collector cruises which provide for some interesting destinations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports, especially the Dalmatian Coast. No other cruise line had this itinerary. We've done many other cruises on other cruise lines, but a first on HAL. Never again. Overall the staff ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports, especially the Dalmatian Coast. No other cruise line had this itinerary. We've done many other cruises on other cruise lines, but a first on HAL. Never again. Overall the staff and stateroom service is great. No issue there. The ship interiors are nice enough for a mid-size, middle budget cruise line. Where they miss it is food. The worst meals I've ever had. Tasteless. No flavor. I don't believe they even use basic salt and pepper as a seasoning. Truly awful food. The entertainment waivered. The singers and dancers we're about a inch better than watching grammar school kids put on a show. I was actually embarrassed for them. No talent. However the string quartet was fabulous in the Kennedy Center Stage. That was a real treat. I enjoyed the America's Test Kitchen too. Very clever. All the rest were God awful. The staff who run the excursions are ill informed and very unprofessional. I'd fire all of them starting at the top and start over. They contradicted themselves, didn't know, or even attempted to find out if you asked them a question. Terrible. I'll never cruise on HAL again. Even if it were free. Life's too short to waste time on crappy experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife and I booked this 12 night cruise because of the interesting itinerary. It was heavy on our much desired Adriatic coast, but also included great and/or new destinations for us such as Kotor, Montenegro, both Valletta and Gozo, ... Read More
My wife and I booked this 12 night cruise because of the interesting itinerary. It was heavy on our much desired Adriatic coast, but also included great and/or new destinations for us such as Kotor, Montenegro, both Valletta and Gozo, Malta, Dubrovnik, Split, and Korcula, Croatia, and Slovenia. The cruise ended in Venice. As stated, a great itinerary. However, our experience on board was far from satisfactory in several key areas ... and we have Holland America experience since 2007. We are 4-Star Mariners with 213 actual sea days on HAL as we write this review. Our ship, the MS Westerdam, is among the first of the HAL fleet to undergo an extensive renovation/modernization that will fit the new image for all their ships over the next couple of years. (1) The Library is gone. (2) The Ocean Bar dance floor is gone ... all carpet now. There is in fact only one dancing venue on the ship ... the B.B. King's Blues Club. That club is excellent if you like that kind of music ... we enjoyed it and danced to a great live band ... all terrific musicians. They played 5 out of 7 nights, as I recall, with 2 nights off per week and no other music/dance on those nights there. They did not start until about 8PM. However, for those that don't care for blues, there was no other dance venue. The Ocean Bar had a classical pianist ... excellent ... but don't expect to hear any popular numbers that you can dance to ... and that would be on carpet. So, the once great Ocean Bar with the cocktails and dancing to a trio or quartet is gone! (3) No Crow's Nest for dancing and music anymore. The entire Crow's Nest has been transformed into EXC, or Explorations Central. (4) Conventions and/or groups allowed to reserve and take over "common areas". On three evenings that we personally experienced, about half of the Ocean Bar, the part with the pianist, and where most of the chairs and tables are, was closed off to all guests except for the group/convention. Therefore, there was no seating for many guests. We were told by a couple of officers that "all HAL ships are now doing this". What next for a surprise? (5) Sick/extremely ill two times on board ... myself and several days later my wife. Each time that we were sick we only ate on board that day ... and late those nights we were vomiting, etc. in our stateroom (symptoms of food poisoning, but no proof). We spoke to the ship's medical officer/nurse. After 24 hours we were each mostly recovered, but it did ruin that day's ability to go ashore. In general, over the past few years HAL is not what it used to be. Service in general has declined, sharp attention to detail is no longer present. The crew/staff for the most part are, in our opinion, over worked and too few. Many times one is left waiting. Where are the officers to supervise and see that the guests are taken care of in a timely manner? Lastly, we wrote and mailed a letter to the President of Holland America Line in early December, 2017, regarding our experience and suggestions for improvement (HAL has always said that they want to hear from we "Mariners") ... and we have never received a response. Apparently, they do not care how we, as loyal and good customers/guests/Mariners feel! That is our experience. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our third cruise with Holland America and first on Westerdam. We have also cruised with Azamara, Oceania, NCL, Windstar, Louis, Katarina and several river cruise operators. This cruise was 12 nights, starting in Civitavecchia and ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Holland America and first on Westerdam. We have also cruised with Azamara, Oceania, NCL, Windstar, Louis, Katarina and several river cruise operators. This cruise was 12 nights, starting in Civitavecchia and finishing in Barcelona. The ship is looking very smart in the public areas. We were in an ocean view cabin on deck 1. The cabin looked a little tired. The job done by our room stewards was not very thorough. On our previous 2 HAL cruises we had found the food to be boring, bland and repetitive. This food on this cruise was no different. The service in the Lido Market was poor – they supposedly served water and lemonade at the tables, but we usually had to go and get our own – it was difficult to attract any waiter attention. Plates were often not cleared between courses. There were no lecturers. The concerts by the HAL entertainers was not to our taste. A guest pianist one evening was very good, and the resident pianist on deck 3 was good. We also tried the chamber music group in the Lincoln Centre on several occasions, which was okay. It became very windy while we were anchored off Monte Carlo. The crew did an excellent job of ensuring passengers were tendered safely on and off the ship. The following day was still windy, leading to the cancellation of the St Tropez stop. The advice that this port had been cancelled was very late – we only found out because of the lack of shore excursion staff in the theatre when we went to join our booked tour. St Tropez was replaced with Villefranche, where the harbour was sheltered and tendering was straight forward. Disembarkation instructions were confusing. We booked a HAL tour with drop off at the airport, but we still received a letter telling us to disembark when our tag colour/number was called. This happened before the reporting time for our tour, and when we went to the theatre for the tour meeting time there were no shore excursion staff there, which made us wonder which instruction we should be following. Eventually someone showed up to allocate bus numbers. This tour with drop off at the airport worked very well, and certainly solves the problem of what to do with the luggage for the day. Holland America would not be our choice of cruise line, but if the itinerary was of interest we would consider it. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We were attracted to this cruise because of the itinerary which included many places we had not seen before. And we were not disappointed! The sea was very rough at Monaco, and the staff was very professional and efficient getting people ... Read More
We were attracted to this cruise because of the itinerary which included many places we had not seen before. And we were not disappointed! The sea was very rough at Monaco, and the staff was very professional and efficient getting people on and off the tenders. When the wind and rough seas made it impossible to go to St. Tropez (a tender port), the captain made the wise decision to go to Villefranche which was lovely and very enjoyable. But the refit of the Westerdam was a great disappointment, especially the disappearance of the library. The Crow's Nest is no longer an inviting place. The former comfortable reclining chairs in front of the windows are gone. The board game collection has been greatly reduced and moved to another small room, and it was often closed at 4 PM, so there was no opportunity for a game after dinner. Jo Leggett got it right--the ship is thoroughly average! Like some other reviewers, we had trouble with our air conditioner, and I resorted to wearing ear plugs at night to cut the noise of air rushing through it. After several appeals to our cabin steward, I spoke to someone at the front desk, and then it was fixed. But there should be a way to turn it off if desired. Embarkation was smooth and easy. We stayed in an excellent B&B in the town of Fumicino before the cruise and had a nice lunch in Civitaveccia (there is an excellent gelato shop right on the main street!) before going to the port. We didn't experience the formal disembarkation process because we left the ship on the day it arrived in Barcelona (we had seen a lot of Barcelona at the end of a previous cruise). We enjoyed the meals in the dining room and had fabulous stewards (Jaka and Chukran) who remembered all of our requests from one day to another. The meals were very good, and the portion sizes were just right for us. And the omelets in the Lido at breakfast were delicious! We were generally able to find a table there at breakfast without too much trouble. We did not take any of the ship's shore excursions--they are very expensive. But we had a wonderful day tour with Spain Day Tours to the Alhambra, and we had an excellent local guide there. I also arranged for a private van tour of Marseille and Provence with Alcyon Riviera Tours. They suggested I put a message on the Cruise Critic board for the cruise to recruit three additional couples to share the tour, and that worked very well. Our guide took us to several places the ship's tours did not go which were most enjoyable. For other ports, I read guide books (primarily by Rick Steves) and brought along copies of the relevant pages to give us pointers of what to see. We are 3-star Mariners and have had several cruises with HAL and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them, so the Westerdam was a bit of a disappointment even though the staff does what they can to overcome the problems. Read Less
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